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With the best articles on caring for natural hair, Curly Nikki is your source for inspiration and advice. Find out about the latest styles and trends today!

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  • 02/01/17--04:06: Real Houseguests of DC

  • Hola Chicas!

    We've been using Airbnb for our international and domestic adventures since 2011 because they've offered practical accommodations for our style of travel. On each trip we've found, dope, art gallery esque, decked out, character-filled houses to stay in. #BallinOnABudget.  And this one time, in Spain, we actually stayed in a real live art gallery!  Even though it's usually just the two of us traveling, we get to spread out in multiple rooms, have the peace of mind of multiple bathrooms and enjoy the simple yet most appreciated things like hot sauce in the pantry and a chilled bottle of wine left for us by the host. Obviously, the aesthetic is really, really important to us, but so is the location. I like to be in a safe neighborhood, but one that's off the beaten path, with the people-- I don't do tourists.

    For more about why we travel so much and so often, check out my Forbes interview!


    We ready. #ExtraReady

    As you know we're expecting Baby Boy Walton any day now and the grandparents couldn't be any more geeked. My parents will be here for the entire month of February (they arrive today!!!!), my mother-in-law has a one-way ticket to DC on Feb 3rd and my Aunt Toney (and Boogie and Baby's Godmother) is coming in for more than a week, in February. Meanwhile we reside in a beautiful glass box, a penthouse loft which is perfect for our little family unit but definitely couldn't stand the Lee-Walton clan descending upon it for 28 days!

    Continue!>>>
    But, I do want and need the support... I just also want and need more space. After talking it over with Dr. Daddy, he thought it wise that we reach out to our friends at Airbnb. They've offered us solutions to real, life threatening, first world problems in the past (e.g. making sure hot sauce was in the pantry), why should this be any different?

    So I got in touch, and Airbnb secured us a HUGE, stunning, 4 bedroom situation on the same block as our loft! No driving or excessive walking necessary!!!!!  Everyone will have their own bedroom and in-suite bathroom and I can have all the love and support without all the... struggle.

    Yes, please. And thank you! 

    Telling our parents we were pregnant 9 months ago was an amazing moment. But telling them that Airbnb comped them an opulent house for the entire month, for all of our comfort... I'll never forget how much fun that was. I felt like the Oprah of Hospitality :)

    YOU get a room! and YOU get a room!

    I'll check back in a couple of days with the view from Walton Abbey.  And keep you posted on #BabyWatch2017!

    Later Gators,
    Nik      

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    IG @sunitav_ 

    by Mary Wolff

    Your hair needs your help. If you want your strands to look their best, they need you to protect them from all sorts of daily dangers. When it comes to protecting your hair from the elements, we have a few tips to keep your hair looking and feeling its best!

    The most important thing to remember about protecting your hair from the elements is that it is a yearlong commitment just like the rest of your routine.

    Here are a few tips on protecting your hair from the elements.

    Continue!>>>


    Beware the Sun

    Sunscreen is your friend! Your strands can suffer from sun damage. Your scalp can, too! Look for hair care products that offer protection in the form of SPF worked into the formula. Some of my favorites are products that work double time such as Ouidad Sun Shield Sun and Sport Leave-in spray which not only protects against the sun but also moisturizes strands at the same time. Another favorite of mine is Living Proof Restore Instant Protection Spray. It leaves hair shiny and weightless while still protecting from harmful UV rays. While some curly girls have reported a lack of protection from SPF products, others find them useful. You may have to experiment with a few different products to find the one to give the results you want.  Sometimes the best way to protect your hair against the harmful rays of the sun is to simply take shelter. Wear a hat, wrap, or bandannas to keep your hair and scalp safe from the sun. You could also take shelter in the shade to avoid the perils of overexposure to the sun altogether. Trust me, your hair will thank you later.

    Rainy Day

    There are two sides to dealing with the rain and natural hair.  On the one hand, if it is a light sprinkling of pure rain water, it can actually leave hair with a little natural shine to it. If the water is more polluted and has a higher pH level, it can wreck your hair and cause frizz and tangles. The key to protecting your hair against rain is to know how your hair reacts to different pH levels and be prepared. Make sure you bring an umbrella with you and keep an anti-frizz or detangler in your bag just in case of emergencies. One of my favorites is Toni & Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe Radiating Tropical Elixir. You only need a small amount spread over your damp or wet strands and the frizz and flyways will vanish.

    The Cold Side

    Rain in springtime and summer isn’t the only thing to worry about when protecting your hair from the elements. The winter months can be just as draining on your strands. The colder weather air is often dry and can lead to hair that is more brittle and prone to breakage. Keep hair hydrated with moisture rich products. A few of my favorites to fight the winter blues are Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment and Twisted Sista Intensive Leave In Conditioner. Aside from using the right products, make sure you follow good hair habits during the winter like sleeping with your hair wrapped, sealing your ends with an oil treatment, and on special occasions steam your hair for extra care.

