Honoring Gordon Parks with Kim Coles and Eriq LaSalle

Last night I had the honor of being a guest at an event celebrating the career, work and vision of American icon Gordon Parks.  Hosted by Macy’s in partnership with the Gordon Parks Foundation, the event brought together hundreds of people from all over the Bay Area including Mayor Willie Brown, Renel Brooks-Moon and Dana King, to learn about Gordon Parks’ work through an insightful discussion with actors Kim Coles and Eriq LaSalle.


I thought Macy’s did a beautiful job of selecting this visionary individual to feature in celebration of Black History Month.  “Exemplary Americans like Gordon Parks serve to inspire generations with a rich legacy of achievement that cross boundaries and continue to inform and inspire the work of those who follow in their footsteps.  From photography to film and music, Gordon Parks is the perfect American hero to honor during Black History Month celebrations at Macy’s,” said Dineen Garcia, Macy’s vice-president of Diversity Strategies.


Going into the event, I admittedly knew very little about Gordon Parks’ work, but my eyes and mind were opened to the prominent role he played in shaping black identity in film and art during us 60-year career as a composer, author, photographer and filmmaker.  As a person in media, I was really inspired by Gordon Parks’ motive to create the portrayal of African Americans he wanted to see himself.

Think about it.

How many films are out there that truly represent you as a person of color and do not poke fun at or stereotype us as a people?  Not that many.  In the 60’s and 70’s Gordon Parks was not happy with the depictions he was seeing of African Americans in film and television and so with his films he sought out to create the images of his people that he wanted to see.


“Whatever your gift is, that is what Gordon Parks’ legacy speaks to,” explained Eriq LaSalle.  “Be a maverick and carver your own path.  Regardless of your profession and what your dreams are, create your own opportunities. Our community needs him now more than ever.”


Special thanks to Kim Coles for inviting me to the event and being a generally awesome human being in every way!

What’s better: Insta-Cass or Cass-tagram?

Either way, Instagram is definitely my favorite social network.  In fact, I specifically bought an iPhone last year JUST to get on The  ‘Gram.  I love not only the process of taking photos: composing, editing, applying filters and text, but also to see how others visually represent their world.  My favorite things to gram are my travel adventures, the tasty delights that come across my way, and, of course, CURL PORN.

Here are a few of my favorite recent Instagram shots (and be sure to follow me @cassiroll!).

Are you on instagram?  Leave your username in the comments!


Detox Day Uno: a delicious discovery. (+recipe!)

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I [/dropcap] would be lying if I said I hadn’t spent a good chunk of the weekend eating up on things that I’ll be avoiding for the next couple weeks, namely pasta, burritos, red wine, pumpkin pie, chips and salsa, caffeinated beer (and let me tell you—whatta hangover!) and delicious raviolis + french cheese for what I’ve decided to call My Last Supper.


But I’ve said my goodbyes. The 2013 Detox is ON ON ON! On Saturday [hangover day] I researched lots of yummy recipes to carry me through the next two weeks. There is no reason that I should A. starve and B. eat tasteless food just because I’m cutting out most of the things we’re used to making our food delicious.

I learned my lesson last year that with out proper planning, this sort of detox can be very…bleak. So this year I’m changing all that and I kicked things off this morning with….wait for it… PANCAKES!!! Yes, pancakes!


Why are you giving me that side-eye? Nobody said that detoxing couldn’t be delicious. I’ve been sitting on this recipe from the Minimalist Baker and it’s the perfect morning addition to my new routine. Swapping apricots for chocolate chips and agave nectar for maple syrup, these pancakes were not just easy to make but 100% SCRUMPTIOUS. And filling.



