Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guess who Big Chop! My Mom!!

Ladies I'm so thrilled to announce that my Mom is now 100% natural. Just a couple of weeks ago I had to talk her off the ledge because she was debating getting another relaxer. After hearing how excited I was about my kinks and coils she started to get the urge. She big chopped on Sunday, July 25 when she took down her tree braids. Since then she's worn twists and her perfectly round Afro. LOL! I have to post more picture soon!

Take care ladies!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Weight-loss Woes

Last week was a busy and fun week for me. Thursday night was dinner and a play with friends; Friday was happy hour with friends to get the weekend on a good foot; and Saturday was my cousin’s baby shower. Now just in those three days I gained 6lbs which put me back at 138lbs. Just when I broke through my plateau and hit 132lbs a minor set back. The sad part is I knew too much was going on for me in the same week. Now, I could have skipped happy hour but decided not too.

For the next two weeks my focus is getting those sad six pounds off before I head to Atlanta. The plan is to continue brown bagging my lunches and skipping out on the happy hours and diners out. For my work outs, I’m switching up my routine from Jillian Michaels. Yes, I’m giving Jillian a rest. Yes, I still love her and will resume her DVDs in the near future. Besides, I still have two JM DVDs to use. Since this is crunch time for me to get off these six pounds I need to switch up my workouts. By switching up your workouts just to keep your body guessing helps to burn fat faster and consistently.

The fitness DVD for the next two weeks is by the firm: 500 Calorie Workout. This DVD is no joke (mini review). The DVD is an hour of intense cardio and weight training mixed into one. For the life of me I can not master the cardio/aerobic moves because obviously coordination is not my strong point. For this reason, I only used the DVD once and decided to give it another try. Instead of following the cardio moves in the DVD I put together my own cardio routine to do. The weight training circuits I follow and so far so good. At the end of my workouts I’m drenched with sweat from head to toe and I love it. You ladies will be the first to know if I reached my goal by the end of next week. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Weekly Inspiration

“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough!”

-Michael Andretti

My Leave in Conditioner Mix - Kinky Curly Knot Today

Finding the right leave in conditioner was a major task for me. During my search I was transitioning so finding a leave in that worked with both textures was tough. A couple of weeks before my crochet braids I bought Cantu Shea Butter (CSB) leave in based on the rave reviews from other naturals. Since my transitioning hair loved Shea butter I thought this conditioner will work and gave it a try. Before my crochet braids I only used the leave in once and I had great results.

After taking out the crochet braids, naturally I went back to the CSB but with a twist. This time I will use the CSB in my leave in conditioner mix (thanks Kimmytube for the recipe). The mix consisted of CSB, aloe vera juice, cocoa nut oil, and castor oil in order to have a leave in with the right ph balance for my hair. The ph for this mix was a 5 and CSB alone is 6 on the ph scale. After using this mix for two days I was disappointed because the mix left white residue in my hair. Plus my hair was a little dry the next day. So I went back to the mixing board.

The next attempt I used CSB, aloe vera juice, and jojoba oil. Unfortunately, I didn’t test the ph for this mix because I didn’t have my ph strips. This mix was better than the first attempt but not the best. Since I still experienced the white residue I blamed the CSB as the culprit. For the next attempt at perfecting my mix I bought the Kinky Curly Knot Today (KC).

The new mix consists of KC, aloe vera juice, cocoa nut oil, and castor oil. The ph for this mix is 5 on the ph scale. This time it worked and I found my leave in concoction. The next day my hair still felt moisturized, soft, and not greasy. My honey loved the fact that my hair was not greasy. Remember this mix worked on my transitioning hair. Once 100% natural, I was eager to use the mix. The KC worked amazingly on my natural hair and gave definition to my curls. Amazing and exciting!! Again, the next day my hair was very moisturized, soft, and non-greasy. Perfect. Now, I wish it would have given my hair more shine but my trusty cocoa nut oil does the trick every time. Next on my list to try is the Kinky Curly Curling Custard since I had wonderful results with the leave in. Of course I’ll keep you ladies posted!!

