Over the knee SATISFACTION!!!

I've been ranting and raving for my NEED for an "Over the Knee" boot for quite some time.  I'm happy to say that I've managed to find one, and for under $100!  YES!

I purchased them from Urban Outfitters, by UO designer Kimchi Blue, they are $98.00 and available in black, grey and cream.  To see all the pics, in all their glory, go to this link here.

Here are a couple of pics...

In the last pic, you can see that the heel is suede also!  I purchased them in cream - DARING, I know. However, they aren't every day boots for me - they're for special occasions, which require door-to-door traveling. Thus, I think I'll be fine with the color

My Personal Review: They are very comfortable, fit my legs (which are skinny) but I believe they will fit a thicker leg too - they're not tight on me. For the foot of the shoe, fit true to size, nice width also - not too narrow. I do have to pull them up a bit when I wear them over my knee...but I think that's because my legs don't hold them up alone.


Hello Lovelies,

I have GREAT NEWS!!! I was able to braid my own Senegalese twists!!! *Fireworks & applause*

Thus, I'll definitely still have cute hair styles, but they will be geared towards longer hair.  I've decided to shift my focus from hair onto another extension for my blog: Fashion, specifically personal fashion.  This portion will be great for anyone who is looking to:
1. Define your own new style
2. Build/create your wardrobe
3. Shop more efficiently for your current style or in general

I thought to do this because when I got out of college, I recognized that I had NO CLOTHES.  Ok, I'm exaggerating a tad, but I did not have a WARDROBE.  I had a top, a blouse, jeans, a dress, but nothing that worked together to create a single WORKING wardrobe.  I also noticed that I did not know how to shop for a wardrobe. Sure, I could shop for an event, or I could find one cute item, but then I would only wear it ONCE, or find that "I had nothing to go with it."

I found some tips to help me create my wardrobe, and I'm happy to say, I have a solid style and wardrobe AND I continuously add to it when I shop.  I'm not going to reveal my secrets all at once, lol.  But I will start revealing one now: Know your body!!!

When I shopped for clothes before, I bought anything trendy and cute.  The only problem with this is that TRENDY does not always fit your body type. It is of the utmost important that you KNOW and UNDERSTAND YOUR BODY! Know what shapes/cuts compliment you, along with the ones that don't. This will make shopping much easier. For example, I have skinny legs - I highlight them all the time by wearing dresses, skinny jeans and leggings. I LOVE wide-leg pants, but I purchase very few b/c it takes away from one of my best assets!

So, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself...what's my best asset? How can I best highlight this asset with my clothing? What's my worst asset? How can I hide/camouflage this asset with clothes? When answering these questions, think cuts...A-lines, straight, etc.  Also, fashion magazines can be helpful if you're getting started.  I personally love Lucky.

So, Rule #1: Know your body...

Happy Holidays & Winter Hair Challenges

Happy Holidays everyone!  I hope you all will excuse my hiatus, I was away from the computer, spending time with my family and LOVING IT! I hope you all had a great time as well.

As for my hair...rolling eyes...I love style experimentation and all the different questions/compliments that I get when I wear my natural hair.  HOWEVER, keeping it REAL REAL, the ish is a LOT of work! I just want to not have to do my hair, AND not pay anyone else to do it, lol.  Thus, I'm considering getting the Senegalese twists (with extensions). I think the twists will give me a well-deserved break AND are still a protective style. However, I want to put them in myself, but I've already tried a couple of twists, and it is not hittin' :(.

Hopefully I'll get some style inspiration for my own free-strand hair searching youTube.  Who knows, maybe I'll actually try the Curlformers since I'm on vakay next week.  I should have some good photos soon b/c you know my  hair needs to set it OFF on NYE!!!

Holiday Cheer & Bantu Knot Out

**Update** I uploaded the pics again, so they should show up this time, sorry about that :(
I got invited to a lot of Holiday parties this weekend.  Although I'm not into wearing sweaters with reindeer and blinking lights, I do LOVE to be FESTIVE!!!  I found this FABULOUS headband at Anthropologie, it reminds me of a "Winter Wonderland."  Unforch, it looks like they're not selling it online, or they sold out.  I bought it at the Philly store.  I wore it on one of my pinned styles on twist-out hair.  Here are the pics.

On ANOTHER NOTE...I FINALLY got the willpower to try a Bantu knot-out.  Unforch, I did not experience the best results.  I think I needed to do smaller knots.  Here's what my hair looked like.

