Shero of the Week: Grace Jones

Grace

As with Carmen last week, do I even need to explain why???

The ORIGINAL weird, DGAF black woman!!

Rihanna, Gaga and all others can bow down to Ms. Grace.

 If you really need proof of her enduring bad-assery, check out the video below and tell me if you could perform that feat.

Honey. Lemon. Oil.

I’ve been, quietly, continuing on my natural beauty route. The funds to get a full-on homemade arsenal have been non existent. It’s quite the investment. Money and time. So, I’ve been on a budget regimen until I can graduate.

Honey, lemon juice and a variety of oils have been featuring heavily in that routine.

honey-41

I use raw honey to wash my face each night. It has a host of benefits outlined here by Crunchy Betty. I don’t really have problem skin (other than that monthly hormonal bump or two, which havn’t shown up in FULL EFFECT since converting to this method) so I can’t speak to its ability to cure acne or other ailments. It does keep things feeling smooth and clean, though.

fresh-lemon-dropped-into-water

The benefits of ingesting fresh squeezed lemon juice and warm water are touted just as often as the use of honey. Yoga Journal includes it in its Ayurvedic (ps- I can’t pronounce this word) practices: “Squeezing half a fresh lemon into some warm water will help to wash the GI tract, flush out the kidneys and stimulates good bowel health.” That all sounds good to me. I’ve also heard tell that it can stimulate digestion throughout the day. I make good use the gutted, post squeeze lemon as another skin treatment. I swipe my juice coated hands over my face and use the carcass to apply juice to my knees and elbows. The acid is great for lightening dark spots and many African American people suffer from hyper-pigmentation on other areas, too.

cropped-oil-image

While I can’t get with the oil cleansing method (its too messy and I never feel like it absorbs fully) I have been using a mixture of oils on my skin and hair. A small pump bottle filled with a slapdash mixture of sweet almond, jojoba and grape seed oils is always handy for a post honey wash boost at night and a post lemon juice treatment in the morning.

I’ve had pretty fantastic results with adding these same oils to homemade shampoos.
Which I’ll tell you all about, next time!

Style Icon: Eartha Kitt

7e6ea7c9e39696293856e57798b21c22

This post wants to be about the lack of recognition and due respect paid to black style icons throughout history. It wants to be about that struggle being the least of their worries in their own time. It wants to be about a great many things: feminism and how it’s different when you’re black, beauty and how it’s viewed differently when you’re black, style and how often it’s copied without credit when you’re black.

BUT

That shit brings me down! Sometimes, even in my own heart and mind, I just want it to be simple! A simple post, conversation, thought, feeling about this person of color and how looking at them

MAKES ME FEEL GOOD!!!

Let’s look at Eartha.

LOOK AT HER!!

She is fucking stunning!

Even though Eartha Kitt was a singer rather than a movie star - she sure had the glamour!

And she knows it.

A STUNNING photo of Eartha Kitt! Thanks @Dee

The fabulous, Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt

Look at that rare, girlish smile!!

Eartha Kitt

And look, LOOOOOOK at her MOOOOOVE!!

Eartha Kitt, 1951 (Russell Westwood)

Eartha Kitt #wholesale #fall #fashion #clothing #ootd #wiwt #shopitrightnow #graphics #patterns #earthakitt #bombshell #celebrity

Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt dances during Dizzy Gillespie’s set at the Newport Jazz Festival, 1954.

Look at the POWER!!

Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt And Patrice Munsel  Date taken:	1955  Photographer:	George Silk

Eartha Kitt, 1955. Photo by George Silk

There are millions of images like these from old Hollywood, but not so many of its African American stars.

Being fitted.

Valentino Vamp. Eartha Kitt

Getting pretty.

Eartha Kitt in her dressing room in 1952.

Embracing style and motherhood, with equal aplomb.

Eartha Kitt having fun with daughter Kitt. looking like fiyah!!! get it Eartha!!

She appeared to be so unapologetic about being her full self! So proud and regal (which some might feel she shouldn’t have because of her very humble beginnings, and that is a massive understatement, but this post is not about that)!! So, SO talented and passionate!

And beautiful!!

Especially as she aged.

Eartha Kitt

I hope to see her name and likeness in more vintage style reports around the blogisphere.

She was there.

And she looked fucking awesome.

The Amazings, Amazing Feat

Have you heard of The Amazings??? 

The Amazings
If not, let me bring you up to speed. The Amazings has this really brilliant concept. Learning time tested crafts from our elders!! Isn’t that cool!! All of those “Not your grandma’s insert craft type here” memes never sat well with me. They ARE their crafts and that’s fucking awesome!! I was SUPER delighted to receive an email asking whether I’d like to give their classes a try. Uhmmmm….YES!! Yes, of course!!

I’m currently enrolled in three. It was hard to know which to start with!! I have tons, and tons of sewing thread and an entire roll of melt away stabilizer that I’ve, literally, had for years.  I also have some found-on-the-street hardcover books that once altered would be an awesome addition to any librarian’s home.

Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 1.14.15 PM

But, the truly awesome thing about the chance to enroll in these classes? This opportunity finally pushed me to try something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, make the switch to homemade beauty products (at the moment, I have 5 or 6 library books on the subject). I already try to stick to simple scents and basics like coco butter as I have small children and I am SUPER sensitive to strong smells. I almost never wear perfume and I can’t stand scented deodorant. My husband even had to switch because the smell of his was driving me crazy.

