hair

Length Check

Biker Jacket - Tall Girls / Leather Look Leggings (36") - Tall Girls /Pumps (size 12) - Calvin Klein via Nordstrom Rack/Shirt and clutch - Target  Photo Credit:  LaKeela Smith  (her new site is BOSS by the way)

Biker Jacket - Tall Girls/Leather Look Leggings (36") - Tall Girls/Pumps (size 12) - Calvin Klein via Nordstrom Rack/Shirt and clutch - Target

Photo Credit: LaKeela Smith (her new site is BOSS by the way)

My photographer LaKeela is a saint. She shoots me all of the time and I am so thankful! She also acts as my friend-therapist sometimes and this shoot was no exception.

When we shot this look I was really having a hard time seeing myself with my natural hair. I hadn't rocked it for a minute and quite frankly was uncomfortable. I felt awkward in every photo. Silly me.

It's been some weeks since this shoot and I actually had a hard time picking photos because I loved all of them! This is the longest I have had her out and I can honestly say that for the first time in my life I really, actually love my hair. Furthermore, I really don't care what others think about my hair.

That, my friends, is very freeing.

You see, I have always felt pressure to JUST wear it natural and I have always felt pressure to JUST rock the weave because I was afraid what people would say either way. being 100% certain that I don't care what people say about my pelo is incredibly freeing. I cannot express to you how great I have been feeling. We are all works in progress. I continue to work hard on my confidence every single day. This was a breakthrough for the books baby!

So guess what? My hair, like my style, has no box around it. I will define it as I see fit and can't nobody stop me!

Now for the fabulous fit. Tall Girls out of the UK is doing their thang yall! I love their fall line of tall clothes and shoes and wear this biker jacket and Leather Look Leggings on the regular. They are both cut just right and both go with everything, Two must have pieces for tall-fall.

One thing about the leggings that I specifically love is the thick waistband. It really gives you shape and keeps the leggings up. Nobody wants a saggy pair of leggings boo.

So that's my story and I'm stickin to it...have a great week beautiful!

Something Old, Something New

Tall Joggers - LEL/Sequin Top - Nordstrom/Shoes (size 12) - Payless/Blazer and Bracelet - Forever21/Earrings - H&M  Photo Credit:  LaKeela Smith Photography

Tall Joggers - LEL/Sequin Top - Nordstrom/Shoes (size 12) - Payless/Blazer and Bracelet - Forever21/Earrings - H&M

Photo Credit: LaKeela Smith Photography

If your holiday season was anything like mine, you didn't have time to look for a New Years outfit, let alone buy one. Never fear...your closet is here!

Yep, that's right. Step right on in to the comforts of the clothes that are conveniently placed in your closet. Take this look; the shoes are 3 years old, the pants and blazer are 2 years old and I bought the top on super sale last year and never wore it. Now, you are probably saying, Alicia, who just has this stuff hanging in their closet? You do boo and here are 5 tips to pull off a last minute NYE look:

1. USE BLACK AS THE FOUNDATION

Black is a color that goes with everything and is the best foundation for a last minute look because it's timeless, flattering and everyone has something black in their closet. Anything from a little black dress to a jumpsuit to a black skinny jean and crop top...start with black and the possibilities are endless. Want to ramp it up a bit? Go with a vibrant, solid color as your base.

2. ADD SOME SPARKLE

Take a scan of your clothes, shoes and makeup for anything that sparkles. Try them on with your fit and pick the option(s) that work best for you. Even something as small as an eyeshadow with some sparkle in it, can glam up your look for your NYE soirees. Don't be afraid to wear multiple sparkly pieces...go sparkle or go home!

3. SHOESTOPPERS

We all have those bold shoes that we can't rock that often because everyone would easily notice a repeat wear (it shouldn't matter but it does). Break those babies out for your NYE parties. A hot shoe will polish off your look and make your fit standout in the crowd as you bring in the New Year.

4. FROST LIKE A BOSS

Breakout those eye-catching accessories that don't get an every day wear...this is the time to rock those bad boys! I went with gold but any metallic will do. This is also something quick and inexpensive that you can buy if you absolutely have no options (but I know you do).

5. GLAM BAM

Rock out your hair, makeup and nails. It's amazing what you can create in just these 3 things alone. Even a white tee can be glammed up when all these elements are personalized and polished. Quick Tip: When it comes to parties you can't go wrong with a bold, bright lip.

THE ULTIMATE RULE: CONFIDENCE IS KEY

No matter what...rock what makes you feel great! Bring in the New Year in a fit that you love and you can never go wrong. When you look good, you feel amazing and your confidence sizzles even more than it already shines.

