Month: June 2015

Listen Up Summer Naturals

Summer is here and it’s time for bathing suits, beaches, and barbecue! And for many naturals, it’s the season to release the kinks and curls from protective styles to don the infamous wash ‘n go, braid out, twist out styles and more! But before whippin’ your hair back and forth and all the fun in the sun, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to maintain healthy, thriving hair during these summer months.

FROS AND FRIZZIES AND SHRINKAGE…OH MY! We’ve all had those days when we have perfectly styled our hair just to walk outside and it transforms in a matter of minutes! Don’t fret…embrace it! Shrinkage is a part of our natural journey that we have to live with. It is a sign of healthy hair, but admittedly can be annoying when we wanna flex on ’em! Don’t spend too much time trying to keep your styles absolutely perfect. Carry an emergency kit in your bag or purse with hairpins, ouchless bands a pick/wide tooth comb, and an accessory or two. If your hair transforms, go with it and rock it with confidence! Summer is the time for carefree styles and you can fro it out or sweep it up and look amazing!

MOISURIZE, MOISTURIZE…did I say moisturize? Don’t skip the H2O …water is our friend! We need to stay hydrated year round and especially in the summer months it is important to increase our water intake. Be sure to moisturize and seal your hair consistently to avoid dry, brittle, breaking hair. It’s easy! You can add it to your night time routine or even carry a spray bottle in your bag to moisturize on the go!

SPRITZ, BABY SPRITZ! If you want to save a few coins, you can easily make a quick spritz using water, and oil like jojoba, castor, or almond which are natural sealants. You can even add aloe vera juice which is antifungal and packed with great vitamins for the hair.

AMP IT UP! In addition to daily moisturizing, deep condition at least every other week (or as needed) to give your hair that extra moisture punch!

MAD HATTER SWAG. While you’ll want to show off your beautiful kinks and curls, it is important to also protect your hair from heat and the harsh sun.  Because of the humidity and the frizzies, it is tempting to heat style. But try your best not to apply excessive heat. And if you’re going to be at a fish fry or outside for a number of hours, the direct sun can cause dryness. So, make hats part of your summer fashion!! Sun hats, beanies and caps not only protect your hair from the elements, they make über cute accessories!

BLAME IT ON THE ALCOHOL… drying alcohols that is.  The heat and humidity is already a culprit for dry hair. It is best to avoid styling products that contain drying alcohols like ethanol, SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, alcohol denat, propanol, propyl alcohol and Isopropyl alcohol which are known to increase brittleness and cause frizzies.

JUST KEEP SWIMMIN’! While enjoying that dip in the pool or the ocean, swimmer’s ear is not the only thing to be worried about. Chlorine and salt water is harsh on natural hair. But have no fear! You can enjoy your itsy bitsy teeny weeny….(well you know the rest) and avoid damage to your kinks and curls!  Before swimming, wet your hair and apply a heavy conditioner or heavy sealant like castor oil or shea butter. Leave it in your hair while you swim. This will help to create a barrier between your hair and the chlorine/salt water. Also, invest in a nice swim cap to help. After swimming, thoroughly rinse your hair and use a gentle, sulfate free clarifying shampoo to remove the chlorine. (I like Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Shampoo or Naturalicious’ 5 in 1 Clay Wash.)  Afterwards, be sure to do a thorough deep condition and follow with a nice leave in conditioner.

LAZY DAYZ. Keep with your regimen!! Being too lazy is one of the largest causes of dry hair and breakage and you will regret it later. Lethargy will get you a free trip on the struggle bus at the end of summer! Have fun, but be consistent for best results!

Get more of MzNaturalLife.

I am NOT my hair…

so STOP trying to make me be!

Ok so I know this may come off with a little hostility but truth is I’M HAPPY NAPPY! And I’m getting pretty tired of others feeling like their harsh judgmental comments are going to make me run back to the creamy crack! For now, I’m sticking to “Crack is Whack!” So there you have it take it or leave it. To each its own, we’re all beautiful whether natural or relaxed! I LOVE my coils, plain and simple. Now, I’ll admit I might not always know how to style them and I’ve had quite a lot few failed YouTube hair trials but who hasn’t had a bad hair week day.

