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

[Hairstyle] 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?


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

[Hairstyle] Flirty Tuck and Roll | The #WashDayExperience

I swore up and down that I was gonna be flaunting big bouncy curls all spring. And I really wanted to...but real talk---I'm an updo kinda girl. I'm far more comfortable with my hair up and out of the way than I am with it blowing in the wind. I sure hope that you guys aren't totally bored with my hair!

This #washdayexperience, I stretched my hair in a few medium sized twists then went for a tuck and roll style. Here's how I got started:

Pre-Shampoo: Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus
Shampoo: Jessicurl Cleansing Cream
Clay Mask: Aztec Healing Bentonite Clay (+ Apple Cider Vinegar & Aloe Vera Juice)
Deep Condition: Jessicurl Deep Treatment
Leave ins: Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner + DIY Hair Butter

The Results:
I started by applying Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus to my unwashed hair and gently detangling. I totally owe you guys a product review on this protein treatment. I really love it! But the biggest issue with the size. I only got 2 (maybe 3) uses out of the 8oz container and I haven't been able to find it in a bigger size yet. 

Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream is honestly a top notch shampoo for naturally curly hair. I love the way that it cleanses without stripping and my hair actually feels moisturized and tangle free afterwards. Totally a #winner. My bentonite clay mask isn't pictured but I used the same exact process and ingredients as shown in this #washdayexperience.

If you only try one Jessicurl product---please let it be the Deep Conditioning Treatment. I don't even have words for how much I LOVE this conditioner. My hair stays crazy moisturized after I use this. Honestly---I don't even know why on earth that I use anything else!

To style my hair, I applied a few drops of Almond Oil to my freshly deep conditioned and rinsed hair. Then I applied my leave-ins (Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner and my DIY Hair Butter). in sections To stretch my curls, I installed a bunch of medium sized two strand twists.

I let the twists dry overnight. In the morning, I unraveled and fluffed. The twist out was super cute on it's own but I just didn't feel like wearing it out. So, to get this flirty tuck and roll, I created a deep side part then sectioned off my bangs. Starting on the right side, I gently rolled my hair around my head stopping occasionally to secure the roll with a few pins. I kept rolling around my nape and up to the opposite side of my head. I stopped the roll just above my eyebrow and secured with a final pin. A few more carefully placed pins to shape my bangs and viola!

Hmm... that explanation kinda sucks...If you want a step by step pictorial let me know!

How was your #washdayexperience?


Monday, May 18, 2015

Kale Taco Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette| #FitnessFriday

#FitnessFriday on a Monday! I just had to share my newest favorite way to eat kale: In a raw salad! Now before you squish up your nose---hear me out. Kale doen't have to taste like the grass raw. Especially if you mix it with the right stuff. Here's my Kale Taco Salad with YUMMY Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette!

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems trimmed and discarded
1 lime freshly squeezed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tbsp Cumin
1/2 tbsp Chili powder
Pinch of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Chop cilantro finely. Put in a mason jar.
  2. Then add lime juice and shake.
  3. Next, add the olive oil, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. 
  4. Shake vigorously.

Kale Taco Salad (Makes two full sized salads or 4 side salads)
3 cups of kale
1/4 red bell pepper
1/4 cup mixed beans (I used a mix of gandules verdes and black beans. Use whatever beans you have on hand)
1/5 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons of olives
1 roasted jalapeno minced
Queso Fresco (optional)

  1. Chop kale into small pieces
  2. Mix all of the other ingredients together.
  3. Toss with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. 

How are you spicing up your veggies this spring?


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

[Tutorial] Twisted Bang French Tuck | #WashDayExperience

Y'all know that I love a good updo. I'm really loving wearing my hair in high puffs but I also need to be protecting my ends with protective styles. Afterall---that's how I retained length when I was relaxed.

Here's what I used to wash my hair this week:

Overnight Deep Condition- Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioner + Almond Oil (Wondering why I deep condition overnight? Click here)
Leave ins: Jessicurl Too Shea + My DIY Hair Butter

The Style:
It's interesting to me that many of the techniques that I learned while I was stretching/transitioning still work like a charm now that my hair is fully natural.

