NaturVersary: How To Get from Here to Hair!!

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Do you know what today is? It’s my natur-versary!!

*cue that TonyToniTone! song*

A year ago today, I said good-bye to relaxers and hello curly freedom! I sheared my strands so I could start over and adopt a healthier lifestyle and outlook.  When you do something for a long time, it is difficult to remember why you started doing it in the first place.After having straight hair for so long, I forgot how much I loved my curls. I started off as a natural, so I thought it would be easy to start over because I had been natural before:

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My T.W.A. soon became irritating to deal with, and I refrained from posting length checks, since all I could see was skrinkage and defiance growing from my scalp:

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Have hope though, my fellow naturalistas-in-progress! It gets better. Really. Here’s proof:2014-12-18 21.44.20

This journey is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth the things you learn about yourself in the process. For my new girls just beginning this journey and my veterans that are returning:

  1.  Trust your gut. There are tons of products out there and being a product junkie isn’t the worst thing you can be. However, it pays to know when to walk away from a new hype or trend if it simply doesn’t work for you.
  2. Do your body right. It is easy to get hopes up and all infatuated with the latest pill or cream for hair growth/strength/length/shine, but your body needs the building blocks to help put those products to work. Water, a decent diet, exercise and adequate sleep can make or break your healthy hair journey.
  3. Have patience.  I’ll be honest, I was under the impression my hair would grow faster than it did and I would have more length to check. In reality, my hair didn’t really start taking off in growth until I started protective styling like cornrows and Senegalese twists. While there are plenty of women who inspire hair envy from time to time, appreciate the space you’re in at this moment with your curls. I promise you love them all the more!

DeepCon: SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treament Masque Review

Beauty, Dee Vs.

It’s super easy to get caught up in all the awesomeness that is the natural hair movement. More than ever before, women of multiple colors are embracing their glorious God-given curls and purchasing products by the pound. I’m also a PJ ( product junkie for those not in the know) so I have quite a few jars and bottles in my linen closet:

-Carol’s Daughter

-SheaMoisture

-DevaCurl

-AG Hair Cosmetics

-LivingProof

-Phyto Hair Care

-Alterna

-Ouidad

While my current favorites are the DevaCurl No-Poo and OneCondition, a girl can only co-wash so much. I also have plenty of strengthening products  like the Monoi serum and LivingProof Restore Masque.  However, I needed a good deep conditioner to protect these strands and decided to buy SheaMoisture’s Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque. I tried it out this past Friday and I love it!

 First I pre-poo’d with coconut oil  while I did some volunteering that morning:

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(There’s a cap under there helping my hair marinate in all that awesome coconut oil ;)  )

My curls aren’t incredibly defined, but I’m hoping that I will see a change once I’m done with the masque.


Once I got home, I shampooed and conditioned before applying the masque throughout my hair. I added one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil to the masque as suggested on the package to really get a good result:

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As you can see, my curl pattern was really starting to show after I applied the mixture. I’m a mix of 3c/4a if that helps :)

Putting on a developer cap, I sat under heat for 30 minutes to lift my hair cuticle and help the masque do its thing!

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End results:

After I rinsed my hair with cool water, this is what my newly-conditioned hair looked like. My GOODNESS, my hair was so soft! I usually just try to use my own body heat by wrapping my capped head with a bath towel and hoping that that’s enough but that heat does wonders.

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My curl pattern seemed much more defined and I liked the smell. It wasn’t incredibly overpowering and I liked that both textures on my head seemed fully moisturized. Usually my 4a sections act like they don’t know how to be soft, but this masque covered everybody ( no pun intended). I’m definitely incorporating this mask into my weekly deep condition routine. At $11.99 a jar at your local Target, it’s worth the price tag. What’s your favorite deep conditioner?

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5 Tips on How I Beat Lazy At Its Own Game

Body, Fitness

I was lying in bed one morning and contemplating going to the gym. Almost instantly, reasons to stay tucked in, eat pancakes, and read flooded my mind. Why? Because I’m lazy and I know it.

It’s very easy to have good intentions:

– You follow all your favorite Instagram fitness gurus and watch the videos, while eating your third ice cream bar.

-You pin all types of healthy snack recipes and smoothies, even though your blender hasn’t seen the light of day since you made a milkshake two years ago.

