Birmingham, I'm All Yours

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dear Birmingham,

It happened again.

I went out of town and I missed you much more than I had expected. With every corner I turned I thought of you.

The first time this happened I was in Chicago. This week I visited Louisville, Ky., a city that for years I have called the hometown of my heart. I lived there for five years and though I was born and raised in Birmingham, Louisville is where I became a woman. It's the city in which I truly found my voice as a writer during my days a reporter and columnist at a local paper. And it's the city where I met and married the love of my life.

Isn't my hubs adorable? 

But during my latest visit to Derby City something was different. Though I enjoyed my time there and loved seeing old friends, though I still know the streets of that city like the back of my hand, and though Louisville will always have a special place in my heart, that city no longer feels like home. And, Birmingham, it's all your fault.

Four years ago you lured me back to you and now I wonder if you've ruined me for any other city that wants to call me her own. I didn't even see this coming.

My first year back here with you was tough and in my frustration I stayed fixated on your flaws. But then I decided to open my heart and open my mind and really give you a chance. I'm so glad I did.

No, you are not a perfect city. You have a lot of growing up to do. But so do I and you love me nonetheless.

You took my dream of starting an organization for women writers and embraced it wholeheartedly. And who knew that it would be here in Birmingham that I would finally get the inspiration and courage I needed to finally pursue the dream I've had since I was 15 years: starting a magazine.

Last night you wowed me with one of the most beautiful displays of sisterhood I've ever seen at the first official meeting of the Birmingham Girl's Club, a new organization meant to support local women with entrepreneurial minds.

Birmingham, thank you for teaching me the true meaning of the phrase "There's no place like home."

Snapshots from last night's inaugural Birmingham Girls Club Meet & Greet:

"If you can, you should."
The new Birmingham Girls Club logo!

Sherri Ross Walters, the amazing woman behind Birmingham Girls Club

Tara Hulen took this photo and caught me mid chuckle. Clearly, I had a great time. 

Sherri gave us all free notebooks! You know I love notebooks!

Nearly 30 woman crowded around the community table at Urban Standard Coffee for last night's meeting.

To learn more about the Birmingham Girls Club visit

Taking It to the Tweets

Thursday, March 21, 2013

You may have noticed I haven't been blogging much lately.

You may think I've been quiet because I'm facing writer's block, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. In fact, I've filled several pages of the notebook pictured above with ideas. But I'm saving them.

Remember when I said I was going to pursue my dream of starting a magazine? Well, I meant it. I challenged myself to come up with enough ideas for three months worth of posts for my online magazine, which I plan to launch this summer. I got a bit carried away and I have a list of nearly 200 article topics.

Now you're probably thinking to yourself, "That's so cool that Javacia is finally going to try to start an online magazine. How could I help her?"

Well, I'm so glad you asked! Today I am starting a Twitter campaign in an effort to build anticipation for See Jane Write Magazine. My hope is that my 'zine will garner 1,000 Twitter followers even before it launches! A lofty goal, I know, but with your help I think I can do it.

So please follow @seejanewritemag and spread the word to other women writers, bloggers, and journalists. In return for your support you can expect @seejanewritemag to tweet inspirational and informational articles to help you in your writing and blogging careers, in addition to links related to feminism and women's empowerment.

Also, if you are a woman writer, blogger, or journalist and you would like to be featured in a future See Jane Write Magazine article, please let me know. While my organization See Jane Write is for women in Birmingham, this magazine is for women worldwide. So please reach out to me regardless of where you live.

Let's do this!

Natural Hair on a Writer's Budget

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

This weekend I restocked my hair care collection and thought I'd share what's in my arsenal. As most curly girls know, finding good natural hair care products that are also affordable can be tough, but it's not impossible. Most of the products pictured are less than $10. The only exception is the Carol's Daughter Hair Balm, which is $14. And this doesn't break the bank because I use so little of it when I style my hair.

Inspired by Better Than Good Hair, I recently revamped my regimen. Here's what I've been doing lately:

  • Shampoo once a week with Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo
  • Co-wash about every two days with Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner
  • After getting out of the shower I comb through Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk.
  • To lock in moisture I apply the Carol's Daughter Hair Balm as a sealant. 
  • Finally I apply Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie to help define my curls. 
  • If my hair line is dry I also apply some type of oil, such as tea tree or sweet almond oil (not pictured). 
  • I then let my hair air dry and voila! 
  • To preserve my curls for second and third day hair I simply pineapple my hair at night. (For those of you not hip to curly girl lingo, this just means I put my tresses in a very high ponytail so as to not crush my curls while I sleep.) 

Share your beauty-on-a-budget tips in the comments.

Monday Motivation: This Is Only a Test

Monday, March 11, 2013

Taking a Test.
Image by Renato Ganoza via Flickr/Creative Commons

When it comes to my relationship with God I am a complete brat.

When God throws problems and challenges my way I throw tantrums that can rival anything that you've seen from a toddler in the middle of Wal-Mart. You would think that now that I'm well into my 30s I would be more spiritually mature. And sometimes I am. Sometimes I face challenges with a cool head and I respond by calmly and confidently going to God in prayer. But most times I just pitch a fit, as my mom would say.