LOL @ my facial expression...I just woke up and undid the knots...I did one knot very small, thus this is what all of my hair would have looked like had I tried it.  Here's what I think it was SUPPOSED to look like.

  For the newbies who don't know what Bantu knots are, there's a pic below.  You  basically twist the hair and roll it into a knot.

My Staple Style

As you all know, I LOVE ME SOME TWO-STRAND TWISTS!  I have come up with my staple two-strand twist style.  If I don't find any new style to try, I go to this style.  It features bangs and a twist up around the sides of my head.  I know...I'm not good at explaining things with words. that's why it's great that a picture says 1,000 words!

**Pics are from 4-day old twists
I rock this to work, on the weekends, everywhere.  It's cute enough to rock out at the club, yet still protective!  This style is also VERY EASY...if you know how to twist, you should be able to do it.  To get the bangs, just be sure to twist the hair towards the front.  Give yourself 3-4 rows of twists for bangs for the size of twist that I do.

For the back twist up, it's the same style as my bun twist referenced here, except this time you're doing it on twisted hair.  It's a quasi flat twist/roll effect.

Soul Sista...Power to the People!

Whenever I rock my unaltered afro (I.e. natural coil/kink shape, no twist/braid-outs), my bf seems to go into this mode where he constantly calls me "Soul Sista."  It's as if he feels we're in the 70's...the conversation will go something like this:

He sees me and says, "What's up my sooooul sista, my beautiful black queen, my nubian princess?"
Me: "{Laughing} You're silly"
Him: "Do me a favor and put your hand up like THIS [makes black power sign]"
Me: Still laughing
Him: "You are a SOOOUL sista!"

I just think it's funny that some type of convo like this happens between me and him when I wear my fro.  It makes me laugh. 

This post is for my ladies and fellas rockin those unaltered fros, "What's up my SOUL SISTAS and BROTHAS?" :-P

*I did have the fro clipped up on one side in the pic to give me "bangs"

Oyin Handmade...I FINALLY got on it

Hello Lovelies!

My cousin and other 4bers on the Wonderful World Wide Web *I love alliteration* have been ranting and raving about products from a black-owned company called Oyin Handmade.  Ladies & gents, I finally got on it and visited their store in Baltimore the last time I went home.  They were so friendly at the store, I felt at home!

I picked up the following products: Whipped Shea Butter, Shine & Define and Frank's Juice.  Of course I love the Shea butter, it's soft and supple unlike the raw shea butter I normally use.  The Shine & Define lays my curly edges down well.  It has a light scent and made my twists soft and added a little shine.  Finally, Frank's Juice gives my twist-outs the "pick-me-up" they've been so desparately longing for.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with the products.  If you are transitioning and searching for products, I haven't heard any poor reviews about Oyin or Aubrey's Organic hair products on 4a/4b hair.  Plus, my hair clearly likes both of them a lot.  One product I feel the need to really RAVE about is...Aubrey's Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner for deep conditioning - it's FABULOUS, my hair LOVES this stuff!!!  It leaves my hair feeling soft as a baby's butt...NO, UGG fur...NO, a winter throw...SIGH, you get the idea ;)***

***DISCLAIMER: Though these products do *magic* on my hair, they  may not yield the same results for you.  Try a sample of the products first or buy them at a place that welcomes returns for things that don't work out well so you don't waste your $$$$.  Whole Foods, though expensive, welcomes returns.

Moni Mo

December Greetings & Cinna bun hair style

Happy December!!!

I love this time of year, the cold winter weather allows me to layer up and look fabulous, and who doesn't love the spirit that is around us during the Christmas season!

As we prepare for the holidays (parties, large dinners, etc.), it's VITAL that we have some sharp hairstyles to match our attire.  Thus, I'm hoping to find new hairstyles weekly to blog about.

Here are the deets on my first new style...I was perusing youTube on Sunday and came across another FAB hairstyle.  It's called the "Cinna-bun hairstyle", here are links to the tutorial: Part 1*FYI, the first half of the vid is a response to something I'm totally unfamiliar with* and Part 2.

