Struggle Bus Naturals Post- WTF DO I DO NOW…

Ahem.

Hello my loves. It has been a while since I’ve made a struggle bus naturals post so here go.

My name is Shannon and I’ve been natural for years now and I struggle. I’ve been working on identifying my natural hair struggles and I’ve had a lil bit of a breakthrough.

  1. Problem number one. I have not updated my practices with my hair enough. I realized this when I tried to do a high bun and realized I haven’t done one in long enough that my prev methods were for shorter hair.
  2. Related to #1, I over trimmed again and my length is awkward.
  3. I fell off doing what works for me.

My hair is not in bad condition at all. Up under my wigs since forever, things are going well in there. I am a mostly juices and berries natural. I just am. I think I got a little caught up in the natural hair community again and that is not my jam.

I am a henna loving, handmade sheabutter using, oils and butters and herbs type natural. SO during the time where we need to be wearing masks I got me a whole ass new plan.

I am rebooting my routine and protective styling to fit what I LIKE doing with my hair, what my hair likes, and what suits my life.

The first thing I’m bringing back are henna glosses on the regular. I won’t be doing full henna treatments because our pipes are old but, a gloss goes all right.

I’m sticking with my hardcore LCO method. It is what my hair thrives on. I’ll do an updated post on individual treatments later.

I’m gonna keep doin my lil ugly Miss Celie braids.

New thing. I’ve purchased a few new headwraps. Since I am an essential worker and I ride mass transit I’ve been wearing masks out. I find it easiest to wear then around a headwrap bun.

I’m going to go back to studying more ayurveda and other herb type things. I love learning more about it and frankly I’ve done well using them.

Now, my goal is to get my hair back to full health with good ends. I’d like to repair or try to fix some of my stress hairloss. If i don’t..fine.

THEN next hurdle will be styling.

How y’all feelin babes?

And a foto of my hair as I was moisturizing and detangling yesterday.

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[image description: the author a brown skinned femme with naturally curly hair sectioned off, lookin tired.]

Y’all I was spent but I put my lil plaits in and got my hair fully detangled and moisturized.

Wig Review-Janet Collection Natural Me Human Hair Blend Lace Front Wig – Ann

OH babes. I am so in love right now. I snagged the Ann wig from the really lovely Janet collection Natural me line from Divatress.

First up, let’s talk about the store Divatress. Divatress has become one of my go to places on the net for hair. They have a HUGE selection of wigs at varying price points and styles. Easy navigation, their customer service is pretty ding dang good too. They offer some bomb coupon codes and have reward points. Just on my last purchase of this wig and a few other things, I saved about enough to cover my shipping cost.

NOW let us discuss Ann.

From the website:

Product Description
Deep Part Lace
100% Hand Tied Swiss Lace
Ear to Ear Soft Swiss Lace
Special Knotting on Back Nape
Natural Hairline & Natural Yaky Texture

She comes in standard colors, black, brown, a nice caramel ombre and a burgundy and, the silver foxiness you’re about to lay eyes on.

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[image of the author: Brown skinned NB femme wearing a cute silver fox bob wig and smiling a bit]

OKAY now I mean……….I’m feeling myself okay. I’m feeling some Big Silver Daddy Energy.

And yes. Going full steely grey without an ombre root is a thing it is a statement. I had wanted a whole ass different wig but she was sold out literally everywhere after a lot of glowing reviews so, I found Ann and I love her.

Right out of the box I love the texture of the hair. It feels like a thicker version of my natural blown out hair. Slightly crinkly, fluffy, soft. The cap construction is pretty usual, inside the part the combs are a bit too close to the front of the wig for my liking so I might move them. Without a wig slip

She is VERY big head friendly. I have an average sized head (I forgot to put my wig grip on this morning) and had to tighten her up quite a bit for a secure fit.

The lace is decent. It says “soft” lace but it is not extra soft if you get me. It isn’t as scratchy as I’ve found some brands the shade is a nice sheer shade.

Pros:

  • Soft and fluffy
  • Gorgeous color mix. They really nailed a luxurious silver fox colorway.
  • Inexepensive. Most places are selling this unit for between 25-35$ and she retails for 49$.
  • Doesn’t need a whole lot of work can be worn right out the box.
  • Just a really pretty wig.

Cons:

  • AH LAWD she sheddin. I am not sure about the other colors but, this one sheds like hell.
  • The cap may just be too dang big. Without a wig grip, if you have an average to small head security is gonna be an issue.

I highly recommend this particular wig for folks who don’t want to mess with baby hairs or securing a unit with glue or whatever. If you don’t have wig customization skills, she is real cute right out of the box. If you are an older person who wants to try out going grey, do it. Or if you are in fact Old AF and just want to be a silver fox, do it.

Overall I am totally in love with Ann and might try out another wig in the line.

10/10 would buy again.

A little fashion and Musing

HAY BOO HAY. Yer fave weirdo Auntie with some fashion.

Recently, I treated myself to a few items from a Killstar Mega clearance. Here is a referral link, 5% off of your first purchase and I get VIP points.

I have a little haul and some thoughts on the brand.

First up this absolutely gorgeous backpack I’ve literally had my eye on since it came out. Killstar is way overpriced so I watched and when it went on sale I snatched it right up.

