Damn, girl! Trendy naturalista’s guide to a bangin’ twist out [best tutorial videos on YouTube]

By Ciara Rouege

I’m still new to the natural hair game. If you’re also a converter, I’m sure you know the earlier years are like being reborn and then visiting the Beauty Supply for the first time ever. Hair lessons accumulated over more than two decades with a fresh relaxer have been made almost useless. Luckily, I’m a proud student at the University of YouTube and have been taking a few crash courses.

The twist out is one step above a wash-and-go, but don’t deny its power. It’s the most versatile of styles, working with many different hair types, which is probably why it’s also the most popular. It’s a simple style, but don’t be fooled — practice is still needed!

Although this is a list of my favorite twist out hair tutorial videos (so far), it’s also class notes on what I’ve learned about natural hair during this transformative process. The biggest lesson being all natural hair is different. I’ve come to except that some hair styles will forever be out of reach simply because of my current length and inherited thickness and texture. Here are points to consider when creating the most bangin’ twist out:

Are you using the right products?

The natural hair industry has exploded in recent years, leaving naturalistas with a growing lists of options. Try to sample as many products as possible. And remember what’s most popular or most expensive, may not be what’s best for you. Personally, I’ve gotten the best results with the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and the Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Curl Defining Creme Glaze.

How much product are you using?

I got some greedy ass hair! So, I’m pretty generous with the products. In fact, I spray my hair with a homemade solution (Formula: setting lotion, caster oil, olive oil and water). The solution also replaces the hair moisture after I’ve padded it dry following a wash.

Are you starting out with wet or dry hair?

I’ve done and seen both. While wet hair leaves me with the most body, I will re-twist after a couple days just to keep the curls formed. I’ve noticed with my own hair, some sections are naturally coiled while others are more bushy. However, it’s become less and less ‘diverse’ as I continue to avoid harsh chemicals and heat styling.

Bria Larine does an amazing twist-out on dry hair (with few spritz of water).

Are you twisting close enough to the root?

Don’t be afraid to make it tight! Depending on your hair texture, starting your twist further from the root could leave you with curls on top of an afro, essentially.

How big are you making your twist?

It’s completely up to you! I prefer fairly small twist (even though it takes much more time), but maybe you feel better with medium-sized twist or BIG twist. Whichever size you use, I agree the best results come from using equal-sized twist across your entire head.

Toni of Natural Hair Sistas used only six jumbo twists:

If you’re starting out short — a twist out is still possible. Here’s some advise from Shawntas Way as she styles her sister’s hair, which is a just above the shoulders: 

YouTube has hundreds of tutorial videos for achieving the best twist out, so no matter your hair type — there’s something out there for you! I’m at the start of my natural hair journey myself, but I hope this was helpful. 😃

Girl, y’all better werk! Kendrick, SZA + ScHoolboy Q hitting three Texas stages in one weekend

By Ciara Rouege

Kendrick Lamar is headed back to the States to headline the Top Dawg Entertainment: Championship World Tour after his international tour across Europe. The show features a weekend trip to Texas, where he’ll be joined by two other A-list artists: SZA and ScHoolboy Q!

Before the month ends, the tour will appear at the Starplex Pavilion in Dallas on May 17; the Austin360 Amphitheater in Austin on May 18; and finally, the Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion in The Woodlands (basically, Houston) on May 19.

Jay Rock, Sir, Ab-Soul and Lance Skiiwalker are also set to hit the stage.

The tour kicks off on May 5 at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, Washington.

Tickets are on sale now, and ya’ll, I AM SO HERE FOR THIS!

…unfortunately, my wallet isn’t. But with three months left to work my jelly, there’s still hope.

Kendrick Lamar

National Side Chick Day? Yes…this is really happening!

By Ciara Rouege

HOUSTON — It’s clear the term “significant other” has a whole new meaning amongst the millennial generation — it’s definitely become a lot more literal these days. Yes, we’re talking about the real significant “others” in some people’s lives, otherwise known as side chicks and side pieces.

National Side Chick Day is not on any official registries, and there’s a bit of back-and-forth on whether to celebrate the day on Feb. 13 or Feb. 15, but the sentiment is always the same: get romantic time in with your main person, or spouse, on Valentine’s Day and then catch up with your side piece the day before or after.

Sugar babies, mistresses and secret lover boys have been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until the last five years or so that having a “lil’ somethin’ on the side” became somewhat of a standard practice in the modern dating scene. It’s become so standard that many have set aside a day for cheaters to recognize their other snuggle buddies.

In the liberal spirit of egalitarianism, we can drop the “chick” and call it National Side Piece Day. It’d be sexist to assume a woman can’t have a midnight friend, or that an undercover boyfriend isn’t seeking lavish appreciation.

It’s a running joke that side pieces don’t get much play on Valentine’s Day, but National Side Chick Day could gain some momentum. Of course, if it does…it’s presumably going to be on the down-low.

If the idea of a National Side Chick Day has you almost ready to pass out, check out this ‘How to become a Side Chick’ guide on the popular DIY site WikiHow that has us in stitches!

Note: This article was first published Feb. 13, 2017 on the CW39.com

What’s for lunch? Vietnamese vermicelli bowls at Old Saigon Cafe on Westheimer

By Ciara Rouege

I couldn’t be prouder of myself; I’ve almost eliminated fast-food and take-out from my lunch menu options during the workdays. It’s a soup or salad in the breakroom fridge for me!

But, girl! When Friday comes around and those coins drop into my bank account, IT’S TAKE OUT TIME! Since it opened in January 2017, I’ve fallen in love with a little place called Old Saigon Cafe Vietnamese Cuisine on Westheimer Road.

It has kind of become my go-to.

Old Saigon

I’m always rushing back to work and totally forget to grab a picture of the outside…so shout out to Jaime Diep for sharing this awesome photo on Google Reviews!

The attraction is simple: the food is well-seasoned and perfectly cooked.

