Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wash Day | Length Check + Big Chop

So, this isn't going to be a typical #washdayexperience post. For one, I haven't washed my hair since last week. (Yeah...I know---gross right?! But keep reading, I have good reason) And for two, y'all deserve a length check update.

Flat ironing my hair last wash day was a bit surreal. My roots were voluminous, thick, and all kinds of fabulous. I flipped and whipped it around singing to Taylor Swift. #dontjudgeme #youdoittoo #yepyourighttheregivingmethesideeye

Then came the matter of my ends. Ugh. Or rather the reminding 4-5 inches of my hair. Because my unprocessed hair is so thick, It made my processed ends look pitiful. Plus the damage that I did to my hemline when I had to cut 3-4 super long knots from my nape last month, get this:

I considered letting it be for about a day. Eventually the ends will fill in. Eventually my hemline would thicken up. Eventually it would be all fine and dandy. But for real--ain't no body got time for that! So I grabbed my scissors, and with the assistance of my sister-in-law and cousin, we pulled my hair back into a pony tail and cut straight across.


So I cut a little more. And then a little more. And a tad bit more. My bangs still have a few inches of texlaxed that need to go, but the rest is totally curly.

How does it feel to chop it all off?

Thrilling- My sister in law and cousin thought that I was loca for being so happy about the cut. I let them snip my hair because they'd trusted me to do their big chops earlier this year. #familyaffair for real huh? LOL. The excitement hasn't worn off. And it makes me giggle every time someone sees my cut then screams. No worries guys, it will definitely grow back!

Freeing- I threw my length goals out the window months ago and it felt amazing. Now I'm relatively free of my texlaxed ends. I'm so proud of the path that lead me to this point. I proud that I did it my way in my own time.

Nerve-racking- OMG...Did I REALLY just start my journey all over again? Ha-ha. I'm a little nervous to see what works for my new cut and what doesn't. Plus I promise to share all the wonderfully gory details with you guys!

Cheers to 2015. It's gonna be great!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Best of 2014: My Hair's Hits & Misses

2014 has been an amazing year for me--and my hair. I've had tons of highs and several low valleys but I feel so blessed to have grown and matured through the journey. Here's a recap of the best things (and the worse things) that happened to my hair.

Hit- Perm Rods

Y'all know that I love me a good bantu knot set, but I started to notice that the further that I got into this stretch---the harder it was to get a set that blended my super curly roots and my slightly straighter texlaxed ends. Then I discovered perm rods (shout out to Britt for the intro!) BEST. THING. EVER. Perm rods are relatively inexpensive and create the smoothest, bounciest make you wanna jump for joy curls ever. I could actually see my roots when it was all said and done! Oh the things that you get excited for when you haven't had a relaxer in a million years. Ha-ha!

See Related: How To Use Perm Rods on Natural Relaxed or Transitioning Hair

Hit: Steam Rollers

So, I'm chatting with my bloggy bestie Ebony from Longing4Length complaining about how terrible my hair looked and how little time I had to get glam for a girls night, when she suggests Caruso Steam Rollers. Since then---I've been HOOKED y'all. I just love how quick and easy they are to install and all without direct heat! Thanks Ebony!

See Related: How To Use Caruso Steam Rollers on Relaxed, Transitioning, or Natural Hair

Hit: I made it to MBL!

After 3 years of slowly but surely cutting off my ridiculously over-processed thin ends, a shedding fiasco, and the worse relaxer experience of my life---I finally made it to MBL last July!

See Related: Length Check and One Year Post Relaxer

Hit: BSL/MBL Length Bangs

I've never intentionally wanted bangs. Never not ever. But until recently, I've always had them because I would flat iron them daily. *cringes* Once I stopped that and started protective styling---my bangs have flourished! Today, they sit the same length as my hemline and I've never been more proud!

See Related: How To Grow Out Your Bangs

Miss- Twist Outs

Sure, this twist out looks cute, but it was totally a fluke because I couldn't replicate it plus it didn't last. Even when I followed the same exact steps! Ugh...But life is like that some times!

