Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

A Natural Hair, Beautiful Textures Weekend

Felicia Leatherwood
Photo courtesy of The Garner Circle

"You have found out more about yourself than your hair," said Felicia Leatherwood to a packed room of vibrant women with afros, twists, braids, low cut fades and locs at the Omni Hotel in San Francisco.  The beautiful celebrity stylist came to the Bay to promote a new line of products called Beautiful Textures.   These products are from Strength of Nature, the same company that sells African Pride.  Felicia, or as some call her, "The Hair Whisperer" has whipped up styles on such stars as Jill Scott and Kim Coles.  Bloggers Karen Byrd of Naturally Beautiful Hair and Natural Selection's Cassadie Blackwell partnered with Beautiful Textures to host the shindig. There was food, free products and cool vendors. The event was free, but Felicia's hair tips were priceless. I'll get to her hair knowledge in just a bit.

Photo courtesy of The Garner Circle

I agree with Felicia that I've learned more about myself since putting down the hot comb.  Being your true self is unexplainably liberating. As a woman, and person of color, you go through life sometimes not being yourself in fear of being labeled or rejected. How many of us straightened our hair because we thought we wouldn't get a job, have no love life or get the "militant" label because kinky hair fell under the "unattractive" category? Going natural, especially in my 30s, showed me how much I desired to just be. Like Mary J. Blige sang, "Take me as I am, or have nothing at all."  Take me as I am includes the hair God made for my head.

A group of friends hanging out at the Beautiful Textures Event
Aren't they cute?!
Photo Credit Jenee Darden

On to the hair pointers...Felicia said hair is like a plant. "Every time you touch your hair, talk to it with love, " she said. And we know that natural hair, like any style, can frustrate the heck out of you when it's not looking like the style you saw on Youtube.  This is so true for early naturals. Whatever happens,  Felicia warns  "do not let the creamy crack you back." Which is why Karen Byrd advised new naturals to be patient. "One day you will love your hair," she said.

Felicia really pushed for clipping ends. "Don't be afraid of the scissors." Split ends can stunt hair growth. And she suggested we seal ends at night with a little argan oil.

Her blow-drying tip was one of my favorites. If you blow dry your hair to cut your ends, Felicia said half way down the hair, turn the dryer to a cool setting. Your ends are basically dead hair. No need to put too much heat on the hair and cause damage.

Roz Williams attended the event. She's 55! Can you believe it? 
Her secret is working out 3-4 times a week and eats a lot of veggies. 
Simply radiant. And her hair is fun and fierce. 
Photo Credit Jenee Darden

For those into dyes and wanting something eco-friendly, she recommended Tints of Nature from Whole Foods.  Felicia said it's a vegetable tint that's safe to use at home. She said the downside to box color (ex: dyes you buy at drug stores or hair supply stores), is that you don’t know how much chemical is in it. You don't know the amount of bleach and peroxide. She also said to always ask your stylist what kinds of products are they using on your hair and what are they doing to your hair. "If it smells funny, be concerned."

Her hair looks like artwork. This was my favorite style.
Photo Credit Jenee Darden

Frontal view of the style
Photo Credit Jene Darden

If you are rocking locs, Felicia suggests you wash your hair three times during a wash. She said the first time you wash, the water makes the buildup stick so your hair is not quite clean. Buildup gets looser during the second wash. Third wash gets it clean.

If you two-strand twist like I do, untwist from the bottom up. Twisting from the scalp down can damage the hair. Ooops, I've been doing it wrong. 

Show your scalp from love by massaging it. If you've been having scalp issue Felicia said sometimes it's not about what you're putting on your body, but into your body. "Sugar can have a negative effect on the scalp." She shared how some clients would have itchy scalps after the holidays. Those sweet potato pies, Halloween candies, German chocolate cake and sweet drinks can mess up your scalp.

Felicia Leatherwood is awesome.  She's heading across the pond for Paris to promote Beautiful Textures. I have not tried the products yet. Strong smells turn me off. The products smell good so they passed that test. If I like it, I'll let you know.  In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the photos.

On the right Robin Rogers. She's in her 50's and going on 40. 
Photo Credit- Jenee Darden

Kickin' it with fellow media divas and naturalistas  @cicelyj  and @chasmassmith

Where's Cocoa Fly? Can you find me? 
Photo courtesy of The Garner Circle


  1. Wonderful event coverage. Thank you~
    Naturally Beautiful Hair Blog

    1. Thank you! Are you still making those gorgeous dolls?


Post a Comment