I’ve had all the vermicelli bowls, Ramen and Pho menu options and can confirm, they’re all absolutely delicious! The Pho broth — which is the make-or-break for a Pho dish in my opinion — is the best I’ve had in Houston.

I recommend the vermicelli bowl with spicy chicken lemongrass. I didn’t find it spicy without extra sauce, but it does have a flavorful little kick.

If they offer you their hot sauce, SAY YES! Now, I pride myself in having a high spice tolerance— but this had my nose snuffling. You only need a super, small amount.

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Vermicelli Bowl with Spicy Chicken Lemongrass

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Vermicelli Bowl with Spicy Chicken Lemongrass

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Psh! Those appetizers though…

While I’m a big fan of Old Saigon Cafe, the appetizers can use a little work— except the fresh spring and Vietnamese egg rolls. Actually, I don’t eat spring rolls anywhere else.

The Coconut Shrimp left me a bit disappointed. First, it tasted overcooked. I was expecting a crispy crunch with the shrimp and was left with a hard, burnt coconut taste. It also wasn’t very flavorful.

The kitchen isn’t blowing minds with its Chinese-style egg rolls, artichokes and Edamame. But it isn’t a bad start if you’re looking for something to munch on while you’re waiting for the main course.

The same goes for the Vietnamese Shrimp crackers. It’s airy, crispy chips…so it’s good snack food.

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Coconut Shrimp with sweet chili sauce.

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Oh, my absolute favorite! Spring rolls stuffed with fresh lettuce, rice noodles, cilantro, shallots and shrimp.

The food is definitely worth recommending, but what keeps me coming back is the service.

creme brule

Each meals ends with a sweet spoonful of crème brûlée.

Old Saigon Cafe has a quaint seating area for about 30 people, including its limited outdoor seating— I’m talking a table and a half. But the environment is open and welcoming.

I’m always greeted with a smile and great hospitality. The staff is personable and tentative— something I always look for from family-owned business.

They’re also quick! I’ve managed to pull off two-course, sit down meals at Old Saigon Cafe during my one-hour lunch break.

The cafe isn’t the cheapest lunch in town; be prepared to spend between $15 – $25.

However, you will leave satisfied…and with a spoon of crème brûlée! It’s the sweetest little touch…verses sending customers off with a peppermint.

Old Saigon Cafe Vietnamese Cuisine

6383 Westheimer Road

Houston, Texas 77057

Hours: Mon. Closed; Tue. – Sun. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Take Out Number: 832-668-5270

Girl, let’s #NamaSlay with Trap Yoga Bae!

By Ciara Rouege

I’m about as flexible as a No. 2 pencil, but where ever there is trap music— it’s sort of my mission to try and be there. Or at the absolute least, I’m accepting the Facebook invite.

Trap-themed events have been popping up like corn in a paper bag the past year. I doubt 2018 will be any different. Paint…and trap music. Fashion…and trap music. Brunch…and guest what? Trap music. Not that I’m complaining— I plan on catching all that shit!

Girl Houston Trap Yoga Ciara Rouege

After clicking ‘going’ a dozen times on Facebook — and one unused $22 Silent Trap Party ticket later — I finally made it to a trap event with some close girlfriends in December.

It was my first event, so I tried to keep it clachet with some trap yoga. We signed up for a class at Boyer with the hella fine and fabulous Trap Yoga Bae. She hails from Oakland and became a certified yoga instructor in Rishikesh, India.

She legit, girl! She cute, too.

First thought walking in: Please, ladies! When are we going to stop treating our boyfriends like girlfriends and stop bring them to girls night out?

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Second thought: Girl, Trap Yoga Bae is funny!

No, this is not your mother’s YMCA yoga class— expect to hear ALL the curse words and a bit of sexual humor. No jokes: 18 and up!

“I need you to stand strong at the top of your mat with legs about waist-length apart— about as open as they would be if your man’s head was between them,” Trap Yoga Bae said to to the class.

Don’t forget, it is TRAP yoga!

Girl Houston Trap Yoga Ciara Rouege Trap Yoga Bae

The classes—  unless otherwise stated — are beginner friendly with easier and advance alternatives for all the poses. I attended a class were we did traditional movements including the child’s pose,  downward facing dog, the basic warrior stances, tree stance and many others.

There will be some twerking (or fast hip rotating— depending on your background), a DJ for all your spirit’s musical needs, some anti-fuck boy affirmations and lots of cheerful group participation.

The workout is a bit challenging, but the music and hilarious instruction keep you fairly distracted. Nothing frees the spirit more than light fun and good humor, so I’d recommend trap yoga to both one-timers and hardcore yogis.

Now, will I be adding “ass, I command you to grow” to my daily meditation routine. Well, mostly likely not.

Is it real yoga? I’m told it’s 100% certified, black girl on a rock mediating in India bonafide yoga. But hey, no more questions from me! Grab your own mat and trap yoga it up at the next class, girl!

Girl, that RING! Astros Carlos Correa celebrates World Series win with on-field proposal

By Ciara Monet Rouege

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros finally earned history Wednesday after demolishing the Dogers 5-1 in Game 7 of the World Series. While fans in Los Angeles and back at home in Houston were overwhelmed with excitement, no one had a bigger smile than Carlos Correa and his soon-to-be wife.

The Astros shortstop surprised his girlfriend, Daniella Rodriguez, with a marriage proposal on live television.

“And right now I’m about to take another big step in my life,” the player said to a reporter before reaching into his pocket and turning around. “Daniella Rodriguez, you’ve made me the luckiest man in the world. Will you marry me?”

Rodriguez, who is the 2016 Miss Texas USA, broke out in tears as she pushed through a field barrier to Correa.

The answer was yes!

The couple engaged in a loving kiss and embrace before Correa slid a gorgeous diamond ring onto his fiance’s finger.

Definitely, our close to first favorite moment of the World Series.

This article was originally published on the CW39 Houston website on Nov. 2, 2017.

