Wednesday, July 01, 2015

2 Years Post Relaxer | The #WashDayExperience

So...I ran off to Florida for a few weeks and totally didn't tell you guys! My bad! But I'm back and excited to celebrate 2 years post relaxer!

AND this chica is BEYOND siced!

I guess that I should finally tell you why I big chopped:

You see, I've been natural before---many many times---most of them accidentally natural---but natural nonetheless. My mother only relaxed my hair for special occasions (think twice maybe 3 times a year). When I started college---I completely stopped relaxing my hair when my room mate introduced me to the flat iron! My mind was completely blown because I had no clue that you could straighten your hair WITHOUT a relaxer and I was hooked instantly! Fast forward two years, my relaxed ends completely broke off and my shoulder length natural hair was disgustingly heat damaged. But, girls,  I was oblivious. I never ever ever wore my hair curly. I'd crank my flat iron up as high as it could go slather some blue magic on my scalp and take 20 passes on each section of hair to get it bone straight. Every. Single. Day.

Everyone in my dorm knew when I was straightening my hair. It smelled like burnt hair for days...

*hangs head*

Feel free to judge me. Shoot...I'm judging me! I started relaxing again because even my heat damaged hair wasn't straight enough for me once humidity hit it. I figured that a relaxer + flat iron would keep my hair LAID!

*hangs head lower*

But my perspective on my curls today is totally different.

I'm dangerously in love with these thangs!

Like, I really really really love them. Like, I don't feel like myself without them. My curls are my boos, baes, and cuddle buddies. Y'all just don't understand. I'm utterly flabbergasted at how long it took me to get to this point!

The best part of it all---basically NOTHING has changed in my #washdayexperience, my regimen, or my styling routine. All of my relaxed/texlax fave products still do the trick (honestly---some work better now!) and I can still rock my fave protective styles.

Will I ever relax/texlax my hair again? Probably not.

Do I have anything against relaxed hair? Absolutely not.

Relaxed hair is/was just a hairstyle to me. When I relaxed my hair---my goal was only to be able to straighten my hair easier. But as I learned other ways to stretch my hair without heat and as I stretched my relaxers 4-6 months, I really questioned---what was the point of relaxing my hair to begin with.

My answer came last year on the eve of my big chop:

I was just USED to doing it. There was no purpose anymore. I didn't even like the tedious process. I was simply accustomed to going through the motions.

So there you have it. My boring, uninteresting truth. Ladies chop off their relaxed hair for dozens of intensely powerful sentimental reasons. Reasons that include the love of their children, support for friends, respect of family, bold political statements, or beautiful spiritual revelations.

I'm just not one of them. I kinda wish that there was more to the story. Maybe I should make up something...

*kanye shrug* That's too much work!

I hope that you guys still love me!

Happy #WashDayExperience Wednesday!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Asian Inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps | #FitnessFriday

I love me some rice. I used to eat rice 2-3 times a week in various forms. Red rice, brown rice, yellow rice, white rice... You name it---I love that ish. But when did rice start to have so many calories! Smh. Global warming ruins ERRYYTTHHIINNGGG!

You see, I started tracking my calories (yes...I'm still doing it! #fistbump) and actually measuring out my food. When I saw that my rice side dish was over 200 calories alone---I realized that it was time to scale it back a notch. Plus---I kinda have no will power. Just a little bit of rice just ain't enough...

So, I've changed all of my staple rice dishes into lettuce wraps! <insert drooling emoticon>

Last week, I whipped up these delish Asian Inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps! The ingredients are pretty straight forward, the execution is beyond easy. The best part? My kids gobble these down like rabbits. Yeppers---this recipe is a keeper.

Am I giving up rice all together?

Girl, heck no!

Happy #FitnessFriday chicas! What's new on your menu this summer?


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Braided Fringe Twistout| The #WashDayExperience

I got pretty lazy after last week's #washdayexperience. I wore my hair knotted for a day or two, then co-washed and left it in a high curly bun.

I just knew that I was cute! And my wash and go bun was huge BUT... I didn't touch it for several days. I didn't moisturize. I didn't seal. I didn't even cover my hair at night (thank goodness for silk pillowcases tho!) By the time that today's #washdayexperience rolled around---my hair was a tangled mess. I see why folks with tight curls like mine complain.... *hangs head*

Obviously co-washing + no leave-ins + not touching my hair for several days = dry knotted tangled hair. Fingers crossed that I've actually learned my lesson and won't pull that stunt again...fingers crossed...

