Thursday, January 31, 2013

Really?!?

Beyonce Sings the National Anthem at a Super Bowl Press Conference

Okay, I haven't voiced my opinions about this, but what better way to do so than here.

People have been saying that Beyonce lip synced the National Anthem during the inauguration (AND had the audacity to suggest that the President be impeached because of it)....

-_____-

Are you serious? People will nitpick about anything!! Beyonce has been an established artist since around 1998ish (that's about 15 years, in the industry). This woman continues to put out incredible music. I mean, I don't particularly like R&B, but she definitely has a beautiful voice! (If you have not seen her sing 1 + 1 in that dressing room...LOOK IT UP! It is incredible.) She's won numerous awards for the work she's done, etc. etc....what more is there to prove?

I said all that to say...if it were me!! I wouldn't have wasted my time singing the National Anthem for anybody. People know good and well she can sing. I would have politely pointed that out at the press conference and kept it moving! People will make a fuss out of anything, but the fact that this is still making news...with everything else that's going on in this world...is far beyond me!! Actually, there are a lot of things that make headlines these days that are far beyond me...but that's a-whole-nother post, for a-whole-nother day!

What do you guys think?!
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Let's Straighten It Out

Yesterday was my Naturalversary. I was pretty geeked about it, for those of you who don't know! Being reflective about it, I never could have imagined a year ago that I would have a head full of beautiful, thick, healthy natural hair on my head today, but I do!! Last year was a year for the books. I've definitely come out of some things a lot stronger and I definitely feel as if I have a better sense of who I am. I'm confident in who I am. Going through this natural hair journey played a small part in that.

I like to celebrate dates that have meaning to me (birthdays, anniversaries, naturalversaries, etc.). I needed a way to bring this Naturalversary in with a bang. The request was made to straighten my hair, so I was like..."what the heck?!"...lol!

I hadn't had my hair straightened since November (right before I did the big chop). I was very nervous about it. The last time I asked my cosmetologist to straighten it (which was around December) she told me no. She said, and I quote, "I don't want you walking around here looking like a mushroom!". When I went in this time and told her I wanted my hair straightened, she scrunched her face up and said she didn't know about it. This already put me on alarm. The first thing that came to mind was, I'm going to look like a mushroom!! She asked me to pull some strands of hair down (so she could see how long it was) then told me that she thought she could pull it off.

The whole time I'm getting shampooed I'm thinking "oh my goodness" because I was nervous about the length. I also knew that if she straightened it, she would have to trim it too...and I just wasn't ready for that (even though I know it's about that time).

What's funny is, there was a guy in the salon who was so fascinated with my curly afro just the way it was. He didn't think I needed to be at the salon at all right then. He heard me say I wanted it straightened and almost had a conniption. He went on for a good 5 minutes about it. I had to eventually tell him to relax and that it will curl back up!

I get in the chair and she begins the process for my blow out. I can't see anything, because she tries her hardest to keep me from being able to look in mirrors when I'm getting my hair done. She begins to flat iron and I feel each layer as she completes the style. All the other ladies were smiling, saying how much they liked it, and telling her how pretty it was! She completes the style, hands me a mirror and I am completely shocked!!

Finished Product

Of course I love the look. There's something about the straight hair look that draws me in...or maybe I like being able to just wrap it up at night and go!


My attempt at wrapping my hair!
Speaking of wrapping it up...that's a feat within itself! My hair is so flowy and airy that it moves like that wind...making it IMPOSSIBLE to wrap at night. My hair isn't quite long enough to catch on itself when I wrap it, so I had to fight with it just to get it around my head. I had the smart idea to use bobby pins to hold the loose ends up; I then wrapped it with a wrap cap; and put a bonnet on top. Here's that look...and don't laugh, it was much harder than you'd think!

I love, Love, LOVE my hair...in any shape, form, or fashion. I often wonder if I had found this salon when I was still relaxed, would I still be relaxed now? I guess when it's all said it done, things worked out like they did for a reason. I hope to see my hair grow down to my knees (but I don't know who's going to be washing and detangling it because it sure won't be me)!! In all honestly, I'm curious to see how long my hair will get now that the chemicals aren't stunting its growth.

 I'M NATURAL AND I LOVE IT!

I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking about doing it. Each of us travels a different road to becoming natural, but as long as you're committed to it; able and willing to put the time in and be creative, then I think it's well worth the try!!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Do You Know What Today Is? It's My Naturalversary!


This story has been updated! Click here to see what's new!

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My First Year Natural

Do You Know What Today Is? It's My Naturalversary!

Natural air in ponytails at the age of 5On January 30, 2012, I was sitting in the salon getting a relaxer and some fresh color put into my hair. A few weeks later, I decided I wanted to give this natural thing a try. My hair story is not much different from other stories, but since it's my Naturalversary, I'll share it.

Historically speaking, I've never had too many problems with my hair; it's been long and healthy MOST of my life. I can't remember being natural as a kid. I have a hand full of pictures, but my hair was always braided or in ponytails, so I don't know what my natural hair looks like at all.

