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Beat + on a budget.

IMG_2387I’ve always been a woman on a budget. My father used to gather his coupons to go to Kroger every other day to find deals. My mom, on the other hand, told me to “TREAT YO’SELF!” within reason, of course. So growing up with these ideas, a girl could feel conflicted. Do I try to save money and treat myself? Yes. The answer is yes.

Loving fashion, beauty, and style has been a passion of mine since I was a third grade diva in Lexington, Kentucky. Watching house of style with Cindy Crawford in the 90’s gave me life on Saturday mornings. So, how could I be just as beautiful and stylish as her? I mean, she was a supermodel. And I, a chubby black teen from the suburbs. Oh, what a paradox!

As I grew older, and moved from KY to NYC, style was a thing here. I worked in Harlem where everyone was bold and unique. I watched and learned and listened to style tips from my people. I needed some help too!  I was rocking polyester wigs for years before truly embracing my afro. True story. I thought everyone bought from high end stores. Then, I realized these cool, stylish glam gods, I loved, were rocking vintage clothes from thrift stores and beauty supply store lipglosses. I knew that was something I could do! I now thrift and beat my face on a budget because this studio on Rego Park isn’t gonna pay for itself, honey!

So, after watching tutorials and doing my research–I’m still working on it, y’all–I’ve come up with a list that helps the stylish teacher, creative, and just anyone on a budget.

How to be Inexpensively Classy, practically posh, and consistently cruelty free.

1. Read labels. 

As a vegan, I read labels as often as I can. Cruelty free and vegan makeup matter to me. And there are a lot of brands, by choice and accident, that are cruelty free.

2. Look for super sales and season change. 

When summer turns into fall, CHA-CHING! Bathing suits, shorts, cute tops all are nearly 75% off by October. Stock up! I also sign up for newsletters so I know when the best times are to buy.

3. Do it yourself.

Listen, I’ve watched so many tutorials and I’m bold enough to admit that GREAT teachers borrow! I go online–usually Pinterest and find my way to the DIY world. I’ll be doing some DIYs on here soon! If I can’t afford it, I can create it.

4. All makeup goes bad. 

I realize this is a statement more so than a guideline but, I say this to myself all the time. I can’t afford $50 foundation powder. I’ve done it. And guess what, it shattered on me and to be totally honest, it wasn’t cruelty free either. That was a sign, y’all! So, my budget ranges from $10-$50 on any given day for a beauty haul. If I can get a lippie for $10 bucks and below, I’m doing awesome! Nothing wrong with a splurge but I’m super mindful of my beat budget.

5. Last, but certainly, not least, do what works for you. 

I’ve been watching hair bloggers for some time now. I tried all these remedies, subscribed to beauty boxes and style bags–and I’ve learned my beauty is different from theirs. My tightly coiled hair gets super shrinky (a made up word) with just using water! I can’t do it. I need some type of hold. So I take samples and try them out and when I’m  ready, make a conscious purchase.

Treat yo’ self on a budget, of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SOMETHING NEW

This year?

I don’t want a physical gift

Or card

Your presence will be my present

Let’s forget the world

And see it too

and dance

Amongst the Kenyan stars

Or Bali beach

I wanna reach

Inside you

And brew

And simmer

And brew

Bewitching muse

You are what I want

For my 40th birthday

But it’d be dope if you

Wanted to experience me

Too.

We can exchange

Impenetrable breath

Cousin of death a few times

As your rhyme harmonizes

Under mine and we stare

At each other and the sky

Both vast and mysterious

And  clear

And captivating

Salivating at the chance

For you to come

With me

For me

We together

I don’t want a wrapped gift

I want energy shifted and

Time well spent

Clammy hands

Lower lip overflowing

With anticipation

Imagination sprinting wide

And wild

At the sound of your

Rapid as rabbit

Placid as spring break

Classic as my chocolate habit

Ballad as purple rain

I only want to see you

Mouth broad

Expansive

Deep belly laughing

On the 20th day of May.

And everyday after

It’ll be the beginning of

Something new

A heritage we create

You’ll teach me

Besiege me in so many ways

I’ll forget that I write

Lesson plans for a living

You won’t tell me

I’m too old for these things

You’ll see and be happy for me

Because my body is full of appilachian

Ohio River Valleys

Never ending caverns

undiscovered

And we chest to chest

Legs at unrest

On the best birthday of my entire life

No extra strife

Wrapping

Carding

Amazon lisiting

Bombarding me

With unsparkable joy

Boy you betta bring your

African southern Caribbean

Uptown downtown east New York

Ass here boi.

