Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Time to Get Fit...

Confession...I have not worked out since I left NYC for Trinidad. I have not ran, I have not done a sit up, I wait patiently for the elevator at work (no matter how long it takes), and  I have officially broken ALL the rules I created to get myself toned! What's worse is that this is all despite the fact that in two months I will be a bridesmaid in a wedding, summer is a few months away, and I hope to hit up a few islands, carnivals, and beaches in a few months. Today I decided to stop thinking about changing my ways and actually take some action steps towards getting rid of my gut. My first move? Visiting one of my favorite YouTube fitness guru, Cassey Ho's, blog (http://blogilates.com/) for some inspiration. It must have been fate because her latest YouTube video addressed an issue I would be soon facing....

Great advice but I am not looking forward to it. Do you use YouTube for workout and healthy eating tips? If so, who is your favorite guru?

Why do I like Cassey Ho? Who knows, I just  love her personality. Before I found her videos I thought Pilate's was boring and not stimulating enough to keep me exercising. Cassey proved me wrong! Here are some of my favorite videos:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hair Style of the Week: Update...Kinky Twists!

This hair update is LONG overdue folks, my apologies. The weekend after I returned from Trini I went to my local hair braiding shop and sacrificed hours of my life for these, kinky twists! I needed a break from my hair and I am pretty sure my hair welcomed the break from me. ; 0 )

I went to the hair shop armed with one 3/4"x 3/4" picture of what I wanted my hair to look like and three packs of Marley hair. Honestly looking back I should have known better than to only have that one tiny picture but I was hopeful and blinded by my excitement about changing my look. What I ended up with was the picture above. Not at all like what anticipated and extremely tight. For a week I did everything in my power to loosen the cornrows. I sprayed water, slathered my edges in shea butter and essential oils and by the end of the week I was simply unbraiding the braids and rebraiding them loosely to the best of my ability (sounds like a hot mess...that's because it was!)

Forced Smile..

Just looking at this picture hurts!

Let me address the obvious question. Why would I let anyone braid my hair tightly? Especially when I am trying to preserve my edges. I didn't just sit there passively and let her braid my hair however she felt like. The majority of my time in the hair salon I told her she was braiding too tightly. I stopped her over and over again and despite my warnings she continued to braid the only way she knew how, tight! Yes, I had the good sense to take my braids out a week later but I think about all the children who were also in the shop to get their hair braided that day. What did they do? Traction alopecia- a gradual hair loss that is a direct result of a pulling force being applied to hair- has such a high prevalence in women of color and wearing hair extensions and braids tightly is one of the causes. It's time to stop sacrificing our edges for the sake of "neat" hair.

We all remember this telling picture of Naomi Campbell's edges.
How do we pass on this information to the hair braiders all across New York City?  

A week after my first attempt at kinky twists I went to a braiding salon that I was familiar with (I only took the cornrows out but left the kinky twists in) and explained exactly what I wanted my hair to look like. I also explained that I did not want too much tension on my sensitive edges and asked that the cornrows start with my own hair first and the extension hair gradually added in. Here are the final results:

So much better! Not only is there less tension on my edges but with more individual twists I have more styling options.

  • Although I know that many people wash their hair while in extensions (twists and/or braids) I have decided that I will not wash my hair while I have these twist installed. My rationale? These twists are thick and would take a while to dry once washed. Walking around with wet hair is not an option for me especially since the weather lately has been so unpredictable.
  •  I plan on using my Huetiful Steamer to cleanse my scalp and restore moisture back to my strands every two weeks.
  •  I use Jane Carter Nourish and Shine on my scalp and edges. I also use Vatika Oil at the base of the Kinky Twists every few days.
  •  I still cover my hair nightly with my Satin Cap to keep my twists neat and retain moisture.
  • Every night I rub my edges with Rosemary Oil to increase circulation and stimulate hair growth.
I plan on keeping these kinky twist in for about a 5-6 weeks and may even have them installed again before the summer. Have you tried a new protective style lately?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Our Beauty Recognized...

As a child my parents would not let me have a Barbie that wasn't some hue of brown. Although  I never remember having a strong desire for a Barbie doll that didn't look like me I do recall receiving  Barbies void of color for Christmas and Birthdays from friends and relatives that disappeared as quickly as I unwrapped them. Years later I understand the rationale behind my parents ways, they wanted me surrounded by images that reflected me, at least the images that they could control. When I came across these dolls created by Natural Girls United I thought of them.

