Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Cleanse

In my previous post I kind of went ballistic about gaining 10 lbs in less than 2 weeks, but as I was  "expressing" how I was feeling, I recognized a couple of the reasons why this 10-pound abundance happened.  First, I have to say that I have always been a slim woman with curves, so I have no problem admitting that I freaked out when I stepped on the scale a couple of hours ago because I have never been this weight when I was not pregnant (and I've only been pregnant once!).  So, here's a list of things that I need to undo:
  • Not working out - I didn't work out for 2 weeks (although I did do a 20 minute Zumba workout 2 times in that time, but I was not consistent, so I consider it the equivalent of not doing anything during that time
  • Flu - for the past few weeks I'd been fighting something.  I'd been sluggish, sleepy, thirsty, but not really hungry... just feeling all types of ickiness, but it did not hit me until the day before Christmas (and when I say it hit me, I mean, I had no voice and when it did come back I sounded like a dude)
  • Bread - damn you white flour!  One would think the gallons of peppermint tea I ingested over the past week would have helped!  Whenever I would eat, I ate cheesy biscuits.  Was I hungry? No.  But why did I eat them? Because I didn't want to go days without eating.  What will I do next time?  Not eat and lose weight like I usually do when I get sick! (hey, I'm not an expert so I hope no one was expecting me to be Dr. Oz here!)
Interestingly, I didn't drink any wine (but that has more to do with the fact that I was so freaking miserable, being unable to breath properly because of the flu and my asthma, the fever, and just sheer exhaustion).

So, what's the initial game plan you may or may not ask?  Well, the night before day 1, prep night, starts with a cleansing (laxative) tea, so I can sort of start anew. Day 1 - 2: I will concentrate on getting the machine working properly by cleansing with the lemon juice drink that includes cayenne pepper and maple syrup.  I used to drink this every morning as a diuretic, but I fell off, I admit it.  My meals will consist of soups, health shakes (Lean Shake from GNC mixed with water, fiber, and including strawberries and/or bananas), and more of the lemon cleanse drink. And last but not least, ice water.  According to Dr. Oz, ice water makes the body burn more calories because it has to warm the water, so I'll see if that's true.  The main objective in these beginning stages, is for me not to feel so sluggish, especially since I'm over the worst part of the flu.  After seeing how I feel after these next two days, I will report back and determine, bu then, how I would like to proceed.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I need to throw away my scale (after I lose 20lbs!)

I've never been one who was a scale watcher.  I've stayed in my lane, only flip flopping at + or - 5lbs for over 20 years.  During my pregnancy 10 years ago, I gained 30lbs and immediately dropped 20 of them right after I popped that bad boy out, while the last 10lb took about 9 months to drop.  I had to preface this post with that brief intro because I just stepped on the scale, after not doing that for at least a month, and if there was a point that read HELL NO, that's what the pointer would be directed. I normally don't shy away from just putting it all out there, but I won't even share what the scale read.

The past week I have noticed that the boobs have gotten a little bit fuller  I know my frame has started to look a bit fuller as well - especially in the core vicinity - but I thought it was a part of the monthly routine of bloating for one week.  Well, that week came and went and dammit if I'm not looking around wondering what the hell (I really want to say 'fuck') is going on.

Interestingly, before I got on the scale and got slapped in the face with the results, I'd decided that it was time for me to do a cleanse because I hadn't since the summer.  I'm just getting over being ridiculously sick (lightbulb moment: I ate a lot of bread during those 5 days I've been sick - dammit! Biscuits and tea, for days.  SHIT!!!!) That, not working out for 2 weeks, and the Chinese food the past 2 days has not helped.  OK. So I know what I have to do.  Will device a plan and post.

(BIG SIGH) Great! (insert sarcasm)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hair Growth Progress: Update

It's been a while since I've posted photos of my hair growth progress so here are a few that I have taken over the past four months.  With the help of my homemade buttercream, protective styling (aka, my Aunt Jemima hair net and head band hair style aka laziness), this is where I'm at!
One thing that I had to do in this process is stop following all of the suggestions of so-called experts out there with regard to the care of my hair in it natural state. I've been natural since way before it was cool and in the process of ingesting so much more information from various sources, I started to become overwhelmed and paranoid about what I should and shouldn't be doing.  With the exception of the few months right after my son was born, I have always had a whole lotta hair!  And I had no problem growing it either.  Since my high school years I was always cutting it to chin length for some reason, but I always knew it would grow fast because I was always cutting it. Now I want to go a different route, grow it out and just be.  If the earlier photos of my journey this year is review, from back in May when I chopped it OFF, one can see that I have definitely come a long way in the past seven months!