    When it comes to protecting your strands from damaging elements, it is a combination of the right products and good habits. Keep your curls beautiful all year long and show your fellow curlies how it’s done!


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    Boobs and Boogie! (2010 in North Carolina) 

    Hola chicas,

    We're down to the wire, and Baby Boy Walton will be here any second!!!! We ready!

    Continue!>>>
    When I was pregnant with Boogie, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. Breast milk has lots of vitamins and goodies that can help protect babies from stomach viruses and ear infections, and breastfeeding is good for moms, too! It can lower stress and the risk of postpartum depression, and the longer women breastfeed, the more they're protected against breast and ovarian cancer.

    But even though it has great benefits, Black and Hispanic moms breastfeed at lower rates than other groups. Lots of moms can't or won't breastfeed because they don't have enough info, or they don't know anyone else who's breastfed their baby.

    And for working moms, breastfeeding can be even harder! When my daughter was born, I was still working a 9-5. I knew I'd have to get back to work therapizing folks pretty quickly--so I looked into breast pumps. Pumping lets a spouse or partner get involved with feeding, and helps moms that are going back to work, keep giving their babies breast milk.

    My aunt Anita recommended the Medela and after doing my googles, I learned that it was the only way to go. I figured I'd use it (and only need it) when it was time to get back to the office, but I couldn't get Gia to latch properly. I ended up using the pump to feed her for 9 whole months! It was amazing and simple and I felt like I was doing something good for her. Fast forward 6 years, and she's never had an ear infection and rarely gets sick.

    My Boogie! Where did this baby go?! 

    Medela made it easy for me to feed Gia then, and helps even more moms to breastfeed and pump now with:

    · Medela At Work, which gives moms and employers resources to support the back-to-work transition after pregnancy. Medela even has a library of videos of real moms sharing their breastfeeding stories

    · Breastfeeding University, short online courses and videos to help prepare moms, dads, and even grandparents for breastfeeding

    · Closing the Disparities Gap: As part of its commitment to reducing breastfeeding disparities, Medela offers a resource page with information about the challenges many women of color face when they initiate breastfeeding, and the ways that communities can support every mom

    With little man on the way, I plan to breastfeed again. I haven't worked a 9 to 5 since 2010 (#blessed), but I still like the idea of having the freedom to be able to get away without worrying about feedings, having the occasional glass of wine, and allowing Dr. Daddy to bond with baby during feeding time!

    Medela's new Sonata model makes breastfeeding even easier with a one-of-a kind digital breastfeeding support app, MyMedela®. The app tracks baby’s activities and gives moms unlimited access to support and expert tips, and if I forget to charge my pump, MyMedela sends a reminder right to my phone. (Awesome, right?) Plus, it's super quiet and super light at just 2 pounds.


    You know that when I win, you win! So I reached out to Medela and they gifted me a pump and one to gift to one of you (plus a year's worth of breast feeding supplies)!   The winner will receive this amazing bundle (worth ~1k!!!)--



    To enter:

    1.  Like/follow Medela Facebook

    2.  Follow Medela IG

    3.  Leave me a message below, saying you've entered! 

    Contest ends on Feb 15, 2017!  Good luck!  


    *Medela does not ship to PO boxes 

    *Winners must be in the United States

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  • 02/03/17--13:03: The View from Walton Abbey

  • Hola Chicas!

    The Real Houseguests of DC have arrived and checked in to Walton Abbey! And since I've reached that point in my pregnancy where I no longer want to wear pants, I'm thoroughly grateful to Airbnb for gifting us this spacious and luxurious living situation! 


    The. Decor. 


    There are 3 stories, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, a library and a roof top terrace with a hot tub...

     ...1 professional-ass kitchen 

    that backsplash tho


    Yes, library!

    gorgeous beds and linens 


    Moroccan themed bathroom! 


    This was the day before yesterday (Wednesday) and my parents had just touched down in DC and I was waiting (im)patiently! 

    Mommy and Daddy coming through the double set of glass doors!

    A welcome gift from our lovely host! 

    a quick snap 'cause we fine #ThatsMyBestFriend

    Feeling him move. He's super active!  Pretty sure I was stuffing chocolate in my mouth! 

    My daddy! My heart! 

    checking out the digs 

    Mommy approved!


    and today (Friyay), my mother-in-law arrived!


    Dr. Daddy with the luggage!



     admiring the staircase

     waiting on food...

    Last night, back at our loft, my Boogie stayed talking to the belly, trying to coax her little brother into coming out to play!  I cannot wait for these two to meet!



