New Music Monday: Rebel Control

Rebel Control - DASHEEN Magazine

This is literally a new dawn (read: installment) for Dasheen and I am excited to bring my readers reviews of music acts who come across my radar.

These guys were holding up a sign—LOVE—that was hard to miss and/or ignore. So when their management reached out, I was buttered up enough to simply take a listen.

Without questions (I’ll be chatting it up with them later this month and promise to bring the goods), Rebel Control out of the UK is something special. They have been causing quite a stir at many European festivals this summer and are just about to release a new single ‘Hold on to Love.’

Off the cuff, what I love about the group—the infectiousness and laid back quality of their vibe, not to be confused with the infectiousness and amped/rambunctious quality of their live sets. I have always had a thing for acts that give you all they’ve got live, including the kitchen.

Here’s a taste:


The Politics of No Comment: Don’t Take It Personal

Hat1Bloggers live for comments. Bloggers love vibrant comments!

You check the stats like a fiend on the daily. This living breathing thing holding its own corner of the online universe is your baby and probably your first at that.  Some may call it paranoia, telling you to be easy in that particular voice that grates. But what kind of mom (or dad) would you be if you didn’t check that pulse as often as the instinct arises.

And so, you’re aware of the feet that trek through. That there were feet (even without a voice) gives you pause and takes you through a slew of emotions.  And then, and this could very well just be me, but for a moment there you forget the miracle of folks finding you, whether by accident or upon invite, and you wonder at the lack of a hello or hi.

Did they like what they saw, read, would they return, would they bring friends…?

Does anyone even really care?

If the proverbial tree falls in the forest does anyone hear it?

If you believe what you read (and there is so much to wade through and digest) there is such a conflagration of details/events that must occur for proven success, that you should probably just take your mom’s advice, and simply put your best foot forward.

Beyond this post, I have no intention to ponder this further. And even if I had a mind to, Google Analytics does not do intuitive, at least not to my knowledge.

According to Wikipedia:

    “A ‘No comment’ is a phrase used as a response to journalistic inquiries which the respondent does not wish to answer. Public figures may decline to comment on issues they are questioned about if they wish to avoid having a stated opinion about the matter on the record, or if they simply have nothing to say about the issue at the time.”

The Criticism according to this same source:

    “Some public relations professionals have argued against the use of “no comment,” stating that one of the goals of working with the press is to resolve issues before they become hot topics. Offering no comment allows the press to fill in the blanks, diverts the focus of the publicity, and sacrifices an opportunity to communicate key messages.”

So then what it boils down to is the reason YOU’RE writing.

No one relishes talking to the void. At least I can’t comprehend the notion of simply having an open online door/journal that you hope no one enters and reads.

I, for one have never been in love with the idea of being a starving anything, even and especially a creative.

I write for art. I write for love. I write for discipline. I write to open a door by way of a window.

My friend and fellow writer/blogger Mariah Williams of One Thread that Winds sends out the following after a comment:

“Thanks for subscribing to One Thread That Winds! Welcome to the madness that is my thought stream. Feel free to comment/advise/rebuke to your heart’s content… this is, afterall, a conversation with the world and I want to know what the world is thinking!”

There is nothing like writing that has moved from the realm of art into discipline. You see art has an inkling, but discipline not only gets you results, but it gets consistent results.

A friend who I love to volley Dasheen thoughts by, told me sometime in the beginning of this journey that she’s always been nervous about commenting on people’s blogs. I will never hold that against her.

For me blogging is an easy conversation. But then even in a full-frontal online universe, there’s an art and a discipline to good/great conversation.

First you write—You say what you feel—You say what you mean—You own your thoughts—You author your voice. Then you listen—you read/reread what you’ve said—you read what others are saying, amoung your tribe, outside your tribe, even if it has nothing to do with you. And finally, if you’re moved to a response you say something.

There are unique politics and philosophies behind every ‘no comment’ or absence of comment.

I understand.

I won’t take it personal 🙂



Peace Images: So Very Necessary!


“Feather jewelry is so played ouTugela Earring - Peace Imagest.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought and said these words out loud. I’ve been overwhelmingly adverse to rocking feather earrings/jewelry because they were always so overdone, so trendy, so tacky, so… not special enough.

Whether high- or low-end, there was just no love on my end.

So when Afrobella gave up the goods on Peace Images in a recent Youtube comment response, I was just curious enough to trust her stylish instincts.

My reaction is happening as I type and can be summed up in one word—excitement!

Every piece has a sirens call and I am beside myself as I come to the feather displays.  My response—a profound “Yes” and “Thank You!”

You want to have a conversation about specialness, bring my baby and these feather n’ company pieces to the table.

I absolutely loved them. I need them. I’m taking one or two home immediately and… well, let’s just say I’m in trouble 😉

Camille Peace is not just some feather jewelry ambassador. So let me clear the air, before I box her in. What she does is articulate her craft to such a degree that it rises above superficiality and really does become ART.

And with ART that ranges anywhere from $7 hair chains to $125 for the show-stopper Growth and Patience Necklace she certainly feels accessible to me.

And you simply have to love her vision.

PEACE IMAGES – Jewelry. Culture. Art. Growth.

In her own words:

I am a San Diego, CA native.

I packed up my car and drove 2000 miles east to St. Louis.

….4 years later I drove back to Cali with my fiancee and a new jewelry business that I am extremely passionate about.

Some people think jewelry is so superficial… not worthy of the term “art.”

I’ve been able to donate to charities through my art; Through my art I’ve inspired others to follow their dreams; My art allows me to channel my happiness, my fear, my pain, my anger, my joy, my inspiration.. and the result is always something beautiful.

Art isn’t defined by anyone else but you.

I spend hours and hours on my dream everyday.

I hope you are blessed to do the same 🙂

Now whether you know it or not, this is why she’s hot. And for all this and more—check her sister site – Classicknessvintage—you (my lovely readers) should become a friend/customer.