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[image description: photo of a backpack with fanged toothey roses on a black background]

This beauty is the Paradise Backpack. Still on sale. Specs from Killstar:

– Faux Leather.
– Statement Graphic.
– Branded Plaque.
– Zipped.
– Adjustable Straps.
– Size 33 x 37 x 12 cm, Straps 40 – 71 cm.

This is a beautiful piece, it isn’t too huge and not too small. The inside has a rear padded pocket, an open space and the front zip pocket is quite roomy. Nicely padded straps and I am pretty sure this will wear nicely. It also has two side outside pockets that are perfect to hold a compact umbrella.

Is it worth the $52.99 original price? Meh. It is a backpack.

Now here is where the problematic bit comes in. That print is not original. Killstar has been called out for this before and obviously they don’t care. I know this. And yet, I bought it anyway because I a.) needed  a new backpack and b.) really love the print. This is an instance where, yeah I can deal with the problematic brand.

I’ve purchased some other items from Killstar. One of my favorites is the Donnie Skater dress.  I picked it up on sale for 16$ and that price was appropriate. Of the clothing pieces I have from them, I would honestly not pay full price for their clothing.

Here is why.

First issue is their very inconsistent sizing. This drives me up the wall when it is a single brand store. This irritates me beyond belief. For the price range, say generally even skater dresses are about/over $50, I expect better quality control including sizing. I have shopped goth/dark aesthetic brands for 20 years at varying price points and body sizes. This has been a constant issue except for (Shocker) brands like Tripp and Everlasting love, Lip Service for two minutes and yes, I understand that they are likely manufacturing in sweatshops around the world but come on man.

The Donnie skater dress I got in a size L (I am about a jrs 11 for reference) it fits beautifully. I picked up a thrifted other of their prints from a couple of years ago, same cut, same fabric, same size and it was absurdly tight and short. The inconsistency is not great. My Donnie dress is also more see through than I would expect for an originally $52 dress.

I had the same issue with some panties. One pair I bought in a size L is way too big. Same order, different pair the size L is way too small.

I’ve heard wildly differing reviews on their shoes. From they are amazing to, I wore them for a day and the platform came off.

For contrast, I picked up a knock off from Wish.. Y’all, between us I think the supplier is the same. I got the wish dress for 8$. It is the same material as the Donnie dress, the fit is as good. It is less see through and here’s my takeaway.

Expensive goth brands are pretty but, I advise caution in paying full retail. I personally really only buy Killstar when it is on mega sale.

I can’t recommend their hosiery or knee high socks, I bought a pair that was child sized and we don’t do that here.

Overall, frankly in spite of them being a very high end status type brand, the clothing is not generally worth the price in terms of quality and fit. Buy at yer own risk.

A pro tip on my shopping methodology. I save items. I make wishlists and when I think I want to buy some stuff, I watch the sales, VIP point offers etc like a friggin hawk. Which is how I have this gorgeous bag.

Also a few words about their half hearted attempt at inclusive sizing………………….le sigh.

They have scattered occasional plus sizes 1x-3x. Some of their straight sized items are roomy/stretch enough to accommodate a few sizes into that range. Like so many other brands, especially brands that cater to a specific aesthetic they are really fucking themselves out of a lot of money.

Fact. Fat people are willing to put down cash for what they want full stop. A casual glance at some of the offerings for fat folks, things are comparably priced if not more expensive *COUGH fuckin Torrid*.

Fact. A casual glance through the Killstar FB comments, people want more sizing inclusivity. So many (often problematic but whatever) comments from people outside of the 0-12ish size range saying, PLEASE make this in our size.

It is 20-dingdang-20. There are no reasons for companies, especially niche aesthetic companies to completely ignore fat people.

So at the end here. I only halfway recommend Killstar. I have a few of their housewares (also overpriced) that are nice. I LOVE the aesthetics but, they aren’t a company I’m going to go hard for or spend my coin before a sale.

All that said, I shall continue having wet dreams about these boots.

Coming soonish….better attempts at outfit shots.

 

 

When Times are Tough…Fashion.

Hello from your most irregular Auntie folks.

Yes I KNOW I said more posts but, life does things.

So instead let’s talk fashion. I was talking to a Baby Bat I know and they were fairly astonished by my Gothable View of fashion. There are affiliate links in here. Marked with an * for everything not covered by Amazon or Shopstyle.

What is Gothable?

Gothable in my world are not specifically Goth things that I can and will put in my wardrobe. I think for a lot of folks, especially us Office Goths, we can’t always be decked out in Victorian Luxe a la my fave Auntie Jillian. Some of us would rather not. So let’s talk about things I find HIGHLY gothable. With two brand new pin boards.

I personally have a philosophy that if I can buy an item, I will because I like it. This also means I do frequently as I’ve mentioned shopped at places folks disapprove of for various reasons. My current booty is about chonky teen sized and a lot of jrs cut clothing fits me well so I’ve been buying some great pieces at Hot Topic. *GASP* THE HORROR.

I also bought pieces from times when Gothyish was in because here’s the thing. Most of us can’t afford to buy exclusively GOTH brands nor do all of us have the skill for DIY. I KNOW OMG THE LIFESTYLE RAWR OH GOD DIY OR DIE…ahem.

