Cassidy's Naturals Night Out - Saturday April 9th!!

Cassidy at Natural Selection blog has been putting together great  events for us in the Bay Area.  The next event will be next Saturday, April 9th at 7pm.  Here is more about the event from Cassidy's blog: 

"We’ll be taking over Head Designs Salon in Oakland for the evening where you’ll get to enjoy music, champagne, and meeting new and old Bay Area Naturals friends!  There will be FOUR styling demonstrations by the expert stylists at Head Designs Salon.  Styles will feature transitioners, loc’ers, and loose naturals — so we’re covering a huge part of the natural hair spectrum! The stylists will be using Komaza Care products!  Even more exciting is that the Komaza Care Family will BE at the event so you can get to know the amazing women (and men) behind the company.  Attendees will also have the chance to win giveaways sponsored by Komaza Care and  But not to worry, if you don’t win big,  all attendees will receive goodie bags with product samples and CurlMart coupons sponsored by"

New Things

New Tables

New Paintings

New Blue and White Bone Inlay Boxes and Pink Inlay boxes too...

Another new painting

And another fabulous and very reasonably priced table

It really is like Christmas at Black & Spiro lately with all of the beautiful new things we have arriving from our overseas suppliers and also our wonderful Australian suppliers too.  Here are a few things which just arrived in this week.  I am finding it hard not to take things home.  I whisked one of the new pink inlaid trays home with me yesterday and I am obsessed with it...almost as much as my garden!!!

Featured Reader - Christina!

From the Big Chop to natural thick healthy hair, Christina talks to us about her natural hair transition. 

Q: What kind of hair styles have you rocked, before embracing your natural hair?
A:  I was relaxed, and rocked braids during high school and first year of collage. My relax hair journey started pretty late, I must have been around 13 or 14. But I would go months in between a touch up. I wasn't a very girly girl. So for me, I learned about a lot of things later in life - hair, makeup (I am still learning that), dresses (I was / am a tomboy) and so on.

Q:  When and why did you decide to start wearing your hair naturally?
A:  I honestly stumbled onto a natural hair website one night in 2006/2007 and thought it would be a great idea- I did the big chopped three times before I finally decided in 2009, to just go natural. My last and final Big Chop was December 2009. It was more of a decision to see what and how far along my hair would go. I didn't transition at all. What I did (or my brother did) was to take clippers to my head and shave everything off. So I did this three times- I think, that first shower after the hair is gone is my real reason for doing it so many times!!!!!!!! Its a wonderful feeling of freedom.

Q:  Did you have any big fears about going back to your natural texture?
A:  Not really. My biggest concern was what was I going to do a big chop again (this was after the first 2 Big Chops). I just armed myself with information and decided to see where this journey would take me. But I will say this, after my first Big Chopped, I lived in Austria and my after last Big Chop I moved to Nigeria, now I am back in Europe (Scandinavia), it is hard because, I don't see many natural haired people. Maybe because its winter, hopefully during summer, I will see more sisters rocking natural. So I basically turn to the internet and other blogs to help me along. It's an ongoing process. I try and learn as much as I can. I recently learned to do my own braiding, which went very well. So now, I want to learn how to cornrow my own hair and do much more. I figure it's my own hair. Why not do the best I can for it?

Q:  What are three products you can't live without for nurturing/styling your hair?
A: Amla oil - I used to use this even when my hair was relaxed. So I basically know this product and I live by it. Shea Butter - I finally got my hands on some raw, unrefined, shea butter and boy do I love it. Not just for hair, but I use it all over my body. Conditioner - Honestly, Any!!!!!!!  If I read about a certain conditioner and I can actually find it, then I just go out and buy it. Thus far, I found Herbal Essence, which is my new favorite product, after Garnier Fructis.  

Q: What would you say to someone who's thinking about embracing their natural hair, but scared about being rejected in various parts of their lives?
A: I get scared too, even now, my hair is soooo thick, so long and I get scared since I don't have the 'full arsenal' of products that many naturals have tried. What gets me through it is that it's just hair. And its coming out of my scalp. Its all mine, and looks different from another person. Making me wholeheartedly unique. Also, I like to tie my hair with head wraps, hats, beanie and now since I have learned how to braid - I am always good to go! Find something that works for you, for those 'wanna give in days' and believe me, everyone has those days. Hang in there. Its truly worth it.

Q: How can we keep up with you and your journey i.e. blog, twitter,facebook, fotki, tumblr, personal or professional website?