-You retweet pro athletes you follow with the hashtag #nodaysoff when honestly it’s been a few days and there might be a few more in the future.

See?! I totally intended to go to the gym but it’s too hot/cold/rainy/sunny/Earth-like to do so. Right? Um yeah, no.

Here’s the deal: I’m not claiming these haven’t happened to me. I just realized rather than work against my innate tendencies to relax instead of rebound I’d just beat lazy. Here’s how:

1. I don’t second guess! If I get the urge to workout and I have a few minutes, I do it. Been sitting too long? I do a plank for the length of the commercials between shows. Brushing my teeth? I do a couple calf raises.

2. I pack the standby gym bag with the all the goods and stash it in my trunk. There’s no way I can get out of working out if all my stuff is with me. This includes makeup remover wipes for my ladies leaving right after work :)

3. Meal prep! I bag dry cereal into serving sizes so I can just throw one in my purse if I have an early day, and buy fruit or veggies that’s easy to take or eat if I’m craving a sweet snack. Grapes and cherry tomatoes are my go-to’s.
After working out I’m hungry but at 1:30 AM too many unhealthy options are available and I want something quick. On my off days, I put tilapia, sweet potatoes and broccoli or spinach in containers pre-cooked so I can just warm it back up in 2 minutes when I get home.

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4. Start small. I pick six goals I want to achieve in 6 months and give myself a break. I will be sleepy or sick or tired and in those instances it’s better to get the rest and recharge. Trying to go from 0-100 in too many areas leads me to burnout and feeling unmotivated.

5. I remind myself why I’m working out. Whether for physical or mental health reasons, get your 2Chainz on and ask yourself “what you do and who you do it for”…then go do it! Working out with a buddy can also make it more fun!

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Another way to beat lazy at Chicken-Out Chess is to habit-stack. This book was amazing in helping me create a small habits routine that makes me feel more productive. S.J. Scott lists 97 different habits that you can incorporate into your routine that can help you be productive, and finally put lazy to bed. See what I did there?

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What are some ways you keep yourself motivated to stay on track ? :)

So Hot In Hurr: Skincare for the Summer

Beauty

Nelly came out with his debut album in 2002 and people couldn’t get enough of  “Hot In Herre”, the number one single. In honor of that classic jam, I’m gonna talk about what I do with my skin care during the summer.

 I still have my faves here but my routine becomes decidedly more food-based during the summer.  Vegas has both hot women and hotter temps, so I need lighter but still effective products to battle this triple-digit heat. The solution? I get my swap on with products that help me in the same way but do so without such a heavy hand:

The Understudies:


  Almond Oil

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 Almond oil is:

  • Non-comedogenic ( yay for sensitive skin and unclogged pores!!)
  • Often used as a massage oil
  • Made from sweet almonds
  • A great skin emollient
  • High in concentrations of vitamin E and antioxidants

It’s also fairly easy on the wallet because I only paid around $8 for mine at Whole Foods.  This has replaced my old moisturizer during these summer months. Still looking to find it at a cheaper price, but I don’t use much. 5 drops in the palm after washing my face (before adding my daily SPF) and I’m good to go!

Fresh Rose Cleansing Foam

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This ah-mAZE-ing cleanser has:

  • Rosewater: Soothes the skin; notable for its balancing properties.
  • Cooling Cucumber Extract: Helps  calm the skin.
  • Evening Primrose Extract: Supports natural collagen synthesis.
  • Plum Seed Oil: Helps to hydrate and keep up a healthy complexion.
  • Glycerin: 3rd ingredient so there’s a lot but glycerin is primarily used as a humectant ( something that absorbs or helps another substance keep in moisture).

I used to take an evening primrose supplement to lessen my PMS symptoms and give my face a chance before hormonal acne set in. Who knew my new favorite cleanser had it too? I swap this one out with the other cleanser I use from this brand.

Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes

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I love these because when it’s hot out I’m usually not wearing too much makeup. I’m still getting exposed though to the exhaust, dirt, sun and sweat  from being outside and just running errands. When that midday nap slaps me upside the head I use these wipes to gently remove mascara and lip gloss  before I completely KO.

BONUS:  I mix tea tree essential oil with coconut oil when I have an unexpected breakout. Essential oils can be VERY harsh on the skin due to high concentration so mixing them with a carrier oil  can make it easier on your face.