Sewing is a skill. I personally have made clothes and they looked okay but sucked. Most of the time, even if I’m recycling shit, I just don’t have the skills to make anything cool. And my efforts tend to a.) not look good and b.) wind up costing as much as retail in time, spoons and materials. So DIY if you can but storebought is goddamn fine.

For my first pinboard, I labeled it affordable Gothables. There’s stuff from Walmart, Etsy, Asos, Target etc.

The great thing about anything alt or dark flavored being trendy is that those styles become knocked off and accessible. Can’t afford Killstar* you can probably find things similar if you look that fit in your budget.

Below is my, if neither size nor budget were a consideration Goth Dream Lewks. Designer shit that wouldn’t fit me etc. I use these as aesthetic ideas mainly.

Another method of Gothables for me is accessories. GOSH. Y’all. Between Etsy, Ebay and Amazon and whatnot you can find some spooky accessories for every price point. Evil Empire links ahoy.

 These cuties are under ten bucks a pop and I personally love them. Love skulls? Can’t afford real bones? Items like this are great. Unlike when I was a babybat, it was ding dang hard to find cheap spooky jewelry that was shiny AND as these are nickel free.

Wanna DIY it? Grab some plain chokers like these and voila, slide a lil skull on it and voila. Fashion.

Would you rather buy handmade? Some of my fave shops.

UglyShyla. (Do NOT CLICK if you are scared of dolls) I really love Shyla’s pieces. I probably have four or so. She goes far to make things that are both lower and higher end prices. Nice quality.

Vandyland makes some cute necklaces. I want to say I have 2? Horror icons, movie references. These are not expensive and light to wear.

Osteal. Like bones and witchy looking pretty things made of metal? Check out this shop. I have a piece from Osteal that was gifted to me and is really nice. Very reasonable pricing.

Sumayyah Said So.  This shop is run by a dear friend of mine. I have, gosh five pieces from them? Anyway, they make beautiful jewelry including earrings, wrapped stones and necklaces. US shipping only.

Shakur Arts Studio. Looking for something really unique? Another shop run by a dear friend. They have some really beautiful and creative fiber/yarn art pieces. Yarn and beads they also make some really lovely collage art.

Wolftea. I don’t know how I found Wolftea but I have a couple of their antler pieces and I just love them. If you are going for a forest witch or Dark Mori inspo, this shop has it.

My secret to finding accessories is that I limit my search terms. For instance, search bone jewelry on etsy and find a HUGE choice of items that range from 5-10$ on up through the 100s.

This is also where I encourage you to get your thrift on. Whether online or in the shops. If you have holy grail items, set yourself some alerts in ebay or Poshmark. When I set my search alerts I usually will do the name of a style and my size. Or if it is harder to find, just the name of the style.

Here’s the thing about aesthetics. Some folks just like a Dark or Gothy Aesthetic. That’s fine. Some folks are ALL in with the culture. Also fine. Dark aesthetics being trendy isn’t the end of the world. One brand *cough Killstar* isn’t newly making being Goth expensive. This has been a thing forever, not because of trends but because capitalism. Be mad at the right thing.

And lastly, y’alls. Have some fuckin fun. Aesthetics doesn’t have to be srs business even if it is Goth Aesthetics. Enjoy yourself. Wear a crop top. Get your booty shorts on. Wear winklepickers with broomstick skirts and band tees. Do you Boo.

Goth it up on A Budget

Hello my darlings!

Your fave Fine Ass Old Auntie returns. We’re going to be talking about clothing and accessories that are budget friendly AND easily Gothable.

First a definition of terms.

Gothable- an item that can go Goth with attitude, accessories or styling or cause you say so.

Below there will be a pin board full of straight and plus size ideas. I’ll toss in some more masc stuff as well. I will say I am no expert in masc leaning clothing because frankly I am Femme as Fuck.

Some personal style history. In the past 20 years or so, I’ve gone from OMG SO GOTH MY ASS IS SHINY IN DAYLIGHT as in wearing a lot of club clothing, vinyl during the day type goth. I’ve done ruffly lace fancy Goth. I’ve done punky goth, some kinderwhore. A LOT O GOTH. I think I’ve not done a lot of Victorian Goth or EGL or a bunch of other styles because $$ for fashion haven’t been plentiful.

In the last decade or so I tend towards the slightly absurd office goth. I like comfy. I like a stretchy waistband. I wear a lot of skirts, I love dresses. I’m very partial as I’ve mentioned to the skater skirt. I’m not very particular about where I shop. Let’s talk about that for a sec.

Some of my links will be fast fashion. I personally am not in a position to vote with my cash most of the time. I just can’t afford it. I like the idea of saving for an amazing ethical piece but in reality, for me and a lot of folks that is impractical.

Prior to my weight changing, I really didn’t think about it because most of the indie dark witchy brands just (and still) don’t go above a size 10 or 12 if you’re lucky. Even now that I’m a chonky 10/12 a LOT of the designers I love are not checking for my lil ass.

For instance I am OBSESSED with Sisters of the Black Moon and I have literally dreamed of this dress. The FLUIR DRESS BLACK LINEN. It costs $305.00. Now, yes craftmanship and everything. I’m not mad about the price. That said, if I had that type of cash to spend on a single garment, nah. I could probs fit into Large
Bust: 31 1/2″
Waist: 35″
Length: 54 1/4″

But the way I’m built, no way because um, my bust is not smaller than my waist. I run into the same problem with the beautiful things from Noctex. This item I could save up for BUT, my titties. I have them. Big ones. This is not built for someone who is not the shape of the model if that is the look you’re going for.