Here are pics of the style on me.
Back View *love that you can see the texture*
Front View
 Anyway, I think this is a great conservative hairstyle, but it still is very cute/fashionable.  I did this style on dry, stretched hair.  I washed it and kept it in braids overnight and styled in the morning.  It took me about 10 minutes to pull this look together.  I pulled my hair back with an elastic stretchy that I got from Rite Aid. :) and did the style.  I would try to explain how to do the style, but I don't think I would do a good job, so just watch the video.  If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

It starts when we're 6 years old...

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!!! I know I ate A LOT :) and spent a lot of well-needed time with my fam!

Over the holiday weekend, I volunteered to entertain/watch some kids who were in a Cotillion/Beautillion that my little bro is in.  I watched the 1st - 3rd graders who were lil' debs and lil' beaus.  In my observations...I noticed something VERY VERY interesting about the little girls.  Out of the 8 girls in the show, only 1 of them wore their natural hair the day of the event and HALF - that means 4 - of the girls had relaxers*.

*I didn't actually ask the girls if they had relaxers, but I'm pretty sure about this as I'm pretty good at deciphering "pressed/straightened" hair from relaxed hair...Gosh, I truly digressed, so back to my point!

One little girl, had her hair in the cutest spiral curls.  One of the beaus said that he didn't like her hair.  She then was upset and did not like her hair for the REST of the evening.  Another little girl came to rehearsal in the morning with box braids.  She would not remove her hoody - she was holding the hood to be SURE her hair wouldn't show.  I asked her why, and she explained to me that her hair "wasn't done." NOOOOOW...her braids were a little fuzzy, but who's aren't when you're a 6-8 year old.  And even still, I'm a fan of fuzzy braids/twists at times ;).  I explained to her that her hair looked fine, I said, "It's just like mine, I wear my hair like that all the time!  And I'm FIERCE!"  She acquiesed and removed the hoody.

This really bothered me.  I thought, if THIS is how little girls feel at the ages of 6, 7 & 8.  What are we teaching our young children!?!?!  I truly think that black folks have yet to sincerely accept our natural kinks/coils for their true beauty.  I know some people prefer straightened over natural hair - it's a personal preference.  However, I have a problem with people THINKING/FEELING that straight hair is more acceptable or appropriate or even more beautiful than natural coils/kinks.

This situation suggests that we unknowingly ingrain these beliefs into our young daughters' minds at young ages.

Just my two cents, and FYI - I wore my hair in a half-pinned, half twist-out style that night.  Ya'll...I looked GOOD! :*)

Life Accomplishment & Updates

When I first started blogging, I mentioned that I would write about food, hair, running, etc. because I wanted this site to be about holistic living.  Recently, I've slacked off on food & running and etcetera (whatever that was).  However for those of you who have been with me from the beginning, I am pleased to announce...

I completed my first OFFICIAL race on Sunday.  I ended up running an 8K (5 miles) in 47 minutes and 23 seconds, which means I averaged about 9 minutes and 30 seconds per mile!  This was a HUGE accomplishment for me.  I'm happy to say I did this.

As for hair, I just have holidays this week, so this means I can do an "out style," however, I signed up for Leila from BGLH's Winter Growth Challenge.  Although out would be cuter, protective is better.  Thus, I'm rocking my usual twist style with it styled to a side.  I pinned it in the back (as usual).

Peace & Blessings during this holiday week,

Natural Hair & Conformity in the Business World

So...I must be having some sort of "creative blogging epiphany" because I have another great thought that I just HAVE to blog about.

Side note: I am now able to BUN MY HAIR!!! Only if it's stretched (co-wash and braid technique I discussed earlier).  Anyway, I get easily bored with not-so-cute and/or boring styles.  I took the bun down and was left with a head full of thick stretched kinks.  I pulled it to one side and thought...UBER CUTE!  Then I thought...dang, but is this ok for me to wear to WORK :/?

As a natural, I find myself often questioning if a certain natural style is or is not "work-appropriate" when the SAME EXACT hairstyle translated onto straight hair would be totally fine.

What do you do in these situations?  Do you conform to something you know is safe?  Do you "shake whatcha mama gave ya" (or wear in this case)?

As long as I have no super important conservative conference/meeting to attend, I'm going to SHAKE WHAT MY MAMA GAVE ME!!! lol :)  They'll have to get used to it eventually, right?

Natural hair & relaxed hair =? Same haircare

This weekend, one of my best soror friends came to visit.  She's relaxed, and I noticed that her hair had grown fairly significantly since I last saw her in May.  In May, she was shoulder length (SL), now she's a solid arm pit length (APL).  I asked her what she did to care for her hair and guess what her response was...CO-WASHING!!!!  She said that she co-washes 3 times a week and it helps keep her roller sets fresh :) AND it keeps her hair moisturized.