Pics from the earlier part of my hair journey this year (May/ June comparison):
Next up, I have to start adding pics of styles I create.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is it a Crime... be single?

Forgive me if I come across as a little annoyed, but when was it a crime to be OK with being single?  When was the rule established that a woman needed to get herself into (and maintain) a relationship by any means necessary? 

I'm not old, but I'm not young either and it has taken the entire decade of my 20s and half of my 30s to be OK with being alone.  I'm not saying I don't get the occasional pang of loneliness, and I am not about to preach about not needing a man and all of that other pseudo-women's lib stuff that is shouted from the rooftops by women who are trying to overcompensate for not wanting to admit that they are a little lonely.  This is simply my opinion on my own experiences, so here are the facts:
  • I think it would be nice to be in a "healthy" relationship
  • If I never got married (or maintained some kind of long term healthy relationship) I would be disappointed (in myself) but shit, life goes on and needs to be lived, not mourned
  • I have no freaking idea what it is like to be in a healthy relationship. I have not had much practice
  • Relationships are a lot of work, so I am actually more comfortable not having to do all of that work (although I would like to be inspired enough to do it for the man for me)
  • In my home I make the rules... I'm in charge.  It's exhausting, but easier for me. I don't have to check with anyone else when making decisions (see, easy)
  • It may very well never happen for me, and it's not the fault of men, but me.
  • I like me, but clearly not sure if a man will like me enough to stick with me through the 'trials' part of a relationship
  • I don't know what I want, but I know what I don't want

That's not everything, but it's enough to share with the world, and for me, it's my truth.  So I wonder, why is it that others feel they can impose their own ideas of where I should be in my life with regard to my relationship/ marital status, or lackthereof?

Recently went to a wedding, and with the exception of a specified color scheme, the theme was 'you're cool if you're in a relationship.'  That made it very uncomfortable for the couples who I shared a table with because every little activity was for 'couples.'  One couple even felt so bad for me that the wife suggested that her husband dance with me so I wouldn't feel left out of the festivities, lol!  Never in my life have I ever felt paranoid about being dateless - until then.  And the experience made me realize that I really need to think about rsvp'ing to weddings should I be asked to join such important festivities.

Also recently, I ended a "friendship" with a man. Knowing from the beginning that the sparks necessary for a real romance were absent, I made it clear that we could only be friends.  Didn't work, and after being asked one too many times if I were seeing another man (even though I wasn't seeing this one), I decided that we couldn't even be friends (well, I could, but he couldn't) and I ended up having to cut off all communication as well as test my pepper spray just in case dude continued to express the "special" behavior I'd witness on the phone, via email and text, in person (as far as I'm concerned, there is absolutely no reason for him to be in my neighborhood, so if I see him around here, and I happen to be behind the wheel of my car, I'm running him over first and asking questions second).  And in all the meelee, what does ole boy tell me?  "You really need to stop pushing men away, we're not getting any younger and no one wants to be alone." That pissed me off because I wasn't pushing men away, I was pushing his crazy ass away, and if he'd checked out my list above, sure not many people want to be alone (myself included), but it's damn easy not having to answer to someone (like him).

I should be given a pat on the back for no longer putting myself in situations where I try to force something to work.  I'm not wasting the time of a man who I have no passion for, and most importantly I'm not wasting mine.  I'm not trying to change some man into what I want him to be, and I am way too set in my fundamental ways to change for someone else.  For the dude who is right for me, none of this would even be an issue, but I clearly have not met that dude.  So what does all of this mean?  It means, I know myself probably better than I ever have. And if I know something isn't going to work for me, or I'm not going to work for it, why in the hell would I even bother?  And what the hell is wrong with that?  If you ask me... not a damn thing!

