Team Natural Roundup

IMG_0001I’m such a bad naturalista! Yesterday I was discussing natural hair with a young lady at work and I mentioned to her that I blogged about natural hair. Knowing that I blog about a lot more than just natural hair, I corrected myself and added that I blogged about “other stuff too!” At her request, I passed along the link to This and That. I was messing around on the blog and decided to review what was located in the Natural Hair Care category and was disappointed that not only had I not posted about natural hair in a while, but that I didn’t have much to say on the blog about natural hair PERIOD!

So, after slapping myself on the wrist with my trusty rattail comb, I realized that I have so many natural hair go-to gurus, I don’t really spend too much time actually talking about it on the blog. However, I post a lot on Pinterest and on the This and That With Calandra fan page on Facebook. So…I’ve decided to at least offer a quick roundup of my favorite naturalistas. Here goes:

Black Girl With Long Hair –

Hair Gets Kinky When Wet –

Lexi With the Curls – lexiwiththecurls.comYou can also check out Lexi’s YouTube channel.

My favorite beauty blogger, Patrice Yursik, aka Afrobella (aka “Calandra’s hair crush”!) –

Last but not least, my favorite naturalista – not just because of her hair, but because she’s such a cool chick! Whitney aka Naptural85 on YouTube!



Natural Hair…Don’t Care

Not only has it been a while since I’ve posted, but I have definitely not posted about natural hair for a LONG while! I am exactly 18 months natural – technically it has been longer than that, as I have not had a relaxer in my hair for over two years. But my “natural debut” occurred on July 27, 2011, the day before my 42nd birthday. Did I plan to “go natural?” Yes. Was I trying to make some statement about natural hair? Absolutely not! The only reason I went natural was because I was tired of spending money on weaves, relaxers, etc, just to have my own hair left in a weakened state. I looked back at pictures of myself as a child and longed for the days I had an old-fashioned “press and curl.” My pre-perm, pre-weave days.  My hair was thick and shoulder length. But more importantly, it was HEALTHY! That is why I wanted to go natural. I wanted MY hair back, my strong, healthy hair.

Now don’t get me wrong…there are people with relaxers and weaves who have perfectly healthy hair. My stylist of 16 years always made certain my hair was treated with the utmost care. She wasn’t just one to style my hair – she helped take care of it. But there are just some times when our hair doesn’t want to be bombarded with chemicals that disturb the natural curl pattern. I knew that the only way to restore the true health of my hair was to take it back to the old days.

During my transition phase

When I stopped wearing the wigs and braids I had used during my transition period (transitioning is the process by which you slowly grow out your natural hair, gradually cutting away the relaxed ends of your hair), I was worried that I wouldn’t like having such short hair. I was afraid of becoming bored with the style and want to go back to using the “creamy crack” (a term used to describe chemical relaxers).

My first day going to work with my natural 'do.

My first day going to work with my natural ‘do

So 18 months later, I am happier with my hair than I thought I would be. Not only is it healthy, but it’s FUN! I love feeling my natural waves, curls and coils. I have embraced my textures without feeling the NEED to straighten my hair. Since going natural, I have had my hair flatironed about 3 times,  for a length check and to have my edges trimmed.  I love being natural because my hair is actually MORE versatile. Does every woman need to be natural? No. I have not become a fanatic who insists that all women stop putting chemicals in their hair. My journey was MY journey. God bless the sisters who are still relaxing and weaving. As long as you are taking care of it, and happy under it, do your own thing.

ME 3-2-12

Go Team Natural!

This and That This Week: Highlights From the 2012 Hair Revival

Leilani Yizar, Guest Contributor

Please welcome Guest Contributor, Leilani Yizar, who agreed to share her thoughts on the 2012 Hair Revival, sponsored by Doris New York Hair Care Products and SistahGirlfriends, Inc.

