Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Saga Continues...

I am 17 months post relaxer and it is crazy.  Since I took a little break from working out, I decided to also take a break from doing my hair.  I have been getting it straightened for the past couple of months.  I forgot how simple straight hair made my life.  I literally wrap and go.

But my donut (flabby stomach) is starting to return and I am going to have to go back to the basement to get my body right and tight again.  That means that paying all of that money for a fabulous flat iron will be useless.  I've been thinking long and hard about this. I've decided that if/when I return to exercising, I will continue to go to my current stylist.  However, I will only let her wash and blow dry my hair.  Maybe I'll co-wash it in between visits.  That should cut down on the time it takes to do my hair on wash days.

Since I wasn't obsessing over my hair, I passed the summer by reading.  Here are some of the highlights.

Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness by Toure:  From the title of this non-fiction book I thought he was going to rant about how America has really become a color-blind society. I was wrong. I loved this book because to Toure, post-blackness means limitless. It means that BlackAmericans should drop the phrase, "Black people don't do that."  Gone are the days when we had to feel restricted because of our race. That does not mean that racism does not exist, but it means that we don't have to let our race or racism keep us from accomplishing things outside of what is expected of black people.  Toure used stories from his past as well as some other Black Americans to get his point across.

Room by Emma Donaghue:  This is a fictional story of a kidnapped woman and her five-year-old son.  What made this book so interesting is that the boy is the narrator. I thought it was going to be annoying to hear this story from his perspective, but he made it very intriguing.  He didn't have the influence of experience. All he had was that room and his imagination.  He made me realize that you really can't miss something that you've never had. With that said, the boy and his mother go on a frightening, emotional and thrilling journey to find their version of freedom.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:  I loved this book.  If you are news junkie, the best way I can describe this story is a mix of the Lacy Peterson and Casey Anthony stories on crack!!  In this thriller, a wife disappears.  Through the search for her, we learn about her husband's dirty secrets, her crazy secrets and why so many marriages fail.  At the end of this book, I found myself saying do I really know my husband? Does he really know me?  Of course the answer to both questions is least I think it is.

Up next for me is a book called Swamplandia by Karen Russell

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wrapping & Reading

Since I nearly had my scalp burned off to get my hair straight, I decided to rock it for two weeks.  The back is silky straight, the front is poofy (lol) thanks to exericising (yes, I'm back on track..kind of). I create a decent style by rolling and tucking the front and leaving the back out. I'm learning to work with what I have. At night, I seal my ends with some aragon oil and wrap my hair.

That leads me to the point of this post.  Since I haven't been obsessing over my tresses, I've had time to pick up a book... or three. I got sucked into all the hype surrounding the "Fifty Shades" books.

I needed something simple just to get me back into the groove of reading. "Fifty Shades of Grey," "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed" were just what the doctor ordered. I read all three books, in about four days. I am not a fast reader.  The books are just that simple.  They are dripping with erotica, grammar errors, typos (like my blogs) and plain old fashion  fantasy.

It's the same old story. Powerful man falls for unlikely girl, who could be pretty if someone spruced her up.  The twist is that the powerful man is a FREAK, but that's not what pulled me through the book.  It was the fantasy.  The idea that a man would pick the girl no one really sees and protect and love her.

The first book does a good job of holding fast to that fantasy.  The second and third books really reveal the authors inexperience with plot and character depth. To me it read like this, "Happy sex, punishing sex, OBSTACLE (repeat)."  I literally skipped through the steamy scenes just to see if my predictions about what would happen at the next "obstacle" were correct.  I'd say nine out of ten times, I was right.

The odd thing was that in my mind the lead male character had a British accent that I couldn't shake, even though the story is set in the U.S. Once I read about the author I understood why.  She's British. LOL!

 EL James never claimed to be Toni Morrison or Jane Austen.  These are her first books. It was her dream to be a writer and she did it!.  She self published these books, they caught fire and now she's inked a movie licensing deal worth millions.

I tell you... dreams really do come true.

So.. if you're stuck in a rut, a plane or a car,  these books will help you out.  Just don't open the book expecting Pulitzer Prize winning writing because it's not there.

The next book on my list is Toure's, "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?"

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm Straight!

