Tay Watts of Posh Candle Co
Tay Watts, Posh Candle Co

Interviewing business owners about their natural hair journey allows me to express my mini Oprah. My family will tell you that I'm curious by nature so asking folks questions about their natural hair journey and business fits perfectly with my personality. 

I connected with this week's naturalista, Tay Watts, the boss and head candle maker at Posh Candle Co through a Facebook business follow thread and we've been friends ever since.

How long have you been natural?

I’ve been natural for 4 years. 

What made you decide to go natural?

I decided to go natural after seeing the negative results from perming, coloring and heat styling my hair regularly. My hair was constantly breaking, and it was difficult to do different hairstyles with damaged hair.  

Did you big chop or transition?


I big chopped in the boldest way ever. I wrote out three options on separate pieces of paper and picking at random; transition by wearing a weave, wear the damage until it grows out, or big chop. Needless to say, the option I ended up with was a big chop. It took me a few days to get the courage to follow through with it, and it was my hubby who chopped my hair for me.

What was your families’ / friend’s reaction to you going natural?

Overall I received a lot of support, but I also had friends at work  asking me if I had gone crazy or others saying negative things like, “My man wouldn’t allow me to look like a man.” The best reaction came from my hubby... He couldn’t keep his hands out of my hair!

growing twa

What have you discovered about yourself or your hair since you’ve gone natural? Did anything surprise you?

My confidence soared after big chopping, and I discovered the true beauty in being able to block criticism and use negative energy as motivation to keep going. As my hair grew, I was surprised by the number of women who would approach me in public and ask for natural hair styling tips.

Please tell us about your business.

100 soy based candles

Posh Candle Co is home to my handcrafted fine lifestyle candles. All of our candles are 100% soy based, which burn cleaner than other wax-based candles and we hand-pour in small batches to ensure quality and consistency.

Who is your ideal client?

My ideal clients are fellow boss girls. My best selling candle is Boss Girl Magic, and I love the empowerment that women get from this candle no matter what stage in business they’re in. They make perfect gifts for seasoned boss girls and great celebratory gifts for the girl who may have launched her first business.

There is an incorrect theory that natural hair is unprofessional. How do you find people in business react to your natural hair?

short curly hair

Personally, I have not received any feedback in the workplace regarding my hair being unprofessional.  I find the reactions in the workplace to be a mixture of genuine interest or uninformed questions where other black women or mothers with mixed children ask about the type of products I use on my hair or questions from other races such as, “Do you wash your hair/do you comb it?”

Where can we connect with you online?

colored twist out

You can connect with me online through the following sources:


Shea Moisture's ad campaign gone wrong

Shea Moisture, Shea Moisture where did you go wrong? Before Monday, April 24th you were the darling of the natural hair community. We were a little irritated and concerned when you took on a white investor in 2015, but you assured us that we had nothing to worry about, that it was business as usual, and that our beloved products would not change so, we stayed loyal. The products were affordable, they could easily be found on the ground, and we felt you understood the naturalista struggle because your products were created for Us by Us. 

The creator and CEO, Richelieu Dennis, tells the story of growing up in his native Sierra Leone and watching his grandmother create products in her kitchen. By helping his grandmother, Richard learned her recipes and after the civil war in his country forced his family to move to the US they started selling their grandmother's products on the streets of New York, and Shea Moisture was born.

Well, somewhere along the way the message got lost as Shea Moisture decided to diversify and expand their product line to appeal to a broader audience. While there's nothing wrong with inclusion and taking your brand to the next level there is a problem when it appears that you've abandoned your core market by changing your marketing, and some have said by watering down your formulas, then you've officially jumped the shark aka screwed up. You now risk alienating your core market.

Hair hate ad from Shea Moisture
Models from the Shea Moisture campaign

That is what it appears Shea Moisture has done with their new campaign. The campaign that pushes White women to the forefront and Black women to the background. The commercial they recently released features two White women, one blond and one redhead, and one curly haired mixed girl as they speak about how they came to love their hair. What's missing from the commercial is anyone who looks like the consumer Shea Moisture initially appealed to, the consumer that assisted Shea Moisture in becoming the success they are. They appear to have forgotten who helped them get into Target, Ulta, and Sally's. Without Us, Shea Moisture would not have a seat at the table.

