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February 6, 2016

Operation Serena Fine Saturdays

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Life is always funnier than I could script it I promise.  I unveiled the gray locks at work on Thursday and everyone is super loving them.  But as I was preparing to go the gym yesterday I stumbled on a twist that I had either managed to untwist without being remotely aware of it, or damaging the hair lol, or that had been overlooked in the Glory Be we're done with this child's thick hair moment that always happens at the end of my hair braiding sessions.  I went over to the shop after stopping by my office to do a few grown up things and hug on adorable child lol.  I showed one of the braiders the loose twist and was ready to wait a few minutes to have it done.  She got to work within a few minutes and instead of just handling one twist she went through my entire head to make sure no other little friends had been lost in the shuffle.  That one clearly not finished twist that brought me to the shop had at least five unfinished friends buried in various spots.  She was none too pleased with the person that had done my hair Wednesday afternoon, and who was standing right next to us,and told her so repeatedly lol.  Fifteen minutes later I was back on the road and ran by the one shop in town that has Xpression braiding hair.  I had asked her to find it in the M51 color I'm wearing and she said she'd get it for me.  Well she got M51 but it's a funky brand and off texture that after playing with this hair is not going in my head.  I'm having a tete et tete with Ebonyline who says they have the hair in stock but haven't updated the website.  I don't want to order a different color with a note to send me the right color because that depends on folks paying attention to notes and not the ordered product.  Either way I will get some more of that hair to at least get through one more install but if possible I will get enough to get through the rest of the year.

Ok back into the original purpose of this post.  Fitness Fridays are not happening for me.  Not because I'm not working out on Fridays but because I'm too brain dead to actually post on Fridays plus I normally have at least one more workout scheduled for the week which is today (Saturday in case you're reading this on another day lol).  Now I may not always get there but it's definitely scheduled.  Operation Serena Fine began as the year kicked off.  I promised myself that I'd get to the gym more regularly and consistently.  I have a goal of getting to the gym at least 150 times this year which means on average at least three times a week.  I have four workouts scheduled but yeah that's depending on life and what not.  I made it to all four scheduled workouts this week.  Well I moved the Wednesday visit to Thursday because of the hair escapade but other than that it was a good workout week.  Good mix of cardio and weights and woo movements that make my body stretch and bend and get more stable.  And I have done this consistently enough for the last month or so that I'm not ridiculously sore today.  I may be tomorrow unless I add in a gym visit but right now all is well.  I do need to find a snack so I don't overeat later but it's been a great day and OpSerenaFine is going well.  The scale and I are not friends lol but nothing is fitting quite right and it's not snug so go there stupid scale.

Hope you have had a good workout week folks.  See ya soon.

February 3, 2016

Woosah: Relax Relate Release

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It's been an interesting couple of days for the hair movement around these parts.  After being lazy, having too much to do, and desperately searching for M51 Xpression braiding hair (thanks ebonyline.com you were a life saver) I finally took my hair down this weekend.  Sunday to be precise.  I knew I wasn't going to spend much time at work on Monday because I had to make an airport run and the most I would likely do is run to the gym so it seemed like having the few recommended days down between installs would both be possible, good, and relatively easily.  Except yeah my hair never does easy lol.  It was fine Sunday and most of Monday.  Gym went great and all was well as I got home, made some fresh pasta, and then finally got around to washing my hair.  The minute the shampoo made contact with the different textures they began a struggle to the death.  It was ugly, it was long and by the time it was done I had little remnants of anything that could be considered straight hair lol.    When I woke up in the morning it was thick and annoying.  I was about 20 minutes away from slapping a relaxer in my hair but I remembered in a previous update that I said I would let my hair sort itself out and to be fair it completely did.  On the upside, the long time post relaxer meant I had at least an afro to work with when it was finally trimmed the next day.  In a variety of spots there was no more relaxed hair to deal with.  In the longest spots it was a loss of another two inches.  I tied it down last night and woke up to a slightly smushed afro and wasn't loving the product that was in it so I washed it then added some of the curly products I bought last night on the way home from the stylist.  I ended up with this look this morning lol.






