Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Curly Head Start!

Just a thought: The longer I get into my natural groove, I notice I'm not always diggin' my refreshed coils. I need at least a good 3-4 days for the product to kiss my frizz & my 'fro to swell WIDE & BIG, lol! So how many days in advance does it take for you to claim curly cuteness?   ;) There's two sides to every FRIZZ, natural dancer

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Lord, What Happened to the Man I Married?!"

Hey, Curlies! So for all my Dallas/Ft. Fort Worth Area Curlfriends, I'd love to see you come out & see my curly hubby's gospel stage production, "Lord, What Happened to the Man I Married?!" What happens when everyone around you seems to have changed....until you realize it's really YOU?
This one's a doozy, ya'll & stars some of Texas' most awesome talent! Who may see an appearance from my own coils on the big stage! December 10, 2011 God's Tabernacle of Deliverance 1020 E. Pleasant Run, DeSoto TX 5 pm....SHARPIE Tickets $13 For more info: contact yours truly or I'd love to meet you!!!!! There's two sides to every FRIZZ, natural dancer

Kicks For Christ....A Thanksgiving Blessing!

Gobble, gobble Curlie-Pies! It's a great day to be a curly; I pray everyone's Thanksgiving was safe, relaxed & BLESSED! I gotta share a MAJOR blessing with you all: Christmas came early to my dance company, OSP! Ok so last week, I posted a dancer's prayer of Thanksgiving on Facebook. I just don't want us to ever take this GOD given gift for granted; our feet deliver good news, & we have to constantly/consistently give thanks for being able to speak through such a powerful art form. Anywhoo....our humble little ensemble is one of the most requested dance ministries in the state of Texas. As such, we were literally danced outta our shoes!!!!!! I mean little peep holes & all; just not cute at all. I was just about to start a shoe drive for sponsors to put each dancer into a new pair of kicks, but GOD sent a couple of angels (in the form of a husband & wife) who volunteered to purchase shoes for EVERY dancer in the ministry! (INSERT SHOUTING MUSIC RIGHT HERE)
Before you get to stop, drop & rolling - It gets even better! See, said couple is from out of state, has never met the girls, or even seen us dance. But because they met me while I was still rollin' in mamma's tummy, they wanted to do this for me to say how proud they are of what my husband & I are doing with the kiddos. Tear. For real, I cried - A LOT when I was told of this blessing. It only came from GOD Himself, & I would be remiss if I didn't give Him the glory every opportunity I get! Seriously, there was a need that had to be met & I knew my girls couldn't afford the shoes but truly need them. And GOD immediately supplied. See, they don't have to dance but they do. Without murmuring, without complaining, & most of all with the joy of the Lord in their hearts. And even though they don't dance for reward, Our Father gave them an awesome reward for their faithfulness. God blesses us when we least expect it; We've been told many times that God uses us to change someone's life after we dance....this time, someone changed OURS. My message to you? Hang in there a bit longer, Beloved, because you don't want to give up before you receive everything GOD has for you. Your labor is not in vain; joy truly does come in the morning!!!!! He's awesome. He's amazing. He's a wonder. .....and He's our Love. And I love all of YOU, too! So now, onto what's already my best Christmas ever! I'm off to listen to what tehnically is one of the most depressing Christmas tunes in this (or any) lifetime, "The Christmas Shoes." Have you heard it? I won't spoil the ending, but uh....yeah. Jingle Bells it is not. Somehow, it has an entire new meaning for me this year. Blessings - and hugs today, natural dancer

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Introducing Hair By Tippi Shorter!