Can I get a high five fist bump for overnight deep conditioning?!? My hair always feels super soft, moisturized--while my curls look super pump and hydrated. I know that deep conditioning overnight doesn't work for a lot of people's hair or lifestyle, but I definitely recommend that everyone try it at least once! Especially if you despise sitting under the dryer or you're pressed for time like me.

After I applied my leave ins, I banded my hair to stretch it a little. Stretched, my hair is between shoulder length and arm pit length. Unstretched? Girl---my curls hang at less than neck length. I can't say that I love the way that shrinkage hides my length yet.

To style, I whipped my hair into a super simple twisted bang french tuck using a banana clip. Here's how I did it:
  1. Begin with stretched and moisturized hair.
  2. Make a heavy side part.
  3. Section your hair from ear to ear, then divide the front section into 3 equal parts. 
  4. Pin back the two side sections leaving only the top(your bangs) out.
  5. Start your flat twist (dutch, french, or fishtail) braid near the crown of your head. Braid or twist it towards your hair line, then swoop it to the back. 
  6. Braid or twist until the end of the hair.
  7. Gather and smooth the rest of your hair and the braid/twist back. Secure where comfortable with a banana clip.
  8. Take the ends and roll into a french twist, securing with a long hair pin at the top and bottom of the roll. 
At night, I just remove one side of the banana clip then cover with my scarf. Nothing fancy at all! Hopefully this style will keep my hands out of my curls!

Anyone else rocking a protective style this week?


Friday, May 08, 2015

3 Workouts To Try This Summer | #FitnessFriday

Living 10 minutes away from the beach has a ton of advantages. One of my favorites is that there are tons of outdoor sports that are relatively inexpensive (or better yet completely FREE), super fun, and will keep me from getting bored in my workouts. Here are 3 outdoor workouts that are on my to do list this summer:


During the summer, I despise being inside the house. I wanna feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair! Being in a beach town, we have a ton of really wonderfully maintained state parks with fantastic trails. Which is why this chica is totally stoked to go hiking! I can't wait to take pictures of the beautiful wild flowers and most of the trails are easy enough that I can take my minions with me!


Sunrise Yoga:

Because life is crazy hectic, I really need to schedule time to recharge and refocus. Which is why I'm siced for sunrise yoga. I want to start with a sunrise sun salutation practice once a week (probably on the weekends) in my back yard by the pool. Hopefully, I can bring a little zen back into my life!


Barefoot Sand Run:

No summer workout plan is complete without a barefoot sand run! Running on the sand is crazy hard---now add in the fact that you're barefoot and you've really got a challenge! Fingers crossed that I'll be able to make it to the beach before it gets crazy busy with tourists!

How are you changing up your workouts for the summer? I need some fit-spiration!


Thursday, May 07, 2015

[Tutorial] Bentonite Clay Mask + Meet My High Puff | #WashDayExperience


It's no secret that I prefer to wear my hair stretched. But on the days when I really need to wash my hair but don't have the time (or energy) to do much to it afterwards, I co-wash and then rock a high puff.

High puffs were difficult for me before my mini chop because I still had a few inches of texlaxd hair on my ends. After my mini chop---I still struggled with the high puff because my curl pattern is much looser in the front than the back. The front of my puff looked really frizzy while the back would be curly. Considering how great my first experiment with Bentonite Clay was at defining my curl pattern, I tried it again. And I took pictures this time!

Here's how my #washdayexperience went:

Pre-Shampoo: Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Conditioner
Clay Mask: Aztec Healing Bentonite Clay (+ Apple Cider Vinegar & Aloe Vera Juice)
Leave ins: Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner + DIY Hair Butter + Jessicurl Rockin' Ringlets Styling Potion

I started by applying Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Conditioner to my dry (unwashed) hair and detangling. Although I hadn't detangled in 3 days and my perm rod curls had completely frizzed out, I actually didn't have any knots plus my hair felt moisturized. I love how defined my hair looks with the conditioner weighing the curls down.

I let the conditioner sit for about 20 minutes before hopping into the shower. Here's what my hair looks like once the conditioner has been rinsed. As my hair starts to dry--especially without product, I loose the definition.

