Here’s How Miko Branch Of Miss Jessie’s Balances Self-Care With A Multimillion Dollar Brand
In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.
If you've never heard of Miko and Titi Branch before, I don't believe you.
Surely you've heard of their mastermind project, Miss Jessie's, which seeks to offer amazing products for all those in the natural hair community. Taking the natural hair market by storm in 2004, Miss Jessie's products are a staple in many of our beauty arsenals.
Of course, the first question you probably asked yourself was, "Who is Jessie?" Based around Miko and Titi Branch's paternal grandmother, Miss Jessie Mae Branch, the curly hair products are a true ode to their grandmother Miss Jessie and her mixtures and kitchen concoctions that have brought the brand its current successes.
Today, Miss Jessie's is a multimillion-dollar hair care business that many of us turn to, run by Miko, who has taken on majority responsibility of the company after the passing of her sister. However, Miko carries her sister's energy with her in all she does for the company, including tackling the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. With an Instagram following of over 88,000 users, it's evident that Miss Jessie's has no plans of slowing down — and neither does Miko.
So how does she balance it all on top of being a working mom? Read on to find out.
What is an average day or week like for you?
An average weekday typically involves a lot of work for my hair care company, Miss Jessie's. After building the business from scratch, with my late sister Titi Branch, I find myself continuing to be a student in my business — which requires a lot of my time.
A typical day involves working very closely with my team in-office from 9 am to 5 pm. Once I leave work, I try my best to decompress and let work go. A nice meal usually follows. Spending time with my loved ones has become a priority as I try my best to be happy and healthy.
What do you find to be the most hectic part of your week?
The most hectic part of my week would probably be the beginning. Mondays are usually the most hectic day because everything seems to pile up over the weekend!
How do you push through those busier times of the week?
I attempt to have all emails answered by day's end to stay on top of things. I feel a strong sense of accomplishment if I am able to manage that part of my workload. Prioritizing on every level is the best way for me to push through my workload. If I have a handle on things by mid-week, I feel more energized with the confidence gained from completing work during the first part of the week.
With everything that you do, how do you practice self-care?
My zodiac sign is Virgo, and we tend to very particular about most things. I've learned to extend these natural instincts into my personal life and found that narrowing my circle of friends down to the ones that really love and care about me has helped to create the loving and nurturing environment. This is something that has become part of taking care of myself.
Working on good and positive thoughts has become part of my existence, and it keeps me balanced when situations shift and can get hectic. Doing the things that matter, and doing the things that I really want to do are also ways that I care for myself. I try to get the most sleep that I can, and it's become more important as I take care of my health. A nice bike ride or walk does the trick.
"Working on good and positive thoughts has become part of my existence, and it keeps me balanced when situations shift and can get hectic."
What is your self-care routine?
First, I check-in with myself to make sure I am feeling balanced, harmonious, loved and protected. I try to go to sleep with positive thoughts and wake up with a clear mind. I also try to listen to what I am thinking or feeling.
A morning walk or bike ride is a really nice way to start the day off, then breakfast for nourishment. After work, I will eat something that I really want for dinner and almost always have a piece of chocolate.
I love Zen music and the sound of rain to decompress. But if I am up to it, I will watch something on Netflix. I drift off to sleep very easily these days so hopefully, my thoughts are positive and loving before I retire for the night.
How do you find balance with:
Over the years, I've narrowed my circle of friends down to the ones that have unequivocally let me know that they love and care about me. With my workload being as hectic as it is, they tend to understand so we find the time to do things together when we can. That could include a sleepover, cooking, talking, walking or simply doing the things that we love to do together.
I was fortunate enough to reunite with my first kiss and first boyfriend from the seventh grade. We were 13 and 14 years old. We've become inseparable and do a lot of laughing, cooking, exercising, talking and loving one another. Our friendship has become as equally important as our romance, so we do a lot of compromising to make the time for one another and to support our hectic schedules. We lost so much time after not seeing one another for 27 years so we make the time to be together.
Exercise? Does it happen?
