Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year (in Advance) & 1in3 Ends!

Twistout from the summer.
Hi, ladies.  Tomorrow is not only the beginning of the New Year but the end of our 1in3 Challenge!  (For challenge guidelines, read this post.)

So, how was the 3-month challenge?  I've taken down my box braids and detangled but haven't washed or done anything else with my hair yet.  (I plan to straighten it this coming weekend and wear it in jumbo twists for the month of January.)  Overall, the challenge went well!  I retained all my growth with the box braid extensions.  

Will there be a 3in6 Challenge in 2013?  If you read my Hair Goals post, you probably gathered that there might not be one.  I can say for certain that there won't be one in the first half of the year.  However, I might start another one in July, depending on what I'm doing with my hair at that point.  This coming year will be a completely different journey for my hair than previous years as a natural.  I will be straightening more frequently (for ease and to enjoy my hair at its length).  I may or may not protective style as much either (more so a mix of jumbo twists and braid-outs).  My regimen is going to change drastically as well; I plan to follow something along the lines of this one I posted, with the addition of an overnight coconut oil pre-poo followed by comb detangling on dry hair prior to washing.  

So, ladies ... How did the challenge go for you?  Any progress or lessons learned?  What are you doing with your hair in 2013?

Think positive.  Plan well.  Start small.  Keep on going.  Don't stay down.  Dust yourself off.  Move forward.  Don't look back. :o)


"Soul" Food Mondays || The Quality of Life

"Your health is your wealth.  Don't let life's stresses be so hard on you that it wrecks your temple: your body.  Guard and protect your health.  It's the quality of life that counts in the end, not the longevity of life." ~ Sophia A. Nelson

Learn to "live" before it's too late.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Protective Style Lookbook || Two Funky Twist Styles in One Video

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Style #1. (See below video for Styles #1 and #2.)

Model: Laila

Style description: Two different updos from a combination of twists, flat twists, and loose hair.

Difficulty level: 3/5

Friday, December 21, 2012

2013 Plans for My Hair, Body, and Soul || Part II

Alright, so last time I talked about my "Hair Plans" for 2013.  Now it's time to talk about my "Body Plans" for the New Year ...


Turn my smoothie kick into a daily routine.  So, if you've been following my "healthy eating" posts, then you probably know that I've been on a smoothie kick for a few months now.  Well, for the New Year, I want to make it my daily routine - like brushing, showering, sleeping - a daily routine.  Right now, I drink one several times a week in the mornings, and it's usually a green one (kale, banana, almond milk, ice, peanut butter, and sometimes, blueberries).

Take better care of my skin. I'm still young, but I'm not getting any younger.  I want to maintain my youthful skin, so this is the time to do it.  My current skin routine is okay but could be a lot better.  I want to find a more quality anti-aging creme and also wear sunscreen more regularly.  "Black don't crack" early but it will eventually.  Now is the time to slow down the process.  I also plan to incorporate more antioxidants into my diet (via tea drinking and possibly ginkgo biloba supplements as well).

That's it?  Yep, that's it!  I'm already a health nut, so there's not much more to add.

Mixology || Organic Lip Balm and Lip Scrub Set

Makes a great Holiday gift set!

Recipe originator: Fran (HeyFranHey on Youtube)

Ingredients (all organic):
cocoa butter
shea butter
castor oil
extra virgin coconut oil

Ingredients (all organic):
dark brown sugar
jojoba oil

Instructions: See the video below ...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

(Liebster Award) A "Darling" Nominee

Thank you Random Nesha for nominating me for the Liebster Award!!!
(Liebster means darling or favorite in German)

 How the Liebster Award works ...

1. Each person must post 11 random things about themselves.
2. Answer the 11 questions that the tagger set for you.
3. Choose 11 bloggers who you would like to give the award too.
4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you have tagged with the award to answer.

1. What do you enjoy about blogging?
Sharing ... whether it is sharing information, sharing a story, or sharing a small (just a small) part of my world.

2. What guilty pleasure makes your day go right?
Hmm.  This is a tough one.  It varies with the "season" of my life.  Right now, I'd say catching up on "Once Upon a Time" while eating banana nut bread.

3. Who is your hair influence?
It is a tie between Sera252 and Kemi21.  They are two kinky, long-haired naturals who indirectly inspired me to transition years ago.