See Related: The #WashDayExperience- My Best Twist Out Ever (Kinda)

Miss- Fighting Tangles

I had to cut 3-4 very long knots out of my hair a few months ago. I cried. A long ugly cry. You know the kinda cry that you have when you know that everything that you are crying about was the result of your own negligence ugly cry. When I finally had the nerve to straighten my hair---I saw the damage. It wasn't pretty. Lesson learned.

See Related: The #WashDayExperience- Fighting Tangles

What were your hair's hits and misses this year? Link up your compilation below! Prospero Año y felicidad!

2014 Hair In Review | Keyda

It has been a wonderful year and I am so excited for the NEW YEAR! Hopefully we all have new experiences and make more memories with our loved ones.

I have been MIA for a bit, however KLP has been holding it down! She is so wonderful with her posts and I am absolutely in LOVE with her hair journey! :) I promise that I've been washing my hair lol---even though I don't post about it and I've made a lot of changes this year:

  • Last Relaxer/Touch-up: July 2014! Yes! I can not believe that I have not had any type of chemical within my hair. I must say that my scalp has been more manageable and less irritable as the time progressed. However, my shedding and knotting as increased. So, I have invested in a few detangling products to help alleviate the feeling of "pulling" my hair out! 
  • Heat: I have used minimum to no heat on my hair. When I do use heat, I primarily use a hooded dryer and rarely have I used my blow dryer. No FLAT IRON! This shall change...I miss my straight hair...  
  • Styles: I have kept my hair in buns, curls and braids. Twist and braid outs are also a favorite. I am mindful of my hair knotting so I try to keep it in a lasting style where I do not have to manipulate frequently. 
Overall, my hair has grown about 2 -3 inches, however with the shedding/knotting, I think my hair is going through growing pains. I try to do a protein treatment every two-three weeks to ensure my hair is strong with my moisturizing treatments. I am trying my hardest to find a good balance of protein and moisture for my hair.  :) I plan on trimming my ends significantly (cutting the relaxer ends) in the new year without taking too much length. As the biggest news of all...

I AM ENGAGED! Yes.. It has been quite crazy these last few months and it will only get crazier as I continue to plan my wedding! I am soo excited and happy to be sharing this new journey with you all! :) Looking forward to posting in 2015!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

How To Flat Iron (Transitioning, Relaxed, or Natural Hair) | #WashDayExperience

I can't believe that it's been 6 months since the last time that I straightened my hair! I'm utterly flabbergasted. Once a upon a time, I used to flat iron daily---then I cut back to weekly---now I'm down to three times a year. I think that it's safe to say that my hair is benefiting from much less direct heat but I'm actually excited for the change!

Straightening my hair is a tedious process. So, I have a love/annoyed relationship with my straight hair. Detangling is most of the annoyance. I ditched my combs for finger detangling this year, so I find that when it's time to straighten, I have to combat tons of tiny single strand knots. I work slowly---probably toooooo slowly trying to be gentle and use a little less manipulation. It's definitely a 2-3 hour labor of love. Here's how I straighten my hair:

  1. Pre-shampoo- I started by fully detangling using my fingers and slathering each section with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner. Pre-shampooing with conditioner elongates my curly roots which makes everything else on wash day easier.
  2. Shampoo- Next, I hopped into the shower for 5 minutes to rinse the conditioner completely. I clarified with KeraCare 1st Lather Shampoo to remove build up and then once more shampoo with KeraCare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo to get my hair squeaky clean. Clean hair = light bouncy straightened hair.
  3. Extreme Deep Condition- Next, I deep conditioned with Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioner then put my hair into 6 loose bantu knots, covered with a plastic cap and let it sit for a few hours. In hindsight, I should have sat under my hooded dryer or heat cap to help the conditioner penetrate more effectively.
  4. Leave ins- After I fully rinsed each section, I wrapped my hair in a cotton t-shirt to remove some of the water. Then I applied a little It's 10 Miracle Leave In then Chi Silk Infusion. Then I finished by cool air tension drying with my Solia Blower.
  5. Flat iron- I coupled my Ferrum Iron with a Sedu Carbon Flat Iron Comb to do the comb and chase method as I flat ironed my hair in 1/4' sections. Two passes were enough to get my hair smooth and super straight. But it still took forever to do.

