Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Recipe: Shea Butter Hair Oil

The winter chill has not been friendly to my coily hair, which made me realize that it is way past time to change my styling methods for the season (for me that means I have to style in the first place). So I have recently dusted off the rollers, pulled out the hooded dryer and heat cap, I'm even eyeballing a couple of combs (I shiver at that) and plan to moisturize every day (I know, I know, I'm horrible), take all my supplements and eat right, and exercise every day.

With that, I threw together this batch of Shea Butter Hair oil that is literally for my hair and not my scalp. I have something else for that.

I literally threw together this recipe, keeping in mind some of the things I feel my hair needs right now since I'd abandoned using heavy ingredients like Shea butter on my hair during the summer. I'd also minimized my usage of castor oil, except for my edges and sometimes my ends, as well because it was just too much in that hot and humid weather. But now my hair (and skin) is screaming for some Shea butter and I am ready to oblige because coconut oil is not doing it alone anymore. I gathered the following ingredients (I eyeballed the measurements):

  • Shea Butter (2 parts)
  • EV Coconut oil (1-2 parts)
  • Avocado Oil (1/2 part)
  • Grapeseed oil (1/2 part)
  • EV Olive Oil (1/2 part)
  • Black Castor Oil (2 tbsp)
  • Rosehip Seed Oil (10 drops)
  • Rosemary Essential Oil (20 drops)
  • Geranium Essential Oil (7 drops)

I'm going to be taking a more active role in my physical maintenance and will chronicle it as I set out to evolve and pull myself out of this rut that I find myself entrenched in. All this equates to is schedule more me time. Let's see how that goes!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hair Length Check

I was looking through my blog, trying to decide what I need to update when I saw the last hair length check that I did back in April. Since I don't blow my hair out but a few times a year, I checked my phone and see that I did a light blow out on September 4, so here is a quick recap of my hair journey thus far:

September 2012 (press with flat iron)

March 2013 (weak blowout)

August & September 2013 (weak blow outs)

Note that these "blowouts" are very light and without following up with a flat iron (maybe I'll do that for New Year's, ?), but over the past 2 years I've gained about 8-9 inches. I've done few trims (I think I'm due for one now), and I had a little bit of an issue with breakage earlier this year when all I was wearing was top knots... remember Adventure in "Where the Hell Are My Edges Going? - Land? And how I got on that STAT!:

(the last photos are from March 31, 2013)

...but things are getting back on track. And lookie here, guess who actually styled her hair instead of the usual Wash n Go, tension blow dry, wrap it up, tuck it away and be done with it method! ME! 

I finger detangled and styled my 'do with flexi rods! I'll update with a recent pic soon.

This winter weather is not being kind to my hair, and honestly, neither was I, so I pledge to moisturize and pamper my body and mind on a daily basis because I'm ready for more! Right now, though, I think I'm going to do a roller set. (I'm going to regret this decision in about an hour, I swear!)

Oldie But Goodie

I had to dig deep to find something to help me in my quest to lost the 15 pounds that I gained since the summer - Yes, less than 6 months ago.

At first I thought my weight gain was a result of my fibroids. Now while they have contributed to the extra weight I have been feeling on my body, it wasn't that, completely. Then I thought, well, I have been snacking more, BUT I also ran several miles a week (I even ran a 3K at the end of August, non-stop, 37 minutes and 14 seconds thank you very much!), so it couldn't have been just that. Then I thought about the wine... and while that doesn't help, I don't usually drink every day (there has been a week or two when I've had a glass a wine every night, but that's unusual). And then when I thought about the tons of stress I was feeling as I still hadn't secured temp or permanent work, I thought, "DING DING DING!" That's it.

My cortisol levels became so out of whack (I'm going to speak on this in another post), and to add the "depression" cherry on top, it's no wonder I gained weight, but so much weight in so little time has got me screaming "Hell Naw!"

I got a temp gig that is alleviating some of the pressure, 8th grade for my son has been hell (for the both of us) and I wonder at age 38 if I'll ever get it together, so I had to stew in my 15 pounds of sewage some more before I really did something about it, so after I mostly recovered from some virus that had me hacking and sounding like a dude for almost a month, I got my ass in motion.