So, I stopped being wack and went back to my usual regimen.  Here's what I used:

Pre-Shampoo- Joico K-Pak Revitalisant Conditioner (strengthening treatment)
Shampoo- Joico K-Pak Shampoo
Clay Mask: Aztec Healing Bentonite Clay (+ Apple Cider Vinegar & Aloe Vera Juice)
Deep Condition: Jessicurl Deep Treatment + Almond Oil
Leave ins: Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner + DIY Hair Butter + Camille Rose Curl Maker
The Results:
I started with a protein pre-poo using Joico K-Pak Revitalisant Conditioner. For my hair, I consider this conditioner to be a medium to light protein treatment. I love the way that my curls absorb the conditioner and instantly behave! I left the pre-poo in for about an hour or so. Then I hopped in the shower, rinsed the conditioner and shampooed with the accompanying Joico K-Pak Shampoo in sections. I don't love this shampoo. Real talk, I don't love many shampoos. But it's great for getting my hair squeaky clean and I know that I needed that fresh start.

I let a cotton t-shit absorb most of the water then I applied my bentonite clay mask. (You can check out my step by step application process here). I covered my hair with a plastic cap and knit beanie then let the treatment sit for about an hour.

As I rinsed the clay, my curls much much better. But I felt like I still needed moisture, so I applied Jessicurl Deep Treatment and a little almond oil to seal, then pulled my hair into a giant high puff. I didn't cover it---I just kinda let the conditioner absorb into my strands. After about 2 hours---the conditioner completely disappeared and my cute springy curls came back!

Once my hair was slightly damp (I used a cotton t-shirt to absorb most of the water from rinsing the deep conditioner), I applied a few drops of Almond Oil. Then I applied my leave-ins (Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner and my DIY Hair Butter in sections. Next, I installed a bunch of medium sized two strand twists and added a dab of Camille Rose Curl Maker to the ends.

It's 99 degrees here at the beach so there was no way that I was gonna have all my hair in my face. So I quickly braided my bangs aka fringe, used a few hair pins to secure it and went on my way!

Back into a puff it goes tomorrow, but until then I'm whippin my hair all around!

How was your #washdayexperience chica?


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Elegant Low Knotted Updo | The #WashDayExperience

The only thing about my relaxed/texlaxed hair that I miss is the length. Even after my first big chop---my hair was at a length were I could still do all of my favorite updo's and protective styles. But now that my hair is considerably shorter---and a million times curlier---it's been hard to whip my hair into the low buns that I've been sporting for years. I feel so awkward and defeated every time that I try.

So instead of bunning my hair, I've been tying it in knots. I know. I know. That sounds crazy. Why in the world would I EVER knot my hair intentionally. Just gimme a minute to explain!

Here's how I got my #washdayexperience going:

Pre-Shampoo- Herbal Essence Hello Hydration
Shampoo: Jessicurl Cleansing Cream
Deep Condition: Jessicurl Deep Treatment
Leave ins: Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner + DIY Hair Butter

I start my wash day by slathering my curls in Herbal Essence Hello Hydration to help me detangle and to give my hair a quick boost of moisture. I know from experience what happens when I don't detangle before I wash: tangles and chaos is bound to ensue. I followed up my pre-shampoo by rinsing in the shower then shampooing once with Jessicurl Cleansing Cream. What I love about this shampoo is that all the softness that I get from pre-shampooing isn't completely washed down the drain. This shampoo gets my dirty scalp clean, doesn't strip my hair, and actually moisturizes my curls. Honestly, this is why I have so much trouble trying new products, especially shampoos. I just think to myself, if it ain't broke why fix it?!

After shampooing, I used a cotton tshirt to absorb some of the excess water then applied Jessicurl Deep Treatment to my curls in sections. I sealed the conditioner with a little Almond oil, covered with a plastic cap + scarf then left it in overnight. You can read all about the whys and hows to my overnight deep conditioning madness here.