Healthy + Hearty Pancakes

Author: Minimalist Baker
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 2

1 very ripe medium banana
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 2.5 Tbsp water)
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon almond butter
1 Tablespoon canola (or coconut oil…and because I’m a hair blogger, of course I had some coconut oil lying around)
3 Tablespoons almond milk (or sub other milk)
1/2 cup rolled oats (or gluten free oats)
1/4 cup whole wheat or unbleached flour (I used garbanzo flour, which is gluten free!)
Handful of chopped dried apricots (here is where you can add whatever you’d like! If you’re not Detoxing, MB recommends chocolate chips!)


Preheat a skillet to medium heat or about 300-325 degrees.
Prepare flax egg by mixing flaxseed meal and water and letting set for 3-5 minutes.
Mash your very ripe banana with baking powder.
Add flax egg, oil, salt, vanilla, almond butter, almond milk and stir.
Stir in oats and flour until just combined.
Sprinkle in chocolate chips and fold gently.
Scoop scant 1/4 cup measurements onto lightly greased griddle.
Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side – until golden brown.
Serve plain or with a small drizzle of maple syrup and a few additional chocolate chips for melting.
Serving size: 3.5 pancakes Calories: 400 calories Fat: 18 g Sugar: 20 g Fiber: 6.5 Protein: 7 g
* Should yield 5-6 small pancakes.

If you’re in a time crunch, make the batter the night before. They cook right up in a matter of minutes!

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I [/dropcap]n preparation for the next couple weeks, I took a [very organized] trip to Rainbow Grocery last night where I stocked up on lots of bulk grains, gluten free flour, and produce for my eats. 2 weeks of grains and 1 week of fresh produce, not bad for under $60.


As I mentioned, the whole purpose of this detox is to bring awareness, intention and balance back into eating. Our eating habits are a direct result of the resources (both monetary and natural) that we have access to. In the same vein as my above photo of my groceries, I wanted to share a few photos from photographer Peter Wenzel who traveled the world taking photographs of families and their week’s worth of groceries. Please enjoy these images, learn from them and even if you’re not detoxing, let them help you bring awareness into your own consumption.









To see more images from the series (and how much each of these families spent!), check out this site. Here’s to getting the next couple weeks off on a good start!

Faces of the Virgin Islands – (gallery post)

While down on St. Thomas and St. Croix, I had the pleasure of meeting lots of locals who were gracious enough to let me snap their pictures.  From the volunteer who helped out at the St. Thomas event to men selling coconuts on the side of the road to a little naturalista enjoying the event with her mom to a school teacher, the images and stories I collected have the true spirit of the Caribbean and I put some of my favorite pictures in a gallery to share with you all.


Some of these people I was able to interview and will be sharing their videos here and on my YouTube page soon!

Back in San Francisco part 1: NARS dishes on make up trends + my gallery debut

Right before leaving for Minnesota I had a pretty full week of exciting happenings in the beauty, fashion, and art worlds I wanted to catch you up on. Here’s a run down:


I nabbed a seat at a Nordstrom NARS make up event featuring live demos of how NARS artistic directors set the trends at Fashion Week in February. It was awesome to see how many of the make up trends I’ve been seeing had originated on the NARS runways of Thakoon, Marc Jacobs, and Rodarte just a few months ago in NYC.

NARS looks from the NYFW runways

A NARS model

While NARS superstar make up artists Janice Daoud and Hank Hoffman gushed over the bold lip and minimal eye, I had my own agenda to pursue: how to do the exact opposite with a bold eye and a nude lip. While I’m always rocking a bold lip in red, orange or burgundy or purple, I’ve never mastered the nude lip. A sheer, pale, demure lip with a dramatic bold eye has been high on my list of things to accomplish so I had the NARS artists walk me through the steps to get there. Here’s how we did it:

  • Start with a huge dramatic sweep of liquid black liner on the top lid, extending the line at a 45 degree angle from the outside corner far beyond the point where you think is ok.  Think: Amy Winehouse (RIP).
  • Using a deep black shadow, retrace the black liner, thickening and softening the hard line.
  • Once you have your desired fill, use remover and a q-tip to shape the cat eye and bring it closer to the corner.  Think: remove 50% of the the Amy Winehouse (RIP) swoop.
  • On the lip, use a pale gold gloss to knock out some of the natural lip color, creating a fresh palette.
  • On top, layer a sheer, nude gloss to finish the look!