My Favorite Recipes: Buttercream Souffle

I have been mixing concoctions for hair and beauty products for a very long time, and with this new 'natural hair movement' it's nice to be able to share with others some of the things that have worked for me over the years.  Whenever someone would mention some sort of ailment or something or another, I was good for saying "you need to go to the health food store, or a fruit stand and buy A, B and C, mix in, boil it, stew it, whatever, and rub it on your elbow and in 2 days it'll be better" lol.  So, here we go (as I recall more things, I will add them)

This recipe is my version of hair buttercream.  I used to purchase Miss Jessie's products, but it was just too expensive to maintain, so I researched ingredients and over the years finally came up with a recipe that has worked wonders for my son's hair as well as my own.  My son has a lot of hair but a couple of years ago it looked like his fro would not grow past 3 inches.  I found this weird considering my hair was always thick and had some length.  With my son's biracial heritage, I also had a hell of a time figuring out which products would work best for his curly dome (I was so grateful that his hair is closer to my texture that his father's because I wouldn't have known what the hell to do with fine wavy hair, lol!).  So after years and many dollars spent searching for the right products, and a lot of trial and error, I made the perfect moisturizing and hair growth cream for him and eventually myself, so I present to you, Elijah's Hair Buttercream:

1 1/4 - 2 cups raw Shea butter (depending on the type of consistency you prefer)
3 tbsp Aloe Vera juice or gel
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 tbsp Castor oil (some folks prefer vegetable glycerin, but that stuff dries out my hair!)
1/6 cup or 3 tbsp sweet almond oil
1/6 cup or 3 tbsp jojoba oil
1/6 cup or 3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp melted cocoa butter
20 drops tea tree essential oil
20 drops rosemary essential oil
2 tbsp honey

Mix ingredients with an electronic hand mixer and there you go.  This recipe makes about 20 oz. of buttercream which I usually split and store in old hair conditioner containers.  The recipe was originally used simply as a hair moisturizer, but I soon began applying it lightly to my son's scalp when he decided he wanted to grow his hair out, and within a month he had an additional 2 inches of hair growth.  I also used this buttercream on my scalp after I big chopped in the beginning of May and have since regrown the 5 inches of hair that I cut off 6 months ago.

With the winter here, and the super dry air, I am trying to think of ways to improve on the recipe.  When I do I'll keep the cyber world out there posted.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Taking Flight

Life is pretty decent.  Hey, I'm actually alive, which is one of the bigger blessings of all, but I have to take a moment to kick myself for not living to my highest potential.  Interestingly, I got on my son's case for not doing that very thing, and within 2 weeks he has already upped his game, so imagine how painful my own little epiphany was when I realized that I, in fact, have not been doing the very thing that I preach as a parent.

I am stuck in a rut career-wise.  There is some truth to the fact that, in my attempt to change careers, it has been very difficult.  Some employers simply don't understand that I person really can want change and I personally got tired of trying to get them to understand that what I had been doing all of these years simply is not working for me.  And then I see people near and far from me who have gone out there are at least attempted at their dreams, and although I still dream in my mind, I don't think I have put much of anything into practice and have existed in the world of "getting by."  Well, "getting by" ain't cutting it anymore.  For the first time in my life I feel good about myself as a person - except for this one thing, so this is my lecture to myself to get up off my ass and do the damn thing because right about now I feel like I am all talk when it comes to the goals I set for myself so many years ago.

I know that there are challenges in my situation - a single parent, living check to check, no real physical support as well as this condition that I have to take care of everything (because I've been conditioned to ever since I was a kid).  Then there are the health problems - which I think I am finally managing quite well.  But this work situation is not cutting it for me at all.  I am not fulfilled in any way shape or form, and while it would be easy to point the finger at those who sign my time sheet every week, it is all my fault.  Actually, let me use a different word or words: this is all my doing (or lack of doing).  Somewhere along the line I must have started to believe subconsciously that I am only worth just "getting by" and that simply is not true.  I have so many talents that I do not exploit.  Granted, I think I do have talents that serve me well in my current situation, I feel as though I am past the point in my growth as a human being where those talents are impressive anymore, specifically to myself.  I have high expectations or myself, but this is not the case right now.  Right now I simply have expectations that I am not actively meeting.  I try, but I can try harder.  I can try smarter.  I can be more innovative, because for the most part, what's happening now is not working anymore.  This way of life for me has expired and it basically time to buy some new milk.

This plateau that I find myself on was supposed to be a layover in a bigger journey, and yet I find myself still hanging at the terminal, sleeping in an uncomfortable seat with my bags still packed in a bag on wheels on a path that is supposed to lead somewhere, but I'm simply not moving.  Well, it's time to move, so I'm oiling my joints and the creaky wheels of my bags because I'm ready to take flight.  Question is, which terminal shall I head to?  Stay tuned.