In addition, something I haven’t really talked about here, my paternal grandmother is a breast cancer survivor (don’t worry, this was not recent. She got the all-clear at her last check-up). Her cancer was concentrated in/around the breast tissue near her armpit. Which I’ve since read can be partially attributed to chemicals in commercial deodorants. She had her breast removed and underwent chemo. Scary stuff. If I can lessen my chance, and my preteen deodorant wearer’s chance, of experiencing the same…well it’s a no brainer.

The Amazings eliminated one thing that was stopping me: the need for hand holding while trying out this new-to-me craft. The other, sourcing the supplies. It turns out, I was over-thinking it. I got the pretty jars from a Freecycler and all of the oils from GNC. Because my hubby has their frequent shopper card, I saved a ton of money!

Untitled

I started with the salt scrub. The kids decided that lemon was the scent of the day.

Untitled

Side note: I even craft in homemade. I’m rocking a refashioned dress ;p

Untitled

They had a great time helping me measure, pour and mix! And it smelled sooooo amazing!

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

In the end, we had two jars of lemon icy scented awesomeness!!! We all tried it on our hands and walked around sniffing them for the next hour or so, lol. I tried it in the bath and it was wonderful!! I’m totally and completely HOOKED! I went right onto making the witch hazel toner which felt great after my honey face wash. (I’d run out of honey and started using some leftover cleanser I had and it does not work nearly as well as raw honey and warm water.)

It was a good night for handmade at chez Sown Brooklyn!! I have another GNC run (for beeswax) before I can make deodorant, but I see more making on tonight’s agenda!

Share your fave beauty recipes in the comments and if you have none,
consider giving The Amazings’ Elders, with all of their wisdom, a try!!

BIG HAIR BRAVERY!!

BIG HAIR BRAVERY!!
BIG HAIR BRAVERY!!

Peeps. I have NEVER worn my hair like this outdoors!

It was very weird, a little warm, and A LOT AWESOME rocking this style outside of my home!
BIG HAIR BRAVERY!!

My little daughter was VERY surprised when she came out of school, lol

Learning to like my hair, as it is, has been a journey. This was a particularly tame day. Seriously, it can get much, much bigger than this. Pictures don’t truly capture the mass of it. With low humidity and plans to stick close to home (I had a mani/pedi, my first pro one in about a million years that my hubby AND sister had to harangue me into, lol)  it was a safe day to try it on for size.

BIG HAIR BRAVERY!!

BIG HAIR BRAVERY!!

Top :: Victory Patterns Roxanne
Leggings :: Old Navy
Sandals :: Target

BIG HAIR BRAVERY!!

Pictures courtesy of that surprised little daughter 😉

Summer in the Wintertime

Summer in the Wintertime

Top :: Old Navy (from a zillion years ago)
Skirt :: Handmade
Tights :: F21
Boots :: Target
New Lipstick :: Revlon Super Lustrous in Black Cherry
New Blush :: e.l.f. All Over Color Stick in Pink Lemonade

I think of this skirt as a summer look. It certainly should be worn with bare legs, as it wanted to climb up my body even with a slip on. Even so, I was pretty comfy for the day.

Summer in the Wintertime

I’ve been all into Black fashion history, lately. I checked out two amazing works from the library. Both, unfortunately, deal with aspects of our history that are painful and difficult to read. Our major struggles (slavery, racism, oppression) but also relatively minor ones, too. Those that deal with expressing ourselves, succeeding and triumphing through all things. But, the books also hold many very positive messages and stories about self expression in spite enslavement/oppression/resistance and really celebrate and validate the right to express, and take pride in, our personal style and beauty.

There is this amazing new short film titled “The Door” from Miu Miu that brought black fashion history to the forefront of my thoughts. It’s directed by an incredible Black woman, Ava DuVernay, and stars Black women (Gabrielle Union, Alfre Woodard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Adepero Oduye, and singer-songwriter Goapele) wearing AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL clothes!

From Miu Miu:

The Door, by Ava DuVernay, the fifth Miu Miu Women’s Tale, is a celebration of the transformative power of feminine bonds, and a symbolic story of life change. The symbolic centre of The Door is the front entrance of the protagonist’s home. As she opens it to greet a friend in the powerfully framed opening scenes, she is shrouded in an oblique sadness. “In the film, characters arrive at the door of a friend in need, bringing something of themselves,” explains director DuVernay. “Eventually, we witness our heroine ready to walk through the door on her own. The door in the film represents a pathway to who we are.” Clothing is also a symbol of renewal, each change of costume charting our heroine’s emergence from a chrysalis of sadness. In the final scenes, she takes off her ring, pulls on long, black leather gloves, and walks, transformed by the emotive power of the clothing, through the door.

The existence of this film is in direct relation to the topics discussed in Black and Beautiful: How Women of Color Changed the Fashion Industry. It is still uncommon enough to have anything fashion related feature so many BROWN women that  watching this film feels like a victory. Ms. DuVernay has created a world as visually appealing as the clothing featured in it.

Those beautiful women look wonderful in those clothes.
They look beautiful on film.
They look at home in their luxurious surroundings.
They sell the clothing as capably as women of any color.
The number of women on the set of this film, contributing to its beauty, is a triumph for all women.

Cheers to Miu Miu for celebrating that.

Check out the other Miu Miu Women’s Tale stories here.