Exercise is something that I truly need to do more of, but it takes a backseat to my business right now. When I get the chance to work out, I love to bike ride on the coastline or go to the gym. But my favorite thing to do is to take a long walk so I could exercise my body and also clear my mind at the same time.
Miss Jessie's LLC
"Over the years, I've narrowed my circle of friends down to the ones that have unequivocally let me know that they love and care about me."
Do you cook or find yourself eating out?
I have been eating much of what my boyfriend cooks, which tends to be very rich and decadent. When we eat out, we typically order all the things that we love which worries me. The good news is that I love fruits and vegetables, and I never tire of eating natural foods. It's important that I incorporate healthy choices as I'm often eating on the run when traveling for business.
Do you ever detox? What does that look like for you?
I actually do detox. For me, detoxing is clearing and removing any and all unwanted toxins in my life and body. I make sure to have positive energy and influences around me, drink water and flush out my system to get rid of any harmful build-up. If I've eaten terribly, it's not uncommon for me to do a natural laxative to help me to rid of unwanted toxins. Sometimes I just try not to eat too much and do a day of liquids in order to flush my system.
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
I have learned to trust and talk to God when I'm feeling uncertain or stuck. I realize that I'm not in control of anything and that everything that has happened or is happening are steps ordered from God. So I've learned to be a better listener, and tune in for his cue and direction on what to do.
The faith that I have tends to alleviate any oncoming anxiety or fear that I may be experiencing. I often have to remind myself, with a smile, that I am loved and protected and I should not worry about a thing.
"I have learned to trust and talk to God when I'm feeling uncertain or stuck. I realize that I'm not in control of anything and that everything that has happened or is happening are steps ordered from God."
What does success mean to you?
Success means freedom - that I am able to do what I want to do, and how I want to do it with a good conscience knowing that I was able to accomplish my goals the right way, positively.
What is something you think others forget when it comes to finding balance?
I think others forget what's important and they lose balance when they focus on things that will not be meaningful should the important things be taken away. Staying aware of what's important will help to give you the balance you need when prioritizing.
To learn more Miko and keep up with her company, follow Miss Jessie's on Instagram!
Featured image by Laretta Houston.
This New Scalp Care Line Is Exactly What Your Wash Days Need
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
DC Young Fly Pays Tribute To His Longtime Partner Jacky Oh After Her Sudden Death: 'You Are The Greatest Mother I Know'
Actor, comedian, and Wild 'N' Out star John "DC Young Fly" Whitfield mourned the loss of his longtime partner and the mother of his three children, Jacklyn "Jacky Oh" Smith, with a heartfelt tribute.
For context, Smith --who rose to fame as a model and participated in the hit comedy game show Wild 'N' Out for five seasons-- tragically passed away on May 31 at the age of 32 in Miami, Florida. Although Smith's official cause of death has yet to be determined, TMZ reported that the entrepreneur was in town to undergo a cosmetic procedure known as a "mommy makeover."
As the news about Smith's passing was officially confirmed by family and on Wild 'N' Out's social media pages, a magnitude of people, from fans to the couple's close friends and colleagues such as B.Simone, Jessie Woo, Vena "Pretty Vee" Excell, Lauren "Lolo" Wood, Odell Beckham Jr., Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, and so many others offered their condolences while honoring the mother of three.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Warner Bros
Two days after Smith's death, Whitfield released a public statement to People magazine thanking everyone for their "well-wishes" and asking for "privacy during this difficult time."
The following week on June 8, Whitfield paid tribute to Smith by sharing a post on Instagram that featured various photos and videos of the pair and their children, daughters Nova Whitfield,6, Nala Whitefield,2, and a son, who was born in July 2022, named Prince Whitfield.
In addition to the upload, Whitfield revealed that he waited a while to post this because he wanted the tragic event "to be a dream." The 31-year-old would add that as the days go by following Smith's passing, he's "reminded of" the reality that she's no longer here, and he wanted to make sure to commemorate her in a "proper manner." Further into the post, Whitfield praised Smith for being the "greatest mother" and human being.