Notice the copious amount of gray hair and the little bit of black holding on for dear life.  If I stretch it there's maybe another inch or so of hair but as my plan today was to get retwisted I didn't see a point in blowing it out or trying to straightening it.  I'm sure I confused some people as I had what amounted to a twist out on Monday and showed up to the office rocking this midday.  They will be equally confused tomorrow because I did this tonight lol.





I am super sad because I just went to see if there was more M51 left in stock to make sure I could keep this color as again most of my hair is white but they don't have any.  I need at least one more back based on what happened tonight.   I can go with the slightly lighter M44 which seems to be more readily available in lots of brands but yeah I like the super gray.  Meh if anyone sees any Sensationnel Xpression braiding hair in M51 let me know lol.

How goes life with the rest of you?  Back to the gym tomorrow after work since dinner is made for the rest of the week now.  Yeah for diets and trainers.  Night all.


The Wash Day Experience

January 26, 2016

Influenster Updates: Slim Fast and new age Vaseline

I'm sure some of you know that I love Influenster because it gives me a chance to test products I probably wouldn't even know were out otherwise and in several cases I've been so impressed that I have added the product to my daily routine.  Over the last few months I've gotten two different VoxBoxes (what Influenster calls their test boxes) that I'm going to update you on now.

The first is the Vaseline Lip Tins that they have had on the market for a few months but that we got slightly ahead of the release.  There are several different kinds and I ended up with Aloe which I really like.  It's scented but very lightly and as soon as it hits my lips they feel nice and moisturized.  That's great considering the temperature around here has "warmed up" to 40 but can dip with the sun and any addition of wind so my lips are taking a beating.  The tin is pretty compact and if you slipped into your pocket you probably wouldn't notice it 90 percent of the time.  The only warning I could add is if you don't want your lips extra slick then keep it light on your lips before you test out the consistency.  All in all a good product and I like it better than the Vaseline stick.



Now the Slim Fast box was a more intriguing one.  There were several different products included: shake, snack bar, popcorn and chips.  The old shakes were not all that interesting to me so I was least excited about that addition but figured it would be worth a try eventually.  The baked chips were your standard healthy alternative to traditional fried chips but with more even distribution of flavor in the chips themselves.  They were actually pretty good on the calorie count (100 or less I believe) and there was a decent size serving.  I had the sour cream and onion so I can't comment on any other flavor.  It was decent but wouldn't be my go to snack compared to the popcorn which was delicious.  It was a caramel and coated popcorn and tasted kind of like Popcorn Indiana's offering in that line.  In short it was great and I was sad there was only one bag in the box.  The bar was equally good and the shake was okay but it hadn't improved enough that it would be a go to option either.  I think the entire line though could help those that are short on time add in healthy versions of products so you don't feel deprived of things while still remaining healthy or within your calorie count for the day.

Image Credit Youtube
 
Definite buy on the popcorn and bar but you may enjoy the chips and shake more than I did.  Still another great box from Influenster and I was happy to test it.

January 23, 2016

Snowstorms and Sweat

This will be another somewhat random post.  I have been super sick, then ok, then kinda sick and okayish again.  Add into all of that another of those lovely skin flare ups and it has been a rough few weeks.  I only made it to the gym once last week due to just being ridiculously off my butt sick which I'm sure is partially what led to the stress related flare.  This week I managed to get into the gym three times but had to skip a day as the skin condition was at its absolute worse.  I need to make sure I get there at least three times next week otherwise I'm sure I'll be off pace for that 150 workouts for the year goal I've set.  Of course I can step it up in other months and tend to go nuts in the last few weeks of the year but I want to be well balanced this year if I can.  Now if the snow holds off for my area for a few more days all will be well in that effort.  So far we've only had one or two snow dumps and outside of the cold that came with them nothing has been major. 

How goes life where you are?