As one of the most sought after hair-care specialists in the entertainment industry, she has maintained the beautiful coifs of Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Rhianna, Beyonce, Kelly Rowland & many more! Now, she’s introducing the next wave of hair nourishment products, using super ingredients that breathe new life into damaged tresses, protects thick, course or chemically treated hair from environmental stress & restores elasticity. And on top of all that, she’s a huge fan of Curly Nikki! She’s Tippi Shorter, & she’s prepared to bring the salon experience to our homes!
CN.Com: Tell us about your own hair journey growing up. TS: Well, I’ve always used my own hair as an accessory! Back in the day, I wanted to try every trend out there. You know, the era of “Yo MTV Raps”; I wanted styles like Mary J. Blige, Salt N Pepa…I even wanted the Kim Fields “Tootie” ‘do. Mom would take me for a rollerset once a month, BUT I wasn’t allowed to get a haircut. So there was a lot of pinning & tucking going on. Ultimately, my hair was an expression of how I was feeling. You’ve been noted as a “beauty genius” by Elle Magazine for two years! Was it always your goal to help women enhance their beauty? TS: I am a HUGE fan of Elle, & I was truly honored by that! In school, I was always the one who made sure everyone was together: the clothes, hair & makeup. I’ve always wanted to help women with how they feel about themselves on the outside. Personally, no matter what’s going on around me, looking good & knowing how I appear to other people makes me feel better. Please dish on what it was like being the first African-American spokesperson for both Pantene & Avon! TS: AWESOME! 10 people were interviewed back when Pantene was launching their Relaxed & Natural line; I received a call saying that Pantene loved me & that was it. I’d already been a fan of their products since beauty school; it was what I could afford. I STILL go back to it when I’m in a crunch because I know it works. I really love the products. As for Avon, I was invited to come to the Avon store & lost my mind, ha ha! I love their products as well, especially the Lotus Shield – it prevents hair from swelling in high humidity. I work with them during Fashion Week; I am a part of their Global Ambassador Styling Team. Who was your first celebrity client? TS: Foxy Brown. I met her at a photo shoot for Essence…but she brought her own stylist to the shoot. I came highly recommended, though and she used me. Eventually she became a client of mine. You stand on a platform supporting health before style. What is your beauty philosophy? TS: Healthy scalp, healthy hair = amazing style. I never sacrifice style for health. The health of your hair should always come first. What’s one of the strangest requests you’ve had from a client & how did you respond? TS: I had a client who kept getting compared to another client of mine, so she wanted a change. But every picture she showed up with was of the other person that she didn’t want to look like! So, not really strange but contradictory to what she said she did and did not want. You must be ecstatic about your new product line, “Hair By Tippi Shorter.” Please tell us about it. TS: I am super excited about it! I launched it in August; there’s been a huge explosion of curly hair products on the market, but where are the products for girls who like to wear their hair straight? I texturize my hair twice a year after getting sucked into a Brazillian Blowout. It looked great for about a month, but then started shedding in globs & clogged my drain in the shower every time I washed it! With “HBTS” I wanted to give options for women who wanted to wear their hair either straight or curly. It’s dedicated to SMOOTH hair & keep it smooth for the longest it can be. What’s the best way ladies can utilize the product line? TS: There are eight products in the line; the shampoo, leave in & serum are evenly yoked. The curly cream completes the system. There are two leave ins, one for fine hair & one for thick hair. The sleek serum can be used for curly or straight hair. And the pomade to control those edges. I’d say get it all, try it all….but that’s not for everyone’s pocketbook. “Hair By Tippi Shorter” is not a style driven line; it’s health & performance driven. It also helps reduce frizz. It’s all about the needs of your hair. The product line is very affordable, putting it in the reach of general consumers. What do you say about the pricing? TS: I wanted to create something that would be competitive with other products on the market with great ingredients & without sacrificing quality. In 2012, I am also introducing an enhanced product line. I can’t give too much away, but it will be a different price point & would be available at Ulta & Sephora. What are some of the favorite “HBTS” products of both relaxed & curly heads? TS: The Glaze Leave In – it preps tresses for straight or curly styles without being heavy. The Serum, Pomade & Flex Styling Cream are favorites for curlies. What’s one of the worst things a woman can do to her tresses? TS: Abusing heat appliances. Applying deep treatments and restorative treatments will help restore the hair back to health. What’s one of your best kept hair secrets? TS: If I told….it wouldn’t be a secret, ha ha! You’re wildly successful in an industry where success does not come easy. What advice can you offer to readers following their own dreams? TS: Find a mentor. Then actively be around them; l I truly do believe that great minds think alike. You can learn a lot from being around people with great minds. What’s next for Tippi Shorter? TS: Rolling out the next phase of hair styling products and tools. And being the best wife & mom I can be! Where can our readers find you on the web? TS: I’m starting a healthy hair revolution! You can follow me on Facebook & Twitter (Tippi Shorter); I do lots of giveaways & contests….follow me!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Have I Been Up To? Why, dancing of course!