4. Do you have kids?
Does my cat (she's six years old) count as one? *smiles*

5. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Working on my engineering doctorate so that I can be a professor at a university.

6. What's your favorite fruit?
I honestly don't have one, but if I had to choose, it would be strawberries.

7. What's your favorite vacation spot?
Tulum, Mexico.  It's near Cancun, but less touristy and more gorgeous (in my opinion).

8. What charity would you like to contribute to?
Any that benefits the poor or disadvantaged children.

9. What would you like to see change about the world?
Self-absorption.  I would like to see more empathy in the world.

10. What's your favorite season?
Summer all the way.  I get cold easily, so warm weather is what I love.

11. If you could go on a date with any person in the world, who would it be?
Michelle Obama.  (No homo.)  I think a conversation with her over dinner would be very enriching and worthwhile.  Maya Angelou would be a close second.

My Nominees
1. The Natural Haven
2. Ok Dani
3. Sofull Sista
4. Just Grow Already!
5. Keep It Simple Sista
6. Finally Natural!
7. Glamazini (I'll try to notify her since she's a celebrity. *smiles*)
8. Lilia's Healthbook
9. Living Joyfully
10. Natural Selection
11. Confessions of a Blog Vixen

Nominated Questionaire (the same great questions as above)
1. What do you enjoy about blogging?
2. What guilty pleasure makes your day go right?
3. Who is your hair influence?
4. Do you have kids?
5. What do you want to be when you grow up?
6. What's your favorite fruit?
7. What's your favorite vacation spot?
8. What charity would you like to contribute to?
9. What would you like to see change about the world?
10. What's your favorite season?
11. If you could go on a date with any person in the world, who would it be?

Monday, December 17, 2012

"Soul" Food Mondays || Love Covers and Heals

"Let LOVE be your life's compass.  You can let "like" leave you at times, but never, ever let LOVE leave your heart.  Love covers and it heals.  Keep love buried at the front of your heart and all things are possible." ~ Sophia A. Nelson

Love covers and it heals.  Hate eats at the soul.  Let go of hate, but also greed, jealousy, resentment, self-absorption, and all things void of love.  Let love be your life's compass ...

Topic of the Day || Dry Hair

Here are some previous posts addressing "dry hair":

1. Reader's Question: More on Moisture ... Dry Ends
2. No Poo Review: Baking Soda with Conditioner
3. Chapt. 6: Moisture, Moisture, Moisture
4. Oh Honey, Honey ... Deep Conditioner Recipes
5. Winterize Your Conditioner!

For more, check out the labels "Dry Hair" and "Moisture".

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Protective Style Lookbook || Vintage Updo on Stretched Hair

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Model: MsVaughn

Style description: Updo incorporating side flat twists into a vintage roll.  Pinned side bang.

Difficulty level: 2/5


Healthy Eating || Bananas and Lowering Blood Pressure

Lately my blood pressure has been lower than usual, which isn't a bad thing at all in this case.  The systolic pressure normally ranges between 101 and 110 while the diastolic pressure between 65 and 80.  However, my two most recent tests were 91/60 and 93/57. I don't recall my blood pressure ever being this low ... at least not in recent years.

So, I thought to myself, "What have I been doing differently?"  And then it occurred to me, "Well, I've been eating a lot of bananas [in smoothies].  Could that be it?"  Then I went to the internet, did some digging, and learned that there are dozens of references to the high potassium in bananas helping to lower blood pressure.  Here are a couple of abstracts worth reading:



DISCLAIMER: Please speak with your doctor before changing your diet.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2013 Plans for My Hair, Body, and Soul || Part I

(Left) Stretched puff in 2009. (Right) Braid-out on flat-ironed hair in mid-2012.

This year flew by sooo fast!  With a new year quickly approaching, it's that time (again) to map out some plans.  Here I go:


Show more length.  I'm officially going the heat route because I want to enjoy my length more.  February will make it five years that I've been natural, and a huge majority of that time, my hair has looked shoulder-length (and sometimes, neck-length) because of major shrinkage.  I didn't have a problem with that, but I'm just ready to enjoy (and show) my length now.  From January through February, I will wear box braid extensions again.  Then from February through December, I plan to heat style monthly (or bi-monthly) and wear a mix of jumbo twists and braidout updos.  This will obviously impact the running of my usual 3in6 Challenge ... more on this later.