In the morning, I rinsed well, focusing on my scalp then t-shirt dried for about 30 minutes. By that time, my hair was about 70% dry. I applied a drop of Almond oil, Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner + DIY Hair Butter in sections then (faux) banded my hair to stretch it a little. I always faux band my hair before I put my hair into an updo because my unstretched hair is crazy short. I'd guess that it's only 2-3" long when unstretched and twice or even three times as much when it's stretched. Need I say more? Haha! Faux Banding is crazy simple, you can check out how I do it here.

To style my hair, I worked in 3 sections: Top, middle, and bottom. The top section is just a pompadour started at the crown of my head and gently molded towards the front of my head. It's secured with hair pins. The middle section is a giant knot. I took the section, divided it into two pieces then tied the pieces together in a knot. I tucked the ends back into the middle of the knot to hide them. The bottom section is just another knot---just formed opposite of the middle knot. So you got- Pomp, knot, knot. BOOM. That's it!

If you love this style, I have another uber cute knotted style that you might like! Check it out here: Easy Knotted Updo Natural Hair.

How was your #washdayexperience?


Friday, May 29, 2015

30 Day Squat Challenge, Cardio Kickboxing & Calorie Tracking | #FitnessFriday

It's #FitnessFriday update time! Thanks to my renewed motivation (and your amazeball encouragement) I'm totally back on my workout/healthy living grind! Since the hubs out saving the world and the in-laws are several hours away, I've been on a mission to find new workouts to fit into my disgustingly hectic schedule. I'm siced because I think that I've found a couple of things that are sticking!

Refinery 29's 30 Day Squat Challenge:
My friend sent me the link to Refinery 29's 30 Day Squat Challenge with the message was "I challenge you to a dual!" Squats are simple moves but super effective at firming up the booty, back, and legs. So far, we've done 4 days of the challenge. And omgosh I can feel it my calves, glutes, and hamstrings! Let me know in the comments if you wanna join the challenge too!

Cardio Kickboxing
Since my schedule is crazy hectic and something is always coming up, I took to YouTube to find some fresh new workout routines to get me sweating. When I was a gym regular---I LOVED cardio kickboxing. So imagine my surprise when I found this 50+ minute kickboxing routine that I can do anytime from my house! First of all, let's talk about this instructor. HE IS INSANE. Just the way that I like 'em! Ha-ha! He NEVER stops moving and he has fantastic musicality. If you're one who is wary of at home workouts because you're not sure if you'll give it your all---this video is for you. I promise you that you'll be sweating buckets by the end!

Calorie Tracking
To continue my calorie tracking adventure that I mentioned last week, I created a food plan using my FitBit app. I entered my current weight and desired weight then determined what intensity I'd be willing to commit to. The awesome thing about the FitBit app is that they do the calucating for you. You can select the "Easier" plan where you'd lose .5lb/week by cutting your calories by 250 each day. It also shows you how long it will take for you to achieve your goal. Of course, being the crazy person that I am, I selected the "Hardest" plan that has me set to lose 1.5-2lb per week.

With my Food Plan squared away, I faithfully tracked every single thing that I ate. And to my complete and utter surprise, I've lost 3 lbs! Now I know what you're thinking---that's just water weight. And it might be but I drink almost a gallon of water every day (which I also track using my FitBit---see why I'm in LOVE with my FitBit?!?). I've almost eliminated my terrible habit of snacking late at night while I'm up working on projects plus I've finally started to understand what portion control really means. I'm much more intentional about if I'm eating because I'm bored or if I'm actually hungry. I'm super proud of myself for it! I'm finally just as committed to working out as I am to eating well. I'll keep you guys updated to see if I can keep it up!

Hows are you doing with your summer fitness goals? Share an update with the #FitnessFriday crew!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Fluffy Twistout Fro | The #WashDayExperience

Most naturals despise humidity. All that moisture in the air causes frizz, shrinkage, and will turn a beastmode twistout into---well just a beast. I really thought that I was going to have the same issue. I live about 10 minutes away from the beach and as the temperature rises---as does the humidity.