The earliest memories I have of hair are of my sister and I going to a barber shop to get our relaxers! I remember going through something in middle school with my hair...where I ended up with a mullet-like hairstyle because SOMEbody thought that was a good idea!

After leaving the barber shop we visited a few salons but not regularly so my mom started doing our hair. She would put in bothy my relaxers and color (which was just a rinse). Don't get my wrong, she did a wonderful job...

Healthy, long, relaxed hair

but she's no cosmetologist! She did this for a number of years and we were doing well until August 2008.

The damage done to my edges after a bad relaxerMy prognosis is that we bought an old, expired box of relaxer but that August, whatever the cause, my hair came tumbling down (and off) my head! I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was letting the relaxer sit when I went to scratch my head. I looked down at my fingers and there were strands of hair there. I felt around my hair some more...and more hair was coming out. I was devastated but I tried to stay calm. After I washed the relaxer out, I knew something was wrong. The outlines of the four sections I had my hair parted into had fallen out; so basically, I lost most of my edges and a good chunk of hair in the middle of my head.

Thin hair after getting into a bad relaxerMy best friends were so comforting when I ran to show them this disaster. I did a good job of hiding it, but I needed somebody telling me it didn't look as bad as I knew it did!! All three of them were supportive and that's one reason why I love those ladies! After that mishap my mom told me she was no longer doing my hair and that I needed to start going to a professional. So, in a city where I wasn't too familiar with the hair salons, I had to find somebody to do my hair.

A partial and full sew-inThankfully, a stylist was recommended who did hair for a lot of the college ladies. To make a long story short, I stayed with her for about two and a half years. We started with two different sew-ins. The first one was a half sew-in and the second one was a full sew-in. I was graduating from grad school, so I wanted hair to put my cap on!

Then there was a haircut. At this point there was no sense in trying to hang on to what little bit of hair that was left. And, if I must say so myself, I rocked that style!

Bob hairstyles on my Ruby Red hair cut

My hair grew back beautifully but this is when the cycle begins.

Cut it.


How I styled my bob hair cut


Grow it.

Relaxed hair in the growing stage

Wear it.

Relaxed hair in a long and healthy state.

Then the thinning out would begin:

Thinning relaxed hair

The cycle was vicious. I would mention my thinning hair to my stylist, but I wasn't getting the answers or comfort I needed. I was tired of going through the cycle and as much as I said I would never go natural, it was starting to look like the most viable option for me.

The first person I watched go through this journey was one of my best friends. After seeing what she had to do to her hair every night, I knew going natural was not something I wanted to do or had the patience for. A year into her journey, my thoughts changed. Others close to me started doing it, ladies I didn't know but would see out and about were doing it, and it was really starting to look like a better option for me as my hair was starting to thin out, AGAIN! On top of my hair continuously thinning out, I was very curious to see what my hair looked like natural more than anything.

When I was getting relaxers, I stayed in the salon every two weeks. Weaning myself off the salon was hard, but I stayed out for about...hmm...three months! I did well doing my own hair, but my hair was very long and fighting with the two textures made it even harder to handle.

Hairstyles for transitioning hair

I didn't have the patience and I didn't want to pull all my hair out in the process. Now I was facing the same dilemma, different rules. I needed to find someone who specialized in natural hair and was good at it. There was one salon name that continued to come up, so I figured I would check it out. I went in for a consultation and the rest is history.

Salon styles for transitioning hair

I know it's supposedly cliché to go to the salon to get your natural hair done. Some perks for having natural hair are supposed to be saving money and learning how to do your hair yourself. My goal for going natural is simple. I want healthy hair! My hair isn't that long and it’s not that short so it’s fairly manageable for me to do it but I still don’t have the patience for it!! Additionally, I’m not a cosmetologist. There’s no way I can accomplish some of the styles my cosmetologist creates. I like having someone who knows what they’re doing see my hair every two weeks; I like having somebody who knows what they’re doing answer any questions I might have about my hair; and I like having somebody to just vent to when my hair is not cooperating with me! I do my hair in between the two week visits. That's good enough!

Styles for teeny weeny afros

When I don’t feel like doing my hair, I often get protective styles, which prevent me from having to touch it.


Updo hairstyles for natural hair

Next, was the big chop. This was something else I resisted as much as possible. I've always had long hair, so I was very nervous about cutting off my relaxed ends. Towards the end of my transition, I was getting 2 to 3 inches trimmed off at a time. I was trying to hold on to my hair for the holidays. I told myself I would cut it off before the New Year so I could start afresh. But again, curiosity got the best of me.

My hair after the big chopI couldn't take it any longer and was so ready to see what my hair looked like. I did the big chop on November 13th, 2012 after having transitioned for 41 weeks (or about 10 months). I was more excited than nervous, which was a surprise to me! When I went in the salon that day, my stylist kept asking me if I was ready...I had one little statement of doubt...and before I could finish the sentence, she cut a chunk of hair off so I couldn't change my mind!! Everyone else in the salon was more shocked about my hair cut than I was. That seemed to be the overall consensus of people that know me. They couldn't believe I actually cut my hair.