Cuffing, breadcrumbing, lovebombing: Is millennial dating slang really shaking up the love game?

By Ciara Rouege

HOUSTON — With cuffing season in full effect, romance is definitely in the air! But for millennial singles, the air may be just a little bit shadier.

Benchingbreadcrumbinglovebombing and stashing are just a few terms today’s young people are using to describe their relationships. Of course, to most Gen. X-ers and Baby Boomers these words can sound like straight up gibberish. For example, do you know what about ghosting? To close the communication gap between the generation, NewsFix hunt down the definitions this modern lovers slang.


Millennial Dating Slang Cheat Sheet 

Cuffing Season: Finding a family-appropriate holiday hook-up to take home for the holidays.

Stashing: When an unmarried person keeps a relationship hidden away for whatever reason.

LovebombingOverwhelming a partner with attention and gifts.

Ghosting: Cutting off all contact with a lover.

Haunting: When an old flame pops up in your social media feed seemingly out of nowhere

Netflix ‘n’ ChillInviting a love interest over to watch Netflix, but both parties know they’re meeting up to have sex.

BreadcrumbingLeading a person on without fully committing friendship or relationship.

Benching: Telling a person you want a relationship, even going as far as setting up dates, but never seeming to follow through.


Dr. Norma Ngo is a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist. She believes these trendy terms come from a dating scene sped up by social media, dating apps and digital dating services.

“I don’t think the practices are necessarily new: ghosting…breadcrumbing…benching,” Ngo said. “People get out of relationships. People have backups. That’s been going on for a long time.”

And new terms are born each day as dating continues to go digital among young people.

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of singles aged 18 to 24 using online services and apps to find love tripled from 10 percent in 2013 to almost 30 percent in 2015. On the flip side, 23 percent of people in a 2013 study said singles who used online dating sties were ‘desperate.’

Ouch!

“I think the only term that I would say is probably newer with millennials is haunting— only because that’s more of an online thing,” Ngo said.

Younger players, same old game

These terms may be unheard of to most, but are the practices behind them a millennial thing? Residents we talked to at the Brookdale Tanglewood Assisted Senior Living Home in Houston said no way!

So what’s up with breadcrumbing? We now know it’s when you lead a person on, but Dorothy Meehan says that’s nothing new.

“Yeah, they have been doing that since the beginning—throwing out those breadcrumbs like Hansel and Gretel,” she said.

We asked her Meehan’s husband Bob, if he knew what stashing was.

“Stashing away something? A place to put it that nobody knows,” He responded.

Well, sort of. In today’s dating 101, stashing is when an unmarried person is in a relationship, but they’re keeping it kind of hidden for whatever reason.

“You didn’t keep it a secret that much. If your friends didn’t know, somebody knew,” Bob said.

In some ways, John Wise said millennials have it a bit easier than singles had it in his day.  He told said when a person see someone they might be interested in, they just search for them online to find out more about them.

When John first spotted his future wife, Gail, he wasn’t able to catch her name. To find her, John jotted down the license number of the car she was riding in, next had a police buddy run the plates— and then VIOLA! He had a phone number to call her.

Hoping her family wouldn’t find it strange, he kindly asked Gail’s aunt if he could take her out on a date.  Now wouldn’t it have been easier just to send a friend request? Well that wasn’t an option in the 1960s.

You had to show a little more initiative!

“Go ahead and do your thing, whatever you need to get the person you want,” John said.

It’s also important to point out that while most Baby Boomers and Gen. X-ers were getting married in their late teens and early 20s, today’s singles are tying the knot much later in life.

So what are millennials actually doing different?

According to the National Marriage Project in 2013, today’s women are walking down the isle at 27 years old while men are getting married at 29 on average. Researchers said it’s a number that continues to rise with each coming generation.

Millennials are also different in that these singles oft get through the “opening stages” of a relationship online before investing in-person.

“A lot of this stuff is done before you meet the person through texting— actually through the app— and then you get to the texting-talking stage,” Ngo said. “And then there’s very quickly, getting to the sexual intimacy part of it.”

Haunting and Netflix ‘n’ chill are catchy phrases, but are some of these practice dangerous? Dr. Ngo said you may want to take it slow with lovebombers.

“[Lovebombing] is when someone very quickly attaches to you and show you with a lot of attention and gifts— and demands a lot of your attention. The moment you decide you want to spend time with someone else— or talk to someone else — they really have a problem with that,” Ngo said. “When people start to feel that it’s controlling, then it’s out of balance and not healthy. And in some cases it can be borderline abusive.”

Each generation has like to put it’s own spin on dating slang, but we can all learn a few lesson from the more experienced lovers. Both the Wises and the Meehans have been married for 56 years— so they know a thing or two!

Because while the players may change— the love game will always be the same!

This article was originally posted to the CW39 Houston website on Nov. 2, 2017.

Marvel studio drops ‘Black Panther’ full-length trailer. Girl, it’s given me all the feels!

It’s been a long time since a movie trailer has given me goosebumps, but Marvel Studios is running my life after dropping its unannounced full-length Black Panther trailer on Monday.

The movie is scheduled to hit U.S. theaters on February 16, 2018.

Ugh, raise your hand if you weren’t ready! Cause I sure enough wasn’t— my hand is raised hella high.

 

It didn’t seem to reveal more than what audiences already knew about the plot.Prince T’Challa returns to his home of Wakanda following the events of Captain America: Civil War to be seated on the throne of his late father, King T’Chaka.

It can’t be a smooth transition as societal reject, Erick Killmonger, is poppin’ off on bullshit with his greedy cronies— threatening T’Challa’s homeland and the entire world. Throw in some internal conflicts revolving around responsibility, pressure and leadership and — BAM! We got a movie.

What I didn’t know: there seems to be a second Black Panther also in the mix.

The design and visuals of Wakanda completely blew me away! It’s definitely a place I can’t wait to explore. On the surface, Wakanda has a perfect balance between past and future.