I dust off the Wii and reacquainted myself with ZUMBA! Every day, and it has been great to my body. (Usually I run, but I haven't been of my usual temperament to be running in the cold like I used to - I don't know what happened, but instead of sitting around wondering, I figured out what I could do indoors, and like I said before, I got my ass in motion).

As I sifted through my old workout videos I can across Strength and Grace, and The Fat Eliminator workouts that I relied on after I gave birth to my son...almost 13 years ago (February), and I thought, "well, that helped me to lose the baby weights, and I look like I just had a baby - even though I didn't - so why not?" And the universe was on my side because as I sifted through my addition otherwise known as Amazon.com, I found both workouts on 1 DVD, and on sale for $9.99, and yes I did order it. And yes I did just finish the Fat Eliminator workout AND the 15 Minute extra strength training portion with hand weights. And yes I do want to cry, especially since I did a 30 minute butt and leg workout by Hang Tight With MarC just last night and my ass was already hurting, BUT I feel good. Sore as hell, but I feel good.

And why am I sweating like Rocky in the 10th round? Eww, but it is what it is. Operation Bikini and Get a New Tattoo in 2014 is in effect!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The "D" Word

I have to go on a diet.

There, I said it. It needed to be said, and now it has to be done.

Even though I just ran my first 5K race, and am ready for another, I have gained weight. Physical and emotional weight.

Side Note: I am sipping on a green smoothie as I type this entry. I'll provide the recipe and source at the end.

I gained 10 pounds. In the past month. All of this is a result of stress.

Worrying about finding a job, earning money, my son growing out of all of this clothes therefore intensifying my need for a job to earn more money to purchase more clothes and shoes for him...I have been on emotional overload.

It hasn't all been bad. I finally shot (most of) my short film, and while very exhausting, it was a great experience. I did run the aforementioned 5K race - my first one, in 37 minutes and 14 seconds. My hair grew a lot. I got new funky glasses. I'm alive. But on the flip side, I stressed myself out so badly that my cycle came TWICE this month! Hear that? I had it. It ended. A week passed. AND I GOT IT AGAIN! For someone who has fibroid, is close to 40, and have no romantic prospects at this time to start and build a relationship that would result in having a baby as opposed to getting knocked. I've been snacking at night - definitely not a good look - I'm craving physical stimulation other than running, and I am worried about NYC's Mayoral race. I slouch (I can't believe I am constantly slouching!), and I have a gut (WTF - and it's not even from alcohol - at least I would be like "ok, I get it" but now I feel like I should have drank if I was going to end up with a gut!). 10 pounds!

My mind is cluttered, and with no sense of direction. I would literally pay the scarecrow to point in several directions so I can find my way out of this. AND my 20th high school reunion is in a month and 2 weeks. If I'm not careful, my metabolism can spiral down to non-existent and I could end up gaining 20 pounds in one month. I know that is a bit of an over-exaggeration, but it's how I'm feeling these days.

So I am dieting. I am doing that thing that women do in movies when they Rocky it out, but this isn't actually about the reunion, it's about how I avoid looking in the mirror too long to avoid what I am turning into. And I make sure to keep my eyes up. I got into one of my favorite dresses last week, and I looked great, and I didn't have to suck my gut in the whole time I wore it, but I can't say the same for some of my pants. Or other dresses. Or shirts. And as a result I am going to health smoothie route to help clear my mind and my colon while I figure out my next move. God help me, and wish me luck!

Smoothie Recipe from SmoothieWeb.com:

Healthy Green Coconut Smoothie

It literally looks like this!
  • 2 bananas, frozen
  • 2 HUGE handfuls spinach (you won’t even taste it)
  • 1 cup milk (almond or soy is even better than moo juice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Add all ingredients into a blender. Blend until mixed. Serve in tall glasses and enjoy.
Recipe submitted by Sierra, Rolla, MO

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A change is gonna come

My hair has changed. A lot.

It had grown in length, seems to have gotten thicker (I didn't even think that was possible), and now it seems that some of the products I use don't necessarily work anymore. This reminds me of the time when I realized that Cantu Shea Butter's Leave-In Conditioner didn't work for me anymore (honorable mention to Suave's Coconut Shampoo and Conditioner - that one really hurt).