I want to put this disclaimer out there: the pictures are not in chronological order. My story had a flow, so I stuck the pics in where they fit. The big chop came between doing my hair on my own and my discovery of a good natural hair cosmetologist.

I can say I've definitely learned a lot about my hair and myself this past year. My hair has changed so much that it's even surprised me. I've had excellent support from people who wanted me to go natural before I was considering it and I've appreciated every second of it. I want to give a shout out to you all. I love each and every one of you for being there to listen to me go on and on about my hair! I've got a good 'fro on my head and I can't wait to see how my hair continues to change.

This year, I'm hoping for many changes to take place. I don't have complete control over a lot of the things I want to take place, but my hair is mine!! I have a few hair goals I want to accomplish. To be honest, I'm ready to get some hang time! There's nothing wrong with my hair now, I love it, but I'm used to having long hair and I miss it. I also want to work on learning how to define my curls. With these things in mind, I will become a master of my hair!

January 30, 2012: Me, then

A picture of my hair the day I received my last relaxer

vs.

January 20, 2013: Me, now

Getting my hair straightened after being natural for one year

It's my Naturalversary and one year later, I can honestly say with 100% certainty that my hair is healthy!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole

I tried this recipe last night and gave it two thumbs up. I wouldn't necessarily say it was the quickest, because it's not...lol, but it is pretty tasty.Usually when I bake, I forget to grease the pan, but I didn't this time and I could definitely tell the difference. I had Pam...but I decided to use butter. Although that's not the healthiest alternative, I love butter! I'm not shamed!! :-)

I can say that I found this recipe on Pinterest (Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole), so that already puts me at 2 Pinterest demonstrations this month!

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Pinterest Experiment

I'm not one to just jump on any old bandwagon. When I first heard about Pinterest, I was very skeptical. I thought it was a stupid idea! Reluctantly, I joined in February of last year and since then I've found some pretty good ideas there. (Follow me! My Pinterest)

I tell myself that I need to do more than just pin pins, I actually need to use them. I think I've done a pretty good job of that lately, but I want some accountability. So I've decided to use at least one pin per month. That's definitely undershooting things (because I pin a million pins whenever I visit the sight) but I feel like it will at least get me started with using Pinterest as a resource rather than a time killer.

The other night, I decided to try one of the pins from my DIY – Chores Made Easy board. Every now and then the kitchen sink drains will emit an odor. I cook a lot and I don't use drain covers, so a lot of food gets washed down the drain. Again, with my sensitive nose, I notice smells the average person doesn't. Stinky smells particularly work my nerves. So I tried a pin that's supposed to help freshen the drains with nothing more than baking soda, vinegar, and salt.

The directions called for baking soda and salt to be mixed together, poured down the drain, then followed by hot vinegar. On my first try I dumped the baking soda/salt mixture out without even thinking! This didn't work so well. I tried to move the mixture back and forth over the drain with a spoon to get it all to go down, but it wouldn't go! I thought, maybe pouring the hot vinegar over it will make it go down...NOPE! Lol. Eventually I worked it out after playing with it the whole 15 minutes it had to sit in the drain. I learned my lesson! With the next drain, I spooned the baking soda/salt mixture into the drain, poured the hot vinegar, let it sit (and bubble) for 15 minutes, then I ran hot water for about a minute. That was the proper way to get it done!

Either way, both drains ended up smelling fresher than before so I was happy. Here's the link to this method: Cleaning Drains With Baking Soda & Vinegar
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Monday, January 28, 2013

Ain't Nobody Got Time For That


This quote has become a regular part of my conversations these days. I had to share this with you all. If you have not seen this or heard about it...PLEASE WATCH! It is definitely worth it!!

Whew...now, I can insert this quote in where I see fit!!

ENJOY!!
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Time Check

Well, I got my time down to 15 minutes tonight *hand clap*
A few things though...
  1. I didn't moisturize my parts because I felt my hair is moisturized enough. If it only takes an extra 5 minutes to do that, that's still not bad.
  2. I finger comb the front half of my hair only. The back half is a little more tough to get through with just my fingers...it's definitely more curly and slightly more coarse (but not in a “hard” sense of the word...just a little thicker).
  3. Each night I do this, I shed less and less...that's always a plus!
This is still a work in progress that seems to be getting better with each try!
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Cute Afro

This post is just to show off my curly afro. I've gotten so many compliments on my hair in the past two days, I couldn't help but show it off. I kid you not...every single store I went into (and I've gone into quite a few stores this weekend) I've gotten a compliment. I got my twists down to 9 twists in 20 minutes!! As my cosmetologist would tell me, this is the lazy way to do my natural hair!! But I just don't have it in me on my busy days to spend an hour twisting up hair!!

