Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Women

Wellness Wednesday–Loving the Skin You’re In

There’s a fine line between working to change your body and loving the skin you’re currently in. I’ve often wondered if these two ideas can coexist. I want to workout the most when I feel dissatisfied with the physical shape of my body. And the days when I engage in some good self-love talk…”Girl, you look hot in these jeans!” or “Girl, your legs are as toned as when you were 25!” I don’t press myself about going to the gym. In a world that perpetuates the myth that a woman body is supposed to not only carry and birth children into this world and go through the aging process without looking like it, more often than not is has been less of the latter.

However, thanks to my 41 years of living, I’m finally learning to merge the two together into a marriage that works for me. First, I know that the body is not meant to be sedentary. We are supposed to move every day. And not for the 30-60 minutes that fitness experts say because in actuality that is nothing in a 24 hr day! You know it’s true, too. There are times in my work day that I am comfortably planted in my chair doing my work or chatting through our IM system with a coworker when I should be standing up and moving my body while I work. After all, that is why I fought tooth and nail to get this standing workstation so I could do just that. But when everything you need is at your fingertips it takes great strength and resolve to get off of my butt and walk over to talk with a coworker in person or walk around for the sake of walking.

Second, I know that the shape of my body has more to do with what I put in my mouth and genetics than it does exercise. If I had better eating habits (less pastries, no late night eating of buttery popcorn while watching Scandal, and drinking 8-10 glasses of water), I’d easily be down 20lbs. Can I get a “Amen!” You know I’m right.

This is not a spiritually speaking post, but no where in the word of God does He describe beauty by the size of a woman’s waist and the numbers displaying on a scale. Our beauty is defined the purity of our hearts, being kind to others, loving and honoring our husbands,  taking care of our children, using the gifts that He gave us. All that 36-24-36 standard of beauty is from fallen man and we keep falling for it.

Excuse me, I digressed.

I’m not that different from most women. I get green with envy when I see women in my age with slamming bodies. But I remind myself that they are likely blessed with great genetics which neither of us can do anything about. And they probably don’t exercise any more than I do. Well…some do. Some also have surgery to create those fabulous bodies and keep that to themselves. Believe that!

When I’m finished with that I remind myself of how beautiful I am. I look down at my belly,  and instead of frowning, I smile. This is the same belly that housed two beautiful children for 9 months, both born by C-section  surgeries. And guess what, I survived those, surgeries. We take for granted that some women don’t so how dare I be mad about a scar or some loose skin??? Sure,my breast aren’t as firm or perky as they once were but they’re cancer free (hallelujah!) and look awesome in the right bra.

I don’t waste time browsing through clothes that won’t compliment my current figure. Talk about depressing. Instead I look for clothes that are flattering to my extra pounds, accentuating my toned legs and small frame. You can’t help but feel good in clothes that are cute and fit you right.

In the meantime, I will still exercise. Always will. Regular exercise is good for overall health.  It doesn’t have to happen in the gym either. Some of my favorite places to exercise include the staircase in my office building, in a Zumba or with a hula hoop in my living room. For you it might be in a pool, a ballroom or hustle class, or in a park. Whatever you choose, make sure you enjoy it. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Posted in Beauty, Encouragement, Hair, Hair Styles, Lifestyle, Natural Hair, Uncategorized, Women

April Natural Hair Styling Challenge Day 22

  

This one garnered a lot of attention at work. Surely because it was super cute! Achieved by simply two strand twisting my hair with a little bit of Shea Moisture Styling Milk.

It also garnered as many compliments as it did too because the day before it was, admittedly, on the blah side. And that was because when I twisted it the day before that I was slack on product and oil so the ends were frizz galore.

As the month is coming to an end I’d really like to do something different but with the time I have available in the mornings before work that’s highly  unlikely. What I’ve learned in the challenge is that if my hair is not set in a protective style for the week, the only thing that I’m able to do without a lot of fuss is wear twist outs. On a good day I might have time to spruce it up with a couple of hair pins!  