Walking down memory lane, I was born practically bald, but once the mane began growing it was all she wrote! Throughout childhood I remained natural, and moving into more preteen years I became an addict to the “creamy crack.” You know that high you get when your mane is what my family calls “bone-straight” and how you fein for the creamy crack at the slightest peak of a wave of new growth forming…. Yup! That was me! And I must say I’ve been delivered!!

So what rehab treatment broke me? Well I was 7 weeks post-relaxer in the Summer (which was already a sacrifice for me at the time because I was a faithful 4-5wk need-a-hit type of client) and thinking how badly I wanted to get a relaxer but I was busy on a workout regimen that had me sweating up a storm and couldn’t bare not having the relaxer last. So I talking to Girlfriend Erin and she was sending information on going natural and my biggest thing was I refused to do the BIG CHOP! She opened my mind to the world of transitioning and that began my very 1st journey going natural.

Now to much dismay my 1st Intervention episode didn’t have a happy success ending, and well neither did episodes 2 and 3, because each time I relapsed to the creamy crack! (don’t judge me) Each episode of transitioning lasted for at least 1 year or longer and for many different reasons (family, wedding, postpartum) ended in relaxing. But I’m proud to say that as of today I’m fully natural and have been for 13months! (look at God lol) The journey wasn’t always easy, it came with many bumps, bruises, criticisms and the likes but I’m a survivor and happy with my nappy choice.

If you want to be natural for whatever reason- just to be chemically free or simply to see your God given curly coils, you have the right to, so do it! It’s great to have a support system, but that’s just not always the case so remember this- you are not your hair! People will share their (unasked for) remarks- why you want to walk around with a bush on your head, why you can’t just get it blown out all the time… and many, many, others- so brace yourself and remember why YOU want to do this!

happy nappy 6.12.15

Are you enjoying this Natural Hair week of our Summer Beauty Series?!?! Is there an area of natural hair you would like us to cover? Want more?!?! [TELL US] Please join us tomorrow for an extra special treat with MzNaturalLife. Have a beautiful weekend!!

sig TW

And then IT Happened

I had just had a baby and noticed my hair shedding a lot, probably that post-partum shedding, I thought. So each time I was going to my hair stylist I’d say, “lets wait on the relaxer” and then……. IT……happened, I am going natural!!!

Yes, I said it as if it’s an all inclusive trip.  Well any natural knows its at least a journey filled with action packed days ( the dreadful wash day), entertainment (watching your mane transform throughout the day) and also relaxation (that would be high bun day). My natural hair journey has been rather “easy” I did not do the BIG CHOP, I transitioned with “protective styles”  I tried a sew-in one time (a bob) and fell in love with sew-ins so it became my go-to hairstyle. I also have tried flat twist updos before, or 2-strand twists (no added hair). Let’s just say I have tried a little bit of this and a little bit of that. You will fa sho become a product junky and even when you find what product works well for you, you will still be open to try new things.  I do indeed have some products I use more than others like; Carols Daughter, Shea Moisture, Kinky Curly, Bee Mine and Cantu just to name a few.  The one product that has yet to fail me, Black Jamaican Castor Oil, Henna was my friend for a month or two as well, see what I mean, you will try so many different things, why? because you can, it’s the beautiful world of freedom and liberty…….in hair!  Before I knew it, five years had past. Having natural hair you will find that some products work and some don’t. Currently, extra virgin coconut oil  and a homemade gel is working for me. I have been able to make flax seed gel that I absolutely love. I followed the recipe from Naptural85 . It calls for 2 cups of water and 1/4c of flax seeds. You simply boil them until you see the liquid thicken (I usually boil slightly past that point) and then strain, be sure to really press those flax seeds because that frothy “stuff” is what makes the gel thick. Add your essential oils, I personally have used tea-tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, grapefruit or sweet orange essential oils then refrigerate.  As a natural you just have to “twist” your way through and find what works for you……and your mane because if it’s anything like mine it’s got an awesome mind of its own!

gel 6.11.15

mane 6.11.15

 

sig LP

Curly or Straight….Can My Hair Be Great?