The difference between this set and my routine set is the size of the twists. Since these parts are much larger than the small twist sections (obviously...lol), there are parts of the hair that won't get the twist effect. This is why the head band is essential. It covers up the sections of hair that aren't crinkly, mainly my edges. When I set my hair in small twists, however, I can wear my hair with a part and throw a flower up there to accessorize! I like this style a little better than the afro puff style because I don't like to have too much empty space around my face. (What I mean when I say this is...I rarely wear my hair straight back. I've always had some type of hair in my face...whether I've parted my hair on the side and swooped my hair over my forehead, bangs, etc...there's always hair around my forehead!). The other day when I had the puff, it was cute, but I felt out of place with the scarf back and away from my face so much. This way, I get the best of both worlds...scarf and afro. (Maybe I should try this look without the scarf. It probably wouldn't look half bad!!)

To get more specific about how I actually did this, let me explain. When I untwist my hair in the morning, I take my fingers and rub the parts away. At night, I can finger part my hair because the parts are basically still there. After doing that, I finger combed my hair as well! That helped save time, but what stole the time back was moisturizing my parts. At this point my hair feels really moisturized and my scalp isn't dry. I feel like I don't need to put anything on it, but I still use the Moisture Butter to “set” the style.

Tonight, I'm going for a quickie! Let's see how fast I can get it done tonight!
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This Hair Thing....

I was reading over my post about the Pan-Fried Tilapia and something crossed my mind. I have a very keen sense of smell and smells tend to resonate with me. As I was cooking, the smell of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil was so strong, it brought back memories. The same oil I was using to cook was the same oil I used to use on my hair!! As I was transitioning, I would watch YouTube videos and read natural hair blogs and it was all the rave to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It was supposed to be better for your hair since it was a “natural oil”.

HA!

This was not the case for me. I used it for a trial period. Shortly after, my face began to break out…BAD! I've never had trouble with acne, ever! All of a sudden, I was having the most trouble with my face. The face washes I usually used weren't working; I tried cleaning my face with rubbing alcohol (which is what I did when I was younger); I tried plain soap…but nothing worked!

Finally, I was told to try Neutrogena's Complete Acne Therapy System.

I was very skeptical since nothing appeared to be working, plus this set was about $23. I thought that was a bit steep seeing as how most of the items in the box were smaller than my regular face washes (which were about $6-8). On top of that, I was told to use Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment along with it.


To make a long story short, I ended up trying the products. I figured "what the heck!?" Eventually, my face cleared up. I don’t know if it was because of the Neutrogena products, genetics, stress, or the fact that I stopped putting OLIVE OIL on my hair!! I was transitioning, so my hair was longer and hanging in and on my face all the time, but to think…OLIVE OIL…that you cook with!!
 
I still use the Neutrogena products, but I'm on my last box. The products last for quite a long time, if used sparingly. This is the last box of products I'll buy because I don't feel that the product is that special, at least not for my continued use. Everybody gives olive oil 2 thumbs up, but I think using products that are actually made for hair works better for my skin, my scalp, and my hair.

The funny part is after I decided to stop using the olive oil on my hair, I had a whole bottle of olive oil (and grapeseed oil) just sitting under my bathroom sink. WASTED!! For a split second I thought, maybe I could cook with it, but after having used it for my hair, I decided that probably wouldn't be the most sanitary option!! LOL.

I know a lot of people still use olive oil, grapeseed oil, and other natural oils. Am I the only one who has had trouble with these oils? How have they worked for you??
Sidenote: I have not been paid for this post. This post is not sponsored by Neutrogena. These thoughts are totally my own...unpaid an honest!

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Some Times...I Just Miss My Hair!


Hair!! Oh how I miss thee...

 
Coming up on that Naturalversary this week!
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Saturday, January 26, 2013

So You Want To Eat Healthy??

Pan-Fried Tilapia!

Since the start of 2013, I've been going to the gym about 3 times a week (on average). My next step is to start eating healthier. This isn't something that was high up on my list of things to do, but I decided to put a little effort into it. It's better to start somewhere than to not start at all!

Here's one of my healthy meals. Pan-Fried Tilapia! For the sides, I had broccoli and cheese Rice, and string beans. It's really fast and easy to cook. I seasoned the tilapia with peppercorn, Old Bay seasoning, and seasoning salt. I then fried the fish in a pan with about a silver dollar size worth (per fish) of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I usually cook this meal with white rice, but I was getting sick of the white rice, so I jazzed it up. The broccoli and cheese rice is Rice-a-roni, so I followed the instructions for that. String beans are string beans...lol...cook as you wish.

After my strenuous workouts, I'm usually ravenous! It feels good to put food into my body that doesn't feel as if I'm counteracting the workout I just did! After my workout today, I feel this meal went straight to my muscles rather than my stomach! I'm monitoring my body to see if I notice any changes, hopefully these meals (plus the exercising) will show me some results!!
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Product Review: Mixed Chicks

Although I've only tried the Mixed Chicks products once, I decided I instantly liked the shampoo and deep conditioner. I liked these two items because they both smelled so good!! They smell like the products my stylist uses at the salon. I felt like the shampoo did a great job of stripping my hair (getting all the product build up out) and I felt like the deep conditioner did what the leave-in conditioner should have done! It left my hair feeling really soft and nourished. I didn't like the leave in conditioner because it stunk! LOL, plain and simple…and I don't feel like it conditioned my hair, any!

