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Sip & Swap

Earlier this month I had the chance to attend a clothing exchange party hosted by my friend Ashlynd. For those of you who don't know, a clothing exchange party is when a group of friends gather together to trade clothes before donating them to a thrift store. This is a great way to add new clothes to your wardrobe without spending any money.

Clothing rack at clothing exchange party Folded clothes at clothing exchange party Clothing exchange party set up

Everyone brought quality items, which made it feel like we were shopping in an actual clothing boutique (some items were still new with tags). Overall, the event was a lot of fun and I cannot wait until the next one. Be sure to watch the video above to see what items I picked up.

Have you ever attended a clothing exchange party?

Current Beauty Favorites

African Black Soap and Espresso Lip Balm

Lately I have been loving these two beauty products. The first is an espresso infused lip balm that I picked up from local coffee shop, Sambalatte. The second is what's left of my raw african black soap that I picked up from Raw Remedies, a local salon/organic beauty supplier. I use both of these products daily and I'm not even exaggerating when I say I don't know how I went 22 years of my life without them.

Samba Balm Espresso-Infused lip balm

My boyfriend said it best, "I spend most of my time trying to remove the smell of coffee from my clothing, let alone my lips." Originally, I felt the same way, but boy was I wrong. I am beginning to love the smell of espresso on my lips, it brings me comfort. I think he is starting to warm up to the scent as well.

espresso infused lip balm ingredients

This lip balm is made from all-natural products, which is perfect for my sensitive lips. The ingredients include: sunflower oil, espresso, shea butter, beeswax, and peppermint oil. These natural ingredients do wonders on my lips, leaving them extremely moisturized. I will definitely be going back to buy more once this one runs out.

African Black Soap from Raw Remedies

I am also loving this 100% natural raw african black soap. The ingredients include palm oil, shea butter, and the ashes of plantain leaves, palm leaves, and cocoa pods. I use this soap daily to cleanse my face. I have noticed my skin becoming clearer since using this product. Also, keep in mind that this photo is featuring half of the soap bar, because I have already used the other half.

What beauty products have you been loving?

The Curl Files - Feat. Vayunamu

Everyone meet Vay, an international student from Nigeria with an enchanting smile and the hair to match. In this week's Curl File, she discusses how free she feels since going natural. She also discusses the issues Nigeria faces with the artificial hair industry. This beautiful woman radiates confidence while rocking her afro.
College student wearing a twa afro
Left: Jul 2015 | Right: Oct 2015

College student's natural hair journey
Left: Mar 2016 | Right: Jul 2016

Please introduce yourself.
My name is Vayunamu Bawa.

How long have you been natural?
For a little over a year now. A year and three months actually.

What made you decide to go natural?
I dyed my hair and wasn't taking care of it and it looked terrible and was literally falling out. I decided to just start all over

Did you do the big chop or did you transition?
Big chop!

What was the hardest part of going natural in the beginning?
I think it was just having low hair. I looked like a little boy and had to cover my head A LOT.

Did you care what others would think about your hair? Do you still care?
Nope, never. Natural hair is slowly becoming more accepted but even if it wasn't, I wouldn't care because having my hair this way feels amazing.

How did others react to your hair in the beginning? How do they react now?
Everyone was just shocked I cut it all off. Some told me it won’t grow as much as before. Some said it would be stressful to maintain. They were all wrong :)

Have you faced any struggles from being natural in school or in the workplace?
I haven’t faced any struggles. I’m an international student from Nigeria that goes to a tertiary institution in California, so I guess everyone there just figured it’s something we all do back home.

What is your current hair regimen?
I don't really have a consistent regimen but i try to wash, condition & oil weekly. My hair isn't at the stage of detangling yet though, so protective styles are a bit easier to do. I try twist-outs every now and then (not so good at that yet), but when my hair isn’t “done” enough for the day, I just tie it up in a scarf.

What products do you love?
Original Nigerian shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil.

What is your favorite hairstyle?
I love kinky braids. Kinky hair is SO light on me and the older it gets, the better it looks.

What is your hair motto?
Never thought of that haha

What's the best part about being natural? What is the hardest part?
The best part is going to bed, showering, and going through my days without stress. It might just be the length my hair’s at now but it’s so easy to carry. The hardest part is doing stuff to make it grow I guess. I'm also at the awkward stage where it isn't short enough to do partings and rockstar stuff, but not long enough to hold in a hair band.

What tips or advice would you give others that are starting their natural hair journey or thinking about
If you're thinking, I say go for it. Nigeria has a big issue with artificial hair and it’s so sad. The weave and relaxer industry has made a fortune off of us and that needs to stop. There's also the stigma that comes with natural hair, like it isn't pretty or stylish enough. I think the compliments I get from random people that see me around should tell you that's not true at all. If you are starting your journey, I'm happy for you that you have decided to embrace the hair that grows out of you. I wish I had the wisdom to do that all my life.

(See more from Vay on instagram: @vaybawa)

What part of Vay's hair journey inspired you the most?

5 Thrift Shopping Tips + Mini Haul

thrift shopping tips

It's no secret that I love thrift shopping. Today I wanted to share five of my thrift shopping tips with you all. These tips have made my thrifting experience much more enjoyable and way less stressful. I hope these tips are able to help you guys out as well. I also included a mini thrift haul at the end.

Watch the video below: 

What are your top thrift shopping tips?

For the Love of Stripes

Thrifted Striped OutfitStriped Earrings and Black TopStriped Outfit

These photos were taken in 105-degree weather. The heat must be getting to my head because I caught myself saying "Wow, it isn't that hot today." I may have even suggested that the weather was nice! Can we say #LasVegasProblems? The constant heat is obviously affecting my mental state. The heat is also affecting my choice in clothing, which is why I went with this little striped ensemble. The best part about this heat-friendly outfit is the skirt is actually a skort... and it has pockets. Needless to say I am obsessed. So if this constant heat means I get to wear stuff like this, well then bring it on! (Okay...not really, but you get my point).

Outfit Details
* Top - Forever 21
* Skirt - Unknown
* Shoes - Ellen Tracy

| * = Thrifted |

What is the weather like where you live?