Soft Spike Update

The results are in. I love the small Soft Spike Curlers! The photo on the left is day one. The picture on the right is day six. Yes, the curls did fall, but it was a graceful fall as they had somewhere to fall from.

Conversely, the large Soft Spike Curlers just didn't do it for me. Nice look, but no where near as curly as the small curlers. I guess it really depends on the look you want and how long you want the curls to last.

The picture on the left is HOUR one. The photo on the right is hour FIVE. (Yes, I'm checking my watch in the photo!) If I'm going to set my hair, I'd like it to be worth the time and effort. Longer lasting curls make it worth it. If I wanted curls of such short duration I'd of used the Caruso Steam Rollers. Then I can't be mad when a 20 minute set falls in a few hours.

To be fair, it was a bit rainy and damp, which I'm sure didn't help. But it rained while I had the tighter curls as well and the slip was not as quick.

The Mathematics of Curls

I'm not a math person. College Calculus made me cry. So it's not always easy for me to see things in mathematical terms. I think I do, however, finally understand the mathematical relationship between hair and curlers. I'm sure this is painfully obvious for most of you, but here goes:

Small Curlers = Small (tight) Curls.

Reason: You get more revolutions of hair around the roller. More revolutions produces more curls. Therefore:

Large Curlers = Large (loose) Curls.

Reason: Fewer revolutions around the roller.

The amount of curls, tight or loose, can be increased by using smaller sections; i.e. 10 locks per roller instead of 20. This, of course, means you will use more curlers as well.

There are mitigating factors: thickness of hair, length of set, the use of setting aids etc. For the record, I used no setting aids other than water and time. I washed my hair, let it partially air dry, then rolled. I'll either sleep on the set or keep it in for several hours during the day, before I leave in the evening to go to work.

So thumbs up on the small Soft Spikes!!!

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What? No NY Expo?

At first, I was happy to hear about the Baltimore Natural Hair Care Expo; that was until I realized that I can't go! ARRRRRG! So near and yet so far!

It's been ages since there's been an event like this in New York. New Bein' Enterprises used to host one, but I don't think they've done anything in at least two years. Grumble, grumble, pout, pout.

I guess they figure we don't need it here in NY, but there is nothing like being at an event filled with natural hair-wearing folks. There's a wonderful feeling of comaraderie and family. And of course it's always great to shop with vendors who "get it."

I'll stop here, because now I'm just torturing myself.


Small World

Today, after some last minute shopping with my Mom, we decided to get a bite to eat at Red Lobster. Just as we were leaving, I saw a woman walk by and her lovely locks caught my eye. Okay, I was out right staring, okay.

I confess, I keep an eagle eye out for locks and natural styles of all types, and compliment the wearers every chance I get. I think it's important that we natural heads support each other. Nothing against permies. I used to be one ever so briefly, many, many, many moons ago. But going natural isn't always an easy road, and I'd like to believe that a kind word just may come at a time when that person needs to hear it most.

Actually, come to think of it, it's not just hair. I truly believe a random honest compliment can really brighten someone's day. Sadly, I find that other women really don't expect this. Sometimes they're so stunned, I get a look of shock before I get a smile and a thank you. I expect neither, mind you. I'm just trying to be positive, 'cause the negative is all too readily available. But I digress.

So yeah, I see this woman walk by my table and I stop her to compliment her on her locks. She thanks me and says the magic words, "They're Sisterlocks." Well now you know the conversation was on! Ms. Dina is from Texas! (Sorry LaChanda & Blaqkofi, I didn't find out what part.) She's visiting family here in New York and is thinking about moving back! She's had her lovely locks for five going on six years.

We talked retighening, products, curlers (she admired the curls I was sporting from the Soft Spikes), and ultimately exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Perhaps she'll pay a visit to Lockitup or perhaps (gasp!) become a blogger!

Addendum: The ever observant Brunsli noticed that Dina and I are both wearing hats. That's because today it was a chilly 38 degrees. This reminds me of another great thing about having locks: No worries about hat hair! Step 1. Take off hat. Step 2. Give locks a little shake. Step 3. Go on with your bad self. /:-)

Soft Spike Heaven!

Well I finally ordered a set of Soft Spike Curlers; two sets of small curlers (60) and two sets of large (24) because I wasn't sure which size would work best for me. They arrived on Tuesday and I finally put them to the test today.

