Class Is N Session is a innovative community initiative designed to provide school age students ages 5-18 with exposure and access to educational and social resources, while addressing pressing and fundamental needs, to prepare them for their best possible future.
Class Is N Session believes that all children should have access and exposure to the educational and social resources that will help them cultivate their future. To achieve this, since 2014, Class Is N Session has produced a series of classroom sessions that focus on three pillars : financial literacy, health & wellness, and STEM education. Classroom sessions include lessons on coding, programming, structural engineering, agricultural engineering, stocks & trade, budgeting, business ownership, culinary arts, physical fitness and more!
Class Is N Session was founded by Beatrice Mann. This year on Sunday, August 25th Issa and I were participants of thier 5th annual back to school drive held at Dunbar Alexandria-Olympic Boys & Girls Club. Issa was a registered student and I was a registered volunteer. While Issa participated in the bouncy house, math and fitness classes, I donated my time to styling hair. Another stylist and I serviced children from 11 am - 3pm. Children that participated received a free #PerfectHeadTie.
If you would like to donate, or participate in the next Class Is N Session event please visit the official website by clicking here.
Depression in the African American Community
Depression is a neglected topic of discussion. I had personal conversations with a few people about therapy. These were the types of responses I heard.
The therapist isn’t going to tell me anything I don’t already know.
I have too much shit to do. I don’t have time to drive out of the way to see a therapist.
I think that you are smart and you can figure it out yourself.
I can’t go another day holding all these things inside. I need to go to therapy.
I went to therapy my therapist made me admit to myself that I was depressed.
All that were opposed to therapy were male. What does this mean? Does my small sample represent the perspective of many African American people? I took to a reputable site recommended by a therapist to find out.
What therapy means to me
My first experience with therapy took place in 2012 while I was having my son. I was very sad. I couldn’t get over being a single mother. My brain was flooded with negative thoughts. I harbored resentment towards myself and my sons father.
I was unsure of what to expect during my first session of therapy. At the beginning of the session I was allowed to tell my story uninterrupted. I cried in every session during the first months. Eventually, I was encouraged to take a look at all of my relationships not just the one I was currently having trouble with.
We searched for the things that triggered my negative reactions. My homework was to track mood swings through a journal, recording both the cause and the affect of each swing and how often they occurred.
Lastly, I took a series of psychological tests. These tests determined my personality traits. They also determined what I was dispositioned to and how my brain processes information.
The best discovery from testing was learning that the speed at which I process information is advanced. The worst discovery was learning that I have a narcissistic trait. My ability to focus so deeply on my progress works well at school and in business but can be damaging in personal relationships.
Pivotal discoveries in therapy:
Non-communication is my greatest trigger and yields the worst outcomes in my thoughts, actions and behavior.
My inability to control reocurring negative thoughts kept me sad for long durations of time.
My drive to create multiple projects such as videos and blogs are my distraction and public diary for my pain. Personal accomplishments and education is something that I can control. I sometimes bury myself in these personal missions to avoid repairing or confronting external toxic relationships.
Armed with this information my therapist recommended multiple exercises to help with cognitive remapping. Recommendations included:
Knowing the outcome of a conversation before entering it, verses talking with no clear objective.
Refrain from entering friendships and relationships with poor communicators. For example, a person that says, “When I get angry I shut down.” isn’t compatible with me.
Dr. Salazar gave me exercises that helped me eliminate reoccurring negative thoughts. She encouraged me to think about what prompts me to create new projects. She urged me to consider not turning every idea into a reality, instead, develop what is already important and currently in progress.
After much thought and many smaller attempts. I created a place called, Hair Therapy. The layout, feeling and concept of Hair Therapy started in early 2012 at my apartment. The name for the space was, The Underground. I found it difficult to get new clients to come to my apartment.
In 2013, for a more professional appeal I moved to a small studio. I named it, Candalada’s Salon. The studio was too small plus it didn't have the apartment look I envisioned. It had no windows! Six months in I came up with a strategy to upgrade and decided not to renew my lease.
After 12 months in the tiny studio on May 3rd, 2014, I opened, Hair Therapy. The name Hair Therapy itself is significant to me. The logo with one chair in the middle of the head shows hair on the mind yet also symbolizes how the commercializing of this hobby started with one chair. The vintage mahogany Koken chair.
The Hair Therapy logo exemplifies how focus can develop a thought into reality. The teal colors represent ovarian cancer awareness; which my mother was in remission from when I opened. I wanted people to get back into treating their hair before styling it. I figured placing Therapy in the company name would make my potential customers feel that rehab of hair was the priority.
