All Things Natural At The Textur’d Hair And Beauty Show

Oct 1, 2017

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I’ve worn my hair naturally mostly under protective hairstyles for a few years now. It just made things easier. But easier isn’t always better if you let a busy schedule and a non-existent hair care routine get in the way. If your natural hair isn’t getting TLC on a regular basis it will take a toll on the health of your hair.  Let’s just say, my hair is in need of TLC, a good hair care routine and a few good products to match. Coincidently, timing couldn’t be better. The  Textur’d Natural Hair & Beauty Show was happening right in my neck of the woods and I was able to catch day 2 of the event.

With over forty (mostly female) vendor’s, I looked forward to chatting it up with hair and beauty brands from Toronto and the United States. It was hard just to choose just one item from the variety of organic, vegan and naturally handmade products available. Almost all of the brands had a solution to maintain, repair and encourage healthy hair growth.

Not just a vendor showcase, several workshop facilitators shared their unique knowledge on everything to do with natural hair, body and skin care. Nutritional Consultant, Trisha Smith, discussed natural remedies and the connection between digestive disorders and the various effects on the hair.  Certified Shea Butter Technician, Kedar Waterman, discussed the many healing properties of premium grade Shea Butter and it’s benefits.

I ATE whole wheat roti, coconut curry chickpeas and quinoa salad courtesy of Chic Peas Veg, a plant based catering company.  I CHATTED with Ndija Anderson-Yantha,  a natural hair advocate and author of “What are you going to do with that hair?” A non-fiction book encouraging young girls to celebrate and love their natural hair. And I BOUGHT, (with so many wonderful products to choose from) En’tyce Your Beauty’s Herbal Temple Root Gro to help with thinning edges. And Muthaland Secrets’  Three Leaves Special Body Bar to help tone and purify your skin. It was a great afternoon fill with positivity and love for all things natural!

My haircare brands wish-list to definitely try,

What do you use in your natural hair?

 

 

 

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5 Basic Photography Tips That Helped Me Take Better Photos

Sep 22, 2017

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I have a slight addiction to stalking beautiful looking Instagram profiles. Seriously, I do. You know how you can get lost on Pinterest for hours? Yup, like that. I can look at any number of individual profiles for hours taking in the quality of the photos, the layouts and everything that makes the images visually appealing. I often wonder if everyone online has a dedicated photographer on speed dial. Cuz I sure don’t.

So, what do you do when your photography skills are very limited? You get inspired and you learn “how-to”. I challenged myself to stop the point, shoot, click and hope for the best tactics. And learned a few basics to help me spruce up my photos.

(2 pieces of white Bristol board, iPhone camera 5s, Snapseed app for editing)

 

TIP #1 INSTAGRAM IS YOUR PORTFOLIO USE IT THAT WAY

I’ve taken a good look and studied the Instagram profiles of a few influencers that I admire. They all treat their profile as a secondary blog or showcase a body of work of some sort. It’s their portfolio. It helps promote who they are and what they do. Because of this, their images have a consistent tone, style, or colour scheme and quite often each photo aligns with their brand. As I work towards creating a seamless looking profile, I get lots of inspiration from online influencers ThisRenegadeLove, TheMattieJames and Kwame Delfish.

TIP #2 YOUR IPHONE AND A GOOD EDITING APP WILL DO

If you’re just starting out (and for the purposes of Instagram) you don’t need an expensive digital camera to take great looking photos. I use my iPhone 5s camera (yes, it still works) and the SnapSeed editing app to help me enhance and adjust my images. Snapseed and VCSO (another recommended app) are absolutely free. Take some time to learn each editing feature. I’ve made the mistake of trying to accomplish a look rather than learning how to use each feature to eventually get the look that I really want.  I often use the white balance, tune image and rotation features to customize my photos.

(iPhone Camera 5s, Snapseed editing app)

 

TIP #3 NATURAL LIGHT IS YOUR FRIEND

Natural light is everything. I’ve heard it time and time again, from the various photographers that I’ve worked with. I take advantage of the natural light that shines through the largest window in my home. When I shoot things like accessories,  I’ll take photos in the early part of the morning. Extremely sunny days can often create a shadow of the object you are trying to shoot. To block or minimize the appearance of a shadow, I often prop a piece of white Bristol board (folded in three parts) behind the object that I’m shooting.

TIP #4 STAGING THE PHOTO BACKGROUND CAN BE SIMPLE AND AFFORDABLE

For affordable photo backgrounds make a trip to your nearest dollar store and pick up two pieces of Bristol boards. Lay them on a flat surface, place the object in different positions and start shooting until you have something you like. It’s the easiest most cost efficient way to create clean looking photos. For a pop of colour, use brightly coloured Bristol boards or your brand colours.

