Archive | October, 2009

Manik Mag!

22 Oct

Hey All,

Be sure to check out our MASQUE Magazine banner on www.ManikMag.com!

M A N I K Magazine is an online magazine dedicated to curvaceous women who are high style and all smiles 🙂

“Wildflowers” by Lyah Beth LeFlore

22 Oct

Lyah Beth LeFlore has a few notches on her belt. She’s written three books before this one, including a very intimate telling penned by the late Gerald Levert and his father, Eddie Levert (I Got Your Back). She’s also written Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, and now brings to you a story with a cozy, family feel.

Wildflowers is the story of a family of women who are strewn and torn separately but      together they are inseparable. A gang of sisters, aunts, cousins, daughters, etc. are all kept  together by a love for their family and one another.There’s an abused Hollywood publicist,  a stay-at-mom trying to break free of her Stepford ways, a crackhead cousin, etc.

Be warned: If you’re not into what some consider “hood novels”, the first chapter (and one of the characters) will throw you. There was some foul language, abuse, and pregnancy that turned me off, but once I got into the story I understood why LeFlore chose to speak for some characters the way she did. There was a contrast in education, social status, etc. that needed to be made clear.

Here’s an excerpt:

Chloe

A BIBLE AND A GUN

My hands were as steady as a surgeon’s, precise and meticulous as I flipped out the chamber of my Ladysmith.

Sweat poured down my trembling body, soaking through my cotton nightgown and terry-cloth robe. I felt as though I had just walked through hell’s fire, but had been yanked out by hand of the Lord and baptized in his blood all at once. I closed my eyes tightly, my thoughts battling the deafening throb, pounding between my ears. I could hear Mother’s words, “Don’t tell nobody everythin’. You gotta keep the devil guessin’!

I’d owned this gun for almost three years and as many times as I’d practiced loading and unloading it I’d never actually shot the damn thing. I figured tonight is just as good as any to break it in. I grabbed a fistful of bullets from a small leather pouch, dumping them into a pile on the floor, and started to load them into the chamber one by one. My brain was running on fumes, but one thought was crystal clear: The devil has to go.

I know you shouldn’t question God, but this is one of those times I gotta make an exception. What happened, God? Was this a test and I failed? I wonder, if a God-fearing person has to make a decision to do something drastic, in this case taking another’s life to save two, does that still make it a sin? God, please forgive me, but there just ain’t no more time to keep contemplating the what- ifs, whys, and how comes. I have to do this for my unborn child.

Crash!

I was jolted by the sound of a wooden chair scraping across the tiled kitchen floor, quickly followed by the loud cracking sound of splintering wood and shattering glass. My heart raced as I slipped the last bullet into the chamber and snapped it closed.

“You owe me money and I want out of this marriage!” His menacing, rage-filled voice echoed through the entire house.

“Stop breaking my things!” I screamed, cupping one hand over my ear.

No weapon that forms against me shall prosper . . .

“Chloe!” Every time he called my name it sent a shock wave throughout my entire body. “Get the [explicit] out here now! Do you hear me?” He slammed the hall closet door shut. “I used to have a good life!” His shouts faded in and out as he walked from room to room. “You ruined my [explicit] life!”

His expensive Italian loafers made a series of quick dull thuds on the carpet as he barreled down the hallway toward the back bedroom, where I had sought safety.

Clop . . . Clop . . . Clop . . .

His steps stopped just on the other side of the door. He liked expensive things, shoes especially. I had grown sickened by how he made it a point daily to advertise how much he paid for each pair he owned. It was his idea to sell all my large pieces of furniture. He said we were going to start our lives fresh together. The first thing he convinced me to do was clear out the guest bedroom.

He turned the entire room into his personal dressing room. Shoes, some never worn, housed in fancy shoe boxes, stacked in alphabetical order according to designer, lined the walls. I had never met a man who owned more pairs of shoes than I did.

Copyright © 2009 by Lyah Beth LeFlore

From the book Wildflowers, published by Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.  Reprinted with permission.

The lives of these women are intricately woven together, and their stories are told in their many multihued voices. By turns humorous and hopeful, honest and poignant, with rippling boldness and crackling prose, WILDFLOWERS (Broadway Books; September 2009; Trade Paperback Original) by Lyah Beth LeFlore is a beautifully written novel that explores the richness and complexity of the love between mothers and daughters.

Lyah Beth LeFlore is the coauthor of Cosmopolitan Girls and author of the Essence bestseller Last Night a DJ Saved My Life and the national bestseller I Got Your Back:  A Father and Son Keep It Real About Love, Fatherhood, Family, and Friendship, a collaboration with Grammy Award–winners Eddie and Gerald Levert. A former television producer, she has been featured in the New York Times, Essence, Ebony, Jet, and Entertainment Weekly, and has appeared on CNN and BET.

We’re giving away a few copies of this book, so write in and let us know your fondest family memories!