This ain’t for play play

This that birthday

Have you spittin more than

Your top five and you

won’t have to sneak

Away or tend to a bag

Of things to get me

Then surprise when all I wanted

Was your time

Happy to be nappy

Locs intertwined

I ain’t jokin

Spent 39 years

Choking on my own self doubt

Debilitated and crippled

By the traditional route

I don’t wanna wear a black suit

And a button down and innuendos

In a gospel choir on a Sunday

I will wear my oiled down

Round and brown suit

That originated

On my birthday.

#Day23

YOU BETTA THANK A TAURUS.

You BETTA thank a TAURUS

Sensual

Earth juice

Plentiful

Curvaceous

You betta thank a Taurus

We invented abundant

Bask in the decadence

Define alluring

Live in the effervescence

Plentiful

Dirty lover

Abundant

Beguiling, too.

We invented the intense stare

Bask in our bewitching

Define magnetic

Live in the practical present

You betta thank a Taurus

While you all over

Exploring searching seeking

Tauruses know for sure

Without hesitation

Even blinking

We don’t test the waters

We are one with it—we know

We reside in the elements

At one with the soil dirt clay

The spring is our awakening

Our breath make that

thing grow

Not kissing us is a

health hazard you know

Enticing you with

our bountiful dough

We bake for you

We shake for you

Unrestrained

You betta thank a Taurus

Thrive off the coco

Nut oil, that is

Coarse and Castor

Satisfying be our master

We see you cancers

Virgos and caps be our answer

We don’t have time

For wining and dining

Even though we like it

Géminis ain’t it

We somehow attract them too

If just for a millisecond

Scorpios and Leos be our

Bitches brew.

Woo.

You betta thank a Taurus

Welcome to our season

Buy me some chocolate

Then, you’ll understand

all these reasons

I invite you to all this

Taurean

Seasoning.

#day21

I GOT QUESTIONS!

If I’m from the suburbs, am I still really black?

Can black girls from the suburbs still have a ghetto ass?

If my parents are from the hood, can I be hood too?

Or Does my identity always have to be questioned by you?

If I left my hometown, why you stay so mad?

And the fact that you stayed everyone should be glad?

Yes I’m black from Kentucky was wrong with that?

Just cause love country music does it make me whack?

Just because I got fupa, I can’t be in shape?

Or 11 years a vegan thick like peanut butter milkshakes?

Just because I’m from the states I can’t be pretty?

Or do I have to be exotic to be a true beauty?

I have to have 4a to be natural club accepted?

Or do I have wear straight hair so my love won’t get neglected?

Why you wanna go and do that love huh?

Why does my strong ass voice offend your sensibilities?

Should I be a soprano to sound more feminine?

Or do I have to famous to get your attention?

What does me having a dog have to do with you?

Why will that change when I meet you?

Why does my uterus come up in all these conversations?

If I wanted to be a mom why is that your business?

Why does my period deserve a special hotep video?

And why do they get shared by dumb ass people?

Why must you only support me if you’re attracted?

Do you know you can still support me if to you I’m not attracted?

10 Ways to NOT “Be more like Clair Huxtable”

  1. Show off your thick ass or thin ass body in whatever black sequined or non sequined 80’s mini tube dress you want. It won’t hinder or prevent anything.
  2. Be a cursin ass rapper that talks about sex openly from a big city or tiny town with extensions down your juicy ass or multi-colored wigs because you deserve respect too. Even if your version of black girl ain’t family friendly or on NBC. Twerk bish twerk!
  3. Have an issue with men telling you how you should be. Always. And yes, women too.
  4. Be you. You are real, Clair Huxtable is not.
  5. Don’t be a wife with five kids living in a million dollar or thousand dollar brownstone in Brooklyn. Be a single mother. Be single. Have no kids and travel the world. Or do whatever you decide that doesn’t fit inside a social media meme standard of living.
  6. Wear your nappy ass hair in public without detangling or flat twisting or rolling your hair so it can move like a white girl’s. Don’t roll your hair at all. But please wear a bonnet—your edges and ends matter. Their opinions do NOT.
  7. Buy yourself a drink. Go to a movie. Walk your dog and stay off Facebook. Support a black woman who lives and exists and needs your support in real life.
  8. Phyllicia Rashad is an actress whose beauty is unmatched. She is not Clair Huxtable.
  9. Remember no matter how much you loved The Cosby Show, Bill Cosby is not your daddy. Be glad he’s not.
  10. Love yourself. Defend yourself. Protect yourself. Because maybe ain’t no one gonna do it for you. If they do, be sure to let them know you are NOT and never will be, Claire Huxtable.

