On #interracialFRIENDSHIPS part 1: Stephen

First up in my friend-fueled series on Interracial Friendships is Stephen, our food and wine enthusiast with a passion for writing. Please give him a warm welcome! Oh also, I want to encourage lots of comments and participation in this series because that’s what we’re here for—discussion and dialogue!

“A Reply About White People

By Stephen

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 8.05.02 AM

I love white people. Really, I owe a great deal to them. They’ve taught me all sorts of things, like, being a professional alcoholic is okay, it’s just pronounced “sommelier”. I ran with that one. I also owe to them a huge amount of gratitude for making my earliest competitive endeavors in life successful ones, because, honestly, even in our elementary school Olympics, I was looking like the reincarnation of Jesse Owens compared to my classmates. I could go on with ironic, reverse racist banter, but Cassidy, who asked me to write this, only gives me 500 words (good luck), so I must stay on task.

The task was to respond to this article about the difficulty of maintaining interracial friendships into adulthood. The author, Brittney Cooper, explains how her relationship with her once best friend, gradually dissolved as the girls grew older. She cites a potential reason for the shift (perhaps the origins of this thesis), is that her white friend was told by her father that people should “date their own”. As the girls shifted from pre-to actually pubescent, an inability to relate to the same guy was a big deal. Then there was this notion of white friendships being “grandfathered in” before the end of highschool, and I actually found myself-at least partially-agreeing with that.

The “Grandfather” Clause

I think there are many of us who confuse the advancement of blacks in our country (obligatory Obama reference) with a dilution of racism. I’m not ready to go there. Now, it’s just a bit more advanced, and comes out in subtler ways, most often in the realm of class. While whites are increasingly comfortable with the idea of equity for blacks (and I do believe this to be generally true- particularly Millennials), most of us still do not develop super tight interracial relationships into our adulthood. This separatism has been fueled by each respective race as evidenced by Brittney’s tales of ridicule by her black classmates. I grew up in a similarly vexing environment, in which the identity surfing created a great deal of discomfort for a very middle-class black with a very upper class high school experience. Fortunately, sports to a large degree was enough to gain the acceptance of a few influential 7th grade boys and I never looked back.

Stephen with one of our future series featurees, Bubba "Jeff".

There’s nowhere near enough time to go into full detail of theories and implications of this article, but I will suggest that for me, the most resounding is that blacks who’ve befriended whites throughout high school are far more likely to retain/develop white friendships into their adulthood. Develop is an operative word, here, where I’ll extend the parameters of her BFF’s “grandfather clause.” I’ve observed this on many occasions. I think that goes both ways.

Looking Forward

There’s something to that formative time in high school. I’ve been the lone black face at weddings and will almost certainly be so again. I look at this as not quite an indictment on the bride and groom, rather a reminder of (literally) how very far apart we still are racially. Or, if you’re like me, you might’ve ended up in a place (Oregon) where there just aren’t that many “opportunities” for interracial friends. However, the longer one stays in those environments, the less likely they are to (re)discover interracial friendships. That’s a big reason I left. If we really want to properly observe interracial friendships, we should look to those who are half the age of Brittney or I, because that’s where we’ll get a better read on where whether this is an endangered or enduring phenomenon.

One you chop you just can’t stop

I’ve spent the last month wavering back and forth between the big decision that seems to plague me every couple months: Cut or grow? BAA or TWA? Crop or Crown?

I knew I needed a simple trim so I made a last minute appointment with my stylist Marie of Madusalon in San Francisco. The issue is, last minute appointments don’t work so well for a lady whose signature curly cuts book out a month in advance.

We were crunched for time in a serious way.

As a result, I decided that I simply wanted to go natural.

“Go natural?” you say. Yes, go natural, as in ditch the color and the crazy cuts, I wanted a short cropped do and my own natural color.

The result is just that, a short cropped do featuring Lola au naturel!


Well, kind of.

The remaining blonde highlights will have to go pretty soon, but you get the point.


Wanna know the other point? Of course you do.


There is just something so simple, chic and pure about having a minimalist ‘do.