Let’s talk hair ladies! So as you can see from our group pictures, I am a naturalista! I’ve been a part of the wonderful “natural” movement from about 3 years now. Well let me back up for a minute. I was actually “natural” until I was 19 years old. My mom did not believe in relaxers and therefore my sister and I went and got fresh press n curls every 2 weeks for $12 LOL!! Well once I got to college, walking across campus with what started as a doobie and ended as a fro was NOT CUTE!! So I went to the salon and got a relaxer, major mistake! I mean I was a slave to the creamy crack! If I didn’t get a relaxer every 6 weeks faithfully I would get nervous and be ready for my puffy roots to become all silky and straight lol.

Some may be wondering what brought me back to the natural world. Well ladies I will be honest, it was not by choice. I had cut all of my hair off; I mean a very cute, sassy, short cut that had me feeling myself. Apparently too much because 4 short weeks after getting it cut, before I could even really enjoy it, I found out I was pregnant with Sweet Pea! Remember I told you my Mama was against relaxers, well that still held to be true and she pretty much forbid me from getting one while pregnant (Here’s a secret, I put in a mild relaxer but it didn’t take. I guess she was right, huh lol) I kept my hair in weave to help with the grow out process during my pregnancy and shortly after giving birth. Once I decided to take out the weave and get it relaxed, what happened, my stylist of about 5 years up and moved to Mississippi (I’m still kinda salty lol) which brings me to my now 3 year natural journey .

I’m learning that there are so many levels and elements to this natural hair thing. Some prefer to wear it straight from a fresh blow out, others rock a fierce twist out, and some prefer to just wash and go just to name a few. I’m not completely sure which way I prefer to wear mine at this point. But I will say this…girlfriends it’s about to get hot so my blowout season is OVER! I recently blew mine out for Mother’s Day and after a few days of working out; I had a mini fro with feathered ends LOL! If you are able to rock your blow out in the heat, more power to you! I just can’t do it. I really don’t like putting heat on my hair more than once a week, if that. So I really think, for me, I should stick to just blowing it out during the fall and winter seasons.

So what’s my style of choice for the hot summer months? Right now I really enjoy rocking a fresh twist out set. I’m not one of those “product junky” natural girls though. I’ve dabbled in a few here or there but I’m not about wasting any money. So far the only products that I really love are Cantu’s entire natural line, Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula shampoo/conditioner and TRESemme’s Natural Nourishing Moisture (with avocado) shampoo/conditioner. Recently after doing my weekly shampoo and conditioner routine, I simply used organic extra virgin refined coconut oil (purchased from the Vitamin Shoppe) and put a dab of Cantu’s Coconut Curling Cream on the ends of my two strand twists to keep it wrapped around the perm rods! This combination is working perfectly so far, as I’m currently rocking a 4 day old twist out that looks amazing (in my opinion). Other products seem to weigh my hair down but the coconut oil gives it just the right amount of moisturizer and bounce that is needed for the perfect twist out results! I have tried a few other styles that I tend to enjoy as well such as a flat twist set or Bantu knot set. The only thing that I do not like about Bantu knots is that they are hard to sleep in, however my fro the next morning is big and bold just the way I like it! My ultimate hair goal is to have my fro as big and full as my hair crush, Tracey Ellis Ross!!! Her hair is always flawless, but then again I guess she has a style team on hand to get hers looking right. A girl can have goals tho, right? lol

Hair Collage

So for all of my natural sistas out there, which way do you prefer to wear your hair in preparation for the upcoming summer heat? Are there any products (reasonably priced) out there that I should consider using? Your thoughts and/or suggestions are appreciated! 🙂

sig KT

 

Let’s get GLAMed!