I AM THE MOST RIGHTEOUS BLACK GIRL IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD.

I was born into it

So I had no choice

Couldn’t use my voice

To speak out

But instead I chose a new route…

I AM the MOST righteous BLACK girl in the whole wide world.

I can tell you every book in the Old and New Testament

Even make songs about it

I can read every line

in both Corinthians like my

life depended on it.

Even hold meetings

And workshops on it

I can preach on the floor

And give you so much more

In my living room speakeasy

But no vegan food—we know it’s  erroneous

Have people worship me

Sermons plus soliloquies

Jesus ain’t got nothing on me.

Cuz.

I AM the MOST righteous BLACK girl in the whole wide world

I can close my legs until 29

I am a good girl.

Fine and repressed

Errogenous zones in high stress

But tell you why you’re going to hell for it.

I can lead + direct every song and melody

And you will never ever get on my level

Church is

and always will be

my ceiling.

I can call you out publicly for your

Fat body

Gay body

Single body

Sexy body

Black body

Woman body

But my PURE + WHITE body

is sacred and holy

and just for husband hobbies.

and my mouth never brings up race

Or rape at Sunday Schools

And road trips.

Black lives matter will be something

I’ll never get

Because it’s all satanic.

Your protests

And marching don’t count

That’s why I have clout

In a crowd of just

25, 45, maybe 60

I’ll just be extra holy spirited and proclaim

I AM the MOST righteous BLACK girl in the whole wide world.

I can never see the righteous forsaken

Ignore you if you never come back

I can say do everything you can

Believe and you’ll be spiritually made

I can listen to ONLY one man

Because ONLY in him can you be saved

I can listen to every lecture

I can read every transcript

I can quote our elders religiously

And avoid all the context

I can wear my hair in Afro

Only if a wig is attached

I can schedule meetings about your attire

But only if look like a frumpy hag

Wear a big bag

Dress with flowers plastered

On every corner

I can make calls to you as a man

Because your curves are distracting

Cover them up

I can pretty much stalk you

While people think it’s cute

Take no action

I can threaten you and abuse you

All in the name of god

I can throw my family under the bus

Under a wholesome facade

Let the unrighteous be unrighteous

STILL….

I AM the MOST righteous FRAUD in the WHOLE Wide World.

I am traumatized.

I am hurt

I am ashamed

I am battered

I am broken

All in the name

Of someone else’s

belief game.

I am wrecked

Titanic sized whole

In my 40 year old heart

So this year

And beyond

Will be a fresh

Start.

Let me fix this: I AM THE MOST VULNERABLE GIRL IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD.

Trying to…

Listen to my conscience

Heal from the trauma

Wash myself clean of the dogma

Forgive myself for my past behavior

Let go of the savior outside of my body

And embrace the one within.

#day18

Be My Guest: An Ode to Notre Dame.

Ol hypocrite, Be my guest

Colonizing at its best

Tie a noose around an African

But a church burns y’all protest

Jesus this Jesus that

Empathy is what you lack

Try fragility, it’s delicious

Don’t believe me, ask the mistress

They can pillage they can kill

This is France y’all know the deal

And here hypocrisy is never second best

Go on and lose that venue

Notre Dame is gone boo

This is not a test

Be my guest

Be my muhfuggin guest

People more heartbroken over an old French church than young black bodies.

HAVE YOU SEEN YOU?

Like, have you ever seen yourself

How beautiful you are

How wonderful you are

How full of light you are

Like, have you looked at yourself in the mirror

And said I’m a problem!

A bad bitch!

Myself ain’t nothing mess with

Have you seen your teeth

And human

And dripped with character

And history

Curve around your lips

Ever wonder if anything

they touch gets jealous?

Have you ever looked back at it

And was in awe of your divine shape

Hearty and nutritious

Have you ever felt suspicious

Of your thoughts

When they tell you

You’re ugly

And not of god?

Betrayed, even? 

Face like the firmament

Eyes like Christmas on 5th ave

Ears like finding melodies in seconds

Cause your lips form a perfect heart

Let’s start with how drop dead gorgeous

You are

And you can’t stop staring

And your own damn self

Because you just too damn fine

And patriarchy will tell you to lessen

Your alignment with the indigenous

And more with the influencer Olympics

Coachella will never be

as elegant or eloquent

Or relevant as the cosmos

In your dna

I’d pay to see your every constellation.

#day16

TYPES OF VACATIONS I NEED.

ONE.

