By Vince Lake

A few years ago, I was a personal trainer in the New York tri-state area. As a personal trainer, you learn a lot about people. I heard all types of stories from my clients, but there’s one particular story I remember to this day about a couple I trained.

This couple lived in Harlem, but worked within the city. I would train her in the morning and her  fiance in the evening. They were engaged for two years and their daughter was five years old. They were in their late 20s to early 30s. She was a manager at a clinic and he was a physical therapist. Their fitness needs were different, she loved cardio workouts while he favored strength endurance training. They started training to have a healthier lifestyle and I admired this. They were a team, living the dream.



After six weeks of training them, I got to know them further and their goals as a couple. I would only ask questions when they initiated the conversation, and I never shared conversations between the two of them. Even though at times I felt as if I was a conduit for them, which I didn't mind; but I was cautious. I've trained couples before, but for some reason I felt more connected to them. Was it because we were close in age, or maybe it's because I saw their relationship as one I wanted for myself. I soon learned that all that glitters isn't gold.

A few sessions had gone by when I noticed Terri (I called this couple TnT for Terri and Tony ) not wearing her engagement ring. During our training sessions, I would store her ring in my zipped sweatpants pocket until we were done because it was so big. One morning, I made a light joke, “I've noticed you've gotten weaker with your left hand.” A look of confusion came across Terri’s face before she caught the joke, chuckled a little, and said that she lost it. She then quickly changed the subject. It was an awkward moment. After our session ended, I told Terri that I hoped she would find her ring because I knew how much it meant to her.

The same evening I had my session with Tony who I noticed was a little more aggressive and intense than usual. When I asked him if everything was ok, he brushed me off and said yes. But his body language told a different story. Finally, ten minutes prior to the end of our workout, Tony broke down.

“It's been eight years bro! Eight long years I've committed my life to her...to us...and she’s still not ready! I'm a patient man, but I can’t anymore.”

I realized this brother needed a baggage handler, someone outside of his circle. Since he was my last client for the evening, I offered him a round of drinks at the pub down the block.

After a few beers, Tony continued to unload his sorrows. Turns out, Terri didn't lose her ring after all. Tony took it back from her.

“I proposed to her two years ago. She said no, she's wasn't ready. But I let her keep the ring. I thought that it would change her mind with time, but it hasn't and I’m ready to move on.”

After our round of drinks, Tony thanked me for listening.

As I made my way to the train station, I couldn't help but think of TnT’s situation. I really thought they were winning. I don't know what Terri’s issue was, but I do feel she lost a good man. A man who is educated, has a good job, is a provider, and a father to his child is hard to come by. And not to speak for all men...but to settle down knowing that this is the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with is a major process for a man to face. When a man is ready, he is ready. I feel Terri was stringing Tony along. Maybe she didn’t mirror Tony’s feelings for her anymore, but Tony loved Terri for certain; and I feel Tony laid the foundation for the three of them to build a life together, at least from what I witnessed and heard from him and Terri. Men have patience, but I do believe we know when to throw in the towel and move forward.   

Should there be a cut-off time when waiting for a partner to get married?
Renaissance man from The Bronx, NY, Vincent "VJ" Lake creative career started in fashion, and expand through fitness and the military. Vincent is also an entrepreneur with his own active-wear lifestyle apparel brand; "PURESPORT ATHLETIC aka PSA". Currently, he is finishing up his first non-fiction book of short stories titled,"I've Had My Share."  The book is scheduled for release in early 2018.

Model Naomi Campbell
By Erickka Sy Savane

There was a moment a few months ago when I was getting ready for an event, standing in the mirror with a tube of lipstick, wondering why I was about to paint my face. I’d done it a zillion times without question, but this time, I just felt silly. What I really wanted was to go completely as I am. Now, I don’t mean butt-naked, but naked-face. Is this what it means to get older? Still, I went ahead and did it, and when I got to the event and posed the question to a few friends they looked at me like I was smoking crack. Wanna clear a room? Start talking about age. My bad.

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However, as Alicia Keys has continued to pop up all over the place sans makeup I feel vindicated. I mean, Alicia is a mom, like myself, and she’s getting older, plus she's got a lot to 'lose' by showing up as a star without the perceived 'shine' (makeup to give her that 'glow'). So really, I feel the need to ask, how do we feel about makeup?  Does saying no come with age?

Alicia Keys
I start with one of my favorite California girls, Angie B. T.
A model back in the day, Angie never left home without a fully made up face. In fact, sometimes she wore makeup to bed. How does she feel about it today, now that she's in her forties?

“I still love makeup, and lashes, and adorning myself with jewelry,” she says, “but what has changed is I don’t feel the need to wear it all the time. I appreciate my beauty without it.”

She says the change wasn’t so much an age thing, but more about the different changes in her life. She broke up with her finance, her mom and sister both passed away in the same year, and not long after she fell, fracturing both of her ankles.