Garden Pots Inside

After planting a few little pots for my garden table on the weekend I have been thinking I might do a few more so that I can bring some inside to put on the table in our lounge room or to place down the centre of the dining table when we have people over for dinner.  I also love how they are placed on the bench in the bathroom I have posted above.  I think it would be a nice idea to find an old rack with perforated shelves {like Brooke's} so that I can store lots of potted up succulents and also my potted bulbs and herbs in the garden near our garden shed.  Lots to do!!

PS.  If anyone is wanting to plant up some of these traditional little terracotta pots, I purchased mine from Bunnings.  I think they were approximately $2.50 per pot.  And if you live in Brisbane and want to purchase some bulbs then head to Bunnings as well.  Bulbs can be a bit tricky to buy here in Brisbane due to them not really liking our climate.   Oh and one more thing, if you want to plant some sweet peas you need to get them in this week if you live here!!  Mine were planted yesterday.  I can't wait to see them grow and flower over the coming weeks.

PPS. I only know these things about when to plant etc. thanks to Merve, Uncle Robbie, my mother, my grandmother and the lovely man at Bunnings who is my new best friend.  What would I do without them!!

image 1 - via delight by design scanned from easy elegance, image 2 - {thanks viera}

Loc Curls - Twist and Curves

 I love this picture!!!

Stylist: Twist & Curves, Maria
Pipe cleaners used to achieve curls
Model: Nicole
Photographer: Robert Cooper

Chair Heaven

When I was at a client's house a few weeks ago I spotted this fabulous image when she was showing me through her file of things she loves.  I took a photo of the tear sheet as I too love this chair.  I'm sorry I don't know the source of this photo so if anyone does then just let me know.  This image has now been slotted into my file of things I love...the file is bulging these days!

image source thanks to Make mine Mid-Century Blog - Home Beautiful May 2007 'Bohemian Rhapsody' p 72.

Link of the Day - Kids Style

- Source: I Love My Locs

Garden Ramblings

This is our garden yesterday with the round garden table Harry and I filled
with pots and also our vegetable garden to the left.

If my ramblings about my garden are becoming annoying just take me off your google reader or stop reading because I am thoroughly enjoying the excitement my garden is bringing me and I hope that these posts might inspire you to get your gloves on too.  I am actually quite a highly-strung, stressed-out maniac most of time however, I am finding that my garden is a place where I can relax.  I tend to drift off into another world when I am out there.  So, this is what I got up to on the weekend.

Harry and I planted up 10 little pots with succulents, herbs, pansies and another little plant which I can't remember the name of.  We arranged them on a round wire garden table which I placed near our vegetable garden.  I think this idea is such a great idea for interest in a large garden like ours but also would be wonderful on a verandah in an apartment or in a courtyard in a small garden.  I originally got the idea from a story on Deborah Needleman in Lonny magazine.  I think it was in one of their first issues...

We also started planting up some terracotta pots with Hyacinth bulbs which won't flower now until Spring but we are prepared and I think I might plant a few more this weekend as they will make nice gifts when Spring comes around. We also planted 30 Daffodil bulbs into the garden.  This weekend we will plant the Ranunculus, Freesias and tulips {which are currently in the fridge}.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will like it here in our red soil and will flower in Spring.

On Saturday we spotted 2 capsicum growing in our vegetable garden along with some corn.  We collected a small basket full of beans and cherry tomatoes which I cooked up on Saturday night.  This week we are planting some pretty sweet peas...this is the perfect time here for planting them.

And just to prove that I am making some headway in the garden compare the top photo in this post to this photo above as this is what one area of our garden looked like just before Christmas last year.  What a difference some effort can make and some help from my Uncle Robbie and Merv our lovely 84 year old gardener.  I can't claim all the accolades although if I didn't work I think I might be out there 24-7!

PS...One day she will be painted white but for the meantime we endure the red, green and yellow...xx

Thanks Goodness it's Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where did the week go?  I have no idea but I am glad it's Friday.  I am thrilled to advise that our 2 back rooms at Black & Spiro are now open again.  We've had a lot of customers waiting for the doors to open so thank you for your patience with us.  It takes time to make things beautiful!!!  I thought I'd share a few pictures as above.  We also have lots of blue and white in again which is great.  We actually have a brand new supplier of  blue and white so the pieces are all a bit different to the ones we've had in the past.  Oh and we just got in some more I love New York cushions too.

I think it's time I left the office.  I'm heading home to the garden...hopefully it won't be raining this weekend.  See you next week.

Inspirational Photo - Kiss for Kinky

-Source: Kiss for Kinky

Giveaway Winner!! Slice Ring from PURPOSE

The winner of the Slice Ring giveaway, (chosen by the Yarminiah, one of the PURPOSE jewelry line designer)  is Nefertiti!!!   Congratulations!  Please email me your ship to address, at Thank you everyone that participated in the contest!