Blistering heat

Coconut oiled body

Sundress on every sizzlin continent

Sandy jewels hugging city feet

Love songs in lazy hammock

Pineapple juices and tongue kisses

Pure tropical + methodical bliss.

TWO

Naked body me.

Naked body you.

Anytime. Anyplace.

Just me and you around.

Bourbon and black tea

Late night piano sessions

Rubs in my belly and sips from your cup

THREE

Alive without microaggressions

Thriving and being flown out

To every young person

Who needs a safe space

My safe space is with those who

Feel safe.

Without apology or

People trying to steal all the shine

And say it’s mine

It’s breathing without the constant

Threat of racism.

FOUR

Coconut milk shakes

with crispy chocolate cookie flakes

Whipped and creamy

Thick and succulent

Pleasure meets straw meets mouth

Saccharine and satisfied

No crowd necessary.

FIVE

Peep the list.

Sleep

Sleep

Sleep

Sleep

And more sleep

And lots of water

And more rest

For personal pleasure

SIX

Body stuck in 90s

R and b

We dancing crazy

Sweaty and neon

Spandex and hoops on

Roll on lipgloss

Smelling like cherries

Legs like mirrors

Cause Vaseline

Cocoa butter

Pink oil hair sheen

SEVEN

Everything sequined

Jumpsuits for every occasion

No black in sight

Just cobalt

Persimmon

Papaya

Welch’s grape

Green of the forest

There’d be no

niggas in poorest

We all flourish

Studio 54 without the

addiction porridge.

EIGHT

Puppies

Kissing

Wagging

Stumbling

Running

Pigs with their bellies up

Swimming and mud slinging

Horses flexin for the gram

Cows twirling

Nobody scared or fleeing

Untouched by humanity

NINE

Clean house

Consistently

Eyes closed

Magically immaculate

Laundry complete

With lots of heat

From the free ass dryer

You never have to pay for.

TEN

Peace.

Personal peace

A piece for my family

A piece for me

Peace for everybody

Judgement free

Collectively making

The world better

I am so ready.

#day15

You will see me.

The shape of my body

Is a poem.

The nap

The tight teeth

The boom bap

In my heart

Is a lyric

The melanin

The heaven sent

Alto tone

The boom boom

In the back

The luscious lips

are a gift

That I’ve slept on

For 39 years.

Fears of y’all

Not liking my song

My harmony

My tiny forehead

Hairline so close

They pluck it too

Eyebrows reminiscent

Of jazz and Vegas

Knees like my daddy

Every nook and cranny

Of my body

Is a miracle

She moves me

Sturdy and cute

And juice and brute

And power

And every southern girl you know

With dimples in all her cheeks

Belly full of sweet tea

On days I’m lemon too

Arms eye untraditional

Muscular and magical

Toned legs a madrigal

Multiple voices and energy

Upholding the pedestal

Of this bawdy

Honey, I’m loving me.

Doing me.

Feeling me.

Cause now it’s EASY.

#day14

MOVING ON.

He was my first crush

Light skinned and light eyes

In 1993, this was in.

So I was on trend.

And I brown and thick

Early at 14.

All the church girls wanted

Him and I got the mixtapes

We fell out and got back but

Never was the same again.

Plus, teenager me blossomed rapidly

Ain’t nobody had time for that.

He was my prom date though

My cerulean blue

sequined body huggin

dress made my dad second guess

My choices.

He was sick though so

He allowed it.

Moving on.

Southern gentleman

Full of art and hair and energy

Let’s call him chocolate con Ed

Except he wasn’t taking all my money

He let me take his.

He had something and I was

Still a hooper and Jordans were my

Go-tos.

Hair still relaxed

But he stayed back and warmed me

With his embrace

I liked the light in his face

When listened to my poetry.

We ended things and he

is still cool to me.

Moving on.

This guy caught my eye

Playing chords late night

On his guitar

Far from mixtapes and southern drawl

This guy was Brooklyn and Caribbean

And tall and played ball

And it was heat and wrong

And strawberry milk and twinkies

Just bad and toxic and too sweet.

Dangerously in lust

But his big ass hands

Did things

But dad died in the middle of our

Melodies

And he moved to Cali

Never came back.

Moving on

Yo, he was full of trash.

Nothing else to say.

Young ass trash with bible verses

Tattooed on his baby teeth.

Moving on

There have been guys in between

My party boyfriend rapper

And that smart ass poly PHD

And the hotepian sheeeeeeid

There were so many.

And a married man too

Yes, boo, yes

Not proud of that

But here still

Screwed around

And played around

And learn so much

About who I am

Through touch and conversation

I ain’t mad at none of them

All lessons along the way.

#Day 13