Camille and her Peace Images have you covered at the following:












Natural is as Naturals Do!

Having not had the good sense to document my big chop’—who knew that such a brute and heavy-handed term existed for what amounted for me to be a simple Caesar—via photos or video, the discovery of a vocal and diverse natural community online after the fact has grounded me to the truth of the very personal practice that natural is as natural does.

Or for the purposes of this post—natural is as naturals do!

As in:

A hairDO that is my signature style, my thing, my swag,

An I DO that is a commitment I have made to the unknown quantity springing from my scalp with heady demands, and

A damned if I DO or I don’t, because you can’t make everyone happy with your choices, and yes that extends to those who find the time to hate within/without the natural community.

The insurgency is real, but so are those pockets of women (in particular) everywhere who create, maintain, encourage and embolden community among sistren and brethren by celebrating hair in all its many natural formations and school of thoughts.  Whether you are free flowing, brother- or sister-locked, dreaded, cornrowed, twisted, fro-ed out, babies slicked around the edges or fuzzed-out—A to C (or as some have claimed Z)—I LOVE YA! Oh yes I DO!

This is a second-time-around natural hair experience for me. The first was a frustrated accident of whatevs that resulted in my wrapping it up and letting it be.  It’s natural I thought, hence and therefore my active involvement beyond the greasing of scalp and the occasional plait-up was unnecessary.

How wrong I was.

It was 2000, YouTube was neither dream nor fantasy, and it would be another 8 years before I discovered how totally addictive and life-changing that particular medium could be.  Even as I majored in Media Studies and focused my attention so keenly on Journalism, blogging was in its infancy, and like me probably had no clue of its own evolutionary possibilities.

This time around, my eyes were wide open.  This time around was 2 1/2 years ago around Thanksgiving and there was a heady love from the outset.

It was a little after midnight and I was recovering from a cold or some other malady. It was not an awesome occasion. My husband’s family was in town and I was in no shape to hang. I was on also on the cusp of 30. I was searching for something; something to mark my passing into a personal decade where I wanted to challenge my own ideas about who I was and who I wanted to be.  I was in that headspace and just took one look in the mirror and made a decision that has also served to alter the way I feel about myself on some very basic levels.

I didn’t immediately call myself natural.  I had no vocabulary.  I was simply myself with nothing to hide behind, i.e. without the crown and glory that so many refer to.  And if that’s not enough to shake any woman up, my husband thinking and asking “why?” out loud did.

A redeeming moment during that time was an upcoming interview for my current job.  I had been wrapping my head again—this time really hiding behind my headwraps, but I knew that had to stop.  So, I gave myself an encouraging nudge by letting my undefined teeny-weeny afro (TWA) hang out.  It was a good moment for me, and ultimately I got the job and was on my way in more ways than one.

And I’ve had to learn that there is no handbook.  Fact is, the prevailing book titles out there, may or may not lay a foundation of knowledge that will give you what you desire in the way of hair love/lust.  Ultimately, if you don’t get in touch with your own head of hair, then you won’t have a head of hair.

Being natural is something that works for me currently.  It does not have to be broken down and understood.  I don’t have to excuse myself from the room (or forum as it were) if I decide to wig or wrap it up as is my preferred protective style.  My hair just is, and it does what it will (and sometimes what I tell it).

Although my natural hair journey began with such spontaneity, it was not with the usual rebellion; and even when I look at my hair and think “Ughh, are you really going to challenge me like this today/this week” I still wouldn’t have it any other way.

My stance:

There will always be those who don’t love your hair, and don’t have the good sense to keep their opinions to themselves.  They may be family, friends, co-workers or whomever you please.

Then there will be those who simply don’t understand, and will make genuine attempts to find that place where you’ll just have to make that decision as to whether you’re ready and available or even feel the need for a teachable moment.

And let’s not forget the ones who love the soap box of defining what can and what can’t be natural, and who downright foam at the mouth when any mention is made of heat styling, shampooing, coloring, weaves, wigs, extensions … etc, etc, etc …  Well, they have their own special place in my heart.

Growing into your natural hair and those daily personal decisions you make about your hair is your DO.  Glamour and others of that ilk DON’T have a say.

Your hair is not a democracy or for that matter a tourist destination.  You know where you live, love, work and breathe, so it is whatever you deem necessary.

Life will surely change your hair and mind, and make its own demands, and before you can force your hair, it will force you—right down to the scalp it will—whether relaxed or natural.

So go with the flow and BE ENCOURAGED in doing your DO.

Donnie said it best in the classic and must-listen Cloud 9 on his “The Colored Section” LP.

We live from the head down, and not the feet up/And I’m adorned with the crown that’s making this up/I’m fine, fine… under Cloud 9 …/Twist my cloud and it rains…and when it rains oh it pours…/Don’t let them tell you what to do/Defy gravity…


[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]http://dasheenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Blowing-in-the-wind-Bio.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hi there, I’m Tynisha Leon, writer, mango-lover, founder and Editor-in-Chief of DASHEEN magazine — the online destination where Culture. Feeds. Imagination! If you seek to inno­vate, pro­mote and/or contribute to posi­tioning a Caribbean peo­ple and gen­er­a­tion most positively then link me! Bless! [/author_info] [/author]

The Caribbean-Writer? Vol. 1

Working Copy1 - CAMELITTA INK + Co

As a writer, I’ve always been preoccupied with what the Caribbean-writer writes.

I don’t despise the hyphenated way I see my writer. Honestly, I have never imagined writing for writing sake, or as something I’ve had to do to be whole, but rather something I could do to contribute to the whole.

I am not altogether altruistic.  This is just a thought-pattern that is as familiar as the need to put pen to paper (and yes I still write everything longhand first).