I got my hair straightened over the weekend. My hair was duurrtay! and I didn't have time to wash and style it myself.  The hubby and I didn't want to waste a second of our two day weekend together, so I headed to a shop to get it done.

Here's what it looked like:

But oh Lord, did that woman burn my head. I mean she got my scalp a COUPLE of times. I hope there was no permanent damage and I'll be interested to see if my roots coil up anymore. I have a sneaking suspicion I won't have to worry about my new growth trying to lock anymore. OMG!  She was still trying to "work it out" when I told her, "It's straight enough."

It wasn't all bad though. She washed and detangled my hair like a champ. Unlike another shop I went to, she did not charge extra for deep conditioning and she did everything: washed, detangled and styled. I didn't have three different people in my head.

  If I ever run into another situation where I don't have the time to tackle my hair, I will return to her for a BLOW OUT. She shall not come close to my head with any other heat tool again.  She was also very nice and accommodating, so I don't want to totally diss her.

My hair was a bit longer than a I expected. When I go visit my Mom in Chicago in the coming months, I'll probably get about two inches cut off.  Don't get me wrong, I love length, but I'm trying to grow out a relaxer here. I can't keep holding onto those ends. Detangling is a beast!

I've come to the end of the roller setting challenge and I'm a bit sad. So I will just unofficially be in Ebony's banging and swanging challenge. Lord knows, I need all the inspiration I can get. I have fallen off the exercise wagon hard.. HARD I tell you.

*Update* I did plyometrics with the husband this morning.  The front of my hair is all kinds of puffy.  I've never been so happy to see it that way:-)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gold Medal

If there was a gold medal awarded for fun, my mother and I definitely would have won it during our long weekend of fun this Memorial Day!

We ate well, drank well, played well and laughed just a bit too much. I always enjoy her visits.
Here's a look at some of the things that we consumed.

I spent so much time having fun, that I did not have time to do my hair and I laughed at the idea of exercising.  Needless to say, those inches I lost came back with a vengence (OMG!)  No need to worry though.  My crazy husband will have me back "getting it right and tight" in no time flat.

I'm going to get my hair "done" because we are celebrating our anniversary. I am sure I could do a fabulous blown out, flat twist out, but I don't have the time.  My hair is two weeks dirty, sweaty and filled with product.

This is my first trip to this shop. It is a last minute appointment, so I'm getting the newbie. I already explained over the phone that I am a year into growing out my relaxer and I need a deep conditioner. She said she thinks she can handle it, but when I get there, I'm going to take it down and make sure that she understands what she is getting into. Some stylists are so cocky when they see me.  Their tune quickly changes when water hits my hair and it expands.  Because it's my anniversary, I don't want any drama. I'm going in early enough so that if she has reservations, I have time to get home and get to work. Of course, that would just delay the start of some of our fun.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One Year

It has been twelve months since my last relaxer. I tried to take pictures to show the difference in textures, but I'm not a good photographer.

I'm getting better thanks to all the ladies in the roller setting challenge. I hope things keep going the way they are right now.  If they do, I'll be okay.

This is how my hair turned out. Curlformer curls in a banana clip ponytail.

Shampoo: Quantum Clarifying & Creme of Nature
Instant conditioner: Paul Mitchell's The Detangler
Deep Conditioner: Jessicurl Deep Treatment
Leave ins: Argan Oil & Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum
Styler: ORS Loc & Twist gel

Come on, Carol!

I am a product junkie. I love reading about them.  I love purchasing them and I love trying them, but sometimes I think these companies go a bit too far.

Carol's Daughter has launched something called the Transitioning Movement. The company has a website to answer all of your questions and of course, a new product to peddle.  This is where things get sketchy for me.

CD is offering a Transitioning Kit for $40, but get this, it only has three products: a shampoo, scalp spray and conditioner.  Oh... and there are four ounces of the first two products and 5.5 ounces of the conditioner.  That breaks down to $13.33 for each product.  That's $13.33 for FOUR to FIVE ounces of product.  Come on, Carol!

I know there are other over priced brands and products out there, but it was just something about this kit that pissed me off. I would use it up in two or three uses (the conditioner for sure).  I mean even to this stone cold product junkie, that price point is a turn off.  Maybe I'm just this moment.

I just feel like it should be a bit more affordable. After all, the sizes amount to about two samples of each product. Some companies charge $2-$3 for a two ounce sample (excluding Ms. Jessies lol!).