Hair Retreat: The Braids Getaway

12 Oct

I am a natural hair head, but currently sporting some medium-sized braids (“extensions” to some).  Braids serve a number of great purposes: they can be used as a transition hairstyle if you are trying to grow your relaxer out and they serve as a protective style from the wear and tear of the wind and cold (I loooove this).  I am also pregnant at this point in time (Smile), so I can wake up with just enough time to shower and get to work (perfection!). I use extensions more for function than actual style, however there are beautiful and elegant ways you can get your hair braided to accentuate your flavor.

Before you get braids, remember to take certain precaution as to not make matters worse with your tresses.

  • Do not get braids if you just put a relaxer in or got a dye treatment.  I would suggest waiting at least 2 weeks before getting extensions.  Hair gets very week from treatment and applying braids will add extra stress.
  • Deep condition your hair before getting braids.  Try to do a DT at least 3 weeks in a row in advance to your hair appointment.  Braids can be somewhat drying to the hair and DTs provide plenty moisture.
  • If you are all natural, or most natural, it behooves you to have a very thorough detangling session before getting your hair braided.  You may want to blow dry your hair so that it is semi-straight and easy to part for the stylist.  You don’t want to leave it up to them to detangle your hair because when they get done, there may not be much hair left to braid!
  • Remember, not too tight!  If you go to a hole-in-the-wall braiding spot, it may be difficult to get them to adjust their grip, but you do want to retain your edges.
  • Once you’ve spent 4-5 hours in the chair, you want to take extra care of your hair, especially your scalp because it is fully exposed.  Apply a natural, light oil to help soothe itch and stimulate hair growth.  My favorites are Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut and Jojoba with a hint of the essential oil Rosemary.
  • Don’t be afraid to wash your braids, your hair is still in need of water.  The braids may take longer to dry but it’s very much worth it in the end.

Good luck with your protective style ladies! Leave links in the comments of your braided styles, and we may feature you on the site!

When It’s Okay to Fade Away

12 Oct

Lately I find myself listening to Ne-yo’s “Fade Into the Background” more and more.  You know, another love song about how he’s lost the love of his life to someone else because he effed up royally.  Now, I didn’t really bother with “Year of the Gentleman” until this year, though I had heard the song in question once or twice before.  But timing is everything.

A few weeks back  I had “Fade Into the Background” on repeat during a melancholy mood.  “That song is so depressing!” a friend remarked.  “No,” I said “it’s honest and necessary.”  Though their relationship was a total fail, Ne-yo’s song is about being a man and finally accepting (and taking responsibility for) the pair’s outcome.

Not easy.

It wasn’t until the ten millioneth time I heard the song this week that it became completely clear to me: this song’s not just totally painful and masochistic, it’s a necessary evil for him, it’s coderizing the wound.  Sometimes it takes that great shocking moment to put it all behind you and carry on.  Too often people (by people I almost wholly mean women) cling to the droplets of memory that truly belong to someone else – your past self.  It seems a little over dramatic and mentally ill to attend your ex’s wedding to another but it’s what was needed, at least figuratively.  Speaking from personal experience, there’s a shred of hope that you can hold for a long, long time that the one you love will prove you wrong; he’ll prove me wrong. He will admit his faults and shortcomings and will need you back.  Little do we realize that holding this tattered dream can be more harmful than some of his errs against us.

While real life’s not as beautifully and melodically organized as song, anyone can identify with the dual sides of Ne-yo’s cry: He – he has to once and for all acknowledge she’s moved and be content with fading away, to become a solid part of her past and fully move into his future; She – she is moving on with the RIGHT man, a decision she’s capable of only because she’s already made the decision to fade away from her old lover and can still offer him a smile. Dual sides of the song offer valuable insight and advice.  Ladies, be that bride.

From Beans to Chocolate Bars!

10 Oct

Jacques Torres

For those of you in the Tri-State Area, you know how much we LOVE our chocolate. From Dylan’s Candy Bar to Serendipity, from Charbonnel et Walker to Max Brenner, we’re pretty much spoiled. But one establishment stands out from the rest with this amazing new process.

Jacques Torres is expanding it’s business once again (just about two or three years ago, there were just Dumbo and Hudson locations!). With the opening of the Chelsea Market kiosk, Jacques Torres is introducing a bean-to-bar line. This tedious process begins with dried, fermented cocoa beans, then launches a three-plus-day process that includes blending and roasting in the Hudson Street store. The result is a small-batch chocolate that is produced according to Torres’s tastes.

The bean-to-bar line caps off at $5.50, which is not bad for 70% cacao made with beans from the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Ecuador. Torres calls this new creation chocolat de dégustation, and proceeds from the bar line benefit NYC Goes Orange, a campaign that feeds our hungry New Yorkers. Can’t wait to get a taste of this!

Jacques Torres Chocolate, Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave. (at 16th St.); 212-414-2462 or mrchocolate.com

Source: Tasting Table