Saying that my hair is easy to style is an understatement. It takes a matter of seconds and I’m done! I will say that I am having a bit of a challenge in finding the appropriate combination of products that coax my curls out of hiding. It seems that my hair likes different products at every different length and right now we’re seeing a renaissance of GELS. Stay tuned for how that evolves.


You may notice that I’ve been rocking a side part with the look, a style note I pinched from my lifelong bestie (and BIRTHDAY GIRL) Phallon, who added one to HER big chop a few months ago. It’s a super simple addition, but one that adds a level of sophistication and refinement to the new crop. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post when I do a tutorial on how I get the part (and make it STAY!)


Hey all! Well I took a little bit of an unforeseen hiatus from the ol’ #bloglife there for a bit. The truth is: that dang triathlon really took it out of me. After that Cry-athlon bit, I decided to nose to the grindstone and do the damn thing.

Running the race, I was a ball of nerves and jitters. I had been preparing for months to do it so I knew that my body could handle the race, but as everyone says “you never know what will happen on race day…”

With my Coach Doug

With my Coach Doug

Luckily for me, the weather dropped 30 degrees on the morning of the race, leaving us with an overcast and breezy clime–quite similar to that of San Francisco! How ever as soon as we got out of the gate and onto the swim course, the winds picked up and the waves came crashing over my head. I have never fought so hard for a swim. Each time as I turned my head to breathe, I choked on water and eventually I was forced into the backstroke. Around me I saw people getting seasick, crying and hanging on to the buoys for dear life. It was atrocious.

Words can’t describe how scary this swim was actually. But I think that everything happens for a reason. I think without having had my freak out, something bad may have happened to me in that water. But I didn’t panic and 50-minutes later I triumphantly made it to the shore.


The rest of the race was a breeze, well I mean as much of a breeze that a 25-mile bike ride and a 6-mile run can be. It felt SO good to finish. I cried. I hugged. I called Moms. And then I basically slept for the next 6 days straight.




Since then I’ve been nursing a slight foot injury and things are now feeling much better. While my life swung very intensely in the direction of the Tri, I’m now working towards reestablishing a sustainable balance.

I want to send a huge THANK YOU to all who supported be through my journey. Training certainly wasn’t easy and I could NOT have done it with out my friends, family, coaches, teammates and of course, my sponsors who helped me EXCEED my goal of raising $2,900 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Thank you! Merci! Gracias! Muito Obrigada!

So what’s next? Well. I couldn’t be more excited about that. This summer I have a FANTABULOUS event in store here in San Francisco. I don’t want to say that it’s going to be my best one yet, but really, that’s what we’re looking at. I’ll have details about that with a Save The Date later this week!

Sorry for the radio silence for a bit, but life happens and now I’m glad to be back!

A DIY Diva’s Guide to Beauty: recipes for beauty beverages

So much of our outside beauty relies on what we put inside it. When the work week is over and we’re jacked that the weekend’s come, we often forget to maintain our healthy lifestyle choices. Binging on cocktails and fried foods over the weekend can leave our skin looking lack-lustre and less than flawless.

To boost your outer beauty, I’ve designed a few tasty and effective beverages that will kick your skin back into shape.


There’s nothing better for your skin than giving yourself a little green cleanse. This blended recipe will give you nearly 50% of your daily Vitamin A and C intake, which will stimulate cellular turnover to give you brighter looking skin.

For this drink you will need the following items:

- 2 large apples
- 1 cup of kale
- 1 cup of spinach
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¾ cup filtered water
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- A blender

For best results, give your ingredients a thorough cleaning. You don’t want to be sucking back any dirt!

Core your apples and slice them up. Feel free to leave the skin on because it will be blended into your drink.

Cut up the rest of your ingredients into manageable pieces then add them and your apple to the blender. Blend on high for 3-5 minutes; it depends on how smooth or pulpy you like your drinks.

Pour in a glass and enjoy the high fiber benefits that will kickstart your metabolism and rejuvenate your skin.



Sometimes we need to give our body a little helping hand in absorbing nutrients. This next beverage will do just that.

Prepare the following items:

- 1 banana
- ¼ inch fresh ginger
- ½ cup mango
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup filtered water
- A blender

Peel your banana and ginger. Mince into small pieces before adding to the blender.