New Protective Styles Experimentation

For the past couple of weeks, I've experimented with flat twists as a protective style. The goal is to have a protective style that will last from one wash until the next and gruesome workouts. The crazy part is that I cannot braid or twist. Practice for me is essential because I want to learn how to do more styles for myself. Here is my first attempt at flat twists and a bun which resulted from a massive failed attempt at a flat twist out.

This is the end result of the flat twist out.

Did I mention that I was getting ready for work with minutes before I needed to leave. So I settled for a bun.

To start with my flat twist and bun I sectioned the bottom half and singled twisted.

Next I flat twisted my hair to the back.

This is what the back looked like when finish. With more practice my twist will look neater but since I'm wearing a bun I wasn't concerned.

The end result with my bun I used synthetic braid and wrapped around my ponytail and secured with hair pins.

Front view

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thermal Turban Heat Wrap

On my second wash day since the big chop I used the heat therapy wrap purchased from Curl Mart. Before ordering it online I searched several Sally’s in my area but none had the wrap. The wrap comes in two colors and I opted for the chocolate color. The reason I ordered the wrap is to have freedom to move around while deep conditioning my hair. Another reason is to eliminate time sitting under the dryer because it’s summer time and the heat index in Texas is off the charts. Additionally, the instructions states the wrap can be worn while bathing, showering, relaxing, or cleaning the house.  

The instructions states to heat the wrap in the microwave in 10 second intervals for 8-10 rounds. The wrap has three pockets with Velcro strips to hold the gel packs in place. The gel packs are used to distribute the heat evenly around the wrap. The gel packs can be removed in order to wash the heat wrap when needed.

After the fives round in the microwave, I was skeptical to continue so I stopped there. When I took the wrap out the microwave I was unsure if this wrap will give me the same results as a blow dryer. The instructions also stated the wrap conditions for up to 30 minutes.

Once I put the wrap on quickly I realized that my thoughts were wrong. The wrap was very much heated and I can feel it working the conditioner. The wrap was very easy to use and afforded me the freedom to clean my house. The heat lasted 30 minutes and then started to cool. Afterwards, my hair felt so soft and manageable. I love this wrap and I recommend it to anyone who wants freedom to move around while deep conditioning. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if you can purchase in the store but the shipping with Curl Mart was very fast. Do you have the heat therapy wrap? If so, what were your results?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mom is staying the course!

After my big chop of course the first person I called was my momma. It was the first time the words “I’m 100% Natural” uttered my mouth. Bursting with excitement is an understatement because I finally accomplished my goal and a burden was lifted. After chopping off my hair I felt like a new beginning just started for me. It felt like my hair slate was wiped clean and now I can focus on nothing but growth. 

Right now as you read this post, I’m still in amazement of my naturally curly hair. Like I said before, chemicals have been a part of my life since I was very young. Literally on July 9, I seen my hair for the first time and I was blown away. Now I understand other naturals who bc’d and fell in love with their hair. Or women who bc’d and say they felt free. These were my same feelings. Right now I’m chuckling to myself because the next day when I was running errands my thoughts were “I just want to go home and play in my hair!” Who knew?!

After sharing all my happiness, photos, and feelings with my mom her feelings about her hair soared. In a previous post, I mentioned how she was walking towards the verge of relaxing. Now she is excited about her hair and itching to take out her tree braids and do the big chop. Of course I’m like go for it mom!! She wrote down product names and watched the you-tube sites I recommended for her. She finally visited my blog and fell in love (of course) and asked me “when are you going to make videos”. HUH?! Honestly, I never thought about it and prefer not to be in front of the video camera. HAHAHA!

Now back to enjoying my curls, waves, and kinks!! Till next time ladies…

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekly Inspiration

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:14 (New International Version)

My Big Chop

Excited! That’s how I feel right now. So let me start from the beginning. First of all I’ve been battling with the thought of bc’ing for awhile. In a previous post, I declared that I will continue to transition until next year. Well…..