Another associate of mine grew her hair down to APL in 1 year through braids (with extensions) by co-washing her hair on a weekly basis.  She was natural underneath the braids, and stated that keeping her hair moisturized through co-washing is what helped her RETAIN length.

It's been said 1,000,000 times that black women "can't" grow our hair long, but if we need touch ups on a 4-8 week basis our hair CLEARLY GROWS, we just don't RETAIN any length.  Think about it: if every time a sista gets a touch-up, she has about 1" of new growth, but she gets a trim b/c her "ends are bad," and another 1"+ is cut off, and she's back to square one.

If relaxed heads adapted similar haircare techniques from naturals (Ex. co-washing, protective styles via bunning, sealing ends, using more natural products), would they see better retention and THUS more growth???  POSSIBILITY!!!

Hair TRAUMA!!!

Beautiful blogosphere,

I recently experienced some hair TRAUMA!  My hair was doing well, it was healthy, felt moisturized, besides a few fairy knots here and there, I was rocking and rolling with the regimen I was using.  WHY THEN MUST WE CHANGE THINGS WHEN ALL IS WELL?

I think I got a little extra excited with all of my recent success in cute styles.  Thus, I decided to try ANOTHER NEW STYLE for Halloween. This style was inspired by Corinne Baily Rae *who if you don't LOVE, you should* I did the style on a Saturday &; did not have enough time for my hair to air dry and thus went out with wet hair.  Kimmay gives a tutorial for the style on youTube here.  I didn't take pics :( but it was SUPER CUTE.  Anyway...back to the story...this "not letting my hair fully dry in twists" led to my hair being hard to handle - it kinked up.  So, I decided to box braid my hair.  After braiding, I thought the style was ok, but I really HATE box braids on me, well, I just like twists a lot better.

So...after two days of box braids I take the braids out and wear a braid-out.  Which was cute, but something was different...my ends felt ROUGH!  I had fairy knots galore and it was TRAGIC!  I don't THINK it was too much manipulation, I think the box braids (I do mine SUPER SMALL) lead to more fairy knots.

So, feeling my rough, moisture-less hair, I clarified it the next day with ACV & water and co-washed it.  Then I did my usual two-strand twist w/ shea butter, avo oil & aloe vera gel.  My twisted style was UBER-cute BTW!  See pics below.  The pics of me in the black are the day of, the pic of me and my friend are 2 days after I did the twists - you'll notice the twists curl more.

Sofull Reflections: Awesome quote from Zora Neale Hurston

Announcing my first series: Sofull Reflections

So, I'm going to start adding a weekly " Sofull reflections" post to talk about things outside of hair. I will try to not stray too far as I am not an official writer/activist/environmentalist/realist/etc. However, I love to talk about REAL issues.  I will open the series with a quote from Zora Neale Hurston.

"Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me."

~Zora Neale Hurston

I love this quote.  For me, it says: I laugh in the face of adversity because ultimately, I am me and I'm FABULOUS!!!  I know we all face adversity whether it be at work, with our hair, with our career CHOICE and many more.  How about you all - what adversity have you faced recently and how did you overcome it?  What do you think about the quote?

More about my hair & more cute styles

Okay, this is going to be the LAST post about my actual hair texture - PROMISE *at least for now :)*  In looking at tutorials, style ideas, etc. - it really helps to understand the real hair texture.  I know I said I'm 4b, but I thought I would provide a picture of my hair wet for comparison.

Excuse the SOPPING wetness in the first pic, lol.  You may see that the back shows a slightly looser curl.  There is a CENTER PATCH (literally about 2" x 2") that is like 4a/3b.  It's crazy.  The middle is STRAIGHT 4b, and the top is a slightly less kinky 4b but still shows pretty tight coils.

Just for fun, I took some more pictures of some of the styles I've been rocking recently.  Enjoy!

First is a twist out half up-do.  I french braided the back and side to have the side-swiped bangs look.  The french braid in the back set this look OFF!  Totally swiped it from a girl on the plane on my way to ATL...I was STARING SO HARD at her hair to get a glimpse of the style.  I think I copped it pretty well.  To get the bangs, I twisted my hair towards the front and VOILA!