Hair Therapy was my first business. By creating it I created the first work environment that allowed me to use all of my skills at one time. The gift I picked up naturally and the knowledge I retained from college. The type of clients that I attracted with the launch of Hair Therapy were seasoned professionals and CEO’s of tech companies and staffing agencies.
Although, I eventually became burned out and overwhelmed as a first time business owner with a team of one. I believe that behavioral therapy and the birth of my son enabled me to create the mental foundation Hair Therapy was built on.
The valuable exchanges of information and conversations with members of Hair Therapy inspired me to do things I never knew I was capable of. Despite the commercial space being gone the memories and the relationships continue to grow.
Unfortunately, sometimes new occurrences can bring anyone back to therapy. For me the loss of my mother a year to the date has forced me to revisit counseling. I had to be honest with myself, recovery from this life altering event will require additional support.
I would like to share some of the African American and multicultural therapist that I know of and heard of. Starting first and foremast with Dr. Salazar the therapist that saved my mind in 2012! Ms.Crosby my current therapist, Mrs.Jackson a fellow Hair Therapy member, Mrs Mixon (recommendation from Hair Therapy member) and the Mecca Group LLC (recommendation from Hair Therapy member).
If you have insurance please don’t be afraid to use it. These recommendations range from Medicaid to PPO providers. If you are suffering from pre or postpartum, family issues, dysfunctional relationships, career stress or loss a loved one. There is therapist with the correct specialty that can help.
VA: Woodbridge Phycological Associates || Dr. Yorvska Salazar, PsyD, LPC, RPT-S
VA: Greater Prince William Healthcare Center || Patricia Crosby, LPC
VA: Mind Body Spirit || April Williams Jackson, LCSW (T) 703-568-1314
MD: A Mix Of Emotions LLC || Miranda Mixon, LCPC (T) 240-318-7464
African American Documentaries That Touched My Heart
Keifer Sykes : I didn’t know anything about Keifer or his journey before watching Chi-Town. The simplest words to describe this young man is strong and resilient.
I watched some of Chi-Town with Issa. Kids are impressionable, he was pretending to play basketball the rest of the day. The main take away I hope Issa grasped is the amount of practice and focus it takes to not only be good but competitive. Issa was so excited to hear to Keifer sent him blessings on Instagram.
Meek Mills: If you don’t know who Meek Mills is I am shocked. Especially since the Eagles entered the Super Bowl AND partied in the locker room after winning to his song Dreams and Nightmares ! I always wondered why Meek has a scream octave in most of his songs. After watching his story, which is broken into 5 episodes, I understand why he is always screaming all the time.
Free Meek is for anyone that wants to take a deeper look at how the judicial system is currently maintaining a leash on African American men if they get in trouble at any time in their life. You do not have to be a fan of rap music to appreciate this. If you are a parent or an African American you are a part of the target audience this documentary was created for.
Travis Scott: Travis Scott’s song Butterfly Effect had to play a minimum of a billion times last summer which was okay with me because I love Drake and the composition of the song. I never had a major interest in his story. After watching Free Meek my mind was on musical stories. This documentary isn’t much of a tear jerker, it is insightful.
I learned that Travis is a family man. His closeness with his family was depicted on screen. Producers showed endless home video comparing how similar Travis is to the younger version of himself. Mr.Scott’s current level of excitement for creation of music appears contagious, his attention to detail behind the scenes displays his role in the delivery of optics to his fans.
A Moving Independent Film
I viewed, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” at the E Street Cinema. This is a popular destination for viewing independent films.
Food: Local and Exclusive Experiences
The Uncaged Chef’s : Capital Heights, MD
I thought The Uncaged Chefs pop-up carry out was for a limited time when I wrote about it back in the March Newsletter. The Uncaged Chefs pop-up has picked up in popularity and received local news coverage.
You still have chance to experience the food and unique recipes every Sunday form 11am-7pm in Capital Heights, Maryland at Rosebuds until further notice. The best way to keep up with this Sunday brunch carry-out is by following Chef Damian or The Uncaged Chefs on Instagram.
On some weeks they offer vegan options and even created a chicken sandwich to rival the viral Popeye’s chicken sandwich.
They offer meal prep and private chef services. For more information about those services visit their official website here.
Los Toltecos : Woodbridge, Virginia
If you need a break from Chiptole and crave food with more authentic Mexican spices Los Toltecos is a good local option. They also have four other locations, Chantilly, Fairfax, Sterling and Frederick.