January 2, 2016

Fitness Friday Weekend Again

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Yeah I know this is late but there's a good reason for that.  I was trying to psych myself up to make sure I made it to the gym today and go figure I did.  I came back renewed and energized from my vacation and my new found spiritual awakening--ok that sounds pretentious but energy is too mild--said it's time to get focused on getting and staying healthy.  I wanted to get in two more workouts before the end of the year so that I'd hit 100 and I did that on Wednesday. I figured what the hey let's shoot for one more and got one in on Thursday too which set me at 101 for 2015.  Two more than 2014 so not dramatic but all the same some improvement.  As I had done so well I was considering skipping Friday but the gym was open and I was bored so in I went for an oldie but goodie combination of 30 minute express, 12 minute abs and a bit of time on one of the bikes before I made it home.  And today I went in for a scheduled workout as part of Operation: Get Serena Fine.  It was a great workout.  Loved it.  That's five workouts for this week in case you were trying to keep track lol.  Here's a photo of me post workout.  And now I'm going to enjoy my Sunday of prep and sleep lol oh and getting ready to go back to work.




Fitness Friday

December 30, 2015

Nothing Profound Here

I have been on a much needed vacation and have done nothing seriously important since the 21st.  Between then and now I've gone on vacation, hugged my family so much that I'm sure they got tired of it, made peace with some things that needed burying, and have decided to try to strike a new accord with some old relationships.  Nothing may come of that BUT I'm okay with that as well.  Having another milestone birthday has given me a new wave of understanding of myself and what I'd like to be doing now and in the future.  And because I think she did it well, I'm stealing an idea from a sorority sister make this year amazing by saying yes to as many things and experiences as I can.  Life is too short to keep saying no to things out of fear or reluctance.  I've done a few of those as part of the vacation.  I don't really like big gatherings with folks I don't know but I engaged in two of them last week lol.  Those don't count as I didn't embrace them for what I could get out of them but I will explore and do my best.  And as of this afternoon, I got in workout 100 for the year.  I may go tomorrow before they close but I may just chill and do things for work since that starts again on Monday.  Have a happy New Year to each and every one of you.  Thanks for continuing to stick with me as I ebb and flow through this whole thing.  I'm off to find gray hair for the next braid or twist or what not phase.

December 20, 2015

In light of recent events

This post will be a detour from the rest.  I had planned to do a birthday recap because I just crossed a new birthday milestone and the semester is finally really over and after noon tomorrow I get my life back in theory for a few weeks as I prep for the spring semester and work for something else.  But you know what they say about God laughing at us when we go making plans.  Friday afternoon I got a call from a sorority sister that I love but we don't speak often really.  I didn't immediately think something bad had happened until I got her text message a few moments later and then called her back.  I'm not sure how many of you know that I'm in a sorority or why this would matter but I became a Delta in 2004.  Well before that moment I stumbled upon a website so many aspiring Deltas did at that moment and have in the interim, The DeltaNet.  The owner was a long time Delta who wanted to provide some honest resources for folks who were like myself.  But the majority of the site was for members and while it stayed that way no one really seemed to care.  When there became a private area for the non members all hell broke loose and the owner, Bonita Jackson Butler, was suspended for a while.  She was suspended when I crossed and didn't come to my initiation but sent me the best gifts because in the five years I had gotten to know her she was one of the most trusted people in my little Delta world.  Even though there were ebbs and flows in our relationship over the last ten years she was still one of the few people programmed in my phone under the Soror tag.  She and others had told me at the time I crossed that every Soror is a Delta but every Delta is not YOUR soror and people had borne that out many a time since then but not her.  If she agreed with me or didn't she was always clear about it and it didn't impact our relationship.

So moving back to Friday and the unexpected phone call.  I was made aware that Beejae had died in her sleep the night before.  If there had been alcohol nearby I would have had a drink but I was in my office working on grades and had to mentally take a break.  She had recently had a few health issues recently but nothing that she should have died from.  She was very much so missing her mother who had died earlier this year but she was enjoying life with her husband and just seemed to be on the road to happily ever after.  I worked all of yesterday because I had to but now that the work is done and I am back to processing life I'm hurt again for her, for her husband and for all the people that genuinely loved her or were the benefactors of her love.