Ok...now for my pin up.  It's a little grandma to me, but it's a great "conservative" & PROTECTIVE style. I simply part and twist the hair.  I use 1,000,000 bobby pins to keep it firm and add clips for style. *I love clips*


Detangling, Styling & Profiling

Hello, hello, hello!  Wow, it's been so long since I've last written.  I have a lot of really good news to write about.  Last time I blogged, I discussed my eager frustration with my hair - the shrinkage, fairy knots, etc.

WELL...thanks to my fav blog (BGLH - which has a NEW SITE, PLEASE CHECK IT OUT!!!) I have found some good detangling techniques that I have tried and officially CO-SIGN them!  Also, I took a recent trip to Atlanta and saw SOOO many new natural styles, I have tons of inspiration and new ideas to try now that I'm home again.

First things first, DETANGLING/stretching!  I recently became a subscriber to youTuber Kimmay.  Although she's a 4a, I thought I could use her detangling techniques to help STRETCH my kinky coils.  You can click here for a direct link to her stretch vid, but here's a quick summary of what I did based on her method:
1. Shampoo *a must for me w/ working out
2. Deep Condition & DETANGLE while conditioner is in there, IN SECTIONS (about 12 for me)
   2a. Finger comb through hair
   2b. Comb through hair using a wide-tooth comb starting @ the ends and working your way to the roots
   2c. Twist that section once detangling is complete
   2d. Repeat for another section
3. Rinse out conditioner, I make sure to squeeze the twists to ensure I get all the conditioner out
4. Grab my essentials (raw shea butter *microwaved to make it nice and buttery*, aloe vera & avocado oil *idea swipe from BGLH via Rachel from Little Golden Lamb*, then take out twists and braid each twist section.

I then let my hair dry (via sleeping with a satin cap overnight) and have seen GREAT results.  I've used this method about 3 times now and can say that my hair is *slightly* more manageable when I wash it now.  My twists are also more stretched using this method, and THUS, so is my twist-out.

As for styling...I typically two-strand twist it the next day and wear twists Mon-Fri.  I apply avo oil to the twist ends every other day.  Friday night through Sunday, I rock twist-outs I apply more whipped shea butter & oil to the twist out parts.  I separate the twists to fluff *idea swipe from BGLH via Andrea from Fly*.  I find that rocking a twist-out for more than 3 days leads to rough ends for me, so I try to minimize the amount that I wear it out like that.

Check out pics below for some of my twist/braid out successes from this method.  BTW - using my essential products, my hair feels so soft and silky and has shine - I love it!!!

Note: My hair will lay down *somewhat* the day that I take out the twists/braids.  However, after one-night of sleep I see a more anti-gravity look, which still works just fine for me!

Mini Update

I had a FA-BU-LOUS weekend with my LS's!!! I love them dearly - so beautiful, so strong, and FABULOUS!!! LOL...here's a pic of us partying it up at Luxe in DC.

We had a great time...you can't necessarily tell what my hair looks like, but I was rocking a twist-out, which I pinned up with cute clips *they had polka dots on them* and bobby pins.  Here are a couple more close-up pics of my hair. *I forgot to take some official pictures when it was fresh, but this will still give an IDEA of what it looked like.

Please ignore the guys in the background...I really like this style.  I was wearing my hair twisted in two-strands last week and rocked a twist-out this week.  I'm doing pretty well with my "less detangling" theory.

I'm hoping to try a new style out sometime this week - got it from one of my fav natural hair blogs: BGLH.  Will post results and more later this week...


I've been meaning to post on this topic for quite some time. **I wrote this when I was really frustrated with my hair***
Has anyone ever noticed the LACK of true, T-R-U-E, TRUE, 4b natural sistas out here? I have, I think I've come across a fellow 4b-er, and then I see curls when their hair is wet. I'm like, what the flip? Do true 4b's not go natural. I know and understand that the thicker your hair is...the less likely one may be to go natural. HONESTLY, my hair is a HANDFUL, and dealing with my 50% shrinkage rate sucks when my goal is to have long healthy hair.

If there are any true 4b's out there, holla at me, because I would love to see and know what the sistas with truly coarse, kinky, non-curly hair are doing to help maintain.

BTW, this is not a blow against sistas with more curly hair. You all are fabulous - love you much. I am however, stating that a 4b sista could use some help.