And then my puff looks pretty frizzy instead of curly.

Next, I applied the bentonite clay mask in small sections to my lightly t-shirt dried hair. To make the mask, I mix 4oz of clay with 1oz of apple cider vinegar and 3oz of aloe vera juice. I add all of the ingredients to a medium tip applicator bottle and shake it like a Polaroid picture. *plays Hey-ya chorus in her head* #dontjudgeme #ibetyoustarteddancingtoo Ha-ha! I covered with a plastic cap and let it sit for about 20 minutes. I'm not sure if I'll experiment with additional ingredients in the future because I'm really digging the results that I get from this mix.

I rinsed the mask in the shower then applied Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner, then my DIY Hair Butter and lastly a newbie Jessicurl Confident Coils to soaking wet hair.

I can definitely tell the difference in my conditioner only puff versus the bentonite clay puff. The kinks and curls are more defined plus my hair was softer. I'm totally penciling in a weekly bentonite clay mask in my regimen! Whilst, I'm still playing with my high puff leave ins, I have to say that I love the way that this cocktail keeps my hair moisturized for several days without me having to do anything else.

What new masks, treatments, or leave ins are you trying this spring?


Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Most Awkward Questions I've Ever Been Asked #BloggerProblems

Even though I love {over} sharing about my hair---in real life, I'm actually a really private person. I'm a bit reserved, I'm over-protective of my family and I'm completely uncomfortable in the spotlight. Often I get really random personal questions asked by readers and I have no clue how to address them! So, here are 10 of the awkward questions that I've ever been asked and my attempts to answer them without cringing a little!

Question: Are your beauty marks real?

Answer: Absolutely! I've had beauty marks aka moles on my face all of my life. I even have a really large one in my hairline that everyone thinks is a pimple.

Question: Is your husband white?

Answer: No---he's peach according to my kiddos.

Question: What toothpaste to you use?

Answer: Crest---then I dip my toothbrush in baking soda and brush. #dontjudge I'm trying to ward off stains from my coffee addiction.

Question: How tall are you?

Answer: Average height 5'4

Question: What is your real hair color?

Answer: Dark brown with a hint of auburn highlights from the sun. I don't color my hair at all (yet...).

Question: Where do you take your pictures?

Answer: In my loft---it has the BEST lighting because of the sky lights!

Question: Is your nose pierced?

Answer: Yes; but I don't wear it often. It's a little too rebel-chic for my ultra-square hubster.

Question: Are you in a sorority?

Answer: I'm a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Question: Are you really that nice in person?

Answer: I try to be. :)

Question: What are your kids' names?

Answer:  Minion #1 and Minion #2

I gotta admit, I laughed a little as I replied to these questions. It's interesting, the things that people notice about you when you're blogging about something completely different! What's the most awkward question you've ever been asked?


Monday, May 04, 2015

[Review] Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of shampoos. More often than not, shampoos would strip my relaxed hair causing it to be dry, brittle, and tangle like crazy. I can honestly say that there was only one shampoo that I liked when I was relaxed AND I still love it now that I'm natural: Matrix Hydrasource Shampoo. But now---thanks to Jessicurl, I have two!

Price: $16.99 USD
Buy It At:
Promises: "Before starting Jessicurl, I used to hate the one or two days a week I “had” to wash my hair. I knew it had to be done but dreaded suffering through 2 - 3 days of fluffy, puffy, dry frizzy hair that resulted from washing with traditional shampoos. By the time it calmed down and the natural scalp oils were replenished, it was almost time to do it again. Seriously, I was traumatized by shampoo.

That’s why when I was developing Hair Cleansing Cream, it was very important to me to break this horrible cycle. :-) With Hair Cleansing Cream, you can wash your hair and have it look good on the SAME day! I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Hair Cleansing Cream is a gentle, moisturizing cleanser that doesn’t create tons of lather but will clean your hair and leave it quite soft. It’s best suited for thicker, drier hair types that need more moisture, and is also safe for color treated hair."