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However, it’s obvious the county graduated to that state as it kept an aesthetic that blended into the surrounding jungle environment instead of being a cold, harsh pillar of technological advancement.

We were also shown a few psychedelic scenes that peaked my interest.

Similar to the Thor:Ragnarok trailer, the song selection was beyond perfect. Girl, that SOUND TRACK! Ooh-wee!

It’s Vince Staples’ “BagBak.”

Yes, I’m goin’ all in.

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Plus, star Chadwich Boseman looked cool as all get out besides his star-studded team of ass-kicking supporting women, which includes Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Florence Kasumba and, our Walking-Dead bae, Dani Gurira.

And Angela Bassett. Yes, Angela!

Black Panther 1

I’m not afraid to admit a strong casts of black female actresses — with multiple roles that go beyond slow rising ass tracking shots — is what has me most excited about this Marvel installment. The trailer served as a great reminder.

Of course, what’s any superhero movie without it’s villain? I haven’t formulated my opinion, but most critics seem satisfied — if not expecting a spectacular performance — from Michael B. Jordan.

I’m neutral.

Of course, the trailer was loaded with action. I wouldn’t have expected anything less than bass-dropping collisions, mid-air fight sequences and other aw-inspiring stunts— all of which were graciously delivered.

In addition to debuting a new trailer, Marvel Studios released a new movie poster, which Boseman, who plays the main character T’Challa, tweeted earlier in the day.

Yum, dessert!

 

What’s Mine is Yours…Sometimes: But the Sex is Good Podcast [Episode 1]

It had been more than six months since Chris and I decided to create a sex and relationship podcast. Finally, we ran out of excuses Sunday and just clicked record!

Faced with an infinite list of topics to cover, we thought it would be good to start with the basis of most relationships: sharing.

Sharing a life with a person can be an endearing experience…but sometimes it can also be a tight pinch in the ass. In our first episode, we discuss a wide — and I mean WIDE — range of sharing scenarios from toothbrushes to money to intimacy in an open relationship.

But the Sex is Good Podcast: What’s Mine is Yours…Sometimes [Episode One]

It’s only our first podcast, but we’d love to know what you think. What topics should we cover? In what ways could we improve? Also, be sure to like our page on Facebook!

Here’s a link to articles mentioned in the episode:

The Four Stages of Sharing a Bathroom With a Significant Other: bit.ly/2vVXL95

My Boyfriend’s Other Girlfriend Just Had A Baby, And That’s OK: bit.ly/2vDdaZ8

‘Chain me in there real good’: How I went from a creamy crack addict to a natural-haired beauty

By Ciara Rouege

Just over a year ago, I was the bright-eyed poster child for creamy crack— that cold, thick and hair-straightening miracle mayonnaise!

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Just a few days after I got a good relaxer back in April 2015.

You may call it a perm, or sometimes a relaxer. Either way, my southern-born mother always taught me to call it a necessity.

A scripture from the black girl bible: she who steps out with unlaid edges, steps out on her mother and herself.

There was no way in heaven or hell, I was going to step out! Neither mom, nor my three younger sisters, would ever allow it.

It would make me cringe: to look in the mirror and see those tough, unrelaxed strands uprooting themselves from my tender scalp.

I’d grab that rat-tail comb like it was the Good Book, churn that perm mix with a little wooden spatula like I was in the trap house of Jesus— and make things ‘right,’ again!

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Girl, you know how it is! #Truth

In college, a younger woman tried to enlighten me.

She said hair relaxers were hidden chains of white oppression— the unrepentant enforcer of European beauty standards.

She said I was trapped in the ‘bad hair’ mindset.

To which I responded,”Well, tell’em to chain me in there real good— cause I ain’t walking around her with no nappy hair!”

Oh, God bless her sweet little heart! But like most of the natural-haired prophets at the time, itty-bitty was being a little too political for my taste.

In 2013, it seemed more and more women were talking about Chris Rock’s ‘Good Hair.’

The film, which debuted in late 2009, made natural hair increasingly political for millennials— but also more trendy. And man, some of these ladies were committed to that #naturalhair life!

I remember scrolling through my Facebook feed, thinking who are all these bald-headed bitches in my timeline? All preaching about the Big Chop.

Still, while I wasn’t a lone naysayer— oh, far from it! I was raised to give credit where credit is due. In my mind, I started looking at natural-haired women in two categories: the woke…and the broke.

If you were WOKE, that meant you were giving us life straight from Mother Earth! The ‘fro was perfectly hedged, the curls were glossy and the edges were tamed.

Oh! And if you weren’t at least an eight in the face and a 10 in the waist…Honey, you better take this TCB and sit your ass down somewhere. In my old opinion, only beautiful, fine-bodied women could get away with natural hair. Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 10.34.46 PM

All the rest were BROKE with their dry puffs and funky locks. Terrible! I know, but that’s just where I was at in my thinking at the time.

Eventually, I decided to give natural hair a shot because it was ‘the cool thing to do.’

I failed about five times. (OK, technically four times. There was a period when my wallet was super-tight and I couldn’t afford to get a relaxer even if I wanted to.)

I couldn’t wrap my mind around it: natural hair ‘isn’t sexually desirable,’ natural hair ‘isn’t appropriate for the work space.’ Oh, and the jokes!

Light-, medium- or dark-skinned, all black women have a peculiar set of social boundaries that we’re forced to live within. I’m about three shades too high on the chart to be rocking an afro without it being perceived as a ‘statement piece.’

I was overwhelmed with the concerns rationalized in the eyes of the generations that came before me.

It was just easier to just keep relaxing— to keep dusting the immense dandruff of my shoulders, to keep watching the hair strands falling into the sink and to keep scratching off those chemical burn scabs.

And then, I had an epiphany.

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Shout out to Charles ‘Chip’ Fields for taking this cute picture of me rocking my natural hair.