Cut up your mango and add it, along with the rest of your ingredients to the blender. Blend on high until it is nice and smooth.

The combination of ingredients in this smoothie are great for preventing future skin damage. On top of that, the high beta-carotene content gives your skin a natural, healthy glow.



Cut out you dehydrating cup of caffeine in the morning and replace it with this hydrating drink instead.

- 2 cups of hot water
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 5 drops of Stevia concentrate
- Half of a freshly squeezed lemon

Bring your water to a boil then add the remaining ingredients. If you don’t need the sweetness of Stevia just omit this from your recipe.

This warm beverage will not only stimulate your senses and wake you up, but will soothe skin inflammation. This is especially great for those suffering from acne because the ingredients listed help rid your body of acne-causing toxins.

Each of these beauty beverages is simple to make and relatively cheap. A much healthier alternative to sugar filled cocktails and hangovers; promise!

About Sabrina:Sabrina is a lover of spontaneous adventure, surfing the net and of course, all things skincare and beauty. To green her skincare routine she likes to come up with cheeky and cheap DIY’s like How to Tighten Pores Naturally

Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

The Doctor is In: nutrition, supplements, and natural hair (+exciting Paris announcement!)

a reader writes: I am currently taking perfectil platinum supplements for hair and skin. Do supplements actually work. I want faster hair growth and stronger hair!


Dr. Kari writes:

I believe the hair is the barometer of health, so if you are providing your body with an abundance of nutrients then your hair will reflect your overall health. Supplements work to provide you with essential nutrients you are not getting through food. The most fundamental contributor to hair’s appearance is nutrition. Hair building vitamins and nutrients absorbed in the blood have more of an influence on how our hair grows, looks and feels than any product we put on top of our hair.

Although hair is dead, it is one of the fastest growing tissues in the body made from the food we eat. The generation of hair tissues is a continuous process that is more efficient when the tissues are provided with the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and mineral. Our hair is primarily made of protein, but every vitamin and mineral facilitates a function in the body. The specific nutrients beneficial in improving the health, vitality and appearance of our hair are:

Vitamin A- prevents drying of the hair but excessive amounts can cause hair loss
Vitamin B- promotes healthy hair and skin
Vitamin C- helps in the growth and repair of cells; prevents skin damage and promotes healing
Vitamin E- improves blood circulation
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s)- helps relieve itching and inflammation
Selenium- controls dry scalp
Iron- creates richer blood and carries oxygen to the cells
Zinc- important for the replication, growth and repair of cells

If you want your hair to grow faster and stronger, don’t underestimate the power of a healthy lifestyle and its influence on the growth and appearance of your hair. Take care of your body and your hair will flourish.

Dr. Kari Tag

Head Shots 2012 no 2

Stay connected to Dr. Kari:

  • Web: www.drkariwilliams.com and www.mahoganyrevolution.com
  • Twitter: @drkariwilliams
  • Instagram: @drkariwill
  • …and for Facebook click HERE!
  • Learn more by downloading or purchasing one of Dr. Kari’s books at www.drkariwilliams.com/books

Dr. Kari also JUST announced that she and her colleague will be headed back to Paris this summer to do a pop-up salon experience! Check the flyer below and visit here for more details!


My Cry-athlon at my Practice Triathlon…(and how my 10 year old sister saved the day!)

I can’t believe my first triathlon is just two weeks away!  Actually, I can absolutely believe that.  I’m in the midst of what is called “Peak Week” the period where our coaches push us to our fitness limits in preparation for the big race: swims top out at 2600 meters, runs include long hills, and three days a week we have two workouts each day.

It’s been tough, but the results are showing and I feel my body arriving at peak endurance condition.


Me in my “Trisuit”—the one piece of glory in which I will swim, bike and run! (Not Alcatraz in the background…”

Which is why this past weekend, I was particularly excited to put it all to the test in our team’s Practice Triathlon!  Our coaches had arranged a day that would simulate the actual race as closely as possible.  We arrived at 7:45AM to set up our transition areas, clip our bibs to our jerseys and be “marked” by Sharpies with our age and race numbers on our arms and legs.


