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February 26, 2017

Tell you all about it....

.....when I see you again.

See I'm back to being corny.  So I mentioned last post that it's been a full year being natural with lots of protective styling I've gone from tiny fro to larger fro and loving it.  I spent the last week natural and tried my first for real wash and go that didn't to hell immediately.  There was some shrinkage of course but not as much as normal thanks to Jane Carter's products, which I did have to order from the site directly and Amazon.  Now I could have gotten it all from the site but I assumed my local Sally's had some products I wanted and they were running a 2 for 1 deal so yeah gotta take advantage of that but locally they have no love for me and my hair texture.  I'm better off at Kroger of all places.  Anyway I got all of my stuff by Wednesday but really just slept in a baggy all the days that I was teaching and then Friday afternoon came home and  planned to wash my hair again because it was almost time for a new twist install PLUS I had plans and wanted my hair to be shiny since it was going to be out.  I didn't actually get to my hair unitl Saturday morning.  Wednesday was the 13th Anniversary of when I became a Delta.  We met up yesterday to hang out and catch up.  Love my sands, I'm down front if you are looking for me.

February 19, 2017

The Last Time I Checked I only Had One Butt

I legit don't have a witty or appropriate title so I went with a line from the last movie I saw: Lego Batman.  If you haven't seen it you definitely should it's quite funny and actually much less kid oriented than you'd think considering it's made of Legos lol.  Okay so got lots of updates and I will try to get to them as I can.  I haven't posted since December and yeah I was borderline depressed post election and ensuing foolishness that was on the horizon.  I took a quick trip to London which was amazing.  So far the hotel I was staying at is home to the best pizza I've ever ingested and I was sad to leave it an ocean away from me.  They also had a Belgian chocolate pudding (chocolat pot) that was oh my goodness.  And breakfast was quite tasty as well.  Of course I took photos cause that's what we do now.  The pudding is covered in homemade whip cream, berries and with chocolate straws but not straws cause there was no way to even begin to suck anything through them without looking entirely stupid.

Ok enough with the food porn because while I was there I walked around a bit and actually got in a legit workout which was good too.  Cute couple to chat with on the way out.  Not as much on the way back but I did have the row to myself which was nice.  Since I've been back it's been one thing after another derailing both my time and my psyche some days but I realized a few days ago that it's been a whole year since I chopped off my relaxed hair and embraced natural life for good.  Well with the plan of it being for good because yeah I wasn't sure how my hair would grow or what it would be like and all that.  It's been in twists cause I'm super lazy and can admit to being a little self conscious about the tiny fro because shrinkage is a bitch. 

So I am going to share some photos of this whole last few months.  The first up is a photo of me in London with the fresh twists.  Then there's a collage of pictures.  First up is immediately after take down of the twists--I was feeling very much like a member of the Lion King.  Second is the morning after where I just rolled my untwisted hair around soft foam rollers.  Third is post detangling and the final one is just showing a little bit of the stretch.  Cause yeah shrinkage.

Now finally in my random updates, at least concerning my hair, is a year comparison.  I'm not sure if I look grayer in the second photo because I've developed more gray hair or because there's just more of it but here we go.  . 

So yeah my hair grows and it gets thick.  Moving through the detangling and take down process this time wore me out.  That's a good thing of course cause that means hair is growing but damn not sure what I'm going to do.  I feel like I lost less hair this time but there is still more work to do there.  Like taking down my edges faster and getting them redone cause they take more stress than the rest of my hair.  Staying more focused on moisturizing all of my hair.  I took them down this weekend because it felt like my roots were just screaming for moisture even though I had been tending to them as much as possible.  The length of my hair though was soft and pretty well moisturized.  Winning.  And star members this installation were Jane Carter Solutions products in particular Slumber Party.  I just bought a ton of new products from her and will be updating you as I use them.  Wash day worked better with DevaCurl products as my hair felt clean with no tangles.  The Kinky Curly products were where the tangles came in and came with a vengeance.  I took my time after my deep condition to move through most of the tangles with my fingers but then coated my hair with my products and did something I haven't done in a long while: 3 comb detangle.  Oh my gosh it still works lol.  And here we are with the hair. 