The youngest of my sisters— just 7 years old at the time— was being mocked by a classmate because her ‘hair looked crunchy’ and her features ‘weren’t cute.’

I was disturbed by her low self-esteem. She just kept asking me, desperately, “RaRa, am I pretty?”

Our mom eventually told me what was going on, and she showed me a picture of the classmate. I’ve never been more outraged in my life than staring at that little girl.

Looking back at me was a scuffed, dirty little pale-faced kid with beady blue eyes and lackluster, damaged blonde hair. She had on a tattered white dress and bruised knees.

It had nothing to do with the child.

It was the realization that there are women in the world of all backgrounds and ethnicities who— even on their worst day, even if they’re in shambles— would look at a black woman’s features and belittle her.

I tried to rebuke the feeling by giving my little sister an ill-guided pep-talk praising the gorgeousness of her natural hair.

“But your hair isn’t like mine,” she said. “And May May’s isn’t, and Anna’s and mom’s.”

She found me out; I was speechless.

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In April 2015, Cosmopolitan magazine was under fire for an article that suggestively showed white women as fashion dos and black women as donts.

In that moment, I thought about all the little black girls staring at their reflection, struggling to find beautifulness and womanliness within themselves.

Girls going through life exhausting themselves over their God-given hair and bodies, begging for approval from a social structure that taught them through the lessons of their own mothers that femininity was not inalienable.

I remembered siting between my mothers legs with tears rushing down my face as she yanked and pulled my hair; and laughing beside my sisters with stained towels draped across our shoulders and chemicals burning into our scalps.

It’s self-evident that all women are taught that beauty is pain. Still, I thought, this shit is out of control.

I didn’t know it, but the relaxer I’d applied a couple weeks before that conversation would be my last.

 

PHOTOS: Rain couldn’t stop the turn up at Houston Fajita Festival 2017

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By Ciara Rouege

HOUSTON — The Houston Fajita Festival returned for its second year over the weekend. And while friends and families showed out in light numbers due to scattered showers, the spirit of the festival was still hot and heavy.

HTX Sports Creek — a venue in Houston’s East End — welcomed attendees into its gates Saturday afternoon with live Spanish music, loaded fajita tacos, refreshing drinks and a chance to indulge in some of the city’s spiciest hot sauces and salsas. Visitors also ventured into several tents that offered artwork, jewelry, clothing and other trinkets.

Several well-known Houston restaurants brought the heat and sweets at their stations— severing up everything from loaded funnel cakes, grilled corn on-the-cob, giant margaritas and, of course, fajita tacos! Vendors included Grandma’s Boys LemonadeLos Cocos Mexican RestaurantFajita Pete’sBullritosiBurnMi Picante Homemade Hot Sauce and many others.

There’s a lot we can say about this upcoming festival, but we think social media captured it best!

Can’t wait ’til next year!

This article was originally post on the CW39 website on July 24, 2017.

Girl, it was a ‘Rough Night’ for all of us! [Movie Review]

By Ciara Rouege

I’m just going to come out and mention what most of us were thinking while watching trailers for ‘Rough Night.’

Yaaas! ‘The Hangover’ with some crazy white bitches: Scarlet Johanson, Jillian BellZoë Kravitz, Kate McKinnon and Ilana Glazer

And…

Isn’t there another movie coming out soon with the same concept but staring all black ladies? Yes, that’s ‘Girls Trip!’

Most of us hoped ‘Rough Night’ would be the ‘Bridesmaids’ of 2017, or at least a good follow-up after watching ‘Bad Moms.’ But alas! ‘Rough Night’ was not the feminine-fueled, laugh-out-loud comedy promised or the epic adventure I expected.

No hilarious excursions through the wild nightlife of Miami, slews of mischievous characters or plot-pushing, split-second decisions. The movie was more of a hectic sleepover with a pinch of awkward comedy tossed in.

Jess (Johanson) and Alice (Bell) are best friends from college– at least in Alice’s mind. But over the years, the women’s friendship has started to whither because; one, Alice is overly possessive and freaking annoying; and two, adulting is time consuming.

In a last ditch effort, Alice attempts to revive their relationship with a life-changing bachelorette party in Miami and lots of selfies.

Alice manages to pull Jess away from her boring life as a politician, but gets clam jammed last-minute by Jess’ foreign friend Pippa (McKinnon)— creating more chick-flick drama!

And the quick jolt of cocaine doesn’t save the night from getting worse. The group accidentally murders a male stripper, leading to multiple failed attempts at hiding the body and all possible evidence.

Total bummer.

Another mood dampener: Johanson and Bell’s funniest jokes are in the trailer.

rough night poster

Most of the movie takes place inside a glass house, which I’m assuming is located in the horniest neighborhood in all of South Beach. The unseen homeowner has a penchant for rough, kicky sex and his neighbors Pietro (Ty Burell) and Lea (Demi Moore) are no less prude. (Side Note: Burell’s role in this film will irreversibly taint your view of Phil Dunphy.)

The b-story follows Jess’ fiance (Paul W. Downs) — a man arguably too in touch with his sensitive side — as he hits the road dressed in an adult diaper on a trip to win back the love of his life. Surprisingly, Peter provided more humor for the movie than all of the main characters put together.

Sad Astronaut-ing it all the way!

(That’ll make more sense when you watch ‘Rough Night’ on Netflix in the next few months.)

Unsurprisingly, the film invests a significant amount of time setting up scenes that do little to enrich the story and serve only as puns that I’m assuming were co-written by 13-year-old students from a boys-only school.

Once the shenanigans are over, the movie makes a sloppy clean-up during the last 20 minutes to semi-tie up any loose strings. Yikes! You took almost two hours to tell the damn story— what gives?!

Still, I wouldn’t say it’s the worst movie in theaters this summer.

‘Rough Night’ did have a few jokes that were edgy enough to warrant an awkward silence from the audience, and individually the characters were amusing. Plus, the friend-tipede is sickeningly adorable!

