Tag: series

How it all started…The Journey Leading up to 12/6/2014…Final Chapter

Catch up here…Through the next few months and a few sessions, I think that we were making some progress. The Friday before our original wedding date in May, we get the worst news ever…Robert has cancer…stage 4 cancer. A little background for a minute…earlier in the year, Robert started feeling funny and having stomach pains. After about a week of me pushing him to go get it checked out, he finally went. The doctors chalked it up as GERD and gave him a few prescriptions and sent him on his way. The meds made his symptoms worse and another month or so he went back. After getting an upper endoscopy done, there was still nothing. Not really having much relief and a new symptom on deck, he went back again a few weeks later. His primary ran some tests and did more blood work. That’s when we got the news. After the gut wrenching blow of news, we found ourselves in the hospital with our first issue…a blood clot. Outside of a few “love handles” Robert was in good health; now we find ourselves looking for answers.

Hospitalized for over a week, he endured more tests and scans to pinpoint the exact form of cancer even though they had a preliminary diagnosis. Hearing cancer, one of our top concerns was planning our future and what that meant. We decided to preserve our family before radiation and chemotherapy was started. Our decisions from here on out were the hardest one’s ever made. With too many details to share, we started radiation, gone through a second surgical biopsy procedure (this one from his kidney), and a round of chemo all by August. With a true diagnosis on deck, we took another blow; a rare form of kidney cancer that had little to no research and knowing life expectancy averaged 15-18 weeks from diagnosis.

Through it all, we still worked on our communication and decided to get married. The day was perfect! A nice cool Connecticut Saturday morning, nothing but close family and friends, we had our moment. Outside under the trees near the lake, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It was an off week for chemo treatments and a good day for Robert so it was a great day for me. I was happy that in that moment on September 20th he was happy again and not worried or scared.

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Reality struck us and a week later he was once again hospitalized. Not knowing it at the time, this would be his last stay. He was admitted because of breathing issues stemming from fluid on his lungs. We took each day in strides in hopes of going home with some few extra pieces of equipment. We celebrated two months’ worth of anniversaries and spent Thanksgiving there. After two trips to ICU and intubation, he said he was ready. He was no longer scared, had no more worries, and was secure in his faith. He said his earthly goodbyes and on December 6, 2014 transitioned. A day to remember; only one year earlier I said yes to forever!

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How it all started…The Journey Leading up to 12/6/2014

Catch up here…Such an amazing night and weekend I was sad to see him off to the airport. Our time spent with each other is important since it’s only a few days a month, but we’re making it do what it do! Can we say WEDDING PLANNING TIME!!!!! So exciting to actually be planning my own, I mean I’ve been involved with plenty from planning, decorating and setting up, to a bridesmaid. Not wanting to leave my boo out and wanting him to be involved on some things we started going over thoughts and ideas of what type of experience we wanted to have. Of course, I wanted to be different and unique and of course outside, so we ended up agreeing on our venue being the Museum of Life and Science in their butterfly garden. Can we say gorgeous! To road to May 25, 2014 was off to a great start.

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It was a great feeling in the planning process from viewing the venue and picking out our specific location to selecting our food…which was a food truck! How can you not have an outdoor wedding as unique as a museum and butterfly garden and not having unique food?!?!?!?! And to top it all off, in addition to a traditional desserts, we’re having a shaved ice truck! Yummy!!! A nice intimate setting with a touch of fun, how could we pass it up? Along the way, I found the perfect dress (or at least the look and style that I wanted but not the price tag lol). So me and one of the girlfriends were on a mission to find a similar dress and style but cheaper and came across a close match for a fraction of the cost. Now the catch was it’s coming from China! We all know how shaky some of these websites can be, so before ordering it, we prayed on that thing hard that it would arrive in a timely manner and compare to the picture that’s posted online. Prayers were answered because the dress arrived fairly quickly (maybe 4 weeks) AND it was EXACTLY the same as in the picture posted online. STOKED!!!!!!!!!!!!