I'm not allowing myself to buy any new products until I use all the products I currently have. SO, just for kicks, I went to price the Mixed Chicks products. I've never heard too many people mention these products, but I've seen the name in passing on blog sites a few times. I wanted to see if I could find these products, so I went to three beauty supply stores and was only able to find them at one store, Beauty World.

The shampoo was $15.98 (for a 10 oz bottle)

and the deep conditioner was $13.98 (for only a 8 oz jar).


I have enough products to last me for a long while, so I have plenty of time to think about whether I want to invest in these products or not.
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My C Set




I wanted to show a pic of how I set the afro puff style at night. Last night I used Moisture Butter alone. The Moisture Butter turns my dry and brittle-feeling hair into moisturized and very soft hair!!



These pictures show the "C" shaped twists bobby pinned down. I did 9 twists and just so happened to get the time down to 25 minutes. I'm working on getting that time down to even less minutes than that!!
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Skee-Wee





Today marks the 4th "AKAversary" of my line F.I.O.!! Our ceremony was held on January 25th, 2009 and the world was not ready for us! I've had some pretty good times AKA and I'm interested to see what the future holds for me and her!!

#9 - Quiet Storm
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Snow Day


To my suprise and amazement...it snowed today!!
(...and they actually let us off work early too!!)
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Afro Puff

Afro Puff Trial

This is a play off another style I've done before (flat twist with afro puff). It's been a very busy week, so I haven't had time to do much of anything to my hair. Last night I had to comb out the wash-n-go from the previous day. I hadn't detangled at all, so that was a process in itself.

Here's how I did it:
  • I put Taliah Waajid's The Great Detangler all over my hair
  • I parted my hair into sections, to detangle, then added more of The Great Detangler to each section as I detangled
  • I made 10 sections and twisted each one
  • (Before twisting each section I used EVCO to lock moisture in)
  • I curled each twist into a "C" and bobby pinned each section down
This morning, I put EVCO on my hands and untwisted each section. I ran my fingers through my hair to make the parts disappear. Grabbed a scarf that coordinated with my outfit, put it on my head, wrapped it around my afro puff twice, and made a bow!



I think this style will hold me over until Tuesday (when I go back to the salon)!
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Afro Shot







I know I did a length check post recently, but the second pic I used wasn't a full afro shot! So today I combed my hair out and noted that my afro has grown significantly (and yes one side is longer than the other)!! Just thought I'd share!!

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Woke Up This Morning Looking Like Kunta Kinte!

Nothing against Kunta, but this is definitely not the look I was trying to achieve!! LOL.

Last night I did a wash-n-go that I thought was pretty cute (see post below). I didn't plan to do a wash-n-go but that's how it panned out. Usually when you wash-n-go, you wash and go!! In my case, it was bed time. I tried my best to "preserve" the style, but this is how it turned out.

To preserve the style, I put a bonnet on and went to sleep. When I woke up this morning, my hair was dry AND I had a huge slant in my curl 'fro. There was nothing else to do but fluff my hair out. In doing so, a lot of the curls became frizzy (which defeated the purpose of the wash-n-go). I wanted my defined curls to show more than just an afro look. Don't get me wrong...it doesn't look bad, it just looked better last night. This style was also very dry (even after multiple applications of moisturizer this morning on top of the moisturizer, coconut oil, and gel applied last night). 

When I did this last night, however, I knew I didn't have anywhere to go today, so it's okay that it didn't turn out quite like I wanted it to. I did want to show the outcome since I mentioned being worried about it, so here ya go! Maybe this is a style I should save for the warmer months of the year. Just a thought.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wash and Go

Turns out my scalp wasn't up for another protective style!! I couldn't take it any longer. I was gung ho for not wanting to do my hair every night. A week before I got this protective style I had another protective style in for two whole weeks with no problems. Things just did not want to work out that way this time! Maybe it was because I liked the previous style much better or maybe one week wasn't long enough to let my scalp breathe...whatever the case, I had to turn tonight into a wash night!

As you all know, I'm trying to figure out what kind of products work best for my hair. One of my natural church cohorts is going through this process too and is into finding online samples to try. She was giving away samples and thought I'd like to try some (because I also told her I was still trying to find products that work for my hair).

As cliche' as this might be, I'm not into trying different products. However, I know that in order to find products that work, I have to do just that. Reluctantly, I tried the Mixed Chicks products (only after my church cohort asked me about it...lol...I didn't want her to feel like give me the sample was a waste!).

Usually, I only co-wash my hair whenever I do wash it. Tonight, I thought 'why not shampoo since my hair DOES have gel in it?' The last time I only co-washed after my protective style, I felt like the wash didn't successfully get all the gel out of my hair. I felt as if my hair couldn't grasp the full effect of the styles I was trying to achieve because it was still so grungy. Since the sample included shampoo...I said what the hay!