I’m working out the kinks of this thinking as I write here, but I remember the first time I attempted novel-writing, and here again, I mean that as the double entendre it pretends to be.

The setting was of course, a trajectory of island home that moves Columbus-like over an unknown expanse of water with thoughts of conquering in mind i.e. my own inhibitions, fears and perceived limitations.

And the destination? Why the only place where conquering could work naturally—Mother England. I had learned at her feet after all, so like the best of them, there was an inkling that I could endeavor to be worthy of her stamp of approval.

This is somewhat strange, considering that the one I most aspired to, was not Oxford-educated, but strung across a faulty phone line leading to another gray place—New York City. And through a series of happy-accidents (she might never prefer my phrasing and that would be as it should be) and what not, she did what she could do, and I have enjoyed the fruits of that labor.

Yet, she was so unique, that I imagined that mold to be broken (by God) and certainly not a thing to be duplicated, and there again, never in the way of the plagiarist. But in a manner of ‘this is the channel.’ Since we all, who are here, have faced that channel, even if we were not allowed passage.

And so I worried my writer and her message. Worried her to the point where she refused to talk to me, and yet I felt her—too close not to know that she still cared. Did I say that I was sorting this out as I wrote? Thank God this space is somewhat a labor of love. Who would ever pay to read any of it?

The one thing that has kept me writing, in this not-so-beautiful state of limbo, is the thought that I always wanted to go back.

Let me explain myself.

Every Caribbean writer I know and love, seems to write from that place of exile. It is as if to write, they had to leave—whether on their own recognizance or another’s. I not only wanted to toy with the ‘what if’ of staying, but I wanted to work and play in that landscape of returning and sprouting new roots.

But then again, it all feels like exile, because I am giving writing in-place credence, and writers need be free.

If only in their mind. If only in that sound place where Brother Bob sang of as diatribe—freedom is a principal thing.

So, I write on my knees, as passenger, as driver, in church, on my answering machine, in a voice memo, in morning pages, in my hand, on the inside of my arm, online, on post-its, in word and indeed.

I still think it’s a delightfully agile exercise to wonder, mull over and chew my cod on what the Caribbean-writer writes, but I’ve discovered that I am so much more.

More Caribbean. More writer. More woman. More determined. More everything. Much more than I could have ever imagined.

I will never just write anything for the sake of writing—not the appropriate thing, not the required thing, not the right or wrong thing.

I will write what is necessary for my writer to live and write again.

DASHEEN magazine is all about that place ‘where culture feeds imagination.’ It is both motivation and challenge.

Are you a writer? Creative? What kinds of challenges and motivations have you encountered in pursuing your craft?



Hopi Reggae… One Blood! One Love!

Casper Lomayesva

Casper Lomayesva Chants

There’s just something about reggae music!

And to quote the words sung by the Great Bob Marley on Trenchtown Rock (1975):

One good thing about music/when it hits you, you feel no pain/Oh, oh, I say, one good thing about music/when it hits you, you feel no pain/Hit me with music/Hit me with music…

As most universal truths do, these words have taken on a life of their own, and continue to reverberate, even to the Red Rocks of Sedona, the greater Arizona region and most powerfully in the life of Hopi Reggae Artist Casper Lomayesva, who combines his native roots with the positive vibes of reggae music.

It was while vacationing in Sedona, Arizona, on a day-trip back from the Grand Canyon, where a self-proclaimed United Nations crew (a Bulgarian, a Crucian, a Kittitian, two Japanese, and four Americans) of easy touring partners (some soon to become fast friends) were first introduced to the only known Hopi reggae musician, budding political activist, and artist-advocate for Native American culture.

When we had initially boarded the jeep, the music was nondescript. Even now, I couldn’t tell you what it was, except that someone requested Timbaland, which elicited a chuckle if not an outright LOL.

Sometime later as we boarded, post-lunch, our tour guide had slipped a little something-something in the stereo. And almost immediately the world slipped on its axis a bit. And not just for me. The energy suddenly changed in the jeep, and it moved to the organic pulse of a reggae beat.

And the collective heads nodded.

I don’t think any of us on board knew this particular artist—and I am grateful for the in depth peek into his life and times provided by writer Niki D’Andrea in Rasta Redmon: Hopi Reggae Artist Casper Lomayesva Brings Redemption Songs to the Desert—but we knew the source.

It’s hard not to identify with that organic pulse of reggae. Harder still not to be mellowed up and out by freedom songs.

After our final stop before the ride home, perhaps assuming everyone was a bit tired of the same ole, our guide asked out loud what we wanted to hear. To my delight, our new Bulgarian friend shouted “more reggae.”

It was a great moment.

Whether it’s the truly old school variety that your dad played on his records, that you reintroduce yourself to daily on Pandora, in the names of Marley(s), Tosh, Isaacs, Cliff, Wailer et al, or the newness (in my life) of Casper’s story that is as authentic and visceral as those he channels.

There’s just something about reggae music.

Have you stumbled across any great acts lately? Share some of your music loves…


*The Hopi Tribe is a sovereign nation located in northeastern Arizona. The reservation occupies part of Coconino and Navajo counties, encompasses more than 1.5 million acres, and is made up of 12 villages on three mesas.


My Top 3 Mascaras!

I’m a mascara girl. Belatedly, unabashedly, but yes I am!

And I’m not the only one, as testified by so many bloggers, and in particular Brittany Thomas and her Clumps of Mascara! What’s not to love?!

I must disclaim here, as clearly everyone has different natural effects, taste levels and techniques. My lashes happen to be curly-curly. I usually hold my hand in a fist, fingers and thumb tucked under to describe the insane level of curliness that refuses to break form. Overtime, they have sauntered into their own awkward curl and bend that still can look crazy if I don’t love them just right with the right mascara wand.

And it is all about the wand.