But, put it up there with ‘Hangover?’ Nah, more like hang up.*

*Yes! I wrote this line first before writing any other parts of this review. 😀

Linkin Park singer, Chester Bennington, commits suicide at age 41

Chester Bennington, the lead singer of the popular alt-rock band Linkin Park, died Thursday morning after taking his own life while at a private home in Los Angeles, TMZ reported.

The singer reportedly hung himself. He was found shortly before 9 a.m, the report said.

The most tortured souls often bring us strength; it breaks my heart when they can no longer bare their struggle.

Like many, I was heartbroken after the death of Robin Williams.

And now, Bennington.

View this post on Instagram

Europe rehearsals 🌅

A post shared by Chester Bennington (@chesterbe) on

Bennington was a 41-year-old father of six children.

The news comes just days before the Linkin Park: One More Light World Tour was set to begin on July 27 at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Michigan, with special guests Machine Gun Kelly and ONE OK ROCK.

Linkin Park has dropped numerous hits since releasing its first album Hybrid Theory in October 2000. The band’s most popular songs include “Somewhere I Belong,” “Numb,” “Paper Cut,” “In the End” and “What I’ve Down.”

Linkin Park was scheduled to visit Houston on Aug. 22.

Fans are still awaiting an official confirmation that the tour has been canceled.

Bennington battled with drug and alcohol addiction. He also struggled with suicidal thoughts as a result of being abused by an older man in his childhood.

I carried immense responsibility as a teenager. When I found myself completely overwhelmed, I turned to artist like Michelle Branch, Avril Lavigne, Billie Joe Armstrong for escape.

I hope he finds peace in the next life. He will be greatly missed in this one.

#GifeLife: Romantic Ramen for that ghetto love under $10

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Oh, yes! Ladies, we are about to come through with some Ramen noodles. Don’t let’em look at you sideways— this dish is filling and absolutely delicious!

It’s also budget-friendly, costing me less than $10. Of course, the noodles cost me 20 cents a bag and the most expensive ingredient was the beef rib eye steak, which costs $5.77.

I’m not one to use measurements, but I’m going to do my best to leave you with adequate measurements and instructions below.

Ingredients

  • 3 packs of Maruchan Beef Noodles
  • 8 oz beef rib-eye steak
  • 2/3 cup of diced Baby Bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 3 stalks of green onion
  • 2 large white eggs
  • Dried red chili pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper

First, I placed my eggs on the stove to consolidate time. While the eggs boiled for about 15 minutes, I quickly pulled out the chopping block and started preparing my meat and vegetables.

When you’re cutting the steak, be sure to cut away the bone and all fat. You want to finish with vibrant, almost completely red beef pieces.

Next, I sprayed a pan with a cooking oil and then cooked the steak pieces at a medium heat. The meat should be fully cooked.

Place the cooked meat and chopped vegetables to the side.

Start cooking your noodles, following the instructions on the packaging. When the water starts boiling, but the noodles are still tender, start adding the mushrooms and shallots.

Add the beef and Maruchan seasoning into the pot last— constantly stirring the pot.

Drop the noodles and broth into a bowl. Then finally, dress up the noodles with your flavorful garnishes.

Boiled egg halves help give this dish its traditional Ramen taste! Remove the shell from the egg, place the egg long ways and then cut it directly down the middle. Both halves will contain equal amounts of yoke.

Sprinkle the dish with the chopped green onions– as many as you like!

Lastly, top the dish off with dried red chili peppers. Again, use as much as you like! The peppers won’t make the entire dish spicy; the heat comes in when you bite into the peppers.

Bon Appetite!

Girl, ‘Baby Driver’ speedin’ off with more than a killer soundtrack! [Movie Review]

By Ciara Rouege

Tequila!

‘Baby Driver’ didn’t park in the numero uno spot for highest grossing movies at the box office this weekend, debuting at $30 million, but it could cruise into my top 10 favorite flicks for 2017.

In the movie, we meet a good kid named Baby (Ansel Elgort) and he’s mixed up with some bad people— a crook (Jon Hamm), a killer (Jamie Foxx) and a hoochie coochie (Eiza González). Yes, that line is particularly cliché but so is the movie’s baseline plot and the character motivations.

No shade, brah! Just shades as Baby twirls across the screen hypnotizing me with that sexy, Elvis-esque accent and smooth showtime dance moves.

Baby lost his parents, a gorgeous waitress with an angelic singing voice and an abusive drunkard of a husband, during a violent car crash that left the protagonist with a hearing impairment. Traumatized and trapped between two headphones, Baby becomes a notorious carjacker at an impressively young age.

Of course, the kid eventually steals the wrong ride and becomes indebted to a debonair and meticulous crime boss played by Kevin Spacey.

Baby spends his childhood paying off his debt to Doc, but on some usual bullshit, he can’t stop being a getaway driver — even after making amends — because the head hancho threatened to break his legs, kill his newly found girlfriend (Lily James) — blah, blah, blah.

After countless jobs, and some not-so-subtle foreshadowing delivered by Jon Bernthal, Baby reluctantly takes on his first post-debt assignment. And SHOCKER! It goes absolutely, terribly, the-universe-hates-you wrong and his moral GPS is put to the test.

…and yawn.

However, ‘Baby Driver’ is one of those rare instances where expectations for an all-star cast are actually met. You’re perpetually kept in the moment because you’re immersed in the characters– their accents, their reactions, their interactions, their hangups, their quirks. You’re only given enough background info– most of which is given in blatant exposition– to understand the movie. No one is winning an Oscar with those lines, but the characters were colorful and the acting was– well, good! Each actor brought their talent and not just their resume to the set.

Like many, I’m a big fan of Edgar Wright and that leave-early, come-late style. He also has a heightened understanding of visual humor and a sense of pacing that really turns me on. The movie has the typical running time, clocking in at a little over 90 minutes, but there weren’t any scenes that felt drawn out or unnecessary. Most movies can barely handle one chase scene, but this one had several and I didn’t take a bathroom break during any of them. So, kudos!