Maintenance over length.  Up until now, I've been focused on growing my hair to it's maximum length potential.  After grazing waist-length for some time, I believe that I'm approaching (or have reached) my terminal length.  Also, after almost five years of being natural, I've grown less obsessed with length.  That being said, I'm going into this heat routine knowing that length retention and heat usage may not mix well.  So, 2013 will be more about maintaining the length that I do have.  If I can also add to my length, that will be great, but it is not my priority.

Maintaining my kinks.  I want to make it clear that I am not going into this heat routine with the intention of changing my coil pattern.  I love my "kinks" and still want to wear them from time to time next year.  The challenge will be using heat without altering my pattern too much.  

To be continued ....

Do you have any hair plans or resolutions for the New Year?

Mixology || Baking Soda and Avocado Shampoo Recipe for Dry Hair

Looking for a simple, homemade natural shampoo that is cleansing but non-drying?  Check out this recipe:

baking soda
distilled water


  1. Skin an avocado, remove the pit and mash it in a bowl;
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of baking soda;
  3. Add 1/4 cup of hot distilled water; and
  4. Mix the ingredients into a paste and massage the homemade moisturizing shampoo into your hair and scalp.
  5. (Optional) You may or may not want to follow up with an apple cider vinegar rinse for pH balance.

Remember to refrigerate the unused mixture. To customize this or any of the other recipes, add a few drops of essential oil for a pleasant scent. Popular oils include lavender, sandalwood, jasmine and rosemary.

For more moisturizing shampoos, check out Suite101: Shampoo Recipes for Dry Hair and Scalp.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Considering Heat Usage? Heat Training?

In this video, Longhairdontcare2011 illustrates her coil pattern change after years of "responsible" heat usage:

NOTE: Longhairdontcare2011 does not intentionally use heat to change her coil pattern.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

HILARIOUS Hair Tutorial || Throw-It-On Method

It gets funnier and funnier as the video progresses ... :-)

Healthy Eating || Becoming a Tea Drinker

I've never been a tea drinker (and, I mean never), but in mid-October, I decided to get to work on some tea I purchased under hypnosis.  (Okay, maybe I wasn't under hypnosis, but I was under something I guess.)  The tea is actually really good quality and tastes exquisite relative to your average store-bought tea.  However, what I also like about it are the health benefits.  For me, the biggest one I am noticing within myself is the stress reduction.

Below is an excerpt of the article on WebMD.  Full article: TEA TYPES AND THEIR HEALTH BENEFITS

  • Green tea: Made with steamed tea leaves, it has a high concentration of EGCG and has been widely studied. Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.
  • Black tea: Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.
  • White tea: Uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.
  • Oolong tea: In an animal study, those given antioxidants from oolong tea were found to have lower bad cholesterol levels. One variety of oolong, Wuyi, is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement, but science hasn’t backed the claims.
  • Pu-erh tea: Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One animal study showed that animals given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL cholesterol.

Another article (excerpt below): TEA BENEFITS

Studies of humans, animals, and petri-dish experiments show that tea is high beneficial to our health. Research suggests that regular tea drinkers -- people who drink two cups or more a day -- have less heart disease and stroke, lower total and LDL cholesterol, and recover from heart attacks faster. There's also evidence that tea may help fight ovarian and breast cancers.
Tea also helps soothe stress and keep us relaxed. One British study found that people who drank black tea were able to de-stress faster than those who drank a fake tea substitute. The tea drinkers had lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

1in3: Two Months Down!

Hi, ladies!  Yesterday, we started our final month of the 1in3 challenge!  (For challenge guidelines, read this post.)

So, how was November?  I'm still in box braids and fine with that!  I had planned to take them down this weekend, but life won't allow me.  Perhaps in mid December.  

The braid extensions are holding up pretty well.  (See box braid regimen description here.)  When I do take them down, I plan to switch to my usual twists for the remainder of the month.  Other than the external, I'm still going hard on my smoothies and have also incorporated teas (for relaxation and antioxidants).  (Check these posts for smoothie recipes and a later post about my new tea habit.)    

How was your November?  Any challenges/lessons?  What are you doing this month?

Finish the journey strong.  Even if you've fallen, don't stay down ... Get back up, and finish it with all you've got! :o)


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