"I wasn't in no rush to post this because I wanted it to be a dream so bad, but every hour, I'm reminded of reality, so I wanna make sure I applaud you in the proper manner,” he said. “You are the GREATEST MOTHER I KNOW your soul was beautiful. You always wanted the best for others, and I admired how our family love each other!!! Never had to worry about our kids loving each other cause you were on top of Dat!!!"
Whitfield would disclose that although he may not understand Smith's untimely passing, however, because he and their family are "God-fearing" people and "grounded by the spirit," they aren't questioning "the higher power" but rather rolling "with the punches," while holding on to their faith during this tragedy.
The Almost Christmas star went on to say that the pair's "strong" children will constantly be reminded of how great of a person Smith was, "especially a great mother."
Whitfield would wrap up the upload by mentioning how much he loved Smith and that, even though everyone is hurting right now, they would be okay because God covers them.
"The QUEEN of my children will always have a spot in my heart and the paradise (You gon get me for Dat but it's true). LOVE YOU FOREVER. Just know we going harder than ever, and GOD is in control, and he got us covered," he stated.
In light of Smith's death, xoNecole takes a look back at her relationship with Whitfield and the love they shared over the years.
DC Young Fly and Jacky Oh's Relationship History
Whitfield and Smith met in 2015 in a hotel lobby while working together at Wild 'N' Out.
At the time, Whitfield became a recurring cast member during the show's seventh season while Smith was one of the Wild 'N' Out girls. Whitfield and Smith would become an item shortly after the season seven taping of Wild 'N' Out wrapped.
In 2016, after dating for a year and a half, the couple welcomed their oldest daughter Nova. In addition to expanding their family, Smith and Whitfield would give fans a closer look into their lives through social media and the model's YouTube page, which instantly became a hit.
Smith and Whitfield would ultimately become couple goals because people enjoyed their honesty, interactions with each other, and their family life.
Jacky Oh On What Makes Her Relationship With DC Young Fly Work
In a 2017 interview with DJ Smallz Eyes, Smith shared that her relationship with Whitfield works reasonably well because they aren't afraid to have an open line of communication and are willing to address any situation head-on.
"I think communication, I know it sounds really cliche, but just communicate with each other. I think getting things off of your chest in a nice, calm way. You don't always have to be confrontational with the person. But letting a person know how you feel about something so they don't carry on doing it for the next three, four, five months, years later on down the line."
Smith added that another factor that plays a part in the couple's relationship being so successful is her selectively picking her battles and choosing to address the situation in a timely manner.
Jacky Oh On The Pair's Humble Beginnings As A Couple
In 2019, during a Q&A session on Smith's YouTube page, the couple opened up about their humble beginnings as they addressed the wild rumors that she was using Whitfield for financial reasons.
While responding to the remarks, Smith clarified that when she met Whitfield, he didn't have money "like that."
"He had no money. It's not like he didn't have any money because he was broke, but he didn't have no money like that," she said.
Following Smith's comments, Whitfield jumped in and said he was "up" $40,000 and still living with family members with the occasional "hotel" stays, to which she interjected and corrected the comedian by saying that the pair were staying at "motels" early on in their relationship.
"We didn't stay at hotels, get it right. We stayed at motels. Talking about hotels, hotels are nice," she stated. "We stayed at motels that the bed stunk... You know I really like love him. Like it was dirty."
Whitfield would add that although they stayed at motels several times, Smith "thugged it out" with him because she loved him. Smith also shared that due to Whitfield rarely being home due to his profession, the couple slept on his sister's couch and his niece's room.
But as Smith and Whitfield's careers took off respectively within the entertainment industry and the beauty world, with the star launching her eyelash and lip gloss brand J Nova Collection, they would ultimately settle down and purchase a home.
Years later, in addition to their professional success, Smith and Whitfield's family would expand even more following the birth of their second daughter Nala Whitfield in 2020 and their son Prince Whitfield last July.
Although it is reported that the couple never married after eight years together, their love seemed stronger than ever, especially following Smith's Mother's Day post back in May, which featured images of the couple and their family.
All of us at xoNecole would like to send our condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy. Rest In Peace, Ms. Jacky Oh!
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Feature image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images