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone is starting the week off right. With the summer making its way here, I know everyone’s gearing up to be GLAM! With that in mind, let’s talk hair!!! You may have noticed that we’re all naturals. I like to think that I’m the one with hair type 5b…now I know there’s no hair type 5b and y’all looking at me cray cray, but that’s just how many different types of hair textures/patterns I have going on lol, from curly coily to zig-zag. In the front it’s that loose curl with all the stretch at the wrong times, the middle is thick and tightly curled, while the rest of the perimeter is “regular”. In any given section, you’ll find a coil that springs back into action or the grey hairs that do their own thing (and yes I said grey!)…oh, and let’s not mention the shrinkage!!!

So with all my “special” textures, let’s get into styling and products. Now I’m the ultimate product junkie and YouTube’r. Now I promise you YT will have you thinking you can conquer all lmbo…I digress. So let me back track for a second…I’ve been natural off and on all my life, but I started transitioning December 2007 and did the BIG CHOP in August 2008 (it was so refreshing). Fast forward now to present day…I would YT hairstyles and products to use, go out and buy ALL the ingredients and make products (some successes and many epic fails). I’ve bought the entire line of Miss Jessies’ products (I kid you not…and they’re not cheap by any means) just to try out new things because at that time that’s what was used when I got it professionally done and my hair felt oh so good. I mean what can I say, “My name is Erin, and I’m a product junkie!” But what I have learned over the years is that I don’t need a variety of products to have and maintain a good hair regimen. I found that shampoos with some sulfate works good on my curls, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an excellent “squeaky” clean build-up free soft hair shampoo, having a good conditioner to replenish any oils that were lost, a leave-in conditioner and light oil to seal in moisture is really all you need :).

Though I would like to be the one to tell you that wash-n-go’s are the best…sorry idk anything about that lol. The way my hair is setup with the checking and savings…lol but really, that’s an epic fail hairstyle for me. I can leave the house one way and by the time I get to my destination it’s something TOTALLY different. I’ll try a style in a heartbeat…if I think it’ll look fierce, I’m going to try it lol. What I can say though, is that my go-to style of choice are flat twists/twist outs. I can get a mean twist out with some flat twists! And the less product I use the more defined the curl is. Sometimes less is more.  I am learning that I can rock the Bantu knot-outs (only on stretched out hair though lol)! I just love the versatility that kinky hair gives you. You can go from a straight mane to a Mohawk to big hair don’t care.

I can go on and on about products, the “puff”, detangling, but I’ll spare you until next time. So my questions to you are…what’s your products of choice, if you wear “protective styles” all the time, when do you wear a “regular” style, when do you wear your protective styles the most, in the warm or cold months and what’s your go-to protective style or style of choice? Please do share!!!! Until next time glams 🙂

erin6.8.15

sig EF

Faithful Friday

Just like the last drop of water drips off the spout of the bottle. Or like the final beam of sunlight falls under the peak of night, we often wave the flag of surrender to the tasks of life before ever really beginning them. Those Bible studies printed and started with great intention and enthusiasm that now sit incomplete; the adorable blank menu plans awaiting the fulfillment of delicious and flavorful, yet healthy meals/recipes to be written in. I could go on and on for all the great intentions I have once started but was all too quick to let fall by the wayside. Yeah, me, the planner, are you judging? (please don’t lol) See remember a few weeks ago when I was talking about how my mind can get to the point where I feel like it might explode? At times, I’m consumed with so many tasks that rather than excelling at one or two of them, I simply walk away from all of them. (I’m so so glad God doesn’t treat me like this) Some of them, for what seems to be forever and others just long enough to regroup and try back at it again later. There are moments when I feel like my best just isn’t enough, that I’ve been overlooked, that I just don’t quite make the cut. And it could be that I simply attempt to push myself beyond what is expected of me at times (I can see the hubs shaking his head, like yup). But see it comes from a place of love, a place of acceptance, a place of approval. Know what I mean? So I know that God created me for a purpose. I know He’s given me, what I think of as, limitless talents and gifts (I truly believe I can be taught to do/make/create anything and with practice perfect it). But when I stop to look around at all the unsuccessful attempts and incompleteness of tasks, I can’t help but think of how disappointed God must be with me. And then suddenly that email pops up in my inbox, or text message alert goes off and I instantly know its Him, with a simple reminder.