After a couple of my fellow long term transitioning sisters I communicate with on blogs and through you tube took the plunge, the urge came back. Then the urge subsided again until I took down my crochet braids and really took a good look at my hair. Then the urge came back again so July 5-9 I toggled with the thought because I had so few relaxed ends. I just needed a sign right, RIGHT! So my fellow blogger Robyn  posted she bc’d only after 9 months of transitioning. That was the confirmation I needed because I said what the hell I’m going to take the plunge. Then I went straight home after work and cut away.

Well not really! Actually, I cleaned my house, wrote future blog posts, exercised, walked RJ, talked on the phone, etc… Yup, I was procrastinating. Around 11:30 pm since chopping my hair was still on my mind I just went for it! I mean why not I literally had strands of relax hair left. Seriously, why was I trying to hang on to it for so long?!

To start I section my hair into four then started in the back. For each section I parted smaller sections and cut away. To curl my hair I only needed water and a stroke from my imitation Denman brush. Once my hair curled up I cut it at the demarcation line and repeated for all four sections.

My hair before the big chop

Sectioned my hair into 4 parts then section each part with smaller sections to cut

Up close pic of my curls with only using water and my imitation Denman brush

Look at my curls...I never knew my hair was this curly

All the relax ends are finally gone

Shed hair after detangling my whole head. This is great!!

Back length check - collar bone

Front length check - bottom of my nose

Once complete, I styled my hair in my favorite protective style: the twist and bun.

Banishing Fat Boosting Metabolism

As you know, I’m benefiting from the fitness DVDs and expert advice by Jillian Michaels. The latest DVD purchased, Banish Fat Boosting Metabolism, is another challenging but effective DVD by Jillian. The DVD is loaded with seven circuits of cardio, kickboxing, plyometrics, and stretching moves to help tone and burn fat. This DVD is a must buy to add your fitness collection as a great way to get in cardio at home.

For over a month, I’ve rotated between four of her fitness DVDs. Recently, I reached another plateau and re-evaluated my eating habits and increased my workouts. So far I’ve lost another 2 pounds with just a few to go to reach my goal. The next step is to focus on toning especially my arms and shoulders. Without fail, I workout at home at least four days a week and I must admit trying to squeeze in the 5th is hard. However, I plan to set a goal to workout at least 5 times a week in order to bust through this plateau. Ladies, wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted!

Ziploc Fresh Portions on the Go!

This cute Ziploc container was purchased at Wal-Mart for $2.19. It came with 2 containers. This week chicken salad is for lunch because of pure laziness. This package states the container is great for 100 Calorie side portions.

Chicken salad, wheat thins, grapes, pineapples, and cheese

100 Calorie Portions (suggested on package):
2 cups popcorn
18 mini pretzels
1/3 cup dried apples
2 cups strawberries
3/4 cup fruit cocktail in light syrup
3 ounces law fat cottage cheese and 3 whole wheat crackers

Friday, July 16, 2010

Career Update!

In a previous post I mentioned my job promotion and promised to share details but have yet to do so. Big thanks to Deborah Estelle for keeping me on my toes. Well two months ago I was blessed with a promotion to Operations Manager for the claims department. Currently, I work for a title insurance company and within the past four years I’ve been blessed to receive two promotions. I’m very excited about the position and future opportunities with the company.

As I mentioned before, I had to hit the ground running because there were H.R. issues to deal with. It took about a month to get my department on track to becoming better. There is still a lot of work ahead but I’m up for the challenge. Just in case you are wondering, I started with this company as an administrative assistant working my way through Graduate School. In 2006, I graduated with my MBA Global Management and since then been moving up the corporate ladder. God has truly blessed me and I’m very humble about all my blessings.

Well that’s the long of the short ladies and I’m sorry for the late update. Everyone please have a safe and fun weekend!

I rock ruff and tuff with my afro puff....