Sound off in the comments: what skincare changes do you make when the temps get high?

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99 Problems: Protein Might Be One

Beauty, Dee Vs.

In natural hair terminology T.W.A. means teeny-weeny Afro, usually not long enough to hang down around the ears. My alternate definition? Tresses With Attitude…

My hair has grown since I big chopped in February and I’m nearing the six-month mark. I’m very happy with the growth I’m seeing and optimistic about resurrecting my infamous ‘fro a.k.a. Thunda:

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Backstory: My T.W.A. at this point had loved the DevaCurl line ( except the gel), giving me all kinds of curl poppage. The problem was I hadn’t done a protein treatment in about two months and knew I was out of my PhytoKeratine mask. I bought the Palmer’s Deep Conditioning Protein Pack thinking it would do just as good a job as my usual staple. I’d heard really good things about it and have seen it used with stellar results in various YouTube vids.

Process: I washed my hair with AG Hair Cosmetics Re:Coil after letting warm water saturate my hair for about 3 minutes. After rinsing out the shampoo I applied the protein pack, concentrating on my ends. I left it in for 15 minutes with a towel wrapped for heat, as the range is 10-20 minutes then rinsed it out thoroughly.

Results: After I rinsed out the treatment, my hair felt really dry and stiff. My hair is low porosity so even though it isn’t very long it’s usually still damp and soft. Not this time. Also the smell putting it on wasn’t too appealing.

Verdict: Not my cup of tea. I’m sure it works for others and I might give it another try in a few months after I get my hair trimmed or have more length.

Sound off in the comments about treatments for protein you’ve tried. How’d they measure up?

SuperPowered Skin: Spinach Avocado Smoothie

Beauty, Yum!!

I hate acne.

I hate adult acne specifically.

I  feel like it’s ridiculous punishment for people like me who have finally gotten to the point where I don’t have to hide my face under a sweatshirt on the worst of my breakout days, or play Connect The Dots on my forehead.

That said, I was also tired of only approaching the problem from one direction. Cleansers and serums are all well and good but there had to be something I could do that would boost my skin’s superpowers. So in the name of all that is healthy and happy, I give you:

The Spinach Avocado Smoothie:

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2 cups raw spinach

1 cup water

1/2 cup strawberries ( frozen or fresh)

1/2 cup red grapes ( frozen or fresh)

1/4 avocado

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 teaspoon flax meal

Combine. Blend well. Get ya sip on!

I added about a tablespoon of honey so the flax and almond butter weren’t too overwhelming, so please feel free to adjust it . There are a bunch of vitamins in this such as folic acid (strawberries), selenium & zinc ( almond butter), Vitamin A ( spinach) and that flax meal has those sexy omega-3s we need to keep glowing complexions. All of those nutrients are also very good for you and healthy too! For my calorie counters, one smoothie is 309 calories, with 179 of those being from fat.  Here’s to healthy bones and skin!

21 Days Fit

Body, Fitness

I’m six weeks away from turning my tassel and wanted to turn something else: a new leaf over! Spring always gets people cleaning out a closet or living room, so why not get closer to happy and healthy by cleaning up your diet and workout routine?

There are plenty of apps like Nike Training Club that help you find workouts that you can do at home. I like those too, but I didn’t feel like those worked for me. Research has shown that it can take about 21 days to make a habit, and I wanted to make a habit of  keeping it trim at the gym. Solution? Make my own workout chart!!
Here it is :

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A quick snapshot so you get the gist

And here’s the link if you want to print it out:Workout Routine 2014

  Here’s the deal: I’m not a personal trainer and I respect the heck out of women like Jeanette Jenkins and Massy Arias who kick butt and help others get fit for a living. I’m working towards my own nutrition certification and maybe even training on my own someday so right now, these are exercises that keep me interested in staying fit, and the chart is my own creation :) I’ll also be posting one healthy recipe or tip a day on my blog that I’m doing as well as keeping you all updated via Instagram @fresh_eleven and Twitter @dsjgp. If you want to join in, here’s how:

1. Follow me on either Twitter or Instagram

(I don’t post too many food pics, so this should be easy)

2. Use #21DaysFit and post photos of either an exercise or recipe that’s keeping you on the fit path

3. Enjoy this! Exercise and healthy habits are great for beauty, body and balance!

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