Park Lane Tavern : Fredericksburg, VA
Park Lane Tavern had fried pickles on the menu, I was told the sauce served with the pickles was unique and amazing. I ordered vegetables. This was my first time receiving a plated whole carrot.
Earls Kitchen + Bar : Tysons Corner, Virginia
Damn! This food is seriously delicious!!!!! The vegan sushi Is the best sushi I have ever had. The seasoning and the flavor was remarkable. They have a great late night menu. This means even if you can’t make it until 10 pm there will still be some diverse and filling options available.
Susheria : Georgetown, Washington D.C.
Located right next to the AMC in Georgetown. I had vegan sushi with asparagus, avocado and cucumbers. Issa ate vegan dish with tofu. He said it taste good. My friend said her red wine was great.
Harriman’s Piedmont Grill at The Salamander Resort : Middleburg, Virginia
I had lunch in the formal dining area, beverages on the outside patio and dessert in the living room style lounge. The place is an experience, carve out some extra time when visiting to see the horses and life size chess board outside.
Fat Tomato : Berlin, New Jersey
Located around the corner from Diggerland USA. The Fat Tomato is the perfect place to grab a bite before hitting the highway. The place is clean, the service is good and the food is great. Stop by if you are ever in the area.
Tuesday Is The Absolute Best Day To Go Out
Tuesday is my Saturday. Why? Because it is the most economical day of the week. Originally, I started enjoying Tuesdays by going to the $5 movies at AMC last summer. This summer I expanded my activities list.
Pirates Cove in Lorton, Virginia offered Two-For-Tuesdays (buy one admission, get one free), making the entry fee $5.75 dollars for Issa and I..
Issa and I had a great time playing Top Golf for the first time at near the National Harbor. We went on a Saturday. The wait was long and the cost was premium. Next time we visit will definitely be on a Tuesday.
Kid Friendly Activities
NoVa Maker Faire
This year marks our second year in attendance to the Maker Faire hosted at George Mason University. If you have kids or know kids that love science or art this event is all about showing children how things work and how to create. Attendees receive hands on experience with robots, an introduction to programming and 3D printing.
Cirque du Soleil Volta - Tysons Corner, VA
This touring show will be here until the end of September. It was my first time attending one of these shows. I absolutely loved it. The stunts were literally unbelievable. The musical talent was prevalent showcasing, vocals, violins and guitar. Volta incorporates, BMX, gymnastics ring routines, trampoline acts, unicycles and roller-skates!
Buy tickets here.
Buy tickets here.
Diggerland USA - BErlin, NJ
This small construction themed park is a blast. Experiences include joy rides or operating machinery hands on. I also saw outdoor rock climbing. We went on a day where there happened to also be a BMX bike show. What a treat!
HAIR CARE AND HAIR STYLES
The number one question I hear is:
How do you get you sons hair to look so good? What are you doing?
I started Issa’s locs on May 3rd 2016. The Hair Therapy anniversary. I two strand twisted whatever hair was on his head. Every week I palm rolled it with Barry Fletcher loc-set -serum. His hair was short. Before I knew it, hair was always in his face. I created the Mickey Mouse hair style to keep hair out of his eyes.
I’ve always been diligent about keeping his hair clean. He has never sat under the dryer in his life. He would melt under there. Since his hair is air dried I need hours for it to set. I do it early in the morning on the same day of any special event.
Kids are crazy, in just one night of sleep they can manage to make it look like no one ever tried to do their hair in their life. I never take the risk of doing it the night before for special occasions.
Pictured below 2016,2017,2018.
A few months ago Issa had an unreasonable amount of sand thrown in his hair by another child while playing at the National Harbor. After several washes I couldn’t get the sand out. Determined to get it out I washed it everyday for a week. All that washing brought out a lot of lint.
After viewing various Youtube videos I came across the hack of using velcro to remove lint. I removed as much as I could. I decided to cut his locs in the front because they looked really uneven and weak at some spots. I also cut his locs straight across in the back. I didn’t measure, looked like around an inch.
Although initially I was divested. I am sure his hair will continue to grow and looks fine. I like to keep it styled in an updo because it doesn’t show that the front is shorter than the back when it is pulled up. He likes to wear it down because he says styles take too long!
This year was also was Issa’s first time getting a steam treatment and laser treatment. Steam to keeps his scalp healthy. Laser treatment stimulates his follicles.
Loc Maintenance Tips
Wash your hair often (do not exceed three weeks at a time)
Try not to use pony tail holders if you don’t have to. I believe they weakened my sons hair.