    I'll check back in soon!
    Nik


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  • 02/05/17--20:32: Superhero.
  • 'Growing a baby makes me feel like a superhero. A really tired, weak superhero who wants to eat all the time and isn't allowed to lift heavy objects.'💪🏾 #Pregnant #WeReady #ExtraReady #AskMeIfBabyIsHereOneMoTime

    The view from #WaltonAbbey-

    Bae!

    Boog!

    Bestie! 

    I'll check back in soon!
    Nik

    Thanks to Airbnb for the gifted living situation!!!! For more info, check out this post!

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  • 02/06/17--06:00: Top 5 Essential Conditioners
  • IG @_booorges 

    by Mary Wolff

    Your curls need moisture to stay healthy. As curly girls, we are bombarded with new products almost every day it seems. How do you find the ones you might want to try? Listen to your fellow curlies, of course! I know everyone has their own hair care preferences because no two heads of curls are the same. Here are my top 5 essential conditioners that provide the most moisture for my curls.

    Continue!>>>


    Special Treatments

    1. Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea All Natural Hair Masque

    This has a really sweet smell that makes you feel like it's summer all year! More importantly though, it deep conditions hair with an invigorating blend of coconut oil and shea butter. This is a whole head treatment. It gives moisture to your hair and scalp for a two in one punch. This treatment is great for a special weekly deep conditioning routine. Apply it to your hair when wet and clean then rinse off after 15 minutes revealing shiny, healthy hair.

    2. TGIN Honey Miracle Hair Mask

    When my hair is extra dry or in need of a quick healing touch, this conditioner is my go-to answer which you can get at Shop.NaturallyCurly. This mask is made with raw honey and olive oil so my hair gets an instant boost in nutrients for healthy, silky hair. With this mask, you apply it to wet, clean hair, put hair up in a plastic shower cap, and wait anywhere from 35 minutes to an hour before rinsing out of strands. You can also choose to sit under a dryer in this mask for 10-15 minutes and then wash out to speed up the process.

    Leave-in Conditioners

    3. Carol’s Daughter Sacred Tiare Leave-in Conditioner

    I like this product for a leave in because it leaves my hair silky and free from frizz. It uses tiare gardenia, lavender, aloe leaf, and other natural extracts to give hair light moisture perfect for everyday use or detangling. Simply spray it in your stands before brushing and make detangling easier than ever. Added bonus: it makes your hair smell like a garden in springtime!

    4. Texture My Way Easy Comb Leave-In Detangling and Softening Cream Therapy

    What I love about this leave in conditioner is that it is great for detangling and it softens hair all in one. It has natural conditioners like olive oil and shea butter so it makes hair easier to comb through the tangles. These natural emollients make this especially useful on thick hair or any time when you have more tangles than usual. With this product, you can apply it to wet or dry hair depending on your activities and style for the day.

    Daily Conditioner

    5. Camila Rose Naturals Moroccan Pear Conditioning Custard

    My go to for a daily conditioner is this one because it offers a daily cocktail of essential vitamins my hair needs like vitamins A, B, C, D, and K. These vitamins can help improve shine, moisture retention, and repair damaged follicles. These nutrients can be hard to find but this daily conditioner has them all! It even has the hard to find proteins of omega 6 and 9 to heal strand damage deep inside your locks. Omegas are a great source of healthy fat proteins so hair growth is encouraged by generating healthy cell turnover. Another benefit of this product is that it smells really good and it gives a good amount of slip, too!


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    IG @kishmykurls

    by Mary Wolff

    You have probably heard about the wonder that is the microfiber towel. They are great for curly hair because they cut down on frizz-causing friction. If you are trying to decide if this hot beauty trend is right for your curls, it might help to know the difference between microfiber and regular towels. Are they really that different? Is frizz control the only benefit?

    When it comes to the difference between microfiber and regular towels, it really comes down to a few basic things.

    continue!>>>


    • Material
    The material used in regular towels tends to be cotton or a cotton/wool blend. This material is popular because it is absorbent and sturdy meaning the towel will last for years. It is also great for soaking up water from the skin without issue.  The drawback is that it can lead to damage to your hair.
    The material used in microfiber towels is usually made of polyester and polyamide. This material is only one part of what makes microfiber towels different. This material is softer than cotton making it ideal for drying without added friction. It isn’t quite as long-lasting or sturdy compared to cotton which is the only big drawback for this material type.
    • Manufacturing
    The manufacturing process is one of the biggest things setting these two apart. Regular cotton towels are woven with a looser framework and feature larger loops. This causes more frizz and friction when using it to dry your hair. Microfiber towels are made of much finer loops woven into smaller, tighter groups. Because of the finer loops, microfiber towels are smoother and glide across the hair.
    • GSM
    The grams per square meter (GSM) is another difference between regular towels and microfiber towels. The quality of a towel in general is determined by this indicator of GSM and the higher, the better. The GSM in microfiber towels tends to be much higher than regular towels because the fibers are closer together.