No matter how great the formulation, if the wand is not long, lean (a tapered edge is a plus) and the brush firm, there is no joy. Believe me when I say there is a personal method that I have down to a science. It is not too strange to see me working an eye for the time it takes to have a quick conversation with anyone, business card handy as lid-guard. I have hooded eyes (or as I prefer the euphemistic bedroom eyes), and after much trial and error, I know what works for them.

All this is helped along of course by the permission and recommendation of makeup artists and doctors alike to change mascaras from anywhere between 3 to 6 months.

My top 3, tried and true mascaras are like my God children in that, at the end of the day, I do not play favorites.

In no particular love-order, the following fit the bill:

1. Maybelline Full ‘N Soft (very black)

An exception in my wand specifications. Although long enough, it has a full head/tip of soft bristles that does taper off slightly at the end. Such a big brush always has the potential to cause trouble if I am sans business-card-as-lid-guard. However, since I most often use it to thicken up the base of my lashes to provide fullness, there are few worries. Recently, I’ve started using this one all by its lonesome from root to tip, and I continue to be pleasantly surprised.

It is a classic that I am happy is still on the market. It has the best fringe benefits and is pliable even after three coats. It retails for $5.94 in my local Wal-Mart, and I’ve seen it for as much as $6.99 in local pharmacies.

2. Avon’s Super Extend Mascara

My newest discovery and instant love match/soul mate. The brush on this is perfection! From inner to outer lash, I am constantly impressed, and I always purchase two on sale. I must say that this is one of the first mascaras that I am able to apply sans business card, and still get the desired results. It is the 2nd most complimented and Oprah-approved. It retails from anywhere between $3.99 to $4.99 on sale, but regularly priced at $8.50. Check with your local Avon rep or online.

3. Rimmel’s Glam’Eyes Lash Flirt

The most complimented and the blackest lashes. The brush here doesn’t taper and it’s shape is more lean and square with a stiff row of brushes on each side—long and short bristles alternating. It is a lightweight formula which lifts & lengthens lashes (yes, yes), volumizes (not so much or at all), separates & defines (yes, yes). For my needs, which has nothing to do with volume, I love the results that makes my lashes pay attention.

It retails for $5.94 or more depending on your Wal-Mart and/or local pharmacies. Rimmel is one of those brands where the BOGO tends to be at BOGO/50%, as opposed to BOGO/free, but by all means please go for it!

***Next on my radar of mascara experimentation:

1. Avon’s SuperCurlacious Mascara

This was reviewed favorably in InStyle or Lucky. But that’s not why its here. Thing is, I have always avoided mascaras that promise curl definition since I have been blessed in this area naturally. It’s been recently suggested by my friends, to try a lash curler to tame the wildness of those lashes that stick straight out all on their own, while trying to poke my eye out on occasion. Well, in a fit of boredom some nights past, I put a lash curler to my eye, and wouldn’t you just know that I got those wayward lashes to behave. Unfortunately, I did pinch my lid in the process, so I thought I’d give this curlacious product a try.

2. Maybelline Lash Stiletto Voluptuous Mascara

I remember liking the original Lash Stiletto. I can’t remember exactly why I did not repurchase the original, expect that the bristles were a bit spindly . We’ll see with all the good to great reviews on YouTube if this might be another love story.

3. L’Oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara

An obvious and unashamed dupe of Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes mascara and I for one am not mad at them. Unfortunately, I do not love mascaras enough to pay $29 a pop for it—particularly not at this stage in my life (Although Lancôme’s Definicils makes a very good case.

Mascara. Mascara. Mascara. How did I ever survive. lol. Do you have any lash loves? What’s your favorite mascara or just mascara of the moment?


[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]http://dasheenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Blowing-in-the-wind-Bio.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hi there, I’m Tynisha C. Leon, writer, West Indian, mango-lover, founder and editor-in-chief of DASHEEN magazine — the online destination where culture feeds imagination. Join the culture conversations on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr! [/author_info] [/author]



Sedona, Arizona: Sunrise to Sunset

My Sedona @ Sunset - Dasheen Magazine

Sedona, Arizona is truly the case of backdrop that is so dramatic, so breathtaking that all you need do is show up. Around every corner is a surprise. The vista is unlike anything I have ever seen in my entire life.  It was certainly not on the bucket list, but it should have been. I feel blessed to have seen and experienced it for myself.

One full week later and my head is still in the clouds. Well, maybe not quite there, but with memories at elevations of 4,500-feet and more, depending on your location, my heart is still in the mountains.

The mountains that are the Red Rocks of Sedona to be exact.

Not being a particularly conscientious nature-girl, and a bit stubborn, I did not intend to fall in love with Sedona. I did not intend to start something that would end after 12 days, where I literally had to be coaxed into a smile on my last night.

About Me2

Better to have loved and lost comes to mind. But really as in times past, what I’m really thinking is–not so much!

Sedona happened as a means to the end.

The heart of the matter was my husband and his dream to do a cross-country trip to visit the unimaginable Grand Canyon. I still remember him slumped before his computer, looking for all the world like he had heard the worse news and was experiencing the first, second and third pound of a migraine.

“What’s wrong,” I asked. His response, something along the lines of not being able to find a hotel that wouldn’t include another roadtrip to the Grand Canyon.

“It’s going to be fine. I promise,” I said this more to soothe the way for whatever was to come. “Where are you finding hotels?”

“Some place called Sedona,” he replied.

In retrospect, that is a brush off if I ever heard one. He didn’t know, and I, in my limited imaginings of Sedona as simply a much touted spa-town could not begin to comprehend how this place could seep into marrow and bones.

I mentioned that we had decided to take the road trip route.  Crossing the Florida Panhandle into Alabama (New Orleans?)… then the 24 hours it took to make it across Texas (plus a delicious meet-up and greet with my girlfriend and her son in Dallas, TX) and then a night layover in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was at this point, crossing that state line that things became dramatic and so much more poignant. The wind was telling. And there is surely something about the elevation, the struggle that you felt, your physical body adjusting to it—breathing through it—the popping ears. The awareness of a landscape, a visage that was so wild, almost untamed really. It called to the part of you where you knew you had to know that you had to be a special person.

