My own black conclusion

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While I like to think that I am the sole representative for all black women, I am indeed not. These are my feeble, yet sole views and experiences. That being said I think being in Vancouver does nothing for a black woman’s self esteem, or at any rate at least mine. Spotting another black person in Vancouver is like spotting some gazelle in an African safari, especially a black woman who is natural and proud to be who she is. Two years ago I made the choice to go natural to be truer to myself and to save my hair from breaking. When I made this decision, (which some days I do regret) I could no longer hide behind the guise of long flowing hair and blend in with the masses. I now stood out even more and it made me question my own self image and self hate.

Coming from a largely Caribbean city (Montreal) I was raised in such a way to never acknowledge colour and treat people like equals, so I never saw any really. I had friends growing up who were Greek, Lebanese, Palestinian, Jewish, Haitian and Jamaican and so forth. A real melee. Thus, in montreal as there were plenty of people who looked like me I blended in and never had an issue with self image and feeling like an outsider. And then the big CRASH of 96- what I like to call “The day my world ended” aka moving to Vancouver. Now let’s be honest shall we, Vancouver is a great city. It is gorgeous on a sunny day or even the heaviest of rainfall. It also has such a picturesque view with the mountains and greenery. However, the black population here is so small, its not even on the radar. When I first moved to Vancouver from Montreal I was called Nigger while walking to school, made fun of for the way I looked and really bullied for pretty much anything you can think of. I grew up really hating my surroundings and myself, thus its no wonder my self esteem is shot. There are not any black role models that I could look up to, or even idolize. My mom was not the best person I could talk to about self image for she wasn’t always the best when it comes to that sort of thing.While I’ll say that she has gotten a LOT better, she still says things that may hurt my feelings such as “Your hair reminds me of those kids in Africa” now that’s just plain mean and insulting to the African nation,but I digress. (I ll take this moment to say that I did educate my mom on the harshness of this comment and suggest she stop watching Nat Geo cause its skewing her opinion of African people).

I am not afraid or ashamed to say that I deal with a negative self esteem issue, the last year has really taken a toll on me, with the whole loss of job thing and friends from high school, and graduating from University, but I am really trying to get back to the real me. Its my hair that is being a stupid cow. I hate it. Being natural in Vancouver is the worst. It is so hard to find any black hair products, and to order them online cost a fortune. Also the rain and dry weather are the devil to black hair, I can never keep a style and I’m having a hell of a time transitioning into this natural stage of my life. With my weaves and braids I can hide behind my insecurities, sans them? they are staring back at me every time I look at myself in the mirror. Perhaps if black women were sought after in this town like the many black men (side note- as  a black woman dating in Vancouver is awful. There’s not many men who will date a black woman or have any interest in them. Its no surprise that I do love black men but the black men in this city do not love me. I fear the longer I live here the more I’ll have to let go of the dream of marrying and having children). Or if by chance they would be represented in the media in Canada in a positive way then maybe I can change my outlook on myself and being a black woman in Canada. I have tried to change my views on being black and have also tried to educate myself on the roots of black people and have discovered this: black people as a whole are brainwashed to think that the lighter your skin is, the straighter your hair is and the dumber you sound the more you are appealing to the masses. This wonderful documentary called ” Hidden Colors|” talks about the real black history and how a colonialism mentality still enslaves people to this day. But when you are the only one seeking the truth, it can feel quite lonely and makes it easier to succumb to my old thinking that my hair, nose, lips and skin colour is ugly and unattractive. I really do hope I can get a hold of this horrible self image that I do have of myself, the thing is I just don’t know how and I have a feeling dealing with unruly hair is just making things worse.