Hair woes...hair utopia...hair bliss

My last excerpt was a true b!tch session, lol. As I continue to think about what I want to do with my hair, I realize that my hair struggles are directly connected with personal acceptance of my hair. Thus, I've concluded that right now, I'm struggling with accepting my hair. I hate to say it, but it's true.

One of the more recent posts from The Natural Haven discussed a concept of a 'hair utopia.' It was a great read - check it out! Readers were encouraged to comment on their own view of a hair utopia. It was evident that some women struggle with various "challenges" in being natural. However, there were other women who saw no struggle in being natural - after all, we're NATURAL - there shouldn't be any difficulty there! These women re-affirmed their beauty and accepted their hair for what it is.

I pondered these ideas of a hair utopia and I know that I haven't reached mine. I thought of my current acceptance issues with my hair: shrinkage & hair loss (from weekly detangling), attractiveness (tiny bit)*. I can't change the shrinkage rate of my hair. The best, protective styles for me, result in the most shrinkage. My question is, if I can't accept this, should I lock my hair again?

*For attractiveness, I sometimes do think I look better with more of the 'big hair' or stretched natural styles and straight hair styles than my traditional two-strands

I've got to be able to accept my hair for what it is...I long to reach my own hair utopia, and finally...hair bliss!

Excerpts from the Diary of a Frustrated Hairmonger pt 1

I washed my hair on Sunday b/c my straight hair was starting to look a little crazy. The nice thing about straight hair is that when it's done, it's super cute. However, 5 days later, my curls were no longer bouncy and they went any which way they wanted - thus I looked CRAZY.

So, I washed my hair and I'm happy to say that my curls/elasticity bounced back FOR THE MOST PART. I had no completely straight sections of my hair, but some parts did show a looser curl pattern. My cousin says "that's normal, the more you wash, the more it will go back." I feel like I shouldn't have to worry about this at all.

The point in me being natural (w/o dreads) was to experience the versatility in natural hair. However my 4b strands are so sensitive that I can't experience this versatility in fear and actuality of my delicate strands being ruined! Thus, I am contemplating locking my hair again.

My original goal were two main things (and they're quite easy):
1. Be natural *b/c I love it & totally goes w/ my lifestyle
2. Obtain long hair

I don't have a problem with being patient to get long hair(it's not the easiest thing, but I don't have a problem w/ it). I feel like I've seen less hair retention in the past 3 months of being a free-strand natural than in the last 3 months when I had dreads. The maintenance and care associated with free-strand naturalness is very difficult with truly thick hair.

I was going to post about the fact that I don't see a lot of REAL 4b naturals w/ long hair on blogs/fotki (will post later) - this is probably why. The kinkier your hair is, the tougher it is to manage. Proper management leads to growth, thus it's probably not that we can't grow our hair long, it's probably just that the free-strandedness of our kinky coils makes it EXTREMELY difficult to achieve desired lengths!

Basically, I'm fed up with my free-strand hair, and when I had locks, I never complained about my hair. Right now, I'm battling: bad ends - they're knotted & dry AFTER my trim, dry scalp *although this was always an issue for me*, overall dry hair *no moisturizing regimen seems to work*, poor hair rentention *when I comb it out while washing, I always lose a lot*. I think I'm going back...

Straight hair...gasp

Ok, this is the last time I will comment on the infrequency of my posting, lol, smh. I just think it's funny, and I really want to make a point of posting every week, but I don't/haven't.

So, focusing on the title of this post. I straightened my hair - not chemically - just with a little heat. Another thing, I didn't do it myself (or I would be looking like Condoleezza Rice), I got it done. While I was in the chair getting blown out and straightened, I was reminded of the HORROR, YES, AB-SO-LUTE HORROR of getting my hair done. The heat from the blow-dryer on my skin, heat from the ceramic iron on my scalp, brushing of my kinky hair, etc. I really wanted to take a nap when I got home. This pain is really just a custom among black women (at least among the black women I know).

Even worse, my ends were AWFUL! I had to get a trim, but healthy ends lead to more hair growth, so I wasn't upset about loosing the length. I was upset to find out that my regimen is not working - as evident by my rough ends.

The hair came out super cute though. I've totally been able to play "in-cog-negro" as folks have not even recognized me.

This is temporary. I will be back, happy and nappy soon I'm sure. Also, I'm encouraged to try more styling within protective styles - my goal will be one/week so that I do update more often.