I guess I would have to try it to see if it's worth the money, but I'm not.  At least not right now. I'm in a  good transitioning space at the moment. I can think a bit more clearly before each purchase:-)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Perfecting The Set?

If you've seen one of my curlformer sets, you've seen them all.  Case in point, my last wash day (May 13):

The frizz in the top is from the hair I ripped out in the early days of my journey.

However, I think I may have found the secret to a "good" set. For me, that means a set that will give me curls for at least three days, despite my exercise regimen.  When I say "curls", I don't mean I can wear my hair down.  I can never wear my hair down past day one. The front never holds up as well.  I can get a good roll and tuck with the back down or a good banana clip ponytail out of the set.

So without further ado, the secret is:


Something about it doesn't allow the curls to really set. It does not matter how long you let them dry.
Koos of Feisty House said this in one of her posts, but I didn't believe her. I thought that she, like me, was a bit heavy handed. It's not true. I've done three sets without and a leave-in and two with a leave-in.  The latter had bad results.

Happy "curlformering!"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Let's Play Ball

The hubby and I hit AT&T park to see the San Francisco Giants play a little baseball this weekend.
It was a beautiful day.

Once again, I didn't have time to take adequate pictures of my hair because we were on the move, but here are a couple of shots:

The Rundown:

Wash: 2 rounds clarifying shampoo & 1 round moisturizing one
Instant Condition: Paul Mitchell the Detangler
Deep Condition: Jessicurl
Leave-ins: Argan Oil & Kinky Curly Knot Today
Curlformer set: Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum & Motions foaming wrap lotion

The foaming wrap lotion is a new addition. I usually use some type of gel, but I decided to give it a shot. I liked how it worked this time, but I need to use it a few more times before I can sing or silence any praises.

I got day two hair, but barely held on for day three due to exercising. The scale still hasn't changed for me, but hubby continues to lose weight.  However, I am fitting into jeans that wouldn't move past my hips at the beginning of the year.  I am apparently losing inches around the waist and stomach areas.  I would show you my super buff arms, but you may not be able to handle it. LOL! I know I need to get better control of what I'm eating, but I'm a junk food junkie. I can't help it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bad Feel


The curls started out so perfect. I thought I was in love.  Day 2 was blah and Day 3 (pics of all three days are below)?  Well, I'm in a tuck & roll.

Something didn't go right during the last wash. At this point, I'm ok if the curls don't last because I using the curlformers to stretch that new growth (11 months of it).  However, my hair is hard. It feels awful. I truly wish I could do a mid-week wash, but I don't have that luxury.  *sigh*  I shouldn't even be typing this up, but I felt so bad about the feel of my hair that I had to get it out.  Now... off to get ready for work.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Wild Day

Elephants, giraffes...



I washed my hair this weekend. I didn't have time to take pictures of my hair right out of the curlformers.  We were rushing to get to the Oakland Zoo.  I used big bobbie pins to pin my hair up and keep it off my neck.  It was a beautiful day in the Bay Area.  My fingers are crossed for decent "day two hair."

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Nice Surprise

My Orlando stylist, Frenchie, sent me these lovely products.  It's been a little more than year since I left Orlando and the best darn salon EVER.  Aside from being cheap and trying to save money, Frenchie is the reason I'm on this D-I-Y hair journey.  Before I moved, we began talking about transitioning out of a relaxer. It had nothing to do with black power, she just truly believed in loving your hair.  She ultimately wanted to care for my hair in the way that would make ME most comfortable.

She is just truly a loving person.  Even though I haven't been in her salon since March 2011, she was nice enough to try to help me on this journey.

These products are from the Influance line and they include the Moisturizing Shampoo, the Moisturizing Conditioner with Shea Butter and Moisture Lock with Shea Butter.

Although I feel like I've been winning with my latest combination of products, I'm itching to see how these will work on my hair.

By the way, I am about a week away from being one year without a relaxer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Adventures In Hair Washing Land

***Stretches arms and cracks knuckles***

I dumped an entire container of gel in the toilet, then I had to fish it out. Yes! This wash day was interesting. Thanks to my pj-ism, I had backup products. Ha!

