Posts Categorized: Chai’s Picks

March 11, 2013

The NEW World of Curls


So, there’s this thing happening. Right? You’re now able to walk into pretty much any retail/beauty/pharmacy/Tarjay today and be inundated with products marketed towards keeping curls & kinks layed, frizz free and defined. I love it. Still get excited, and am beyond thrilled each time a (affordable) new brand decides to enter the ring and even out the playing field.

Isn’t it about time?

Last month I had the chance to see just how much the game has changed after attending the official launch of Dark & Lovely’s new line Au Naturale line. With the evening co-hosted by Curly Nikki, and what seemed like a gajillion natural haired femmes descending on the streets of New York, the stage was set for women to officially have their voices heard.

In this month’s issue of ESSENCE Magazine, I talk to the brains behind the new line, get the scoop on the changing landscape; and also pick the brain of one of the few who pioneered the game, Jane Carter.


Loved this behind the scenes commercial video featuring one of my FAV new naturalistas and fellow blogger, Hollis. Check it out!

July 30, 2012

Kick it With Your Kinks! | Afro-Textured Hair Revisited

It’s still pretty amazing to see the push to go natural reach further across the pond, beyond the scope of just what we’re able to see here in the US. I’m not certain I’ve ever called this growing push a ‘trend’ because I largely disagree with that categorization, but it is encouraging to see the actual conversation behind the choice to go natural further explored.

Kickin’ it With the Kinks, produced by Cynthia Butare and presented by Mundia Situmbeko is getting some great buzz with interviews from celebrity hair stylist Felicia Leatherwood, Founder of MyHairitage Ansylla Ramseyand, and a bevy of beautiful natural women sharing their insight on their natural hair experiences. The documentary is currently touring London, but fingers crossed a premier in the US of A is in the works?!

KICKIN’ IT WITH THE KINKS is a documentary that explores the complexities of haircare among women and especially among women of African descent. While many have opted to be part of the growing trend of ‘going natural’ others continue to go through great lengths to achieve unnaturally long flowy hair.

The history of afro-textured hair is re-visited, norms derived from these explored and the dangers of chemical products unveiled. Mundia, a Manchester based student, explores this area further. She documents the reality of how much time, effort and money women dedicate to their hair and also meets with specialists who are able to give insightful points into the history of afro textured hair and the ever booming hair product and hair extension industries.

You can follow the trails of these ladies and where they’ll be next by checking out their Twitter, YouTube and by hitting up their FB page!

June 30, 2012

Meet Me in the Big Easy…

They say the living is easier…and yummier the farther south you go, so because it’s Summer and escapes are a necessary function to LIVE, I’ll be heading to Nawlins to take part in many a festivities, with natural hair being the main focus!

Thursday, July 5th from 7-10pm – Curly Nikki and Mizani will host a fancy evening of natural hair fun filled with giveaways, product demonstrations and tons more to keep you entertained. Click here to RSVP

Friday, July 6th & Saturday, July 7th 1-5pm - Motions will host a Style Bar where natural hair lovelies will get to mix & mingle with special celebrity guests (including MC Lyte!), learn about products from their latest collection and have their Q’s answered by celebrity hair stylist Ursala Stephen. Click here to RSVP

Friday, July 6th – Sunday, July 8th noon-4pm - African Pride, not to be outdone, will be partying it up big with three days of hair pampering  and learning at their Pop Up Beauty Suite. Take a peek backstage with the new inveiling of Curly Cam, a new show hosted by natural hair guru Kimberly Walker where viewers can have inside peek at what goes down behind the scenes of some of your favorite hair shows & beauty events. Click here to learn more and to RSVP

I’ll be bouncing from the ESSENCE festival to a few of the events listed above, so hope to see some of you there!! It’s been a minute since I landed in Nawlins, so I’m adequately amped. If you’re heading down, what are you hitting up, who are you excited to see?

December 16, 2011

Make it Better With Music…

This is the official last full weekend before the holiday ensues, and even though I’ve yet to cross anything….I mean ANYTHING off the list, I’m trying not to stress. Thankfully, it’s been easy, especially after uploading the ‘ol music player with good music that will carry me through.

Been jammin to this all day in between cleaning the apartment and blog work. I’ve been known to wear out my Roots collection, and play their work at any time during the day. Seriously, no words for how awesome their talent is. But…do I really need to tell you that? Their latest work dropped last week & the reviews have been amazing.

It really was only a matter of time before those on the US side became more involved in the sheer awesomeness that is Robyn, and thanks to her recent appearance on SNL the love will no doubt pour in.  Show Me Love was an instant Pop classic many years ago, but even with the new shift in sounds (for the absolute better!), Robyn has managed to amass a fan base that will follow her and her fancy dance moves anywhere. Start with Body Talk Part 1…work your way on to #2 (because you really would want to…trust) and tidy things up with Part 3. There’s a ton to explore in her catalog so keep digging. I dare you not to open the blinds and initiate the Dance Break. 