I wish you light, love and uber success in 2016. Pursuit those dreams, prepare for your blessings and appreciate them when they come. And please tag your Tall NYE looks with @TallSWAG so I can see how your Tall, fabulous self brought in the New Year!

Cheers to an amazing 2016!

I am the Soul That Lives Within

Guess what I just got?

A weave.

No Alicia! Why? Your natural hair was so pretty…you don’t need a weave!

You are absolutely right. I don’t need a weave. I want one. Let me explain…

This summer I started my natural hair journey for many reasons. From wanting my niece to see my natural hair to feeling my scalp to embracing everything that God has given me including my natural curls…I did all of that! I really love my natural hair and think that it is one of the things that make me, me. Is it hard work. Yes. And so I had some box braids installed to give me a break. I loved those too. It was a chic look with absolutely no work sans some edge control. But, I can’t even lie, throughout the entire process I missed my weave. I love the look, the little maintenance and the fact that you can change your look without changing your actual hair.

So I got one.

I felt so much pressure to keep my natural hair but the fact is that at the end of the day it’s mine and I can do what I want to do with it. Am I perfectly fine with my natural hair? Yes and you will see me rock it again but why should I be married to it? Over the summer, I found like clothes, hair is another way for me to express my style voice. Because of my natural hair, I can virtually rock any style and that it is a God given blessing that I want to exhaust to the hilt. If I want to wear a neon blue Marge Simpson hairdo…so be it. It’s my choice and my privilege to do so.

I am going to do everything I can to protect my natural hair so when I rock it, it’s fabulous but I have the power and right to change it if I want to. In many ways I was finding my life consumed by my natural hair and that’s the thing…hair, or any aspect of yourself, natural or not, should consume you.  You are truly not your hair. You are YOU with, without it or with hair added to it.

Let’s celebrate this realization with a little India Arie shall we. Even if you have heard it a million times, really listen to the lyrics. It explains what I learned over the summer better than I ever could:

So there is it…I passed summer school with flying colors and can’t wait to learn my next lesson. In the meantime, watch me whip this hair back and forth until the next style.  

Hair Matters

Many of you know my story but for those of you who don’t, I used to have little to zero self-esteem. There were years where I was bullied and unbelievably depressed. I hated myself, my height and every part of me. I couldn’t see past what my high school world was telling me and believed every lie they told.

As years went on, I found my confidence and fully embraced that God created every single part of me (including my height) for a purpose. That nothing about me was a mistake and ALL of it was wrapped into a one-of-a-kind Alicia that was the only one who could accomplish the purpose that God had chosen for me…

or so I thought…

until it came to one part of me that nobody had seen in years…

my hair.

Yes. The long tresses that you have seen in every photo of me were not mine. I have been wearing a weave for a little under 9 years now. Almost a decade of taking it out and putting it back in because I was afraid to show my real hair.

Afraid! Alicia…how can you tell me to be me and embrace every part of myself when you can’t show the hair that God gave you?

The answer is…I can’t. And that is one of the reasons why I had to take it out. But before we get in to those reasons, let me give you a little back story…

As you can see, both of my beautiful parents gave me curls.

As you can see, both of my beautiful parents gave me curls.

My mother is Caucasian and my father is African American. That usually equates to what society likes to classify as good hair. You know, the perfect curls flowing down your back just throw water on it and leave the house kind of hair. The expectation of my light skin and light eyes matching the texture of my locks was immense. However, my actual texture is very tight and not extremely easy to style and care for. Thus, pressure set in. Not only for my Mom to style it correctly, but also for me to do everything I could to make it appear to be good. This resulted in many unhealthy hairstyles, fights between my Mom, the comb and my hair and ultimately a series of relaxers that killed my follicles. From the age of 4-18, I was in a losing battle with my bad hair.

My Mom and I would battle every day with combing and styling my hair.

My Mom and I would battle every day with combing and styling my hair.

Enter college. I moved from Beaverton, Oregon to Stockton, California where the culture definitely changed. I went from being the darkest kid at my school to being one of the many beautiful skin tones that walked my campus. It was there that I first saw someone wear their hair naturally. It was a concept that never even entered my mind. It was also something I was not ready to do but it was an option I was now aware of.

Enter corporate world. After college, I began my first corporate job. While natural hair was not prohibited, it was clearly not embraced. I found myself wanting the sleek tresses that everyone else had and got my first weave. The positive response was overwhelming not only externally but also internally. I had FINALLY found hair that would act right and I could make look how I always envisioned that my hair should be. It also allowed me to grow out my perm and safely go natural underneath the tracks (which I will touch on later). To me it was a win-win and up until 2 weeks ago was constantly my hair.  

