Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Randomness!

I read this and literally LOL'd. If you are as random as I, I'm sure you'll relate to many and may even have some to add. Happy Wednesday!

1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8.Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.

13. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this – ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

20. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.

21. Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

29. There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

30. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

31. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Hair in the Face of Ol' Man Winter...

I have been in denial, but its becoming increasingly evident (by way of the second hail storm that hit us this morning) that the warm weather is out and the cold is creeping in.

I have been a bit uninspired with my hair lately, and aware that protective styling season is back, so I decided to put in mini twists for a few weeks. So uninspired I've been that it took me almost a week to complete my twists, a task that I can usually knock out in a few hours occupied with a few good movies/shows on DVR.

Anywho...they are finally done. I set them on flexi rods, pinned them up, and they're looking quel cute if I do say so myself!

With that, I have a few thoughts/observations about winterizing my hair:

1 - Glycerine is a no-no. My hair generally hates glycerine year round, but after doing some research I've realized that in the winter/dryer months especially that is what has been contributing to my extreme dryness. So I'm being super vigilant about inspecting labels.

2 - Off label usage is OK. Cases in point:
(a) Traditional rinse-out conditioners can make amazing leave-ins - though it may take a little trial and error to find out what works for you. My hair absolutely LOVES Yes to Cucumbers as a leave in, though I find that it doesn't really work as well for me as a rinse out.
(b) Shea Moisture's Deep Treatment Masque doesn't really pack enough punch for me as a DT, however, mixed with some EcoStyler Olive Oil formula gel, it works really well for doing twists - smells great, and provides good hold for twist-outs!
(c) Organix Nourishing Coconut Conditioner remains a favorite and definitely holds holy grail status in my regimen - not only as a wash out, but as a deep treatment as well, and I don't even need to add oil for great results! I find it's a bit too heavy for a leave in for me though.
(d) Kinky Curly Curling Custard I find is AWESOMETASTIC for sealing in moisture. I rub about a nickel size amount in on over my leave in (or mix it with the leave in) and under some coconut oil or Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey, and it gives me soft, moisturized, touchable hair for days! Nothing else compares.

3 - Some things ARE good for year round use, to me, that = holy grail status. My list includes:
(a) Coconut Oil
(b) Kinky Curly Curling Custard & Knot Today
(c) Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey
(d) Scalp Oil Blend (Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil with Rosemary, Peppermint & Tea Tree EO's)
(e) Organix Nourishing Coconut Shampoo & Conditioner

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just Keep Swimming

I have been struggling with a hyper thyroid gland for over two years now (I did not know before, but am not acutely aware, that the thyroid literally controls your whole body *le sigh*).

I had not been feeling well for the past few weeks so I went into the doctor this morning. He tells me that I've been on drug therapy for over two years and if I were going to go into remission I would have done so by now. It may be time to consider radioactive iodine I don't know about you, but radioactive anything is not something I want in my body! Since I've been diagnosed, I have been pretty much set against any drastic treatments like this or surgery which has always been mentioned. I barely want to be taking the meds I'm on!

So I left the office feeling a little sad, and praying, but still a little sad. And whenever I start feeling a little down I start singing to myself Dori's line from Finding Nemo - "just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." It makes me smile, and helps me keep a positive attitude and keep moving forward.

"I have decided that I will run this race until I finish. I will not faint. I will not grow weary. I will run. I will press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me. I will run this race with endurance. I will cast off all negativity which is weighing me down." !

I am still believing in God for my healing. I will keep praying, keep running and will not faint. I will just keep swimming...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Flying High on the Wings of Forgiveness...

I struggle with forgiveness. I tend to hold on to hurt, but I'm working on me, and learning how to just let go...

I am about a year out of a 4 year relationship (I started to write recently, because it still feels pretty fresh). But in my struggle to get over the bad and appreciate the good I stumbled upon this post in one of my favorite inspirational blogs: Peace, Love & Pretty Things. It literally felt like she wrote out the words on my heart. I copied this into my phone and read it every once in a while to remind myself that its OK to let go, that its important to not only forgive the person who hurt you, but to forgive yourself as well. I own my short comings, and I do believe going through has helped me on the road to a better me. So in the end I am genuinely thankful...even for the pain!

"I forgive you for everything that you have done that has caused me pain. I release the notion that you owe or have ever owed me anything, other than to be yourself and to reveal the truth of who you are. I release you from any obligation that I perceived you to have to protect my feelings. I am grateful to you for leaving my life and making room for someone else to come in--someone who is good for me, right now, right where I am.