I just watched an episode of Say Yes To the Dress where mom and daughter were in conflict about a wedding dress purchase.  Both of them clearly loved each other and eventually came to an agreement and I was a teary eyed mess.  Which made me think about my own mother.  I love her and I'm sure she loves me as well.  But I have never had the kind of relationship with her that Beejae had with her mom or others seem to have with their mothers--well those with healthy mom relationships.  From tying her shoelaces because she didn't (still doesn't really) know how to making dinner to giving up activities to take care of my brother, I have always felt less like her child than another parent in the house.  My brother would tell you I raised him.  There was a point in time that they hadn't seen my mother's signature on things for so long (because I was told to just sign stuff myself not because I was a horrible child lol) that the one day she insisted on writing me a note for school they called because they thought I had forged it.  She didn't hurt us.  We weren't neglected or physically abused ever.  Mentally her jabs weren't conscious attempts to wound us she was just lashing out because we didn't appear to be siding with her instead of our father when it came to whatever she was upset about.  When she is no longer with us it will hurt just like it did when dad died.  I am just wondering if I'll understand what other folks are going through who clearly get upset when I talk about my relationship with mom as they mourn their own mothers.

I can't say that I will for certain, no one knows how that will go I understand but I do know that right now my heart is heavy because I lost another woman that I respected and whom appeared to embrace those she really cared about with her entire heart.  No strings attached just room for you if you chose to take it.  I know this is part of life.  It's a part that sucks though.  I will be back later this week full of cheer cause my nieces are making me giggle.  If not then let me wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Festive Kwanzaa, Festivus for the rest of us, or just a good day if you don't celebrate a thing.

December 12, 2015

Fifty Million Shades of Gray

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I promise this isn't a post about that horrific book and from what I hear that mildly but not really sexual movie.  So I got my hair twisted.  As usual it's a godsend.  Somewhat atypical I am doing a better job of using the moisturizing spray and leave in conditioner on the length of my hair like Gina Marie mentioned in a video not too long ago.  Now that I have recommitted to getting my 100 workouts in this year, not having to toy with my hair is much appreciated.  I am six away from that for those who are wondering.  But as is also usual the gray hair that stays mostly hidden for a week or so is like yeah chick I'm back.  I know it's not likely that the braid shop keeps it in stock and not wanting them to order a bunch just for me I went looking for gray braiding hair.  Go figure that was trendy this year for some reason.  Edgy and different to purposely dye your hair gray instead of letting nature do it to you slowly over a prolonged period of time I get it.  I think it's weird but I get it lol.  There seem to be no shortage of braiding hair brands and options online.  I know what I'm Looking for in terms of color but what I'm finding is there is no standard gray.

There's a gray and black ombre.  If the color pattern was flipped it might be okay but not my favorite look.







There's what looks to be a medium gray as well but it seems too dark for my hair which is closer to white than a straight gray.



There is also a mix but I can only find that on Amazon and one local store and the hair felt like crap so I left it there.  The look is cute on the blogger (SimplyGorgeousNic) that I saw but the hair isn't local.  Random aside: as I went to check out the blog to properly give her credit she's raving about the hair so I trolled a few videos and found it at BNG hair.  I may have completed my search, we'll see.


And then there's just plain old white which seems way too drastic for my hair and face even though my hair has begun to abandon all pigment like an evil little color sucking troll camped out and went to town.




Blah, all in an effort to blend my hair into the braids better I'm on the great gray braiding hair hunt.  Here's a photo of me shortly after they were installed.




And one from a few days ago I think.


It was clearly sloppy pull back day.  But it works and I like them so much more than the last time I had them done. I greatly appreciate one of the stylists well not two in the shop that do my hair because they pay attention and they work quickly without being weird or eating in my ear---I seriously cannot explain how much I seriously hate that.

So what do you think of gray/silver/white braids?  I'm excited about the possibility even though I think it will just confuse people more.  The woman at the braid shop thought I wanted the silver hair to be cute until she saw my damn near white hair and said my hair doesn't match my face and I look much younger.  I'll take it, especially less than a week from my next birthday but the gray hair has been my friend since I was twelve, so a long damn time lol.


The Wash Day Experience