Check out the hair styles! These dolls are custom made and come with a variety of looks: afro-puffs, twist-outs, locs, spiral curls, bantu-knots, braids.  I love the fact that their images reflect a wide range of children of color. Designed by Karen Byrd these dolls range from 34.99-139.99. If you are interested in purchasing one or simply taking a closer look please check out her website: http://www.naturalgirlsunited.com/natural-hair-dolls.html

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chance encounters...a moment with Tracey

Last night I read a blog post written by Tracey, a blogger who's website I am a fan of,  that left me overcome with a range of emotions. I didn't expect to see my face looking back at me as I scrolled down the blog page of the blog. Don't get me wrong I remember taking the picture, how can I not? I was on Maracas Beach fully engulfed in post carnival euphoria and in passing mentioned to Patrice (more on him later) that the girl that  he was just speaking to wrote a blog that I was an avid reader of (still following?).

carnival euphoria in FULL effect

 Moments later I was being whisked away to be introduced to her. Let me stop here and say that being "too cool" is my M.O. What I mean is I am not the kind of person to stop someone in the street and say "hey, don't I know you from somewhere"? It's an acquired coping mechanism that I have developed simply because sensitivity and rejection don't go well together.  Patrice however managed to convince me that she was a cool person and that introducing myself would be a good idea and there I was. She was kind and seemed intrigued that I read her blog. She was among her friends and they too seemed warm and embraced my presence in their liming area. We took a picture together, I promised to email,  and that was it. I honestly didn't think she would remember and the "too cool" girl in me didn't want to send the email.
Tracey and I. Still wondering why I had on shades AND a hat! Lol...

Then I read the post, in which she wrote an open letter to me. Thanking me  (pardon my rough summary but you should read the article) for inspiring her to keep writing her blog and remembering why it existed in the first place. The few moments in which I pushed my coolness aside and simply spoke my truth convinced her that her blogging was in fact purposeful and she should continue. You never know what impact you can have on someone. However the feeling of impacting the life of someone who has impacted your life is unexplainable. Now I appreciate Tracey even more not just because she wrote about our encounter but because it takes a certain type of person to show that type of gratitude and humility. I hope to meet more people like her...

Interested in reading Tracey's blog post? Hit me up.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Eclipze and Sunny Side Up... Pace!

At approximately 6am Carnival Saturday morning my Continental Airlines flight touched ground in P.O.S. and although I was excited about everything that the next few days would include I knew other people who had BEEN in Trinidad for days before me. More importantly these same people were fast asleep resting up after Girl Power, heading home from Blue Range Cooler Fete, or lining up for Silent Morning boat ride. I didn't let my feelings of jealousy get in my way though because  I know in my heart who the real Carnival Jumbie is...
The first fete I went to was Eclipze and although I enjoyed myself in the end the first few hours I was there was like watching a pot boil. My crew and I ate as soon as we arrived and waited, and waited, and waited for the fete to start. Eventually it did but the majority of the time was spent staring at one another as we waited for something to happen, guzzling Nuvo, taking shots of Johnny,  and snapping pictures of ourselves (none of my pics came out well. Someone should have warned me that you should use Make Up Forever's HD Finishing Powder SPARINGLY. In all of my pictures I look like ghostly, but I digress).

My sis and I taking in the views at Eclipze.

Trying to "jump-start" the festivities
Some members of my crew--Image blurred to conceal identities...lol

After Eclipze we went home and grabbed a couple of hours sleep and prepared for one of my favorite fete's of the season, Sunny Side Up.  I will admit I got to this fete later than I expected. Thankfully it was in walking distance from my house in the Vale and there was no line when I arrived at a few minutes after 7. So I attended a fete for about three hours and named it the BEST, are you wondering why.

  • FOAM: Let's be clear. I am an adult, I have a career, I own my place, I own my car but even as an adult there is something euphoric about foam (and water) at 7 in the morning. I can't lie, at first I looked over at the foam with discerning eyes and thought to myself "I am not getting in that". Fast forward to a few moments later and  I was engulfed in foam, shoes in my hand (there was mud underneath all those bubbles) and in full "foam reveller" mode. I thought I was going to miss the water hose at Insomnia, ahhh, I have been wrong before.