Nevertheless it’s been a  good run. Every natural girl should take some time to climb out of their comfort zone, get a taste of the unchartered path of their natural hair journey. You just might like it.

Have you tried something different with your hair lately? Please share!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Beauty, Hair, Hair Styles, Natural Hair, Uncategorized

Valentine’s Day–Natural ‘Do or No

For many, Valentine’s Day is a special occasion. Expected gift receivers or night on the towners will be getting all dolled up–from their heads to to their toes. Nail and hair shops will be on jam! But what about the natural girl–the DIY’er or the one who frequents a salon?

How will you be rocking your hair this weekend? Two strand twist, twist/braid out, some funky styled roll and tuck, puff? The styling options are actually pretty endless. However, I’ve noticed that when it comes to special occasions many naturals resort to the tried and true straightened hair style for what…I’m not sure.

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Where do you stand?

As for myself, I love being apart of this bold group of African American women who continue to dispel the myths that “our” hair has to be something that it’s not in order to be beautiful for any occasion. Normally I wouldn’t be doing anything particularly special for Valentine’s Day but this year the trustee ministry that I’m a member of has partnered with the nurses ministry to sponsor a dance/fashion show. At the end we’re being introduced and will be dressed up in fancy red dresses. For this special occasion, I’m really tempted to try–for the first time–finger coil twists. However, as I’ve learned some pretty hard lessons about attempting new hairstyles for special occasions, I won’t be doing that. But I’ll definitely be rocking some type of curls. I’ll post the final look!

Again, how will you be rocking your hair on V-day?

So in the end, I surprised myself with a compromise. I blow dried my hair, flat ironed it BUT I styled my hair in a elegant twist!

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Posted in Hair Styles, Natural Hair

Easy Breezy Flat Twist Style–DIY

It’s a beautiful thing to be able to style one’s own hair. I honestly sometimes feel limitless in what I’m capable of. Though I thought I was going to rock my wig for the rest of the month, I should have known that was waaayyy too many days for my hair to look the same! It’s like since becoming natural my hair craves variety.

Here’s my ‘do for this week.

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And what’s good about this style is that it’s a two for one. By the day after Thanksgiving I’ll have a perfect twistout in time for a party I’m going to.

Gotta love natural hair! Enjoy your journey.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Hair Styles, Natural Hair, Uncategorized

Crochet Braids Disaster!

Sooo…about a week ago I took my son to get his hair cut at a barber/beauty shop near my home. After his cut, when I was on my way out, the owner/barber noticed that my hair was twisted underneath a hat I was wearing. Quite professionally he advised me of a natural hair stylist who worked in his shop. I took her card and held on to it for a few days before I called her. Honestly, I was more excited about the stylist’s proximity to my home than anything else! Convenience rocks, right?

WRONG! This is what “convenience” did to my crochet braids. What’s worse was that I didn’t notice what a bad job she did until the next day after work when I was able to thoroughly go through my hair.

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A neat ponytail that I managed to pull together for work the day after the appointment.

 

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Doesn’t look too bad here

 

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The truth began to come to light.

 

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My facial expression says it all. Hot mess.

 

I bare some responsibility in this matter because I ignored some pretty heavy warning signs:

1. She didn’t have a website or FB page to display her work. In this day and age, why not?

2. She offered to text me some pictures. I was like, okay, cool. Well…out of about 6 pics only one was of an actual client. I wonder if she thought I wouldn’t notice that.

3. I was clear that I didn’t want to look like Chakka Khan. At least I thought I was. Well as she was installing I was nervous about the poofiness and I kept saying, ” Now I don’t want it too thick.” I must have scared her or something because she pulled out the clippers and started cutting on the hair BEFORE she installed all the hair! What she should have done was tell me that she could thin it out at the end instead of reacting to a nervous client. Isn’t that what a professional would do??? About this time I was wondering how many “natural” hair clients she actually had.