    So, what does it all mean to you? These differences in material, manufacturing, and GSM are the very things that make microfiber towels such as great choice for your hair. Here are a few benefits of using microfiber towels:
    1. Control Frizz. Microfiber towels are much softer than cotton towels so they cause less friction when used to dry hair.  Less friction equals less frizz which is always a nice bonus for us curlies. 
    2. More Absorbent. The higher GSM means microfiber towels are more absorbent. If you are working with a lot of hair or just want to make sure your hair is dry all the way through with certain protective styles, it is hard to beat a microfiber towel. 
    3. Less Drying Time. Thanks to the super absorbency powers of microfiber towels, you can cut down on drying time. Who doesn’t love saving time on their morning routine without sacrificing results? 



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    August Maxwell Walton has arrived! I'll check back in soon with more deets, but here's a quick run down:

    Continue Reading


    - Born 2-6-2017 at 10:08am
    - 8 lbs of love
    - Everyone is happy and healthy!
    - We'll be calling him Max in honor of Gma Maxine! ❤











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  • 02/08/17--06:00: Ways to Prevent Hair Loss
  • IG @laissakeilla 

    by Mary Wolff

    When it comes to the hair on our heads, the more the better. Thinning hair or the loss of strands altogether can have a big impact on how a person feels about themselves. Luckily there are lots of ways to prevent hair loss! Whether you feel like your hair might be thinning because of age or you just want to stop it before it even has a chance to happen, read on to learn some tips and suggestions to keep your hair right where it belongs.

    Continue!>>>


    Live a Healthy Lifestyle

    One of the best ways to prevent hair loss is to make sure you are taking care of yourself from the inside out. Much of what our hair looks like is based on the foods we eat, how much we sleep, and the fluids we drink. If you eat junk, your hair looks like junk. You want to aim for foods that are high in essential vitamins and fatty lipids such as the vitamins A, E, and K, as well as Omegas, found in leafy greens, lean proteins like eggs and salmon, and nuts. When it comes to sleep, make sure you are getting at least the recommended 8 hours a night. For hydration, drink at least 8 glasses of water and avoid things that naturally dehydrate you like alcohol and smoking because whatever dehydrates you also dehydrates your hair. Many times, hair loss is tied to a deficiency in vitamins and nutrients which is why living a healthy lifestyle is so important for your hair.

    Avoid Strain

    A big part of hair loss is caused by being too rough or careless with your hair. Here are a few tips to avoid adding stress to your strands that could lead to breakage and eventual hair loss.
    • Avoid tight hairstyles. Make sure any styles or ponytails are secure but not so tight they tug on hair. This will lead to weakening strands, hair that breaks, and can even damage your follicles against further growth. 
    • Know when hair needs extra TLC. If you are planning on doing any activities that might be super damaging to your hair, like swimming in a pool or salty water, hanging out in the sun, or excessively coloring hair, you need to lay on the TLC before damage strikes. Make sure you apply a moisture rich conditioner designed for your activities such as Carol’s Daughter Tui Moisturizing Hair oil. This oil will keep strands full of moisture and sealed against damage. 
    • Avoid constant use of heating tools. Never use them without applying a barrier product between your hair and the heat such as a small amount of olive oil. This allows hair to get the benefits of heat tools without the damage that can lead to hair loss. 
    • Be gentle when brushing.  Most strands aren’t lost in washing, conditioning, sleeping, or any of the other activities you do every day. The most hair is lost in the brushing. Make sure you don’t work through wet, tangled hair without applying a rich leave in conditioner or natural oil like coconut oil to help with losing the tangles without losing the strands. Make sure you never brush your hair when it is too wet or too dry. You want to find the middle ground where hair is damp but saturated thoroughly with oil for an even brushing that won’t rip your hair out. The best way to detangle is with your fingers! 



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  • 02/09/17--06:00: Ways to Dry Natural Hair
  • IG @heycurlie 

    by Mary Wolff

    Drying your hair can be a hassle. Curly girls know all too well what happens to strands when you over dry with a heat process like a dryer. Hair can become brittle, dry, damaged, and frizzy. Some curly girls stand by their blow dryers until death do they part. Looking for a different approach to mix things up while still getting the job done? If you’re looking for ways to dry natural hair without the damage or breakage caused by heated methods, here are a few of my favorite suggestions on the matter.