Good day, Curlie-Pies! I wanted to drop in for a non-interview type post to let you all know what's going on in my little universe. What a time it's been! God has truly been blessing our dance ministry, so my schedule has been tighter than the plaits mom used to put in my head as a youngster! Come on, ya'll know you'd get greased up real good, then get those tight pigtails (that's what we called them back in the day) pulling your eyes straight back into an instant face-lift, ha ha! Face so tight, we could barely speak. Ah...those were the days. I digress. As I was saying, God has been super good to Ordered Steps Productions. I've been teaching dance workshops, boot camps & we've been booked every weekend! I just can't say how much it means to me, but what is most special is that people are testifying that OSP changed something in their lives after seeing us minister in dance. They say they see true worship & God working through us. For that, I am eternally grateful. With all the public viewings of my little coilies, I've been pretty much playing it straight in the styling department. No room for error when you're about to go up before hundreds of people, you know? Gotta do what works, which right now happens to be Shea Butter, Care Free Curl (more on that later) & MAYBE conditioner only styling. Not to mention, my body has been TIRED. So styling sessions are minimal, but still a part of my world. Last night, the group attended a tech rehearsal to set lights/staging for the South Dallas Dance Festival we are participating in this weekend. The sound tech told me my mane looked "really cool & well kept." That made me feel like all is well with my curls. All is well. So there will be updates coming your way shortly. I've reached my ninth month natural (yay!), been choreographing and writing a lot. I've even been blessed to have articles published by The Coil Review & Curly Nikki! When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be a famous journalist. Now I realize this is my calling. Isn't it funny how GOD changes our plans? But He's worked everything out in a mightier way than I ever could have! All that to say, never let anyone/anything deter you from your dreams! You've come too far for God to leave you & His Word says you'll never be forsaken by Him, yes? I don't know who this is for, but I dare say we serve an incredible GOD....and YOU are living proof! REFUSE TO BE DEFEATED!!!!!
In continual praise, natural dancer

Introducing Mara Hruby!