But there is good news! Nearly 40 years old I’m finally comfortable speaking  up for myself in these situations. I remember sitting in the beautician’s chair when I was teen wanting so badly to tell her that she wasn’t doing what I asked but I couldn’t speak up. I would just fix it when I got home. Well, after debating whether I should stay silent and simply never go to her again or call her out on her shabby job I decided on the latter. I politely let her know that I was not satisfied and that it was a very big inconvenience because I had an event that night and my hair was a hot mess. In my twenties and early thirties I would have suffered in silence, keeping my real feelings to myself but not anymore! I would have preferred my money back but I agreed to go back the next morning so she could fix it.

OMG! That was an ordeal in itself. I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say that it became crystal clear that she was inexperienced with “styling” the Marley hair. Her intent was only to install the hair whereas my expectation was for installation AND styling.

I’m really glad I spoke up (although she wasted 4 hrs of my Saturday morning). It felt good being a big girl and I learned a valuable lesson: “Everyone who says they’re a natural hair stylist ISN’T!”

What disastrous natural hair encounters have you had? How would you have handled this situation?

 

Naturally Yours,

L.A. 

Posted in Hair, Hair Styles, Natural Hair

We ALL Have Bad Hair Days

“Do you know it’s 7am?” My husband spoke into my ear.

“Uh…yes…no…uhh…not really.” I stammered as I forced my eyes to open lifting my head from the pillow that added to my comfortable slumber. As indicated by the words I spoke, I had no idea it was time for me to be leaving the house for work, NOT just getting out of bed.

Hair problem #1
I didn’t cover my hair up before climbing into bed knowing good and well I was going to sleep.

Result
Dry hair, specifically dry ends.

Hair Problem #2
I didn’t prep my hair for how I was going to wear it to work (i.e. Two strand twisting or plaits). I planned to twist it but my back was hurting and I took a muscle relaxer for relief. Then I exercised for abt 20 minutes. After all that I was pooped!

Result
No time for a full length shower, carefully choosing my clothes AND styling my hair. I was forced to choose which necessary act I would dedicate more time to. I threw on some jeans and a sweater (after a really fast shower), then stared at the reflection of my dry, curl free (not in a good way) and wondered what I could do in 5 minutes or less.

Here’s what I came up with…

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The all-too-familiar puff!

Honestly, I didn’t feel very professional on this day and I almost blamed it solely on the hairstyle. However, the truth is that it was everything from my head to toe–jeans and gym shoes–that created this feeling. If I wasn’t natural and instead wore my hair straightened today would’ve been a ponytail day or a drab wrap kind of day and I would have felt the same way.

Moral of the story–Don’t blame your “natural” hair. Everybody has bad hair days.

Posted in Big Chop, Hair Styles, Inspiration, Natural Hair

Big Chop Update

I did it! Unfortunately I can’t post the video of the process because, honestly, I kinda suck at video making and editing. But I’m no quitter so I’ll keep at it. The good news, however, is that I take pictures just fine :))

Here’s the hair I chopped off:

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It was quite liberating. I felt good minus this stringy ends UNTIL it was time to style my hair for work the following Monday. I wore two strand twists pinned up and I hated it–hence no picture :(( I spent the day mourning those stringy ends because they were at least something to work with.

For a short time I was discouraged. Then I logged onto YouTube, as I often do, for a dose of natural hair inspiration. It wasn’t long before I found it.

When I got home I untwisted my hair, laid my head to rest for the night at peace with the possibilities that indeed existed for my shorter hair.

This is what I came up with:

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I’m very pleased with this style. I was glad that the front of my hair was still long enough to do that little pompadour thing. During my cutting I got a little scissor happy and cut more than I’d intended in the front. But the hair still needed to go so it’s all good. And if it wasn’t quickly becoming hat-wearing weather I’d wear this style longer. After this week I’ll be going with a protective style of flat twist styles. But overall the cut was a good step in the right direction. I can’t wait to see what happens with my hair after this! Stay tuned!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Big Chop, Natural Hair

A Delayed Big Chop

Is she crazy? Is she really about to cut off ALL this hair?

