West African Swag

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West Africans beauty and accessories.

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DIY Lavender Dishwasher Powder

Let me start off by saying that I love, love lavender. Not only for its beneficial properties but for its incredibly calming, soothing scent.  So I tend to use it in every single form that I can. I add a few lavender buds to my tea, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to my bath and or rub it on my pillow for a relaxing calming evening ….


I could go on, however this has been my favorite accidental yet practical use of my beloved lavender,

I introduced it to my dishwasher powder and inadvertently turned my dishwasher into a diffuser.

I have heard the dishwasher powder vs liquid argument and frankly I don’t have a preference, however currently the powder method does allow not only to create my own but to also have control over the ingredients until I can come up with a working  formulation for the liquid.

This is my favorite accidental yet practical use of my beloved lavender, because I inadvertently turned my dishwasher into a diffuser. 

It’s a simple recipe with very few and basic ingredients that you can find at your local supermarket, health food/speciality store or online. You’ll need:

*2 cups Washing Soda (not to be confused with washing powder or even baking soda)

*1 cup Borax 

*1 cup Baking Soda 

*30 drops of Lavender essential oil (You can add less if you find the scent over powering – did I mention that I love lavender)

In a large plastic bowl mix the dry ingredients first (Washing soda, borax and baking soda) then add the lavender essential oil, then stir, fold in the mixture until fully blended.  I store my mix in sealed plastic container.  And now to use it, you don’t need that much, about 1 1/2 tablespoon will do for a regular load. Pour it in the pre-wash and/or main wash compartments of your dishwasher and Ta-dah!!

I simply love this simple recipe and hope you will too.


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Burdock Root Facial Toner

il_570xn.1680859491_srv3This botanical infused facial toner soothes, tones, and moisturizes skin. 

Burdock Root Facial Toner is made with Aloe Vera juice, Rose petals, burdock root for its anti-fungal and antibiotic qualities , yarrow flower, a powerful natural astringent and Vitamin C, an antioxidant that promotes healing and skin health.

This botanical infused facial toner soothes, tones, and moisturizes skin.
Toners are an important part of any skin care routine, they help to brighten dry, dull skin to a natural glow by minimizing the look of pores.  Add Burdock Rose Facial Toner to your skin care routine today

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Happy Holidays

Visit our shop for your favorite products and give unique gifts 🎁this season…

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10/8 Sale 💥

Shop and save on selected items site wide

Use code Sale15 ends 10/14/18

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FancyNaturals is back!!!


After a “short” transitional hiatus, FancyNaturals is back!

Visit the site for your faves!

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By Francine Holmes


BACK IN STOCK!! Click here to get yours today while supplies last.

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Life-giving faux dreads

by Francine Holmes

img_9192This time of year, I am all about protective styles. Like most naturals, a large portion of my time while getting ready is spent on my hair, with a full-time job, twins under two, something has to give! and caring for my natural hair should not be it! Wearing a low maintenance protective style is a great way to provide you with a look change, and the flexibility to minimize the extensive manipulation process involved with caring for your natural stands; low maintenance does not however mean NONE at all.  Natural hair has a tendency to be dry so added tender, loving and care is definitely needed when wearing a protective style, no matter whether they are braids, weaves or wigs.   I am currently rocking these life-giving faux dreads, which I achieved using Bobbi Boss synthetic crochet hair: Nu Locs. img_9193 If you’re anything like me, a do it yourself kind of chick, this process is fairly simple, cornrow your hair in a straight back pattern and crochet each stand, there are plenty of YouTube videos to assist you if in doubt. From start to finish it was a two hour process. I started out by washing my hair with Tea tree Thyme clarifying shampoo  followed by a deep img_8734treatment with Kaolin Hair mask to moisturize my scalp and hair to prevent excessive dryness and dandruff after my install; and finally coated my hair with Rooibos Herb Pomade before putting in the cornrows, and there you have it.
I maintain this protective style by ensuring that my scalp and natural hair remains hydrated by using Vera Mist-leave in conditioner. It’s the perfect balance of herbs, aloe vera and oils to restore moisture to my hair. It hydrates and freshens this style with a delightful floral scent. At night, I wear a satin cap to protect and extend the wear of this style. I absolutely love this look, it’s feather light and quite versatile. Give it a try!

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Kendrick Lamar, WE are not here for this!

by Francine Holmes

So after reading the NY Times article : “Artist Says Kendrick Lamar Video for ‘Black Panther’ Song Stole Her Work” I saw the onslaught of opinions on the matter, ranging from: ‘Art by nature is inspirational’ (OK!)  ‘Viktor’s work is also similar to Gustav Klimt’ and my favorite, ‘Welp, she (Viktor) should have taken the studio’s offer’ (Really!? we are doing this?)

Let’s not get lost in semantics, the mere fact that she was approached proves that they wanted her work included in this project! So, after the negotiations fall through – my guess is that they were not willing to compensate her on her asking price – they go ahead and make a replica of her work with impunity? How is anyone justifying this?

It’s 2018 and black women are not here for these behaviors anymore.

So, her style, her very “unique and quite recognizable” style is used and now she is not compensated AT ALL!!!? Come on!