My routine was as follows:
    "Pre Poo or a Pre Shampoo treatment are applied to dry hair prior to shampooing to increase moisture and strength. Since traditional shampoo is known to be very harsh and stripping to the hair the pre poo treatment is done before you shampoo to combat the feeling of dryness experienced afterwards. A Pre Poo treatment can be made with a blend of oils and conditioner or both."
  • Shampooed twice with Mixed Chicks Shampoo
  • Deep Conditioned with Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner and a conditioning cap
  • Rinsed the deep conditioner out and put in Mixed Chicks Leave-in Conditioner
  • Put Influance’s Moisture Lock with Shea Butter throughout my hair
  • Then locked in the moisture with EVCO
I decided to do something different after this step. I really didn't feel like spending an hour twisting my hair. I was excited that it actually took less time to wash and deep condition my hair than it usually takes to just co-wash it. I also didn't take the time to detangle my hair while it was deep conditioning...so when I tried to comb my through my natural curls, I already knew detangling would not be an option for the night!

I thought my natural curls were very cute, so I decided to try the Wash-N-Go look. I've never tried it before because I wasn't quite sure how to do it, but I figured it couldn't be too hard to figure out. I added one more step which was adding Eco Styler Olive Oil Styling Gel (known as Eco Styler from here on) to hold the curls in place as they were.





I'm not exactly sure how this Wash-N-Go will work seeing as how you usually wash your hair and go (outside of the house...not to bed), but we will see if I can manage to preserve the look through the night without soaking my pillow as my hair continues to dry.
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Accountability

Every couple of months when I have tasks starting to pile up, I feel like things are getting out of control. I'm a person of great organization. If I have too many days in a row of feeling like things are not getting done as they should, I start to feel overwhelmed. When this is the case, it's time to reorganize my schedule.

When looking at my days, I feel they are full enough. I don't ever want my days to be so packed with things to do that I feel like I don't have time for myself. I don't like to feel as if I've wasted time and I definitely don't like to feel as if I could have or should have been doing something else.

To add some accountability to things I want to start implementing in my daily schedule (and to things I want to continue implementing), I'm blogging about it. I'm not saying that starting tomorrow, I will do each and every one of these things daily and keep it up for the rest of my life!!…but I want to work on beginning to incorporate these things into my schedule. These things include:
  1. Drinking three bottles of water (10 oz each) daily!
  2. Working out at least 3 times per week
  3. Praying daily (I slip up some times…lol)
  4. Reading the bible or a devotional daily
  5. Memorize a bible verse each week
  6. Having personal bible study time at least 4 days per week
  7. Find one day and time to devote to couponing per week
  8. Find a budget time (weekly and monthly)
  9. Create a bedtime for myself (let’s start with 12 PM)
  10. Get up in the mornings (at least by 7 AM and out of the house by 8:10 AM, by the latest)
  11. Find quick and healthy snacks and breakfasts (especially)
  12. Take vitamins
Seems and sounds like a lot to add to an already full schedule, but some of the things are already in place, I just need more accountability. Other things just need to have their own carved space and place in my schedule.

I have got to get my organization back as quickly as possible. Knowing that I have put this information out there for masses will help me begin somewhere!
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MLK & Inauguration Day


Today was a great day in history. Our first black president was inaugurated for the second time (well, he was actually officially inaugurated yesterday...but today with all the fanfare) and today is also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


I could go on and on about so many different topics related to these two, but I would just like to honor both of these great men with a big THANK YOU!! All it takes are few great people to inspire a nation and a people and I believe both of these men sparked change in many different ways.



Today, we honor you both!!
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Style

I went to the salon on my regularly scheduled day. As usual, my stylist asks me what I want done. I had a week off from a protective style that I kept in for two weeks. I feel like my hair did an extreme amount of growing during that time. Every time I step foot in that salon, I know she'll ask me what I want done, and each and every time I get there, I NEVER KNOW WHAT I WANT DONE!! Lol.

I was very much tempted to ask her to give me the same style. I know this is taboo, but my hair grew so much! Before Christmas, I asked my stylist to straighten my hair but she told me no because my hair wasn't long enough and would look like a mushroom...LOL. I completely understood. But, with all the growing my hair did in the protective style, I thought if I kept it twisted up and braided up, I would be able to get my hair straightened in no time.

So, because I had no idea how I wanted my hair, I gave my stylist free range on my hair (which is what I normally have to end up doing anyway). She never disappoints. I did at least tell her that I wanted a protective style. This is what she came up with.



I liked the other style better, but this will definitely accomplish what I want accomplished.

My goal for the next time I visit the salon is to get my hair straightened. I'm curious about what my hair looks like straightened, and I want to see how long it is. We'll see if this will become a reality for me.
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Monday, January 14, 2013

Length Check 1

My First Documented Length Check

On the day I did my length check (2nd picture) it'd been 50 weeks since my last relaxer! I probably should have done these more frequently than I have (about 4 times total), but I will attribute my lack of length checks to not being completely natural. When I was transitioning, it was hard to discern my natural hair from my relaxed hair. Now, since I've been completely natural for 9 weeks, I will continue to do length checks from here on out, at least monthly!!