Thank Goodness It's Friday ladies! Hopefully, everyone has a fun weekend planned. Jeremy and I are attending a birthday party tomorrow. Any who, I wanted to share some pics with you guys of my first afro puff! Yay!!

By the way, I bought the hair therapy wrap for my deep conditioning treatments. Look for a review next week!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trip to Braid Shops end with Trip to ER


You have to check out this link for the story. On my way to work this morning I was thinking about getting my hair twisted by my braider. I've had the same braider for the last two years and I love her. BUT after reading this story I may take a walk on the "wild" side and try the twists myself.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hair Update!!

The weekend of the 4th I decided to take down my crochet braids since it was an extended weekend for me. Honestly, I will miss the fluff and go the crochet afforded me but I had to take them down. Here in Texas the summers are scorching and the pass couple of weeks we had a lot of rain. Dealing with the heat and the rain with synthetic hair was no fun. Not to mention my curls were getting frizzier and tangled.

Taking out my crochet braids was a very easy process; so easy that I had a little boo-boo. I accidently and cut a portion of my braid. Surprisingly, I didn’t get upset because for next couple months I plan to wear protective styles. Ah it felt so good to wash my hair, scratch and massage my scalp. My hair was truly missed.

Check out my new growth. My braid is about an inch from my scalp!

Here is a picture of the braid I cut on accident. Afterwards, my honey helped me take down the rest of the curly hair. He's a trooper!!

After taking out all my braids my hair felt moisturized from the castor oil and cocoa nut oil used on my scalp. Next I followed my normal wash day routine.

My honey stretched out one of my curls for me and took this picture.

Two months before my crochet braids I did a mini chop because I was having a frustrating week. Since then I've worn protective styles and didn't realize just how much of my relax ends were cut. This is what my hair looked like after shampooing.

Not a lot of relax ends huh. Yeah I thought so too but the plan is to continue my transition until next summer. So what did I do....

        I BIG CHOPPED!

LOL! Excuse the pic it was late at night and I was tired. Stay tuned for more on my big chop. Finally, Naturally Free 2B Me! It feels oh so good!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekly Inspiration

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.

- Maureen Dowd

The importance of PH balance

The importance of ph balance was presented to me when I read Cathy Howse’s (Howse) book. With this knowledge in the back of my mind I went out and bought huge bottles of Kera Care ph balance shampoo (6) and conditioner (4.5). Since starting my healthy hair journey I completed veered away from those products. The reason is because of all the rave reviews on different products from other women with similar hair goals. Needless to say, these bottles went on the back burner for a long time. Now that I’m so far into my transition certain products are not working like they use to. So I’m in an in-between stage with products and to avoid pjism I went back to the basics.

After reviewing Howse book, again, and doing research I decided to revisit ph balance. PH is the measure of how acidic or alkaline a product is. The optimal ph balance for hair is 4.0-5.5 on a scale of 1-14: seven being neutral. All hair falls in range of 4.0-6.0 on the ph scale and is naturally acidic. According to Howse, “shampoos that lather a lot are too alkaline for our hair”. Additionally, alkaline products raise the hair cuticle and goes inside the hair shaft which is a no, no. Shampoos that are specific for damaged, color treated, or chemically treated hair is ideal and usually the correct ph for our hair.

As you know I’m addicted to you tube! During my research period Kim on kimmytube was researching herself on ph balance and the science of hair in general. She too read Howse book and found it very interesting. Kim made a concoction of her own ph balance leave in conditioner that she shared on her channel.

For the last couple of weeks, I put together my own leave in conditioner mix based on kimmaytube method. The measurements I used were not precise but these are the products I used: Cantu Shea butter leave in, aloe vera juice, coconut oil, and castor oil. This mix has a ph balance of 5 and the ph for the cantu Shea butter alone is 6. The results were very soft moisturized hair on the first day but dry on the second. Also, I noticed that the leave in mix left white clumps in my hair. So I went back to the mixing board and will give a review on my new leave in concoction soon. My goal is to have my leave in mix at ph balance of 4. Results on my new mix are coming soon!