Often in Goth circles, folks will get up in arms over Goth being trendy. Remember that H&M Girl with the Dragon Tattoo collection? I saw a lot of hand wringing and ZOMFG MALL GOTH WE ARE SPECIAL type lamentation and y’all, wrong attitude. Yes, DIY is great. However, it is not just a matter of being able to slap shit together. Not all of us can design. Not all of us can sew. No, not everyone can sew together clothing. That is bullshit. AND often, the materials to make one shitty franken thing cost as much as just buying the damn thing.

If you can make something awesome. if not, shit store bought is fucking fine.

One of the other reasons why I love Goth as a trend is that the styles circulating in the indie and high end Gothdom, come down to earth and will fit my ass and the asses of my fat friends. If you’re mad at mall goths, you’re mad at folks who likely can’t afford to sit with you and, you might as well click away.

Ahem.

Also a lot of what you’ll find in the pinboard is office appropriate. Yes in theory we all want to wild out and wear what the fuck we want when we want but, puppies don’t appear out of nowhere when we want them either and bitches got rent to pay.

I’m not including shoes because that is a whole other thing.

Some tips.

If you cannot go full goth at work for reasons, little touches are great. Spooky jewelry from the cheesy Halloweeny stuff to beautiful handmade occult or bone jewelry. Make up is also an option. From a classic wing to a fierce AF black lip. The fun part is figuring out how much of your freak flag to fly.

My opinion, much like my style is pretty easy. Do what makes you feel fancy and if someone is doing none of the following:

  • Feeding you
  • Paying your rent
  • Fucking you
  • Paying you in general

Nobody gives a shit what they think about your aesthetic choices.

Let’s talk affordability. That is also highly subjective. Two years ago, I couldn’t afford an unplanned pair of 30$ shoes. These days with my improved credit lines, I can usually work it out to spend more. Do you.

Let’s get our mall goth on. I suggest HIGHLY following me on Pinterest. I am putting together a LOT of idea boards. I will mark stuff that is expensive to me in the fantasy boards. Full disclosure, some of the links I get a tenth of a penny if you click em.

 

 

Struggle Bus Natural- Big ole Update

Let’s talk about my hair.

So this is gonna be a lowkey hair growth update and some observations because I blew out my hair and have been wearing it out.

I’ve been natural for I dunno how long. I had a few times where I went back to relax my hair a bit.

Last weekend I gave myself a blow out because I got bored with my wig and am in the home stretch of my move and didn’t want to really be messing with my hair.

For a while I’ve been kind of struggling thinking my hair was thin. Now that I’ve figured out more how to care for my hair I dunno. I think that too many years of following other naturals who don’t have the same texture as me or my head of hair was rearing up.

I don’t have the big magnificent hair that we see as the marker of Black beauty. I just don’t. It is big. It is not orderly and my fro does this when I don’t mess with it:

That is how my hair looks completely nude. No product. Freshly washed and just let to do what she wanna do. I have a deep natural part in my hair that literally goes from my forehead to almost the crown of my head. I have always had it. The texture of my hair along the part is looser and grows almost kinky straight.

I also thought my edges were thinning. I do have one slightly baldy spot in my edges on the left that happens when I am too stressed out. It just does. This move has maxed my stressed levels so my lil freakout spot is filling back in but was clean bald for a minute. Also the softest bit of skin ever on my whole body for a bit.

I looked at some older photos that I can’t find now and y’all, that’s just how my edges are.

My fellow struggle bus naturals. Hey, you. Come here. If your hair isn’t the fluffiest most plum n juicy curls it is okay. Your hair is great. My hair is great OKAY.

Okay.

SO I gave myself a BOMB blowout. I prepood with coconut oil. A word about coconut oil. I know it has fallen out of fashion. Personally my hair is not on the straight protein bandwagon and doing an overnight coconut oil prepoo once or twice a month makes a huge difference for me. If I use coconut oil a bit sparingly, it works way better. Pro tip.

Then I double cleansed. I used the Shea Moisture (yeah I know we’ll get to it) Raw Shea butter shampoo. (YES amazon affiliatelinks cause Auntie needs coins). So a while back Shea Moisture decided to cash out and go “multi culteral” and in their ads, really ignored the Black women mainly who shot that brand into the stratosphere. They did apologize but I am still not really into them. I also know that some of their products have changed a lot so they are more friendly to White folks and that just makes me angry. I had some of the JBCO lines and compared bottles on the same products and it was very disappointing. THey also called some Black bloggers liars for pointing it out. So I don’t really fucks with them that much.

I had it around and used it.

I followed up with a sulfate shampoo. Garnier Fructis Brazilian Smooth Fortifying Shampoo. Y’all, I have so many Garnier products they are really going in. I LOVE their stuff and it is so inexpensive and easy to find. When I know I’m going to use heat I always use a shampoo that is either anti breakage or fortifying or smoothing. Straightening wash day is about keeping my hair strong and moist.