Now maybe my scenario isn’t quite relate-able to you, and you’re the woman that applied for a job months ago and heard nothing, or the woman whose been trying to conceive but every test result reads negative, or the woman whose afraid to be alone because the devil has held your mind captive… See no matter the scenario all remains the true that is God is FAITHFUL! You must believe what the Word says with all your heart:

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ~Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)

 

God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. ~1 Corinthians 1:9 (AMP)

 

Yet the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen [you] and set you on a firm foundation and guard you from the evil [one]. ~2 Thessalonians 3:3 (AMP)

Because God is faithful, He will never fail you. I want to leave you with one final scripture 

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. ~Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)

Have an awesome weekend ladies and remember to remain faithful.

sig TW

#TBT Sweat & Roses

It was Valentines day weekend and the “Gems” were away for the weekend with their Papa, His father and I was heading to Wilmington to see Him. Once I arrived, He and I went out to Olive Garden early to beat the crowd. We sat down and I promise you 10 minutes had gone by, before anyone even took our drink order, initially we hadn’t noticed because we were talking and had called to check on the “Gems”. We look around and there was a waitress giving her life story right behind us and we still have no drinks. I usually would have responded in a rather negative manner, but this time I was calm. Finally, someone came for our drink order and it was not the waitress that was telling her life story, good thing because I know I would have gone in on her, I’m just saying. This waitress apologized for the wait and gave us the excuse about it being shift change and unassigned tables…..blah…blah…blah. As we had movie tickets right after we were eager to go ahead and place our order too. I will say the waitress was awesome, drinks were filled at all times, bread and salad was flowing the night was getting better by the minute (I’m a foodie). It was about time for us to head across town to catch “Fifty Shades of Grey”….yes I read the book, all three, yes I enjoyed every last page, my life, my choice!! lol. With that being said we finished dessert, asked for the check and the waitress brings back salad, bread and soup to go, but no check. So we ask again, pressed for time at this point and she asks if the manager had been by and he hadn’t yet, she goes to get him. He approaches the table, apologizes for the delay in service earlier and says “your meal tonight is on us” talking bout somebody happy, thank ya Lord!

The bright sun rays poked through the blinds on a too early to be awake yet
with NO kids kind of morning. My nose tells me He’s making breakfast I am scanning Netflix taking advantage of the opportunity to watch something other than cartoons. He opens the door, “Hey….don’t come out ok?” I laugh, “ahh…ok” and go back to surfing Netflix, I swear sometimes you spend more time surfing than watching movies up there. So I am totally relaxing when there’s another knock at the door. “Yes……”, “Hey…..dont come out ok?” he must be up to something out there. By the time the last knock came, I was pretty much ready to eat, see this elaborate breakfast he seems to be so excited about. He waits for me at the thresh of the door and I begin to follow Him into the kitchen and I take notice of red rose petals tossed about on the floor leading me somewhere, I attempt to level my head, but my big ol’ kool-aid smile makes it difficult, lol. I take notice of an IPad, Phone and computer “watching” my every move spread about throughout the space, is this live? am I being recorded? The trail of roses leads me to a TV tray! bahahaha, wait now……it had a dozen of roses on it, a card and a heart shaped box. Theres a familiar voice I hear in the background its Sisqo (what?!!! did he really make a come back?) LIPS song playing in the background. He says open the card, I look at Him, reach over and pick up the red envelope. The cover say’s “To My WIFE” I read on as if I didn’t notice that, but anyone who really knows me, knows I pay attention to details, I definitely saw that (grinning). I finished reading the card and at the bottom he wrote “P.S life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re going to get” I look back at Him and he says “open the box”, the heart shaped box filled with chocolate I’m sure. I say, “but I don’t want chocolate this early followed by a giggle. He says just open it, so I look towards the TV tray and grabbed the box, by the time I look back at Him, he is sweating………profusely…..”why are you sweating so hard” I open the box and in the very center of the heart there’s a chocolate missing and a gorgeous ring in its place. I’m speechless at this point, He grabs a decorative pillow from off the couch and throws it down on the floor and begins to kneel one knee down on it. I find myself being a tad bit distracted, I know
you’re probably thinking how?….why? but I am still stuck on the sweat that is way past beads, and the desktop screen that I seem to be on, oh and don’t forget the pillow that was necessary before He got down on one knee, lol the very things I love so much. I found myself to be nervous, an uncontrollable laughter fell upon me. He patiently waits for my hands to be released as they  barricaded my face filled with laughter. He takes my left hand and ask me to marry Him. I think we know what my answer was……….so ladies join the journey with me of this particular chapter in my life, I am Engaged. So what happens next?…….