With all the excitement in wedding planning, reality still exist and during that time our reality was serious communication issues. With limited face to face time, conversations were being misinterpreted and we both were frustrated with our poor communication in an otherwise healthy relationship. For me, this is a deal breaker. It got to the point where I wasn’t comfortable starting a marriage on a rocky foundation. So I did what I felt was right in my heart which was to cancel/postpone the wedding. Did some disapprove, yes. Were some supportive, yes. At that time, what mattered was that Robert and I have the best start on this journey as possible because I know that there will not always be good days and we needed to know how to navigate that if/when it arise. So we navigated our way through pre-marital and relationship counseling. Final chapter… coming soon!

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Year One…

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Hey luvs!!!! It’s been a few days, but I’m here today. Have you ever had a moment when you’re just not “feeling it”??? Yea that’s been me the last few weeks…just been in that BLAH feeling. Then one day while at work, cleaning papers off the desk and came across notes that I took last year when talking to the doctors and trying to understand medical terminology. It dampened the mood a little, but not for long. After work, I celebrated with one of his favorite drinks…San Pellegrino Blood Orange drink (even though I don’t drink carbonated beverages). I’m so excited about the small things these days. He may not be here in the physical, but the memories are just as good. Have a happy and blessed Tuesday!

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P.S.

I’m giving a special shout out to my baby brother…today’s his 18th birthday!!!!! (can we say photo-bombing lol but I SOOOOO luv luv luv this picture!)anthony

Year One…

Hi luvs!!! Happy Tuesday…I hope you all are having a great week! Since my last post, I’ve managed to get through two important dates September 18th and 20th. September 18th marks one year anniversary of me selling my house. It’s a big deal because it was something I had to do in order to transition to support my then fiancé. September 20th marks what would have been my one year anniversary.

Let’s get started on this lovely weekend journey. I planned a few weeks back to go visit one of my besties (“since 7th grade” as she would add to my name when introducing me 🙂 ) and her family at their new home in Colorado. Originally not thinking twice about the dates other than planning to do something for her oldest birthday that weekend, I realized what weekend it was; I was a little nervous. See like a best friend, at some point in time they stop being a best friend and are part of your family…sisters. We laugh, cry, share, are embarrassed and get in trouble together, and the list can go on for days. So she just so happens to be married to my fiancé uncle (only three years apart) as told in How it all started…Journey Leading up to 12/6/2014. So this was going to be an extremely “keeping it together” type of weekend. They’re not only family, but the ones who introduced us and who help facilitate an AWESOME surprise 30th birthday/engagement party. So needless to say they’re pretty close to him as well.

Going into the weekend, I didn’t know how it would go, if I’d be emotional or what. This is my second time seeing them since the funeral in December. I put my big girl pants on and went on about the weekend. Had a great lunch date with one of my goddaughters and enjoyed playing the rest of the afternoon with them both. Saturday morning enjoyed two pee wee/kids soccer games, which were pretty funny. Had an amazing time at Church In The City Christian hip hop concert featuring artists from On Faith Ent and Pettidee to name a few. Sunday was a different story…started off emotion free even with a few Happy Anniversary texts, but quickly changed. The support group that I have is so awesome and sincere I wouldn’t change them for the world. The heartfelt words that my girls shared on Sunday pushed me right on over. Memories and emotions took over, but just knowing that I’m covered, protected and comforted is good. Nonetheless, HE has kept me for the past nine months and I’ll continue to press on.

Thank you for your listening ears!!!

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Beauty Is…

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Girlfriends!!! The summer season is coming to a close and so is our Summer Beauty Series!!! This week is all about beauty secrets and I have to be honest I DON’T HAVE ANY!!! **Shame Face** I have struggled with what I was going to talk about this week. I mean I have been googling to see if I could find something to report on, but I got nothing! I told you all in Less Is More that I’m a simple kinda girl. No fluff added, what you see is what you get! Honestly, it’s slightly embarrassing for a 32 year old women, but it’s the real me which I promised to give you all so I digress! I mean yeah sure I can drop a few nuggets that you may already know like:

  • Always wear a good body shapper (Spanx being my preference) to give yourself a smoother look in a dress/skirt/jumper or putting on your Sunday’s best
  • Use a feminine body spray (Summer’s Eve being my preference) to spray on your under garments to keep it fresh down there, especially on those hot days and if you have thunder thighs like myself lol Hey no shame in my game, you don’t want to get caught slipping, feel me?
  • And for those well-endowed up top, put a little deodorant in between and under your breasts to help control sweat and odor. (I just recently learned this trick and it works wonders lol)
  • Want clear skin? Drink plenty of water!!! The Girlfriends and I have challenged each other to drink 1 gallon of water a day and it is working wonders for my skin!
  • Not able to get a pedicure as often as you’d like? Get you a 4-in-1 pedicure brush from the Target, some foot scrub and go to work honey!!! Then apply some Vaseline to your feet, put on a pair of socks and boom! Soft heels again!!! LOL!

