American Hijab Design Contest

My husband & I went to the American Hijab Design Contest this past week. He served as one of the judges. You can learn more about the contest here: http://americanhijab.wordpress.com/faq/

Here are some of the entries before we actually saw them brought to life on the models:

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Here are some photos from the event:

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A woman can be both attractive and stylish while also being modest. I was definitely  taking notes during the event. 

 

Hair School: Why Am I Here? by Dominica Martin

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The school started to have hair shows, and all sorts of events for students to showcase their talent. I was a freshman, and in this hair show we competed against seniors as well. I was so excited, and I knew that this was the perfect time for me to do my thing.  I hand-picked my group of my classmates who I knew would give 100%, we picked our theme, and we planned. Being that I have been into hair for 10 years, I know some things. I have participated in hair shows since the age of 14. I called a DJ I know, and had him make a custom show tape, found our models, we had props, costumes, and of course the hair was a given. On the day of the show the excitement and competitive air was thick. Everyone had their game faces on, and made sure that they brought their A game. It was show time! Our audience was there which consisted of family, friends, and classmates that chose not to participate. Judges took their seats and prepared to watch the show. Talk filled the hallways about who would win first place as we all lined up with our models, and watched the contestants go 1 by 1. The time came for the last group to go, it was US. I started the show tape, our smoke machine filled the stage with puffy clouds, and there they were. My models turned up! After we finished the judges congregated to make their decision while we all danced, conversed with guest, and anxiously waited for the results. They thanked all of the participants, and then started to call out. 3rd place winner is…….(it wasn’t us)  2nd place winner is….(it wasn’t us) , and the 1st place winner is……MOB WIVES!!!! We won! We ran out, got our gifts, and thanked the judges. It was a great accomplishment for all of us, and we worked very hard to put on the best show. After that day, for me, hair school was never the same.

Out of the blue, every ones true colors started to show. Girls who were cool with me last week, gave me dirty looks. People started putting my name in places it had no business and blowing up on me just for the hell of it. It got to a point where anything good I did, meant that I would have one less friend the next day, if not 2. If I would finish a haircut before the rest of the class, they said I thought I was better than everyone. I get 100% on a test, they said I was a cheater. It was even said that I only purchased a new car because I was jealous of someone else. Anything under the sun that they could pick on, they did, even if there was nothing wrong with it. I have since realized that I am truly there for one thing which is to obtain my license, and move on with my life.

The issue is not me personally; it is that I am doing good things. Everyone is not there for the same reasons, and your reason is the very thing that will determine whether you sink or swim. When you are doing well, and reaching your dreams one step at a time, some people will do ANYTHING to confuse your process, and destroy your progress. Some of these girls would love nothing more than to see me thrown out of school, with everything that I’ve worked for down the drain.  When you have a vision, you have to figure out what is more important, ego or vision, pride or vision. Well, for me, my future is more important than any obstacles thrown at me by those who only admire me, but express it in a different way. So I have separated myself from those who pose a threat to my progress, and I stay in a protective bubble.

Since then, I have launched my virgin hair company Le’Anns L.A. Hair Extensions, and I am working hard towards its success. My grades continue to soar, and I am looking forward to graduation in 3 months. Afterwards, I will relocate to Chicago to open a Salon/ Spa, and return to school for my educators license which only takes 7 months. I still run into issues with girls for one reason or another, sometimes there is no way around it. On the brighter side, I figure that this is preparing me for the constant scrutiny that is to come as I climb higher in the hair industry. Everything happens for a reason, and I’m aware of my reasons for being in “HAIR SCHOOL”.

Check out the first entry for this new column “Hair School: Welcome to Hair School” here: https://donnienicole.com/2013/02/06/welcome-to-hair-school-by-dominica-martin/

Dominica Martin is the founder and CEO of Le Ann’s L.A. Hair Extensions. She is a stylist with 9+ years of experience. Dominica will be writing a weekly column here on Analog Girl and her column is called “Hair School.” 

Welcome to Hair School by Dominica Martin

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Welcome to “Hair School” where beauty, brains, and talent collide. It costs $18,000 to attend, so you better make the best of it, and learn all you can. In the beginning the instructors tell you “Abide by these 3 rules, and you’ll be good: 1. Stay focused 2. Don’t ever bring your man to school 3. Stay out of the drama.” At first, I thought that’s nothing! I work, and have so many other things going on, so I don’t have time for drama. I’m here for one thing only, and that is to obtain my cosmetology license, and return for my educator’s license, in hopes of eventually moving to Chicago, and owning a salon/ boutique. Well things aren’t always as easy as they seem.