Link of the Day - Jai Moi

Photo of singer and songwriter, Jai Moi.- Source: Dread Envy

Black & Spiro Today

I haven't posted any pictures of the shop lately so here is a little corner in the shop today.  The chest of drawers is one of Stuart Membery's which we stock and the antique chair is one of 2 we have covered in our pink embroidered fabric.  There's lots of great things arriving which is always very exciting...especially the the things we bought in New York recently.  That little painting in the picture above {which looks much brighter in real life} came in today and it sold to the first ladies who saw it.  I think if it didn't sell it was on it's way home to my house!!

Interview with Latrenia Bryant

Q: You are an amazing photographer. How did you get your start in that profession?
A:  Aww..thank you for that compliment! When I was in grade 6 we had a guest speaker come to our class to talk about his profession; he was a photographer. I was excited because although I had not owned a camera at this time I had seen the magic of Polaroid and other instant film cameras and wanted to know more about that entire process. He brought enough cameras so each of us would have our own; once he showed us what to do and how to handle the camera we all went outside to photograph whatever we wanted. After we shot our 12 exposure 35mm film we labeled it with our name, the photographer gathered all the rolls up and told us he would be back in a few days to show us what we had captured on film. Once I saw my images I immediately knew I wanted to be a photographer. If you would have asked me what I wanted to be before that experience I would not have been able to answer you but after that experience if you would have asked me that same question I would have smiled and said without hesitation "a photographer". Unfortunately, as I grew up I encountered some negative comments about my choice in wanting to be a photographer. I was told multiple times, "photography is a hobby not a career and how many black folks do you know who's a photographer?" hmmmm… family can influence you in ways you may not even be aware of.
I went on to become a Nurse but my camera was always near and every opportunity I had to use it I did. The love of photography never left my soul. Once I became an adult, meet and married my military husband, had a child of my own, traveled to multiple states and a foreign country, while befriending other photo and art enthusiasts I finally felt like I was encouraged to do what I truly loved. I felt like all those avenues provided a positive vibe for me to step out on faith to do what makes me happy. Needless to say, I'm one happy camper today because I'm doing what I love.
Q: What is your hair story? What kind of hair styles have you rocked, before embracing your natural  hair?
A: My hair story??, how much time do we have? have many but I'll only share two.
Late last year around December I was standing in line at the grocery store when I could see a young black male staring at me. With a slight smile, I turned to look at him and when I did he says to me in his island accent, "why you do that to yourself?" (looking at my hair) I looked puzzled, kind of confused. He says to me while he chuckles, "I'm scared of women with hair like that." Now I'm starting to get what he's trying to say and I say to him with a smile on my face, "hmm really? Because I'm scared of men with island accents" That shut him up real quick and he went on his merry way. Now, I'm not really scared of men with island accents. I just wanted him to see how ridiculous that sounded.
I got married August 1995 and I NEEDED A PERM BADLY. My last perm was around March 1995. During that year I had told a few people my plan to go natural and I would no longer be getting perms. Needless to say, they were not supportive at all. They laughed and said, "You’ll get a perm! When that stuff get nappy enough you'll do something" . I was not laughing. I knew then I would prove them all wrong. On my wedding day I gelled my hair back with lots of styling gel and covered it with my Veil. Months would pass and still not a lot of support from those who knew me. The negative comments kept coming such as, "You look like buckwheat, when are you gonna do something with that mess". It had gotten to the point where I would not discuss my hair with anyone who could not support me. I had a plan. I knew what I was doing.
What I found most hurtful was the fact that all the negativity was coming from my very own people...AFRICAN-AMERICANS! I would get plenty of comments from non-blacks both males and females but very little from those with the same skin color as me. It's sad that others could see the beauty in me but those closest to me in my own community could not.
I love my hair and if I had to repeat that same journey I would do everything the exact same way.
Before going natural I rocked a few styles such as braid extensions & beads, press & curls, a bob wig, box braids, finger waves, jheri curls, afro puff ponytail (w/drawstring/comb attachment), sewn in hair weaves and of course PERMS!! Ugh!! The perms were the final nails in the coffin that made me say bye-bye straight hair.
Q: When and why did you decide to start wearing your hair naturally?