Yes, I’m bashing this movie for being cliche– but it’s in no way run of the mill. Pedestrians weren’t killed off like flies like in most action movies. It maintained it’s humanity, hanging on to a sense of death and danger. It also took a few turns at the end that I genuinely didn’t expect. But I’ll keep those to myself– you should see this movie for yourself! 

Lastly, it’s a comedic action film. The action sequences are well choreographed and the jokes are funny– and that always makes for a good time at the theater. I was wide-eyed watching Baby make his mad dash from the coppers, and I may have choked on my own spit a little when Doc pressed play on Baby’s shitty, natural sounds mix tape.

And don’t think I forgot! The movie also boosts a fucking killer soundtrack– Queen, Martha and the Vandellas, The Dammed, Barry White, Young MC — enough said! The whole movie was made to the tune of “Bellbottoms” by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

But, aye! Having a killer soundtrack has definitely become the standard. We’re only halfway through the big summer movie releases, but I’m confident ‘Baby Driver’ will remain in my top 10 long after the Texas swelter simmers down.

So, full speed to the box office!

‘How do you like my new look?’ White model makes dramatic transformation into ‘black woman’

By Ciara Rouege

Somebody call Rachael! Y’all, I can’t make this ‘ish up!

Pictures of a model-actress from Germany have been trending across the internet for a couple months now, but I saw them for the first time on Tuesday. I’m not sure if I’m more thrown off by the over-inflated air balloons in her chest region or her dramatic transformation into a dark-skinned woman.

Martina BIG said she’s all about the extreme look in a Facebook post a few months ago. She has decided to take it to the next level, subjecting herself to tanning injections for several months as a means of making her skin darker— like as dark as possible!

“To become more and more a black woman, that is such a wonderful feeling. I’m so happy,” Martina said in a status update posted June 22.

In the post, the model also talked about her visit to an African hairdresser and her “transformation to a black woman.” A transformation that includes, in her words, more cosmetic surgery for African facial features and consultations for butt enlargement.

Earlier photos of Martina shows a young, slim-figured woman with moderate-sized breast and bleached blonde hair.

german woman transform

But today, she holds 250 cc implants and a British bra size of 32 (70) — that’s American for crazy, doing-the-most cups! Martina has the largest breast in all of Europe, according to numerous sources.

“But that’s not enough for me yet! My motto is: ‘BIG IS NOT BIG ENOUGH!'” she said in her website bio.

It appears her original goal was to look like Barbie, but somewhere down the road — she decided that wasn’t enough— and wanted to be Christie instead.

christie

Barbie’s best friend Christie. (Photo source: Barbie.wikia.com/christie)

“In the video you can see how difficult today was my journey and the hotel check [in] as a black woman,” a caption reads on one of Martina’s videos.

Rest assured, Martina does have emotional support as she undergoes the transition; a boyfriends she’s had since she was 17 years old, the model’s website states. She was born in a small western German town, but her profession has taken her across Europe and the United States, mainly Florida, California and Nevada.

Martina also dabbles in music, claiming she’s “not a professional singer, but [will] keep practicing!”

Well, then.

I’m nothing short of flabbergasted, taken aback, disgusted and ultimately offended.

First, I don’t think black, or African-American, women have a biological patent on dark skin or curvaceous bodies.

However, this woman has transformed herself into a living caricature of a stereotypical black woman— a permanent pickaninny, a Jim Crow and an eternal Zip Coon — and is calling herself a ‘black woman.’

It’s a demonstration of society’s disregard for the life, struggles, achievements and contributions of black women. It’s disconcerting.

That’s all I can say, but as Martina often says in her post, “What do you think of [her] new look?”

Martina cover

#GifeLife: Shrimp and creamy tomato sauce recipe is at-home date night perfection!

By Ciara Rouege

Sometimes…a girl just wants some shrimp! I left work Monday evening with an intense craving for shrimp and tomato sauce.

I could’ve made a solo stop to Carrabba’s on the way home, but bae was working late and I didn’t want to leave him with a squished, lukewarm Wendy’s cheeseburger — so to the kitchen I went!

Of all the recipes for creamy tomato sauce, I chose the Spaghetti with Shrimp and Creamy Tomato Sauce on the Natasha’s Kitchen website because it had the most reviews and the best pictures. Don’t act like you’ve never bought a brand because the packaging looked cool — I do it all the time!

And the best thing about pasta dishes: you don’t have to worry about sides. I spent about $20 on ingredients, spending the most money on shrimp and shopping mostly store-brand only. It’s a perfect date night dish if you want to impress but not exhaust yourself. Also, if you want to be full but not weighed down before engaging in…other activities.

First, I want to point out that I spent double the suggested time, which was 30 minutes, making this meal because I’m the slowest at-home cook on the planet. Second, I almost never follow the recommended measurements unless I’m like baking a cake. I just add seasoning til it smells good…and stop adding ingredients when I think it’s enough. Hasn’t failed me yet!

However, I resisted my New Orleans upbringing and refrained from adding Cayenne pepper or salted butter— sticking strictly to the seasonings listed: salt and pepper. Lawd, help me! I did add a few extra teaspoons of hot chili flakes, but it needed that extra kick in my opinion. Got to keep it spicy!


The recipe gives you the option of using onions or chives. I went with chives simply to break the repetitiveness of using onions all the time with my pasta dishes — just wanted to experience a different taste! It also looks like they used a chardonnay for their dry wine, but I switched it out for a fruity and reasonably priced sauvignon blanc that I later paired with the meal.

I won’t lie; I was feeling super lazy and bought canned tomatoes instead of dicing up fresh ones. Thinking I wouldn’t have to pull out the chopping block, I realized I’d have to cut the chives and fresh basil leaves when I got home. It would have been a tinsy-winsy better had I diced — and not butchered  — my greens.

