Remembering 9/11/01

American Flag

Taking a break from natural hair today and remembering those who lost their lives on that fateful day 9/11/01.  I took this photo at the Vietnam Memorial in Jacksonville, NC Lejeune Memorial Gardens ,where they have the names of countless soldiers who died in that war inscribed on glass panels.  Just before you walk into the memorial there is a piece of a beam from one of the twin towers that was sent to those that volunteered their time and service to help the victims of 9/11.  Visiting this memorial you will see lots of different memorials to different men and women who so bravely have given their lives for this country.  I thought to myself, I really need to be thankful for my life and space in this country.  Each day I say a prayer of thanks to God for blessing those people to be so brave that we may be able to enjoy our freedom.  So many died on 9/11 so let us not let their deaths be in vain, we can take time out each day to give a moment of silence, do something nice for someone else and be thankful for the things we sometimes take for granted.  I salute the men women and children who died and who gave their lives trying to save lives, I truly honor them, our true heroes.  

I’m Back! With news:-)

If you follow my blog, you know that I haven’t posted for quite sometime now.  I am still natural and loving it and my hair has grown quite a bit.  In the meantime I’ve had another child, a little boy, and my husband and I purchased a home so there has been lots of excitement goingz on 🙂 I want to share more with you about my hair and also my children’s hair since we all have different textures, I may even get my husband to let me throw in a few pics of his hair. 

Also in other Big News, my sister TheLaydi1 will be co-author of this site and will be adding lots of new topics, pictures and information! She also has a youtube channel that you absolutely must check out…. http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLaydi1/videos Her videos are awesome and she does lots of tutorials (what natural doesn’t love tutorials?!?) so check her out and leave her a comment letting her know I sent ya!

Come check the blog often and also look for posts from TheLaydi1.  as always: Rate, Comment and Subscribe! Peace

UPDATE!!!!

So sorry I’ve been gone for so long!!!! I do have some updates with my hair to share with you though :).   I have been wearing the mini twists regularly and the last time I wore them, I kept them in for a month.  I’ve noticed a lot of growth since starting this protective style and I really like the versatility of the mini twists they allow me to do many different styles.

I started using the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie to refresh my twists every other day and it does what it promises, takes away frizz and defines the curls.  I also spray my twists with a water and glycerin mix every other day before applying the curl enhancing smoothie.  Keep in mind my regimen is still the same.  The curl enhancing smoothie is used as a styling agent that also helps to moisturize,  it keeps my hair light and curly at the ends (I don’t apply much, a little goes a looooong way :). Here are a few pics of my twists in March and April.

Let me know if you have any questions

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My Current Protective Style

I decided to style my hair in mini 2 strand twists for this month and hopefully it will last into next month.  Feb. 10, 2011 will be my 1 year anniversary being natural!! I already notice a significant amount of growth since i did my big chop last year and in order for my hair to retain even more length I’m going to continue to keep it in protective styles as much as possible.

This style was achieved on dry hair, just after washing and deep conditioning.  While my hair was still wet i sectioned it off into about 6 or 8 sections and applied my leave in conditioner plus a mix of castor oil and aloe vera gel.  Then i sat under a hooded dryer with big chunky twists that i put in after adding the mix and detangling.  My hair dried very soft and felt really moisturized.  Then i began twisting using Taliah Waajid’s Lock it up gel.  It took about 6 hours with breaks to take the baby to the potty.  The gel dried soft, no crunch and no flakes! I will keep you updated on the maintenance of this style.

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Conforming?

Where do you draw the line?

I recently saw a video on YouTube  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxMcYlmlmzE where a woman who I have been subscribed to for a while (because of her natural hair), made a video to say that she had gotten a relaxer because she was looking for a job and another professional black woman told her that natural hair was not excepted everywhere.  She claimed that she couldn’t get her hair straight enough with pressing so getting a relaxer was her only alternative if she wants to get the job she wants. She goes on to say how she doesn’t want anyone to send her hate mail or negative comments because she is not conforming, she is just relaxed until she gets a job then she is going to transition back to natural.  She says that natural hair is, “her” and that she is definitely not giving up, she was very adamant about us not viewing her as a sell out.  Check out the link if you want to see her explain her reasons and she also goes into detail about her current job and why she is looking for another.  I still like her and will keep my subscription to her channel for when she comes back, she has made really good videos in the past.  I don’t knock her for making a decision she thought was best even though i disagree.