A: I originally knew I wanted to wear my hair naturally when I first laid eyes on Caryn Elaine Johnson AKA Whoopi Goldberg in the 80's. I know she isn't what a lot of people would call beautiful but I thought she was as well as the coolest thing ever! A black woman, with long thick rope like natural hair who's funny, seen on television, stage and movies. She appears to have been accepted by all regardless of her look. I felt her look was telling the world, "Hey this is me .. love it or hate it" and I loved it!! BUT once again I was influenced by family. I was told Whoopi wasn't pretty and they hated her hair. I didn't want them to think that about me so again, I let years pass without making the move to go natural. It would be the mid-1990's and seeing singer Lauryn Hill of the Fugee's before the thought of going natural would surface again. Lauryn Hill and I were close in age. She was beautiful and rocked natural styles in ways I had not seen before. I knew then I was going to go natural. That was the push I needed.I researched everything regarding natural hair. After growing 10 inches of natural hair I went to a Loctician while living in Orlando, Fl. and started my loc journey. I've been loving my loc's for 9 years now; it's been one of the BEST decisions I've ever made. I've always loved the look of loc’s. I never felt like I was being true to myself when I wore other styles. I thought I was trying to be something that I wasn't. I feel so free now. It's a life altering journey. I'm happy now!
Q: Did you have any big fears about going back to your natural texture?
A: Oh yes! I feared the negative comments from those closest to me such as family & friends. I had to remind myself often that I was an adult now. I couldn't and shouldn't be influenced by my family. The only person that has to be happy with my appearance was ME. I'm only given this one life and darn it I was gonna be happy and live my life. If you didn't like it then you're the one with the problem, not me.
I'm a good person and if I could not be true to myself how could I raise my son to be true to himself and to be the best person he can be. My son is 10 yrs. old and he wore an afro and braids until last year when HE decided he was ready for a haircut. He and I talked and he's aware that natural hair is a crown of glory that signifies pride and acceptance in who you are. It took me years to get that, he's just 10 and already has it. I'm proud of him. Ps.. those who were slinging the negative comments before have nothing but praise for me today. Victory is sweet!
Q: What are three products you can't live without for nurturing/styling your hair?
A: First, as a pre-wash I use Sea Breeze astringent on my scalp. Secondly, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps to wash my hair. Currently I'm using the Almond pure-castile but they also come in other varieties such as tea-tree, lavender, etc. I've tried them all and love them all. Lastly, OILS, OILS, OILS!! lol.. I mix my own concoctions together in a spray bottle. The oils I love mostly are rosemary, almond, olive, carrot, coconut and jojoba oil. I usually pick 3 and mix them together. Rosemary has a very loud smell so I mix that one with a sweeter smelling oil such as lavender.
Q: What would you say to someone who's thinking about embracing their natural hair, but scared about
being rejected in various parts of their lives?
A: What would I say!?... hellooooo! I'd say DO IT!!! I'd shout it from the mountain no but really, I'd highly encourage them to do the research, prepare yourself for some negative comments, be strong!! Listen to your inner voice because in the end you're the one who has to be happy. Eventually everyone else will come around if they aren't already there. Make sure you go to a licensed loctician to have them start and maintain your locs in the beginning. They can help educate and guide you through the wonderful world of all things natural. I don't make many promises but I can promise you this, going natural will be the best decision you will ever make! Not only will your hair go through a transformation but your soul will too.
Q: How can we keep up with you and your journey i.e. blog, twitter, facebook, fotki, tumblr, personal
or professional website? (Optional)
A: I'd love to follow and hear some of yalls (sorry I'm from the own hair stories. I'm on facebook if you'd like to pop in to say HI! I have a personal facebook page as well as a fan page for my photography (Latrenia Bryant Photography) stop by there and LIKE my page. I have a website at and from there you can also get to my blog. I must warn you.. I'm a bad don't post as much as I should but that's going to change. I will be posting some new stuff soon.  Also, I'm going to do a special blog dedicated to my hair journey. I'm without a scanner right now but once I get one I will be scanning images of me before the locs and during the transitioning stage. I think It might help a lot of those who's still struggling with the decision to step out on faith and go Au Natural :-)
Twitter?...hmmm... I'm thinking I might get into that before the year is over... I'll take my own advice and step out on faith :-).

My Wonderful Weekend

My plans for a weekend in the garden had to be slightly altered due to the weather.  However, despite the rain I did achieve some gardening goals.  I went to my favourite nursery at Wellington Point yesterday.  If I could put their garden surrounding their nursery onto a truck and deliver it to our house I'd be one happy girl.  I just love wandering around the little pathways through their beautiful established garden. 

My aunty and my grandma {the one I photographed here on the blog last week} dropped in for morning tea this morning.  Aunty Jane brought me these pretty roses from her garden.  I love garden roses.  They are my favourite.