Is Natural Hair a Movement or a Trend?  Can the way you wear your hair affect your getting a job?  How does a man like his woman to wear her hair?  Am I doing right by my hair?  All these questions and many more were discussed at the Hair Revival, held at the South Oxford Space in Brooklyn,New York on January 21, 2012. This exciting, intensifying, informational forum was hosted by Doris New York Hair Care Products and SistahGirlfriends, Inc. Women and men of all hair types were welcomed to hear a dynamic panel discuss what you can do with your hair, how far you can go with it, and what is the next move. The panelists were:

Winsome Sinclair – Chief Managing Partner, Winsome Sinclair and Associates

Michelle Joyce – President and CEO, Digital Chick Consulting

Brian Luvar – Director/Producer/Photographer. President and CEO Grandma’s Watching Productions

Marlene Duperley – Hair Care Expert/Stylist. Co-Owner and SVP Doris New York Hair Care Products

Edward M. Johnson – Managing Director, Rebel Visions Corporation

Andrea Wilson – Celebrity Hairstylist.

To some, hair is a statement, a simple look, a lifestyle, your heritage. It means so many things; but one known fact is that hair needs love too. Our panel of experts educated us on how much one has to condition their hair to keep it healthy; and what products are good for different types of hair! No judgment was passed, which made it more comfortable for the audience to feel free to express themselves and ask important questions. We heard a man’s perspective when Brian was asked how he likes his woman to wear her hair. He responded that as long as her hair looked nice and she kept herself looking nice, he was fine with that. His answer was well received.

When passion is mixed into conversation, things can tend to become intense. With the next subject, that’s exactly how it went down.  The moderator (Calandra Branch) asked the question which sparked the most controversy, “How does your appearance (hair) affect your professional status?”  There seemed to be a consensus on the panel that in order to work in the business world, one should have a more polished professional look.  Some people in the audience were appalled by this statement and the debate on what is considered professional and what should be accepted to all started a immense conversation about race, discrimination, and what we should do to change the dynamics of what is going on in this world. The forum ended on that note, which will be a great opening for the next Hair Revival. Although things were heated in the end, people left with smiles on their faces, swag bags filled with candles and hair care products, some raffled gifts in hand, and inspiration in their hearts. What a way to start anew.  Feeling Inspired, Feeling Hopeful, Feeling Revived.

Click HERE to see a photo slideshow of the event!

(Photography by Rowena Husbands of Blink Of An Eye Photography)


Thank you Leilani for a great post! On behalf of Doris New York Hair Care Products and SistahGirlfriends, Inc., we are thankful to all who attended our inaugural event! Thanks to Sofistafunk – The Original Skirt Company (, Doris New York Hair Care Products (www.dorisnewyork), and Bubble Babez Bath Company ( for donating our three raffle prizes – a custom-fitted skirt, a set of the full line of Doris New York products, and a sampler basket of homemade scented soap slices, max welts, sugar bath cubes and lotion bars! We support our entrepreneurs! If you are interested in supplying samples, services or products for future events, please contact us at


2012 Hair Revival!


Attention beauties of the NYC area! Its about to go down in 2012!! Doris New York Hair Care Products and Sistah Girlfriends, Inc. sponsor our first Annual Hair Revival!
We are excited to launch our inaugural event as a salute to ALL hair types. Join us for an enlightening and thought-provoking panel discussion featuring:

  • Winsome Sinclair – Chief Managing Partner, Winsome Sinclair and Associates
  • Michelle Joyce – President and CEO, Digital Chick Consulting
  • Brian Luvar – Director/Producer/Photographer. President and CEO Grandma’s Watching Productions
  • Marlene Duperley – Hair Care Expert/Stylist. Co-Owner and SVP Doris New York Hair Care Products
  • Edward M. Johnson – Managing Director, Rebel Visions Corporation

And for our entrepreneurs…We are looking for swag bag sponsors. If you are interested, please email us at Thank you.

For more information, check out our Facebook event page.

This and That This Week: Doris New York

Doris New York is an amazing hair care company I mentioned after my visit to the Circle of Sisters Expo in New York. Check out my video review of their Leave In Conditioner ($15) and Olive Oil Hair Cream ($17).

These are two great products from a beautiful and professional hair care company. The care they take in promoting and representing their brand is amazing.

Click here to see the entire product review.