The Results:
My hair has body and is soooo soft. I've never been able to say either in the past when I was flat ironing weekly.It's actually voluminous. And I LOVE IT! My bangs are still thriving hoovering between BSL and MBL. By my ends definitely took a hit from my detangling debacle a few months ago. This straightening session was totally bitter sweet.

I gave myself about an inch trim as I flat ironed and slightly rolled the flat iron around the ends for my feathered wavy Christmas Eve look. I promise length check pictures are coming down the pipeline. But now---it's time for me to go sing happy birthday to Jesus, celebrate, and enjoy my minions/hubby!

Merry Christmas chicas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Healthy Hairology Medley

Hola chicas! Welcome to Healthy Hairology Medley, the rainbow filled glittery space where I share some of my favorite bloggers, vloggers, and perfectly pinnable awesome finds each week. Come on in, have a seat, and get comfy!

Perm Rods on Straight Natural Hair | The Feisty House

Perm rods on Straight Natural Hair thefeistyhouse- I don't straighten my hair often, but when I do---I'm trying to get the most out of it. So when I saw Krystal's perm rod set on her flat ironed hair I (mentally) screamed GENIUS! Here's how she does it and gets her straightened hair to last without reversion!

Holiday Haute Chignon longing4length- Who isn't in love with Ebony's new hair cut?!? Aborbs! Check out her sophisticated holiday chignon perfect for church, an office party, or even New Year's Eve!

Twist Out Results Using Homemade Flaxseed Gel beautifullycurled: Flaxseed gel has been on my hmm-that's-sooo-cool list for months now. And after seeing Kristal's gorgeous twist out using her homemade flaxseed gel----I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to resist the urge to DIY me some too!

Roller Setting: Half and Half Method fancyflairlady: My roller sets usually stink. Not enough tension on the roller. Parts a mess. Too much hair here. Not enough hair there. I'm just not a roller set girl. BUT Kim is. Check out her 5 step process to fabulously bouncy and smooth roller sets!

Friday, December 19, 2014

10 Awesome Gifts For Runners | #FitnessFriday

Just a few of the most awesome gifts for runners---from a runner.

1// Running Shoe Tag (IronJen $11)

Who says that your shoes don't deserve a little bling action too? Remind your runner how far she's come and inspire her to keep going with this unique accessory

2// Lip Balm (Eos $3)

Chances are, your runner bud is still pounding the pavement this winter. Friends don't let friends run with crusty lips. Get her an Eos lip balm for her gym bag. She'll thank you later.


3// Activity Tracker (FitBit $60)

Y'all know how much I love my FitBit. It's quite easily my best fitness related purchase (well---I actually got it as a gift for my birthday! Round of applause for the hubby!) of 2014. FitBit's latest app update makes it super simple and easy to track all of your fitness activities---including running! I guess they heard my complaints!

See Related: My Love/Hate Relationship With FitBit Zip

4// Inspirational Running Art (InspireAndMotivate $7)

For the chic runner looking to give her workout area a little pizzazz. I'd totally put this next to my running bib and medal holder. Especially, if someone got me this....

5//  Medal Hook (Black Girls Run! $60)

Your favorite runner probably has a ton of medals collecting dust in a corner. Help her show them off with this uber cute and chi medal hook.

See Related: How To Display Your Running Bibs & Race Bling

6// ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running (Danny Dreyer $12)

A must read for any running enthusiast. It totally changes the way that you think about running and gives amazing tips for staying injury free.

 7// Fancy Water bottle (Camelbak $18)

My superhero hubby introduced me to Camelbak. He used it while he was in Africa. I mean...if it can keep him hydrated in Africa...I think that it will work well for my Spin class. Plus---it's pink. Enough said right?

8// Headband & Ear Warmer (Under Armour $20)

Hair out of eyes? ✓ Ears warm? ✓ Ridiculously sassy? ✓ This headband and ear warmer is super stylish, plus it's reversible!

See Related: Winter Running Guide

9// I Don't Sweat, I Sparkle (JasperandPeg $30)

Too cute for words and I promise that they will LOVE it!