My transition area: everything I need for the race including water, snacks and route maps.

Soon about 50 of us diving into the San Francisco Bay at the same time and racing towards the buoys.  Pretty immediately the familiar feeling of exhaustion that comes with fast-paced swimming crept into my arms and I slowed my pace to catch my breath.

“march of the penguins”…into the Bay

I'm somewhere in this melée.  Please note San Quentin in the background.  Apparently my team does well to swim in front of California's prisons.

I’m somewhere in this melée. Please note San Quentin in the background. Apparently my team does well to swim in front of California’s prisons.

The issue is, I never caught my breath.  My heart continued to race faster and faster, despite my slow pace and eventual transition into doing the backstroke.  My wetsuit grew tighter and more constricting.   I eventually started coughing uncontrollably.  My goggles filled with tears and in emptying them accidentally filled with Bay water.  My swim cap fell off.  I doggy paddled.  I tried to meditate.  I swam. I floated. I floundered. And I STILL couldn’t catch my breath.


It was an absolute disaster.


One of my coaches asked if I was okay from a nearby kayak and I shook my head no through a haze of tears and a fit of coughing.  I had somehow managed to finish the .7 mile swim course, but she towed me to shore.  Dazed and confused, I peeled off my wet suit, strapped on my bike shoes and headed out for a 18 mile ride followed by a 4-mile run on shaky legs and weakened lungs.  For me, it turned out to be the hardest run and ride of the season.


Me somewhere along the bike route

Me somewhere along the bike route


Crossing the mock finish line, I officially became a triathlete, but instead of joy I felt defeated and sad with a complete loss of confidence.


So I did what any normal girl would do: I called my parents crying. After reassuring conversations and pep talks from both,  my phone rang from the landline.  It was my 10-year old sister Skya.


I told her about how I had struggled in the water and how it was really scary to not be able to breath and how the rest of the triathlon was so hard—then asked what she thought.


Her words: “Well, Cass.  I think it all just caught up to you.  You’ve been working SO hard on this one thing and then you realized that this is ACTUALLY happening and you got nervous.  So what you need to do is stay positive and remember that you’re a good runner, a good biker, and a good swimmer.  You can do it!”


Verbatim.  From a 10-year old.


I’m glad I got this panic out-of-the-way before race day.  As Skya reminded me– after three months of training I AM a good swimmer, a good biker and a good runner.  I CAN DO THIS!


In a recent team “Mission Moment” I shared with them the story of my sister Keagan and dedicated my triathlon to her in honor of doing this event for those who can’t.  I’m going to share my dedication now to include our other sister Skya, whose positivity and encouragement will help me get across the finish line.


Cass, Keagan and Skya!

Cass, Keagan and Skya!

Any words of wisdom, advice or encouragement are very welcome as I head into this last phase!  I can’t wait to share my Wildflower experience with you soon!!

A Diva’s Guide to DIY Beauty: Gluten Free Skincare

Gluten seems to be a pretty popular topic these days. More and more people seem to be diagnosed as Celiacs or suffer from a severe allergy to it.

A silent killer in so many of your skin care products, you’d be reckless not to start reading your ingredient lists just a little more thoroughly.

Got Gluten?

For those of you who aren’t sure of what gluten really is, follow along.

Gluten is a protein found in any product contain barley, rye, wheat and more often than not, oats. Though this list is only 4 items long, you can see the issue.

Many of your favourite foods and drinks contain at least one of these ingredients and you’d be surprised how many skincare and beauty products do as well.

Those of us who are diagnosed with Celiacs Disease or suffering from sever intolerances are affected because our body is rejecting the protein. As a result, small intestinal villi are damaged and nutritional absorption is affected. Long story short, your body is attacking the very thing that is trying to nourish you.

To undo damage caused to your villi and live a healthy, happy life all you have to do is live by a strict g-free diet and lifestyle. It’s easier than it sounds, promise!

Portrait of a young woman

G-Free Your Skincare

To maintain glowing gorgeous skin, try swapping out your usual products for one of these recipes:


So simple to make and so rich and creamy. This blend will rival any of your favourite products; I’m certain of it.