As you can see I did go a little crazy at the nursery.  I love the mix of plants I chose.  I really want to add lots of different colours into our garden.

I can't believe our little Max turned 10 months old yesterday.  He is almost walking.  Time really flies...

This morning my brother Sam and my mum, Harry, Max and I went to the Chandler Markets.  I hadn't been before and was so excited by what they had.  I found some beautiful orchids and fresh flowers and a few little vintage surprises too.

Yesterday I collected this bundle of fresh lettuce, beans and tomatoes from our kitchen garden.  I placed them into a basket and took them down to my mum's house.  Today she and Sam made an amazing salad which you will probably find the recipe for over at Sams' Table this week. 

Weekends at home are my favourite.  I always feel so inspired and rested and ready to go back to work on a Monday when I have been pottering around the house all weekend.

I'm in the garden...

If you're looking for me this weekend I will be in the garden...not looking quite as glamorous as the lady above!  I can't wait to get stuck into some planting...I'm thinking daisies...lots of daisies.

Have a great one.

image via party tights, photographer unknown             

Natural Hair Inspiration - Brittany

I would like to introduce you all to Brittany, a natural beauty. I met Brittany at a local Trader Joe's, a couple of weeks ago, and I really loved her hair. Here is a more about Brittany and her natural hair journey -

Q:  What is your hair story?  What kind of hair styles have you rocked, before embracing your natural hair?
A:  I went natural spring semester of my Sophomore year in high school. Before then I wore my hair either flat ironed, in twists or braided. I didn't really care too much about the style, although 8th grade through Freshman year of high school, I was all about the side swept bangs!

Q: You mentioned that you have been natural since the age of 15. That is impressive. What made you decide to not only go natural, but to also stick with it? Did you feel pressure to change your hair by your peer group?
A:  My decision to go natural was really out of curiosity. I had just finished washing my hair one evening and I was looking at in the mirror, when I notice that my roots were really curly, compared to my limp, relaxed ends. I was excited to see what it would look like, so I asked my mom to cut my hair. It was a bit of a struggle, but I finally convinced her to do it. I was left with about 1 1/2 inches of hair, but I was happy.

I decided to remain natural for several reasons. I played a bunch of sports in high school, and my short natural hair was very practical and easy to manage. Every morning I wet, it combed some conditioner through it and then rinsed it out. I never really felt any pressure to change
my hair from my peers. My hairstyle worked for me, so I could care less what other people thought. Also, I really enjoyed the fact the my hair was kind of unique. In high school, I only remember seeing one other girl with short natural hair like mine. As I started to learn how to care of and style my hair, I got a lot of compliments from people, which really boosted my confidence. I definitely don't see myself going back to perming my hair, because I have found something that works for me. I love that I don't feel limited about what I can do with my hair.

Q:  I love your hair!  Please tell what you do to achieve your cute hair style?
A:  Thank you!! When I saw you at Trader Joe's, I was wearing a two day old twist out. I'll usually twist my hair and pin it up for a week or two. If I get bored I'll take my hair down and rock a fro. Generally, I tend to take better care of my hair, the less that I'm playing in it.

Q: What are three products you can't live without for nurturing/styling your hair?
A: Organic Root Stimulator, Hair Mayonnaise (Conditioner), Olive Oil Hair Lotion, and my Denman brush. My scalp gets super dry and my conditioner and olive oil are they only two things that seem to make it better. My Denman brush is the most effective thing that I have to detangle my hair before washing.

Q: What would you say to someone who's thinking about embracing their natural hair, but scared about being rejected in various parts of their lives?
A:  I really encourage it! I looove big hair, so I'm biased... lol. Natural hair is fun and very versatile. There are always going to be people who don't like how you look, how you dress, etc. I think the most important thing is to be at peace with who you are no matter what is going on around you. Also, if you do decide to go natural, enjoy your hair for what it is. Try not to spend to much time wishing that your hair looked like someone else's. Everybody's hair is different, so don't be afraid to learn what works best for you! That will save you alot of frustration.

Q: How can we keep up with you and your journey i.e. blog, twitter, facebook, fotki, tumblr, personal or professional website?
A:  I've had a Blogspot account for the past year, but I'm still undecided on whether or not I should start blogging.  In the meantime, I'm on Facebook :) -  Facebook

Thank you for letting me interview you Brittany! And it was wonderful to meet you, not only because you were so nice, but also because your natural beauty was refreshing! And it was wonderful for me, because my  daughters were with me at the time, and I am so happy when they can see beautiful woman and men who truly embrace themselves for who they are, inside and out.