Midwest Natural Hair Expo 2015

 


This past weekend I was lucky enough to be a hair model for my beautician at the Midwest Natural hair expo downtown. So last weekend I did some preparations myself with my nails and face, and then met up with my beautician on Friday to have my hair prepped for Saturday morning. I've been going to Daisha since I went natural and was excited to help her out with modeling Design Essential hair products that were used on my hair.


shrinkage is a bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




So after my hair was prepped I went to have my face prepped by Sid's Eyebrow Threading shop off of Delmar and Skinker. They did a great job and I was very pleased. Then I went to the nail salon and had my nails done. As long as I've been going there you would think I remember the name, but nope, I only remember it is directly across the street from the old Walmart off of Saint Charles Rock Road in St. Ann.



Afterwards I went to the Galleria and found a nice black top at New York and Company since I already had some black pallazzo pants. So fast forward to Saturday morning. I wake up and run a few errands before making my way to my destination. The Expo was held at the downtown Holiday Inn in the conference room area.  I made sure to get there about 15 minutes early and decided to check out some of the vendors in the big conference area. Overall there around 20+ vendors but unfortunately I saw that some vendors had not shown up even by the time we left around 5pm.



Huge advantage of getting there early...seeing everything the vendors have to offer with minimum activity. So throughout the event that started at 11am I found some great items.

gift bags for attendees

what to do when you are waiting? Take a selfie of course.
Once Daisha arrived she got to work on her models. There were four of us for Saturday and she had different ones for Sunday.





finished look

While we were there, Daisha was nice enough to treat us to lunch in the hotel and that was a hoot. We had such a great time I told her I would love to model for her again. Oh and I cannot forget my girl Thisha who met me up there and took pictures and videos of me.

Thisha

Afterwards I went home and thought I would take a quick nap before trying to head out to Chesterfield to enjoy the Jazz and wine Festival........yea that nap quickly turned into a coma and I didn't wake up until 11:30pm. So yea....lolol.

So I decided I would take pictures of my treasures from the expo. Sorry pics look like they are in the shadows.

I so have a badass headwrap that will compliment this set.


This awesome lady made the jewelry above






This amazing artist made the jewelry in the two pics right above this one.



This lady was amazing to talk to. She not only makes items for your body but she also makes them for your home. She is awesome!





Overall I had a great time!!!! and I can't wait to check out future events.


with Daisha aka the kinky kologist

closeup of my crazy koils

Thomas siblings part 2


So this morning a wonderful breakfast was prepared and my mom's sibling came over for another great time. The food was great as usual and my Aunt Vi and Aunt Jackie left around a hour ago. My uncles are scheduled to leave tomorrow. Overall this has been great weekend seeing my mom's relatives. Of course I have pictures. Click on the link below.

Thomas sibling part 2

Thomas Siblings gathering part 1

Picture taken by me on 6/21/15


This past Monday my Aunt Ora came into town from California. We hadn't seen her in a while so this was a big treat for us. While I've been at work, she and my mother have been enjoying themselves with working out at Planet Fitness, shopping, and getting food together for the big gathering that was held yesterday. Yesterday around 4pm my mom's other siblings came into town and some other family members and friends were over as well. From the way my mom puts it, all seven siblings have not been together since my maternal grandfather passed away back in 1994. So this was definitely a special occasion. The food was wonderful, the company was excellent well into the night. Over all great times were had by all.

Follow the link below to see all the pictures.




 

Westport Plaza Vintage Bliss Market 2015


So yesterday I was running some errands and decided to checkout the Vintage Bliss market that was being held out at Westport Plaza. By the time I arrived around 11am the area was jammed packed with vendors and customers. Restaurants were in full swing producing mouth watering appetizers to entrees. I was walking around and was enjoying everything. Including the live music that was being provided by a jazz swing band called Miss Jubilee. Some of the vendors I recognized from other vintage market shows that I had previously attended. Yet majority of the vendors were brand new to me. I only stayed for a hour since I had to get back home for a big family and friend gathering going on that day. Overall it was awesome. Please check out the link below to pictures.

Westport Vintage Bliss Market

The frustrations with do-it-yourself e-commerce sites



For the past month I've been looking into alternative e-commerce sites to move my body products business, AllThatMsJazz, because with me adding more products to my line I want to be able to condense the options to make it better for my customers to search online. I also want other features such as drop down menus, a side blog, as well as some other features. I know that I want to be in control of my site and not depend on anyone else.

I've been with Big Cartel since I launched my business last year. I will say I enjoyed it at first because it was very easy to setup for myself. It was especially great when I only had a few fragrances that I offered with my whipped shea butters, and also in 4 different sizes. Yet now I've grown to over 40 fragrances and now offer my whipped butters in three different options. I want to simplify the process for my customers and want them to be able to shop by looking at the three different whipped butters first then click on their decision and then choose a drop down menu option for size and fragrance. Unfortunately Big Cartel doesn't offer these types of options. I have to do my options by fragrance first. I emailed them to confirm. So I decided I need to jump ship to something else.







Now at the time of me having my Big Cartel site, I also opened an Etsy website. So far it has been the best in regards to how I have control over displaying my products. Yet I still want a stand alone site, so I keep my Etsy website as a side store because I know some people feel more comfortable doing busy on Etsy and that's perfectly fine. Yet the disadvantage in my opinion is that it is a community website so your products can be easily compared to someone elses. I want a stand alone website so my products are the only focus, hence why I also used Big Cartel.