I followed up with my black tea rinse. I use a jug basically and hot tap water. I drop 4-6 bags of plain black tea in there the night before (I like it strong, if you don’t drink tea or coffee do it an hour before you wash) and then before I wash I dig out the tea bags and drop in a few drops of lavender essential oil or peppermint. Over the years I’ve tried many anti breakage and anti shedding remedies and always come back to black tea. You can also do it in a spray bottle as part of your leave in or do it like I do. After rinsing out all my shampoo I saturate my hair with the tea and massage it into my scalp. Then I added my deep conditioner on top.

I always mix my deep conditioners. I have yet to find one single formula that does it all. This particular mix I wanted some strength and a lot of moisture and less oil than I use when I am not heat styling. I had some trial packets of the Garnier Whole Blends Repairing Mask Honey Treasures so I used some of those. A few sploots of Pantene Pro-V Anti-Breakage Conditioner that I picked up at Grocery outlet a while back. Interestingly, the black folks line from Pantene irritates the shit out of my scalp. I filled it out with some random other moisturizing conditioners. And of course I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil and just the smallest dollop of castor oil. I sat under my bonnet dryer for fifteen minutes, had a hot flash and went and took a nap.

I have a handheld dryer with this giant weird comb/brush/roller attachment thing. It is really old and they don’t make it anymore. But basically it has a finer tooth comb bit, then the air comes out of the larger tooth bit and on the back are these little velvety roller things. Once I figured out how to use that with the tension method voila. For heat protection I used Garnier Fructis Style Smooth Blow Dry Anti-Frizz Cream. Y’all that shit is so good.

This was my result, no other product. Just before I cut about 2 inches off.

hairs

[image description: The author, brown skinned person with kinky blown out hair. Wearing glasses and a lip ring]

Y’all look at my hair.

Is it the thickest? No. But it is so beautiful and I’m so happy with my progress. My roots weren’t super straight which is fine. Yes, all my hair photos I’m bare ass because I don’t wear clothes when I do my hair.

My next project post move will be to make more of my hair growth/scalp stimulation/healing oil. And this summer I might start whipping my own shea butter. AND this summer, I’m tackling some styles so stay tuned for that.

That’s all babes.

Wardrobe and stretchiness.

This upcoming move has given me the nudge I needed to really get to work on redoing my wardrobe.

As an aging Goth, while my heart yearns for the fanciest of frills and tight lacing and leather and whatnot, reality is I don’t really have the means for that. Okay hold up.

Let me say something about Goth and other subcultures that irritates the shit out of me. The insistence that you cannot be a real *enter subculture here* unless you DIY or dress just so you are a poseur. Can we be real? Regardless of age, the fact is not all of us have the skill to DIY it all. DIY can be more expensive in terms of sourcing materials, skill and time than just buying a thing.

I REALLY wish we could leave that narrative behind. The whole debate has been around for so long and frankly I find it ableist and boring.

ANTEEWAY.

Aging Goth-righty right.

My aesthetic is moving towards all things layered and comfy. Some Femme Goth Prince Nightmare fuel. I want floaty, witchy, stretchy, chunky boots everything. If money and size were not a thing (I’ll put a pinboard at the bottom) I would be a walking Killstar ad. There would be a lot of weird indie designer stuff, lots of one of a kinds. Handmade.

That said, I’ll do what I do best. Rebuild from cheap basics. (Affiliate links ahoy)

Some basics to build on. I have at least four skater skirts of varying length. I have them from mini to midi and they are a staple in my wardrobe. The secret to buying them online is always, ALWAYS look at the measuring chart AND read the reviews. Even if folks aren’t your size, you can extrapolate. So if a person says they usually wear an XXS and the size M was too tight to go over their hips, you know if you’re a size M you should size way up or get another skirt. I love them tucked in, with cardigans, with boots, with mary janes, thigh high socks, crop tops. LOVE THEM. If you get one that’s too short, layer it up.

Next thing. Y’all I have been singing praises about fold over waist skirts for like ten years. Wheelchair using babes or folks with any type of neuropathy or other thing that might make you sensitive to a tight waistband, GET ON THIS. Because the waist folds rather than cinches, you can wear them and not worry about them cutting in. You can get them in a million colors, varying lengths. I don’t recommend paying more than 20$ MAX because the waist will stretch out over time but honestly, a super versatile staple and I personally have been wearing them forever. Also great for layering. Fat babes, especially if you have a big belly these are fantastic. Wear them on your belly, below your belly, pulled up to your tits. They are just that comfy.

For basic tops, I’m a ride or die plain tee or tank kinda person. Although, I am getting into wanting to try some tops with like peephole backs and straps and shit. I buy packs of ribbed tanks, I like camisoles. Mostly I don’t want my titties bedazzled.

In terms of my wardrobe, I’m moving towards all stretch except a couple of pairs of things. I am finally starting to adapt and learn how to dress for physical problems I have and to not only wear shit I like but accommodate what my body needs. I’ve been working a lot on my ableism towards myself and my body and I think I’m doing okay.

I just don’t physically tolerate a lot of stuff and working with it sometimes makes me annoyed. My goal with my wardrobe as I’m an redoing it is as follows:

  • My clothes should be able to fit me and still look the way I want +/- 15 or so pounds or whatever bloating I happen to be doing.
  • I want soft textiles.
  • I want variety.
  • I want some fuckin prints.