Kinks Defined

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I have taken my braids out. ImagePerhaps I should just end this post here and really save you all the time of reading this stuff, but hello this is MY blog so I assume you came here to read something! I made the decision 2 years ago to go natural. I was so sick and tired of being a slave to a perm (relaxer for those who don’t know the ebonic term), worrying about if my hair was matching the bone straight texture of my weave, or if my tracks were showing and so forth and so forth. So two years ago I chopped my hair off like Halle berry (I AM FULLY AWARE I LOOK NOTHING LIKE HER AND HAVE NO BUSINESS CUTTING MY HAIR LIKE THAT, BUT WHATEVER) and started fresh. I did not do the traditional big chop I just grew my relaxer out and wore weaves to hide that awkward stage when my hair was growing. In all honesty, short hair really didn’t look all that bad! I was pleasantly surprised at my transformation but was really scared at what I was embarking on. That being the tender head and natural hair that was looming around the corner. I had no idea how hard it was going to be when I choose to be natural. I shed a few tears at how “ugly” I looked or less feminine. I have been wearing weaves and perms in my hair since the devil was a boy, in other words, years. This “earthy person” staring back at me was foreign and ugly in my eyes (social conditioning at its finest). BUT I knew I had to force myself to do this.

In a way it was like breaking an addiction. I have seen plenty of natural black women on TV and magazines who looked stunning with their natural hair and I often wondered why this couldn’t also be me? Mind you, it is very rare to see a natural black woman in Vancouver, for the longest time it was like my own game of where’s Waldo except I called it “wheres the fro”! (I’m weird get over it). It probably would have been easier to spot big foot then a natural haired black woman in this city, but I digress.

For myself, I am not a person who likes to stand out and draw attention to myself and being natural only made more people just stare at me like I was some escaped lab rat or something. It actually only made me hate the way I looked even more, BUT I still forced myself to be natural, except I found ways to embrace it. I watched many youtube videos, I started to follow blogs and facebook post, in a way I was reeducating myself that black hair is beautiful in its own way.

In fact its magical, it may look only a few inches short, but once stretched it is past my shoulders and incredibly thick.Image

It also doesn’t break as much as it used to and has these incredible tight curls, I mean what other hair could have that much magical powers! It looks incredibly tough but is as soft as silk! Its amazing. And yes my look may have changed so to speak and I don’t look as mainstream as the rest of the people, I am still beautiful in my own way. (Sidenote: that little sentence prob took a LOT for me to write and think. I often wonder if I actually believe that statement or if I am forcing myself to believe it!).

Not only am I on a hair journey, I am on journey of purpose and self love. In so many ways I do not love who am as an individual and would often hide behind the guise of the company I keep or kept (I recently let go a whole whack of toxic friends, but its hard to make girlfriends in this city), or how I looked, not anymore. Now at this stage in my life (ill be 30 on the 28th of April) I really could careless what people think of me or how I look (well ok I still do slightly, my old ways do creep in) I am more concerned about how I feel in my own skin.

I got to the end of this post and was like “why did I even write this post again?”  Oh yes the braids! When I took my braids out I had a mini epiphany, in a way I am still covering my hair and not really seeing my natural self day to day SO this time around I think I will just leave my hair out for a while and try and fall in love with it again and hopefully with myself as well. Image

<3

Brows I Do Adore <3

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To know me is to know how I am OBSESSED with eyebrows. Ugh. I’m weird. I think the eyebrow is what makes the face. It gives your face expression and character. It can also give your face a death sentence if you go tweezer happy and over pluck your brows like last nights chicken dinner. It pains me when I see a woman with horrible brows – and I must admit I secretly am judging you and your sanity. Now I really don’t think that my brows are perfection nor the cure for cancer or anything but I do what I think is best for my face. I am not a makeup artist by any means BUT when I get compliments on my brows by many makeup artists or people, it makes me believe that I must be doing something right! Or perhaps there are just many friendly people out there? Ill never know…*in the distance a violin is being played*. That being said I thought I would share a few of the things I do to achieve my brow look. Its a combination of things I learned from watching many makeup artist on youtube particularly Loreleicakes. She is awesome! This look is for a thicker brow which is what I love. I never got into the whole shave your brow off craze then draw it on with a fine tipped sharpie. Sorry (not sorry).