But like I said I’m sure you all already knew that right? So me being me, I wanted to flip this week’s post around a bit and talk about beauty from within. Let’s face it you can have all the beauty secrets in the world, but if your self-esteem is low, your character is flawed and your heart/motives aren’t right, those go right out the window. How many times have you put on a fly outfit, a full face of makeup and a forced smile, yet still felt as though you weren’t pretty or felt as though you still missed the mark. I’ve been there where others told me I was pretty but in my mind I felt like I was too fat and not as cute as the little petite girl next to me. We (blogger included) have to stop that and start loving on ourselves. The Bible says that we were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God created us in His own image, therefore regardless of what society views as beautiful or how that voice in your head makes you feel, honey you are beautiful!! Beauty is you!!! Yes you!!!! Say it loud, I’m CUTE and I’m proud!!! LOL!

No but seriously the message I’m trying to push today is to love yourself just the way God made you. Loving yourself doesn’t have to hurt, as I told you in Pretty Hurts, and can be done modestly. I’m not telling you to start being arrogant or thinking too much of yourself, but I am saying that you should portray the beautiful spirit that God intended for you to have even while you were in your mother’s womb. Honestly I know that sometimes it’s hard to find her from within, but trust me she is there! Beauty is knowing who you are and to Whom you belong! Starting today let’s make a pack to not only spend time nurturing and enhancing our outer beauty, but let’s go a step further and take just as much time, no let’s take more time, molding and strengthening the inner you. If we can share beauty secrets to enhance the outer woman, we can also share those to bless the inner as well, right?

“Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] [a]interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 AMP

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How it all started…The Journey Leading up to 12/6/2014

Catch up here…With the holidays done, it was back to normal life with one minor adjustment…WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yep you read it right. So in the mix of the holidays lies my birthday. Yes I don’t really do much for my birthday, but since it was the BIG 3-0, I wanted to do a really nice sit down dinner at a fancy restaurant. So I started planning and inviting all my friends and their hubby’s. I got together this nice evite and picked out a fancy place and thought I was doing something lol…to my surprise (and it truly was because I know EVERYTHING!!!) there was something else in the mix brewing.

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Since in previous conversations I told Robert that I wanted to do something big for my birthday, but I really felt comfy doing something simple something small lol (I mean a girl can dream right lol). Needless to say, he teamed up with #TEAMDOCKERY and it was a wrap! Now I have been to their house, watched their kids while they were on a weekend getaway, spent Thanksgiving there and was totally clueless. I mean I usually know when stuff is going down. I give mad props to everyone for keeping this secret! I would say that the toughest part of their entire shindig was getting me there and they had the right person tasked with that…MY SISTER. So the story behind that was we were planning on working out, so I gets changed and waiting for my sister…and waiting…still waiting…finally I’m like you taking too long I’m not going. Then my mom says she has a headache and in pain can we go get her something from the store […now this should have been clue #1 that something fishy was going on because I’m pretty sure we have everything under the sun in our “medicine” cabinet, but I didn’t check she hurting go get something no if ands or buts…]. So then me and my sister spends 20 minutes in Harris Teeter and I’m ready to go because my momma hurting…then she forgets something and we circle the store. √ed that off the list…now to the line, but we had another detour; so about another 20 minutes pass and I’m done at this point. We finally leaves and then she wants to “go check out the clubhouse for the baby 1st birthday”…who does that at 8-9pm?!?!? After going back and forth for about 5 mins, I pull up there and told her I’m not going because it looks like someone having a Christmas party (I mean it is December). After another 5 minutes of arguing lol I went up towards the door and as I get to it and my sister opens it (I’m looking at her sideways lol) all I see is my mom and Robert!!!!!!!!! Oh I busted out in tears! I’m shocked because I have no clue why he’s here (I just saw him less than 2 weeks before for Thanksgiving) and why is he all dressed up. So after he comes outside to get me to come in (yea he had to come and get me lol) I see all of my luvs…mom, the baby, brother, all my besties, my aunt and a few cousins!!!! I was seriously in awe that this was happening…and did I mention that I have on gym clothes and everyone is all jazzy lol.