I forgive myself for any pain that I have ever caused you. I forgive myself for not always showing you the truth of who I am. I forgive myself for any times that I was not as loving as I could have possibly been or that I didn't try as hard as I could have. I forgive myself for trying to keep you in my life when it was time for you to move on, and for not being strong enough to let you leave before our relationship was broken beyond repair. I allow myself to have the peace of knowing that I loved you, had your best interests at heart, and was as honest with you as I could be based on the information that I had about myself. I am thankful for the lessons I have learned that now allow me to know more about myself than I did before. I am thankful for all the growth I experienced through my relationship with you.

I release all hurt, anger, guilt, shame, resentment, regret and sadness tied to you or to what we once had. I now open myself to receive healing, comfort, love, compassion and peace. I am love...and like attracts like. I am thankful for the new things that are in store for my life."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Finding Motivation in the Little Things...

These here plants motivate me!

I inherited them with the office, of course, because I would not willingly put myself in charge of a living thing unable to cry out for attention (sad, but true). And in the less than two years it has been in my care, I have brought it to the brink of death at least once a week.

I neglect these babies something fierce (see above). I forget to water them, fail to prune them, and they are in pots at least two sizes too small. Sorry, but there is absolutely no green in these thumbs!

Yet, even when I walk in the office after a long, dry weekend and think - oh boy, I think its over for these babies...they surprise me by being the most resilient little things ever!

Whenever I realize the error of my ways and scramble to make amends - showering them with water and plant food - they spring back to there was never any neglect or pain and suffering to speak of. They are constantly sprouting new leaves and my lily even blooms for me multiple times during the year. They never fail to stretch, ever hopeful, to the nearest light - their source of life!

It reminds me so much of me - of us a humans in general. Whether we choose to acknowledge its existence or make good use of it, we come equipped with the tools necessary to ensure our survival. So even when life is kicking us squarely in the hind parts, deep down inside we all have what it takes to hold on until circumstances are turned around for our good!

Stay hopeful, keep blooming, and tap into your source!

Thank God for small miracles :o)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Starbucks Saga...

I have a bit of an obsession with the Starbucks. Now, I am budget conscious so I have been known to make a great home brew...but there is really nothing like a fresh hot grande vanilla soy latte in the morning - no foam please!

At the Starbucks by my job my favorite barristas start my drink as soon as I walk in the door and say good morning - that's what I call service. Recently they have started taking names for the cup - and while they make my drink just how I like it, they can't get my name right to save their life!

I thought I document it, just for kicks - take a look at who I've been over the past few weeks:

Ronefta is my absolute favorite...really...RONEFTA?!?!?

Honorable mention goes to my stop during a road trip - the guy looked at me and just wrote "R"...I didn't get a pic of that one, but I respect that he didn't try to jack up my name.

I find this absolutely hilarious - especially on the times I actually spell it out for them, and they still get it all wrong!

My actual name is Raedell by the way... (two syllables, 7 letters - its different, but I didn't think it was THAT hard *giggle*)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rudy, Rudy Quite Contrary - How Does Your Garden Grow?

So....Rudy (my hair) has been quite contrary lately. This is my first summer 100% natural - and let me tell you I had NO IDEA my hair could be so dry! I've been trying quite a few things to keep her happy - and I think its working! Shes growing nicely and today my puff is outta control soft, and fluffy and moisturized. Here are some things that have worked for me:

  1. Coconut Oil and I are best buddies. I use it to pre-poo, add it to my deep conditioner, and use it as a finishing styler for shine.
  2. I shampoo once a week with sulfate free shampoo - my hair really likes the Organix Nourshing Coconut Milk (there goes that coconut oil again!)
  3. I co-wash once or twice a week between shampoos - this has really helped a lot (right now I'm using Suave Tropical Coconut (notice a theme?!?!) I also like Herbal Essences Hello Hydration & Hydralicious.
  4. I recently revisited oil rinsing before I co-wash...I think this has contributed to this weeks happy puff - I used Vatika oil to rinse.
  5. I deep condition once a week on shampoo day - I've tried a few different things, but my hair really likes Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner and/or The Body Shop Honey Moisturizing Conditioner - I add a tbsp. of honey and olive oil to each application and either sit under the dryer for a 1/2 hour or 1 hour without heat.
  6. Cold rinse after the DC - my hair really likes body, not so much - I rinse over the sink.
  7. Kinky Curly Knot Today is my new favorite leave in - its nice and lite, but gets the job done!
  8. I style in twists using a mix of Eco Styler Olive Oil gel with Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque - gives great medium hold and moisture galore! Then let my hair air dry.
  9. I oil my scalp and edges once or twice a week with castor oil.
  10. Every night I spray my hair with a mix of water and jojoba oil and twist before bed - in the AM, I untwist, fluff, style and go!
I've been loving on Rudy extra because the heat and humidity have made her really sad - in return, she loves me right back!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My first Henna

I have been wanting to try henna for a while now, but a little intimidated by all the reported mess, and work, and waiting...not to mention I'm never good at remembering to order stuff online - I'd much rather get it on the ground.