Like, y’all. I have been working really hard on confronting my own ableism towards myself and this is a pretty big step for me. My body needs some stuff and I’m working on providing it.

As I’m looking at redoing my wardrobe my focus is a lot on boots, leggings, interesting cardigans and layrable things. My style is very much settling on going between anime villain, to Femme Goth Office drag to how I really wanted to dress in the 90s.

The other thing factoring in is storage. We’re moving to a very small place so I want stuff I can fold rather than hang and have it not be a problem.

I’ll keep y’all posted.

Below find my pinboard with ideas, from lots of places. I’ll be adding to it.

 

 

2017 for the Struggle Bus Natural.

About the last one for the year y’alls.

I’m gonna look at hair stuff.

SOoooo y’all.

I had intended to make this big dramatic post, patting myself on the back and twerking in joy because I found a braid extension that doesn’t involve cornrows and that I can do. If you are interested see here. If you want to learn how to do cornrowless crochet braids of any type, seriously sub to Jazz Nicole and learn. Her videos are easy to follow and even I COULD DO IT.

So I practiced. And Sunday I got started.

First thing what had happened was-

I had some MAJOR knots down at my goddamn scalp. I could feel them. Getting them out was traumatic. Because I’ve been mainly finger and wide tooth comb detangling, I’ve avoided a lot of breakage buuuuuuuuuuuuut them little evil ass gremlin knots slipped through the big comb and I damn well know that gliding my fingers from scalp to ends is a no go. SO that was, fucking terrible.

Y’all.

Y’ALL.

Because I don’t heat style more than maybe once a year, I had to fight them knots. I was very gentle but about a quarter of the way through, my scalp started to hurt really badly. Just, sore and bruised so I stopped and resumed on Monday. When I was almost in tears because my whole goddamn head was hurting like I got hit, I should have stopped but………..I did not.

Listen to your Auntie babes.

If your body is saying. HEY NO PLS WHAT THE FUCK STOP NO FUCK U BITCH! Listen.

However, after a few maybe scissor happy trims my hair is doing very well. It is juicy moist, soft. Everything I want and I’m retaining length. That is huge for me because I’m going for booty length hair and I can’t be losing my inches to bullshit.

 

 

The evolution of oh noness. First pic, doing the first section. Holding my hair out I was feeling myself. Second photo, me feeling myself HUGELY. My pretty little braids were soft and shiny. Swingy. Third photo, hours later this is the sweaty face of defeat. That was the point I decided to just give up.

So defeat.

But! Good news.

I have added a new layer of understanding about my hair.

I need a hard all the way down to the scalp, tiny ass comb detangling at least once a month.

My current routine is working out very nicely. Here’s how I get down.

I am hardcore protective styling. I’m wearing wigs.

Doing the LOC method regularly works for me. My hair still loves a heavy ass butter/oil PAPOW combo. When I’m on my game, I only really need to moisturize after washing, then two days later. Then again on wash day.

Now let’s talk about some products I like.

For moisturizing. For a non handmade cream I like some few brands.

Asiam Double Butter Cream. Not bad. It is nicely moisturizing, has good stuff in it and is pretty easy to find.

Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream. WITH a caveat. Cantu products are VERY proteiny. Use with caution especially if your hair is protein sensitive. That said, it is a great one to use if your hair is feeling a little weak. Not a lot, a little goes a long way.

Really for me if something has a good base of shea butter AND has oils, it’s gonna be great.

Oils:

Commercially blended oils.

This one does have a silicone but it’s not a biggie for me. My hair isn’t mad about cones. Hot 6 oil. I love to use it as a base for other stuff.

I like to mix in:

Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Always a fave of mine. My scalp LOVES this shit and when I have an itchy spot it does it for me.

I will also drop in a little bit of peppermint or tea tree oil.

For commercial oils, what you want is to make sure they don’t have mineral oil and if you’re sensitive to silicones skip it.

Oils from the grocery store.

Coconut oil. Y’all do not get fooled into paying vast amounts. Go to a hood grocery, buy a jar of coconut oil. I know it isn’t the big thing anymore but my hair loves it.

Other kitchen oils: olive oil is amazing. For me I like my oils a bit heavier but olive is great and no it doesn’t have to be the fanciest most extra virgin olive ever. Plain ole olive oil, just check the label to make sure it is pure olive oil.

If you live where you can get to a brown folks grocery, look for palm oil.I’ve used it as a hot oil treatment and it was GREAT. Also avocado oil but it is expensive where I live so I tend not to use it.

For ultra softening get a good fatty ass oil.

Non eatin oils:

I LOVE light castor oil and buy one or two bottles a year. My brand is NOW Solutions Castor Oil. Y’all. This is so great to have on hand. I use it to boost conditioners, I use it when I have dry scaly spots on my butt. Honestly that one is my one true love. I’ve used others, jojoba etc but my hair likes it heavy.

Leave ins:

I bounce between two primarily.

My first love is the Oyin Juices n Berries. I am a ride or die og Oyin fan. They make my FAVE whipped butter.  I love the light mist and the scent of juices and berries. This is great for me. It does have glycerin in it so I alternate it with another leave in.

Creme of Nature with argan oil – Strength & Shine Leave-In Conditioner. I LOVE this product. It is a bit more of a heavy spray but gives some excellent slip. Really great. I love this one.