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Yes! Want to know why? Well the short of it is that all of that hair is no longer on my head. This picture was taken shortly after I combed my locs out, which is about two years ago now.

What happened, you’re probably wondering or not but I have been. My hair has been through a lot since being unloc’d, mainly unstraightened and without heat. However, improper care still occurred on my part.

Coming from four years of locs I simply wasn’t accustomed to having to do something to my hair as frequently as loose natural hair needs. Delicate detangling and most of all MOISTURE! I started off good but soon became overwhelmed and I started skimping on the care. Plus, during one of the times of lengthy straightening I got bored and decided on the bright idea to add color and cut layers into my hair.

Yikes! So began the slow death of the length of my hair when added to the fact that I didn’t moisturizer enough. Now I’m at a stage that I tried to avoid–the big chop– by coming my locs out in the first place. Oh well, it’s just hair right?

Right, but I’m still nervous at the same time that I’m excited. Excited for my hair to look better with these heat damaged ends hanging on. Excited for this next step on my natural hair journey–a journey to healthy, natural hair.

How important is length to you?

Naturally Yours,

L.A.
P.S. Wish me luck. I’ll post a video of the process.

Posted in Hair, Hair Styles, Natural Hair

Natural Salon Visit–Part 2

Overall, I was pleased with my visit to the salon and my results. The stylist was punctual with my appointment and I was impressed with the call I received prior to the appointment ensuring that I was still coming on time. Dual consideration for myself, the stylist, and her appointments after mine. Hats off on that one.

Next it was pure pleasure to lay my head back in that sink, allowing someone else’s fingers to massage my scalp. That alone was worth $50–bump the style!

Moving on to detangling and styling.
My stylist did both, seemingly with great ease. Instantly made me wonder why I stress over it like I do. Hmmm.

Because I had an event the next day I opted to leave my flat twist in tact until the next morning. I didn’t want my sleep to be disturbed with worrying about messing up my curls.

That worked like a charm. Besides some of the straight ends in my hair–no fault to the stylist–I loved the style and I managed to maintain it for the following week, which I deemed satisfactory. Honestly, I was tired of the maintenance after a few days but I pushed through just because I paid for it.

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What I especially loved about my style was how smooth my roots were, which I attribute to the stylist use of gel as she flat twisted my hair. I’ll definitely be implementing that next time I do my own flat twist out.

While I loved the salon experience I’m not sure when I’m going again. Right now I’m leaning towards once a month. I’ll keep you posted.

Please share how often you visit the salon? If you are a primary DIY’er, is it worth the cost?

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Hair, Hair Styles, Natural Hair

Natural Salon Visit –Part 1

Finally made it! I’ve been passive aggressively trying to find a natural hair salon to visit.

“Whoa?” You’re saying. “I thought you naturals only did your own hair, L.A. What’s up with that?”

Honestly, many naturals are DIY’ers (do it yourselfers). However, many also frequent a salon for their hair care–whether for deep conditioning, protein treatments, or maybe styles they can’t do themselves, like weaves and other extensions.

As for myself I definitely have my times when I don’t feel like bothering with my hair. I don’t want the responsibility. Then I call around and get quoted prices like $65, $75, and $85 to do what I consider to be simple hairstyles–two strand twists and twist outs. So my money conscience self overtakes me and I push past the frustration and go at it.

But the frustration eventually returns. Usually with a vengeance.

It’s not all about the frustration. The bottom line is that today’s busy working woman needs some time when she can sit and be pampered, whether it be a massage, pedi/mani, facial, or a good hair wash and style!

So today is the beginning of my monthly pamper time. Stay tuned for the results in my next post!