But surprisingly, the twist out in my Flirty Tuck and Roll from last week lasted for 3 days! I ran, I went to cardio kickboxing, I even did a bootcamp session and believe it or each day it got better and better! With my new-found confidence, I went for a full twist out this week. Here's how I got started:

Pre-Shampoo- Herbal Essence Hello Hydration
Clay Mask: Aztec Healing Bentonite Clay (+ Apple Cider Vinegar & Aloe Vera Juice)
Co-wash: OGX Argan Oil of Morocco
Leave ins: Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner + DIY Hair Butter + Camille Rose Curl Maker

The Results:

I started by finger detangling and slathering my hair in Herbal Essence Hello Hydration. So many people complain that coily kinky hair like mine gets tangled and matted really easily. I guess that I'm the outlier because I actually have less tangles now that my hair is completely unprocessed than I had when it was bone straight relaxed and texlaxed!

I hopped in the shower, rinsed the conditioner out section by section and scrubbed my scalp. Because my hair is so dense at the roots, I have to use the pads of my fingers to scrub my scalp and get all of the product out. I let a cotton t-shit absorb most of the water then I applied my bentonite clay mask. (You can check out my step by step application process here). I covered my hair with a plastic cap and knit beanie then let the treatment sit for about an hour.

As I rinsed the clay, my curls felt crazy smooth, elongated, and springy. The kinks in the front of my hair are beginning to clump very nicely but they are still a lot looser than the back of my hair. My hair felt sooooo moisturized. Like---I don't think y'all understand---my hair was so moisturized that I was afraid that if I deep conditioned then I'd have over-moisturized mushy curls! But I needed to do something to minimize the AWFUL scent of apple cider vinegar from the clay mask. So, I grabbed my bottle of OGX Argan Oil of Morocco (which has a little protein) to quickly co-wash.

Once my hair was slightly damp (I used a cotton tshirt to absorb most of the water), I applied a few drops of Almond Oil. Then I applied my leave-ins (Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner and my DIY Hair Butter in sections. Next, I installed a bunch of medium sized two strand twists and added a dab of Camille Rose Curl Maker to the ends. My first impression of Curl Maker was fantastic! I picked it up from Target with the intentions of trying another wash and go high puff. I just got anxious to use it. LOL!

My day 1 hair was very well defined--a little piecey but I liked it. I only separate each strand of the twist once so that it doesn't turn completely into an afro. That night I just covered with my bonnet and passed out. Surprisingly in the morning---it looked better! Fluffy....sooooooo friggin fluffy! Y'all know that I love me some fluffy hair! Day 2 was DEFINITELY better than day 1. Day 2 was my FAVOOORRRIIITTTEEE. Then on Day 3, it still looked fantastic but I was over wearing it out. Back into my usual high puff it all went! Does anyone have tips for preserving a twist out? I'm convinced that this was just a fluke! No way that I'll get results like this again!

How was your #washdayexperience?


Friday, May 22, 2015

Does Tracking Calories Work? | #FitnessFriday

Y'all know that I LOVE my FitBit!

Not really breaking news right?

You can read why I'm FitBit obsessed here, here, and here.

It's actually quite sad that I really can't remember what life was like before my FitBit! I love that I can keep all of my non-walking/running workouts, join competitions with my FitBit friends, and track my water intake all in place. The one feature that I haven't used regularly is the Food Plan tile. Tracking calories sounds crazy tedious, time consuming, lame, and annoying. But before I completely knocked it---I tried it for two weeks.

And I lost 4 lbs...

That I didn't gain back!

That wasn't water weight!

Without changing up my usual workout routine!


Is tracking calories tedious? Yeah. I'll be honest with you. But it's not as lame, time consuming, and annoying as I thought that it would be. And once I got into the habit---I actually remembered to do it more often than not.

It was pretty eye opening too. I really thought that I was eating well. But I wasn't. My sugar intake was crazy high. FitBit lays it out so well that it's really hard to ignore that I needed to make better choices in my afternoon snacks.

Entering my meal information after each meal definitely convinced me not to have another helping or another snack. I also realized that while depriving myself from my favorites leads to a very unhappy KLP---I also can't binge eat either. Hello portion control! We finally meet!

I'm not really sure why I didn't start tracking my calories sooner. But this is EXACTLY what I needed to keep my sweet tooth in check! I'll update you guys in a few weeks to let you know how it's going and if I keep up with it!

Do you track your calories? Is is working for you? What's your favorite app?