Thursday, April 29, 2010

Weekly Inspiration

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

--Colossians 3:2

Ask the Expert

Staying On Track During Vacation

Q: I've been really good about my workouts and eating right, but I'm about to go on vacation with my family. I want to have fun and not be too strict, but I don't want to fall off the wagon completely! What do you suggest?

A: Here's what I suggest — EXERCISE! Even if you overindulge a little, you will stave off weight gain by exercising daily. Second, I would say that you should eat the foods you want, but in moderation. Have a bite of the cheesecake, but don’t eat the whole slice. Be smart about your indulgences: Don’t waste your calories. For example, instead of having a margarita by the pool, opt for a white wine spritzer or a light beer. Frozen margaritas have a whopping 700 calories. Think of your calories as an allowance. Save on calories where you can, and spend them on things that are really worth it, like chocolate!

H&M Haul

Last month I stopped at H&M while in Atlanta. Unfortunately, H&M does not have a location in Texas but hopefully soon. Check out my great buys!!

As you can see I took these pictures in the hotel room. I was so excited! My shopping was limited due to lack of space in my suit case.

The yellowish green dress I wore in the "My New Hair" post. I received so many compliments that day on my hair and style.
I could not resist this cute cropped jacket for the fall. Plus it was on sale which made it a must have.

Is there such a thing?

…pain free shoes. Yes, here is an article giving tips on how to pick pain free shoes. Spring is here and the Summer is near and these are the seasons we pull out the best of the best in our arsenal. Ladies we do not have to sacrifice comfort for style; we just need to know how to make the best choice. Happy shoe shopping!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekly Inspiration

No great man ever complains of want of opportunities.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

My new hair!

After searching high and low, browsing many you tube channels, and scouring the net for ideas I finally got my summer do. This new style is inspired by AFRICANEXPORT (AE). A couple of months ago I ran across her channel and fell in love. She sported crochet braids as a protective style for her natural tresses. Also, she was so nice to answer my questions I had about the braids. This sister keeps it real so check her out.

For this style I used Freetress Bulk Water Wave and Presto Curl. The hair was so pretty from first glance while in the package. The pictures do no justice and I knew this hair was perfect for this style. As mentioned before, I’m not hair style savvy so I paid $50 for the braids. I love my braid stylist because she does a wonderful job. She has never complained to me when I’ve asked her to take down and re-braid when I felt too much tension. Yes, I politely ask her to take down a braid and re-do it because it’s my hair and I want my edges. I’m lucky to know her and she’s the only person I trust to braid my hair.

Now, my first reaction when I looked in the mirror was “Whoa that’s a lot of hair!” Immediately, I told my stylist to take a lot of the bulk out. When I see sistas sporting the “big hair” it is so beautiful but to see big hair on me was very different. Of course, I complained to Jeremy and I was contemplating taking the hair out. He listened to me complain about my hair for at least 20 minutes. Honestly, I was worried about what others will think and the attention my hair will attract. At times, I am shy and very, very reserved but those who know me may disagree. When he seen me he said “you are beautiful” and instantly my self doubts started to melt away. He loved the fullness, the volume, and my curls. He is so great!!

Still a little apprehensive about my new style I went to you tube and check out AE’s video on cutting the braids. Off to the bathroom for styling I went and praying for a miracle. The next morning…I fell in love with my hair. Having big hair is totally different and definitely falls outside of “normal” for me. Despite earlier doubts, I felt fierce at work. Co-workers and my boss all love the curly look on me.

The main reason for this style is to get a preview of what’s to come once I’m fully natural. Choosing the crochet braids as a protective style was a good decision and I have no regrets.

Tell me what you think and check out AE and subscribe. Till next time…

Windblown hair

Ask the expert

With Jillian Michaels

Setting Goals

You can't achieve success if you're not moving toward something. Think about your ultimate long-term goal, and then break it down into less overwhelming mini-goals. Then find some incentives to help you stay the course. What kinds of goals am I talking about? The ambitious and attainable ones.

First: Think long and hard about what you want. Make sure your goals are actually things you want to achieve, not what society dictates or what your family or friends want for you. Ultimately your life is yours and you must live it for yourself. I know you might be thinking that's selfish, but so what? Sometimes being a little selfish is a good thing, especially if it enables you to take care of yourself.

Second: Remember, goals are not inflexible roadblocks meant to make you feel badly about yourself. If you don't accomplish a goal exactly on schedule, so what? You can't predict what life is going to throw your way — but you CAN choose the way you react to situations that come up. That is where your power lies. If you fall off the wagon, just get back on — no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Third: We all have to be realistic when we set our goals. I'm 5 feet 2 inches, and I have a stocky build. I am never going to be a petite little waif, no matter how hard I work. I also want to make a difference in the world, but something tells me I probably don't stand a good chance of running for president. Instead, I set goals that are realistic and productive. I am 5 feet 2 and stocky, but I am going to be the most fit 5-feet-2 muscle chick I can. I might not be president, but I can teach people how to be healthier and happier through fitness.