    continue!>>>



    • Use a Microfiber towel. These towels are designed to create less friction. Friction leads to frizz. Using regular cotton towels raises the cuticles of your strands which causes the frizz. A microfiber towel also helps prevent breakage so it’s a win-win for your curls! Some of my favorites are Mimi’s Diva Dryer towels because they are so affordable and get the job done with lively colors to boot. You can also get these towels in turban styles making it easier than ever to put your hair up to dry. 
    • Use a T-shirt. If you don’t have a microfiber towel on hand, one of the best ways to dry natural hair is with a t-shirt. They are good for absorbing extra moisture without causing friction to your hair. You can also wrap your hair in a t-shirt while doing another part of your routine to soak up extra water. Save time and dry your hair? You are a multitasking queen! This method is called plopping and it is really easy. Simply lay a clean cotton t-shirt on the bed and turn your head upside down so your hair is on the shirt. Make sure your hair has your favorite leave-in conditioner on it for added benefits. Then wrap the waist of the shirt around your head near the neck, bring the chest of the shirt around your hair while flipping your head back to a standing position. Make sure all hair is tucked into the shirt and then use the sleeves to tie if off. When you take your hair down, it will be dry and beautiful without the frizz or flatness of other options. 
    • Air Dry. This is a method that requires you blot out any excessive moisture as much as possible. Don’t worry if strands are still a little damp. You can typically still apply your styling products and be on your way with air drying. 
    • Use your hair dryer. There is no shame in your game if you choose to use your dryer for a speedier way to dry strands. It is one of the most common ways to dry natural hair for several reasons. It is fast and effective, especially on busy mornings when you need to get out the door. There are a few steps to take to make sure you get maximum drying power and minimal damage. When using your hair dryer, make sure you use a diffuser. This will distribute the heat more evenly over your curls to help with frizz. You also want to make sure you use a rich moisturizer to avoid any heat damage drying out your locks. 
    When it comes to your hair, do what feels best for you. Only you know what will work best for your curls!




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    IG @slaymskaye 

    by Mary Wolff

    When it comes to natural hair, it can be a journey of beautiful discovery. Making the jump can be scary. When transitioning to natural hair, there are a few things you want to remember.
    If you are transitioning to natural hair, here are some of my favorite tips to make the journey a breeze.

    Continue!>>>


    • Avoid all chemical relaxers. This seems like a no-brainer, but I know plenty of curlies that cave in and revert to relaxers. Growing out your natural hair can be a long process. A lot of women give up too early because they aren’t getting the results they want. Remember, these things take time. Be patient! When transitioning to natural hair, it can take several months to get the length and health you are looking for. Don’t get discouraged. 
    • Fortify those strands! The best way to make sure your hair grows in a healthy way is to make sure it gets the proteins it needs. There are tons of products to cater to the needs of transitioning to natural hair to give your hair the nutrients it needs. One of my favorites is Curly Hair Solution Pure Silk Protein Moisturizing Treatment. It gives strands a boost of keratin and protein for strong hair. In fact, you should try to do a protein treatment like this one once a week to get the best results. When looking to make hair stronger, another ingredient to look for is keratin. Much like protein, keratin is one of the natural building blocks for hair. It is best to try to add a shampoo that has keratin repair as part of the ingredients, such as Tresemme Keratin Shampoo, to reap the benefits of this nutrient. Another way to make your strands stronger is to make sure you aren’t brushing them too harshly which can lead to breakage. Always make sure you use your favorite detangler when brushing to avoid hurting your strands. 
    • Use Protective Styles. There are many reasons protective styles are great for transitioning hair. They allow you to avoid the awkward stage of having multiple textures. They are easy to maintain and style meaning you handle your hair less often. Not handling your hair as much allows it a chance to grow strong and long without fear of breakage.  A few styles that are great for hiding the stage of transition with multiple textures at once are flat twist and bun, flexi rod sets, and twist and curl. Check out some great tips for making these styles work for you here. 
    • Trim regularly. When growing out your natural hair, cutting your hair may seem counterproductive but it is important to trim away the dead hair at the bottom. This gives your healthy hair that is still growing the chance to grow longer while helping give you a head of hair that is mostly new, untreated hair. It is recommended to get a trim every 4-6 weeks depending on your hair growth. 
    There are tons of tips for making the jump to natural hair. No matter what tips you choose to follow, remember that your hair journey is unique to you. Do what feels best for your curls and I promise you’ll love the results!

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    IG @hermela 

    by Mary Wolff

    There are so many beauty trends out there today that it can be hard to keep up. One of the biggest beauty trends that started with the natural hair community is sleeping on a satin pillowcase. If you haven’t heard of it, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.