Air dry when possible
Use watery or liquid conditioner. Conditioner gets stuck in locs.
Use Barry Fletcher Loc-Set- Serum it is literally the best gel in the world
Don’t be pressed to color your locs
Don’t style your hair too tight or in the beginning stages
Enjoy letting your hair down the when you are at home
Tie your locs with a silk scarf at night
Oil seals moisture it doesn’t create it, adding oil to dry hair creates more dryness (use water)
I can’t stress the importance of trimming enough. It is the single most powerful thing you can do. Trims and haircuts keep hair looking fresh and sharp. It also reduces the tangles and knots that occur after split ends really get out of control.
If you wear your hair curly it is tough to determine how to trim your hair. Use your best judgement.
If you do occasionally straighten your hair that is the best time to request a precision cut. Do not exceed more than 3 months without trimming your hair or your childs hair.
Skipped trims may lead to needing a serious haircut by the time you make it back to your stylist.
I never considered one until my former partner made one for me. It reduced so much hassle, I loved that it was removable. I haven’t made it into to the 360 wigs or the hair that cost 500 plus. I’m going to leave that to Tamar Braxton and the ladies that make upwards of 100k a year. This wig article is for the average girl on a budget trying to not look a mess.
The bang look has always worked for me. It is a great way to completely avoid having a cheesy part. This is a Bobby Boss wig and it belonged to my mother. If you have a wig with a bad part it just screams look at me and my fake hair.
Going blue. I love colored hair. I am not about to glue ANYTHING to my forehead. I have not found, made or purchased any wig that I like that much. I made this wig two years ago for a photoshoot. It is actually a little bit too tight. I threw a black scarf on and went to the movies. The part is one of those non flexible parts with no option to move it around but the real reason I covered it is the hair is blue to the roots. That look was way to much for me on chill day. The black scarf visually toned the look down.
In need of a new look I wanted to try hair I never purchased before. I decided on Bloom Bundle the mannequins deep side part looked promising.
I was really in a bind, I made this wig on a stocking cap! I thought I had a wig cap at home but I didn't. I was leaving early in the morning. My options were to make the wig with what I have or to wear my own hair. I am currently growing out my undercut so I am not comfortable showing my hair during this in-between stage. I sewed the closure on the cap first, sew a few tracks around the perimeter and glued the rest. I left the wig to dry overnight.
After wearing this hair I can say it looked ok and it was inexpensive but it was itchy on my skin.
Hitting the sale rack in the back of Beauty 4 U is my go to move for wigs and discount hair. I skip all the new arrivals and head to the back to see what is on clearance. I bought this wig for 25 dollars. The plan was to brush it a little and put some mousse on it. OMG I don’t know what I was thinking. Brushing it made the hair big as ever. I wore it with confidence. I figured if Chaka Khan could do it so could I.
This wig didn’t have a deep part. I had about two inches of lace from ear to ear. I would not get a wig like this in the future. I really like having a part. Without one I feel like I look like a lion.
I am all about making my own clip-ins but sometimes I just don’t have the time. Once again I was cutting it close. 5 hours until the event start time. Leaving me 3 hrs to get supplies and do my hair from start to finish, one hour for make-up and the rest of time to get dressed and travel to the event.
The hair is fine but one pack just isn’t enough to cover the whole head. I styled my hair half up and barely had enough to make the bun in the front but made it work. A few days later I tried to wear it all down but my real hair and cornrows were visible :(. I would recommend two packs if you desire to cover your entire head.
I received a tremendous amount of compliments on this hair. The style, the look and the install technique. I took my time. My objective was a flawless part and for the hair to look real. I installed this hair twice. I liked it so much I wore it for two weeks, took it out and did it again the same exact way.
FENTY BEAUTY NEW HYDRATING MAKE-UP
If you tried Fenty make-up and didn’t like it because it was too matte or you couldn’t find your color please go back and try again. I personally loved the shade 420. I had to use really moisturizing primer and sometimes mix the foundation with Kat Von D for more coverage.
She has answered my prayers with this foundation. It is thicker covers better and doesn’t have my face looking dry.I am so excited that she released this line. Her make up is the only make up that doesn’t cause me to get additional acne.
My favorite look was using all of Rihanna’s products and not trying to combine it with any other foundation. I used the hydrating foundation in 420 and for concealer I used hydrating foundation 385. I used her Morocco eye palette. It was a simple look but I looked like myself and I felt pretty.