Ingredients:   Aqua (Water), Decyl Polyglucose, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, C 12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, PEG 150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate (*These ingredients are naturally occurring active ingredients found in the essential oils used in some of our products.)

My Thoughts: I love this shampoo!  Didn't strip my relaxed hair; Didn't cause tangles in my transitioning hair; AND actually moisturizes while it cleanses my naturally curly hair. I always detangle before I shampoo and this is one of the only shampoos where my hair stays detangled after shampooing.

The consistency is a bit runny---not at all what I expected from a "cream." The color is slightly opaque and with an iridescent sheen. A little goes a long way and it actually creates a lot more lather than you'd expect from from a sulfate free shampoo. My scalp feels fresh and clean and any buildup on my strands is completely removed with one lather. I noticed that my curls are always more defined and softer after after each use. Although, I still only shampoo once or twice a month---I don't think that this shampoo would cause any damage if you used it once a week. Unlike my other fave shampoo, I don't dilute this shampoo when I apply it to my hair.

Have you ever used Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream? Would you buy it again?


Friday, May 01, 2015

5 Ways To Get Re-Motivated To Workout | #FitnessFriday

I spent the last 6 months completely focused on training for my half-marathon. Now that it's over, I just feel lost! I was still throwing myself a pity party over the way that the entire debacle ended. I had to force myself to run and when I did, I couldn't convince myself to go long distances. Then my hubby deployed and transitioning has been stressful. Honestly, I feel like I should be able to count being a glorified single mother as exercise.

I'm getting bored of being trapped in my exercise rut and complaining won't change anything, so here are 5 ways that I'm trying to get back into the swing of things:
  1. Forgive Yourself- I felt really awful for completely neglecting my workouts. I felt lazy. I had a lot of negative self-talk floating around in my head. Then I thought about it from another perspective. What would I say to another woman who'd stalled on her fitness journey? Would I be mean? Would I doubt her? Would I constantly berate her with reminders of failure? OF COURSE NOT! I would encourage her. Tell her that tomorrow is a new day; But today was the day to start again. Once I realized this, I literally looked in the mirror and said "I forgive you. Let's start again." If I can extend Grace and positivity to others, why not myself?!? We all mess up. We're human!
  2. Start small- I don't have the time or resources (ie a babysitter for the minions) to go off running for hours since my hubby deployed and after almost a month of not focusing on fitness, I knew that I needed to start small. Both of my kiddos love biking, so I started escorting them on rides around our neighborhood. We started small with 1/2 mile rides and we've worked our way up to 3 mile rides! The best part: I still get a good workout in---running behind them and they all their energy out #winwin. Because it's so much fun, they beg me to go out every day after dinner. And honestly, I don't mind taking them!
  3. Get A Good Influence- When I don't have something or someone holding me accountable to my daily workouts its super easy to just say forget about it when I'm not self-motivated. Thanks to the FitBit Workweek Hustle Challenge that my friends invited me to, I finally got a reason to recommit to getting my steps on. The goal of the challenge is to get as many steps as you can in a workweek---Monday-Friday. For the first challenge week, I focused on just getting 10K steps a day---and I made it into 3rd place. For the second challenge, I focused on getting 15K steps and I'm actually in the lead---for now. Ha-ha! I'm sure that someone is going to have a crazy amount of steps today and lock me off the throne!
  4. Schedule a regular workout time- My schedule is crazy hectic and something is always coming up, so I've scheduled two blocks of time in my day to workout: early morning and late at night. During both blocks of time, my kids should be asleep, my house should be quiet, and I should be able to focus. If I don't wake up at the butt crack of dawn---I have flexibility and I won't have to beat myself up about it because I get another opportunity later in the day. I like to think of it as built in Grace! I'll be shaking my hips to Zumba and rotating myJillian Michaels' DVD collection to keep things fresh.
  5. Try something new- I loved trying different group fitness classes at my old gym. While is was a lot of fun, gym memberships are expensive and the class schedules would require me to take away time from either work or my minions. So I'm focusing on building up my in home gym. I plan to take my yearly gym membership and invest it in either a treadmill, elliptical, or spin bike. I'm sooo stoked!
Glad to be back on my #FitnessFriday grind! I missed you guys!