    There are many reasons why a satin pillowcase might be better than rougher fabrics like cotton, flannel, or wool. Here are a few of the most popular reasons why you should consider making the switch:

    Continue!>>>


    • Less frizz! That’s right, curlies. With a satin pillowcase, your hair could be less frizzy in the morning.  Other materials cause friction while you sleep from your strands not being able to move freely. With a satin pillowcase, your hair glides off the pillow so there is no friction. 
    • More moisture! A satin pillowcase has been proven to suck up less moisture from your hair while you sleep. If you are doing everything right with diet, hair care, and products, but still have dry strands, the culprit may be your harsh pillowcase. 
    • Less breakage! Following in the vein of the previous benefits, satin pillowcases are gentler on your curls than other materials. There will be less tugging which will lead to less breakage. It’s a win-win! 
    • Fewer wrinkles! Yes, you read that right. Satin pillowcases aren’t just better for your hair. They are better for your skin, too. The delicate skin on your face, especially the sensitive area around the eyes where crow’s feet and deep set lines occur, gets tugged and pulled on during the night. With a satin pillowcase, you reduce that tugging and your skin care is absorbed into your skin instead of your pillowcase so you truly wake up with skin that is more beautiful than before!
    • Better sleep! Sleep affects your whole life. If you aren’t getting good quality sleep every night, your skin, hair, and health in general will show it. A satin pillowcase helps keep you cooler while you sleep. Many people report getting hot while sleeping and it causes tossing and turning.  With a satin pillowcase, you get a better night of cool, relaxing rest. 
    With so many benefits, why not try out a satin pillowcase for your next beauty rest. There are a lot of pillowcases to choose from, but you can find a few favorites here and here.


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  • 02/14/17--06:00: Winter Hair Tips
  • IG @chelliscurls 

    by Mary Wolff

    We all know heat is the natural enemy of curly girls everywhere making summer an almost dreaded time of year. But what about winter? Winter is a time when the air naturally dries out and becomes colder. Hair in the winter is more likely to become dry from the lack of moisture in the air. A lack of moisture leads to overall dryness, not to mention raised cuticles and frizz, and this all leads to brittle, breakable strands.  So how do you make sure your curls stay moisturized and healthy during those chilly months? When it comes to making sure those curls stay gorgeous all year round, here are a few of my favorite winter hair tips.

    Continue!>>>


    • Use an oil treatment at least once a week. The dry winter wind and icy temperatures can leave your hair feeling extra dry this winter. Put an end to it by making your own at-home oil treatment. The type of oil is usually the base of the recipe. You can use castor oil which is great for moisturizing dry, brittle hair because it is thick, jojoba oil which is great for dealing with a dry scalp while moisturizing strands, or olive oil which is ideal for treating brittle hair while giving it healthy fat to seal in moisture. There are other oils you can use, but these three are a good starting point in protecting your hair for winter. Once you have chosen your base for the oil treatment, you can use just the oil or add in other ingredients such as vitamin E capsules or tea extracts for an added boost. The easiest way to heat your oil is to boil a pan of hot water and place your bottle of oil into the water once you have removed it from the burner. Always make sure you are being careful to safeguard against burns when heating oil. Test the oil on your wrist before applying to make sure it is warm but not too hot to use. Apply the oil to hair in sections, massage the scalp to make sure oils are distributed, put on a plastic cap, and rinse out after about 30 minutes. 
    • Use plenty of conditioner! Now is not the time to get skimpy with the conditioner. Some even suggest doubling up on conditioner during the colder months, but that is a personal matter. If your hair seems like it’s in good shape, it is up to you. I like leave-ins and masks with natural emollients like TGIN Honey Hair Mask or Alikay Naturals Avocado Moisture Repairing Mask.  No matter what product you choose, you want to make sure it is rich in moisture with water as the first ingredient or at least one of the main ingredients. 
    • Let the steam in. Ditch the shower cap. Winter time and wet hair in the morning are a recipe for unhappiness. Believe me, I know. But hear me out. As long as you aren’t planning on washing your curls that morning, the shower cap is actually getting in the way of some great steam. One of my favorite winter hair tips is to lose the shower caps on mornings when you aren’t washing your hair to let the steam give your hair a little steam therapy. 
    • Protective styles are your friend. If you want to really make sure your strands aren’t under attack this winter, there are a ton of protective styles to make your holidays merry and bright without wrecking your hair. Check out a few great styles and how to do them with this article. 
    • Eat right. One of the best winter hair tips is to make sure you eat right. The outside is a reflection of the inside! If you aren’t getting the right nutrients, your hair will never look its best no matter what products you use. Make sure you get plenty of protein, vitamins A and E, and fatty acids to keep your hair healthy. You can find these helpful proteins and vitamin in spinach, eggs, salmon, and lentils. 
    • Drink water! If you are dehydrated, your hair is dehydrated. Drinking lots of water doesn’t get as much focus in the winter months, but that H20 is still your friend!
    Good hair care is a year-round adventure. With these winter hair tips, keep those strands beautiful into the new year and beyond!


