Sunday, February 27, 2011

You know what....I DON'T KNOW!!! - Tia

Hey y'all. I know it's been forever since I posted something. I've been going through it and been basically computer-less. But I just got my new Mac (yay!!!) And have made a resolution to do more of the things that make me smile. And believe or not (don't let the lack of posts fool you) blogging makes me happy. So here is what I hope is one of the first of many videos from myself and BGLU the collective. 

Please excuse the "dumb face" look on my face in the first frame. I still haven't figured out how to edit these things yet.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Relax...Don't Do It Part 2: I Almost Let Go- Toya

Ok I hate to say this but this weekend was going to be it: I was going to run a relaxer through my hair. Now I was still going to wear it curly but the shrinkage monster was working my last and final nerve. I think the hardest thing about this transition is remembering when I had big fabulous hair. I want it big and fabulous NOW. But getting it to be that way didn't happen overnight then and it won't happen overnight now.
The frustration came to a head when I left the house in a cute fedora with some freshly co-washed curls to meet someone for lunch. My hair looked butta!

But as the day progressed, I went from looking fly to looking like someone's Uncle Cletus who had a puff of hair on each side and had a hat on to keep others from knowing he was bald. I was so embarrassed. The product that I spent almost 30 bucks for because it stated it would elongate curls had defined my curls so well that it shrunk even more! I HATED it! I decided that unbeknownst to my friends and most importantly my hairstylist who I knew would be vehemently against it, I was going back to the creamy crack this weekend.

But the other day I asked my friend to take a pic of the back of my hair so I would could prove my case as to why I needed some chemical assistance to elongate my curls. After she took the picture she showed it to me and asked "Why does this look like a mannequin's head?"

No that is not a mannequin from Dudley's cosmetology school. That is the back of MY head! I couldn't believe how big those curls are. How could I kill all of those beautiful curls with the creamy crack? I owe it to my hair and to myself to continue on this journey of letting the natural me shine through. It's not going to be easy. Transition rarely is. But I really believe it's worth it.

Here are some of the products I've been rockin' with:
  • Shampoo and Conditioner: Super Skinny Daily Shampoo and Treatment (which I know doesn't help hair shrinkage but it definitely cuts down on frizz. I only use this every 2 weeks).
  • Co-wash with Urban Therapy's De-Frizz Conditioner (the truth!)
  • Cantu Leave In Conditioner (I've been using this for years while natural and relaxed)
  • Straight up good ol' fashioned EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • Elasta QP Glaze with Olive Oil
  • Shea Moisture Curl and Hold Smoothie (cannot live without this)
  • Paul Mitchell Super Sculpt Liquid Gel
Oh and the almost $30 product I got was Uncle Funky's Daughter's Curl Magic. It's not a bad product at all. Sometimes I will work a little with the Paul Mitchel Super Sculpt. I just think it will work best for me when my hair is longer and I don't mind it shrinking a little. It defines like a mug! I'm not going to lie, the packaging suckered me in. How am I not going to want to open up my bathroom cabinet and see this?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

FINALLY! My Grammy Awards 2011 Recap- Toya

I know, I know. It's a week after the fact. I've just been too busy to get this up. I know I am prone to call award  shows "Hot Mess Championships" but since I had two friends that were nominated (Congrats again Brandi and Jon on your nomination. Yall looked FABULOUS!), I can't bring myself to call it that. Also I found this year's award show to be the best in years!!! It truly made going to the Grammys one of the things I'd love to do someday. And as entertaining as the show was of course there were some moments well deserving of a side eye that must be discussed. Here are my real time reactions to the 2011 Grammy Awards:

  1. It makes my heart glad that they are paying tribute to Aretha Franklin while she is still alive. A little guilt about not giving MJ his due before his untimely death? Maybe, maybe not. But it was nice to see.
  2. Ok this is interesting: the Aretha Franklin tribute with Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, Jennifer Hudson, Florence (of Florence and the Machine) and Christina Aguileira smack in the middle in the Mercy Seat of the Grammys. I call it the Mercy Seat because of all the flack she has gotten about flubbing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl just a week ago. Who knew the Academy was this merciful? Here she is in the middle with Steven Tylers microphone stand (I mean, whose was that? Did she bring her own) reminding yall to not get it twisted: the child can sang. 
  3. Jennifer Hudson just destroyed all notions I had of going HAM on this Grammy food spread. She looks amazing! And remember when Luther Vandross got skinny and we were afraid he wouldn’t be able to sing anymore? Yeah, she’s still got it.
  4. I promise every time Church Mother Florence opens her mouth I swear she has a mighty word for the congregation. “You BETTER think!” I love her!
  5. Yolanda Adams is about to make me send my tithes to her fan club this week. I KNOW we are watching her performance again at the end of the night. Saaaaaaaaaaang! This may get gospel a spot on air next year.
  6. When Christina took that breath to belt out the last note of the tribute and Yolanda Adams slipped in, reared her head back and blew that last note out the water, I swear it was the equivalent of Kobe Bryant stealing the ball from Lebron James and hitting a 3 pointer with :03 seconds left on the clock to win the NBA Finals. OOOOOOOOOH that made me sooooo happy!!!!!
  7. Is Rihanna's outfit made of garland? "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."
  8. I am so happy Train won a Grammy! They actually were told in the beginning that they weren’t even nominated. Good for them!
  9. Dear Ricky Martin, Buck Rogers called. He wants his jeggings back.
  10. If Lady Gaga doesn't say that “Born This Way” is a tribute to Madonna’s “Express Yourself”, I'm making a citizen's arrest if I ever see her in the street. Umm and anyone else notice that all of those "flesh colored" outfits weren't exactly flesh colored for EVERYONE on stage? Just sayin'.
  11. It’s the end of Lady Gaga’s performance and I suddenly find myself fighting the urge to yell "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"
  12. Ok this tribute to living legend artists this year is troubling me because if any of them come up…”missing”…this year, I’m blaming the Grammys.
  13. Muse is doing the absolute most right now with these screens and people rushing the stage. Not gonna lie, I thought the melee was real and security was coming to get them. I could do another Soy Bomb moment tonight. I really could.
  14. This Bruno Mars/Janelle Monae/B.O.B. performance is giving me LIFE tonight!!! OMG!!! Who knew? This has got to go on tour (found out later that Monae and Mars are indeed going on tour this year). And God bless B.O.B. for wearing a monocle. I need that to catch on instead of  these nerd glasses that everyone seems to still be wearing now. Enough already. Anyway that performance was brilliant. Yes I heard Bruno Mars last note but I’m going to pretend that didn’t happened.
  15. Christina just asked if Bruno Mars was Johnny Mathis. I want her to sit next to me but I fear I may shove her off the couch.
  16. With the performances being off the chain like this and them paying tribute to people still living, is this the last Grammy award show EVER? They’re doing a lot tonight. And come to think of it, when’s the last time they gave out an award? What’s going on?
  17. I was wondering earlier if New Kids on the Block were going to present a Grammy tonight. I remember when they presented (don’t quote me) the first Rap Grammy. I also thought they would at least let Donnie Wahlberg present since he seems to be the most relevant one in the public right now and here he is…wearing Blue Blockers. Did he just have laser eye surgery? Are they about to do another 3-D performance this year this time featuring Rihanna? I’m confused.
  18. This Mumford Sons/Avett Brothers/Bob Dylan// Brother Where Art Thou situation is blessing me tonight. Little known fact: The name of my company, Kid Electric Concerts, was influenced by Bob Dylan.
*Note: My Twitter was acting bonkers so I missed commenting on parts of the show. Being as though it is now a week later, I don’t remember a lot of it. Sorry yall.