I washed my hair and let it air dry while I wrapped Christmas presents. Just before it was totally dry I set my locks on about 30 of the small curlers. I tried to use as few locks on each curler as possible and it looks like one package of 30 is all I need. The extra set will go right in my travel bag.

They're comfortable enough to sleep on it but I thought six hours was long enough for a first trial. I took them out and was amazed to see a head full of Shirley Temple-esque curls. Somebody get me some tap shoes!!!!

I finger combed out my locks and voila -- super curls!!! I likey much! I was so excited I didn't even stop to put in my contact lenses. I usually hate pictures of me in my glasses but I wanted to get a photo before my curls fell. :-)

While I get the best sets by rolling my locks after washing, I wonder if using setting lotion will give my curls some longevity. That'll be my next experiment. From recommendations, I've got two to put to the test: Elasta QP Design Foam and Crinkles & Curls.

My Roller Ratings (In Order of Preference):
1. Soft Spikes: Easy to use and comfortable to sleep on.
2. Twist Flex Rods: Cheap; easy to use; durable, moderately comfortable;
3. Solar Rollers: Easy to use, comfortable, but flimsy. They tear easily on the ends after several uses.

The Flex Rods I use are blue, and the Solar Rollers are gold. I love the fact that the Soft Spikes can be ordered in various colors, including black! Yes I ordered all my spikes black. A head full of colorful curlers feels... well... undignified and very unsexy. Yes, I'm vain. I'm okay with it though. I'll let it go when I'm 80. Who am I kidding. No I won't. :-) Posted by Picasa


Tis the Season

The New York City Holiday Party scene as been severely impacted by the Transit Strike. Quite a few parties have been cancelled, or sparsely attended. However, I did make it out on Tuesday to the Improv Comedy Club party. My date, of course, was my husband Jim. He was also my official photographer for the evening.

There was no pre-arranged agreement, but boots seemed to the look of the evening. On my left, Sue Costello, is an accomplished comedian and actress. She just finished a run of her acclaimed one woman show, Evolution of a Sexy Mutha Fukhah. On my right, Linda C., is talent and club manager for the NY Improv.

I was a good girl this year. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. But this good girl decided that leather was in order. Leather mini skirt, jacket and what my Mom refers to as my "thigh high pirate boots." A friend said, "Those boots look like they come with theme music." And a catwalk too, if you please.

[On a side note, I first bought and wore these boots in my early 20's. Wayyyyyyyy before I had the ability to carry them. I walked into a candy store to buy gum, and the man behind the counter said, "Baby, in those boots, you can have anything you want." He wasn't talking about candy. Oh my. Those boots sat in my closet for quite a few years after that!

The award for the best boots of the night go to my girl, Ms. Gina, pictured here on my left. Those red boots are HOTTTTT!!!!!! Danielle, on my right, didn't get the boot memo. :-)

Happy Holidays!!!!!!


Still Curly

Had shows this weekend at Rascals Comedy Club in New Jersey. I love the club, but Jersey is a smoking state. You can still smoke indoors and while I'm on stage cigarette smoke wafts up and attaches itself to my clothes and hair. Oddly enough, I can't really smell it when I'm in the club, but by the time I drive my smoke free car to my smoke free house, the smell is overwhelming. I can't bring myself to go to bed with my hair smelling like an ashtray. No matter what time I get home, it's time for a shower and a shampoo. Aveda Detox, of course.

I washed and curled my hair Thursday night, AND Friday night. I'd of washed it Saturday night too, but I didn't work the club that night. The picture on the right features Sunday night's curls from the Friday night rolling. Not bad.

Without the smoke factor, I usually wash my hair once a week. I love that I can easily wash my hair whenever need to. In my pre-Sisterlocks days it was an ordeal. My twists made hair washing an all day affair. Now, if I have to, I can wash and go (free style/sans curls) in an hour.

Well, to be honest: that's a theoretical hour. Hair aside, I've I gotta pick out clothes, try them on, iron, switch handbags, pick out shoes, or boots.... Yea, I need about two hours. The hair is the easy part now.


All In The Family

I spent Saturday at our annual family holiday gathering; a really special occassion since it was my first time to see my cousins new baby daughter! A tiny 10 pound bundle of gorgeous!!!