It made me sad to see that someone whom I thought was very strong in who she is and determined to maintain her natural hair, would let her profession determine how to treat her hair.  I thought that it was indeed conforming even though she reiterated that she was going to transition as soon as she finishes her job search.  To myself, I was thinking “I would not want to work for a company that did not accept my natural hair”.  How could you lie to yourself and try to trick yourself into thinking that you are not conforming. Although I can understand her outlook and making money for your livelihood is very important, is that particular company going to respect you and keep you as an employee when you transition back to your natural hair? If a company/business can’t accept you with your natural hair, why would they respect you as a person in general and what would stop them from getting rid of you when your natural hair grows out.  Not to mention the time it takes to grow your natural hair out after having a relaxer, it takes a long time hence the “natural hair journey”.

I don’t have any issues with ladies who chose to relax because they like their hair that way, but when you are doing it for the purposes of being excepted I feel this is a problem.  What if they asked someone who has relaxed hair to go natural?  It is a degrading feeling not to be excepted because of your hair or any other part of your body.  We should not be going through this in 2010, but the reality is that people are still prejudiced and racist.  I think the only way to put a stop to it is to let it be known publicly. Take it to the newspaper and the local news and allow others to know whats going on.  There is strength in numbers.  Its time to stand up!

My question is, do you think there should be a limit as to what you should do or change about yourself personally to get a job?  Do you feel that this woman conformed?  What would you do in this same situation? Do you feel that black woman need to have straight hair to present themselves as professional?  Please leave a comment and let me know, share your thoughts and/or experiences.

These are my personal opinions and I have not been paid to express them.

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Boost Your Immunity!

Strengthen your defense naturally

  1. Eat Well– Enjoy whole fruits and vegetables for the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to defend itself.
  2. Hydrate– Drink pure water throughout the day–at least eight large glasses.  Dehydration reduces the effectiveness of your nasal membranes, which are your first line of defense against inhaled cold germs.
  3. Get your Z’s– Getting enough rest is crucial.  Sleep deprivation can lead to a decline in the number of infection-fighting cells, leaving you susceptible to illness.
  4. Wash Up– Wash your hands often.  Cover your mouth with the crook of your arm when sneezing or coughing in order to reduce the spread of bacteria.  Frequently wash or disinfect commonly touched items such as telephones, doorknobs, drawer handles, and stair railings.
  5. Add Supplements– Consider taking vitamin C and the mineral zinc.  A recent study confirms the supportive effects of both, nothing that deficiencies can lead to impaired immune health.  Like vitamin C, antioxidant-rich vitamin E protects cells from free-radical damage.  Vitamin E may also enhance immune function.
  6. Herbal Helpers– Try supplemental garlic, which contains antibacterial compounds.  Another option is taking echinacea.  Some studies show that this herb may reduce the length and severity of colds.  Echinacea is not recommended for continuous, long-term use.

Source: Nature’s Place Magazine

Yes to Olive Oil

Olive oil- an oil obtained from the olive, a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps.

Nutrition benefits of olive oil

Evidence from epidemiological studies suggests that a higher proportion of monounsaturated fats in the diet is linked with a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. This is significant because olive oil is considerably rich in monounsaturated fats, most notably oleic acid.

In the United States, producers of olive oil may place the following health claim on product labels:

Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tbsp. (23 g) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.Unlike saturated fats, olive oil lowers total cholesterol and LDL levels in the blood.  It is also known to lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure. 

In Calabria, the women regularly use the oil to take care of their hair and hands.

Studies on mice showed that application of olive oil immediately following exposure to UVB rays has a preventive effect on the formation of tumors and skin cancer.

Types of olive oil

  • Extra-virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. Extra Virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries. It is used on salads, added at the table to soups and stews and for dipping.
  • Virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, has an acidity less than 2%, and is judged to have a good taste.
  • Pure olive oil. Oils labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are usually a blend of refined and virgin production oil.
  • Olive oil is a blend of virgin and refined production oil, of no more than 1.5% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.
  • Olive oil for your skin

    In addition to the internal health benefits of olive oil, topical application is quite popular with fans of natural health remedies. Extra virgin olive oil is the preferred grade for moisturizing the skin, especially when used in the oil cleansing method (OCM). OCM is a method of cleansing and moisturizing the face with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, castor oil (or another suitable carrier oil) and a select blend of essential oils. Olive oil is also used by some to reduce ear wax buildup.

    You can use olive oil as a face moisturizer, removing make-up, shaving to get a closer shave and body oil.  Add it to your bath to soften and moisturize the skin, just add a few drops.  You can also use it as a facial scrub:  wet your face, add a few drops of olive oil to your face, add a tsp of sugar (i use dark brown sugar) to your face, massaging, then rinse off.  Also good as a lip balm to soothe lips.