A single word comes to mind when being introduced to Mara Hruby: Enlightened. So enlightened, that last year, the young Indie-Soul singer with an angelic voice released her debut EP “From Her Eyes” – an incredible, soul stirring collection of re-envisioned cover songs….for free. The response to this eclectic songstress, her effortless style, engaging voice & calming spirit has been overwhelming. She’s simply one of those people who make you feel happy after speaking with her. ……And we’re just getting to know her.
Tell us about you: where you’re from, how long you’ve been singing….we even heard you dance! MH: I’m from Oakland, CA; I’ve never lived anywhere else. I LOVE the Bay Area! It’s wonderful & cultured & full of life. I’ve been singing since I was very young, but I’ve been professionally singing about 2-3 years now. I’ve always loved music. Everything it did to me, everything it meant to me….I ADORE it. Tell us about your dance experience. MH: I danced for seven years as part of the New Style Motherlode Dance Company. But, it goes back to my love for music – the music moved me, literally, to dance, ha ha! It’s funny though because about 6 months ago my mother found a letter my pre-school teacher wrote to me. It said: “Never stop singing; you’ll change the world with your voice!” The whole singing thing as a career is still new to me, but it makes me happy. Cover songs are not easy! Comparisons are inevitable, but on your EP “From Her Eyes” you’ve refashioned familiar music in such a way that they are embraced as completely original. Where do you draw your inspiration from? MH: It is hard! I drew my inspiration from the pure love I have for music and the power it holds. The artists that I covered, they are phenomenal to me, so it was a tribute more so. I didn’t want it to be imitation; it was about how the songs made me feel. I wanted to portray those feelings through the music. Jamiroquai. Al Green. Mos Def. “From Her Eyes” puts a classically modern spin on hit tunes sung by male artists. Such a bold move. Why? MH: It was a challenge. I wanted people to know my perspective as a woman. Women are powerful & there are so many things we are capable of, but we’re viewed differently. It was important to me to give my perspective on the stories told by those men to display my powerful sensitivity. Tell us about your new video, “Character.”
MH: It was so much fun! I got the chance to work with Melinda James of About Her Films. We shot the video in my home, which is what I call “The Attic of Love” lol! It’s the second video shot at my home, the first was “Stereolab (Lose Myself)”. I wanted to show a side of myself that was personal. People (in videos) show themselves in such a “done up” way rather than show the process of getting to what you want to be the final product. I wanted to show all the things that make me happy: writing, creativity, music, cars (that’s my fathers car I’m driving in the video, so that’s a big deal for me), and being around people. Things that are involved in my normal life….that’s what I wanted to show. You easily reflect an elegant 1940’s flavor that you carry so well! There’s an enviable sense of ownership in your personal style. Tell us about it. MH: The 1940’s & 1950’s are my favorite era as far as beauty, glamour, fashion & how people carry themselves. I started collecting vintage dresses four years ago. I love being able to go to a thrift/vintage store and find a beautiful dress that fits well and tells a story! I love dresses that drive you to want to know what it has seen and lived through. Clothes back then were well crafted, tailored & built to last. Now, we have disposable, “fast food” clothing.
Now, our readers are going to flip about that gorgeous head of hair! Can you tell us about your hairstory, & how you maintain your beautiful tresses? MH: (Editor’s note – Mara is extremely joyful upon hearing this question; her voice is literally dancing!) No one has ever asked me about my hair before! It’s exciting! I haven’t always embraced my curly hair, which is sad, I know. I wanted to have hair like my mother, who had bone straight hair. But my hair has always been wild and curly. It took me quite a while to finally accept and love my hair for what it naturally was.
WOW…what an amazing testimony! MH: I cut my hair off in junior high. For some reason, my long hair became the topic of conversation & criticism & ultimately a source of insecurity for me. I didn’t think that hair was supposed to define someone’s character, but for some reason people judged me. People would evaluate what kind of person I was based on the texture of my hair. They would say “Oh, she got that good hair…she thinks she’s better than us” and it would really hurt my feelings. Really?! Really. MH: Yes. I was so frustrated with all attention and focus and mean comments, I cut my hair short – like Halle Berry short! I did it so people would stop talking, but that only spawned MORE criticism. I felt it was a stupid decision – changing my appearance for other people. You’re who you are for a reason, and for that you are beautiful. What were some of your hair mishaps? MH: I wore my hair short for the rest of junior high; in high school, I started growing it back out & by the time I graduated it was down to my shoulders. I dyed it….A LOT through that whole short hair time period. I came to realize that I had been expressing a lot through my hair as