Due to that mishap, I finally used up something. hooray!!! Just under a year after its purchase, the Bee Mine Curly Butter is gone. I won't buy more. It is a good product, but not worth $20 when I can get something like the loc & twist gel for three bucks (r.i.p, gel. I didn't mean for you to fall in the toilet).

Oh yeah.. I dumped the gel in the toilet by trying to shake out pieces of hair from the container. I didn't realize it had softened up and was no longer "glued" to the container. It was a dumb move and when I heard the splash, I said, "You deserved that."

So I set about 1/4 of my curlformers with curly butter and the rest with Aloe Vera gel.

The rundown:

shampoo: Quantum clarifying & Creme of Nature conditioning and detangling shampoo

condition: Paul Mitchell's The Detangler & Jessicurl Deep Treatment

Detangling: 90 minutes (that's actually good for me at 11-months post relaxer)

Leave-ins (I guess you could call 'em that): Argan Oil and PM Super Skinny Serum

Yeah, I have to walk the dogs in those things. It's pretty sad and embarrassing.

This is how they came out. I think I went too far with the Aloe Vera gel. Next time I'll use less.

I pulled my hair back into a loose ponytail to sleep and exercise the next day.  The curls barely survived. I was hurt when I did the day 2 "unveiling."

I had to fix things up:

Day 3 I did plyometrics and had so much sweat that those ragedy curls didn't stand a chance.  I ponytailed it up. LOL!

Side note: When my hair is 100% natural. it won't be curly. It will be NAP... I mean extremely kinky.
What I didn't realize early on when I started working out, is that curlformers help me.  They stretch out that new growth, so that when I sweat my hair is less likely to lock up. So if I can't use the curlformers, I'll have to start blow drying it. 

It's also not very good for me to wash every two weeks. It just didn't work for me. Who knows maybe I'll find a way for it to work in the future.  This Do-It-Yourself haircare is still evolving for me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Update: Curlformers Bust

This is day 2 hair:

I'm not totally disappointed, but I'm not totally excited either. It kind of looks like I have frizzy locs?

 I slept by just pulling my hair into a pony tail and tying down the edges. I'm not going to get day three hair because I will be working out tonight.  However, I am pleased with how flat my 11-months of new growth is.  I am pretty sure that this set wasn't completely dry, which is why I didn't get excellent results.  I don't plan on installing 79 curlformers next week, so I won't get a chance to see if sitting under the dryer longer will help.  This was a weird styling weekend anyway.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Curlformers Bust

I love curlformers, but I was getting tired of the fat, juicy curls from the wide and long ones, also known as pink and orange. I lost my dang-on mind and bought the long and narrow (blue/green) ones.

I had to use 79... yes 79 of these things on my entire head.  The long and narrow curlformers are less forgiving than the pink/orange ones. You CANNOT stuff too much hair in them. I felt like I got them too close to my scalp so they pulled.  They were even more difficult to sleep in than the pink/orange ones and because I needed so many, they took forever to install.

When I took them out, I had elongated curls, which is a different look than the pink/orange. However, take a close look at my ends. 

They just didn't curl right or something.  Oh...and yes that is a Santa shirt.  Don't judge me:-)  

Now, this problem with the ends could be my fault. I thought the set was dry, but it may not have been. I spent the day in an overcast, windy San Francisco park.  I had a great time, but the curls were worse for the wear at the end of the day.  

I'm going to attempt second day hair, but I don't think it's going to work out.  Because I have so little faith in second day hair, I'm going to try a different way of sleeping to preserve them.  I'll let you know how it works.  Anyway...the hair is well stretched, so I'll be able to work something out. LOL!

Because installing these suckers took so long,  I will only plan to do the full 79 blue/green curlformer set for special occasions.  For my next set I plan to put the back in pink/orange and the front in blue/green.

Some Things I've Learned Along The Way

I am eleven months post relaxer.  Wow!  I still haven't figured out this hair thing, but I'm still trying.  Here are some pics of my wash/styling session on April 7th. They include Day 1 & Day 2 hair. The set actually lasted three days. Rain and workout sessions killed it. LOL!

Anyway... on to the point of this post. I have learned some things over the past eleven months.  I walked into this do-it-yourself hair journey knowing absolutely nothing. I was a freelance worker and feared that jobs would dry up soon.  The first things that needed to be cut were my expensive trips to the salon, so I had to do my hair myself.

