Back in October, I had the fabulous opportunity to attend the “Natural is… Beautiful” event tin New York City and represent Original Moxie. While I was there I met the amazingly gorgeous and talented Nicole Updegraff. At the event she was selling these FAB tees that sold out soon after the event started. I didn’t get a chance to cop one, but luckily for you and me, Nicole mentioned she wanted to do a giveaway of her shirt with me in the future and now is the time!
To make this giveaway even more special, I’m teaming up with one of my new found bloggers, Curl Rehab! This chica is hilarious! Her tweets on Twitter constantly cracks me up and her weekly “Side eye of the Week” posts are simply hysterical (especially that picture of Mrs. Huxtable!!! This girl is just too much). We’re both going to be offering a t-shirt of Updegraff’s, but in different designs so check the end of this post to find out how you can enter!
Updegraff is not only a designer, but also an author. The married mother of three (soon to be four as she is now preggers), created “I love my Cotton Candy Hair,” written for children ages three to eight and focuses on confidence and self-acceptance. Take a peek at the interview below and find out how you can score TWO of Updegraff’s tee shirts!!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? Do you have another occupation besides your businesses?
I'm a married mother of three, w/ one in the oven, born, raised and residing in Los Angeles, CA. I love good food, good people, and all things artistic! Aside from Cotton Candy Playground, holding down my household pretty much runs my life :).
How long have you been natural?
I've been natural almost 3 years now.
On your website, you offer your apparel and also your book. Which was created first, the apparel line or the book?
The book, "I LOVE my Cotton Candy Hair!" was created first.
Your t-shirts are so cute and are packed with attitude! What was your reasoning for starting the apparel line?
The truth is, I never really planned on an apparel line. It just sort of happened.
I've been dabbling in graphic design as a hobby for a few years and these images were three of my favorites. Back in August Curly Nikki, who I adore, had a meet up in LA. I was so excited for the meet up and wanted to look SUPER cute, so I threw the designs on a few shirts and my friends and I wore them, not to promote a t shirt line, but just to be fly, lol. At the meet up lots of the ladies asked about the shirts, but it wasn't until CN posted pictures from the meet up on her Facebook page that they became something I realized could actually be a part of my business. So many ladies contacted me, inquiring about how/ when they could purchase the shirts that I had to make it happen. This whole thing really has been a great, unexpected blessing!
Do you have a name for your apparel line for women?
What made you start your book, "I LOVE my Cotton Candy Hair!"?
A few years ago, my 3year old daughter came home teary-eyed from a play date, saying she wanted her hair to be "straight and yellow." I assumed that my girls, at some point, would struggle with their hair. I never imagined it would begin so soon! It was heartbreaking. Immediately my husband and I began a search for books about absolute self love and acceptance. The problem is, they are very hard to find for three year olds and even harder for children who look like mine. I never found what I was looking for, but not finding what I wanted didn't stop me from wanting it, it made me want to do something about it; so I wrote and illustrated, "I LOVE my Cotton Candy Hair! A story about loving yourself just the way you are!"
From there I created a children's book series in which every story will focus on self love and acceptance.
I see you have a new book, "A girl named Charlie Presents...So what if I have a boy's Name!" Can you give us a brief description of that book and when it will be available for purchase?
Once I wrote "I LOVE my Cotton Candy Hair!" and saw the impact it had on my daughter, I realized how important it is for children to see themselves reflected in stories and what positive imagery does for their self image. My oldest daughter's name is Charlie. I know that at some point some kid will try to make fun of her name, so this story addresses that. It's about a little girl who never had any negative thoughts about her name until the new kid at school started making fun of it. She comes to realize that it's silly for people to decide that only boys can have some names and only girls can have others, she loves her name and that's all that matters! This story is for those children who have names that may get made fun of. Hopefully it will be released this year!
Besides the release of your new book, I see you have an upcoming new tee design as well. When will "Love your Faith/Express your Faith" be available for purchase?
I am SO excited about this portion of the line!! The designs are subtle but the message is really powerful. It's for those of us who want to say something about our relationship with God but don't have to be all in your face about it. The first of these designs will roll out this spring.
Do you have any other things upcoming projects you'd liked to share with us?
I have a children's stationery line, called Cotton Candy Kids Stationery, that I'm really excited about. I did a mini launch with holiday greeting cards but in the coming months I will do a full launch consisting of note cards, bookmarks, stickers and magnets featuring characters that our children can see themselves in.
Want to enter the giveaway? Well, of course you do! To enter, you must subscribe to my blog as well as Curl Rehab's blog. After that, go over to FaceBook and “Like” Cotton Candy Playground’s FaceBook Fan Page. Then, tell us who/what was most instrumental in encouraging you to embrace your natural hair. This can be someone/something from your childhood, or something more recent! Remember, we are giving away two different designs. If you want to enter for the “Boss” t-shirt, head over to Curl Rehab’s blog and comment over there. If you want the Signature tee I'm wearing, enter here. You can enter for both! Giveaway ends January 22!
I want to thank Nicole for sponsoring this giveaway! I absolutely love her shirt and will rock it with pride. Hopefully who ever will win one will do the same! I also want to thank Curl Rehab for teaming up to do this giveaway with me! Hopefully you guys will enjoy her blog as much as I do! To get a copy of Nicole's book, buy some stationary or some tees, visit http://www.cottoncandyhair.com/#!childrens-books.