Picture 1
December 21, 2012 = 46 weeks and 4 days natural; 5 weeks and 3 days since the big chop


vs.

Picture 2
January 14, 2013 = 50 weeks natural; 8 weeks and 6 days since the big chop


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Hair Trial #4


Twistout trialThis weekend, I retried the style I said I would use from now on: two strand twists all over with a flat twist in the front middle section of my head. This time I kept the style in from Friday night until Monday morning.

I learned from this trial that if I'm going to keep my hair set over multiple days, I need to moisturize more during those days. I moisturized my scalp with EVCO Sunday night and with Beautiful Textures Moisture Butter (Whipped Curl Creme) that Monday morning, but my hair was still too dry for me. I don't feel like the curls were AS defined as they have been when doing this style so I'm definitely going to have to keep trying it out.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

*Guilty Pleasure Alert*

I LOVE looking at high fashion magazines. I would love to buy the fashion items I see (clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories, etc.), but you don't see fashion like that in "Small City", NC.
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fino (sounds like Nino)

I have a Betta fish. His name is Fino (after my dog Nino Brown - I Miss You!!). I've had my fish since October 2011. He has his own little personality and I enjoy him very much.


When I first got him, I did research to find out information about Betta fish. Betta fish are known for a lot of things. They are freshwater fish who can live in a fish bowl with nothing more than water! I learned Betta fish have stomachs the size of their eye. Some sources say to feed them about 1 or 2 pellets of food anywhere from once a day to once every other day.

I like for my pets to have boundaries but be comfortable at the same time. Some call my pets "spoiled" but I beg to differ. And yes, Fino is only a fish, but you have to be firm with when asserting authority...lol. I bought a .95 ounce container of food when I bought Fino over a year ago. I feed him on a consistent basis, but his portions are so small that his food container is still very full.

I'd say that I overfeed Fino. I do this to account for days/weekends when I'm out of town and for days that I'm so busy with life that I forget to do it!! Still, I had to set some boundaries. I feed him one pellet at a time. I used to feed him 5 pellets, but now he's down to 4. Whenever he's hungry he'll let me know. In the same respect he'll let me know when he's not hungry by not going after the pellet when I drop it or by spitting the pellet out. My rule is...if he spits pellets out, I'm reducing the number of pellets I feed him. That's exactly how he went from getting 5 pellets to 4 pellets. I must admit, there are days when I want to throw that extra pellet in there, but I refrain.

Tonight, Fino spit out a piece of food...SMH...and I've said all this to say! "You're floating on thin ice buddy!! Spit out one more piece of food if you want to! (Just as I say to myself), nobody has time to throw food away these days!"

P.S. - I know his water is low. I was about to clean the tank and figured I would get a shot, since he was posing all pretty like...lol. P.P.S - Other information about Betta fish: Because all they need is water (no oxygen pumps or filters) and they don't have to be fed daily, these fish make great office pets. Betta fish are also known as (Siamese) fighting fish because they are very unfriendly with other fish and it's suggested to be housed in a fish tank by alone (if you catch my drift).
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Manhattan

1

Central Park is beautiful, isn't it??
...and I've been there!!
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Fave Workout Days

Saturdays and Sundays are my favorite days to go to the gym because there are less peepers there. I can concentrate more on what I'm there to do (workout!!) rather than trying to dodge the eyes. I'm just saying....
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Bacon and Cheddar Potato

So...a little while back my sister put me on these things called Bacon and Cheddar Potatoes (from Wendy's). I caught myself buying 2 or 3 of these things a week!! It was getting ridiculous. Wendy's has lost their minds because they don't have a $0.99 menu anymore (actually they do, but the items that used to be up there have magically increased in price). A Bacon Cheddar Potato is almost $3 for ONE!! When you order one of these potatoes...it's usually very messy, not done right, missing something, etc.! So one of my coworkers suggested I make my own potatoes.

Of course I looked up a "recipe" (per se) online to figure out the best way to bake a potato and I found a way that works for me. I altered this recipe too. I coat the potato with oil but I don't put salt on it (I don't eat the skin so there's no need to salt it). I leave the potatoes in the oven for an hour (I usually don't turn them halfway through, but maybe I should start). After I take the potato out of the oven, I split it into four sections, salt and pepper it, butter it, then place cheese all over it. I then put the potato in the microwave to further melt the cheese. After that's done, I top it with bacon.

I love this snack and it usually will hold hunger back long enough for me to get some real food!

Give it a try!

How To Bake A Potato
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Friday, January 11, 2013

Another Hairstyle

Today's hairstyle was a variation on yesterday's hairstyle!! That means, no prep for the night...YES...lol! I went through the same steps as last night to get ready for bed.