I had been getting my hair done since I was five. I got my first relaxer at 16. I never had a problem with length. I'd probably washed my own hair five times.  I have a curling iron from the 90s and I rarely used it. I don't believe in using additional heat in between visits to the shop. Simply put, caring for my hair was someone else's job. It's why I went to work... to pay them to do it.

I dove blindly into the online hair community and I wanted to become an instant expert. I've never been patient. It's not my thing.  That mindset cost me and my hair. I have had some just plain awful hair days. I wanted to comb out my hair in ten minutes like the girls on YouTube and that's not possible for me. I ended up ripping out hair and causing major breakage. Plus, I purchased lots of products that I thought worked miracles. 

Look at all the crap under my sink. Not a single one of those products worked a miracle. On top of that, I was putting too much stuff in my hair.

I was unrealistic in my thoughts that I could handle my hair exactly like Nina Pruitt, Kimmaytube or Naptrual85 and get the same results. I mean I KNEW this, but I kept trying to ignore it. Yes... I was ignoring common sense.

So now when I stalk my favorite heads of hair on blogs and YouTubes, I do it with a different understanding and acceptance.  I can appreciate the results CurlyNikki gets and know that I'm not going to get them. We have different hair. I'm actually getting better tips from girls with relaxers, even though the hair gurus say treat your hair like it's "natural," if you're transitioning.

At this point, I am going to focus on keeping it simple and trying to figure out a way to get rid of some of that crap under my sink that I don't use. Don't get me wrong, I'll still be trolling the Internet for new ideas. I'm just over the idea of looking for miracles, although curlformers are a miracle for the styling challenged. I love those things. ha! 

Review: Creme of Nature Extreme Moisture Conditioner

No Bueno! That's all I have to say about this conditioner. I used it for about three months. I couldn't figure out why my hair was so dry and brittle. The conditioner feels good going on and it gives my hair a lot of slip.  It was because of those two things that I blamed my sweaty workouts for my yucky hair.  I was wrong. Hair does not lie. My stuff was trying to dread/lock in the back. My childhood stylist didn't ask what I had been using, but suggested I make a change.

I switched things up and ditched the conditioner all together. I instant conditioned with Paul Mitchell's Detangler and deep Conditioned with Jessicurl Deep Treatment. Uhm... my hair came out super soft. It still felt soft after a sweaty workout. This is not a review of those two products because I have only used them together twice AND they have only been through one week of workouts.  However, I know The Creme of Nature Extreme Moisture Conditioner is moving to the back of the shelf. I really don't know how I will use it up. It's a big bottle.  I wouldn't even want to give it to anybody for fear they would end up with dry, brittle hair as well.

Sorry, Creme of Nature.

Friday, April 6, 2012

It Was Ok: Curlformers Day 2-5

So here's a look at how my hair held up.  I DID NOT exercise at all this week.  Luckily the hubby was feeling drained.  You KNOW I wasn't going to talk him out of this short break.  I'll be washing and setting again on Saturday (at least I hope to).  So next week I'll get a real idea of if I can make things last through an intense work out.  Although I would like to put my hair first, I'm too old not to focus on body maintenance.  No matter what I do, I'll probably lose my hair long before I no longer need my limbs (that's if I'm lucky).

Day 2: side pinned back

                                                          Day 3: ponytail with strange bangs

                                                 Day 4: front rolled back, the rest I left down.

                                             Day 5: I changed the part, but still rolled back the front
                                             and left the back down.

I preserved the curls as best I could with the pineapple method that I learned from EbonyCPrincess.  I pulled my hair to the top of my head with a stretchy headband, used a hair net around the curls and then wrapped my scarf around my head. I was not cute, but sweet hubby pretended I was. I secretly think he didn't work out this week because he wanted me to have pretty hair for a week.

I should add that I read about a lot of other ladies pineappling and just sleeping on a pillow. I'm afraid to do that.  My hair has never done well without being held together while I'm sleep. I sweat in my head and I fear leaving it loose would cause me to wake up with hair pasted to my face and who knows where else.

All in all, this was just ok. I wanted five days of day one.  I am still pretty happy with the results.   I've learned not to comment on products until I've used them for at least three months.  With that said, I'll try to follow the same routine a few more times to see if it really works.