Unfortunately, this story is all too familiar because most companies are only truly loyal to the Almighty Dollar so the minute they have an opportunity to make more money they would as soon sell their souls to the Devil himself. Remember when Fox, UPN, and the WB first debuted their programming, they featured a ton of shows that appealed to the Black audience, but once they got their footing there went the programming. When's the last time you've seen any Black shows on Fox???

Once the commercial made its way around social media, the backlash and calls for a boycott were swift. Shea Moisture's Facebook rating went from a 5 to a 3 within a day due to all the negative ratings. It was such a PR nightmare that Shea Moisture was forced to issue an apology acknowledging their mistake and stating that they would do better in the future. 

While I can accept their apology, I honestly don't think much will change in the direction of the company by the looks of their LinkedIn page and by viewing who the brand's higher ups are. No one that looks like me is sitting there, not one. There's not even one Black person at VaynerMedia, the company behind the marketing campaign. So how can I expect people who don't look like me to understand my struggle and to market to me? It's the same tone-deaf marketing that created a media firestorm for Pepsi with their ridiculous Kendall Jenner ad.

The woman that work for Shea Moisture
Shea Moisture's marketing team

The takeaways from this debacle are that the Devil is busy, we're only 4 months into 2017, and every other week there's something new to be outraged about it, which is beyond exhausting. My next lesson is that it doesn't pay to be more loyal to a company than they are to me. I have plenty of choices of where to spend my money, so I will choose wisely (a list of other Black owned hair care companies). Finally, there are far more important things to be concerned about than Shea Moisture and their shenanigans. Therefore, I hope this blows over soon.

What's done is done and only time will tell if Shea Moisture will recover from this giant misstep.

lifestyle post about changing behavior

For better and for worse I'm the eldest of my 3 siblings, aka the experimental child. Because I was my parent's first child, they tried their best to do everything perfectly. To prevent me from getting cavities I wasn't allowed to eat too much candy, to stop me from growing up too fast I couldn't wear red because that was a color for grown folks, and to make sure that I was respectful it was important that I was considerate and courteous to others.

My parents did a good job as I avoided many pitfalls that I may have lived to regret. With that said, the importance of being courteous and considerate caused me to have the tendency to consider other's feelings ahead of my own. Well, 2017 is the year I stop all that, also known as I stop babysitting other people's feelings.

That statement sounds so gangsta / so savage, but it is what it is. It's not that I don't care about how others feel, but I no longer care about their feelings before my own. Especially because a lot of times I was considering the feelings of others without them asking me to do so. I was automatically saying to myself, "I don't want to hurt their feelings" or "I don't want them to think negatively of me."

I've had enough! via GIPHY

In business, if I were doing a transaction with an acquaintance I would automatically give them a discount, but sometimes this involved me being inconvenienced and left irritated. The situation could have been alleviated if I had thought logically and not emotionally by giving them options that I was comfortable with.

I have found that it's best to determine what will benefit me first and the other person second. That way I'm not left annoyed by a decision no one asked me to make. I am still courteous by stating what will and what won't work for me as that way we both have clear expectations, and I'm not left regretting any decision.

It's not always easy changing a pattern of behavior, but it's well worth it in the long run if you have found a better way of walking through life and dealing with troublesome situations.

What are you doing differently in 2017?

*Before you go stick around and see what I wrote about last week - Finding Joy Exploring Your Hometown
Explore your city

I assume you're like the rest of my friends and me, in that you share a love of travel. And by travel, I mean going anywhere that requires a plan ride. Personally, I have a particular affinity for the island or tropical life, national or international, they both work for me. 

For a while, I lived vicariously through HGTV. I was obsessed with the plethora of house hunting shows. Whether it was Beachfront Bargain Hunt, Hawaii Life, Mexico Life, House Hunters International, Island Life, Mexico Life, Caribbean Life, you name it, if it had to do with travel I was watching it. I longed to sit on a beach sipping Pina Coladas. 