What you need:
Brow Brush (angular)
Brown Pencil (I used Rimmel’s Dark Brown Brow Pencil)
Brow Powder (Mac has some great ones but the one  used is Lize Watiers eyeshadow in chocolate)
Concealer (I used MACs studio finish in NC 45)
Conceiler Brush (small size)
An Old Toothbrush (Or brow brush, I’m frugal)
An Angular Foundation Brush
Clear Mascara

So here are my brows sans (without for those who don’t speak french) makeup. Image
Pretty thin and sparse eh? ( who’s Canadian now!) At this stage I take my old toothbrush and brush my brows back so they are all laying in the right direction. Next I take my sharpened Rimmel brow pencil and “draw” the shape of the brow that I want. I like a thicker brow so I draw slightly past my actual eyebrow with thin brush like strokes, trace your eyebrow. Image

So that it looks like so:

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Kinda reminds me of leggos if I had to be honest. Moving on. Next I take my angular brow brush and fill in my brows with the Liz Watier powder, or whatever powder you may use. ImagePlease do ignore my chipped nail polish, cause this is a post about brows not immaculate nails. I fill them in pretty lightly you are not trying to look like Hitler here you are just trying to fill them in lightly. Many a days I would see some beautiful Iranian or Indian women with the most beautiful full and thick dark brows I’m almost drooling. Sigh but alas I was blessed with these thin babies, what the lord don’t giveth I shall filleth (cool I just made up my own word!).

 

They end up looking like this:

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Looks harsh I know but you will blend in the powder and you will beautiful, promise :). Next I take my old toothbrush and brush the powder backwards (first) then the front (second) and blend it out slightly so that the front doesn’t look so “created”. ImageThe next step is called carving. This is where you you bring out your brows using concealer! Take your concealer brush and dab a little concealer and trace the outside of your brows making sure not to remove the pencil marks that you did or remove any of the powdered area. Image

Boy do I look tired, I probably should have oh…I dont know cared about what I look like before I did this? Meh take it or leave it. Also please note that tiny fleshy nub on the left is ACTUALLY my ear. I have such tiny ears (yes I can hear quite well actually). Hated them all my life, still do but what can you do about it? Besides maybe see if I can get into the Guinness Book of World Records and then FINALLY I will be remembered for SOMETHING! But I digress.

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Next you take your angular foundation brush and slowly blend the telltale makes of the concealer. I also read doing this gives your face an instant facelift! (BONUUUUSSS). Make sure to also blend the area in the front as well, and don’t blend to hard or you will ruin all your hard work.

My hair is really looking a hot mess today LOL. Don’t mind me.

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The next step is using the clear mascara. I do this so that they stay in place and that I can shape them anyway I want. I like the front to be kinda bushy and the middle part to be brushed down. Image

My bathroom has terrible lighting. I must say that while this does look like it takes years to do? With practice this actually only takes a few minutes (minutes I know!).

 

 

 

And then voila! :D

ImageA little side by side brow action:

ImageBig diff eh? (there I go again, I assure you not all Canadians say eh, maybe just the cool one though ;) ). My first (and probably ONLY, although I can’t promise here) makeup blog. Please remember I am NOT a makeup artist, and this is just intended to be useful. May peace and beautiful brows be with you.

Toodles <3

ImageHow beautiful is this Indian woman? I would kill KILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL for her eyes and eyebrows! <3 <3

 

 

 

 

 

Poor Mans (or Girls) Vegan Pasta Sauce

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Ok so to set the scene so to speak, I watched a documentary (I know, I’m one of THOSE people) last year called “Forks over Knives” all about the wonderfulness of a plant based diet. So whats the point you ask? Well after this documentary I gave up meat and have been meatless for a year (how ironic that I am also single..wow I really HAVE been meatless?). But while I do love Vancouver so much (Insert sarcasm here) it can be- no it IS really expensive to eat healthy here. Hell its an expensive city. I realized this a few years back when a 1L of milk downtown proper was $10, but I digress. Good thing I gave up milk too.

So I have to  be really impromptu and creative when it comes to eating healthy especially now as I quit my job last Wednesday. I needed a change, no future prospects currently in the job department but I’m trying this new thing where I remain positive (I think a lobotomy is easier than training your mind to think more positively. Don’t say I never give you advice!). Anyway, where I am going with this post is one of my favorite foods is pasta with meat (lean ground beef specifically always been a healthy girl ha!). Well for years my mom has been suggesting Yves Italian Vegan Ground Round (http://www.yvesveggie.com/products/detail.php/meatless-ground-round-original). My initial thought was who are you and what have you done with my mother? Like come on! But you can only play around with tofu for so long until you had enough. I was stuffed to the gills with tofu, so it was either this or carve up the sofa and make a stir fry. I chose the ground round (why its called that I have no idea). 