In terms of working out it's been abysmal for months now.  My visit to the doctor to make sure my girly bits were still where they should be lol reminded me that while I'm still not back at the formerly scary weight that I need to get it back together and actually utilize the service I'm paying for.  GYM GYM GYM.  I gotta do better.

How is life with you?

December 27, 2016

2016 the year almost no one EVER will say damn that was a really good year

Title is crazy long and horribly accurate for a lot of folks.  This year has felt like one punch to the gut after another and it is literally not taking a break in the last four days of the year.  I know that lots of non celebrities are dying as well as the famous folks but really this year has taken everyone from treasured musicians (Prince and David Bowie among others) to actors and actresses pivotal to my early years on earth to comics and peace makers and good Lord it just seems never ending.

It started off well enough but both my energy and patience with the universe died about halfway through.  Then the insipidness of the election finally gave way to what in the same hell did you idiots just do.  My hair is still growing which is nice which is what I'm going to spend the last part of this post on but really this year.  I hope it slips from my memory like the years you date a dumbass and then fail to remember why.  That would be awesome.  Please please please I beg of someone please.

So on to the hair.  For those that don't remember, and because I haven't done a bang up job of keeping you up to date this year, I cut off my relaxed ends in February.  It was by no means planned but the relaxed ends and the natural hair kept fighting in the twists so when I took them down and detangled things it was just at a point where there was enough hair to say I wasn't bald but it was a short fro.  Tiny bit of shrinkage but not too much as there was not a whole lot of hair.  That isn't the case now but let's start with where we were 10 months ago.  Ok looking at that there was more than a little bit of shrinkage cause I remember picking out this fro lol before taking the photo the morning after I got the trim.

And here's what the various few weeks have looked like.  I took my hair down a few days before my birthday because I planned on getting my nails done, a massage and a trim on my birthday.  And I decided that since classes were over and I had no major plans I would leave my hair down for a few weeks. 

This is me immediately after taking down the twists.  Way more hair that I thought would be there given my lackluster hair care over the preceding few months.  But growth is growth so yeah.

I was super worried about the trim because I told her to go after whatever split ends were left after my wash and detangle session but not a lot was lost and I had a realization that I will share later among others.

This is me with my new doctoral tam.  We wear these during graduation ceremonies but my old tam was not fitting my puffy new hair.  For some reason my brain was slow on the uptick that when I bought the thing my hair was always bone straight.  And I didn't really need to wear it much until I was transitioning to natural and that was a snug fit.  Now with either twists or tight coils in play I needed a bigger one.  I just ordered the largest size they had because I have no idea what my hair will end up doing over the next few years.

This is me after this week's wash and during a deep conditioning session (prior to cap being put on of course) which was brought on by another realization and let me just say that even with a slight tug on the curls that relaxed a little bit with the deep conditioner my hair is evil when it comes to shrinkage and makes me think of this shirt.  You can't see it in this photo but there's another realization on tap because of this and the last few weeks.

And finally this is me yesterday after waking up from my overnight baggying to keep the hair moisturized but not wet.  A little tug to pull up the top but I left the sides alone because they spring back like a gymnast doing a tumbling pass.

So what have I learned about my hair:

  1. It grows no matter what I do but I haven't been doing enough to make it grow better.  As I was deep conditioning my hair I realized that was probably the first time I had in at least three or four months.  Yes it's tucked away in the twists but it still needs some nourishment.  I need to wash and deep condition it better while protective styling.  And I'm great about daily or every other day moisturizing for a while with my twists but that has fallen off as well so I need to get back on board with that.  
  2. Two that what I was fretting about in terms of split ends is really just how my hair feels when there aren't 50 million chemicals on them smoothing everything out.  As I was letting the stylist work on my hair I was on the verge of saying no more than an inch but seriously outside of a few spots to even it up a bit (back section of my hair on each side was freakishly longer than the rest) she had very little to trim.  So hey it's healthy despite of me but I need to keep working on better overall care.
  3. There are at least two, potentially three, different curl patterns on my head.  From the front to my crown, probably a bit further down, my hair is super tightly curled.  When I stretch out the hair at my side burns for example it reaches down to where my chin meets my neck.  It snaps back up immediately though like why did you even bother lol.  The hair at the nape of my neck in the back is much looser and feels on the verge of going straight if I brushed it hard.  Can't tell why as there's no really good reason for it.  And then there are random bone straight pieces of hair.  Same length of the rest of my hair and not patches just stray strand here and there.  I thought it was a loose piece of braiding hair that hadn't come out at first but the stylist pulled on it and was like you can feel that right.  After I said yes we just both went wow and moved on.
  4. I can wear it down and it not be a big old hot mess but it's not that the length I want it to be when it's this tightly coiled for me to rock it like kiss my afro.  I will need to do some more studying on how to stretch it and what my curls want.

So that's my year and hair revelation in 10 months natural.  What's going on with you?  Belated Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Blessed Kwanzaa and Diwali, and Happy New Year.  2017 needs to be better.

July 27, 2016

Just So Fresh and Clean

Hey everyone,

The summer is mostly over for me in terms of workload and y'all just don't know how happy I am about that.  I've been able to get a few more workouts in over the last few weeks now that I'm not teaching for six and half hours every day.  I just got back from a much needed vacation and decided that I had to get over the time since my last install and just take down my twists.  I'm sure that as my hair grows out more the ability to leave it up longer will disappear and I will have to start tinkering with my hair more than I do now.  I took as many photos as I could because I wanted to have time points of each phase.  I knew there would be much shrinkage going on after I washed but was happy that my hair looked nice and full when I took the twists out.  I also forgot that my hair is basically stretched at that point so that's what full blown out length would be but anyhoo this is me last night after I finally was done removing all the wonderful gray locks.

I had planned on washing it but between driving back from the airport and a later than planned start on the take down I just went to bed after I took my hair down.  I was expecting a little more compact stuff going on to be honest so I was happy with the post scarf take down look this morning.  Ignore the damn it's bright in here look cause my room is woosah bright in the morning.

I decided to skip the prepoo and and just use two new products I got during my last troll through Ulta's discount aisle.  DevaCurl No Poo and One Conditioner.

I have no idea why I need the towel and didn't use it this morning because I paid attention to another new product I bought which said to detangle my hair while I still had conditioner in it and then wash it out and move on to my leave in and add this product to the mix.

I used another Kinky Curly product as my leave in as well.

This is what I looked like post detangle and then about eight hours later.

Yes ma'am there was shrinkage and the part kind of went by the way side but when I tell you my hair still feels soft and most of the curls that defined this morning are still popping.  I'm not sure if you remember me mentioning a few posts back that the shampoo and I were not loving each other.  I wasn't sure if the No Poo would do much but my hair felt great this morning just from cleansing it.  Yes there was the shed hair that came out as I moved through it but nothing major in the way of tangles like has happened with my Moroccan Oil the last few washes.  That alone got DevaCurl some love.  I had to remember that it wasn't going to do give me massive lather but it was worth the risk.  Then I moved on to my DevaCurl One Conditioner and my hair loved it as well.  I can't skip the Mizani  MoistureFuse Moisturizing conditioner because I LOVE IT but really I could have stopped after I picked my hair out with a wide tooth comb using just the DevaCurl.  So yeah great easy wash day.  Enjoying the moment but still gotta do the leave in and for once I didn't spray it half to death I just went with wet hair, again at the encouragement of Kinky Curly and just added in the leave in/detangler.  I used my wide tooth comb again to get most of the stray shed hair and once I felt like it was in a good place I added in the Custard.  I probably used too much in some spots but nothing felt hard or weird and the curls were really just too cute.  And to top it off my hair smells amazing.  Not too intense but clearly fresh and clean and looking healthy.  I might switch it up next time but I am just intrigued on the lack of oil and how my hair has managed to feel and stay moisturized all day.  Right now I'm focused on what works and if I can get wash day down to a simple maybe 30 minute experience it's going to be on and popping.