This month, however, my response to tribulation has gotten even worse. In the past after things have all worked out (because they always work out) I would go to God, ask for forgiveness for my pity party, and then have a praise party instead. But this month I've been so frustrated that even when my trials have been resolved I've continued my complaining. I've asked God why was this obstacle put before me in the first place. (Yeah, I know. I'm awful.) Quickly, I fell back into my old way of thinking. Quickly, I decided that God is angry with me, that God doesn't love me as much as my pastor claims he does.

God is love. That's a phrase so common it's become cliche. But it's a phrase I believe. Sometimes. I repeat this phrase to friends who fear God has turned his back on them because of their sins. I repeat this phrase to gay friends who have heard from their own family members that disgusting saying "God hates fags." And I repeat the phrase "God is love" to friends worried that God won't provide for their needs. And when I tell these friends that God loves them I mean it with every ounce of my being. But I can't seem to mean it when I say it to myself. And when things go wrong in my life I just point to these problems as evidence that God gets a kick out of making my life hard.

But this week during my study of Priscilla Shirer's One In a Million I was reminded that each challenge I face in life is only a test and these tests aren't designed to entertain God like a bad reality TV show. Life's obstacles are there to teach me to fully rely on God, and God wants me to depend on him because it's in my best interest to do so. If I rely on anything or anyone else, including myself, I will be disappointed.

As Shirer writes, "The Lord wants us to thirst not after a quick fix to our problems but after the life-altering refreshment of His provision."

So the next time a problem comes your way, whether big or small, remember this is only a test.

Blog Like a Girl, BFW 2013 Edition: Abby Hathorn of Vintage Inspired Passionista

Friday, March 1, 2013

Abby Hathorn of Vintage Inspired Passionista
Look out Tavi Gevinson! Birmingham may have its own teen prodigy in the world of fashion blogging. Abby Hathorn started her website Vintage Inspired Passionista about a year ago when she was only 16. 

"I wanted to show that teenage girls did not have to be sixteen and pregnant, but sixteen and successful," Hathorn said.

Hathorn not only blogs but also works part-time as a stylist for Mississippi-based Town and Gown Magazine and writes for Real Story Publishing. 

"Juggling my blog, writing for Real Story Publishing, styling for Town and Gown Magazine, and finding time in the day to homeschool is quite a challenging task, but thanks to my iPhone and Claire Massy at Town and Gown Magazine and Joseph St. John at Real Story Publishing, I am able to find time in the day to do what I love-fashion and writing," Abby says. "It is great to be able to collaborate with them via text and email.  I am originally from Mississippi and have family and friends close to Starkville and Columbus which allows me to travel there as often as I am needed."

This past week Abby was busy covering Birmingham Fashion Week, but she still made time to chat with me about blogging and the Birmingham fashion scene. 

Abby at the BFW 2013 Kick Off Party
How did you put together the outfit you wore to the Birmingham Fashion Week 2013 Kick Off Party? 

I love mixing patterns! When I spotted the printed dress and chevron cardigan at Banana Republic, I knew they were meant to be in my closet! I felt the basic navy needed a pop of color, so I sported my favorite pair of Michael Kors heels with it. I adore handmade jewelry and Etsy so I topped off my BFW 2013 Kick Off Party ensemble with handmade earrings by Rachel Leathers (of Hearts of Stone Jewelry) and a luscious stone ring by Lisa Hamilton (of Beadsoul).

Why do you think it's good for Birmingham to have an event like Birmingham Fashion Week?

Events such as Birmingham Fashion Week help to boost tourism and draw attention to the area's awesome attractions, shops, and dining. It brings attention to and supports nonprofit foundations like Alabama Forever and Camp Smile-A-Mile. It also shows off the South's fashionable talents! And what shopaholic doesn't love a preview of spring fashions?

Why do you think it is important for local bloggers to cover Birmingham Fashion Week and how can they do it in a way that will fully engage their readers?

It is a fantastic and fashionable way to support the community! Easy ways to fully engage readers during events like BFW is with photos and interviews. Readers love to be involved, so ask them which design/event was their favorite.

How did you get interested in fashion?

My fascination with fashion began at a young age. I was always playing dress up in my mom's closet! Well, I suppose, I still play dress up.

What was the inspiration behind the name of your blog?

I am inspired by all things vintage! Vintage clothes, music, movies, and cars! There is nothing better than putting on a vintage Frank Sinatra record while brainstorming about blog ideas.

How did you get your gig with Town and Gown Magazine? How do you manage to work for them while living in Birmingham?

Claire Massey, the editor of Town and Gown Magazine, discovered and contacted me to do a fashion article for the November 2012 issue. Since that article, I have been working as a stylist for Town and Gown Magazine.

Town and Gown is a wonderful publication with which to work! Claire Massey, the editor, and Divian Conner, the photographer, make planning and conducting photo shoots easy.

What tips would you give to bloggers (not only fashion bloggers) looking to build their brand and a community?

Social media promotion is key! Create a Facebook Like Page, Twitter, and Instagram page for your blog to draw in your readers, and be sure to post often, but not overwhelmingly. Early on in my blog, I decided that I needed a logo that not only represented the VIP, but also was catchy!  Thanks to Amy Shaw for creating a fabulous logo for me. Another super easy way to grow a blogging brand is with business cards. I always have lots of business cards with me, and I hand them out everywhere I shop, eat, and hangout.