Check out my boy to the right--Having a TIME!! ; )
  • Easy Access to Food and Drinks: As soon as you walked inside the venue the bar was to your left and the food was to your right. Initially I had the fish tea which is not the best thing to start your morning with but I went to the shortest line because I just wanted something to coat my stomach before the Johnny Walker marathon began. They also had a food court (so sorry I have no pics of that) which was indoors (relief from the early morning sun) and had an assortment of food as well. I stuck with my fete go to, doubles, but people seemed to be enjoying all of the offerings.
My sis and I-Johnny in one hand Fish Tea in the other....

  • VIP  General Admission Was Bessss: Typically when I attend fetes if there is a VIP section offered that is where you will find me. For Sunny Side Up my crew and I decided to give  general admission a whirl and it did not disappoint. To be honest from where I was standing the VIP'ers seemed to be  looking at general admission with longing in their eyes. #justsaying
The VIP section is behind the yellow ribbon

General Admission...vibes for days
  • The Vibes Cyah Done: From the time I walked in SSU to the time that I left the energy level was high. Between the performers (Kes and Blaxx stand out to me the most, but there were others), the dj's, and yes the FOAM, I can't see how anyone could have left this fete wanting more.
"It Hit Meh"....Blaxx

This bands name is at the tip of my tongue

My crew and I had a BALL. After it was all said and done we stagered walked home muddy, tipsy, and high off the spirit and energy of carnival. Will I go to SSU again? In a heartbeat (unless I get my hands on some Vale tickets next year). I am even considering going to Sunny Side Up in Brooklyn for Labor Day weekend.

To top off the end of a great morning when I went to the Micles on a pre-carnival mission later that day  I ran into  Bunji and Fayann shopping. When my sis and I approached them for pics ( mind you I was  still in my SSU attire, dried mud and all) they kindly obliged. I felt a little guilty afterwards because we created an uproar and when we left Micles they were still taking pics. Much love goes out to FayAnn and Bunji!

Look at my face...just happy to be alive...lol

I was tempted to drop on the ground and roll to show my appreciation.

Btw, my FB page is on the fritz. As soon as I get it to resume normal functioning I will post the rest of my pics from Eclipze and SSU there.

Stay Tuned....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vaca Hair--Take Two! The Trini Carnival Edition

Vacation Hair! A conundrum for every naturalista because honestly who wants to worry about twist-outs and humidity while you're on vacation, especially during carnival which is non-stop pace! Aside from my Monday Wear this is one aspect of my vacation planning that caused me a huge amount of anxiety. I knew I wanted something different, low maintenance, with lots of volume, and not my usual go-to style wet and wavy braids. Wearing my hair out wasn't an option for me because I can barely get dressed on two hours of sleep let alone style my hair. When I went to Barbados I was excited to install my Senegalese Twists and although I loved them they wreaked havoc on my already delicate hairline and therefore  wasn't an option this time around. So what DID I do?

Yes, that's a weave. I must admit this style took a while to grow on me and for the first 24 hours I hated it!

My inspiration for my Carnival look. Thirstyroots.com

Creating this style was the easy part. Finding the right hair for this style was a little more challenging simply because of all the options out there (and a lack of reviews on certain products). Have you ever searched on line for Afro Textured Human Hair? If not let me the first to tell you the results are mind boggling. Multiple textures, a range of prices, a few reviews, and a lot of confusion. In the end I decided I was not ready to pay 80-100 dollars for a few ounces of hair and ventured out to my local beauty supply store. I LOVE BROOKLYN! (shameless plug). In the first store I tried I found an Indian Remy Wet and Wavy Hair by Janet Collection in Afro Jerry Curl and decided for the price of 40 dollars for 12 inches it was worth a try.

Fresh out of the pack...

As per the instructions I wet the hair and allowed it to air dry before having it installed in my hair. In order to ensure that the hair would remain soft to the touch once wet I rinsed it with some conditioner and followed up with a leave-in conditioner (Knot Today).
Air drying on my bed....
The final look:

@Sunny Side Up...

Side view

The Front

The back/side
I haven't worn a weave in years and I was very anxious about the whole thing but at the end of the day this look grew on  me (can you tell from the pics ; 0). I might even try it again despite the fact that by the end of the week the back was a tangled mess (maintaining the hair wasn't my strong point). What other brands of hair work with natural (Kinky, Coily, Curly,etc) textures?  
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