The Wash Day Experience

June 6, 2016

Apparently I can't count

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So I was coming over to check something on the blog and realized the weeks post relaxer looked super wrong since I last got my hair relaxed June 15th of last year.  Yeah I was seven weeks off.  After an unintentional transitioning point and some random breakage prior to my big chop, it doesn't really seem like it's been that fast.  I'm glad my hair is growing, fuller and healthier than it has been in years.  It's not as long as it used to be when I was letting chemicals release the curl but that will come.  The twists are helping my lazy to be sure but I haven't totally done my part to keep it well protected and moisturized.  Since I got them reinstalled I have been trying to hit my scalp and length of my hair with either jane carter solutions re*store or Infusium 23 Olive oil leave in conditioner.  I've been doing it daily but I think it may be too much.  I'll see after this week how the buildup feels and if it's too much I'll cut back and wash my hair with the bottles again.

Honestly I'm super exhausted right now.  If I hadn't been in the mood to braid and roller set the twists I'd probably be drooling on the pillow right now.  I had a busy weekend with my sorority sisters at a conference and it was good be with them.  However, I'm so tired now it's out of control.  At least one of my classes ends on Thursday so I have a tiny bit of reprieve to sleep in and watch the start of Wimbledon in peace.  I didn't take any photos of my hair immediately after it was done but they are smaller than they have been without feeling super heavy.  Here's a photo from the weekend.  Not super close up but you can see my smiling and somewhat dressed up lol.

I need to go eat dinner but revisit that super lazy.  Hope you had a good week.

The Wash Day Experience

May 31, 2016

So About that Trim

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I took my hair down on Friday and went to sleep.  Saturday I let it deep condition with a plan to wash it that evening and yeah my lazy took over.  Sunday I finally washed it and something that has been bugging me about my hair came to light.  When I rinse out the oils and conditioner my hair is happy as hell.  Some shedding happens of course but nothing crucial.  The first wash through my hair is good and acts like yes queen hook it up.  That second wash though.  It might as well be the flying monkeys from The Wiz cause all I end up hearing in my head is Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News.  Tangles just pop up randomly but usually towards the front and are not even pretending like they are going anywhere.  But I'm in this new enlightened place so I didn't panic.

I loaded in my product and spent forty five minutes finger detangling my hair and I got out most of the minor tangles no problem.  And then the front territory remained.  Four major tangles took another thirty minutes and the addition of more product and a comb.  There were minor tears but once I was done I was satisfied with the basic end result even though it wasn't even or quite what I was shooting for when I started.  This was my out about the town look for the day lol.  Had a research meeting, got my nails and toes done, ran to the store and then came home.  Promptly went to sleep and yeah totally flat head in the morning.

So I woke up and washed out as much of the product as I could and just did a simple cowash.  Hair was much happier and then I added in minimal leave ins, sealed with some grape seed oil and then added some Eco styling gel to try to get some curls defined up front and maintain the ones in the back.  I left with wet hair cause I wasn't in a drying frame of mind and my wet hair stays stretched better for a while but yes shrinkage is a evil evil thing.

Some of the ends weren't feeling fantastic which is why I went on in for the trim.  No need to have length if it's not healthy right?  I told her what I was looking for, not a shape just nix the split ends where they were and in a few months I might ask for it to be shaped.  Right now though let me be delusional about how much it's grown.  She laughed at me and said no it's growing.  It's not doing the weird split mullet of stress that the relaxed hair was creating in the back.  And it's much thicker than it was.  So yeah there was more length to lose than my delusional self wanted to believe but there's still a fair bit of hair there and looks dramatically different than my first cut it all off day.