I dug the final look.  “THIS is the way to do vintage…a little messy…you never want to be too literal,” explained the NARS mua.  I can’t wait to play with this one, using variations of color especially on the eyes, this summer!

My liner before roughing up with shadow


Posing with Qiana for my final look


The color chart for my final look...see the dramatic eye??

Here are also a few of the hottest trends and tips Janice and Hank shared with us during the event:

  • The hottest lip color right NOW NOW NOW is red orange.  I actually picked this up from NARS a couple months ago and have been LOVING it.  Check it:
  • Use a nude liner on your inner bottom lid to open and brighten a lined eye
  • The strong brow is here to stay!  You heard it here first!
  • Opt for tinted moisturizers over a full foundation.  “It’s like bare skin, but better!”  Layer a shimmer on top for a full illumination and glow!
  • “When in doubt, French it out!”  This was in reference to how to pronounce the product names in the NARS line, many of which are French.   I just thought that it was a good life motto and wanted to share!

Janice Daoud and Hank Hoffman of NARS


The Critical Mass photo show opening went down last Thursday and was welcomed by a huge crowd. My picture, taken by the one and only Miss Gab Herman, was hanging front and center in front of the entry way so there was no missing it! Even funnier was that people kept coming up to me and asking if I was the blogger in the picture….”sure am!!”.

A highlight from the evening was having the event photographer take a picture of the photographer gab taking a picture of me standing next to the picture she had taken of me. Mind blown? I know. #meta




Stay tuned for my second Back in San Francisco post where I talk about the beautiful intersection of trash and beauty as well as the latest fashion innovation that I’m concerned with be the end of me…………….

Award Winning Blogger Photo + Reception!

Remember long long ago when I posted about my portrait being included in photographer Gabriela Herman’s ‘Blogger’ series?

Oh you don’t?

Here ya go:

Well, little did we all know that this impromptu photoshoot of me getting down and dirty with Natural Selection in my bedroom would produce an award winning shot! Gab was recently awarded the honor of being selected as Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50! Even cooler is that one shot from each of these 50 winners was selected to be a part of a traveling West Coast tour and the photo selected from Gab’s series was the one of ME!

The tour is making its way to San Francisco tomorrow night (Thursday May 10th) at the Rayko Photo Center and launching with an opening party. I’ll be there along with Gab to check out the other finalists’ work. I’ll also being checking out, of course, the large photo of me looking much cooler, nicer, put together while blogging than I normally do.

I usually look like this (swapping out those sunnies for a sleep cap):

But that’s why Gab rocks. She took what I normally do (geeking out alone in my room) and literally illuminated it for the world to see! Hats off and a big congrats to Gab on this one! If you’re in the Bay you should totally come check it out manana! Hope to see you there! Yay!

Sidenote: sheesh! Look at all that HAIR I had once upon a time! Go Lola! Go Lola!

What Are You Doing With Your Hair for New Years Eve!?!??

NYE always always always sneaks up on me and whaddya know!?!? It’s tomorrow. I have no plans, just a lot of options and a desire to 1. look cute (duh) and 2. do something memorable. I obviously have a bit more control over the first thing, because you never know what will happen on New Years in SF (my last one in the city resulted in me hosting a house party during which my front door broke and everyone got locked INTO the party. Talk about interesting!)