So after I speak to everyone I was whisked away and got changed (YES!!!!! They had hooked a sista up). Back to the party I go and I walk into “Scandal” affair. YAY! I’m so excited because that’s my show and I’m the leading lady 🙂 . I mean all of the characters where there even Pap Pope even down to the transitioning sound (sounds like a camera shutter lol) After it’s all said and solved P-A-R-T-T-A-A-Y-Y-Y T-I-M-E. Skrrreeek….things got quiet and people looking, then I see Robert with the microphone. It’s kinda hard to me to focus on what he’s saying because I’m trying to figure out what’s really going on….then he’s on ONE KNEE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I busted out crying again lmbo. I was such a crier that night. And I finally said YES! Yea yea yea…it took me a minute or two to get it together and say yes lol. December 6, 2013. Continue reading…

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Less Is More

“Maybe she’s born with it…maybe it’s Maybelline” Ha! Remember that commercial? Do they even still use that tagline? Any who it’s all about make up this week ladies and well to be honest I like to fall somewhere in between those 3 dots. There was a time (mainly when I was single lol) that I would get up, put on a full face and head out for the day. My mom would always tell me “Katesha remember that less is more. You don’t want people to get scared or think you are sick when you don’t have on any makeup.” LOL! Well she couldn’t have been more correct! I definitely did not and still do not want to scare anyone! And actually I think that is a great principle to live by in the makeup arena…less is more.

These days it is very rare, I mean really rare that I wear a full face of makeup during the week. I’m a Sunday only kinda girl unless there is a special occasion where I need to spruce myself up a bit. During the week, if I do anything, I typically fill in my eyebrows, apply some gloss and go. It’s way too hot to do much of anything else right now.  I just have to remind myself when I do fill them in so that I won’t rub my hands over my face and wipe them off LOL!! (Hey it happens lol) In case you’re wondering, I use a dark brown eyebrow pencil to fill in my brows. When I first started I had to learn the hard way not to use a black pencil, talk about looking crazy! LOL!

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Let’s talk Sunday Morning Look! I wish I had something exciting to share with you here, but I don’t. I like to keep my look as natural as possible. I know, I know, just call me Sarah plain and tall. For my eyes, I usually apply a light brown natural shadow, a little highlighter under my brow and mascara. On those days that I want a bolder look, I add a chocolate brown to get that smokey eye type feel. I love Almay’s eyebrow pallets. They are affordable and have the 3 colors needed to obtain that natural look that I desire. I have dabbled with a few different foundations and I have 2 lines that I like – CoverGirl Queen’s Collection or L’Oreal True Match. They both have a light feel and don’t leave me looking oily. I recently purchased CoverGirl’s Clean Normal Girl to apply under my eyes and around my brows for a smoother look after I’ve applied foundation. It helps get rid of blemishes and those dreadful dark circles under my eyes! After foundation comes a little bronzer on my cheeks for an extra glow! Now one thing that I have come to love is a poppin lip honey! Since I keep the rest of my face basic I tend to like to have fun with my lip color. I’ve come to love (it took me a while to try them out) bright reds, pinks and purples for the summer! Two of my favs right now are Violet by Milani and Fuchsia Flash by Maybelline.

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That’s my makeup expertise in a nutshell. I know that it’s pretty basic for a 32 year old, but I hope to take a makeup class with our wonderful makeup artist/photographer, In God’s Image Photography/Makeup Artistry, who beat my face (is that how you say it LOL) in our official Girlfriend blog photos. You’re never too old to learn right?

Make Up Products Collage

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Makeup and Photography done by In God’s Image Photography/Makeup Artistry

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!

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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!!

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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!

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