“It was hard at first, not to feel sorry for myself,” she says looking back, “but being in that space where I was literally crawling to the bathroom with no makeup on for such a long period of time stripped away all the pretense I had in my life. I had to find my inner strength and what re-emerged was this beautiful woman that I am today.”

Wow, what don’t break you makes you stronger. She does still have two makeup must-haves…

“I have to wear a little concealer under my eyes and I must fill-in my eyebrows because I never had any growing up, and without them I look like an embryo,” she jokes.

Okay, so now I’m thinking about my partner in crime, super-producer Sidra Smith. Not because she looks like an embryo, but she is all about that face- no makeup, no hair, she don’t even care. Talk about a natural beauty. Has she always been this way or has it come with age?

“I’ve always been this way. Even back when I was modeling I was never that girl to run around after a shoot in full makeup. The only time I do feel a certain pressure to wear it is on the red carpet and making appearances with my twin,” she says. Ironically, her identical twin sister is ultra-glam actress Tasha Smith, and the two couldn’t look more different, and yet the same.

Sidra and Tasha Smith
So would she ever do red carpet appearances bare-faced?

“Absolutely!” she says with conviction. “I get more compliments and feel more beautiful without it. If anything, makeup makes me feel cheesy.”

She nailed it because, looking back, cheesy is how I felt at the event that night. Why did I ultimately do it? Vanity, and wanting to fit in. But when I really think about it though, it’s not so much about age or whether to wear makeup or not, but the freedom to live the way we want to live. Today, I put on bright green socks when I went for my morning jog, something that I’ve been wanting to do for weeks, but would tell myself that it didn’t match, and what would people think? It’s nice to know that I no longer care.

How do you feel about makeup? Is wearing it a must or does it depend?

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or ErickkaSySavane.com

By Michelby Whitehead

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It takes expertise in your industry, patience, tough skin, and excellent time management skills to see the profits you desire. If you are putting these things into practice but still haven’t garnered desirable outcomes in your small business, I have a question for you. Do you support other women with small businesses?

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Shea Scott Edwards
If you've been rolling with CurlyNikki for a while then you're familiar with Naturally Glam, where you, the reader, got to share your natural hair journey with the rest of us. Well, we're bringing it back, this time with a focus on hair and the other aspects of your life worth highlighting. Are you in school, do you have a business, blog, products, advice, or even photos of your family to share? If you'd like to be featured in the Naturally Glam reboot- whether you live here or abroad- submit your photos and answer the questions inside this post!

First up, we have Shea Scott Edwards, originally from Richmond, VA, currently living in the City of Lost Angels. Yes, Shea's hair is gorgeous, but we also love her commitment to giving back through her online ministry, blog, lifestyle brand and YouTube talk show, "Faith Rocks." Find out why Faith may be just what you need in your life!

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Shea Scott Edwards

How long have you been natural?
I've been natural since 2006, after I got my first relaxer in LA, and my hair totally rejected the new chemicals. I did a gradual chop over the course of a few months because I couldn't fathom doing a BIG chop all at once.

What have you learned about yourself since going natural?
I've learned that my hair is such a huge part of my self-expression. Being natural makes me feel so connected to my spirit and culture. During the past four years, I experimented with a platinum blonde pixie (on and off) and although I LOVED the look and color it totally stripped the natural curl pattern from my hair. It was similar to having a relaxer. I've learned the health of my hair and natural defined curls are more important to me than color or bone straight looks. I want to be an example to my daughter in celebrating her naturally curly hair. I've learned I'm a naturalista for LIFE!

Tell us about 'Faith Rocks."
As an online ministry, blog, lifestyle brand and YouTube talk show, Faith Rocks is the #1 Destination for Faith & Lifestyle. We exist to encourage innovators, artists and entrepreneurs to have a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. We believe in incorporating faith into every aspect of life. We are on a mission to spread the Gospel throughout the world by helping others experience the unconditional love, peace and freedom that comes through a surrendered life to Christ. I've recently written my first book, "Success in Celibacy" the Millennial's ultimate guide for self care through embarking upon the celibate journey. It's about identity, integrity, love, stillness and transformation. Life can be just as glamorous and fulfilling with NO sex in the city...at least for now. This book is EVERYTHING I wish I had in high school, college and while young-"adulting." It is currently available for pre-order on my website.


Why and when did you create "Faith Rocks?"
I've always dreamed of having a talk show. I started out as a panelist on the BET show, Teen Summit back in the day. After finishing graduate school at UCLA, I answered the call to ministry. Not too long after, (About 5-6 years ago) my husband and I came up with the "Faith Rocks" Talk Show as a way for me to encourage people on the daily grind of life by offering quick message, guest interviews and prayers on YouTube. I'd experienced so much rejection and defeat as an aspiring actress and needed to turn those lemons into lemonade. Faith Rocks is a form of total artistic expression enabling me to use my trials and triumphs as a way to help other people find God or become stronger in their faith. I chose to use the rejection, fear and sacrifice, mixed in with an unshakeable fire in my bones for the Lord in an effort to spread an authentic, relatable message of faith!