Various Hair Styles: Braid/Twist, Straws & Big French Braid

I totally went on a hiatus, but that's ok b/c like I said before, I have yet to get a real blog "followers" base, which is fine. Not to mention, I was experiencing some [hear church music playing in back] "life changes."

Quick Half-Marathon/Running Update: My running buddy from work left for grad school so I'm running on my own time now. It's tough to stay motivated at times so I'm desperately looking for a running buddy. Last Saturday when I ran I got caught in the middle of a rain storm and ran with 10 pounds of water on me - [in sarcastic voice] it was great! Last Sunday I ran another 5 miler. I did 2.5 on Tuesday *I had eaten a burger for lunch so that was a TOUGH 2.5*. I will also try to run today.

Hair updates!!! Style Trials
I've really been looking at my hair like...damn, should I have kept my locs? I love being natural, it's nothing about that, but this thick ish on my head is A LOT OF WORK!!! Locs were very low maintenance, and best of all - I always looked good (i.e. my hair was always 'done'). I have been keeping up with trying new styles.

Me with another half braided/twist do (front/back views):

This was cute for me, and it lasted very well.

Here's a pic of me trying a straw set. It failed HORRIBLY on my hair. I mean, you can definitely tell I tried it, but I just didn't like the look for me.

FINALLY, I've been seeing all these long-haired girls with these big side-swiped french braids. I LOVE the style and totally wanted to try it for myself. So I did! I did have to blow dry my hair to get the length necessary for the braids. However, I love the style so much (and hate to blow-dry) so I might see if my hair is long enough for the style if I let it air dry in bantu knots.

I only parted it in the front half and had the two braids meet in the back. I kept this style for 5 days and took out the back half when I was tired of it - still very cute!

Running Milestone...Kind of Late...

I ran on Saturday and ran a total of 5 miles STRAIGHT! WHOO! And it felt so good...I wasn't tired, instead I felt triumphant. Unforch, I haven't really ran since then, but work has got me a lil' crazy-busy. I hope to run tomorrow evening before going to the Franklin Institute's "Is America Colorblind" exhibit.

--> Random Hair Excerpt...I attempted a straw set for my hair last Friday, and I thought it looked an awful hot mess. I was so upset :( I don't know if it was too long or if my technique was just all wrong...maybe all of the above, who knows...I took pics too, I just haven't downloaded them b/c I'm lazy and no one follows this, lol.

No EVOO or Baby Food for Me

My birthday was Monday, thus this entire week I've been hanging out with friends & celebrating and not worrying about my hair! I did a twist out last week and it actually lasted! I was super-surprised b/c they typically only last 1 day for me. I think it lasted b/c I didn't try to separate the twist-chunks. I had the twists in from Saturday - Tuesday and rocked the twist-out Tuesday (night) - Saturday.

I did some different things with my regimen last week- I used baby food bananas instead of an actual banana and olive oil. My scalp reacted horribly to one of the two, and I spent last week and this one recovering from some kind of skin reaction to one of those two. I'm not sure which one was the culprit, but I'm going to do my scalp a favor and stay far away from both of them.

Yesterday I bought some Aubrey's Organic shampoo for Dry/brittle hair with the hopes to help my scalp feel better. I DC'd with some Earthly Delight conditioner and did a regular co-wash with my other Aubrey's conditioner product. Everything seemed to work well as my scalp feels 10 times better. I did box braids yesterday but I don't love it. Last week I had this full, thick twist-out look and now I have the "short-hair kiddy braids" look. I'm going to try to curl the braids with some hot curlers with the hopes that I will like it more.

My Hair Story: Soulsearching to find a Confident Self

***Update: In case you stumble across this, I summarized my hair story into a video in August 2010 and posted it on my blog here.  It's just as detailed but has more pics and an editorial by moi***

So, I think it's going to take me a little while to get into this "post more than once/wk" thing, but that's ok. I feel like typing today, so I thought I would share with you all my hair story...

That's me at two years old, with two big afro puffs *LOVES IT!*

My mom was anti-relaxer forever. When HS started, I felt the "relaxer" pressure. I got my hair straightened at the hair dressers every 2 weeks. I played basketball AND all my friends had long, wavy/straight hair. I caved in. My actual hair was pretty healthy in the relaxed style - minimal breakage. However, I did have an extremely sensitive scalp and would burn EVERY time I got a relaxer. I stopped getting relaxers regularly in 11th grade and wore braids. Going into my senior year of high school in 2003, I was bold and brave and did a Big Chop :0. I got a lil' texturizer with it to "soften" the look. I hated it. I never got a touch up for the texturizer and got another big chop before I went to college and dyed my hair cherry red Summer 2004.

