Ladies Night

posted on: Thursday, July 30, 2015

As an adult woman, one thing that I've realized over and over is that my girlfriends are a true extension of my family. I knew this before. Matter of fact, I found this out in my teens, when one of my best friends helped me in a tremendous way.  She was my safe place. And still, almost a decade later, continues to be. She's not the only one. During my birthday, I made an effort to keep count and really acknowledge their presence in my life. The way our souls have been connected for many years, through many things- is beautiful. The indescribable connection with each of them is precious to me. They are the sharers of my dreams, Godmothers to my children, secret keepers, shoulders to cry, constant creative inspirations, celebrators, and loves of my life. 

Even some of my newer relationships, they are true. They're so many layers to our sisterhood. 

I've been working with Izze for a few months now, and I've really enjoyed each project I've produced with them. I feel as though they push me to acknowledge the bits around me, the bits that often don't get displayed on this blog or on social media. They're the ones that tug at my soul. I've enjoyed the opportunity to crack the window on those bits just a tad. The opportunity to be more open in this space. 

Natural Hair Diary| Combing Through

posted on: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In my younger years, I found comfort in getting my hair combed. It was a ritual in our home. Every Sunday night, my sister and I knew what we had in store. After the house was scrubbed of all the mess that five children brought about, and the laundry was folded and the dinner was cooked early and devoured within minutes, our hair was to be done for the week.

On Sundays, I looked forward to the comb. It meant I would spend hours one on one with my mother, wrapped in-between the comfort of her legs sitting on a pillow, laughing, talking, and anxiously waiting to see what braiding technique she decided to bestow upon my head for the week.

My sister was different. All of my earliest memories of my sister and Sunday's ritual, were a bit traumatic. She was tender headed, and did everything in her power to run away from the comb. I'm sure she would have grown to love whatever nest that weaved in her beautiful head of hair at the time. She avoided it like the plague. Even when my mom used the most gentle hand, and sped through in an astonishing fashion, my sister fought it.

Her fear became a running joke in the family. And now, looking back, I want to bow at the feet of my mother for doing all she did in a day's work. For making me feel like magic and for trying Sunday after Sunday on my sweet sister. True will power.

This post isn't so much about past rituals, as it is about combing, or choosing not to comb your natural hair.

Now that my hair is natural, the times I do comb my hair are of a rare occasion. I often compare the reasoning to that of having dreadlocks. One of the main issues with having permed hair, is the need to comb it through all too often. From it being wrapped to unwrapped, to the fly aways, washing and perming. A lot of seemingly innocent perm rituals require something so small, yet, so big... combing.

Combing, should always be the last resort to untangle hair, and should never be done with any old comb. 

Sounds difficult? See, when you have natural hair, after a while you'll notice that your hair manages much better when tangles are managed with a specialized comb (more on that below), or your hands. Your hair gets acustomed to the motions and environment. If done correctly, natural hair needs no extra pulling and tugging.

If you need reference, lets take locs for instance. If someone chooses to loc their hair, their hair grows incredibly fast. Faster than someone with natural hair, and much faster than someone with permed hair. Dreads require little upkeep, and avoid the comb in it's entirety. Doing this, allows the hair to just stay and grow, rather than end up on the bathroom floor.

When you have natural hair and avoid the comb, the dead hair finds it's way out on it's own. Shedding And the new growth, is kept put and strong. Leaving your hair to it's own devices to grow powerful and fast.

Here's what you should be using when you want to comb your hair:
-Your hands-  The most powerful tools we have in this combing natural hair game are our hands. Rub a little oil on them, and gently detangle your hair with your fingers.
-Denman Brush- Other than my hands, and besides the occasional wide tooth combs for parting (I also recommend using your hands.), I use this brush. It's a cross between a wig brush and comb. It's super gentle, yet study. It's great to use in the shower as well.
- A pick- It isn't necessarily for combing. But I love having my hair look full, even when I just remove my two-strand twist. This one is infused with Argan Oil.

P.S- I use this set for my curly headed kiddos.

Other natural hair tips and tricks, here, here, here, and here. 

Art by Emily De Nicolais for LaTonya Yvette.

The Perfect Beach Day

posted on: Friday, July 24, 2015

 The other week, it seemed as if temps reached up to 100 degrees practically every single day. On those days, the only thing we could do was to find somewhere to sweat it out, and cool off.

We drove out to Long Island to relax at Long Beach. Long Beach is quiet, beautiful, and worth the drive. You manage to skip the crowds, which is a huge plus for us. I get too worried about the kids when there are what feels like hundreds of kids that look just my kids on a crowded beach. I always fear I'll mistake one as my own, and then lose site of my own. Has that ever happened to you? One of my old friends would put bright clothes on her child in situations like that. A bright pink jacket in the cooler months, and a funky hat in the summer. I think the idea is genius.

Naked, a long time partner, sent us a few of their organic and fair trade certified coconut waters to give a good run on our next outing in the heat. The coconut water arrived just in time for this hot day... and week. And I kept dipping in the fridge throughout the week to replenish every chance I got.
A few more photos behind the break. 

Bryr + LaTonya Yvette

posted on: Thursday, July 23, 2015

 A few months back, Isobel, the creator and genius behind Bryr clogs reached out to see if I would like a pair of her beloved clogs. After taking a peek around her site, my answer was yes. Of course, yes!

Here's the thing, my love for clogs has been a deep love affair since I found out I was pregnant with River. I wanted the height, but I also needed the comfort. Clogs... well crafted clogs, provide that for me, and many of the women I know. Each one of Isobel's clogs not only provide what I believe are the basic necessities when wearing shoes while juggling children and a career, they're also sustainable.  Each pair is handmade by her and her small team, in her San Francisco studio.

After owning my own clogs for some time, I had the opportunity to collaborate on a clog that I love, and that I hope you all will love too! This peep toe Sofie bootie, is a combination of persimmon leather and cement nubuck. Something that lifts your senses a bit, and grounds you as well. The specific style of the shoe is perfection, since it supports not only your ankle, but your entire foot with the large ankle strap and laces.

I'm really excited about this shoe, and this collaboration! I hope you can all join me in supporting Isobel.

Peter and I created this video over a few weeks, and I feel a bit spoiled to have him as my husband, and have him bring my ideas to fruition.

You can shop the clog right here.  Thanks Isobel, Peter, and you readers for always being so amazing!