A little over a month ago I was getting a bit annoyed with my hair. Sure it had grown a lot, but it also started tangling even more than before. Before it decided to change up on me, I used to be able to finger detangle once a week - when I washed it. Now I had to be detangling every other day and that totally didn't jive with my 'lazy except one day a week' hair routine. 

Then I started to train for my first 5k race (which I coincidentally ran today at a clocked time of 37 minutes - yay for me!). Every morning I would run and then have to deal with my hair - and I am not one of these women who isn't going to work out because of some damn hair - uhhhhh, no. So I put my hair in mini twists for 2 weeks, and after I couldn't take the frizzing after washing it, I did the twists over adding a little bit of kanekalon hair to hold it right. That lasted 4 weeks for a total of 6 weeks of my hair being in two-strand twists. And then two days before the race I took them out (and still ran the race - booyah! LOL!)

The results of this hair break are great! I gained some length (I would say less than an inch), as I mentioned before it looks thicker, and I needed the break even from weekly washing to deal with some things (including an incredible amount of stress, shooting a video project, training, and job hunting). If I didn't take this hair break, I feel like it would have broken off or I would have inadvertently done something damaging. So I took my twists with the kanekalon hair out on Thursday (you ever wonder why you're doing something while in the middle of doing it?), and had to handle it.

It was not fun. At all.

I started off my sectioning my hair in to big braids - I think about 8 - thinking this would help. Sigh. I have a lotta hair ya'll.  I applied a mixture of conditioner and my pre-poo oil mixture to help me out. Left that on for over an hour and then proceeded to wash my scalp first with my homemade black soap shampoo (I used this because the black soap cleans makeup off my skin so well I figured it was the best product to use to clarify my scalp (not so much for my hair). I then used Shea Moisture's Raw Shea Shampoo (and ended up taking out the braids because it just wasn't happening in the sections. I was still removing the kanekalon from my hair and I had to do it with all of my hair out). I then spent damn near an hour using one of the Herbal Essence conditioners to finger detangle and braid my hair into sections again, followed by a black tea rinse before rinsing with cool water.

Now here is where I made a change in my regimen. Instead of using my Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, after finger detangling (again), I squeezed excess water from my hair with an old t-shirt, and applied Extra Virgin Coconut oil - I hadn't figured out the best way to use this for my hair, but after doing some research I decided to try again because the biggest problem I seemed to be having with my hair before I put it in twists was retaining moisture, and I know that the answer lie in my hair washing routine. I braided my hair into six braids, wrapped the t-shirt around my hair, and went to sleep!

The next morning I ran over three miles and thought about what the heck I was going to do with my still-not-dry hair. I decided to do a soft blow out, so I did this section by section, applying more coconut oil, Tresseme's heat protectant, and using the wide tooth comb attachment on the warm and then cool settings, and ended up looking like Chaka Khan in her Rufus days (yes!). I followed that up with some chunky twists, let it hang for a bit, pulled it into a bun, put on my scarf and kept it moving!

Here's the thing: I finally figured out how coconut oil works for me and that I have to pull back (or all together stop) with the heavier products on my hair. The EVCO totally conditioned and moisturized my hair. It was so agreeable in the last detangling session, and leaving it on my hair to mostly air dry allowed my hair to really absorb it. I also use EVCO for my skin and cooking.

As for my heavy butters and oils, they have their place. When the weather gets colder I can use the butters on my body, and as for my castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil, I will use it on my scalp, but it's a no go for my hair. I will also clean my scalp weekly with apple cider vinegar, but wash my hair every other week (well see how long that lasts!).

I also realized something: while my hair on my head is very thick, I have learned that my actual hair strands are very fine (aka, very sensitive). Seeing how I am able to retain length as a result of the changes to my regimen over the year makes me understand why Shea Moisture's Yucca and Baobab products for fine hair works so well for me. The one thing I will say about all of this is there is always something new to learn and I have to not get complacent in paying attention to my body and hair and the adjustments that I will always have to make along the way to stay healthy (and happy).

Note: I know, I didn't take photos. I just wanted to get outta my hair at the time, but I still should have taken a pic of two. I will in two weeks.