At first, you meet many girls, most are friendly and welcoming, and others reek of jealous mean mugs based on first impressions.  One thing you can be sure of is that all of them are waiting to see if you are really about that “Hair Life”. I’ve realized that everyone is usually nice to you until they see what you are capable of, and think that you are a threat. During my first months of the beginning of my new chapter, I received award after award for student of the week, perfect attendance, I passed all modules with a 95% or better, and my practical skills were amazing. I gained the respect of my educators, executive directors, even students who knew I had a lot to offer, and wanted to learn from me. At one of the award ceremonies my instructor said that she saved the best for last, gave me my award, and announced that I was her co- instructor. I was very knowledgeable, and once my work was finished I was always willing to assist a fellow classmate if she was busy. I knew at that point, things were about to get real.

As time passed, I started relationships with my classmates, and it seemed as if we were closer to each other than we were to our own families. When you are around the same people every day, you eat together, learn together, comfort each other, and relationships are formed with those who you relate to the most. Even though we were all cool to a certain point, there was always an argument/ misunderstanding, and someone talking about someone else’s business. Is this normal? The drama did not discriminate, and excluded no race, age, creed, or color. The 40 yr. olds were gossiping about the 20 yr. olds, and the instructors were gossiping about everybody, the thirst got real… to be continued next week.

Dominica Martin is the founder and CEO of Le Ann’s L.A. Hair Extensions. She is a stylist with 9+ years of experience. Dominica will be writing a weekly column here on Analog Girl and her column is called “Hair School.” 

Pin Up Your Goals

“When you become mom, you become the frame instead of the picture,” Lorna says a friend revealed to her. Becoming a mom is a shock to the system and its evident by the extra pounds, the extra sensitivity and the hickies the universe leaves on our skin (stretch marks).

On most days Lorna can be found at work, chasing after her beautiful baby boy or working her body out. Her second priority after motherhood is fitness. She is flexible when she does it, “either getting up early in the morning, at the lunch hour or when he goes to sleep. Fitness is a way of keeping a piece of myself” Lorna developed her love of running in High School and recently picked up the baton again last year after having Kaden. She wasn’t 100% happy with her post-baby body so she did something about it.

After researching on the internet and based on the recommendation of some friends she settled on Vavoom – Chicago’s premiere pinup and boudoir photography company that specializes in Vintage looks. It would serve the purpose of celebrating her new chiseled physique and it would be a tangible reminder to remain committed to her new active work-out regimine.

 

As Lorna reminisced about her photoshoot, you could hear the excitement in the pitch of her voice. It was a personalized experience from start to finish created by a former teacher who Lorna describes as “warm, patient and amazing.”  After entering the loft-style space, you are sent to Hair & Makeup with an “outgoing and friendly” staff, “by the time they’re done you feel pampered and pretty” and ready for your close up. Women can be comfortable in knowing that the entire team is all female. You can choose from their wardrobe collection, bring in your own or mix and match. From there, you are taken to the studio where Heather, the photographer goes out of her way to help you choose poses and props that flatter you. Lorna says “you’re immediately comfortable with her.”

 

After the process is over, you have a “plethora of products” to choose from including books or prints. “They will retouch a photograph right in front of you. They do stuff that highlights your assets. They don’t take out things that aren’t innately yours.” The pin-up shoot is truly a celebration of your beauty. In fact, the editing process takes place after each wardrobe change, and images are narrowed down to those you like. It also gives you ideas for different ways to pose. “She also edits one photo completely for you so that you can see what it looks like.” The final decision is like a delicate dance that you lead and anything that you love stays and everything that you hate goes. Your gallery is ready within 24 hours after the shoot.

When asked about self-image issues that women have, Lorna says “they stem from the media…we are always comparing ourselves which extends to our everyday life. You have this mentality like how do I measure up? In they gym, in the workplace, not just how I look, but performance wise and dealing with different aspects of our lives…” Her advice is to “surround yourself with activities and with people who support you being yourself.” If you’d like to consider a pinup shoot visit Vavoom here: http://www.vavoompinups.com/

 

P.S. I plan to sign up for my photoshoot in a couple of years to celebrate my 30th Birthday 🙂 It also makes a fun group activity for a bridal party or a special gift for your significant other!

 

Michelle O. Dancing To Beyonce’s “Let’s Move”

Our first lady is the General of a fight against flab with her “Let’s Move” Campaign. You guys know how much I stalk love/honor/respect our first lady and it’s nice to see her let loose. It’s really cute how she puts her hands in the air like her hubby. Not to mention that “serious” dance face that we all make when we know we’re being watched lol:)

Couldn’t get the video to upload but check out this link from ABC here: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/dance-michelle-obama-dances-dc-school-13520446

Introducing – The Weekly Well!!!