10// It's Not A Sprint, It's a Marathon Bangle (Alex and Ani $28) 

Shh...I have a secret. I'm totally buying this for myself after I crush my half marathon in a few months. After weeks and weeks of training---I think that I deserve it!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

[Hairstyle] Steam Roller Curls | #WashDayExperience

I haven't had a chance to respond to each one of your kind words of encouragement and intercessory prayers for my family yet---but I will. I'm so grateful for you guys! Just a quick update--my grandfather's open heart surgery last week was successful. He's recovering well and his spirit is brighter than a star. I can't tell you how much it humbles me to see your out pour of positivity. I've said it hundred times---but I'll say it again. Y'ALL ROCK!

Ugh...I wish that I would have gotten more pics of these curls!

With all that said---I'm combining two weeks of #washdayexperience into one post. Because---well---I ended up styling my hair the same exact way. The first week, I did a protein treatment with Nexxus Emergencee then rocked bouncy curls for a night out on the town with my hubby. The next week, because I loved the curls so much...I did it again using the products found here!

I haven't done a hard protein treatment on my hair since *insert gasp* September. <hangs head> In my defense, I've been protein layering using Joico K-Pak at least twice a month. Protein layering is amazing, I definitely think that it's why I still have relaxed ends on my head, but I really needed a full protein treatment to whip my hair back in shape. Here's how I did it:

  1. Pre-shampoo- I fully detangled and slathered my hair in Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner. I let it sit for about an hour. I need to do this more often--because omgosh my hair was so soft!
  2. Shampoo- Next, I hopped into the shower for 5 minutes to rinse the conditioner completely. I needed a good clarifying so I shampooed once with KeraCare 1st Lather Shampoo and then once more with Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Shampoo.
  3. Protein Treatment- with Nexxus Emergencee; the world's easiest to apply protein treatment. I let it air dry for an hour or so while I did chores.
  4. Extreme Deep Condition- Next, I stood under the spray of my shower for about 5 minutes to rinse the Emergencee completely. I deep conditioned with Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioner on the length of my hair. Then I massaged my stands with extra virgin coconut oil, covered with a plastic cap and let sit for about 2 hours. 
  5. Air Dried- I added a bit of Chi Silk Infusion to 80-85% wrapped in a cotton t-shirt.
  6. Leave ins-I used Jessicurl Too Shea Extra Moisturizing Conditioner to moisturize and a dab of hair butter  to seal, then I blew out my roots with cold air to stretch it and set on small Caruso Steam rollers for about 30 minutes.

The Results:
Why I Used A Clarifying Shampoo- 
My hair hates shampoo. I say it a lot. I mean every word. But it doesn't mean that there aren't times when product builds up on my strands. I shampoo once a month and I clarify with every hard protein treatment. 

Why I Used A Hard Protein Treatment- 
My hair loves protein. I use protein laced conditioners regularly during my entire hhj. My hair behaves better with a little extra protein in it's life. I also noticed a little more breakage, a little less moisture retention, and a lot more tangles in my hair over the last 2-3 weeks. That's my hair's way of telling me that it was time for a root to tip intervention. 

Why I Used Steam rollers-
My hubby and I had an event to attend. I knew that I wouldn't have enough time for any of the usual suspects- bantu knots, a perm rod set, or straightening---so my steam rollers got another go. Can I just talk about how much I love these things again? One of the BEST investments that I made for my hair in 2014 for sure. 

Speaking of Best of 2014, can you believe that in 2 weeks 2015 will be in full swing?!? Where did the time go y'all! Before I devise my evil fleek master plan for total hair domination---or something like that---I'll be sharing my Best of 2014: Hits & Misses.  I'd love to have you join me! You'll be able to add your links starting next week! (No clue what this is? Check out our 2013 collection of Hits & Misses here. Change the date and you got the same

Oh yeah---and I think that I'm ready to straighten this mess next week for Christmas. Fingers crossed that my ends aren't as bad as I think they are!

How was your washdayexperience? Share the dets below. 


Friday, December 12, 2014

Staying Sane with Running | #FitnessFriday

My heart is pouring thankfulness for all of your whispered intercessory prayers on the behalf of my grandfather and our family. I was humbled by the fact that you cared and I appreciate each note that you guys sent me. I just love my SavingOurStrands framily!

My grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary

I'm so excited to say that my grandfather's open heart surgery was successful and he's recovering as well as can be expected. The road to recovery is going to be bumpy but he's incredibly strong-willed and head strong. They won't be able to keep him down for too much longer. God is so good.

I really struggled to stay grounded and keep my sanity this week. When I felt like I just couldn't take it anymore---I ran. Literally. I ran for miles and miles lost in my thoughts and focused on my prayers. 

I needed that time to just be:
...without other voices competing for my attention. 
...with God telling me that my grandfather would be fine. 
...without hearing the doubt in my own voice. 
...whilst stomping fear with each pound on the pavement. 
My heart was forced open with faith and four miles flew by.

It's not a coincidence that weeks before, as I grieved for my father, that this guidance was shared with me:

"Let it do its work..."

Let challenges mold you. Let training reinforce you. Let yourself grow through pressure instead of surrendering under it. 

It's also not a coincidence that I ran a PB with a 8:25 average pace. Or that I felt rejuvenated. Or that I didn't even need my inhaler---a miracle in it self.

I'm ever grateful for the abundance of blessings and mercies that my family has received and is still receiving every day as my grandfather's health improves. I'm grateful that I'm becoming spiritually stronger, mentally stronger, and even physically stronger because of each challenge. Training isn't easy but I'm excited about its creating a better me!

How do you stay sane and committed to your fitness goals?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

[Life] A Heavy Heart | #WashDayExperience

I write to you with a heavy heart and tears swelling in my eyes. Life has been a roller-coaster of sorts over the last few weeks with the last 24 hours as a deep valley for my family. We discovered that my grandfather has a hole in his heart. Surgery is the only course of action but not until he's stable. His doctors are excellent---the best in the business. But we have united our faith in the only doctor who's a way maker, miracle worker and glorious healer.

I wish that I had the time or even the mental wherewithal to share my latest #washdayexperience with you guys this week. But I can't lie. I'm emotionally drained and physically exhausted. It took me 2 hours of stopping, starting, revision, and frustration just to bring you the previous 8 sentences. I know that you understand and you are full of grace---after all---you're simply amazing. But can you do me just one favor? Call your mother, brother, sister, cousin, uncle or aunt and tell them that you love them. That you need them. That they mean the world to you. Trust me. They want to hear it. They need to hear it.

This week's #washdayexperience collection is below. Join in and don't forget to share a positively radiant note with the chica that linked up before you. Without the beautiful flow of encouragement that each of you willingly offer---the #washdayexperience means nothing.

Friday, December 05, 2014

The Truth About My Half-Marathon Training | #FitnessFriday

Um...Who's idiot idea was it for me to train for a half-marathon? In the winter? During the holidays? With two kids? And high energy demanding career? Whilst a super hero military hubby sails off to save the free world? was my idea. *hangs head*

Training for this half-marathon has kept me busy beyond belief. But it has also kept me focused, excited, and on track. Here's how things are going after pounding the pavement for 4 weeks:

Runkeeper is a sneaky brilliant beast
I'm absolutely devoted to RunKeeper's sub 2:15 Half Marathon training plan. I've only missed one run in 4 weeks. My fast pace is 8:35, my normal pace is 9:30, and my I hate my life and running pace is 10:40. This plan started with a pace of 11:30 and it was truly a struggle to run that slow. But I know that it's for the best because #1 I don't want to get injured and #2 I don't want to overexert myself causing my asthma to rear it's ugly head. 

See Related: How I Stay Fit & Active with Asthma

I'm plenty forgetful so the best part of the RunKeeper plan are the reminders. Before each session, they'll send your phone the cutest alert about your next run. I even ran on Thanksgiving AND the morning after my 10 year high school reunion. #beastmodeKLP

Cold weather running gear
When I moved to the beach a few months ago, I expected sunny skies and 60s year round. I was wrong. Very wrong. Winter hit us like a ton of bricks and forced me into investing in running gear to keep me toasty roasty in the nippy weather. I totally heart under armour (and their outlet store woot!) where I picked up this amazing Infared Jacket, long sleeved shirt, and running leggings. Warm and Stylish!