Because we tend to be intrigued with leaving our local area, we forget about what's unique in our backyard. Thankfully, I've had the pleasure of exploring the area around me. My #travellocal project started when I purchased the Passport 2 History at a nearby museum which is a guide book to 85 historic sites in 7 counties in Central and Southern California.

back of adobe
The Rancho Los Cerritos Adobe

I've meant to visit Rancho Los Alamitos Adobe (Long Beach, CA) for years now, and literally, I mean years. I would pass the historical landmark signs all the time as the Adobe is only 10 minutes from me, so I have always been curious. Finally, one day on a whim I decided to venture in.

Long Beach historical landmark
Selfie in front of Rancho Los Cerritos

On that visit, I learned about the history of the Adobe, the family that lived there, and the history of Long Beach. At the end of the tour, I purchased Passport 2 History for $5, and I left with a determination to visit more local destinations. 

Since that visit, I've been to 4 locations in the book. I have also gained a greater appreciation for the history and beauty of Southern California. Now when I visit surrounding cities, I make sure to do a Yelp search for museums and landmarks in the area so be on the lookout for more #travellocal posts.

What are your favorite local landmarks to visit?

Top apps to make graphics

In 2017 it seems like everyone wants to make a living online. The minute the Huffington Post publishes a story about a carefree couple that travels the world while blogging hundreds of new blogs appear to pop up overnight. 

What the story fails to share is the tremendous amount of work that blogging demands. Blogging requires you to be an expert photographer, social media manager, writer, and graphic designer. Gone are the days where you can publish low-quality photos and still manage to get thousands of pageviews. Beauty attracts, and readers today expect a certain level of quality.

Thankfully, technology has blessed us with apps and websites to make creating print-worthy graphics much easier without the need to learn Photoshop. Now you if you have the time and desire to learn Photoshop then be my guest, but I leave that kind of stuff to graphic designers.

Because I have a tendency to be a collector of apps, I have more than a few photo/graphic apps on my phone, but today I will narrow it down to the best of the best.

Great designs made with WordSwag
WordSwag Design

WordSwag is my boo. I love WordSwag because it makes me look great with minimal effort. All I do is open the app, choose a picture or upload one, determine the type of graphic I want to create, whether it's for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, ect., then add my own text or choose from one of their many quotes. I love that it's super easy and that they have over 30 font styles to choose from with hundreds of color combinations. 

Typorama makes creating graphics a breeze. It shares many similarities with WordSwag with some additional capabilities like the ability to adjust the opacity of the picture, they are more filters, and they have overlays which are absent from WordSwag. Typorama also makes it more convenient to add watermarks.

Typorama makes design easy
Sample Typorama Design

Spark Post from Adobe is totally free! Both WordSwag and Typorama are free to use, but they have paid upgrades whereas my next favorite Spark Post, is entirely free! The great things about this app are that you can remix one of their designs and you can animate it which is an excellent option. Spark Post also saves your designs, so you are always able to go back and edit or reuse a design.

Spark Post is a free design app
Spark Post Album

Canva is my blog's BFF. Because they're awesome Canva has a website and an app to make life easier. You can create a look from scratch with your own design or redesign one of theirs. Your designs are always saved and if you upgrade to their paid plan, Canva for Work, you have access to their Magic Resize which automatically resizes your artwork to fit any of the popular social media platforms and more. They have automatic resizing for YouTube covers, business cards, posters, flyers, etc. You are even able to upload your own fonts and brand identity settings that allow for continuity in your creations. I design on my laptop, but I like having access to my designs through the app.

Canva is one of the top design softwares
Canva App

And there you have it! I've spilled all my graphic design secrets. WordSwag, Typorama, Spark Post, and Canva are top notch in my design arsenal.

What's your favorite graphic design software?

The New Edition Story was the best thing this year

To be honest,  I was never a bubble gum pop type of girl. Even as a kid, songs like "Candy Girl," "Cool It Now," and "Mr. Telephone Man" didn't really do it for me but as I got older the grown and sexy sounds of Bel Biv Devoe were everything. "Poison" till this day is my jam! Every time that song comes on it makes me want to put on my Cross Colours and bust a move.

When the New Edition movie was announced, I thought this will be cool, but I was less enthusiastic about it being six hours. I felt that New Edition was a good music group but did they really need a 3-day extravaganza?! Well, my misgivings were proved wrong because not only was the movie the television event of the month but it'll probably be the highlight of the year. 