So let’s talk about New Years hair. Dramatic. Sparkly. Big. Fun. are all words that come to mind when I think about what I’d like to do with my hair. My Damn Fade is nothing if not dramatic and big and fun when its loose, so it looks like I’ve gotta add some sparkle to it. I’ve been trolling the interwebz for some hairspiration pix, but I thought I’d ask YOU my dear naturalistas what YOU’RE doing with your hair to ring in the holidays. Send me your hairspiration pix AND/OR snaps of your actual style then I’m going to post a gallery of all the haute #naturalnewyear hair sent in next week. Here’s how you can send me your shots:


  • Email me at cassidy[at]naturalselectionblog[dot]com
  • Tweet them to me @naturalsblog with the hashtag #naturalnewyear
  • Post them to my FB wall at facebook.com/naturalselectionblog

I can’t wait to see all your gorgeousness!  In the meantime, here’s a few pics that I’ve been digging up to get your creative styling juices going!


For how-to instructions on Checscaleigh’s Holiday Bun, follow this link!

Mountains! Skating! Besties! OH MY! Snapshots from my Holiday Adventures

I realized last week that in the rush to the holidaze, that I didn’t clue y’all in that I’d be taking a few days off of the ol’ blog to recharge the ol’ batteries and enjoy my holidays. But you know I like to share my snaps and keep you updated on the adventures. My traditional holiday partner in crime Dani has flown out to spend a couple weeks in Cali as we round out the year and the holiday season. She’s made many a-cameo on the blog (and was my very first subscriber in fact!) and we’ve had a grand ol time cooking, baking, eating, skating, eating, sleeping, reading, eating, biking, nesting, and eating some more. I’m writing this from my friend Jeff’s cabin in Lake Tahoe, California– a ruggedly mountainous and stunningly beautiful retreat 4 hours outside of San Francisco. I’ve taken a bunch of pics of the holiday adventures so far and wanted to share with you! (Note: Since they’re seemingly random over the past week, I captioned all of them so you know what in the hee haw is going on)

We’re headed back to SF tomorrow and honestly haven’t the faintest idea about what we’re doing for the New Years. If you’re in the Bay and have any creative and fun ideas, please let me know. I hope you’ve had fantastic holidays, let me know how things are going in your neck of the woods!

Nothing new on the Lola front either! The Damn Fade is still rockin and I’m still getting lots of compliments on the style. The fade is growing out more and more every day, which both concerns and excites me.

One of the things I’m doing right now is thinking about what types of content, posts, and features I want to focus on in the new year. If there’s anything you’d like to see more of, feel free to drop me a note (cassidy [at] naturalselectionblog [dot] com) or leave it in the comments.

I’ll be back to posting regularly next week, so until then CHEERIO, MIS NATURALISTAS!!

Three Natural Hair Mags To Watch

You’re a fan of reading blogs. I know this because you’re reading this one. Well, please allow me to share with you our online media cousins: web magazines! Here’s a round up of three that I’m digging right now.

Natural Hollywood Magazine

Published by stylist extraordinare Jennifer Lord, this magazine stands out for its stunning photography and editorial spreads. The hairstyles are unique and distinctive. Upon further examination, you’ll see that almost each and everyone of the styles were created by Jennifer herself! Awesome features to scope this issue are an interview with the Natural CEO, Miss Pam Jenkins of Koils By Nature and an eye candy-filled style spread featuring the Toronto Dancehall scene. To download your free copy visit www.naturalhollywood.com

Thirsty Roots Digital Magazine

Chances are if you attend an event in the south eastern part of the country, then Sharina and Calvin Hill of Thirsty Roots have been amongst the crowd snapping your picture and taking video. It’s no wonder then that this is digital mag is like natural hair people watching! I’ve always said that one of my favorite parts of going to hair events is seeing the creative styles that attendees rock. This magazine features some of the best of the best styles, the kind of stuff you wanted to get a good picture of, but either it was too dark or you were too shy to ask. Bonus: it’s chock full of haircare tips and styling techniques. Oh ok fine, and a picture of me too! Download your copy of this digital mag here: http://thirstyroots.com/ebook/

Natural Style Magazine

More community and lifestyle focused than the other two, Natural Style magazine features a variety articles on news, fashion, skincare, and events. Never fear though, it’s got the lots of natural hair styling tips and eye candy too! Ok ok ok, fine! I’m also in this one :) Check out the preview here.

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