Ms. Viktor said, “Why would they do this? It’s an ethical issue, because what the whole film purports is that it’s about black empowerment, African excellence — that’s the whole concept of the story. And at the same time they’re stealing from African artists.” Miss Viktor is absolutely right, you can’t claim to want to empower blacks/Africans and screw them over! And now that she is complaining and speaking out against someone that is as popular as Kendrick Lamar, and the connection to a highly-favored project like “Black Panther”, the victim is now made out to be the villain as demonstrated by some of these social media responses. Some are hastily calling her salty and petty about what could potentially be considered simply using “her style” instead of actual stealing (what it is!!).

If Kendrick Lamar is not directly to be blamed for this unmitigated plagiarism, then his team or whoever should be held accountable for this outrageous infraction; by giving the woman credit for the use of her work and compensate her the original amount she requested.  It’s 2018 and black women are not here for these behaviors anymore.


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No resolutions, leave it in 2017

By Francine Holmes

I am sure by now most people who’ve made the customary new year’s resolutions are gradually doing that slow backpedal of excuses as to why they’re breaking them. Well to that I say: “No, no no, NOT I!” I am tired of not keeping up with my resolutions, so I didn’t make a single one. Looking back, 2017 had several momentous events that made me pause as a woman of color, a daughter, a friend, a wife and especially a mother. To name a few, president Trump and his whirlwind drama, the devastating hurricanes, women fiercely standing up to the patriarchy with #metoo #timesup, the long overdue NFL players’ black lives matter protest, and the list goes on. So, I instead collected all of my thoughts and intentions into hopes for a better 2018, but nothing happens without action. As a side note, I know there has been some contentious debates over this issue, I will make my position very clear! Trans-women are women, period! end of discussion. So, here are some that I see as universal hopes that women of color can either identify with or strive to put into action for a better 2018.

 1. VALUE YOURSELF  Foremost above all, we have to know our worth and the value of our contribution, and let me explain what that means, because value and worth can be quite abstract without context.  They can mean, You’re worthy because yourself and others care, appreciate, and love you for who you truly are unconditionally. It is also understanding that the whole of you, your time, attention are precious gifts, and in your allocation of those gifts, it is perfectly fine to be unapologetically selective. This logic applies to anything, as the importance of not being so hasty to settle for less, or rather, just what you can get! You deserve the best so strive for just that by not shying away from opportunities out of fear of the unknown. Reach for those goals and always remember that you are valuable. Along the way, learn to appreciate what you have and what you bring to the table, don’t  dwell on what you don’t! This is a hard one, arriving at a place where you don’t measure your success against others. Remember, we all have different starting points, we are all unique in our own right, we cannot have the same journey so measure your accomplishments by the goals you set, not those of others.

2. YES WE CAN! We all have that perpetual internal voice of self-doubt in our heads. My internal shade thrower has an old African woman’s voice, with disdain on her face, pointing her hand at me, palm up saying “Look at you! Just look at you” in that moment, doubt and a laundry list of reasons as why my ideas aren’t great and all the ways I can potentially fail; automatically washes over me. Well, in 2018 we have to stand firm, turn down the volume on that voice, tell it to take several seats and turn up by believing that we can accomplish all that we envision. We must take that first step and fully commit to making our vision happen no matter how small that initial step.

3. SISTA, I GOT YOU!  This very important! black women are often the bearer of all burdens, with all the hats we have to wear in addition to societal standards and micro-aggressions. Yet we are expected to remain strong in the face of it all to our detriment. Mental health is a major component of our overall wellbeing, seek professional assistance if you’ve been struggling emotionally or psychologically, there are people who are trained to listen and provide you with the tools to alleviate some of these burdens. (Therapyforblackgirls.com). Let’s stop the stigma associated with mental health continue to drag us further into the abyss.

While we’re busy holding everyone up, who’s propping us up? Who has our back? Think Sandra Bland, Tee Tee Dangerfield, Erica Garner, Karen Smith, Brandy Seals, Omarosa (yes her too). We are being assaulted oWOKE3n all fronts, so enough is enough. We are a vulnerable population, and assistance isn’t always readily available to us.  It is time for us to receive some attention, let us no longer be concerned with the optics and respectability politics. Again, we cannot do it alone, so let’s start by building a support system. (The operative word is “build” it doesn’t happen overnight or without effort). If you live in the tri-state area, a meetup group called W.O.K.E (Women of Kolour Empowered) is a wonderful resource to meet women of color to make connections and have worthwhile discussions. Sister-up! Let this upcoming year be the year of connections. Network, reach out to support, engage with, befriend, mentor a sista! Because let’s tell it! It is getting too real out here for people of color, especially women. It is time to foster the sisterhood in a meaningful way, look out for a sister and be her keeper, look out for the signs and check in on her, rather than drag her along with the rest of society!

“When Black Women stick together, we are the most powerful force in the universe.”-Alfre Woodward

And those are my hopes, that cognitive, interpersonal and behavioral changes can set things in motion for the best, without any judgment and pressures derived from resolutions. Let’s do the best we can, WE CAN DO THIS and let’s make 2018 count!



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