20. Cee-Lo, Gwyneth Paltrow and The Muppets: I’m becoming pretty conservative in my old age so I am not sure how a feel about "The Song Otherwise Known as Forget You" having this kid friendly element to it because we all know that the original title is “F*** You”.  I don’t hate it but…meh. Wait is that one Muppet flipping off the camera?! I know they only have 3 fingers. See…
21.  Cee-Lo looks like every villain in The Wiz wrapped up in one and I really don’t know how I am supposed to handle that right now. I just…I don’t know. What I do know is that I'd like to nominate Gwyneth Paltrow's shoes as third favorite performer of the night. Those things are FIYAH!
22. I LOVE Katy Perry’s outfit! Pink with rhinestone hearts? That’s MY teenage dream. $20 says that skirt is coming off though (It didn’t so I’m glad I didn’t actually bet any money).
23. That Miley Cyrus jab by Seth what’s his face was entirely unnecessary.
24. My soul says yes to this John Mayer/Nora Jones/Keith Urban tribute to Dolly Parton. And by the way John Mayer looks tonight, I need to know that the reason I don’t have a new album from him yet is because he is preparing for his first movie role as Zorro. What exactly is happening with his hair right now?

25.  Rihanna is singing “I Love the Way You Lie” with Eminem and I need them to recognize Adam Levine is on keys! Yes!

26. This whole Dr. Dre coming out during Eminem’s performance just seems much ado about nothing. Dre hasn’t spit a verse I’ve been interested in since “Before You Turn Off the Lights” when he was in World Class Wrecking Crew. I’m just sayin’.

27. Esperanza freaking Spalding just won Best New Artist. Wow wow and wow!!!! I know Drake is thinking “Well at least I didn’t lose to Bieber”. I’m not going to lie. I’d like to see Drake win an award. I feel he deserves one. I don’t know which one but I think he deserves at least one.

28. Solomon Burke tribute: Mick Jagger just gave a clinic on How to Be a Front Man 101 with Raphael Saadiq and our boy Calvin Turner (Lucky duck. Why did I never learn to play bass?). This may have been my favorite performance of the night because it was so unexpected and so dope!!! No pyro, no auto tune, no flying ninjas. Just Mick lettin’ us have it talking about “I need you, you, you.” That’s it. Game over. Mick Jagger who is 1000 years old just murdered everybody on stage tonight.

29.  Ok this is completely out of chronological order but I just remembered two things that happened: First, the Usher/Justin Bieber performance was too precious. Loved watching proud parents Will and Jada watch their little boy perform. Yall can keep Young Money. I’ll take Young Wealth (Jaden Smith, Willow Smith, Justin Beiber and Diggy Simmons) any day of the week.

Secondly, I’m not saying that Lady Antebellum shouldn’t have been the ones to do a tribute to Teddy Pendergrass but…umm…ok well maybe I am saying that, so there.

30. Is it possible for Eminem to be sober and smile at the same time?  I wonder.

31. I see Barbara Streisand has decided to grace us with her presence this evening. "Someone in the audience is wondering why the mom from Meet the Fockers is singing." Tia

32. Nicki Minaj noooooooooooooo!!!!!!! That outfit? WHY?! And DON’T give me the “Lady Gaga can do it and so can I” excuse. No ma’am! I just straight had a Florida Evans moment in this living room.

And then…

33. For some reason I suddenly feel like the Grammys just turned into the MTV Awards with Rihanna and Drake on the stage. This is just not classy. Ok I did like the choreography at the end but I just wasn’t really feeling most of it and I do like this song. It was brought to my attention that night that she was suffering bronchitis and for that she is a champ. I’ll give her that.

34. I’m not surprised by Arcade Fire’s win because I have seen this happen before. A critic favorite gets Album of the Year and a good portion of the general public is confused. It’s cool. I don’t get why they thought that they could just get back up there and perform one mo’ gin but hey no one stopped them so it’s cool. I personally would’ve liked for Mick Jagger to make an encore appearance.

Well that’s my take on the 2011 Grammy Awards. If you can remember anything from last week , the floor is now open for comments.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Relax (Don't Do It)-Toya
I was fully grown when the light bulb went off as to what this song was talking about. I was mid-sentence and went ooooooooooooooooooooh...OH MY GOSH! Yeah, remember when songs left a little bit to the imagination?

“You’re back!!!! Toya is back!!!!”

That’s what Tia said when she opened her door and saw me standing on the doorstep last week after I went back curly. "I feel like I'm back" I told her. Having my natural hair back has been the best feeling in the world. But even though I know I've made the best decision ever to go back curly, I have one small confession: I want a relaxer.