Now before all you foodies (I can’t believe I just typed that?) and vegan cooks jump down my throat about not knowing how to cook please read the following disclaimer: ” I in no shape or form declare myself a cook of any kind, so back off. Thank you”. I actually don’t really like cooking that much, I mean I have to eat. The panago guy was starting to remember my name, really! He actually was, and getting a little to friendly. Just give me my pizza already! This recipe is for those who are on a budget like me and are not masters of their kitchen and making love to their food (get a life!). Basically all you need is veggies, the ground round, pasta sauce and noodles. Not to mention a few spices. However I used:

1 pack of Yves Veggie Ground Round (regular or Italian)
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
4 green onion stalks (chopped)
1/2 medium tomato
1/2 orange pepper
1 medium carrot  (chopped to your desired thickness, this sounds dirty)
Salt/ Pepper for taste
Thyme (Dried)
Italian Seasoning from Real Canadian Superstore (or any really)

So what you do is (check me! I feel so official I already has the theme set for my own Food Network show):

Heat up a medium sized pot deep enough to contain your sauce and warm up some cooking oil enough to sautee your garlic and green onion over medium heat so they brown not burn. I don’t know say 2 TBLS.

Image This is how thick I chopped my veggies mainly because I like thick pastas. The only veggies I use a food processor on is for the tomatoes mainly cause I want them to liquify in the sauce to enhance the pasta sauce flavour. Once these are brown and the flavours escape and envelope you, put the meat ground in and break it up with a fork while you are mixing it with the sauteed onions and garlic so that it really mixes in. Add Salt, and pepper,  a dash or thyme and Italian seasoning for taste. This part is really up to you and how you like your pastas to taste.Image Once all the garlic and onions are mixed in thoroughly and its seasoned to how you like it, add in the pasta sauce of your choice. This time I used the PC (Presidents Choice portobello mushroom sauce. It was on sale, hey I said this was gourmet food on a budget not dinner at Oprah’s House). Mix it in well, and turn down the stove to a low medium. Add your finely minced tomatoes and thickly chopped (if you like them thick) pepper. Let that simmer for a while oh I don’t know say 10 to 15 minutes. There is a secret ingredient that was passed on to me, that I guess I can share with you all. Just before the pasta sauce is done add a dash or two of *wait for it* Cinnamon!!!!!!!!!!!! I know but its marvelous. There. I’ve told you. Please don’t tell anyone else.

What I do is, while that is simmering I cook my noodles. I used whole wheat bow tie pasta, and I like them al dente

.ImageVoila! Perfect vegan-but you wouldn’t believe its not meat cause meat is bad just watch “Forks over Knives” and see why- pasta! :) Your friends, family, heck even the family dog will be impressed :). I should warn you I have no idea how fattening this is I just know its yummy in my tummy.

One final thing, this does make quite a bit and can probably serve about 4 people. So its perfect if you want leftovers!

Toodles et Bon appeti! xo

Catfish or Dating Hostage?

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Well Its finally happened. I am so desperate that I have given POF (Plenty of Fish for those who aren’t hip to the dating Lingo, god I wish I were you) a try. Its been very strange indeed. I get a lot of interesting emails and reply’s but this post in particular is about the recent Russian encounter of the worst kind or what I like to call the Russian Catfish a la mode.