All you need is:

- 1 cup Shea Butter
- ½ cup 100% Virgin Coconut Oil
- ½ cup Almond Oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons Beeswax
- 1 tablespoon Zinc Oxide
- 1 tablespoon Glycerin
- 10 drops of your favourite Essential Oil (I like Vanilla because it blends well with the other scents)

Step 1:Melt your butter oils and beeswax over low heat. Once liquified, remove from heat and set aside.

Step 2: Place your zinc oxide and glycerin in a blender and mix on high for 30 seconds.

Step 3: Remove the middle portion of your blender lid and slowly add in your oils and butter blend, one scoop at a time. Once it is all added let it blend on high for 5 minutes or until it becomes the creamy consistency you desire.

Step 4: Slather it on your skin!



Great for your face and your body. This next recipe will gently exfoliate your skin and cleanse it. It’s so good it even removes waterproof makeup!

Gather together:

- 1 cup Coconut Oil
- ¼ cup Grapeseed Oil
- 1 cup Raw Sugar

Step 1: Blend together your oils.

Step 2: Add in your sugar and stir thoroughly.

Step 3: If you want to use this as a body wash, double the recipe, otherwise gently massage this cleanser into your face and rinse off with lukewarm water.


I love a good toner for when I’m on the go and this is no exception. To promote clear skin, tighten pores and remain blemish free all you will need is:

- ¼ cup Witch Hazel
- ¼ cup Aloe Juice
- 2 tablespoons Chamomile Essential Oil
- 2 tablespoons Distilled Water
- 5-6 Fresh Mint Leaves

Step 1: Mix everything together in a bowl.

Step 2: Pulverize the mint leaves to extract their natural oils. Do so with a muddler.

Step 3:Pour your toner into a travel-sized spray bottle so you can carry it with you at all times.

Tip: I like to remove the crushed mint stems so the toner doesn’t go off. You can use a micro-strainer to do this if you’ve pulverized them nice and good!

mint face spray

Hope you enjoy these g-free skin care products. They are budget friendly and a great opportunity for you to take your first step into a gluten-free lifestyle.

About Sabrina: Sabrina is a lover of spontaneous adventure, surfing the net and of course, all things skincare and beauty. To green her skincare routine she likes to come up with cheeky and cheap DIY’s like How to Tighten Pores Naturally

Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Dove Tells Us That We Are More Beautiful Than We Think. (and it’s true!)

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about the words “BODY ISSUES”, which come together to represent the concept of the things we don’t like about our physical selves. We hear them more frequently than not:

  • I’m too fat.
  • I’m too skinny.
  • My nose is too wide.
  • I don’t like my hips.
  • I have back fat.
  • I hate my freckles.
  • My hair is too [nappy/thin/thick/short]

The list goes on.

From a young age,  most women are taught to critique themselves, to assemble this list of “body issues” as opposed to celebrating themselves with a list of “body awesomes”.

Case in point: Dove’s new campaign that employs a forensic artist to draw two portraits of the same woman, one as she describes herself and the other as described by a complete stranger.  The results are powerful.  Each and every time, the self-described drawings depict a harsher image, while the one’s influenced by the description of a stranger are not only more “beautiful”, but also closer to reality.

Check it out:

florence maria pic4-back shelly />


What does this say about us?

Dove says that “We are more beautiful than we think” and that “women are their own worst beauty critics”.  (I’d like to extend that to people in general as I think a lot of men experience this as well!)

Wouldn’t it be nice to change that up?  To change the conversation from “Body Issues” to “Body Awesomes”, from a critique to a celebration?

Let’s Give It A Try.

I’ll start.

  • I’ve never been a fan of my big thighs and derriere–it’s hard to find jeans that fit, especially in this land of “skinny-fits”.  But now, I’ve realized that they are awesome for  powering me up big hills on my bike and helping me run super fast.
  • My shoulders are awesome.  (And look damn good in a one-shouldered dress.)
  • My hair, which I once thought and was taught to believe was too thick and too nappy, is one of my most distinctive features.  Lola IS awesome.

What about you? What are your Body Awesomes? Share them in the comments!