This one is premature because good music waits for no one! Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings are out with their new collection this coming Tuesday, December 20th & things are sounding amazing! Preview the goodness on Amazon, then mark your calendars for initial download.

It seriously takes a lot of talent for me to spend $$ on artists today, yet music that keeps me moving, nodding, shaking tail feathers up & down my small BK hallway is alright in my book.

Have a Great Weekend, All!!

December 6, 2011

Wish Lists & Berries

I always have a tough time widdling down the Christmas list each year, and I’m beginning to believe its just gotten even longer considering the amount of time spent on the internets browsing, bookmarking and adding to wish-lists. Few weeks ago I discovered Evernote a nifty online app that’s pretty much been a saving grace helping me keep track of all the crazy lists, links and notes that tend to pile up. Yes, I’m a link hoarder…but goodness, so are sooooo many other folks! Seriously, if you’re like me and misplace your keys along with a million different sticky notes, give this a go. The fact that you can access your lists via your smart phone is just…!

And yeah….I know I’m probably late to the game, but I’m in lurv with this thing, lol. In my downtime I finally started to pull together something that resembles a holiday wish list.

  1. The Oyin crew have decided to KEEP the super popular Sugar Berry Pomade that up till now was a limited release goodie. I’ve yet to do a review on this….but if you need a refresher course on my complete adoration for this product, click here. It’s epic. (Sugar Berry Pomade, $12)
  2. This one’s a guilty pleasure…or maybe just an ode to my childhood…? At any rate, if you’ve yet to meet a thirty-something woman who still loves to color within the lines….literally. *Waves*. I’ve had this book in the get-list for some time, and think it’s absolutely gorgeous! Coloring for me is often therapeutic and tends to put my mind at ease when there’s ultimately one too many distractions in the air. I’ve scored some beautiful ones in the past & would love to add to the collection. (The Matta Indian Coloring Book, $12)
  3. It’s always hard to pick a favorite print from this shop, but Ellie is rocking that up-do somethin proper! I’ve long since put a halt on decorating my BK pad, but there are some great new prints in the Pairabirds collection. Tabitha Brown has not only made beautiful portraits that would look snazzy on any wall…but they are easily affordable. (Yearbook Ellie, $20)
  4. My accessory game has fallen off lately, and the hunt is officially on for something new. While rocking mostly twists & protective styles in the colder months, there’s a tendency to spruce things up with a cute scarf like this one. Traditional headbands often leave me with headaches and can sometimes rip the baby hairs at the base of my neck (no joke…), so I’ve always been a head/wrap/band kind of natural. (Retro Chic, $7)

I’ve come to think of this as the ‘preliminary list’ just to get the ball rolling, but also made promises not to go overboard! Still haven’t added books to the list;). Have you guys started shopping? What’s made it to your Holiday Lists so far?

December 2, 2011

Happenings & Natural Hair Events

Happy Friday! I know it may not seem so, but it’s been a pretty hectic week around these parts. I quietly blame it on the holiday season…in between traveling home & back (6 am flights are thee worst!) to increased volume of work at the day job, I’ve been trying to keep the balance along with the sanity. This weekend will find me indulging a bit in a few Black Friday purchases that have just started to trickle in. Managed NOT to go over board this year, though scored some new goodies that have been on the ‘get’ list for a while.

Above is a sneak peak of a NEW series unveiling next week! I wanted to bring a fresh approach to the blog and thought a long time about incorporating interviews of some of our fellow naturals…but kept thinking a different spin would make it more worthwhile & interesting. “Self-Defined” felt like the right fit simply because it’s my vision of what all natural haired femmes emulate and strive for. Soooo, in the coming weeks we’ll have an introduction to a handful of ladies that truly inspire.

In the meantime, there are just a TON of awesome events strewn in between now and the end of the year to keep us not only inspired but mingling & having an awesome time with a bevy of beautiful naturals!

I’ll be in attendance next week along with fellow curlfriends & bloggers at this awesome mixer put on by Curly Girl Collective. If you missed the last event here in NYC (as did I…boo), this gathering is not to be missed! Click here or on the above link to RSVP.

Looking to make it a complete night? The Shops over at Bryant Park are hosting a SheaMoisture Hair Event sponsored by

The Shops are a great treat, and not just for the tourists that tend to overpopulate the streets, but even folks like moi who’ve grown up in these parts who genuinely look forward to sipping a hot cup of somethin on a chilly night while watching ice skaters on the makeshift pond…and Shopping! There are just sooo many lovely handmade treats to choose from, I implore you to check it out!

Now, I know many of these happenings are centralized in NY, but if you’re in the Chicago area there’s an event taking place next week put on by BGLH. For more info, check out this awesome article put together by Cassidy detailing the going’s on of natural hair events this December!

The holidays really are the busiest time of year…no doubt. But my absolute necessity is indulging in the spirit of it all. Not for nothing…but I abhor crowds, pushers and shovers who think scoring a toy at 75% off is the true meaning of the holidays. Eh…!

Happy Weekend All;)!