You see three years ago, my hair looked like this:

My hair was DELICIOUS!!! But here’s the kicker: that was fresh after I put one of those Just for Me kiddie perms in it.

I’ve been wearing my hair straight for two years and relaxed it once. It jacked up my curl pattern for a while and I was so distraught. I’m a little frightened that if I put a kiddie perm in it to loosen my curls like I used to do, it’s not going to go well. I’m sure I am just being impatient but this TWA (teeny weeny afro) is going to get old really soon.

And speaking of TWA, did you know there is a whole vocabulary that goes along with natural hair? For one, you have to know your hair type and there is a whole system for that that I was previously unaware of. For those in the know, I’m a 3c/4a (3c in the front and 4a in the back). There are tons of natural hair sites, clubs, coalitions, social networks, recipes for homemade products, types of natural hair, degrees of natural hair, etc. Folk are DEEP in this thing! Not only that, natural hair is big business. I went to Target and for the amount of some of their natural hair products, I could get a weave! Everyone’s hair is unique so finding the right combination of products to make your curls just right is very challenging and often expensive. My mom has been selling this organic coffee lately (think Pampered Chef/Mary Kay type of selling) and I just can’t get into it. But let somebody come up with a natural hair care pyramid selling type joint; I’d sign right up and would probably be able to quit my 9-5.

So far I’ve only managed to wrangle up some stuff that I still had in my bathroom cabinet to make my hair to look like something until I can get it cut. Here are the products I’m rocking until payday this week:

Cantu Leave In Conditioner: My hair looks awesome with this until the shrinkage monster sets in.
Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel: To slick my hair up into a curly ponytail around the kitchen and temple areas,
Elasta QP Glaze: For some definition and shine.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: That’s right. Straight up Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or EVOO as the sites call it). I literally heard my hair thank me when I put it on. It’s a wonder.

I really am loving my hair though. I’m so glad that I made the decision to go curly again. It’s been a relief. And even though I am getting impatient, I’m going to try my best to hold out for about six months and not put any chemicals in it. I think it will be worth it in the end.

For more info on going curly, check out these great websites:
Naturally Curly:
Curly Nikki:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Throwback for Your Thursday- Lil' Mo ft. Fabolous "4Ever"

Tia and I often joke that we can't receive any music made after the 90's but the beginning of the 21st century had some jams as well. This one is still a banger.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Free- Toya
"Free" is a song by Deniece Williams that sounds just as gorgeous today as when it came out. They don't make them like that anymore.

I did it!!! I went back curly! I got in the shower last night and said “Suck it, fear!” and let the water run through my hair unabashedly. Knowing that I wouldn’t have to face the dreaded two hours it would take to blow dry and flat iron my hair, I could not have been happier. I decided to go ahead and take the leap after I told my dad about the Effie comment my co-worker made yesterday. “What did I tell you about caring what other people think about you?” he reminded me. “They don’t sign your check or pay your rent. Let…it…go.” And that was that. As soon as we got off the phone I hopped up out the bed…OMG I almost said “and put my swag on.” Pray for me.

While in the shower, I remembered the first time I cut my hair was when I was 18. Interestingly enough, I just turned 36 and celebrated my birthday by having a "Toya Turns 18...Again" old school skating party not too long ago. I remember being tired of trying to keep up with all of the latest hair styles and trying to be like everyone else. I was working at Contempo Casuals and “Natural” by Arrested Development was on in-store rotation. Every day I thought about cutting my hair off and one night in big frustration, I made "The Big Chop".  I took some rusty shears and started cutting deliriously. When I came to, I had cut off the entire left side of my hair. “Well, might as well finish what I started.” I cut off the rest and never felt so free in my life.

I went downstairs the next morning and my mom said “That better be curled tight.” “Nope!” I said and skipped along. No one said a word for weeks. I mean, it looked a mess until I got someone to shape it up but I didn’t care one bit.

Going back to curly last night wasn’t nearly as dramatic though. The right side of my hair has more straight pieces than the left so I was really scared about cutting it grossly uneven. I’ve been threatening to shave my head and leave the country for almost a year now partly because I didn’t want to have to answer any questions about starting all over with natural hair. All the fears I had about my face not being thin enough to carry this off are gone. I really am happy.