a form of my creativity. And I finally wanted to do what made ME happy, which was let go of my fear and act on my dreams. So how long have you been natural? MH: I’ve been fully natural for the last 5-6 years now. And I haven’t dyed my hair since 2007. I love my hair now, I really truly embrace it! It looks incredibly healthy! What do you do to take care of those smiling curls? MH: I try not to straighten my hair too much or apply too much heat to it, except for when I style it for my shows. (I use heat protectors for that; Pureology’s Colour Stylist Heat Spray). I try to use natural products because I don’t want to put too much “gunk” in my hair. Right now, I use Organics Olive Oil Creamy Aloe Shampoo because I wanted a gentle and more natural cleanser. To condition in the shower, I use the Dove Intensive Repair line, either the conditioner for heat protection or moisture. Once my hair is washed, I scrunch in Pure Aloe Vera gel while my hair is wet, my favorite kind is the Aloe Vera Gel from Trader Joe’s. It’s a great way to seal in moisture and give great shine to your hair. Four months ago, I started using Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk alternating it with the Shea Moisture Yucca & Aloe Volumizing Conditioner because I wanted to be proactive in taking better care of my hair. Shea Moisture is a good friend of mine! I use it after I use the Aloe Vera Gel, and then I scrunch my hair dry with a towel. After those steps I let it air dry or I use a diffuser if I’m in a rush. Even though my hair visually is thick, the individual strands are very thin and fine, so I prefer to use products that won’t weigh it down and make it oily. But right now, I adore the Shea Moisture products… they are my favorite! OMG, mine, too!!!! I love the Curl & Style Milk! So how would you describe your hair type? MH: (laughing) I just learned there were different names for hair types! I never knew! My hair is thin/fine yet big & full! I think that makes me between a 3a and 3b. To be honest, I feel I’ve been blessed to have a really simple routine. It’s very easy to maintain and keep healthy, but I have to wash my hair about every 3 days because it gets oily quickly. I always look at someone with similar textures to mine to see how they care for theirs. But it’s really trial & error. I have to find what suits me best. So you don’t venture out into protective styling? MH: I read the Corinne Bailey Rae interview, it was so informative! I’ve never done a braid out, twisting or anything like that. But I will smooth my wet hair into a ponytail, twist it into a tight bun & when it dries, I take it down & shake it out. Lol, that’s what we call a “bun out!” MH: Oh, really? There’s a name for everything! That’s why I love the natural hair community…and it’s about time! Women of color, we go through a lot with our hair. It’s a process. And there’s a lot of insecurity that goes along with our hair. But natural hair is so beautiful; I hope the trend never goes away! Are there any products you haven’t tried that you’d like to give a test run on your curls? MH: It blows my mind how many natural products there are! But natural products can be pretty pricey. My goal is to use Bumble & Bumble products for my washing and conditioning because their products are wonderful, but they are sooo expensive! I like to be smart with my dollars, so anything I try has to be cost efficient for the pocket! You sing, you dance, you take awesome care of your hair. But you also make beautiful hand-crafted jewelry & scarves! MH: Yes I do! I even sell them at my shows. I’ve always loved being crafty. I feel inspired and I just go out and find resources/materials so I can create. I just go with my intuition. It’s just my way of showing more creativity. (Ed’s note - Mara’s handmade goods are sold through her website under “Merch” or You’re planning to release an album of original songs written by yourself in 2012. What story do you want listeners to receive from your recordings? MH: Well, I can’t tell people how to feel and I don’t want to, but I want to inspire them to think about what the song is trying to communicate. I always pray people realize the passion I put into my music. I want people to know I really love what I do. I’m genuine and truthful & try to display what comes naturally. You’re right in the middle of seeing your dreams come true. How do you feel? MH: I feel honored, humbled, flattered & elated….this is something I’ve worked really hard at. It can be grueling at times, & there is the realization of being a tormented artist. But I’m so happy people are taking in my music the way they are. I can’t wait to keep going, & go on tour. I truly love what I do! What’s next for you? MH: Finishing up my album for the 2012 release & releasing two more music videos! I’m also going to be playing 11/15 in New York, 11/16 in Philly & 11/17 in DC. My main focus right now is finishing the album, but I’m forever going to put out visuals! What would you like to leave our readers with? MH: I’d say the most important lesson I’ve learned is to live for yourself and what you believe in. We are in charge of our own destiny. Go for what you love and believe in your natural talents! Catch Mara Hruby on the Night With A Muse Tour next week: New York: 11/15 Philly: 11/16 DC: 11/17 For ticket information or to learn more about Mara, connect with her on the internet: Http:// Http:// Http:// Http://