So when I happened by the big Indian grocery store near my job I got really happy when I saw a small section of beauty products - including boxes of Jamila henna!!! I picked up a box and off I went, extremely excited to try something new.

So last Friday evening I mixed up the henna according to Curly Nikki's henna gloss recipe. I used 1 cup of green tea with lemon brewed with 3 tea bags and some HE Hydralicious conditioner until it was a nice pudding like consistency.

I covered the mixture and let it sit overnight.

I washed my hair and let it air dry before application. The next evening I applied the henna, covered with a plastic cap, a stocking cap, and an old tshirt (it was hot and the stuff was starting to drip something awful and I wanted to spare my sheets) I applied it as I would a perm, and smoothed it through really well. The mix was great and and made for a really easy application.

It also washed out really easily the next morning. I rinsed all the henna out then cowashed a few times. I had to rinse it a few times because I kept feeling grit in my hair. After, my hair immediately felt stronger. I've read this before in other posts and had no idea what that meant until I actually felt it - not hard, just the greatest way possible. I used SheaMoisture's Deep Treatment Masque and left it on for about an hour after, did a cold rinse and styled as usual.

I had no idea there was any color change until I just put these pictures side by side. Its VERY subtle - in the pic it looks like I just change the setting of the picture to add a sepia tone. And it doesn't really show in the picture, but my coils were more defined than usual on my naked hair. I hear that's a good sign of moisture retention and hair health - me likey!!!

It was kinda smelly, pretty messy - but nowhere near as I imagined. I will definitely henna again - and I'm sure my next venture will be even smoother. I definitely consider that a success!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Loving My Little Diva's Hair

I read this article in the Washington Post early this year about the beauty rituals of "hair day" prevalent in the Black community. It got me thinking about my own days of sitting between my mom & grandma's knees getting my hair "did".

Fast forward to present day. I have been in charge of hair little cousin AJ's hair for the past few years. Between then and now a lot has changed as I try to bring my new found knowledge into the process...but a lot has stayed the same - its all about enjoying the process.

Over the past year, as I've been learning about myself and my hair, I've also been learning about hers. She has scalp issues (psoriasis) which create growth challenges and a very coarse dry texture. I try very hard to make this a tolerable, if not thoroughly enjoyable process for everyone involved as I am working to foster a loving association with her natural hair.

I am still very much a work in progress myself and have been known to respond in exasperation at times - but here are a few nuggets I've picked up along the way that has made the whole journey easier to bear:
1. Make it a regular activity so that they can anticipate that it will happen and be mentally prepared. Approach the task with a positive attitude - no yelling, no yanking, no frowning.

2. Be responsive - if they say it hurts or your pulling, they may just be tying to be difficult, but you don't want to take that chance. Apologize and lighten up.

3. Engage them in the process. This typically works better for older girls, but ask them for input in the style choice, have hem pick out beads/clips or other accessories. I am often accused of spoiling my little ones, but I acknowledge them as little people that have valid feelings and that have something to say. Give them some ownership of their beauty.

4. Learn how to CARE for their hair and handle them with love. Learn the tricks of the trade and employ them. Research their hair types for products/techniques that make the process easier as you would do for yourself.

5. Be a role model. Let them witness your own hair care process and the joy you take in your own beautification process.

6. Practice what you preach. Preferably you are also natural so they can see someone else, an adult, embracing their natural beauty. It's hard not to have perm envy when you are the only kinky and associate it with being a little girl.

7. Make them fly. Find new and exciting pretty hair styles that are age appropriate. If they leave the chair feeling "ugly" or not as pretty as the big girls with the perms, they are going to make that association with their natural hair. If they think they are pretty and everyone else thinks their hair is fly that only helps to boost their self image. Maybe even find some styles you can both try.

8. Compliment them sincerely and often! It's easier to value what others also recognize value in.

Some things are easier said than done when you have a cranky squirmy little one, but bring a boatload of patience to the hair party, make it fun, talk, provide distractions...and of course try to be quick!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fun with Twists!

I was so looking forward to loving and playing in my hair after my BC (which I have) but I've had to contend with some extreme dryness after my cut. Now, I'm not sure if its a result of the super hot weather we've had in NYC over the past month, or if its just the dryness that some newly naturals experience after the BC???

Either way, the crunchy hair was not cute!

My solution - twists!!! I've been wearing my hair in mini twists for the past 3 weeks - inspired by the fabulous Kinky Kurly Queen of Naturally Obsessed (love her blog & her hair!) This is a protective style that allows me to keep my hair & scalp moisturized and protect my ends. My hair has been thanking me non-stop.

