Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

Cocoa Fly Gets Some Natural Hair Love on Essence.com


 If you told me 15 years ago, when I was daydreaming in my carnation pink bedroom, that my face would land on Essence.com for a natural hair section--I would have called you crazy. Then I would've tuned you out, hit "play" on my walkman and listened to a TLC tape.  Why? Well, I wouldn't buy that the adult-me stopped straightening my hair. I wasn't into Afros back then. Plus, I wouldn't believe that people in the future were reading magazines and newspapers on computers.

The photo was from the Beautiful Textures-sponsored event I covered a few weeks ago in San Francisco. The room was filled with black women who put down the hot comb, got off of the creamy crack and rocked gorgeous hairstyles. Photographer Ashleigh Reddy walked around asking to take people's photos. She approached me. I said sure. Afterward she told me it was for Essence.com

The other day I stepped back and thought about why I was excited to see this photo. One of my childhood dreams was to see my name in Essence, mainly as a writer and editor. Then-editor Susan L. Taylor was (and still is) someone I looked up to.  In my teens, I didn't always love what I saw in the mirror. To reach a place in my life today where I not only love the skin I'm in, but my God-given hair texture is an indescribable joy.  And the fact that my kinks and curls got my picture on Essence.com at this time of my life is no coincidence. God is trying to tell me something.

I heard through my family's grapevine that a relative who saw this picture asked another relative, "So, she likes wearing her like this?" Ha! Years ago I would've felt self-concisous by such a comment but today I find it ridiculous. Obviously I like sporting this style because I've been natural 1 1/2 years. LOL.  My hair is convenient, spa friendly, manageable, affordable (I've saved so much money), liberating and fun. If my relative ever asks me if I like my hair, I'll tell her I don't like it. I'll tell her I love it.

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