I can't say it's massively longer but it's so much fuller than it was.  It's also a bit grayer than it was but I'm okay with that.  The sides look to have maintained the most length along with a bit of length up top.  The back is so much thicker and fuller that it's weird to feel honestly but I'm so happy.  Now I have to do a better job of tending to the length and ends of my hair as they are tucked away.  Yay for progress even if it wasn't what I was initially hoping for.  Anyhoo.  How was your wash day?

The Wash Day Experience

May 27, 2016

Almost Four Months Natural

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Around the time I get my hair twisted again I will be a full four months natural.  I thought about letting it go au natural for a few weeks before getting them put back in but I still deep in classes, got a conference to attend, and really am just not wanting to deal with it for a while as it continues to grow, gray and thicken up as it so desires.  After I took them down a few months ago it seemed like it was growing slowly and felt all around thicker than it had after I chopped it all off in February.  Right now it's feeling like I have a tiny lion's mane on my head and while yes it's growing it felt more like it was just so much thicker and fuller all over.  The very back when stretched is close to my collarbone or on my neck.  I haven't played with the front too much how about yeah hair at this point.  I'm fighting a cold so I don't plan on washing it tonight but since all the hair is free here are some comparison shots from February 2 to know.  I may keep an appointment to get my ends trimmed on Tuesday or I may skip it until August installation and yet another conference.

The Wash Day Experience

April 21, 2016

Thank You Mr. Nelson

Today I was sitting in my office when an unexpected message came in from a student.  Someone at Paisley Park was dead.  For those of you that don't know Paisley Park is the studio that was home to Prince Rogers Nelson, or Prince for the rest of us.  They weren't sure who it was at that point but within 10 minutes of getting the first message it was confirmed that Prince had died very suddenly.  Short of a bit of a flu a few weeks ago no one really had a reason to suspect the news today wouldn't be another hoax.  They have killed him a few times.  When he changed his name to the symbol, when he left or was squabbling with Warner Brothers and a few other times.  After it was confirmed I can't say what I was feeling to be honest.  Granted I wasn't in a position that I could break down even if I wanted to so I went on with the rest of my longer than normal day and upon leaving the office I just wanted to hear some Prince music and lucked into a few songs before they started the memories of fans across the airwaves.  I stopped at a few stores, couldn't find what I wanted, came home and had dinner.  Touched base with my mother who called me to tell me the news because she knows I love me some Prince but it wasn't a good time to have that conversation. I have to say that I am well loved.  I heard from at least 20 people today who are worried about me because when I say I love me some Prince y'all really don't understand.

I grew up during the Prince versus Michael Jackson drama of the early 80s.  MJ in all his seeming normality and moon walking was loved in my house and acceptable.  When I first saw Purple Rain I had to leave the room quite a bit because my mother thought it was inappropriate for me to see certain things.  It was several years before I saw the whole thing uninterrupted and really couldn't tell you what the big issue was but I knew then the music was amazing.  I saw MJ in concert first and it was a great show.  Great lights, good music, fantastic guitarist with the giant mohawk that lit up during certain songs.  It was a seminal moment for me in terms of understanding what it took to put on a concert.  However, it wasn't THE moment.  That moment happened much later, several concerts later, when I finally saw Prince in concert in the late 90s.  At that point he had released an album every year since 1978 so while I knew he couldn't hit EVERY song I loved it was distinctly possible that I was going to leave the show on a very palpable high.  And nothing I daydreamed about before I got there ever matched what really happened.  Three and a half hours of him singing just his music, no covers, no filler, just him and a few costume changes cause the man played until he sweat through an outfit, and it was completely amazing.  It wasn't until I was home in my bed hours later that I realized he had missed at least 15 of "my songs" lol and I totally didn't care because the set list was everything.  When I went home to see my family that summer Prince followed, ok not literally but he was there in Texas and I went with my stepsister and told her to wear comfortable shoes cause she'd be up and dancing the whole night.  And we were and left hoarse from singing out loud at full volume for another three and a half hours.  It was at this show that I realized something too.  Prince was like Cher or Elton John or Bruce Springsteen.  His fans were from every walk of life and every racial group and for four hours on a given night we were a huge musically linked family.