So I started looking into another site called SquareSpace. The website holds big promise but one of the main issues I have with it is that it does not have Paypal integrated into its system. It's go-to merchant is Stripe. Now one thing I do love about Big Cartel is that it provides two different options for merchant connection. You can either go with Paypal and/or with Stripe. I do have both activated on my Big Cartel site and both are used. I do realize also with Squarespace that even though it does look user-friendly as far as adding stuff, I realized that it needs someone who has knowledge of putting websites together. It tries to be not intimidating but after diving into for a few days, I realized that I would have to have someone with experience to set it up for me. So I abandoned that one and kept looking.


I also looked into Shopify to see if it could give me what I was looking for. Upon signing up for access I noticed that they offer themes for customer shop. Some are free and others are paid. I wasn't too impressed with them but decided to venture through. When I looked into inputting inventory I saw there were not any options for different pricing of products. It looks as though I would have to put them in based by size. Which would have been a nightmare for me. So I decided to keep trucking to another site.

Now we have WIX, I thought I finally had found my Holy Grail. I'm able to have drop down menus, have a side blog, I even have an event calender. The experience of setting up my site has been wonderful and I actually have it ready to go, expect for 3 HUGE things. Three things that I'm shocked that with them being an e-commerce site have not figured out and have not made available. So remember I said I currently in my product line offer 3 different type of whipped butters that I offer in over 45 different fragrances. Well apparently they only allow you to have up to 10 options under one product, so what am I suppose to do with the other 35? I emailed them to make sure there wasn't anyway around it. They told me at this time, they do not go beyond 10. So I had to redo my options and make it similar to how I have my Big Cartel site. I am not pleased with that at all. The next issue I have with them is with shipping. You can only offer flat shipping. That doesn't make sense if someone buys product and I'm not able to adjust shipping for the weight. I have control over shipping on my Big Cartel and Etsy websites. You would think ANY e-commerce site would make sure that this is an option, but no, WIX, drops the ball again. Now the third issue I have a problem with is with their coupons/discounts. You can't control if it's for a certain product in your line up. If you set up a coupon, it blankets the whole website. That is unacceptable. I should have control in regards to what products I want to give a discount on. As much promise WIX has to fall short on 3 major options such as these is just not acceptable. So now I'm stuck with a site that I can't make active because the shipping and coupon issue. So I'm still stuck with my Big Cartel site for now. Bravo WIX, Bravo.




I've had friends tell me that I should consider WordPress. It pretty much goes against what I'm trying to do in regards to handling my own website. Yet I know some of the best e-commerce websites are built with WordPress. I would definitely have to hire someone to set it up, but right now that is just not an option I want, at least for now.



So for right now until WIX decides to update it's features, I will stay with Big Cartel and see if I can just make adjustments to that website. I'm so not happy though, I feel like I had my favorite piece of candy just snatched from me. Ugh.........

It's official: 3yrs of kinks and coils



So today is my 3rd year anniversary of being natural. To say this has been a year of ups and downs with my hair is an understatement. In all honesty I feel that I have lost more hair than I have grown it. Yet as I look at it stretched out as much as possible I can see a little bit of difference. 

This is on average what I am losing when I wash


This past year I felt things were going down hill about six months after my 2 year anniversary. De-tangling has become a stronger foe as my hair has gotten longer and the hair that comes out is just astounding and frustrating at the same time. Oh and the knots in my hair are just insane! Just trying to keep up with them alone make me nuts. Moisture isn't an issue, I make sure to keep my hair well moisturized with my homemade products.

The following pics were taken this morning after undoing my three strand twists on my hair. My biggest issue is still trying to grow the hair on top of my head. For some reason THAT damn portion of hair doesn't seem to realize I want it to grow along with the rest. That has been one of my huge issues as far as hair maintenance in general.








It's still frustrating that my hair is thin. I can't really do any styles with it and I feel sorry for my stylist because any style she tries on me unfortunately especially with two strand or flat twists really shows how thin (in my opinion) my hair is. I forgot to take a picture of the end result of this style, but my stylist wasn't pleased and had me come back in the next week as a do over. She even did a trim about a inch to deal with my split ends. I normally see her only twice a year, but I'm thinking I might have to step it up with my hair getting longer. My last time seeing her was in March.




Rod sets are better but I realized that the texture of my hair (which feels like light cotton) will not allow for more versatile styles. This was the second hair appointment with two weeks since my stylist wasn't please with the result from when I went to see her the previous week (see pics right above).








Previous pictures from the past year.




February

January (now if I stretch my hair it comes to about my lip since my trim)

January

December

December

December

December - shrinkage still a bitch

November - just voted

I know there are some other factors that have probably contributed to my ongoing struggles with my hair. I've tried changing up my washing patterns, finger De-tangling instead of with a comb at first, stressed out and tired from my main job, side business, and also back in college.When I say I was stretched to the limit this past semester, I definitely was. My eating habits don't help the situation as well, I've heard people say that what you put inside your body reflects what comes out. I'm out of shape and that is putting it mildly. So that is something I'm going to have to tackle as well. At the beginning of the year I was taking Mane Choice vitamins and could definitely tell a difference with my nail growth, but ended up by March stop taking them because I was so busy I would forget to take them on a daily basis. So now with my job somewhat slowing down, I'm hoping I can get back to a routine where I start taking care of myself from head to toe.

Hell at one point I was just so frustrated with my hair and was going to say fuck it and just cut it off and keep it low as a TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro). Yet I went to the African Arts festival this past weekend and fell in love with my damn crazy ass afro all over again. Ugh....the struggle. I'm not sure if I should change up the products I use for washing. If I could find a de-tangler that worked wonders I think that would help me out immensely. I've been using Design Essentials and AS I AM products since I became natural and wonder if I should look into something else.  Who knows.......I am open to suggestions so please don't hesitate with dropping any knowledge if you think I need to change up something.

The biggest thing I have to keep reminding myself is not to judge my progress with anyone else. It will get to where it's going when it gets there. It's going to have it's trials and setbacks, but hey, it's only hair:)