ring

 

               sig LP

Summer, Summer, Summertime!!!

“Here it is the groove, slightly transformed; just a bit of the break from the norm…” Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh ya’ll didn’t know I could rhyme like that huh? LOL!! Sike! Sing with me now “Summer, summer, summertime; time to sit back and unwind”. Ya’ll remember that? Will Smith (aka The Fresh Prince) and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s 1991 hit song “Summertime”. Man that was good music, right? It just isn’t quite summer until you hear that on the radio. It just puts you in the mood for all that the summer season has to offer!

Yeah I know the season has not quite officially changed yet, but the warmer weather, and seeing that it is now officially June, just kinda puts you in the mood for everything that is “summer”. So what do I look forward to most this time of the year?

VACATION!!! I don’t think I’ve been on a big vacation in a few years now, but girlllllllllllllllllllllllllllll let me tell you, I am LONG overdue!!! The sand, sun and ocean waves are calling my name!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is something about the beach, specifically the water, that just brings a peace all over you! Hubby and I will celebrate 4 years of marital bliss this July and I hope that we are able to steal away for an extended weekend vacation to enjoy each other and rekindle that “newly-wed” flame from our honeymoon if you get my drift. (Insert girly giggles lolol) In addition to an adult getaway, I look forward to taking the kids to the beach as well so they can splash around and just enjoy being a kid. We may even slide in a trip to the NC Zoo or Aquarium this summer. I might enjoy that trip more than the kids lol. Wherever we go, it will be fun because I will have my family surrounding me with love and most importantly will be away from the same daily routine and worries of everyday life!

FAMILY GATHERINGS/COOKOUTS!!! I told you all before that I am a part of the Big Girl Club so you know I like to eat! LOL!! You know what that means…bring on the cookouts honey!! Hubby threw down on the grill Memorial Day weekend and I’m ready for some grill action this summer! This time of year typically brings about Family Reunions/Gatherings and I’m all for it!! Picture it…all the women in the family are in the kitchen prepping food (or sitting at the table gossiping, don’t front you know its true lol), the men folk are outside standing around the grill, kids running in and out the house, music bumping, house full of laughter…kinda makes you want to plan a get together this weekend, right?!? I just love getting together with my family especially now that we are all getting older. Everyone’s lives are going in so many different directions so when we are able to get the entire family together, its like a great accomplishment! Just talking about it has me counting down to the July 4th weekend!!

So to summarize it all, summertime to me is all about FAMILY, which puts me in my happy place, kinda like the song did at the beginning of this post. Yeah I know every day will not be a sunny day per say, but hey it’s all in how you look at it! Cheers to fun-filled vacations, spectacular family gatherings, and an all-around amazing summer season!!!

sig KT