We said throughout: “It takes a special person to live out here.”  Especially on the outskirts, on the parts that bordered the state line. You knew that it took something more than your creature comfort levels to survive.

After making it into the grand state of Arizona, you felt like you had won a battle. For your vehicle. Just that you had arrived . You were grateful and had this sense that you may not be able to do it again, but you were there. You were right there and you had arrived.

Simon @ the South Rim, Grand Canyon -  Dasheen Magazine

We’ve traveled, so many honeymoons before marriage and yet we had not had this degree of physical excitement.

We sincerely had an agenda. Sedona threw it out the window. Between the inevitable South Rim visit to the Grand Canyon, and the jaunt over to Las Vegas, and stop at the Hoover Dam, we couldn’t wait to get back to our home-away-from-home. At the Sedona Summit we discovered that our view of the sunrise and sunset in Sedona rivaled that of the more public Sedona airport lookout.

Is it any wonder a sunrise and a sunset became one of my most visceral takeaways.

My husband said to me: what did you imagine it would be like?

Sedona was so much more than I bargained for…I love Sedona. Absolutely. Pemeably. Indefinitely. Permanently.

Lenai View Sedona-Ariz - Dasheen Magazine


Our time there was to be our first vacation in 4 years. It was permission to relax. We had no choice. We breathed differently. We took our time in the mornings. There was never any rush. There was this reverb in my head of, I just never knew that a place like this existed.

This experience has changed us on fundamental levels. I think it has made us more aware of the potential for pleasure in the simple things, a hunger for a wholeness in our day-to-day life that can be blurred by the need to do and succeed. We left Sedona with a sharper view of what our future could be and what our present didn’t necessarily have to maintain.

We hope to return sooner rather than later to the Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona. And we can’t imagine this place that embodied hospitality wouldn’t lay out a welcome mat.

What is it about this place? Have you ever been? where is that place in the world where you just feel yourself to the core and soul and more? Where do you find virtue, courage for me they are one in the same?

Sedona (pronounced /sɨˈdoʊnə/) is a city that straddles the county line between Coconino and Yavapai counties in the northern Verde Valley region of the U.S. state of Arizona. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 11,220.

Sedona’s main attraction is its stunning array of red sandstone formations, the Red Rocks of Sedona. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The Red Rocks form a breathtaking backdrop for everything from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails.

Sedona is named after Sedona Miller Schnebly (1877–1950), the wife of the city’s first postmaster, who was celebrated for her hospitality and industriousness.






Top Ten Summer Beauty Products 2010

This post is inspired by a tag making the rounds on YouTube. Some have gone beyond just beauty products and into clothing and even gadgets, but for the sake of organization I’ll stick with my top ten summer beauty musts.

Over the past two years, I think I’ve just really learned to live in my skin comfortably—just sort of learning what works for me in terms of care and color. I’ve tried so many makeup moves and techniques since my first foray into full makeup 2 years ago and I’m that much closer to perfecting my beauty stance.

Moving into this summer, I had the nerve to look at my 32 year-young face and decide that I needed to step up my anti-wrinkle game. Trust me, I recognize the insanity now and I plead guilty by reason of stupidity. Seriously, this is when you know you’ve gone too far, but at the time I had convinced myself that I was doing my skin a favor with the prevention-is-better-than-cure-argument.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective the combination of stress, the heat of O-Town + Oil and yes, the aforementioned product junkie syndrome had my skin screaming a very profound WTH!

I got the message loud and clear.



Shopping My Closet

You know, my closet continues to surprise and inspire me.

A good friend challenged me, or rather suggested some months ago, that she thought I had enough clothes in there to go a whole year without shopping. I was not convinced then. I’m not convinced now, but I continue to be pleasantly surprised.

With a demanding 2010 goals list that includes home ownership and the brightest future imaginable, my closet has been consistently giving up the goods with charm to spare.

Between cardies that know how to play well with others, summer dresses that have shown their fearlessness and gone inside-out on occasion, and t-shirts which are as irreverent as they want to be—as a result of my penchant for scissors and accessories—I’m in my element.

I am further encouraged by the fearless and yes, fierce Mrs. O, as she has done color, pattern, flow and structure in pieces that she reprises ever so often, if only to remind that old doesn’t need to be new or vice versa, but both only need be accessible and very NOW. Never mind the presence of a stylist or not, when a woman knows exactly what is behind her closet doors (or even just what’s possible) then style doesn’t follow fashion, but trumps it every single time.

The best gets of the past two years of my life have not been buys, but finds at my workplace clothing and jewelry exchange (two separate events which I look forward to excitedly) and my love affair with my local goodwill. Of course the latter has been put on pause, but when I do go back, it will be with a vengeance and tissues on hand (after an hour or so, the sneezing starts).

I will cop to one relapse since I started this journey of closet shopping as lifestyle and economic recovery, and this bold navy minidress/tunic, which instantly make me feel like dancing with its ruffled hem, was not shy when it walked out my neighborhood Ross with me.

I called it sad-shopping as it was the weekend of mother’s day and I was filled with melancholy and missing.

Let me tell you, It is not easy to stay away from the racks. I’m just not the kind of girl who lives to work, but the total opposite.

So, the emotional hunt will always be on for the perfect pair of Levi’s, or classic-style fitted jean jacket with the right touch of indigo and distress to downplay or uplift any outfit.

Then, there’s the perfect pair of stovepipe chinos, and the grey skinnies which I prefer without the 80’s stonewash reference.

The list really does go on and on.

Still, there’s a great deal of satisfaction to be had in ‘making it work’ as Tim Gunn would suggest.