The recipe recommended spaghetti or angel hair pasta, but personally, Farfalle is my favorite pasta to pair with shrimp or crawfish. If you’re looking for something a little more hardy, I’d go for the linguine.

Of course, my favorite dessert during the summer months are cherries. We finished our time at the dinner table with a succulent handful of dark Hudson cherries and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Bonus: Chris thought it was delicious! I just love that look on his face when he comes home and the house is clean(ish) and the smell of a tasty, homemade meal hits him right at the door. It’s the domestic southern belle in me— I know, shameful!

What’s next? I’ll figure that out at the grocery store tonight!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of medium-sized, peel raw shrimp
  • 3/4 pound of spaghetti or angel hair pasta (That’s about 9 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 6 diced medium-sized tomatoes (I went with canned diced tomatoes — but do you!)
  • 1 mall onion, or 1/4 cup of chives, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons of diced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of dry white wine. (Take your pick chardonnay, pinot grigio, sauvginon blanc, etc. But it must be dry!)
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan to serve

Instructions

  1. Lightly season shrimp with salt and pepper and saute in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium to high heat. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until white/pinkish in color. Be sure to turn shrimp over while cooking. And then set aside. Well, be adding this back in later.
  2. Put the tomatoes, onion, chili flakes, basil, garlic and butter into a heavy pan, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add wine, and then cook over a medium to high heat until mixture is soft and most of the wine has evaporated. You should have about 1/4 cup of liquid remaining.
  4. While the vegetables simmer, this is a great time to start cooking your pasta! You want it to be al dente, meaning just a tinsy-winsy bit under cooked). Rise, drain and then set aside.
  5. Once the sauce has mostly evaporated, stir in cream and bring back that shrimp! Let it warm all together for about 2 minutes, season it with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the pasta with the sauce.
  6. Top it with Parmesan and a few fresh basil leaves. Let it sent under the lid for about 2 minutes, to help the cheese melt.
  7. Light some candles. Pour some wine. Cue the Sade and D’Angelo. 😉

Feather brows? No…or hell nah! 

By Ciara Rouege

The internet is buzzing about a new make-up trend that many have already predicted won’t be flying back home for the summer months — if not at all!

Feather brows is a technique in which a part is made across the center of the eyebrow and the opened hairs are feathered out. Of course, the goal is to give the appearance of a bird feather.

This look is a joke — literally!

“Note to self: when u make a joke about starting a funny brow trend people will take it seriously and…well. start the trend,” Stella Sironen, the Helsinki make-up artist who started the trend, said in an Instagram post.

Of course, it is the internet so many people have already decided to run with it. Some have already given feather brows a chance.

I’ll admit while I think this looks ridiculous, Sironen does look like a futuristic fantasy with the outlandish brows and shimmering peach eye shadow. Plus, it’s cool how she managed to perfectly separate and feather such thick eyelashes unlike these hot messes below:

But when a trend is born, who is to judge the origin? I’m sure more will attempt this ‘artistic’ look.

Unfortunately, I’ll have to give this one a thumbs down— but that’s just me! What do you all think? No judgement (to your face) if you like them.

So jealous! Cosplayers flaunt jaw-dropping costumes for Anime Matsuri

By Ciara Rouege

One experience I haven’t been able to check on my secret bucket list is going to an anime convention dressed in costume. I’ve been to the gaming portion of SXSW in Austin, which features a bit of cosplay, but the sub-conference doesn’t come close to being immersed in anime culture.

The 2017 Anime Matsuri Japanese Culture Convention  attracted hundreds of cosplayers and anime admires to Houston for the weekend — some from as far away as Hungary, and of course, Japan!

Flaunting unique costumes, elaborate props and colorful wigs, attendees flooded the George R. Brown Convention Center to experience the event’s 250,000 square-foot showroom featuring popular manga comic books, anime-themed video games, figurines, trading cards, Japanese fashions and also decorated cars.

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A friend and I was able to catch up with a few Anime Matsuri guest and ask them about their costumes and props, most of which are do-it-yourself projects. One cosplayer we talked to spent nearly four days crafting a giant — and we mean HUGE — syringe for her costume, and another showed us how his costume spits fire whenever he snaps his fingers.

The convention attracts both professionals and amateurs, and most said Anime Matsuri is one of their favorite annual anime events and one of the largest they’ve ever been too.

The attractions offer more than pop-up tents and vendors. Anime Matsuri also includes photography sets, arcade gaming, Live Action Role Playing, special guest and a fashion show the latest in Japanese fashion.

While popular anime and American cartoon characters were abundant, some guest rocked their own designs and characters names.

I was covering an event at the Marriott Marquise, which is connected to the GRB, and was able to take pictures crossing over to the convention center via the crosswalk. Hopefully, I’ll be to join in the fun firsthand next year.

Buckle up, ladies! 2017 Houston Auto Show isn’t just for the boys!

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By Ciara Rouege

There’s a reason  why cars are described as being women. They’re sexy, sleek, beautiful — and let’s not forget smart and powerful!

The 2017 Houston Auto Show, the largest car show in the south, pulled into NRG Stadium earlier in the week for after bringing the city top-notch vehicle presentation for 34 seasons.

I have gone to the more gritty, outdoor engine-crazed car shows in the past, but the opening Preview Night Gala was all about glitz and glam.

Plus, it was educational — you won’t believe how many options you have out there!

The event featured nearly 40 manufactures including Ashton Martin, Lamborghini, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, Maserati, Porsche, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Infiniti, Buick and several others.

In a showroom featuring hundreds of cars, there is multiple vehicle options for all stages of life and lifestyles. The floor has presentations for luxurious sedans, sports models, minivans, off-road vehicles, eco-friendly cars, muscle cars, powerful trucks and even classics!

Outside of car gazing, I was able to test out several cars including an exciting Jeep off-road course and other vehicle demonstrations.

Tickets are available online or at the door April 5 – 9 for only $12 for adults and $5 for children.