Fabric works the same way. Purchase the ends of textured or print material from your local fabric store to use as your photo background. Furry materials, rugs or a fluffy white comforter often adds a soft touch to the photo. Be careful with very busy prints, it can distract from your primary object.

TIP #5 TAKE A CLASS

If you’re not one to learn on your own, a beginner photography class can get you off to a good start. I’m not saying take an entire certificate to add to your already busy life but an online tutorial course can teach you basic editing skills, photography styles or photo processing tips.  Skillshare (an online teaching platform) offers a large variety of simplified courses in almost any industry.  The best part is, each course is developed and taught by individuals experienced or currently working in the field.

Have any other tips to share?

 

Cheers for now!

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Weekly Wisdom: Just Live

Sep 19, 2017

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I was stressing for a little while about life and all that comes with it. One thing that added to my stress was my lack of commitment to writing more frequently. Yes, time was a factor but more than anything else, I found myself overthinking every single topic I wanted to write about. Nothing seemed to fit or be good enough. It wasn’t a brand issue, it was an authenticity thing. Do I really want to talk about it, kinda thing. I couldn’t understand why it was so difficult for me to get something down and like it. I mean, I’m not new to this. I’ve done this before.

While voicing my frustrations out loud, my daughter said two little words that was a clear sign of the issue I was having. Those two words stuck with for the entire day and ended all my confusion.  “JUST LIVE!” She said. That was it. I wasn’t living. I was worrying. And the moment I stopped worrying and starting living the stress disappeared. The ideas started flowing again and now I have so much more to write to about.

 

Cheers,

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So You Want To Start A Blog?

Jul 21, 2017

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My very first blog post was published in November 2008. Shortly after, I started seriously blogging in 2009 for approximately two years or so. Blogging full-time, you would find me at some of the cities hottest events, interviewing well-known artists and connecting with various influencers along the way.  But with all the events, socializing and meeting people, I didn’t understand how to financially sustain a bloggers social lifestyle, produce unique mind-blowing content every single day and continue to grow an online audience for the long term. Not having the right tools, resources or knowledge to guide my next steps was a big factor in my (then) full-time blog very quickly becoming a part-time hobby.

Launching a blog today is fairly simple. There are far more tools, resources and templates to guide you. I’m a big fan of social marketing blog sites: Hubspot and Co-Schedule.  The hardest part in creating a successful blog is keeping your readers interested long enough so they find value in your content.  I read there’s approximately 6.7 million people that blog on blogging sites as of 2016.  That’s a whole lotta blogs! I remember back in ’09 companies weren’t sure what to do with a blog, let alone have a budget to market products and services online. Blogs were personal diaries, for the most part.

Even if creating an income from blogging isn’t your goal, how do readers notice you with so many blogs and bloggers online? Well, there’s no truer statement than “everyone has a story to tell,” advice to give, experiences and knowledge to share. And the simple truth is, no two stories are the exact same.  I recently told a friend, “Once I’m sharing my personal story online then my ‘news’ can never be outdated, it can never get old.”

If you’re passionate about starting a blog even in this oversaturated market, I say go for it!  I did.  But before you take the leap, here’s some simple advice,

  • Be consistent, really consistent. When I started, I posted daily and covered events weekly.  So decide what works for you and your capacity to write. If you’re posting once a week than make sure you blog every single week, religiously.  Some expert bloggers suggest that posting any less than twice a week isn’t enough to grow your audience.  I say start where you can and perfect your consistency.
  • Create good content when you begin but aim to create great content as you get more comfortable with posting consistently. As you define a clear direction and your blog audience, your content will be more targeted.
  • Blogging takes time, a lot of time. Time to research, write, edit, edit again and promote. But most importantly, it takes time to establish your blog and connect with your online audience. So put time aside, schedule it in your calendar, leave the house to create in a quiet area if you have to, but make the time to write.
  • Personalize your content. This may be difficult but your life  experiences mentioned in your posts resonates well with readers. It often gives readers an understanding of who you are.

Go ahead and take the leap. Happy blogging!

 

Love,

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Wisdom: Trust Your Gut

Jul 11, 2017

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Starting from scratch, while working towards a goal or bringing an idea to fruition can be overwhelming and difficult at times. Especially when you’re going at it alone. If you’re crazy enough to want to live the entrepreneur lifestyle know that is filled with uncertainty, can be rewarding and very emotional all at the same time. It takes a thick skin and a lot of determination to keep pushing along, even if you’re not sure where you’ll end up.  Quite often, you’ll be offered endless amounts of advice from people that understand the struggle and other’s that really don’t. At times, it can be hard to decipher what advice to take and what is key to your ongoing progress. But when all else fails – TRUST YOUR GUT – in the end it will never steer you wrong.

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