Writing 101: Five Books You Need In Your Life

November 10, 2009 by


It’s often said that good writers are good readers.

In the early days of my career, I read everything I could get my hands on. I subscribed to over twenty different magazines and spent what little money I had in Barnes and Noble every weekend.

I don’t read nearly as much as I should anymore.

But I do carry many of the lessons from a few of my favorite  books in writing.

If you’re new to writing. Or just need to reinvigorate. Cop these joints. Today.

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The Endorsement: Kinky Curly Hair Products

November 9, 2009 by


Fact: If my mom had Kinky Curly hair products back in 1975, she would have never permed my hair. Or my sister’s hair.

Fact: If more Black women knew about Kinky Curly hair products, lye-based hair care products would take a beating.

So. My stylist, the lovely Lynn at Shades Hair Studio in Livingston, has a special mix that’s made on site that she uses in my TWA. Occasionally, she tries out other products she hears about and she put me on to Kinky Curly. Told me it would be good for my hair in between appointments and good for Tog’s hair too.

I blogged about how my original experience with Kinky Curly on Tog’s hair was a catastrophe. Then, I tried again and had success with two strand twists that lasted for a full week. Yes!

But I still wanted the option of just letting Tog’s hair go free. Like Will’s son Jaden. Someone commented on my blog:

Hi There,

The Jaden fro may be doable yet. I was reviewing how to’s for Kinky Curly last night ( there are several on YouTube)…apparently (after applying the Knot Today detangler) you have to have the hair very wet (keep it wet with a spray bottle if it begins to dry) while applying the custard gel. Section the hair and stroke the custard on in small amounts. Arrange the curls gently and leave them alone until dry (otherwise the word is you get frizz). The finished product will be sticky or hard if you apply too much…and OH, no hair dryers-they ruin the effect of the gel! (just a diffuser at the most). Try it again and let us know how it worked out.

Lisa – October 15, 2009 at 2:53 am e

I went to sleep Saturday night with a mission. Tog would wear her hair out. And it would still make sense. And she would not cry.

Anyone with a nappy-headed child knows that this is a mission impossible.

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November 2, 2009 by

I don’t ask for  much in this world.

I’m pretty low-key.

Definitely low-maintenance.

I just started having a standing hair appointment in the last year or so. (Feel like a grown woman with my every other Thursday at nine joint).

After giving birth, my feet went up a full size and a half. They only came back down a half-size.

A year later, I realized that all my cute shoes were just taunting me from my closet. I stacked them neatly in the foyer of my apartment and parceled them out. To my little sister, to TG’s mom and a few pair to charity. Done. It’s over. I got big feet.

It’s hard to start a shoe game from scratch.

Especially when you have no good reason to buy cute shoes. I’m a freelancer. I haven’t been to an office since 2000. What on earth do I need a cute shoe game for?

After I came to grips with my new shoe size, I began to slowly but surely purchase new shoes, mostly cute flats.

Just picked these up last week.

target shoe

Target. 20 bucks. What?!

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Yay or Nay From Santa Fe with Claire from The Fashion Bomb

October 27, 2009 by

So, as we all know, 2009 is the year I step my game up.

My natural fashion compass currently dials towards Schlump.

When I have to get dressed up, I feel confident that I can be sharp and well put together.

This is a Yay. I don't care what anyone has to say.

This is a Yay. I don't care what anyone has to say.

Go me! (Except that red belt kind of bothers me. It has a black belt that goes with it. But I wanted a splash of color to play off the white. Oh well.)

It’s not dressing up that trips me up. I think I’ve got that under control.

It’s everyday dressing that I have a problem with. As we all know, I’m a freelance writer. I work from my living room sofa or my small office nearby. Right now, I’m wearing TH’s college sweatshirt, gray sweats from Target and some striped tights I found in TG’s sock drawer. It’s the everyday me that needs help. She’s the one who ends up wearing costumes like this:

And this:

And she's smiling, like this outfit is all good. Poor thing.

And she's smiling, like this outfit is all good. Poor thing.

Or this:

Rainboots, sweats and a corduroy blazer. Jesus take the wheel.

Rainboots, sweats and a corduroy blazer. Jesus take the wheel.

And on a good day, something like this:


I need a go-to wardrobe. Remember Garanimals back in the day? I need a wardrobe like that. Easy mix and match. But alas, I gotta work with what I’ve got.

I went to Santa Fe this week to write a travel story. And I stocked up on a few cute dresses at Target before I left. (Target is your friend, people. TARGET IS YOUR FRIEND).

I reached out to Lil Miss Brown to get her thoughts on my gear in Santa Fe and she said:

“I thought you stopped blogging.”

And I said, “What are you talking about?”

“You posted about not blogging anymore,” she said.

I don’t know what she’s talking about. But at any rate, she’s swamped with work this week. So I’ve asked the lovely Claire, from FashionBombDaily to weigh in. (Can you be unfashionable with a name like Claire? Of course not.)

Claire spared no punches. Gulp. Herewith: my week in Santa Fe:

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Completely Gratuitous: I’m getting old. And I don’t like it.

October 26, 2009 by

I don’t like having my picture taken.

I actually hate it.

In childhood, it was because I had a serious overbite from ten years of thumb-sucking and a gap between my two front teeth that you could drive a car through.

And for some reason, my natural smile is wide. Super wide. I smile with reckless abandon. Like I’m really really overjoyed that your camera is in my face.

Even though I’m not.

So when I get a request for a photo to be placed on the contributor’s page of a magazine, I panic.

I’ve always pored over the contributor’s page of every magazine I could get my hands on. Everyone always looks so fashionable, so with-it and happening. They all have amazing bios and their photos are always perfect: a family shot with adorable cherubs, a glam shot taken by a professional, a care-free picture that looks like it was taken by a lover.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I think all writers stress over submitting these pictures. We take a million of them right at our computer, trying hard to make it look like we didn’t take the picture just for the magazine. Here’s me right now:

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