This pic is from Freshman orientation, you can't really see the color but...whatevs.

In college, I still was not confident with my own self image, and I felt that I was "THE ONLY" natural sista at the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!). Essentially, I did NOT feel that I looked good and thought I would feel better with straight hair, thus I got a relaxer AGAIN *note this was about 3 months after getting permanent color*

My hair was feeling pretty awful with the color/relaxer mixture, and so I stopped getting relaxers and went to my good and faithful fall-back hairstyle - the rod set *Note - I did the rod sets myself* I did try a 2-strand twist here and there, but with partially damaged straight ends and kinky roots - it didn't look so hot.

By Summer 2005, my ends were in horrible damage. When I went home for the summer, my mom gave me some suggestions for hair styles...I chose to go with a cute short-relaxed cut b/c it was sharp and fairly easy to manage.

I LOVED this style on me, I felt I was so cute and sharp! I was going to my hairdresser at the time RELIGIOUSLY and she kept me looking RIGHT! I rocked that style for the entire school year, letting my hair grow out. By the end of the summer, my hair was long enough to do 2 french braids, but I had the mixed-hair textures thing again. When I'm natural, I like to be ALL NATURAL, so at the end of the Summer of 2006 I did ANOTHER big chop. Unforch, I REALLY hated my hair after the chop.

This is me RIGHT after my big chop with coils - the only way I still felt attractive with this short cut. I held out and let my hair grow - it was EXTREMELY slow as I didn't know much about caring for healthy natural hair. By Summer 2007, my hair was a decent length - long enough to cornrow and have about 1" of hang time. I LOVED my natural hair with my personal style...For my bday fun, I straightened my hair that summer to check how long it was.

Both pics are from Summer 2007 - first pic is me with some coils, second is me straightened. Unfortunately, the sista who straightened my hair burnt it. Thus I suffered from heat damage. I sobbed - LITERALLY - for 1 hour when I realized this as I washed my hair and found that my kinks wouldn't return. My hair was stringy-straight in random patches - it was awful. So, I did the thing I do best - BIG CHOP. *Yes, another one, this makes 3* I didn't want to suffer the pain of having super short hair again so I cut it to leave about 1.5" on the top with about 1/4" in the back. I hated it - it was awful b/c my hair was 20 different textures from the heat damage.

I promised myself in 2007-2008 I would grow my hair and just let it be. I did just that - covered the "bad" hair in twists, let it grow out, then cut it some more and started fresh. Again, by the Spring of 2008, my hair was about the same length it was the prior year.

However, I was coming upon graduation and interviewing for jobs. I wanted to straighten my hair to have a more "refined" look at the interview. Good News: I did look sharp and I interviewed for the job I currently hold with the hairstyle :). Bad News: I don't know how to pick good hair dressers and suffered from heat damage AGAIN!

After this, I made a vow to NEVER chemically/physically straighten my hair EVER AGAIN b/c it just wasn't working for me. In the Summer of 2008, I did another BC but LOVED it this time. I was finally confident and satisfied w/ being natural - I thought it was beautiful.

This pic is me in July 2008, shortly after my 4th BC.
This entire time I only knew 2 things:
1. I wanted to be natural
2. I wanted to have long hair

In August 2008, I started locking my hair because this was the ONLY way I thought I could have long hair and be natural. Then my cousin introduced me to the BGLH blog, and I was hooked - I thought, I can have LONG NATURAL HAIR w/o dreads *EUREKA*. I decided to comb out my locks the next day and thus my past meets my present...

Pics are from January 2009 and May 2009 with locs.

In summary I recognize that being natural for me meant that I needed to be confident about who I was - especially for my outward appearance. I needed to not care what other people thought. Sure, some ppl may not like it, but others will LOVE IT! It took me a while to get to this level of acceptance. I feel that I am there now. I have worn my natural kinks to a variety of social and professional events, and I look just as sharp as everyone else. I also met my current bf rocking my short cut. IMO, mainly b/c I finally thought I was HOT and it showed in a great way!

That's my story, it's quite long, but when I think about it...it took me from Summer 2003-Summer 2008 to get things right :)