The Doctor is In: what is “normal” shed hair?

M. Carter Asks:Hello Dr. Williams, Does the amount of shed hair considered “normal” vary by person? Even when I was relaxed, I had a lot of shedding – full length hair, not broken pieces. I have very thick, coarse hair. This seems to have carried over into my natural hair journey. Just want to make sure I’m not having a negative impact on my hair during detangling or styling (mainly when shingling) with the tools I am using (Ouidad Double Detangler/Denman brush), based on the hair I see left in them. Thanks!


Dr. Kari Writes:

Yes, the amount of shed hair considered “normal” would vary. The resting phase, or shedding phase of the hair cycle is called telogen. When hairs are in the telogen phase shampooing, combing, brushing or manipulating the hair in any way will cause hairs to fall out. These are the hairs we see on a daily basis and this is natural. It is important to remember that if you only shampoo your hair once to twice a week or don’t comb it frequently, several hairs will be lost simultaneously when you finally do. A telogen hair typically has a club shaped bulb on the end of it. This bulb is an indication the hair strand has gone through a complete hair cycle and was ready to come out.

When the hair shedding is significantly and persistently above average and the density of your hair decreases to the point where your scalp becomes visible, this is a sign of hair loss. Consequently, there may be systemic reasons causing your hair loss. Some of these causes can be stress, illness, medication, nutritional deficiency, hormonal fluctuations or autoimmune disorders like alopecia areata.

Therefore, check your strands. If the hair you are seeing on a regular basis has a clubbed shaped bulb, then this is an indication that you naturally shed above the estimated average number of hairs during telogen; and this is normal. If you are noticing areas of thinning or breakage, there may be another reason why your hair is shedding excessively and I would recommend visiting a Trichologist or Dermatologist for proper diagnosis.

Dr. Kari Tag

Head Shots 2012 no 2

Stay connected to Dr. Kari:

  • Web: www.drkariwilliams.com and www.mahoganyrevolution.com
  • Twitter: @drkariwilliams
  • Instagram: @drkariwill
  • …and for Facebook click HERE!
  • Learn more by downloading or purchasing one of Dr. Kari’s books at www.drkariwilliams.com/books

5 Reasons Why Short Hair Kicks Major A**

It’s been two glorious  months since I went for my second big chop and I’m stil VERY VERY happy with the decision to clip my curls! I like it SO much in fact, I’ve even been back to the salon to have it cut even shorter!  Here’s why:



1. Short hair means short everything

When my curls were longer, my hair could take 30-40 minutes to wash, condition + style and upwards of eight hours to dry. Now? We’re talking under 5 minutes to wash, condition AND style followed by 2 hours until I’m fully dry. It really can’t be beat!

2. I can wear a helmet!

I went from something like this:
afro biker

Natural hair + a naturally big head = bike helmet woes.

When I had longer hair, my helmet would be more perched atop my head for show than securely protecting my brain. I searched for a larger helmet to no avail and even made phone calls to various helmet companies in search of one that would fit. “You mean you don’t have an XXXL??” Now with a Little Lola, my helmet slips on not a problem AND it doesn’t even really mess up my curls afterwards!

3. TWO WORDS: statement. jewelry.

Imma let this [sneak peek from Curls, Curves & Cocktails!!!] picture tell 1000 words for this one.


4. Products last longer

You’d think it would be obvious: that less hair means less product. However, the first time I washed my own hair after the cut I applied my normal amount of styler and ended up with about 15X the product I needed on my head. The tiny dollops product I need for my entire head of short natural hair mean that the all of my favorite hair goodies stick around for much longer! It’s definitely a money saver!

5. It’s fly. That’s all there is to it.

There was a time when I was worried about being less attractive and feminine with short hair, but I quickly got over it and fell in love with the new ‘do that doesn’t allow me to hide behind bangs, layers, curls and accessories. Cropped cuts are confident, chic, edgy and definitely not for the faint of heart. I love dressing mine up with bold make up and big earrings or keeping it detendu and au naturel with a simple sweep of blush. Either way, it’s the most effortlessly, easy style I’ve found to rock a polished look.


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