Here’s a pic of me on my way to work. It’s already shrinking! I look forward to the journey of finding the right things to put in my hair. I’ve been here before.

So far the comments from my co-workers have been great; not that it matters though but it’s nice. My favorite so far has been “Daaaaaaang Toya got her Lauryn Hill on today!” LOL! Not gonna lie, that’s a little better than being called Effie yesterday. Effie had some fly clothes though now that I think about it. Hmmm….

So here’s to head to toe showers, not ducking the rain like it’s kryptonite, and dancing as hard as I can and not caring about what it’s going to do to my hair. It’s good to finally have ME back again.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Independence Day- Toya

"Independence Day" is a song by Martina McBride who is one little sangin' somebody.

Right now, I look like this...

However, I used to look like this...

and daggone it, I miss that and want to look like this again...

Soon. Like in two weeks.

The problem, well I'll say the challenge, is that was about two years and twenty pounds ago and... 


No lie. I couldn't make this up. Just as I am writing this, a guy that I REALLY struggle not to give shade to on a regular basis because he can say some randomly ignorant things from time to time, stops by to drop something off where I am writing and says "Hey I saw you on Dreamgirls last night."

*blank stare*

"DID YOU JUST CALL ME EFFIE?!?!?!??!?!" (Mind you I have on a very Effie headband on right now but my hair is straight.)

He chuckles. "Oh I don't know. I wasn't really watching it." Then he walks out the door.

I am about to die.

Ever have someone say something so asinine to you that you just want to lean over and say "Soooooo you're just gonna let the devil use you like that, huh? Oh ok."

Breathe, Toya. Breathe.

AN-Y-WAY, yes I am contemplating going back curly. I was going to wait until July 4th weekend and declare my own Independence Day but exercising and trying to keep my hair straight is a chore that I no longer wish to endure. I hate putting so much heat on my hair all the time. I joined Weight Watchers at the top of the year because I decided that I wanted to win this back and forth battle of weight gain and emotional eating. As a gift to myself, I was going back to curly hair and figured by July, I will be at a weight where I am most comfortable wearing shorter hair.

I decided to join Weight Watchers soon after I saw how AWESOME Marsha Ambrosius looks now.

Before: Marsha Ambrosius on the right
After: Marsha Ambrosius now

Seriously, are you kidding me? She looks amazing! AND she has big curly hair. Now when Jennifer Hudson lost weight (funny that I bring her up now), I remembered thinking "traitor!" I had resolved that I like to eat and sub-consciously decided to just let myself go. But seeing the picture above reminded me that's not what I really wanted to do. I had to do this for my confidence. I wanted to be my best self. And my best self, for me, is my natural hair at a healthy weight with a healthy mindset about food.

It was in making this decision that I had to ask myself how was this go round going to be different than the other times that I tried to lose weight? What was going to be the winning combination? The two things I came up with were knowledge and accountability. Because the first time I lost a lot of weight was on a low-carb diet, my thinking about food was severely jacked up. I just didn't know how to eat. The thing about Weight Watchers is that it is very heavy on knowledge. You can eat what you want but only so much. Because it's on a points system and you only get so many points per day,  it is a lot like budgeting money. That is also something I desperately need to get under control.

I realize this is going to take a lot of patience and consistency. I have had my ups and my downs so far but I'm fighting through the downs. Not even a month ago a comment like the one just made would've had me on my way to eating something ridiculous. That's senseless to be depressed about my weight and then go make matters worst but I've done it plenty of times before. It's a vicious cycle.

So this is the journey I am on right now and this particular change is just part of it. I have a few other things in the works. I've committed myself to sharing with you all the things I am learning along the way and hopefully my progress. Hope it provides some inspiration for someone who is going through the same thing. If there is anything I can tell someone that is, it's this: Love yourself the way you are right now at this very moment. Don't wait until you're thin. You'll never be happy once you get there. It' won't be enough. If you love yourself now, you'll feel that you are worthy to do your best to be your best.