Regardless of where this year takes me, it’s nice to know that I can use what I have to create the lifestyle I want without breaking the bank and while building a healthy reserve.

Have you ever shopped your own closet? Share your experience.


5 Tips in the Relentless Pursuit of Your Dreams

THE EDGE: Looking over the Lip of that Hard Place

“If you had to talk to someone about pursing their dreams, what would be the top 3-5 things you would say to them? Or what would you have wished you had heard early on when you started pursuing your dreams?”  Clenord Ferguson, author of the ‘Truth About Love’ and Founder of Island Praize

Perhaps any other year I would have felt ill-equipped to respond, although you better believe I would have found something. I am a fan of faking it until you make it after all.

However, the truth is that 2010 has absolutely been a blessed year of courage for me. So to those who will read this, I encourage you in the RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF YOUR DREAMS and offer the following hard-won advice:

1. Go for it! Put one foot in front of the other and start crawling, hopping, walking, and running (whatever you have to do) in the direction of your dreams.

2. Excuses are just that—excuses. Don’t lie to yourself about what you can’t do. Have you tried? Have you failed at it a couple of times? If you don’t know, ask someone who does. And if all else fails adopt a mantra—Think Ali’s ‘Impossible is Nothing’—or Gabriel in the foundational Luke 1:37 saying ‘For With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible.’

3. Your dream is not a reality until it is. So stop putting the mirror of your current reality in front of it.

4. Think outside the box! Surround yourself with people who do the same and see them challenge you.

Beware that at this point the words, crazy, strange, interesting and weird may follow you (that’s if they haven’t already). But always lead from the front. Let your naysayers follow you right up to the realization of your goals, and then make the decision on whose application you’ll give a second look.

5. Pray like a Mother! Plug into your source regularly. If you don’t, then you plan to fail without question or effort.

And if you’re anything like me, sometimes a song just kinda solidifies things.

How are you pursuing your dreams? What would you add to this list?


[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]http://dasheenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Blowing-in-the-wind-Bio.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hi there, I’m Tynisha Leon, founder and Editor-in-Chief of DASHEEN magazine — the online destination where culture feeds imagination! I am a cul­tural war­rior first and fore­most; and for me that sim­ply means that I am a light bearer for all things intrin­si­cally cul­tural and Caribbean. If you seek to inno­vate, pro­mote and/or contribute to posi­tioning a Caribbean peo­ple and gen­er­a­tion most positively then link me! Bless! [/author_info] [/author]

Killing Me Softly: Water Vol. 1

It’s no mystery that the body is made up of about 70% water, or that the earth surface is covered by approximately the same. It was newness to learn that at birth, water accounts for almost 80% of an infant baby’s body weight.

So with so much sweet symmetry and divine order surrounding water, the mystery is why I look at this life giving source in any line-up and decide, I can do better all by myself, or with some other beverage.

It is a sad state that I find myself in, because I think I might absolutely detest water. Whenever I am confronted with a glass, it is the slowest race to the finish. If there is a bottle of water that finds its way to my desk, or car, or bag, or couch-side coaster, then it’s there for the long haul; and I am barely, if ever, surprised that any number of days later it’s still untouched.

It doesn’t help that I like to call any liquid libation juice either.

I find myself running for powdered packets to pour, content to be fooled by color and other jazzmatazz that I can’t identify, and really if I want to be honest, don’t make the activity of drinking water any less of a chore.

It is CRAZY my aversion! It is CRAZY that in a world where water can cure so much that ails me—from my many food intolerances, to my ongoing battle with acne and other skin issues, to the less than sexy, but oh so essential regularity dues that I miss so often—I would allow myself to go the co-pay route.

My brave friend Aleesha Nash resolved she would drink water devotedly for 21 days to create a new habit. And, while I cheered her, I also declined her offer to go along on the journey. She is 12 days in and still persevering.

One of my more steadfast blog reads Afrobella wrote about her own water aversions, in her post “Why Am I Breaking Out” and offered up the interesting and attractive assist of the Count Me Healthy Bracelet, which she dubbed a ‘virtual guilt trip.’ I desperately needed to read this when I did, but that was over a month ago and I am still killing me softly.

I am writing this post with some determination to change matters, hence the title. Death or damaged health by way of stupidity, when the solution is so handy and fool-proof, is not my idea of being a brilliant woman who hopes to change the world, by changing her corner of it.

I am fully aware that something has got to give and that I simply need to suck it up if I am going to live long enough to enjoy all these wonderful things I keep conjuring in my mind.

This is not about a day one, new resolution. It is not about waiting for a beautiful trinket on my wrist to arrive in the mail. This is life and death.

And in the interest of life and newness, excuse me while I drink to myself—one (small) cup at a time.

Do you have water challenges? What motivates you in this area? What sort of practical tips can you share?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]http://dasheenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Blowing-in-the-wind-Bio.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hi there, I’m Tynisha Leon, writer, mango-lover, founder and Editor-in-Chief of DASHEEN magazine — the online destination where Culture. Feeds. Imagination! If you seek to inno­vate, pro­mote and/or contribute to posi­tioning a Caribbean peo­ple and gen­er­a­tion most positively then link me! Bless! [/author_info] [/author]

The 3-Year-Itch: Motherhood in the Absence of Desperation

For my 32nd birthday, which was also my 3rd wedding anniversary, my stepdad left a rather detailed message offering instructions on how to procreate. I laughed until I cried. I mean you just had to be there.

And he’s not the only one. The most reserved among friends and family have literally laid bare their prescriptions for success in the bedroom. Now these moments, outside the buffer of a voicemail can be downright cringe-worthy.

I’ve been writing this piece in my head since my 1st anniversary. The title has not changed, only the year. And it took me all of that first year to realize there was a set trajectory in most people’s mind post ‘I do’. First comes love, and then comes marriage, then comes Tynisha pushing a baby carriage.