There is so much information out in the world, that we never really have time to find the “good” stuff. If you ask any woman does she want to improve her relationship with herself and others she will say “Yes!” Thousands of songs are released each week online and mixtapes drop every hour, but who ever has the time to search through that sea of sound? Most people shop at the same stores (Tar-Jay, Express, Fill In The Blank) What if you could find an exclusive online spot that sells affordable, high quality clothing? My newsletter, The Weekly Well is your “quality filter” and an easy way for you to take 10 minutes per week to do something for yourself.
This newsletter will include:
1. A short article about relationships, (love, marriage, dating etc.), organization, productivity or an inspirational piece. (It will take about 3 – 5 minutes to read).
2. The WELL (Watch, Exhale, Listen, Link) List.
For the “Watch” category I will recommend TV shows, movies, documentaries, etc. for you to watch.
For the “Exhale” I will provide lifestyle and self-care tips/resources.
For the “Listen” section, I will recommend two songs either new, underground or classic music for you to add to your music collection.
For the “Link” area, I will share an interesting article or website (including some of the affordable high quality clothing you can find on the internet).
Your subscription will be FREE of charge, and I promise that you will be inspired, motivated and informed.
Write “YAY!” or “BOO!” in the subject line if I can add you to my mailing list.
E-mail donnienicolesmith@gmail.com or weeklywell@gmail.com if you’re interested in being added!
Please copy & paste and forward this to five more women!

Hip Hop Divas

Celebrity Photographer Michael Antonio launched a new project called Hip Hop Divas. Here is a link to his site: http://www.michaelantonio.net Now I won’t be happy until my favorite female MCs like Lauryn Hill, MC Lyte and Salt-N-Pepa are represented but I love the concept. I love hip hop! It’s so much a part of who I am. Here are some of the pics from the collection:

Retouching Our Reality

I’m too short. My nose is too big. I have to suck my “pouch” in. I’ve got wide, flat feet. Sometimes when we look in the mirror, we aren’t happy with what we see and that is for a variety of reasons. Institutional Racism has done a number on our collective psyches, and we’ve certainly internalized the “if it’s white, it’s alright” and “if it’s black get back” mentality. We further internalize these ideals when we flip through the pages of our favorite magazines and gaze at the images of “beauty” going across our screen. Without even knowing it, we are making mental comparisons that eventually weigh on our spirits.

The media doesn’t take certain things into account and we have to balance both our own and our children’s media consumption with “real world” examples. Our daughters have to see us embracing our stretch marks and our broad lips. Our sons have to see our husbands and our boyfriends tell us how beautiful we are. Our older children need to understand how retouching and airbrushing works so that they can understand that the images that they see are often not in their original state.

We have to understand that God didn’t make any mistakes. Every hair on our head is accounted for. We have to start reaffirming our beauty. We have to stop comparing ourselves to digitized impossible images. We have to keep reminding ourselves that the average woman is a size 12. We have to be realistic about our definition of beauty.

Fitness Check In…

Self-care is so important for women! Think of it like the oxygen mask on the airplane – you have to take care of yourself first before you can be capable of helping others. Self care for me looks like a spa day every two weeks – hair, manicure, pedicure & eyebrows. There is very little that can come close to the feeling of having a fresh hairstyle and cute nails/toenails. Plus, since I have locs, it takes forever for my hair to dry, so while I sit under the dryer I get lost in a good book. Right now I’m reading “Eat, Pray, Love.”  The way that I ensure that I keep my appointment is by actually scheduling the time in my calendar and it works!

Also, in one week I’ve graduated from 2 minutes of hula hooping to 20 minutes! Eventually I’d like to work up to 45 minutes per day (half in the am & the other half in the pm). It’s an exercise routine that’s fast and it feels so sexy! My favorite “hooping tunes” are:

1. “Candy” by Cameo

2. “Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James

3. “Just a Touch Of Love” by Slave

I sing along and it’s almost like dancing, plus the hoop doesn’t hurt like it did when I first started.

This is my last weekend before work! My teacher’s summer vacay is over!!! On Monday I’m going to do a post about transitioning back to work/organization. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

The Perfect Manicure

For the most part I’m an advocate of “au naturale.” I only wear makeup when I go out. On a day-to-day basis, I wear lip gloss (in a nude or clear color), and a little powder on my eyebrows, so it only makes sense that I wear my natural nails. My only problem with total natural nails is that:

1. (Professional) Manicures don’t last very long. 4 0r 5 days later the paint starts to chip.

2. Natural nails are so fragile! They chip & break which is SO annoying.

So how could I solve this problem? I hate the look of long acrylic nails, not to mention they get in the way and when you hit them it hurts terribly.

After going to the nail shop, I decided to get a gel overlay and I am VERY pleased. Basically, I have the length of my natural nails with a super thick coating on top. I didn’t get color this last time, I decided to go with an American manicure (french minus the white tips). But my manicure:

1. Will last at least two weeks (great for a busy lady like me).

2. Looks perfect & professional all the time (I love the high gloss & the perfect shape).

3. Looks natural (be sure to tell your nail tech, you want yours to look natural so that she can file/buff/drill them down).

4. Stands up to abuse! (washing dishes, playing games, working out, etc).