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Don’t judge me.

Image via Instagram (@patricejwill) 

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Talking natural hair…

curly-hair

Several of you have asked what I use to care for my  curls, and I am excited to share these tips and products with you here and on Talk of Alabama today (You can view the segment by clicking HERE.)

There is no one-size fits all approach to natural hair. You can watch all the YouTube videos and read all the blogs in the world, but you’ll still have to learn your own hair, whether you cut it all off or grow it out from the root.  You may have to “cocktail” different brands and processes to achieve the look you want, or you may be able to literally wash and go. My tips are based on 8 years of trial and error. Note: I am not a hairstylist or dermatologist. Seek professional advice before you self-diagnose or try anything to permanently alter your hair. (For example, I don’t color my hair at home. I leave that to someone who has professional training.)

Tip 1: Have a great go-to shampoo and conditioner. Using a shampoo that is free of sulfates, counteracts hard water buildup, is gentle enough to use daily and allows my hair to retain moisture is key. And because my hair gets super tangly, I need a creamy conditioner that smooths the cuticle of my hair and makes the detangling process much less painful. Try: Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo and Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner, $12 each; available at Target.

Tip: Pre-poo or deep condition as a luxury treatment.  I love the versatility that allows me to wear my hair blown out bone straight, but that has an effect on my curls. A few months ago, they were in pretty bad shape. Using a great protein pre-shampoo treatment and a rich deep conditioner strengthens my curls and gives them a little more “POP.”                       Try: Madam C. J. Walker’s Dream Come True Wonderful Pre-Wash Protein Treatment, $32 at Sephora. For deep conditioning, try Ouidad’s  MeltDown Extreme Repair Mask, available at Sephora and Ulta for $44, and in a smaller size at Ultra for $16.

Tip: My curls don’t require a lot of handling, so I stick to a Denman brush for detangling and working product through my wet hair. Using a microfiber towel to squeeze excess moisture out of my hair shortens drying time and eliminates the frizz a bath towel can cause.  Try: Microfiber wrap, available at HomeGoods, $3.99; Denman brush, available at Sally Beauty Supply, $11.50.

Last but not least:  Be gentle with your curls. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your texture to someone else’s, because every curl pattern has its own unique beauty. Since hair grows from the inside out, it’s still going to be important to eat well and drink plenty of water. Be sure to get regular trims and consult with a stylist who understands textured hair. Oh-and if you see someone with gorgeous natural hair, feel free to compliment them on it, but as a general rule: please ask before touching it!

Want to see a professional? Here are some Birmingham-area stylists I recommend:

Image via FunnyAnd.com

Every Michelle Has a Melania.


I SO did not want to address this again. But I have to.

When I was in high school, I saved my allowance to buy a banging new outfit for the Bayou Classic. It was a pair of black jeans (as tight as my mother would allow), a matching black denim cropped vest and a black and white striped top, all by Bongo Jeans and all from The Body Shop, which was THE shop for teenage girls when I was growing up. I was so excited to go to Pensacola’s Cordova Mall and buy this outfit, then wear it in New Orleans and to school.

Imagine how I felt when soon after I’d worn it, a classmate went out and bought a nearly identical outfit, down to the shirt and belt with a big buckle–in hunter green. If there were hundreds of kids in my school it might not have mattered, but there were just about a hundred kids in each class. So if we showed up wearing them on the same day and had the same class(es), it was awkward.

I still wore my outfit but it didn’t feel quite as…special. I never let my classmate know her blatant imitation did not feel like flattery.

I’m a grown up now. And I don’t think anyone is out here trying to copy my looks from head to toe anymore–if they are, good luck with that. What has become impossible to ignore though is people who are, shall we say, heavily inspired by what I’ve written, posted and shared. These are people who stop just short of clicking “Control +C” and “Control +V.” Inspiration is great; many people inspire me. But what you won’t see is me coming out with a Pink Lemonade album, or singing “When Swans Cry” and acting like I thought of it myself.  I won’t ever try to be The Jenesaisquoi, J.Crew is My Favorite Store, Atlantic Pacific or Demetria Lucas D’Oyley, because I’d be a poor imitation. I love them. But it’s much more fun just being me. And if I were going to be inspired by them I’d at least give them props in print (like I just did). Or via video.


I don’t copy because it’s taken me a long time to be totally comfortable being Alexis, and writing in my own voice. That’s why I have to put up this post today. I’ve put too much time and effort into what I do not to defend it. So for those who are leaning heavily on or who are so deeply inspired by my posts,  graduate work or journalism (and I know you’re reading this), that you use it to attempt your own low budget versions, know that I see you.  We all do. E for Effort, darlings! I’m just thankful my family of supporters know the difference between cheap imitations and the real deal.

Make sure you don’t ever get so sloppy and desperate that you directly plagiarize my work, though, because then we’ll have a problem. Let me be explicit: my work is original content that is protected by copyright law*, and I take my intellectual property as seriously as I take getting dressed every day.

Keep it chic,

Alexis

*i.e. That’s what the fine print at the very bottom of this page means.

Images via Giphy  (<—Here’s another way to attribute work you didn’t do or dream up by yourself. You’re welcome.)

“Dynasty” to return to TV

Do I even really have to explain how excited I am about the combination of dramatic storylines and opulent clothing and fabulous sets? No? 

Didn’t think so.

Instead, while we wait for the nighttime soap opera’s return to television, I’m sharing my favorite clip from the series, featuring the one and only Diahann Carroll as the mysterious and glamourous Dominique Deveraux.