I washed, conditioned & deep conditioned, applied a leave in, partially air dried, then twisted damp hair. I twisted with a mix of ecostyler gel with olive oil, coconut oil, and some of my butter mix.

I'm a bit of a style junkie, even from my relaxed days, so to keep from getting bored and taking them down I have just been finding different ways to style them.

I've curled them on flexi rods, braided them, pinned them up, left them down...and all told, love them to death! They have been super simple to maintain, look great and my hair is no longer crunchy - win, win, win.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sweet, Sweet Sleep

I often have trouble sleeping. I have bouts of insomnia and sometimes can't sleep at all. Other times I sleep restlessly and don't get ANY rest at all. I also tend to carry my stress with me to bed and have bad sucks!

Well, last month I went on a business trip to Arizona (yes Phoenix in June = pure heat). I visited the Herd museum and came across this dream catcher in the gift shop. The description says:

"As Indian legend goes, the Dream Catcher is hung in the lodge near the sleeping area. Its purpose is to catch all dreams, good and bad. The bad dreams caught in the webbing would be burned off by the first morning light. The good dreams caught know their way to the hole in the center and filter down into the feathers. They are held there to be dreamed another night"

To me, this sounded heavenly. Our tour guide assured me that the dream catchers were authentic and made by tribes people and that they did use dream catchers, even over their sleeping babies.

I got it home, prayed on it, and hung it up over my bed.

Can I tell you, I haven't had not one bad dream since while sleeping in my bed. A few nights I fell asleep in the couch I did have bad dreams, so I can tell the difference. Interestingly enough, since putting up the dream catcher, I actually haven't dreamed at all...does that mean I don't have ANY good dreams?!?!? Scary thought!

Now this may all be in my head - a mind over matter thing. I just know that its the only thing I've done differently and on the nights I am able to get to sleep at a reasonable time, I don't wake up with migranes or feeling like I was fighting a war in my whatever it is, I'll take it!

Any traditions that work wonders for you?

Her Hair Story

The thing about this journey - as I've seen is true in my self and others around the web - is that it almost always starts out being just about hair...but that's never where it ends.

For me it started as random agreement with a friend in my early 20s...that we were gonna be loc'd by 30 and would start growing out our hair about a year or so before. As I sit here at 31, one month natural after a 13 month transition, obviously I'm a little behind schedule. However, as I've come to realize, it's all about the journey - not so much the destination or the time it takes to get there.

In April 2009 I unintentionally got my last relaxer. Five months later after stretching my perm through a hot and humid NYC summer with braids, I decided to purposefully see where this road would take me.

I was scared to BC, so I grew my hair out for 13 months, gradually trimming the ends, until I was ready to let go!

I've learned so much about myself and about my hair in this process. I got really creative during my transition and tried lots of styles and products thanks to all of the wonderfully supportive and informative ladies on youtube, fotki, and the hair blogs!

This journey has taken me on a path that involves a greater appreciation of myself – holistically. It has helped me toward acceptance of the “ME” that God has created me to be – and to hear so many others acknowledging the same is truly motivational. God made no mistakes when creating me – he didn’t mean to give me bone straight hair…then forgot. Embracing that thought has helped me to be better to myself – mind, body, and soul – and has allowed me to honor His perfect plan in the creation of me on several levels. I have found myself more conscious of not just what I put into my hair, but also about what I put into my body and what I allow into my mind.

I am embracing a new concept of beauty – and it’s a struggle. I still see sisters with long straight hair and miss those years at the Dominican salon, while on the other hand I see sisters with fierce fro’s and luscious loc’s and get hair envy. I am, as we all are, a work in progress. But I see and appreciate the infinite possibilities of what our hair can be – and beyond that how the state of our hair impacts our consciousness.

We may or may not BE our hair, but we are integrally connected to our hair and it affects the “YOU” that shines through. I have noticed, in myself and others, a new confidence that comes with the change. I have found myself absolutely loving the “new” stuff that’s growing out of my head, whereas in my permed days I used to run to my stylist’s chair at the first sign of waves preventing my hair from laying flat to my scalp.

It’s like a mandatory gift that comes with the decision to transition – “to rock this look, you must have the self-confidence to go with it”. For some, I’m sure, it’s just a mechanism for coping with the nay-sayers and curious looks from less than supportive people. But as you grow into, and begin to walk in that self confidence – it presents itself as a regal beauty and an exuded sense of being totally comfortable with the skin you’re in.

So as I enter this 2nd month of my naturalness I have come to absolutely love the change in me – and I am happy to share a little bit of that with any of you who choose to join me along the way.

Peace & Blessing…