During my one to many glasses of wine, I decided to look at my POF inbox. Well, to my pleasant surprise I got a inbox from a VERYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY cute Russian guy who is in Vancouver going to school for hospitality downtown blah blah blah. After exchanging a few emails and dreaming of a few Russian babies (Side bar is black Russian a shot? Ill have to research this. If not it really should be), I did the unwritten rule and gave him my number. We continued exchanging texts and he went on and on to say how attractive I am (which I’m really not. I know my own limits, mama didn’t raise no fool). We even (dare I say) made plans to hang out over the weekend! So…here’s where this Russian love story takes a turn. Duh Duh DUUUUUHHHHH! (Insert dramatic pause here)

He says to me ( 4 days after we been talking mind you) what is your email I need to send you something. Sigh and it begins! I thought it was some poem or something sweet and romantic. Am I the only one who thinks Russian men are (or at least to me) very old world romantic?  Well the email went as such:

ImageThere you have it ladies and gentlemen, Russian Catfish a la Mode. And may I also add, he wasn’t that unattractive but it really did kill the Russian fantasy, not to mention my lady boner. And yes I did block him. But he didn’t go gently into the night. I actually was so stunned I never replied to him just blocked him really and ceased all communication, something a Russian Spy might have done. How Ironic. And then he contined to text me nonstop:

“Are you angry on me? I feel bad about that. Do I have any chances to be forgiven?”
“Just please let me know whats in your mind”
“Why are you keep Silent”

” Hey I feel guilty, like I did something criminal, are you so so so so so so so (this goes on and on) mad on me?

“May be its a cultural, but I dont understand”
“I even dont know if you got my imail or not, may be you phone just died and you cant answer. May be your forgot or lost your phone .”
“May be you hostage and cant answer and I need to help you?”

Hostage. Wow. You know you are Russian when! Me and my gf were having a good laugh about it. That site is not the best, perhaps its cause its free? Nonetheless it makes great stories for blogs! I finally blocked this person from texting me as well. Is this what’s left of the men in Vancouver? It seems as though I just got Catfished.

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PS: After researching, and a few taste testing Black Russian is indeed a shot. Vodka and Kahlua. Delish. This prob would have been the signature drink at the wedding. A girl can dream ;)

My very first blog entry!

WOW. I can’t believe I am one of the people who I actually despised.. a blogger.. I thought who ON EARTH would want to hear me ramble about stuff? Then I realized I have had a twitter account for a few years and I just cannot be witty in 140 characters or less. Plus finding new ways to covey my anger in that tiny box was exhausting. Not that twitter is for angry people, but lets be honest shall we? what more do people use twitter for then to complain about the social injustice, the lack of vegan restaurants, the rain and how their favorite pair of lululemons are NOT in stock (Can you tell I live in Vancouver, BC yet?)

So what will I blog about you ask? To be frank (If I may, although I would rather be someone cool like Thor) I have no idea. Probably my dating adventures in the beautiful (geographically that is, definitely not people wise unless you like men who are skinner than you and wear tighter jeans than Britney Spears- YES I MEAN HIPSTERS) Vancity, or the many products I have bought and tried. Yes people I am a product junky. It got really bad during the years where I had so many different weaves going on I felt like Prince! or the artist formally known as the symbol that used to be prince? Or maybe my natural hair journey (as I am natural haired girl)-Side Bar I wish someone told me it was more work to be natural. With all the twisting and spraying and sealing my arms are soooooo tired and my hair still looks the same. I may even blog about the juices I make. I went on this health whim (that lasted 1 week and a bit which is very good cause I have the attention span of a gold fish, if they have attention spans that is, whats there to focus on when you spend your life in a glass bowl? new decorating ideas? but I digress. (I ramble in real life too, think I’m crazy? YOU should see the inside of my head. Mind you that might be kinda creepy not to mention drafty..See what I did there?) Where was I…yes what to blog about. Is it weird I am little excited?? Ha! This is EXACTLY how I felt when I found $5 in my pocket last week! My first thought was, this will go towards the knitting fund. I promise you I am not 50 years old. I am actually almost 30 or what I call the age when you turn into a pillar of salt? Sigh. I taught myself how to knit recently via you tube so you may (I KNOW SO EXCITING) see my knitting adventures on here (ha listen to me adventures-I am the Indiana Jones of Yarn and Wool). If you read this far I am sure we will get along just fine :) 

Toodles!

PS I attached a picture of a tiger cause I mean come on who doesn’t love this face?? Unless its staring up at you from the ground cause you bought a tiger rug. In that case you really need major help. WHO KILLS A TIGER!!!!!!!

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