Watching the story of New Edition unfold from five young boys in the projects of Boston to a platinum selling super group to each of the members having their own individual success was amazing. Who didn't enjoy Ralph Tresvant's "Sensitivity," Johnny Gill's "My, My, My," Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative," in addition to hits by BBD.

After viewing the mini-series, I came to admire a few things about New Edition:

Their tenacity is admirable
They went to hell and back in the record business. From being screwed over not once but twice by managers who took advantage of their naivety to touring the country as hit makers only to return to living in the projects because everyone but them was making money from their success. With all of that, they never gave up on their dream of making it in the music industry.

New Edition is the last great male singing group of my generation 
It's sad, and I feel old for saying it, but they don't make music or music groups like they used to. Record companies these days want to make a guaranteed buck, so they're not willing to invest the time and money into a music group as a solo act is a smarter investment. Not to mention music groups are famous for internal turmoil as we saw played out with New Edition.


They are the most successful male group ever!
I base this on records sold collectively and individually. No other group has had individual members have the solo success that the members of New Edition have. Bobby, Ralph, Johnny, and BBD have all had platinum selling albums.

They always put on a good show
New Edition was trained in the art of showmanship like all the greats such as Jackson 5, Temptations, and Four Tops. In the movie, we see their first manager, Brooke Payne, making them practice until they got it right even if it took being there early and staying late.

With all the non-contract reading it's a miracle they made money
The boys were elementary school kids with young, naive mothers when they first got signed. Unfortunately, no one in their lives was knowledgeable about the business of show business and the need for an attorney to help them navigate through it all. After two shady managers, NE finally signed a legitimate contract that allowed them to make enough money to move out of the projects and to enjoy the fruits of their hard work.

In the end, the New Edition Story was everything and a bag of chips! It was the story we didn't know we needed. It was one of the many stories I wish Black television would tell more of. The great news is that in a short period of time, we've had award-winning stories on the big and small screen. First, there were the amazing women behind Hidden Figures and now the New Edition Story that reminded us why we loved them so much. I hope this trend continues.
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

Groupon helps you save moeny

Whenever I plan a vacation, I check Groupon to see what deals they offer. Because Groupon is known for offering incredible deals on local experiences, I check them first. I am always for saving money, so I never pass up a good bargain. The site is great for finding deals on vacation packages, hotel stays, restaurants, and much more! 

women in hidden figures walking

When I first heard about the story of the women behind Hidden Figures I knew I was going to see it. It's funny how I never learned about 30+ Black women that not only worked at NASA but were an integral part of the space program. Unfortunately, Hollywood does not always see the importance of telling our narratives.

While the movie recounts the lives of three remarkable Black women, it is also full of lessons that can be applied in daily living. These are the 5 gems I took away from Hidden Figures.

networking 101

I do not know if I heard it somewhere or made it up, but I truly believe you are only as exceptional as your network. A beneficial network will support you, cheer you on, buy what you are selling, give you advice, pass on referrals, and introduce you to the right people. Therefore, I make it a practice nurture my relationships and to continually build my network.

Over the years my networking skills have enhanced my life exponentially. Those times when I feel like I am a million miles away from where I want to be I reflect on what I have to be grateful for and one thing is my network.

As 2016 was ending, I realized I had not picked a motivational word for 2017, and I was not motivated to choose one, but as I slowly began to overcome my feelings of overwhelm I realized that I wanted to achieve greatness in 2017! Greatness for me means doing my best, not procrastinating, and not holding myself back.

There have been several projects that I have been putting off that are cluttering my mind, taking up mental space, and therefore, holding me back from greatness! I'm listing my 2017 projects below.

cropped natural hair featuring lisa a la mode
Blogger, Lisa a la Mode

Beauty lovers can collectively rejoice as the start of a new year means the return of all the great makeup, beauty, and natural hair shows across the country! Thankfully, I live in one of the beauty capitals of the country, Los Angeles so I can look forward to events that span the year from January to December. Below are eight of my favorite events coming to Los Angeles in 2017.

To say the last few years have been a rollercoaster is an understatement. They have been marked by an unexpected move, the suicide of a cousin, the death of my grandmother, the loss of a beloved pet, a failed venture into direct sales, and financial hiccups to name just a few. With all of this happening in a short period of time it felt like the wheels in my brain came to a halt.

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