But what I didn’t realize was that during those 9 years I had completely denied an entire part of me that made me, ME. I had a false construct of who I was. The sewed in hair had somehow really become a part of me and boy did it show the moment I took it out without putting it back in…

First appointment after taking out the weave. The curl pattern is trying it's hardest to come out.  About an hour after this photo it puffed back up into a ball of frizz. It will take time and training to uncover and maintain my natural curl.

First appointment after taking out the weave. The curl pattern is trying it's hardest to come out.  About an hour after this photo it puffed back up into a ball of frizz. It will take time and training to uncover and maintain my natural curl.

I cried, sobbed and immediately got depressed. I couldn’t post a picture on social media, refused to go out, felt ugly and the same feelings of low self-esteem that I had in high school started rearing their ugly heads. It was a very surprising and violently visceral reaction to something that wasn’t even mine to begin with.

First photo I posted on IG. It took me 5 days to get the courage up. As you can see, I am still holding on to dead ends in this photo which can slow the growing process down and hinder your natural curl from forming. I later cut those bad boys off.

First photo I posted on IG. It took me 5 days to get the courage up. As you can see, I am still holding on to dead ends in this photo which can slow the growing process down and hinder your natural curl from forming. I later cut those bad boys off.

2 weeks later, I am still embracing it. Worry filled questions enter my mind; Will men like me? Will they still think I am pretty? Will you think I am pretty? Is it going to be hard? Can I maintain natural hair? Do I have the time to maintain it? Will my curl pattern ever come back? What will my curl pattern look like? Will it ever grow? How long will it take to grow? I mean…I could go on for days.

But at the end of the day…it’s just hair people!  Why do we put so much weight into it and furthermore why do we think it makes us who we are?

In addition to tall fashion and life, I will be exploring these feelings on this blog because apparently hair does matter. It matters to me, it matters to society and it matters to you. This natural hair journey is going to teach me far more than just about hair and I feel like it’s a journey that I need to share.

Now, why did I decide to do it? Here are the main reasons…

1. My 10 year old Niece had never really seen her Auntie. She had seen me with someone else’s hair on my head for her entire life. How can I teach her to love every part of herself when she had not seen me love ALL of me?

2. YOU. I truly believe that you were made for a specific purpose and that God made absolutely no mistake while he molded every single part of you. Who am I to tell you the truth when I myself am not living it?

3. Safely Growing out my natural hair under the weave was going nowhere…fast. While I grew out my perm completely, after 10 years my hair should be down to my butt and it wasn’t. My hair was shredding into a bundle of split ends and my edges are thin and completely damaged by heat. It is natural but far from healthy.

This is after the dead ends were cut off. My hair is very damaged and I can't wait to make it healthy again! This is probably the last time you will see it straight in awhile. I can't wait to see what the curls look like now that the dead ends are cut off.

This is after the dead ends were cut off. My hair is very damaged and I can't wait to make it healthy again! This is probably the last time you will see it straight in awhile. I can't wait to see what the curls look like now that the dead ends are cut off.

4. I was in captivity. My weave options where either down or in a ponytail. When the wind hit, I was constantly covering up tracks. I couldn’t itch my scalp. I had to constantly worry about blending the hair that was out with the weave. There was little versatility in the way I could style my hair and so on and so forth. It was time.

Bring on the hairstyles! I have a feeling this bun will be in full effect while I grow out my locks.

Bring on the hairstyles! I have a feeling this bun will be in full effect while I grow out my locks.

5. I want to abolish the construct of good and bad hair that I have adopted from society. Who started that and why did I believe it? I want to make sure I don’t pass that down to my Niece and Lord willing, my future children.

6. Listen Hunni…you know I am waiting for my husband to find me and when he does I want his hands all up in this hair.

With all of that said, I am not speaking for everyone that wears a weave. Do you boo! I am in no way knocking weaves or any other way of styling hair. I plan to explore all kinds of styling from clips, braids, faux locs, wigs and even weave it up on occasion. BUT for me personally, the time of denying my natural hair is over. I am tired of the fight and let her win. She is me and I am her and I am not afraid to show it. I am the master of this journey, am wonderfully made in every way and am now presenting all of me to you, practicing what I preach and loving every part of me from my hair follicles to my toenails.

Let the journey begin! Thanks for crawling, walking, running and sprinting it with me.