To be clear I was listening to Prince like a fiend as soon as I could buy my own stuff so while the concerts showed me I had a place that was home his music had already let me know there was someone somewhere that kind of knew what I was thinking and feeling.  I named one of my final papers in undergrad after a Prince song, Elephants and Flowers, and fully explored who I was and how I had settled into my identity as a young black woman who was open to a number of things that others like myself were not and how while I wasn't ready to share that with the world I knew that when I did there would members of the Prince collective out there to embrace me.  And there always were at concerts, message boards, random meetups, music swaps what have you.  They were my people and will continue to be in the future I know.  They appreciated my ability to write in Prince speak (replacing random words with numbers and symbols).  They inspired my first AOL screen names which were of course in Prince speak.  They encouraged and loved on my second tattoo--the eponymous symbol we were graced with for a while that created it's own storm The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.  They returned bootleg music to Prince with me and we were rewarded with random trinkets.  They debated why this version of that song was better and they were just all in all everything wonderful about what music can bring together.

I jokingly say that I stalked Prince during the One Nite Alone tour.  I saw him four times (Chicago, Louisville--met and talked to him there, Indianapolis and D.C.) on the main tour and then someone mentioned that he was having the Celebration at his house again.  Celebration being a huge party in honor of his birthday that was a week of concerts, workshops and meeting of fans from across the globe.  I met so many people there and had a once in a lifetime experience.  From watching the cute old ladies from England get excited about being able to go grab Prince cds that were out of stock in the UK, to the super cute Italian lesbians, the bromance who came at the behest of one's girlfriend who knew he loved Prince but had no desire to sit through the week of shows, a friend from a message board who upon meeting felt like an old friend who had never not been in my life and a former mentor who woke up earlier than she had to in order to hang out a bit between my music and sleep deprived haze.  If I had never seen Prince in concert again it would have been worth it for that moment to have happened.  I did see him again in Indianapolis after I crossed with a few line sisters and again it was worth being hoarse at the end of the night to be on the floor and singing at the top of my lungs.

I'm sure if I process too long I'll start crying which may be why I'm writing this as I let my Zune work through 800 plus Prince songs.  I used to think I'd crack up into tiny pieces if this day came and in a weird way I'm kind of happy.  I lived in an era where there was a being named Prince Rogers Nelson and he was amazing.  From the 1970s blow out to the 80s jheri curl the 90s various forms of fierceness to his most recent afro, his hair always looked better than mine.  Not sure if y'all remember this suite but he was rocking a white and red polka dotted shirt and fly red suit on the cover of Rolling Stone one year that my behind wanted so bad I couldn't explain.  We were the same height but he was decidedly smaller than me.  I might have to recreate that look one day after all this gym love finally finishes paying off.  Fuck that I'll get it anyway and wear it cause Prince would have lol so I can too.

I thought about something else earlier.  After I finished undergrad and was living with my father while I worked on my master's degree MTV was running a show called FANatic during which super fans of stars and artists were connected with their idols via the show.  My brother told me to submit something cause yeah giant Prince fan so I did.  And like a month later I got a call from a casting director with MTV who had some follow up questions for me but thought I might be a good fit for the show.  And then a week or so later there was either a call or an email to let me know the show wa being dropped.  Not because Prince wasn't interested but because he didn't like the idea of his fans being called fanatics.  That was around the time that the Prince Fam label was born and took over.  We were as much his family as he was ours.  So I'm really sad right now to lose my family and at any point in the future I may not be as composed as I am right now.  But all I can say right now is thank you to the man, the energy and the forces in the universe that made it possible for me to have experienced Prince for 37 of my 40 years on this orb we call earth.  I'll be around if y'all need me.  I'll probably be working on my last tattoo which I can see in my brain had been trying to figure out how to incorporate little elements of all the important relationships and people in my life into.  I've just been reminded of another link in that chain.  I've got another 780 songs to get through so don't mind me.