And my locks were set on blue flexible rubber rods. :-) My order of Soft Spike Curlers are on the way! Hurry, Santa!

Photo Credit: My Dad!
Top Left: My and my Aunt
Top Right: Me and my new baby cousin. Yes, me holding a baby is a rare photo indeed!
Bottom Left: Me & my cousin, the proud Mom!
Bottom Right: My Aunt, My Mom & Moi!
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Somebody Stop Me!!!

Between loving Picassa's collage feature and playing around with my locks I haven't gotten much real work done today. I got the bright idea to try and do a bun without a ponytail holder.

I just gathered up my locks in my left hand, and used it as a base to twist my locks around. And VOILA! No hair accessories holding the bun in place. Just hair!!! Can you believe it? I love it!

If this seems to tickle me more than it should, its because hair styling has never been my forte. I get by with curlers and a smile, but I'm not giftted with "the touch." Usually any style that looks half way decent on me was achieved by accident; never to be duplicated again.

Now I've really got to go and get some work done! Posted by Picasa

Top Bun!

Inspired by the bun I wore for Destini Berry, and the wonderful instructions I got from Lock It Up, I got a little creative. I tried a top bun. I got nothing but compliments! My Mom, who tends to like my hair up anyway, loved it!

I took my top bun out to a show and an industry holiday party tonight and I can't believe how many admiring looks I got. A couple of people asked if it took a long time to do. I guess it looked complicated. But again thanks to Lynda's wonderful directions it was easy to do. And believe it or not, no bobby pins! Just tucking and rolling around the center as tight as I could without pulling or stressing the locks. I'm sure a good hard wind would have done me in. But thankfully, the hawk took the night off.

The best compliment I received tonight was from a fellow comic who said, "You look so elegant. You look like a ballerina!" Wow! That one was truly for Miss Destini. Posted by Picasa


Don't Mess With My Tutu

Well today, in solidarity with little Destini Berry,
I wore my lock bun today!

(Destini Berry is the seven-year old ballerina in Memphis, TN, who was initially barred from dancing in a ballet recital because of her Sisterlocks. See the Discrimination Against Locks post, 12/1/05, for photo and more info.)


"I Am Not My Hair"

My girl India Arie is back
with a great new song:

Totally worth a click and listen!


The South Is A Changin'

On Friday, I had show at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. What’s a road trip without a visit to the Cracker Barrel? I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs, but I can’t resist those Cracker Barrel dumplings. When I saw the sign off I85 there was no question I was stopping.

As I was talking with one female employee about how to get back onto the highway, a second employee came up and began unabashedly staring at my locks. The look on her face was awestruck. She said, "Your hair is beautiful!" The first lady agreed with her and asked, "Are they twists?" Before I could answer the second woman said, "No, they’re locks."

I was flabbergasted. I guess I’ve heard so much about how the South is still all about weaves and perms, I just didn’t expect to get this kind of positive attention.

When the young lady told me she was trying to start locks, the conversation was on, and the dumplings would have to wait! I love talking about natural hair. I don’t get on my soapbox like I used to, but when I find a kindred spirit I just can’t help myself. She has a TWA (teenie weenie afro) but has been trying to achieve locks as small as mine by palm rolling, but they kept breaking. I gave her a quick overview of Sisterlocks, Braidlocks, natural hair, and wrote down several websites for her to check out.

I was embarrassed when she thought I was a hair expert. I’m not. I just have a deep and abiding love for natural hair and how difficult it is for Sisters to make the choice to embrace the natural. When they make those first tentative steps, they should have all the info and support they need. To that end I told her to feel free to e-mail me if she had questions.

In short, I was quite pleased that natural hair and locks are making inroads in the South, one head at a time.


Discrimination Against Locks

(photos by Matthew Craig, The Commercial Appeal)

These are two beautiful photos of 7-year old Destiny Berry of Memphis, TN. She was initially barred from performing in an upcoming ballet recital at Dance Works because of her locks. The reason given by Dance Works' Director Karen Zissoff was that Miss Berry could not wear her hair in a the traditional ballet bun. Ridiculous as you can see from the photos. With some well needed public pressure, the school has recanted and Miss Berry will be able to dance, with her locks!!! To read the article go to http://www.commercialappeal.com/.