“Reed Between the Lines” Takes on Natural Hair and Self-Acceptance

I have not been able to watch regularly the new BET show Reed Between the Lines, but I was able to catch a repeat last night. The episode, “Let’s Talk About Hair” (NOTE: Spoiler Alert!) focused on the teenage daughter, Kaci, who emphatically wears her hair naturally curly, who refuses to wear a wig to cover her natural hair, and who reluctantly has her hair flat-ironed in order to play the part of a princess in a school play. I had read earlier on Twitter that the episode was going to deal with natural hair, so I thought the story line would focus on Kaci being upset when told by the drama teacher that her character had long, flowy hair, and not “that” – negatively pointing to her natural ‘do.  But the show took an interesting turn. She reluctantly allows her mother to flat-iron her hair for the part instead of having to wear the rather ugly wig, which was fine because many ‘naturalistas’ straighten or blow-out their hair to achieve a different, but still natural, look. When she arrived at school the next day, a classmate on whom she has a big crush and who she can never seem to connect with, compliments her hair, telling her she looks like Beyoncé. She starts acting especially girly, deciding that she now likes her hair straight, and even attempts to put in a home relaxer. Her mother is concerned about this change in attitude, not because Kaci wants to wear her hair straight, but because of the reason why she wants to straighten her hair – to impress a boy. She tries to encourage her to think about the permanence of her decision, citing that putting in a relaxer can change her curl pattern, that it will take years for her natural hair to come back. I felt like I was reading a natural hair blogger, or reading tips on Twitter! What a relevant subject matter to discuss!! As I watched, I realized that before wearing my hair natural, I may not have really understood what “the big deal” was in this situation, just as Kaci didn’t really understand. I hope this episode shed some light and served as a teaching moment, albeit brief, about the importance not just of loving your hair, but of loving yourself enough to be true to yourself instead of conforming to someone else’s ideal of you.

What made the episode even more interesting was that the young man had ALWAYS liked her hair. He only complimented her straight hair because he was shy and now he had an excuse to have a conversation with her. (Side-note: Thank you for not making this young man look like he was only interested in a girl because her hair is straight!)

Bravo Reed Between the Lines!

Actress Zoe Soul (Photo Source:

My Adventure at Circle of Sisters in NYC

I’m pretty sure today is the most motivated I have ever been to write a post so quickly…EVER! This weekend is the Annual Circle of Sisters Expo at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. My best friend Stephanie invited me to go and I am SO glad I was able to make it. We have decided to make this an annual pilgrimage.

What is Circle of Sisters? According to their website, “Circle of Sisters is New York’s largest expo for women of color and hosts a variety of speakers, authors, seminars, inspirational services, R&B and gospels concert in addition to the more than 200 vendors and companies selling unique items and services.” What made it special for me today? I met three incredible women for the first time today and each one of them left an indelible impression on me!

Afrobella – As you all already know, Miss Patrice is my favorite beauty blogger, and she is the creator of my FAVORITE MAC lipglass, All of My Purple Life.

I found out she was going to be moderating a Fall Fashion Show for Bali Shapewear and I knew I had to find her at COS and meet her in person. During the day, I saw actor Anthony Anderson, local newswoman Brenda Blackmon and Pastor/Gospel Singer Donnie McClurkin. But it was my meeting with Miss Patrice that absolutely made my day. I was meeting ROYALTY! She is just as amazing and charming in person as she is in social media!

Calandra and Miss Afrobella!

While at Bali, I met Denise A. Johnson, Editor In Chief of Rainy Day Diva. Such a down-to-earth Sistagirlfriend! She and Stephanie and I found ourselves engaged in a very serious conversation about shapewear! Now you know only sistagirlfriends can talk frankly about shapewear! We had such a great time with her – my new Twitter friend!

Calandra with Denise - Rainy Day Diva

The first booth we visited was #200 – Doris New York ( – our dear friend and sister Marlene Duperley is Owner and Senior VP of this wonderful hair care product company. You must try the Olive Oil Hair Cream, and Leave In Conditioner. AMAZING products. Stephanie and I met Marlene on Facebook, where she moderates 3 awesome pages – Married to Me, MTM for Men, and MTM for Teens. We became great online friends and FINALLY got a chance to meet in person and hang out with our sister.

Calandra, Marlene, Stephanie - Natural Hair Rules!

We also had the chance to meet and hang out with her colleagues and models – what an awesome time we had with them!

The Doris New York Models

These three Divas have been so inspirational! I am so glad to have been able to spend time with them today. Thank  you Patrice, Denise and Marlene for a wonderful day. And special shout-out to my best friend of 25+ years, Stephanie, for suggesting we go.

Calandra and Stephanie - Best Friends Forever! LOL

(Oh yeah, and the rest of the Expo was pretty cool too! LOL)