How can it help us?
We live in an era where people are looking for deeper intimacy with God, but don't necessarily connect to the culture of attending church for one reason or another. Faith Rocks is an online ministry for people in the in-between seasons of finding a church home OR to just be there to help enhance your current relationship with God.


Did going natural help in creating "Faith Rocks" in any way?
My esteem has grown through being natural. I've always been on a journey of finding, "my best look" similar to my walk with God, I was always looking for "the best spiritual path" for me. In trying so many different looks and exploring many different ways of doing things my own way I realized my best look is just being free. Natural hair gives me the ultimate freedom as does my walk with God. Natural hair helps me stay in my own lane and celebrate all that is uniquely me. It helps me combat comparison by accepting the skin I'm in and celebrating other women doing the same. Now, I will press my hair sometimes, wear braids and may even put in some clip ins- but being naturally glam is my most effortless, authentic look. I think women relate to me more in business and ministry with natural hair because they look and think, "there goes a woman unafraid of being her most authentic-self."

Can you share any favorite black-owned products that you use? 
Kinky Curly Curling Custard/Gel
Cantu Shea Butter Conditioner Creme

To keep up with Shea visit:
Website: https://sheascottedwards.com/
IG: https://www.instagram.com/faith_rocks83/
YouTube: http://youtube.com/slsworldwide

To submit to be featured in Naturally Glam email: [email protected]
And answer these questions
1) Where are you from and how long have you been natural?
2) Do you have any fav black-owned products that you use?
3) What do you do and why do you love it?
5) If you have a business, are in school, have a blog, products you sell, advice to give, or family that you are proud of and want to share, please do.
6) Has having natural hair contributed to you meeting your life goals? If so, how?
7) What's been the best part of your natural hair journey or your hair journey in general?

By Kanisha Parks

Lurking in the comment sections / dropping shade left and right
Mad at the world / always ready to fight.
They think they run the hair scene / their way or none
Natural Hair Nazis / mad since day one.


Seriously, cheesy poetry aside: Natural Hair Nazism is real and thriving. It’s unfortunate, really, because ultimately, it really is just hair. But Natural Hair Nazis take this hair thing to a wholeee other level. While being natural for seven years, I heard the term “Natural Hair Nazi” thrown around pretty consistently but since returning relaxed, the term instantly became personal. I never knew how much women cared about other women’s hair!

What’s more is, Natural Hair Nazis don’t just discriminate against relaxed ladies—they get mad at the hair choices of other naturals too! They feel as though “being natural” should be conducted a certain way, and anything contrary to their opinion of what it means to be natural is frowned upon.
So the question is (and be real)—are you a Natural Hair Nazi? Let’s find out!

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You don’t like it when naturals define their curls.
You feel like naturals should just let their hair “be,” and that if women prefer their hair defined it means they’re not happy with the way their hair naturally acts. You ride or die for the wash and go, and you mean that literally—not wash, define, and go. You get bothered when you see a natural who invests a lot of time in making sure her hair looks “perfect,” and think she’s doing too much.


You don’t like when naturals straighten their hair.
You think they’re “trying to be European.” (Insert exhausted eye roll). That they think beauty means sleek, straight hair. That they’re trying to “tame” their curls, coils, and kinks instead of embracing them. That they prefer the straight look because society’s beauty standards are still influencing their hair decisions.


You don’t like temporary straightening kits or hair dyes.
Of course if a Natural Hair Nazi is against straightening hair, temporary kits (like the Beautiful Textures Naturally Straight Texture Manageability System) are definitely a big no-no. You can’t stand words like, “tame,” or “manage,” so when you see other naturals gravitating towards those options, your claws come out. You think that anything that somehow alters the hair texture, even temporarily, is off limits. Even hair dyes are a no for you—henna is okay but anything remotely chemical and/or permanent means the person isn’t natural anymore.

You don’t like fake hair of any kind.
Weaves, wigs, extensions. You’re not for women who choose to protective style with weave. Especially straight ones. The only weaves you semi-tolerate are ones that are closest to the person’s natural hair texture. Even then, she better not have it in too long or else that means she’s trying to avoid dealing with her own hair which again, means she’s not comfortable with her natural hair.

You have no tolerance for women who relax their hair.
Last but most definitely not least, you feel like relaxers are ultimate sin. You don’t even want to interact with women who have relaxers and think they’re not “woke,” or aren’t tapped into their African heritage. You think they secretly want to be white and are going to damage their hair beyond belief. You’re ready to stage an intervention.

Sure, I may have exaggerated some of these, but real talk: please stop trying to dictate what another woman should or shouldn’t do with her hair and simply worry about what grows on your own head. That’s all.

Love, your friendly neighborhood former natural.

Serious question, are you a Natural Hair Nazi?
Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than CurlyNikki.com, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at [email protected]