Well love came and it didn’t come easy, and marriage has been a revelation, which started off minus the bells and whistles. So it comes as no surprise to me that the baby carriage is something of a dream on layaway.

People are vastly concerned or just curious about my motherless state. I suspect it is the same type of curiosity that has folk reaching out to touch a stranger’s pregnant belly. In the past, I always had a ready answer. For starters, my romantic resume was that of a serial dater, who’s favorite word was no, and who was noncommittal about everything. Currently, I am content with the getting to know you process of marriage.

Overall, my unconcern isn’t a matter of time being on my side, but an early recognition of enough opportunities to mother that has nothing to do with a child moving through my selective channel.

You see there’s anywhere from the 11-21 days since my last cycle or the 12-16 days from the next one where if the stars align and we’re in the mood, the earth really does move and life begins anew. And while the thought of this newness keeps me motivated and engaged in the process, it does not by any means make me anxious or even remotely desperate.

Even in writing that, there is a sensitivity factor that I don’t want to leave by the wayside just to make a point. Pregnancy (pre—during—post) for many can be complicated, stressful and nothing short of traumatic for all involved. It is an emotional juggernaut, whether you are young and impressionable, a starry-eyed newlywed, someone who waited, anywhere in between or what have you.

Point Blank: It is hard not to fall into the I-am-a-woman, hence, therefore, thus…my-womanhood-begins-and-ends-at-the-juncture-of-my-thighs.

It doesn’t! At least not for this woman. And while well-intentioned questioning and unsolicited advice can be ok up to a point, the verbal assault (yes after a while that’s what it feels like) and constant need to status-update my not-so-pregnant-life can chip away at a certain sense of self. And that’s when the questions, and not just some organic drumbeat (that I could get into) but this drip-drop of curiosity on a snare, seem to want to seriously rob me of some sanity whenever the lights go out.

In an effort to reclaim myself, and save my husband from being on the receiving end of my mood swings, let it be known that I am ok with not having a child at 32 going on 33. I am even ok with never having a child, although ‘I know that I know’ this is not my destiny.

A voicemail message on my birthday I can handle. What I can no longer receive into my circle, is the pressure of a biological clock set by family, friends or strangers. My joy and great expectation in this life is alive and well. Right now, I choose to celebrate the life that I have been given. Celebrate with me.

Whether you are a mom, or not now, or not at all I’d love to hear your thoughts. Any hard-earned wisdom to share?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]http://dasheenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Blowing-in-the-wind-Bio.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hi there, I’m Tynisha C. Leon, writer, West Indian, mango-lover, founder and editor-in-chief of DASHEEN magazine — the online destination where culture feeds imagination. Join the culture conversations on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr! [/author_info] [/author]

Sunscreen, SPF & Women of Color

My questions to two acclaimed Dermatologists was simple: 1) Do Women of Color need to wear sunscreen? 2) Why?

It was not just idle curiosity. Ten years ago I was suffering. I was an oily girl, with mountains on top of mole hills forming their own island chain on my face, and every aberration in between. It hurt to smile. It hurt to sleep. It hurt to think about anything other than being in someone else’s normal or just manageable skin.

Talk about wanting to escape. I mean, my face was so bad that in a city like New York, where anonymity is worn like the raised collar on a classic trench, virtual strangers would offer advice.

What could I do but smile? Looking back, I wonder now where I ever got the confidence to leave the house, much less have a conversation. But I knew, no matter how dramatic this next sounds—if I did not live, I would die. And strangely enough, the state of my face never affected my relationships or my personal spark. I just faked it until I found a workable solution.

The day I found Dr. Deborah Simmons, between the pages of the The Essence Total Makeover: Body, Beauty, Spirit coffee table book, I knew that no matter the cost (and I imagined she cost a mint) I would seek her out. There was something about her bedside manner that literally called to me.

Thank God that even with a who’s who wall of fame, she did not cost a mint. She also did not promise me the sun and the moon. What she did, was immediately become very invested in my healthy skin care journey.

We initially talked about back home—I discovered she grew up in The Virgin Islands. We talked about her favorite cake—Vienna. She got to know me when doctors of every stripe, as good as they want to be and are, can’t afford anything but a quick minute. And over time, with the simplest of regimens and some samples ( I was a struggling college-student) she got me to a personal happy place with my skin care, which very much included daily applications of sunscreen—A novelty for an oily girl who didn’t even believe in moisturizer until her mid 20’s.

So when I reached out to her to ask the above question, it should not have surprised me that after 4 years of distance, she would pick up the phone and call me, simply because I said I had launched DASHEEN magazine and wanted to talk about Women of Color in the Caribbean and elsewhere who thought sunscreen was a don’t.

Her easy and quick answer to the first part—“They do!”

“It’s important because skin care is in part genetic. There are very few people who can say they are pure anything–ethnically or racially,” Dr. Simmons says. “The [American] Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone uses some kind of sun protection. Particularly if you live in a sunny climate like back home (the Caribbean) then you need a sunscreen. Now darker skinned women of color do not generally need as high an SPF as Caucasians. A 15 [SPF] is adequate, and if fair [skinned], use a 30 [SPF].”

What about the why?

“Your primary concern would be skin cancer, but there is also darkening of the skin and freckling and particularly for those who suffer from hyper-pigmentation and who have acne blemishes, since those areas will be the most prone to darkening.”

So, the threat of skin cancer is real for Women of Color?

“Anyone can get skin cancer,” she warned. “In people of color, the highest incidences of melanoma are in the palms and soles. It is important that people of color check their feet and hands and even fingernails. In fact if you see any changes with your skin that was not there before, you should have it checked out.”

For those who may be more mature, and who may say they have never worn sunscreen before and so why should they do it now.

“Well the environment has changed. There is more ultraviolet light coming through. Whatever the debate is over how much percentage-wise, prevention is always better than cure.”