Is there anything I can do to get rid of cellulite?

A: No — and that hurts me to say just as much as it hurts you to hear. Cellulite is a matter of age and genetics. It has everything to do with how your skin lies over the layer of adipose fat underneath it — so our best bet for reducing the appearance of cellulite is simply to lower our overall body fat with proper diet and exercise. In addition to reducing body fat, toning the muscles in your problem areas can help a bit by creating a firmer surface for the fat to rest on.

And at the end of the day, remember that nobody's perfect. Even the hottest Hollywood starlet has a little cellulite (at least that's what I read in the tabloids — and those girls still look hot in a bikini). Do what you can to improve how you look, but don't beat yourself up over things you can't control. What's a few dimples, anyway?

--Jillian Michaels

Shoe Haul -

Here are two pair of sandals I just had to share with you guys. They are so sexy and I've received so many compliments. As always, I bought these sandals on with free overnight and return shipping. Both sandals are by designer Michael Antonio which are very, very comfortable and affordable.

You have to check these out on the website. They have gold studs up the back and down the heel. High platform but very comfortable. $57

These sandals were on sale for $26 so this purchase was a no brainer.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How do you encourage someone to stay on the Natural road?

Last night I was talking to my mom and she was really disappointed in her current hair style. After seeing my crochet braids, my mom had tree braids done as her protective style. As you know, my mom and I are both transitioning. Well it seems the braider did a very poor job the second time around. My mom was so frustrated and said “I should just go get a perm and wear my hair.” Of course I responded by saying “Mom you can wear “your hair” without having a perm.” Maybe I’m a little na├»ve because it shocked me that my mom thought she couldn’t wear “her hair” without a relaxer. Well her response to my last statement was “my hair doesn’t like to co-operate with me.” Of course, I told her that it takes a lot practice and finding the right products for her hair.

So my plan of action is to send her an email of different sites for natural and transitioning sisters as encouragement. Hopefully, she doesn’t cave in to the creamy crack. At this point my mom has been transitioning since November 2008 (I think) and I thought she embraced her new growth. Hopefully, I can talk her out of taking the plunge and she continues to transition. She only has a couple of inches of relaxed ends left but of course the shrinkage is stopping her from BC’ing at this time. I totally understand her feelings because I share them. Any help from you guys is greatly appreciated! As always, I’ll keep you posted!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Weekly Inspiration

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear ... "

1 John 4:18

Fighting another weight plateau

Yes, once again I find myself fighting another plateau which cause for a self re-evaluation. Bad eating habits are the culprit this time around. Every week I prepare my meals and brown bag it to work. Except for the last two weeks; I’ve ate out more than usual. Since I’m not dieting, depriving myself food is not an option so if I want chocolate then chocolate it is. However, moderation is the key and I lost focus over the last two weeks. More over, my workout routines stayed the same which caused me not to gain weight or lose it.

The first plan of action is to trim down the number of times I eat out. For instance, last week I had a business lunch and dinner out with a best friend. Next time, I’ll plan dinner with a friend the following week and add an additional day of cardio. Cardio is my secret weapon against the excess pounds and I hate it so. Yes, I hate cardio but it’s necessary for me so I deal with it. The next step is to switch up my workout for muscle confusion in order to keep my body guessing. For example, adding an extra ½ mile to my daily mile run. Then finally I purchased a new cardio DVD by Jillian Michaels “Banish Fat Boost Metabolism”. The review on the DVD is coming soon!

All in all, I love my new body and 13 lbs makes such a BIG difference and I only have 10 more to go for reaching my goal. Several people advised me to stay at my current weight and that I look great. Even though the compliments are pouring in I have to stay focus on my goal and get the last 10 lbs off. For my height, another 10 lbs is ideal and healthy; I just hope my body agrees. Once the last 10 lbs are gone I plan to tone which will lead to weight gain. BUT muscle weight gain is always welcomed by me.

149 lbs January 2010

145lbs February 2010

139lbs March 2010