Recently my scalp was itching just a tad, so I decide to try something I've heard about on these natural hair blogs - apply tea tree oil. The next thing I know (3 hours later), I can't stay asleep because my scalp is on fire. So, I decide to apply more tea tree oil. After all, it's supposed to help with itchy scalp, right? 2 hours later with no sleep, I decide to search online for what I was doing wrong. I thought I had an allergic reaction.
Just some background before reading this post. I'm a graduate student in a computer science-y field and notice than some of my fellow grad students either 1) wear the same shirt to school at least twice a week 2) smell like they haven't showered 3) stick to wearing muted colors. I was curious on my friend's take on style in grad school and how other students can upgrade their wardrobe from undergrad rags to grad student chic.
My name is Laurene, I am a grad student at UMBC. My future plans entail changing the world (lol), I will settle for being a doctor. My hobbies, anything artsy, designing, decorating, styling, I love to read fiction too. I guess my real future plan is to find a good balance to merge my artsy nature and science background.
2. Describe your sense of style
My style is a little bit of everything, very eclectic, vintage, tomboy, Afrocentric, eccentric, chic. I'm not a big trend follower, I like to think I set my own. I stay true to myself but current all the same.
3. Has your style changed since undergrad? How? Why/why not?
The essence of my style I don't think has changed much but there has been some modification. I was always well put together as an undergrad but I was still figuring out myself and my style for that matter. I'm not yet there but I think I know much more about who I am as a person now, what works and doesn't for me, when to be risky,when to play safe both in style and life.
4. What are some classic outfits you would recommend every female grad student have in their closet?
1. The blazer, it can step any look up.
2. The perfect Jeans and a plain or graphic tee (not the free ones that are handed out on campus!)
3. Oxfords never seems to go out of style and they can be worn year round.
Can I vent? (Oh grad students! Sometimes I meet people in the hallways and I just want to make them over, no offense. I hate when people tell me I must have a lot of time to look decent everyday. If you can devote years to studying mice and flies, you can at least take 10 minutes for yourself every morning to brush your hair and put on a clean shirt. You deserve it).
5. Do you dress differently in class/lab than outside of class/lab? How so?
I will want to say no but it depends. I am very flexible with what I wear. I very rarely designate this dress for that or that for this. I wear whatever catches my eye in the morning, I like to also easily be able to transition my outfits from day-to-night, business-to-casual etc. I'm in grad school, there is no strict dress code and I'm taking advantage of that before I can't anymore.
6. Does studying a STEM field affect your outfits in any way?
I feel like it should, but it doesn't. I am the first to know impressions are important and in the STEM field the more 'rundown' you look the 'smarter' people presume you are. I used to worry that people will presume or misjudge me (my intelligence) but now I don't care.People will think what they will and I actually like to pleasantly surprise.
7. I want to upgrade my style from undergrad chic to grad student chic, but on a grad student budget. What advice would you give me?
Don't do it all at one time, it's a process. Take a year if you may and focus on specific parts of your wardrobe (shoes,dresses, shirts, pants. etc) at a time. And invest in quality instead of quantity, you want things that will last.
8. Do you see your style transitioning in the next few years?
Maybe, maybe not but I'm looking forward to it.
9. Where can we check you out (blog/email/website)?
Shea Moisture's Restorative Conditioner is not only a great leave-in, but as a result of a recent experiment, I've discovered it to be a great shaving cream as well. #RANDOM I know. But when shaving my kitchen (lol), I noticed it doesn't leave those bumps on the back of my neck like some shaving creams do. And when shaving my legs, I don't have to put on lotion afterwards - the best part.
Ingredients include: sea kelp (good for moisturizing and softening skin), argan oil (used to revitalize dull skin) and shea butter (great for everything)
p.s. did you know shea butter could be used for cooking? try my Kinky Curly Cupcake Challenge with that stockpile of hair products you aren't using ;)
Apparently my hair concerns in a previous post are common. To catch you up, I didn't want to go from long kinky twists @ my internship to my shorter braidouts/twistouts. I'm not ashamed of my hair. I love my hair. In fact, I see it as an accessory. But, I just hate all the questions from co-workers about my hair! Here's what I wish I could say:
1. Did you do "something different" to your hair? ...*roll eyes and ignore the question*
2. Why did you cut your hair? I didn't cut it. It actually grew!
3. What happened to your hair? What happened to your face *as I proceed to slap it*
Two friends of mine are at opposite ends of the spectrum. One, if she doesn't finish putting in her havana twists, will finish the edges and bun it for the rest of the week or until she has time. The other, took her senegalese twists out, showed her short permed hair, and is about to get a long weave. But I already have people at work asking me why she "cut" her hair. Even if she did cut her hair, why would I know?! Le sigh.
Sometimes I wish all cultures could tell when braids/twists are using "external" hair. Or at least let them know it's not okay to ask such stupid questions. It's quite annoying answering these questions every time you see someone else in the hallway.
Headed to Essence on Thursday. First time going to the festival, but second time in 'nawlins'. The humidity will be well-appreciated against this California dry heat. Am I weird to miss east coast humidity? ..oh well. If anyone else is going to Essence/familiar with New Orleans, let me know! Let's do lunch. Or at least tell about places where I should eat lunch. Last time I got trapped in tourist-zone/Bourbon Street.
'Twistouts match more of my natural curl pattern.' 'Braidouts result in less shrinkage.' Braidouts give me more single-strand knots.' And on goes the battle between the twistout and the braidout. But who says it has to be a competition? Why can't twisouts and braidouts co-exist...on the same head?
Remember when I said I'd do protective styles for a year? Well, I'm not even 3 months in and I'm giving up! I have realized that I am not disciplined enough to do so. I've come to the conclusion that when I have protective styles, I do not take care of my hair, leaving nasty product build up. This defeats my purpose of protective styles. While it is low-manipulation, my hair is not being nourished. In fact, the product buildup due to the protective style is stunting my growth. However I have 2 main concerns going forward - California and co-workers:
When you graduated from high school/college/grad school, how did you wear your hair? For me, high school was back in the relaxed days so I went the weave route (recycled from proms, oh how I miss prom season):
For undergrad graduation, I wore my hair straight (ish, sort of poofy from graduation parties the night before):