Growing up where having a Dermatologist on island seemed like a pipe-dream, I love that Dr. Carolyn Merritt is serving all Virgin Islanders and others on the island of St. Croix. It seemed only right that I reach out to her on the recommendation of my mom. And she, as busy as her practice is, left no less than three voice messages in response to my sole attempt to reach her.

I was struck by how closely her and Dr. Simmons’ responses mirrored.

“Sunscreen is recommended to be used by all skin types. And I definitely recommend sunscreen,” says Dr. Merritt. “I think more people should use sunscreen. I recommend a lot of sunscreen for women who have hyper-pigmentation issues. Also for those with Malasma, and if you’re using a product that makes you skin sensitive”

“Our natural protection is the pigment in our skin, but the conditions in the environment have changed and these days the sun is really penetrating to all skin types. So you should definitely use sunscreen.”

Dr. Merritt insisted that as a preventive measure and just a part of a regular checkup, that women “need to be aware of their vitamin D levels.” This was a completely new concept to me, but it is as simple as having this scan added to any blood work already in progress.

Another very real personal issue raised was the tendency for products with higher SPF’s to leave darker skin looking ‘funny’ (Dr. Simmons) or ‘ashen’ (Dr. Merritt) and that is as a result of the titanium dioxide in the ingredient list.

In light of the above, Dr. Simmons recommends the following:

Dr. Merritt also recommends Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch, which she says is “effective at lengthening the effectiveness of sun protection.”

My sincere thanks to Dr. Simmons and Dr. Merritt for taking time out of busy schedules to share their expertise! I can’t wait to try their recommendations.

Do you use sunscreen? Why or why not? If you do, which have you found most effective?


Boy (Piano)

piano corner

Jamaica Kincaid is one of my favorite authors. She is a fist in my gut. There are only three options with JK. Double-over. Die. Deliver. She is the sort of writer in my experience and circle who you either love or not-so-much. She can be (fill in the blank) to some, but to me she is the presence of the plow in my life.

At some point in her own life, she wrote a piece for The New Yorker called “Girl” which later appeared in the keepsake i.e. bedside-table-worthy At the Bottom of the River.

At some point, in lieu of a love letter that might be stamped return to sender, I wrote “Boy (Piano)” and filed it away under internal-monologue-never-to-see-the-light-of-day. But how many know that God is good and he has a sense of humor. Here goes:

Boy (Piano)

    A gon mek you a man. Mark my words.
    A man! Good and sensible and religious.
    A man! You hear me?
    And not like you papi from Sandy Point either.
    Dem puff-out-they-chess ‘Family! Family!’ people.”
    A gon mek you a man a substance.
    A certain quality.
    A like de look a you.
    If a ever have a son, he would do well to copy after you and you ways.
    You look eager and afraid.
    Dat look you giving gon be the start of any lasting relationship.”“Give me you hand.
    See how you lifeline long.
    You and me gon mek some sweet music if you pay close attention.”

    “The piano is a woman. You understand?
    You have a girl? What is it? You ain ready?
    What you shaking you head for?
    What is it Boy? You ain’ sure or worse?
    Well, you gon learn to stroke this one.
    Love her until she give you an ounce a what she holding back fe surer hands.
    Doan worry you head see. We gon start slow.”

    “No! doan sit yet.
    She ain invite you.
    Doan you ever imagine you know this woman like de back a you hand.
    Don’t you dare.
    This ain partnership.
    This here is tug-a-war.

    Sometimes she gon get the best of you.
    Sometimes the reverse. Just ready youself in the meanwhile.
    Believe boy!
    No matter what you hear, say or whisper.
    A promise you, she gon open up real quick when you mek to dismiss her.

    A little provocation never hurt.
    Not a one.
    Show her you mean business.
    Watch how she watch you and move she skirt just so.
    When she stroke you head, that mean lif’ you hand lil higher.
    Let you fingers start another conversation.”

    “Now sit. Keep you back straight.
    Is back-breaking work dis.
    You got to keep up you strength.
    A woman doan want hear excuses.
    All she want know sef you ready.
    You ready? You sure you ready?
    You sure, sure, sure you ready?
    Yes, a like it already.
    Yes Ma’am is right.”

    “I tell you Boy, you got de look about you.”

    “When you come in, settle youself.
    Not fe de long haul, but mek like you gon neva leave.
    Brush you hand ova de lid.
    Remember, you ain’ have no idea where she bin, and you certain you don’ wan know.

    Now lifit up with some purpose.
    You gon propose an agenda.
    You have fe always have a plan.
    Doan ever settle and not know how you gon mek it wuk, at least short-term.”

    “Hit you scales then.
    Me and you know is practice.
    But mek she feel and believe you mean business.
    You a listen?
    ‘Cause whether you know or doan care, she gon embarrass you.
    And doan come wid no pong pong wid one finger.
    Use all five, ten even.
    That’s why the Master give them.”

    “This here.
    This you new religion.”

    “Yes… Yes…
    Head up. Chin up.
    You doan need to stop and look every time.
    She gon always give it to you straight.”

    You like it straight right?
    You doan sound sure.
    Maybe you sure, but you doan sound sure, sure.”

    “You got to be sure.
    A still like the look of you duh.
    Yes. Keep it up.
    You got a load a potential in dem hands.”

Copyright (c) 2010, Tynisha C. Leon


[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]http://dasheenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Blowing-in-the-wind-Bio.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I’m Tynisha C. Leon founder of DASHEEN magazine — the online destination where culture feeds imagination. I am a cul­tural war­rior first and fore­most; and for me that sim­ply means that I am a light bearer for all things intrin­si­cally cul­tural and Caribbean. If you seek to inno­vate, pro­mote and/or contribute to posi­tioning a Caribbean peo­ple and gen­er­a­tion most positively then link me! [/author_info] [/author]