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    I've always wanted to spend Valentine's Day in bed all day. This is NOT what I meant.

    Say a prayer for me y'all. Will keep you updated. 

    How was your Valentine's Day? Share with me in the comments section. 


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    So there I was, taking in the miracle that just happened. Little Max was finally here! The hospital let us go home ahead of schedule so we could get some rest and love on him and kiss his tiny fingers and toes. We were settling in to being a family of four, and it was all good. Uncomplicated pregnancy. Uncomplicated delivery. One, handsome, healthy baby boy and his healthy mom.

    Continue!>>>



    #AugustMaxwell #BabyMax


    Fast forward a week later and I'm feeling and looking like the old me, until this headache... no pain meds would touch it. My head is pounding, and my feet and ankles are more swollen than when I was pregnant. Something just didn't feel right, guys.

    I thought we were in the clear, since I didn't have any issues during the pregnancy. I knew I had perfectly uneventful pre-natal appointments-- nothing but normal screenings, awesome blood pressure, gorgeous urine, etc AND I was fine when we left the hospital. But this headache was truly serious. I couldn't see straight, and it hit FAST.

    Here's what I didn't know: even after birth, moms are at risk for complications. Preeclampsia only affects 1 out of every 12 pregnancies, but it can lead to seizures and even death. Scary, right? The symptoms include headaches that won't go away, blurred vision, and sky high blood pressure--all of the things that landed me right back in the hospital on Valentine's Day.

    Even though I'd been monitored during my pregnancy, and both baby Max and I were healthy through the whole 9 months, postpartum preeclampsia is a rare condition that only happens to 5.7% of new moms. Many women don't show any signs or symptoms during pregnancy.

    If you have signs of preeclampsia, it's important to get to your doctor or hospital straight away. It was really bizarre-- something told me to grab Dr. Daddy and head to the dreaded ER immediately and now I'm thankful we did, or it could've gone much worse for us. They immediately started me on Magnesium Sulfate (to prevent seizures) and my blood pressure has been pretty stable the last 12 hours. They've been taking it every 15 minutes! I've never had 'the pressures', as the old folks say, so this is all new territory for me. Thankfully, they re-admitted me to Labor and Delivery so I could have Max here with me too!


    I've been using my gifted Medela pump (I'm making milk like gangbusters-- I'm up to 30oz a day) and storing here at the hospital... haven't missed a beat.


    And thanks to the Airbnb #WaltonAbbey partnership, I don't have to worry about Gia! Our parents are still here and taking her to and from school, attending her assemblies and taking turns relieving Dr. Daddy out here at the hospital.


    Also, with all the goings on, I forgot that my Aunt Toney is scheduled to arrive today-- but with Airbnb's gifted #WaltonAbbey in place, she's in good hands!

    I'm recovering and taking it easy. Keep up those prayers, chicas! And if you know a woman who's given birth recently, give her a call to check in.

    Later Gators,
    Nik

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  • 02/17/17--09:45: Abundance.
  • HOME! #AugustMaxwell #Blessed
    Hola Chicas!

    I'm happy to report that we are all back home from the hospital and settling in.  I had a follow-up blood pressure check this morning and everything is looking great!  I'll continue to monitor my pressure at home 3x a day (and be on the lookout for any swelling or headaches) for a few weeks and if all goes well, we should be in the clear, AND I'll be able to avoid the pressure meds!  Feeling very blessed!  Speaking of blessings and abundance:


    Continue!>>>

    I pump every 3 hours for 15-30 minutes, even through the night (sometimes I stretch it out to every 5 hours over night) to keep my nipples stimulated. And I eat erry'thing and drink water around the clock! Max has a tongue tie (like me and Gia) so I've been exclusively pumping since he was 3 days old. I also enjoy a cup of tea each morning to promote healthy milk production (I steep 1/2 tablespoon of the below mix per 8oz of water)-

    ½ cup red raspberry leaf
    ½ cup dried nettle leaf
    ¼ cup fenugreek seeds
    ¼ cup fennel seeds
    ¼ cup alfalfa leaf
    ¼ cup dried chamomile flowers
    ¼ cup dandelion leaf

    I order all organic from mountain rose herbs. I got the recipe from a friend (hey, Alicia!) and it's delicious and effective (and tastes way better than fenugreek tea on its own)! I pump around 45 ounces a day now and if my BF'ing experiences with Gia are any indication (6 years ago), I'll be pumping a lot more by the 1st month!

    Later Gators, 
    Nik 

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  • 02/21/17--19:23: Views
  • Daddy's boy  #HeadRubsMakeHimSleepy #AugustMaxwell 

    Continue!>>>

    My daddy and my babies!  