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Getting Down To Frizzness: Beyonce Dancer Ashley Everett!

I was so excited to chat with this young lady, who kind of doesn't need an introduction because her exquisite afro is familiar to millions of Beyonce fans, especially after being featured in the “Single Ladies” video! Chorus after of chorus of “Who is that?!” rang around the world when this beauty started burning the dance floor! She is incredibly fierce onstage, jaw-droppingly stunning,

casually funny....and a really cool girl! Ok, I'm gushing a bit, but it's not every day we get to speak with one of our famous hair crush's, right? If you don't already know her, it's just a short time before you will: dancer, performer & Beyonce employee Ashley Everett is Naturally Glamorous

You are an AMAZING dancer! How long have you been dancing?
AE: I've been dancing my whole life! I started ballet at age 2; I was determined to learn & I loved it! Dance is my keeps me going.

Ok, so go back to when you learned Beyonce hired you (at 17 years old!). What went through your mind?
AE: DISBELIEF! (laughing). I thought: "Is this a joke? Am I getting punk'd?" I was in high school at the time, thinking "is this happening to me?" I was in shock; it was the best feeling ever!

What are rehearsals like?
AE: My LIFE is a rehearsal, ha ha! We are always in the studio rehearsing for something. We spend months of rehearsals with 8 hour days (or more) for appearances, another show, another performance. I love it!

Now, about THAT HAIR.....many of us forgot to exhale when we were introduced to your massive mane!
AE: Thank you! I've never permed it, but I did go through a phase when I discovered the flat iron. Then on tour in '07, I curled it all the time with a curling iron. After experiencing some damage, I decided not to put heat on it for as long as I could. That's when I started wearing the big curly afro that I've been rocking for a few years. Fans started writing in & Tweeting about my puff-puffs.

How do you care for your hair on tour?
AE: Well, I take care of it myself. I keep it conditioned because it dries out easily. And I use good products; all products made for natural hair.

Do you have a regimen?
AE: I keep it pretty simple. I use Morracan Intensive Curl Cream (it's in a pump) & I use it when my hair is wet. I also use Quidad Curl Holding Gel. It holds curls & doesn't weigh down the hair. I HATE those gels that weigh the hair down! I style 2-3 times a week, and let it air dry because it's so thick.

What's your secret to keeping your curls camera/stage ready?
AE: (giggles) I style my hair a day in advance when I want to look cute & I sleep on it for a day. It's just me, the pillow & my hair!

Hush your fuss...what you say?!
AE: That's it! We really don't have to spend that much time on our hair. I only use a couple of products, water & a plastic brush with the balls on the end. And my "black girl brush"....we ALL have a black girl brush, ha ha! I get trims every three months to keep it healthy & growing. I just stick to what I know. If it ain't broke....

Do strangers try to touch your 'fro?
AE: People are like, "Oh my GOD!" when they see my 'fro. It actually makes me feel good; they think it's the best thing ever. Most people ask "Can I touch IT?" like it's an alien baby. I think it's funny.

What are some mistakes you've made with your mane?
AE: When I was younger, I wanted straight, flowy hair. (I haven't always loved it). Everybody's hair is different, & my hair went through phases....including heat damage. My ends were fried, so I had to cut a few inches off & start fresh.

AE: I know, right?! To anyone's who new to natural hair, we have to maintain our hair & BE PATIENT. Consistency is key. (I had to re-train my hair). Get in a regular routine, OWN your hair, & LOVE it. If you love it, other people will love it as well.

So how do you deal with a bad hair day?
AE: I just rock it like it's hot, ha ha!

(I start asking the next question, but Ash excitedly jumps in....)
AE: Oh my God, I have to tell you about this! There was this one time when my hair caught on fire in a restaurant!

AE: Let me tell you: So, we're sitting in a booth & candles were lit behind us, and my 'fro sort of went up in flames! My dad saw it before I knew what was going on & put me in a headlock; then I smelled it.....OH MY GOD! !!! Hair fizzles up so quickly & I had a big chunk of it burn - I thought I was going to be bald! By the time I got home I couldn't even find the short pieces because I have so much hair.

O.M.G. - no words.
AE: They comped the meal, though.

Wow. So what's next for your gorgeous locks?
AE: I'm not tired of my 'fro yet, so I'll just keep rocking it.

...and what's next for YOU?
AE: Well, I've been enjoying a break; it's nice to have time off & be home. I'm doing things I haven't done yet during this time. I'm just excited to see where the journey takes me!

Any advice for girls who dream of dancing?
AE: Definitely! Take as many classes as you can. The more training you have, the more confident you'll be! It's always easier to switch gears with proper training under your belt; then you'll gain more experience.

What keeps you inspired?
AE: Beyonce works so hard - her drive makes me want to work hard, too. And I love the fans! After doing this for a few years & building a fan base, they keep me going. If I can inspire one person & show them dreams can come true, I'm happy.

You can find Ashley on Facebook (Ashley Everett) or Twitter: @ashleycmeverett