(I moisturized my hair with Influance’s Moisture Lock with Shea ButterI did not do this in sections. I parted off a small section of hair from ear to ear and flat twisted this section of hair. I took a small scarf/long piece of fabric and tightened it around the back part of my hair. I then pinned the end of the flat twist back into my afro puff)

The only difference is I took the scarf/headband/long piece of fabric off this morning and puffed my 'fro out! I'm really liking this look, but I don't want to fall back into the rut of not twisting my hair before bed. My stylist told me the best way to help develop my curl pattern is to do something with your hair at night (whether it's twisting, braiding, bantu knotting, whatever!!). Don't just tie up the afro and sleep on it! When I first big chopped, there was a-many-a-night I went to bed with my 'fro out. I'm definitely trying to do better since I want my hair to get some definition about its-self!!

Here's to another style for my go-to list!!
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pork Chops in Country Onion Gravy

Another food item I love, along with cheese and broccoli, is ONIONS!!

I finally found a place that sells some pretty decently priced meats. I don't like buying meat in bulk. There are a few reasons for this: 1. I only cook for myself and 2. I prefer cooking fresh meat. I don't like buying meat in bulk, separating it, then storing it in the freezer (for who knows how long). When I cook, I like to be able to eat off the meal for about 2 days at the most. I'm not a big fan of leftovers, so I'm not trying to eat off one meal for a week! My dilemma is that most items in the grocery store are packaged for families, but I always keep an eye out for good single serving sized items.

I bought pork chops for the first time in ages. I'm very particular about my pork chops! Since I found these chops, I wanted to go on and cook 'em up! I'm trying my best not to fry foods and I've never cooked pork chops any other way, so I had to search my files of saved recipes to find this recipe on the Betty Crocker website.

Of course, as I did with the Chicken and Broccoli Bake, I changed the recipe up a bit. I used beef gravy instead of beef broth. Since the gravy was already thick, I didn't have to add flour and milk, so I eliminated those ingredients.

This was a quick meal as well. Unfortunately, I have no picture. I cooked Loaded Scalloped Potatoes on the side and was going to cook a vegetable but never got around to it. I ate a plate before I went to the gym and I was intending to eat a plate after the gym. I got caught up in the TV series Scandal and with playing with my *Christmas gift* so I never got around to cooking or eating leftovers!! Instead, I ate a bowl of cereal...lol.

But today, I ate the rest as leftovers...very yummy! Give it a try!!

Pork Chops in Country Onion Gravy
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The Year of Saving!

I run across a number of things on the Internet each day. Today I ran across a articles that had tips for saving money. I see these articles often, but whenever I see things I feel I can actually apply to my life, I like to remember them. Blogging about them is the perfect way to do that!!

Here's what I found:
  1. Cut old t-shirts up into rags/towels. Use them to do cleaning around the house.
  2. Cut dryer sheets in half. This way they'll last twice as long!
  3. Use Groupon, Living Social, & Bloomspot. These websites offer up to 80% off trips to restaurants, movie tickets, and other fun activities for a night out on the town.
  4. Check for cable benefits. There are some cable companies who have customer loyalty benefits; which can be something as small as not charging for the cable box rental fee. I'm sure Suddenlink isn't one of these companies, but it won't hurt to ask. If you don't ask, the answer is always no!
  5. If your car is worth less than $2000, drop collision and comprehensive coverage. The reasoning behind this is, if you were to get into an accident, the amount of money you'd get back would be significantly less than the sum of the amount you've been paying during monthly payments. I don't know how comfortable I am with this one quite yet, but it's an option.
  6. Use the dishwasher instead of hand washing dishes. I don't exactly know how comfortable I am with this one either. The idea behind this is, first, make sure the dishwasher is full and don't use the heated drying option. Here is where my dilemma lies. It takes me a while to get a full load of dirty dishes. I use paper plates, utensils, and cups. The only things that sit in my sink are pots and pans, so what am I to do in the mean time?! I don't know if you guys know this, but dishes with food on them STINK!! To avoid having stinky dishes sitting around, I'll be doing just as well to go on and hand wash the dishes.
As I said, these are all options to consider moving forward this year. I took it as a sign when I saw more than one article about saving money, so I will take heed and try to implement new ways into my already existing budgeting projects.

Wish me luck!
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New Hairstyle

Flat Twist & Afro Puff

Wednesday night is a very busy night for me. On these nights, I DO NOT feel like doing hair!! Tonight, I decided to stand in front of the mirror and play with my hair until I found a style that required little to no manipulation!

A low manipulation natural hairstyle incorporating a flat twist and an afro puff.Close up of the flat twist and afro puff!

It was a success. I came up with this style after about 15 to 20 minutes. This style is easy to accomplish. I moisturized my hair with Influance's Moisture Lock with Shea Butter. I didn't separate it into sections I just moisturized it in bulk. 


I parted off a small section of hair from ear to ear and flat twisted this front section of hair.

{This type of twist is affectionately called the "Rasheeda Braid". After watching a season of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, Rasheeda (a rapper on the show) was seen rocking this braid a time or two! I tried it one day and loved it. It's donned the name 'Rasheeda Braid' ever since!}

I took a small scarf/headband/long piece of fabric and tightened it around the back part of my hair. I then pinned the end of the flat twist back into my afro puff...and that was it! It took all of 5 minutes to do the next morning!!

This style will definitely be going down on my list of go-to styles!


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