Strength Training was a dud; Yoga is a rest rockstar
Truth be told, I haven't picked up or even looked at a weight in 4 weeks. *shame face* I know I know..."Runners need to do more than just run" but what had happened was...well...whatevs y'all, I'll do better in the next 4 weeks. The good news is that I'm committed to not doing much on rest days aside from Yoga. Bridges, twists, and sun salutations are helping me with my balance, keeping my his loose, and stretching my glutes.

Over the next few weeks, my running schedule is going to intensify---I'm excited for the challenge but a little nervous to see if I can really handle it. T-104 days!

What are your winter fitness goals?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

[Hairstyle] Bouncy Curls Using Steam Rollers | #WashDayExperience

Between Turkey Day, my half-marathon training, getting sick, and trying to be fabulous for my 10 year high school reunion (OMG...I can't believe it's been TEN years since I graduated high school!), then doing it all over again, I've washed/co-washed my hair 3 times​ in 7 days!

I wanted big bouncy curls for my reunion but I knew that I wouldn't have time for either perm rods or my signature bantu knot curls. So I whipped out my steam rollers. I think that it's safe to say that I love these things---and Jessicurl!

  1. Deep Condition- My hair was well detangled from my previous 2 co-washes, so I jumped right into deep conditioning. I applied Jessicurl Deep Treatment from root to tip then massaged in a little extra virgin coconut oil to seal the conditioner in. I left it in for about 5 hours. 
  2. Detangling treatment- Then I rinsed each section. applied a dollop of Matrix Biolage Detangling Solution, worked it through my roots and rinsed.
  3. Air Dried- I added a bit of Chi Silk Infusion to 80-85% wrapped in a cotton t-shirt.
  4. Leave ins-I used Jessicurl Too Shea Extra Moisturizing Conditioner to moisturize and a dab of hair butter  to seal, then I blew out my roots with cold air to stretch it and set on Caruso Steam rollers for about 30 minutes.

Don't judge my bathroom selfe

The Results

Bantu knot-like curls! My hair felt super soft and well conditioned. I love the curl pattern and half way through taking down the rollers, I totally wished that I had more smaller rollers than the larger ones. Hmm...looks like I have something else to ask Santa for this year!
My besties
Every wash day, I'm reminded of how much my ends need a trim. I mean, when the heck was my last real trim? July? That's kinda sad. I totally know better than that. 

But trimming requires straightening and straightening requires 3 hours of devoted time with a flat iron. Ain't no body got time for that!

Oh and these are my day after bed-head waves. I didn't wrap, set, moisturize, anything. I am not a good role model. Do not try this at home. LOL. 

How was your #washdayexperience? Share the dets below!

Monday, December 01, 2014

My Struggle

This time of the year---every year---I struggle. I struggle with the holidays. I struggle with being festive. I struggle with smiling. I struggle hard. I always get sick. I always retreat. I always go dark. I always apologize profusely for not knowing how to balance grieving, honoring, mourning, celebrating my Father's life alone. 

My Father wasn't very likable. He was a terrible husband. He was a terrible brother. He was a terrible friend. He kinda sucked at everything that he did; except being my father. He was hands down an amazing father. All of my memories of our time together make my heart smile. Like the day that I realized that we had the same nose. Or how cozy, calm, and content I felt in his arms. I still remember his ridiculously silly versions of fairly tales that you'll never find in a book (trust me, I looked) and how we shared Eskimo kisses before bed. He was an excellent father and I never ever once doubted or questioned his love for me.

As I cleaned out my daughter's backpack, I found this picture:

The caption was so simple yet incredibly complex and genuinely sweet: "I am thankful for family." I realized that there is no reason, no reason whatsoever, that I had to work through this time of the year alone. I gathered my minions around me and for the first time, I showed them snapshots of their grandfather. We laughed and we giggled about the crazy fairly tales that my dad told. I explained why I gave them Eskimo kisses every night before bed. I shared how my son got his name.

I felt amazing. 

My daughter asked me if we could pray for her granddaddy at bedtime and thank him for watching over us. 

So simple yet incredibly complex and genuinely sweet. 

I'm thankful for my family. My dad's not here beside me, but he's always with me. His love lives in me and now his love lives in my kiddos too.