Make sense? The bottom line is that goals provide direction. They help bring a focus to our lives so that we can live our dreams — no matter how big or how small they may be.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekly Inspiration

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely”

-Carl Gustay Jung

Do I have to accept the Frizz?

This is a question I wonder if other naturals or transitioners have asked themselves. I found myself one morning constantly brushing my edges trying to achieve the “smooth” look for my pony tail. Then I had a realization. First, I needed to stop brushing my edges so much because I can cause damage. Secondly, my new growth is really wavy when brushed back so I need to work with my hair not against it.

That morning I used my aloe vera gel and my jam for my edges and frizz was still the result. At that moment the question “do I have to accept the frizz” popped in my head. I’ve seen so many videos of other naturals wearing pony tails with out the frizz around their edges. Once again I have to learn to perfect another, very simple when relaxed, task for my transitioning hair.

That night once I got home and moisturized my hair I decided to tackle the beast instead of waiting until the next morning. I used my aloe vera gel and jam to lay down my edges and battle the frizz. Next I added my Elasta QP mango butter brushed my hair back in my ponytail and put on my scarf. The next morning my problem was solved. By adding the mango butter to my technique helped to lay my hair down to my desire.

I’m so happy this worked for me because I was starting to feel tired of dealing with my new growth. Now my spirits are lifted and I’m continuing my journey to Natural Hair. I must admit the first 6 months was a breeze, so to speak. Now that I have entered my 13th month and counting I’m starting to run into more challenges. So to answer my own question: No, I do not have to accept the frizz.

Club 10 - Month 1

This week starts week 2 in the second month of the Club 10  competition. The last 5 weeks were an amazing success. Finally, I broke through my plateau and on my way to my ideal weight. Club 10 provided accountability which is what I needed to break through: discipline, sticking to healthy eating habits, and switching up my routine helped as well. My final weigh in for Club 10 March results was 136lbs. YES!! My pants are literally falling off and I actually have to wear a belt to hold them up.

Reluctantly, I’m holding back from buying a new wardrobe. The idea is to wait until I reach my ideal weight and then shop. So in the meantime I’m going to buy a basic brown and black belt to wear with my slacks. Pictures coming soon!

Newest addition to the family

Introducing Charles by Charles David Women’s Foxxy Sandal

Launched in January 2004, the Charles by Charles David line is designed for the woman who demands fashion and style at an appealing price.

I have already worn these sexy babies...many, many compliements. A must have to your shoe wardrobe.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sometimes all it takes is 1

Last night Jeremy and I were talking about hair. The conversation started out with him telling me how his sister explained to him the dynamics of our hair oppose to our Caucasian brothers and sisters. It seems his niece wants to wear her beautiful, mid-back length, hair down to school this week but her mom said no. The conversation evolved into talking about the movie “Good Hair”. He finally had the chance to watch the movie and called it “informative”.

While typing I chuckle because he said the movie answered a lot of unanswered questions about old girlfriend’s behavior. For instance, he could never understand why his ex-girlfriends will never get in the pool or go near water. Of course I explained our reasoning further so he can understand completely. Then we talked about other aspects of the movie and our viewpoints.

When the movie first premiered of course I went to my favorite hair care boards to see my fellow sister’s reactions. The reactions were split; some women liked the movie and others thought it “sucked”. Since I viewed the movie from a “transitioner’s” eye my thoughts fell in the middle. Just my opinion, the movie did not have an equal balance of relaxed and natural sisters portrayed. To see natural sisters representing their tresses after receiving all the information on relaxers and weaves would have made the movie better. Again this is my opinion. However, I do not despised Chris Rock and actually applaud his efforts for at least exploring the “phenomenon” of black women hair in order to encourage his daughter to love her hair.

Jeremy actually liked the movie. As mentioned before the movie provided a lot of “Ah Ha” moments for him (chuckles). Overall, in his words, after watching the movie he was hype and proud to have a natural sister on his arm. For second I was stunned and asked “Are you talking about me?” Silly me, I know. Of course his response was “yes, you!” The movie made him realize how hard it is to go against the norm (being relaxed) and rock your natural glory and just be you. The fact that I’m transitioning, or natural as he calls it, takes lots of courage on my part and speaks volumes in his eyes.

The excitement in his voice almost made me cry. Jeremy has always supported my decision from the beginning; but to have him more excited than I am is just icing on the cake. Now, I feel even more inspired to stay the course; sometimes all it takes is one person to give the extra push.

