Chime in for Change


Chime for Change, founded by Gucci, is asking women everywhere to speak up for change all over the world. The kind of change that benefits girls and women everywhere. “Education. Health. Justice. For every girl. Every woman. Everywhere. Because none of us can move forward if half of us are held back.” Pick a cause and donate to hundreds of projects.

I ran across this initiative soon after I read, “6 simple ways to save the world” in the November issue of Marie Claire via NextIssue on my iPad mine.  Seeing some of the solutions people are coming up with to address women’s issues globally is eye-opening. Here are a few relevant highlights:


Natural Hair Care

IMG_0050Most of the universe has transitioned to natural hair: The Early Adopters started the trend about 10-15 years ago and those of us who were Fast Followers have been all-natural 3-5 years now; but, there may be some newbies out there, still pondering the move and this post is for you, too! Before I start, let me just say that when it comes to time, different people invest it in different things. Some people like to research & investigate recipes for making their own hair care products – I don’t. Some people prefer to spend $50-$100 on a quick trip to the salon every few weeks/months to let other people do the work – I don’t. (Ok, I do fall prey to this when I get tired and frustrated).

You get my point. So let’s get started because I want to share the tips no one is telling you:

  • Wash and Go No. Some people believe that once they go natural they will be able to rinse their hair, run their fingers through it and go! This is a myth (unless your ancestors are from a certain part of the world). Each and every style requires work and a LOT of it. In fact, maintaining natural hair is more work than having a relaxer. So, if you’re not up to it, take a few moments now to adjust your budget so you can join the salon club if you actually want to look like somebody (there are days when your hair will NOT feel or LOOK the best).

  • Shower Turned Beauty Salon. When you decide to do something with your hair, the shower will be best known to you as your beauty salon. You absolutely must wash, comb out and twist your hair while in the shower, regardless of how you plan to style it. You’ll need an extra 30 minutes for this but you’ll save yourself a TON of time in the end. Your hair WILL shed, a lot. Buy yourself a stop for the drain. You’ll learn to get over it when you realize you do still have hair on your head after the lengthy styling process.

  • Oil and Water Do Mix. Because your hair will be DRY and will soak up EVERYTHING you put in it – sort of like a plant that hasn’t been watered in a few days. The water makes it more manageable (see point above) and the oil adds much needed SHEEN. You can use coconut oil or whatever you like. Some people actually carry these items in their purse. #whateverworks

  • Save your Money on Products. This is probably the most contentious point. FOR ME, fancy or expensive products do not matter. As long as your shampoo is free of sulfate, you win. Find a leave-in conditioner you can actually afford to use a LOT of and you also win. (see point above about moisture). The gel thing didn’t work for me; but, maybe it will for you! Buy a small container and give it a whirl. Also, the product that worked for your friend may not necessarily work for you. Spend your money FIRST, trying inexpensive products to see if you can find something that suits you. There’s absolutely no way around trying out different products and spending a few dollars along the way, unless of course you can share products with a friend. #whodoesthat I absolutely refuse to spend $50 for 2 tablespoons of anything, unless of course it’s liquid gold.

  • Styling. You will struggle. Over. And. Over. Again. No matter how far along you are in your hair care journey. Watch videos on YouTube and ask your friends & family – the key is to plan ahead and be sure to practice before that big picture or work day (remember our talk about time?). You will eventually get tired of that one side-braid you finally learned how to do and when that happens, you will question your sanity. Cry if you must, but you’ll get over that, too. Find an easy go-to style for worst-case scenarios and keep practicing (advice from my sis)!

  • Salon. Sitting for 3+ hours, waiting, watching, wondering when it’s your turn. Your beautician overbooks, all the time. I can’t. I mean I physically can’t. So when I DO decide to take the salon plunge, maybe for a trim (straightening not required), I book the first appointment of the day (same with dentist, doctor, etc.) so I’m in and out, no questions asked, no excuses about being “behind schedule” or “client requesting additional services that threw me off”. Twist my hair while it’s wet and I’ll sit under the dryer when I get home thank you very much! Oh and I don’t play the extra $10-$15 deep conditioning game. As long as you are doing maintenance at home and conditioning on a regular basis, that hot hooded-machine is no different than the $3 pack of conditioner you bought from Target. #ihatehairdryers

Rant complete! LOL So there you have it – the natural hair beauty tips/secrets that nobody is telling you!


Black Women in 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 4.56.04 PMBlack Women in the United States, 2014, is a groundbreaking report developed by the Black Women’s Roundtable to assess the overall conditions of Black women in the U.S.