Plain water is great. Occasionally I like to do water mixed with a sploot of oil.

The biggest thing I’ve learned this year about my hair is that I really need to just do me. I LOVE learning about the big wide diverse world of natural hair, I just gotta remember not to try EVERY DAMN SHINY THING ON MYSELF.

Also y’all, I had some setbacks didn’t make my goal length and I am so happy. I love my hair so much.

Coming up in 2018 I’m planning on going HARD on the protective styling. What can I say, I want mermaid hair.

There will be more wig reviews, maybe some struggle bus how to basics?

I dunno.

Happy new year y’all.

2017…..looking back.

2017 has been a giant trash fire.

So….yeah nope.

That said let’s talk about some of my favorite things.

Skincare up first. *Most of these will be affiliate links, Auntie needs coins cause bitches gotta eat.

Cleaners:

L’Oreal Pure Clay Cleanser Detox and Brighten. I am on my second tube of this and I really love it. Leaves my skin nice and clean, it lathers up nicely. It is a bit too perfumy but overall it does me good.

Garnier Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser Sensitive Skin. Y’all know (I will do a new reggie post soon) I double cleanse my face. I picked this up and am about done with a tube. It removes make up really nicely. I use this first. It is gentle enough that my skin stays moist but it does a good job on my long wear foundation. If you don’t wear fourteen pounds of mascara regularly, it gets off mascara well too.

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser. SUCH a great mid/low Sephora type price cleanser. It does in fact deep clean but doesn’t leave my face stripped. This one is in heavy rotation I use it at least twice a week. It is nice and thick, has a great texture on the skin.

BIORÉ Charcoal Acne Cleanser.  This one is a winner with a few caveats. First one, my personal face is very suspicious of salicylic acid. I don’t use it a lot because my skin will get mega dehydrated. That said, I keep this cleanser on deck for hormonal breakouts. Or if my face just feels grody. It will clean the shit out of your face. Great low cost deep DEEP cleanser to have on hand.

GARNIER SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Makeup Remover.  When I first got this, I kind of hated it. I felt like it leaves a film, took WAY too much work to get my make up off because I wear a shitload. HOWEVER, it is really great to follow the make up removing lotion and it will get off ALL my seventeen pounds of mascara and liner without scrubbing. It is great to just get off any missed make up and I’ve been using it daily. If you have dry skin and don’t wear a lot of make up, this might be amazing for you.

Toners:

Now I am a relatively new convert to this step. That said. I’ve been trying some.

I use a 50/50 mix of Bragg USDA Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, With The Mother  and filtered water. I actually feel personally attacked by this. Y’all. I HATE HATE HATE the smell of acv but, it works so well on my body. It works so nicely it makes me ANGRY. I legit get mad. The toner, balances my face and my skin just feels better using it. I used it for three months, took a month off and absolutely noticed a difference in the feel of my skin. I haven’t been able to do a shot of it a day but, baby steps. We’re gonna revisit it.

Moisturizers/serums/oils.

First up Vitamin C serums. My two favorites are Claire-ity 25% Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E and Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E – Anti-Aging Tropical Facial Serum by Umber.  They are almost identical. The Umber serum is a tad bit more liquidy but they perform the same for me. I like having my hyaluronic acid in with the vitamin C. This is another product I questioned the efficacy of. After I ran out of the Claireity I went without for a couple of months and yeah. It matters for my skin. Using vit c serum absolutely helps keep me from developing new hyperpigmentation, my skin is more even toned. Also my current hyperpigmentation smooths out way faster.

THE ORDINARY Buffet. I was on the fence about this one but stopped using it for a while. When it joins with all the other shit I put on my face, smoother skin. Plumper skin. Hydrated skin so I really do love it.

My FAVORITE facial oil isn’t available online. I use a CVS house brand brightening oil. Y’all. It is the SHIT. I was underwhelmed with Argan oil for my face, I honestly grabbed it on a whim and I am very impressed. I’m not sure about the brightening powers but, using it has absolutely upped the general moisturization of my face. HA WAIT I lied. Find it here.

Masks:

Get a snack this is taking a while. For masks I keep quite a few on hand depending on what my skin needs. Some are interchangeable some not so much.

I use sheet masks a lot. I picked up this multipack and y’all. I especially recommend using these after any deep cleansing, deep exfoliation or peels. Mostly, I use them for the hardcore moisture. Also it is just relaxing.

Next up some hardcore ride or dies.

FORMULA 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra Cleansing Mud Mask. This is marketed for teens and if you’ve been  here a minute, y’all have seent it. This brand is marketed for teens but I bust it out when I’ve got hormonal breakouts or my skin is just trippin. I love it.

Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask. For surface scrubby exfoliation (for me it helps with my peely scaly ass face) this is really great. Not too gritty, leaves my skin soft and fresh. Also the price!!!

Another OH SHIT MY FACE mask is the ORIGINS Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask to Rescue Problem Skin. Y’all. Y’ALL. This shit right here is reserved for my OH FUCK OH FUCK WTF IS THAT SHIT moments. It is powerful and not for the sensitive of faceballs. It is intense enough at drying up pimples that now that my skin is generally clear I reserve it for spot treating bumps, mainly anything with a whitehead, or those shitty under the skin bumps. It works. It will make your eyes water.