Just when I thought he couldn’t give me another reason to love him; he does.

This is month 4 into my transition. Flat iron to trim my ends then used my caruo for curls.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Weekly Inspiration

“Don’t compromise yourself; once you begin doing that, you will begin losing yourself.”

-Al Pacino


A couple of weeks ago I purchased Shea butter from the Organic Shea Butter Company at my local Walgreens. This is my first time buying Shea butter and making my own shea butter mix. Since I have 4 inches of NG I needed a moisturizer that will work both for my NG and relaxed ends. To start, I purchased the 4oz container, $9.99, simply because of the unknown. If the Shea butter works well on my hair I will invest in a bigger container.

Shea Butter Mix

These are the steps I used for my mix. After watching several you tube videos I gathered there is not a wrong way for mixing.

1. melted Shea butter in microwave, 2 minutes
2. added oils – grape seed, castor oil, EVCO, Shea butter oil, vitamin E
           a. at this point I moisturized my hair while the mix was still in liquid form
3. refrigerated overnight
4. let stand for a couple hours


The style of choice was a braid out on dry hair after cleansing my scalp. Unfortunately, I did not have the extra time for my normal wash day routine. For a leave in I used Neutrogena Triple Moisture and moisturized with my Shea butter mix. Then lightly saturated my hair with water and braided. Additional oils to seal in the moisture were not used because I simply did not feel a need for it at the time. The next day, a Friday, I wore my Tia lace front wig to work with my hair still braided for my Saturday event.


Beautiful curls! The results were gorgeous and I loved my hair. Honestly, I planned to wear a pin up or curly pony tail because my braid outs have been off key lately. Instead I wore my hair down and Jeremy loved my hair as well (additional bonus). This is the first braid out since my mini chop which I believe contributed the success. The mini chop eliminated a lot of thin relax ends that allowed my curls to look more uniformed. Let’s talk about moisture. My hair was oh so moisturized that I did not need to add more Shea butter to my hair the next day. The curls lasted all day and night and the dull look was totally eliminated. Even though I’m thrilled with the results I plan to use Shea butter more before making it a staple product. The pictures below in my opinion are not very clear. Unfortunately, I could not find my digital camera for better results. Now I just need to learn how to get second, third, and fourth day hair with my braid outs while working out.

Ask the Expert

As promised here is the first of mini tips I will share with you from Jillian Michaels...

Dealing With Weight-Loss Plateaus
Jillian Michaels

Q: How can I bust through a weight-loss plateau? I've been working really hard and have been having success; however, the scale hasn't budged for the past two and a half weeks.

A: Let me just tell you this, a weight-loss plateau is an integral part of weight loss. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED! It is your body's way of protecting you for survival purposes. The weight-loss plateau occurs because your body thinks there is a famine and has slowed your metabolism in order to conserve calories. This will happen periodically throughout your weight-loss odyssey.

That said, a plateau will usually break on its own after about three weeks, but here are several ways to help get your metabolism back on track quickly!

Exercise Tips

1. Variety: Often we fall into an exercise routine — meaning that we do the same workout regimen for weeks at a time. Think of it like this: if you do 10 push-ups after not working out for months, you will be sore, but if you do 10 push-ups a day for 10 days in a row, you will no longer be sore. This is because your body adapts to your exercise program, and as it adapts, the workout becomes less challenging — and, unfortunately, less effective.

The solution is variety. You have to mix up your exercise routine in order to consistently shock your system. Here are a few different ways to mix up your workout:

Alternate the weight — one week lift heavy, and the next week lift light.

Change the number of repetitions. This usually goes hand in hand with the amount of weight you are lifting: one week heavy weights, low reps; the next week light weights, high reps.

Change the exercise: One week do a chest press, the next week a chest fly, and the next week push-ups.

2. Intensity: The best way to speed up your metabolism is to boost the intensity of your training. By picking up the intensity, you'll burn more calories, challenge your body, and literally force your metabolism to burn a little brighter because of all the energy your body needs to complete your exercise regimen.

Food Tips

1. Eat more: Ninety percent of the time plateaus are caused by your body's survival mechanism of protecting against famine, which is triggered by calorie reduction. The best way to fix this quickly is to give your body a little more food so it feels secure. Varying your calorie intake is my best advice for keeping your body from plateauing: For the next three days vary your calorie intake between 1,800 and 2,400 calories. I know this may sound crazy, but trust me...I know what I'm doing. Then, after three days, drop back down to the calorie allowance that I have set for you through this program.

2. Reduce your sodium and DRINK LOTS OF WATER: Keep your sodium under 1,500 mg a day at most for as long as you can manage. You can achieve this in part by cutting all processed food out of your diet for two weeks.

I promise you that if you follow these tips to the letter, your plateau will be shattered by the end of week 2!

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