Why does this matter? Every African-American actress in a leading role on television today owes a debt to Ms. Carroll, who broke ground in the 1960s as nurse and single mom Julia, and as Dynasty’s elegant sphinx. Her roles (along with Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura, Eartha Kitt as Catwoman, and others) opened up society’s view to the fact that women of color could and should be much more than flat stereotypes.

Read more about Dynasty’s reboot by clicking HERE.

And in this clip, Ms. Carroll discuss how the role came to be. 

P.S. Yes, I am a child of the 80’s. NO, I was not named for Alexis Carrington. 

On repeat: Solange’s “A Seat at the Table”

Solange has long stepped out of her big sister’s shadow and established herself as a woman of style and substance, and an artist in her own right. With her newest album, she bookends the conversation Lemonade continued this year. And because she’s the sis willing to be a little more out there (when, Elevatorgate), it furthers that. In short, this is soul music in every sense of the phrase. Get your life and go download it. 

Link via YouTube

What I wore: Lily Rain

alexis  lily rain talk of alabama
I am in LOVE with the fuchsia off-the-shoulder top I wore on Talk of Alabama this week! The boutique, located at the Summit, is hosting a special event on September 22 that benefits the United Way of Central Alabama. Stop by and treat yourself for a fabulous cause! 

lily rain united way event

White on white

Well, well, well…Labor Day is almost upon us, and you know what that means: put away the linen! No, not white clothing: I wear it year-round in season-appropriate fabrics.

However, last Saturday I broke out my linen fringe tank and gazebo pants from J. Crew to wear to a cousin’s summer afternoon baby shower, with Steve Madden’s blush “Sweetyy” flat sandal. Can you tell I’m obsessed with monochromatic dressing, and fringe?

Images via J. Crew and Steve Madden

Office Sweet Office

I don’t do many decor posts, but I do have office space…and it needed decorating! I had a lot of fun choosing items to make it my command center/home away from home, and I’m sharing them with you today.  

At first I was stumped. I’m fine picking out clothes but decor just feels so much more permanent. Finally I decided to apply my style ideals to the decor challenge. It was important to be intentional. What would I really enjoy looking at every day? 

What would Beyonce do

This desk plate from Swoozie’s was a no-brainer.


I like basics that feel elegant and are practical too; that can be statements on their own or easily taken up a few notches. And I have to have a pop of color. So I began with functional pieces to anchor my new digs. Then I added some accessories to give it a little something extra!

My fab finds are via Kate Spade (at Swoozie’s Birmingham), Target and Home Goods (the desk plate is from Swoozie’s too). See a few of them featured on Talk of Alabama this week by clicking HERE.

***

Ready for tips to get your life as the kids head back to school, or to simplify your weekly routine? Tune in to Talk of Alabama on Monday, August 8 during the 9 AM central hour! If you’re not in the local viewing area, stream it online by clicking HERE

Images via Target and Lifeguard Press

Iris Apfel stars in emojis+INC line for Macy’s

In today’s “fabulous at every age” news… we’re totally here for it. (Did you somehow miss our last post? #TeamIris)

Haute off the press release:

“I.N.C. International Concepts, exclusively at Macy’s, today reveals its Fall 2016 campaign, “Iris Meets I.N.C.,” and launches its corresponding emoji keyboard inspired by campaign star, Iris Apfel.

Designed by Snaps and with input from Apfel, the keyboard includes emojis, stickers, and GIFs featuring Apfel, her signature quotes, and items from the “Iris Meets I.N.C.” collection. The emojis also incorporate lifestyle categories, including beauty, food and beverage, and an assortment of birthday-themed graphics in celebration of Apfel’s upcoming 95th birthday on August 29.

“I’m a little old for emojis, and I didn’t know what they were,” said Apfel. “But everyone seems to like them, and I want everyone to have a good time. If my face makes people happy, I’m all for it.”

The creative advertising campaign, shot by Ben Watts, features Apfel, both on her own and alongside model Linda Vojtova, wearing five looks from the collection. As previously announced, INC teamed up with Apfel to develop a collection of approximately 40 “must-have” clothing and jewelry pieces that play into fall’s “mod” trend revival. Apfel consulted with I.N.C.’s design team and provided creative direction on the collection, which focuses on stylish and versatile wardrobe staples and a wide assortment of her signature bangles.

The emojis will appear throughout all elements of the campaign, including product hangtags, digital advertising and direct mail.

“This is Macy’s first foray into emojis, and Iris Apfel’s campaign for I.N.C. was the perfect occasion to try something we’ve never done before,” said Nancy Slavin, senior vice president of marketing for Macy’s Merchandising Group. “Iris has collaborated with other fashion brands in recent years, so we wanted to take a fresh approach. She’s an icon whose appeal spans multiple generations, and we see these emojis as a fun way to amplify the campaign through mobile first. Her fans are going to go crazy!”

Beginning August 3, the emojis are available for free download on iOS and Android through the Apple App and Google Play stores.

The “Iris Meets I.N.C.” collection will be available exclusively at Macy’s stores and on macys.com in early September 2016.”

All images courtesy of Macy’s

Wish list

  
I’m slowly getting into the off-the-shoulder trend for spring/summer, and am currently in love with these Collection pieces from J. Crew. In my mind I’m already in Santorini or Capri; why not dress as though my ticket and hotel stay are booked? 

Images via J. Crew

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