I use other masks mainly for relaxation. For instance those packet sauna masks and shit. The Montagne Jeunesse Red Hot Earth Sauna Masque is one of my favorite things on earth. It doesn’t do  much but I love the sensation of self heating so much I will buy them by the handful for strictly relaxing purposes.

Moisturizers- eh none this year have blown my socks off.

So let’s stop there cause I got more and ain’t nobody got time for that.

Come back probably Monday for body stuff!!

What are your faves?

Femme Files- Playing with my make up

Let’s talk beauty today my loves.

One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that my love of make up is something that fulfills some very specific needs. It lets me play, when I was a baby potato I loved playing dress up and doing a full face of make up. I could spend literal hours carefully trying to replicate make up looks from magazines. I have lots of good memories of this.

One of them was when my Mom was a hair model for a small salon. On select days, she’d pack me up and we’d go to the salon and she’d get her hair done and do a shoot. There was a make up artist who after seeing me gently looking in his kit, set me up at a station and I successfully duplicated a shiny red lip/smokey eye combo. I loved him, I never made a mess. It was magic to me then and is magic to me now.

Once I got over hating make up for a while in my 20s because I couldn’t afford Mac and drug stores usually carried only beige and dark beige I started playing again. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Lately I’ve been deep diving my stash for funsies.

First let me show you some old tries from years ago.

This one is from 2008ish? It was my first try at emulating a youtube tutorial. It was done by Leesha from xSparkagex (whom I still follow because she’s delightful):

hulkeye

[image description: close up of a brown eye. There is green and yellow eyeshadow on the upper lid, purple lining the lower]

Back then I was often too shy to post my make up experiments more publicly. I was in a make up lovers community on Livejournal that was so empowering and people were often so kind.

I didn’t wear a lot of color for a couple of years and I don’t know why. Lately I’ve been ALL about playing with stuff like mixing finishes, loud lips.

Let’s have a looksy.

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[image description: the author. Brown skinned femme wearing a long straight dark wig, smokey eye and sparkly red lipgloss]

This look was to go with my new wig. I have been into really undone brows (I almost shaved them off…let’s not talk about it) and here is my technique for a messy grungy smokey eye. You need something dark or black as a base. For this look I used a Sigma Black eyeshadow base that they don’t sell anymore. I also have this set from LA girl and it is the BUSINESS. It works better for me than the UD primer potion and most expensive shadow primers I’ve tried. So use the primer to rough in the shape you like then pack on black or dark eyeshadow and blend until you like it. I used the glittery black from this Maybelline The Rock Nudes Palette. For an inexpensive palette, I’m pretty into this one. Some of the shades you have to work with but overall, it is a great little thing for those dark colors. There are shimmer and matte finishes. I’m into it. The lipgloss was from the Wet N Wild Halloween collection and is super glittery in meatspace.

Don’t sleep on Wet N Wild, it is not the crap of my 90s teenagerhood. They are cruelty free and a LOT of their new stuff is the bomb y’all.

Next lewk.

20171031_061916.jpg

[image description: brown skinned femme wearing their hair in two plaits, black cat eye liner, matte black lipstick and smiling]

Technically this was my Halloween costume. Being an Old Goth means all I had to do was dip in my closet and voila, insta Wednesday Addams. Generally speaking, this is a go to I’m tired and still wanna be cute look. I have literally been doing the same cat eye for probably 20 years. Some days the wing is real big, sometimes not. I like to play with variations on a cat eye. I’ll do the upper wing in one color and the lower in another.

Some of my favorite combos include:

Black on top, messy burgundy on the bottom. I LOVE doing black on top with a metallic green on the bottom.

If you don’t have nine million liners for color pro tip.

For a neat line, do your primer or base color then use a firm small brush like this to pat on the color. Don’t swipe, pack. You can even use the edge of a sponge applicator to pat pat pat in the color. An angled brush like this one is pretty easy to use.

For a messier/grungy application, use a fluffier brush. For my eyes, I will start with the precision application and go in with a pointy blender brush like this one to blur out that shadow. Pro tip about brushes. You don’t have to use expensive brushes to do your make up. My go to daily use brushes are all from E.L.F.

My favorite foundation brush is this one from ELF. It’s their ultimate blending brush and it just works so well. I think I paid like six bucks for it. I have a 25$ one that is like it but I just don’t use it as much. It doesn’t perform as well. I have a TON of their eyeshadow brushes, the white ones. I love them.

I also love the Real Techniques brushes you can find in the drug store. My FAVORITE thing they make is this silicone eyeliner brush. Y’all. This shit right here was a game changer for me and my liner. It was weird to get used to but since there are no bristles, you can get some amazing fine control.

The thing about make up to me is that, it’s not permanent. It is for some of us, how we brace ourselves to deal with the world. Yes sometimes I do stuff that is questionable with my looks and it’s fine. I can take it off or I can rock with it.

Lately, I’ve been trying to learn how to do that neon liner look that was all the rage for a minute. I have yet to master it. I’m also trying to teach myself to put lashes on STILL and shit is hard af.

IF you wanna follow my make up shenanigans follow me on insta for mostly make up, food, random shit. Next time we’re here, I’m gonna talk about skin care I’m lusting after.