I ran across this report this morning in Essence Magazine, while on a flight to Cleveland. I read the full 90-page report in its entirety, which is divided in these categories: Health, Education, Economy, Retirement Security, Labor Unions, Violence, Entrepreneurship, Politics and STEM. The report is truly intriguing – pick a section that interests you and dig in – #KnowledgeIsPower – or if you want to get a broad perspective, read the 5-page Executive Summary, saturating o page 4.

I want to focus on the last section of the report, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – better know as STEM. Let me share one alarming but well-known fact:

Black women now constitute only 2% of the science and engineering workforce in the U.S.

“This dismal landscape range from a lack of female role models and support structures in the STEM fields to racial and gender stereotyping.

  • First, as Black girls start to consider college majors and careers, the choice of STEM fields are not introduced or reinforced by respected role models.

  • Second, Black women who pursue college majors in STEM cite the absence of mentors (i.e. faculty members and teaching assistants) as a significant reason why some Black women leave the STEM fields.

I’ll admit that those of us who ARE black women in STEM fields NEED to do better when it comes to reaching back, sharing with, teaching and encouraging our youth. Most of our kids have no problem when it comes to Technology. BUT ALSO: Math is Important. Science is Important. The Problem Solving Skills learned in Engineering is Important. This cannot be undermined and it needs be required and started early with strong & positive reinforcements. This is non-negotiable.

There are positive images / role models of black women out that there I have tweeted about, just in the past few months, including:

1005468_10201438635704871_1674785635_nThese are the kind of stories that get me excited about STEM and nudge at my heart, telling me to do something, do better, to get involved. This weekend I watched Maya Angelou’s Memorial Service this past Saturday – it was beautiful. One of her quotes that was mentioned several times reads: “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” It’s time for ME to step up! AND to LIVE what I tweeted that very day: “Live The Legacy.

The advancement of STEM for women cannot be a one-woman show, it has to be an every-woman show. It’s time for us to take it all the way!


Lean In Now

timeThis month Glamour Magazine added a Career Column, focused on advice from women in various fields. First up is Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Office (COO) at Facebook and author of  Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. She’s also appeared on the cover of Time Magazine with the Slogan: Don’t Hate Her Because She’s Successful. In a book review, the New York Times writes:

“Her point, in a nutshell, is that notwithstanding the many gender biases that still operate all over the workplace, excuses and justifications won’t get women anywhere. Instead, believe in yourself, give it your all, “lean in” and “don’t leave before you leave” — which is to say, don’t doubt your ability to combine work and family and thus edge yourself out of plum assignments before you even have a baby.”

Lean In Circles (support groups) are forming all over the country from India to college campuses right here in the US. To date, there are more than 12,000 Circles in 50 countries! These Circles are not only about challenging the Status Quo but doing something about it! Here’s an example of how one artist turned programmer learned to code by leaning:

I’ve always been kind of obsessed with how cool it is to be able to communicate through the internet, and I realized no drawing could capture that power. I wanted to get in there and build those communication channels myself. The question, of course, was how. There are plenty of courses to take or boot camps to join, but none really appealed to me. I decided a self-directed project would be the best way to stay motivated and learn quickly. So I set out a few simple rules:

  1. Build a different website everyday for 180 consecutive days.
  2. Every website must be accompanied by a blog post.
  3. Any code I write must be made publicly available so that everyone can see it.

She did it. She leaned in and started working on her dream. Mistakes and all, #shewon. The goods news is that everyone can win! Do what you love and keep on doing that! If you find something you don’t love, stop doing that. It really is THAT simple. Let’s all get on Nike’s Just Do It bandwagon. Find a Circle that fits your needs or start your own. YOU have the power, you just need to take the first step! Lean In


Aunt Flo

Bri Alys is a blog for women, so naturally we talk openly about All Things Women… If you’re not a woman and chose to continue reading, send this over to your wife for girlfriend (she’ll thank you later).

First, There’s An App For That called Clue. The  New York Times describes Clue as, “An all-purpose life tracker, one that documents a women’s relationship to her body throughout her life, from the beginning of menstruation to menopause.” I’ve used the app (iOS only) as well as others; but, this one is fairly simple and clean, no clutter. And best of all the app has no ads (knocks on wood). Be sure to approve it in Notifications if you want the alerts. Check out the video below.

Secondly, You Absolutely MUST use a Diva Cup. Yes, I know the initial thought freaks you out but TRUST AND BELIEVE me when I say you will not regret it. It’s a little slice of heaven on earth and you will not even feel it, at all. I’ve been using it a little over a year now and have not bought a single one of those “other” products since! Save yourself a few bucks and buy it online.