    This nursing hoodie (above) and sweatshirt (below) is from my gifted @boobdesign wardrobe full of chic and functional nursing/pumping attire. They are fleece-lined to keep the chill off your boobs to prevent engorgement!

    Wash and Go with Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls

    oh, and lookit... 
    super normal! And it stayed right around there ALL DAY!  

    Later Gators, 
    Nik 


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    Written by Mike Orie of Afrotrak.com

    Actress/Producer Andrea Lewis has released a short docu-series titled Finding Magic. The short five-minute film features Essence Atkins, amongst other and highlights what it means for Black women to find their magic. It is part one of a three part series.

    Continue Reading


    The short film opens with a definition of Black Girl Magic. 1. The art of pure, unadulterated dopeness that every Black woman exudes, which beholds not only her internal and external beauty, but demonstrated the glory of God the creator.

    It tells the story of several Black women's perspectives on how they define 'Black Girl Magic.'

    One woman from the video shares her definition: "#BlackGirlMagic is really a representation on how much we've overcome and yet we still thrive."

    Watch the short film and share your definition in the comment section below.



    ********************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie


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    Photo Source: Colorlines
    Written by Mike Orie of Afrotrak.com

    Jet Magazine is considering returning to newsstands with an all-new focus on millennials.

    Continue Reading


    In an interview with The Root's Journal-isms, CEO of Ebony Media, Cheryl Mayberry McKissack discussed the possibility.

    “We are considering repositioning Jet for millennials with a focus on entertainment and having limited newsstand publication...much more digital content,” McKissack wrote.

    In 2014, Jet Magazine stopped its print edition and continued as a digital-only outlet. At the time, the magazine was the third largest magazine being circulated in the African-American community with a circulation of more than 700,000.

    According to The Root, with the new focus, Jet Magazine plans to publish more special single-themed issues for newsstand consumption and is branching out to stage special events as it seeks ways to extend the brand.

    The publication, which launched in 1945 was sold to Black-owned Texas firm in 2015. Since then, under new ownership, both Ebony and Jet have mad major strides to revamp it's presence and increase influence in the African-American community, amongst new competitor outlets.

    A few weeks ago, Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman/CEO of Johnson Publishing outlined the new plans to revive the magazine amongst a discussion of students at Harvard Business School. The students used Ebony as a case study on challenges/dilemmas faced by Black-owned businesses.

    Although Rice sold the company in 2015, today she still remains chairman emeritus on the board of the new Black-owned Texas firm who owns and operates Ebony Media LLC. Watch the short video below.



    Can Jet Magazine revive it's brand? If so, what will it take for to grab your interest?
    *********************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    Lola Jordan remembers the passing of her mother Patricia A. Jordan
    Written by Mike Orie of Afrotrak.com
    On February 23, 2007, St. Louis native Lola Jordan lost her mother at the young age of 15. And while it's definitely taken a toll on her throughout the years, she's survived the traumatic experience, growing into a much more stronger person.
    Continue Reading
    Approaching the 10th anniversary of her mother's death, Jordan had the idea to launch a scholarship gala in her mother's name, turning a day of trauma into a day of joy. But what makes this idea even more amazing is that the scholarship is designed to benefit people who have experienced similar trauma as Jordan. She named it in honor of her mother.

    The Patricia Jordan Foundation Scholarship Foundation Fund was created "to assist children by helping them feel financially secure and by supporting them to help them move forward and live life after the loss of a loved one."

    On March 30th 2017, the 1st Annual Patricia Jordan Foundation Scholarship Gala will be held at Private Affairs of Charlotte located at 520 Clanton Rd. Charlotte, NC.

    Below, Lola shares 10 things she's learned on the 10th anniversary of her mother passing away.

    1. It's ok to have feelings of sadness, anger, confusion, and hurt.
    2. It was ok to forgive yourself, if the relationship wasn't in the best place before they passed away.
    3. You have to learn how you heal best. Healing is important.
    4. Don't let anybody tell you how to mourn or grieve. (Don't rush it)
    5. You will go through different stages of grieve in your life with certain milestones in your life. (Graduations, birthdays, holidays)
    6. There is nothing wrong with talking about it. (Seek Therapy)
    7. Letting go of that guilt and shame that was attached with the relationship before that person passed away.
    8. They still love you, they will always be with you, and you will be always connected forever.
    9. Nobody will be able to replace them.
    10. You can continue to live your best life, keep their legacy going, and don't be afraid to share your story, because it will help someone else.

    If you're in the Charlotte area and would like to attend Lola's event, or if you would like to donate to the Patricia Jordan Foundation Scholarship Foundation Fund you can find additional information here.

    Let's send Lola some positive vibes below. Share something important you've lost in your life and how you overcame it.
    ********************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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