  • Olive oil for your hair

    For fly aways and frizz, just add a few drops of olive oil to your hair.  It can also be a deep conditioner, you can add a few tbsp to your normal conditioner and apply it as a deep conditioner.  Cover your hair, leave on for 25 to 30 minutes, rinse.  It can also make your hair shiny and cure dandruff. If you want to use it as a hot oil treatment:

  • Pour 1/2 cup of olive oil into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds, or  place the bottle in heated water for a few minutes until it is warm 
  • Place a towel or cape over your shoulders to protect clothing. 
  • Put a small amount of olive oil in the palm of your hand and massage it into your hair. If you have a dry scalp, massage a small amount into the scalp, as well. If you have oily hair, massage it into your hair, but stay at least 1/2 inch from the scalp. Repeat the process of massaging small amounts at a time into the hair until the hair is entirely covered with olive oil. 
  • Place your hair loosely on your head and cover it with a plastic shower cap. 
  • Relax for at least 30 minutes while the olive oil is treating your hair if you have a hooded dryer you can sit under it for about 15 minutes with the shower cap on. 
  • Rinse with cool water then shampoo your hair with a mild shampoo. Give a light condition with your usual conditioner. Rinse it out completely and continue with your regular after wash routine. You will see that the olive oil treatment makes you hair much softer and much more manageable, as well as gives it some added shine.  This can be done 2 or three times a week.Olive oil can also be applied to hair after leave-in conditioners and moisturizers have been applied.  When applied last it will seal the moisture into your hair.  Sometimes i mix it with castor oil and apply it to my hair after spritzing it with water, it helps to keep my hair moisturized and feeling soft. Many of you may have noticed that there are lots of hair products on the market now that claim to have olive oil in them, make sure you check the ingredients to see how far down the list the olive oil is.  The first 3 or 4 ingredients listed are what the product contains the most of.  Keep this in mind when purchasing any product.  Don’t be fooled by fancy labels!  Some products may boast about containing olive oil and it may be the last ingredient on the list.
  • Olive oil for your nails-Recipe

    To soften, condition and strengthen nails and cuticles.

    •2 tbsp olive oil
    •3 drops of lemon juice
    •Mix ingredients in a bowl, place nails and fingers in the bowl and soak for 5 minutes.  Dry your hands and your done.  Repeat as often as needed.

  • In my opinion

    I really like using olive oil in place of hair grease, its much lighter and doesn’t weigh my hair down.  I have mixed it with my “raw shea butter” along with coconut oil and a few other oils and moisturizers to make a great whipped mixture to use as a styling aid and moisturizer.  I prefer the extra virgin olive oil.  I’ve been using olive oil to cook with for a long time and I don’t miss the other more fatty oils that I used to use.  There are many different kinds of oils that you can cook with that will bring out flavor and aid when frying at high temperatures and are also more healthy for you.  Later I will be doing more posts on other oils that can be used for many uses other than cooking.  Overall I’d give olive oil a thumbs up for all of its benefits.  Thanks for Reading

    Quick Tip:

    Learn your product’s ingredients, if you don’t know what they are are what they do, look them up!  Don’t put things in your hair or on your skin without knowing a little about it first.

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    Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_oil

    www.ehow.com

    Natural Hair Encouragement

     

    Background

    I did my big chop on February 10, 2010 after transitioning for almost 7 months.  I was unaware of how many other woman had decided to go natural and had already started their journey until I came across a video on Youtube while looking for hairstyles.  I saw this woman with long natural hair down her back and she was showing her natural journey, it was amazing!  I watched her cut her relaxed hair off up to about and inch or two of new growth then she showed the progression up to her being natural for one year.  Her hair had grown past her shoulders right before my eyes.  I had already started transitioning when I saw this video, but I had no idea I was about to learn so many new things about my natural hair.  Over the next few months I watched many youtube videos about natural hair and did lots of research on what I should and shouldn’t use.  I found out after doing my big chop that you just have to find out what works for you.  I tried a few products I had heard good reviews about, some of them worked well and others i was not impressed with.  I had originally planned on transitioning for a year, but after seeing so many ladies going for it and chopping off that relaxed hair on camera, it boosted my confidence.  At six months of transitioning my new growth was really showing and it was difficult to continue blending the 2 textures together.  My husband was such a great supporter, he was the one who said, “what are you waiting for, why don’t you just cut it now?”  Knowing that he would still love me and support me even with just a few inches of hair on my head, really gave me that extra boost I needed.

    The Big Chop

    I prepared myself for the big chop, since I went to school for cosmetology, I was able to cut my own hair evenly.  I made sure I had my deep conditioner, leave in conditioner, my shower cap and even some headbands and flowers to accessorize with.  I’ve worn my hair short before, but never as short as I chopped it this time.  I didn’t cry though, once I felt my new hair and how soft it was, I was so happy.  I felt so proud of myself, my heritage, my ‘roots’.  It really was liberating.  When I decided to go natural it wasn’t because I was thinking of going back to my ancestors roots or being afrocentric or militant or anything like that.  I had let my hair grow out a few times before and loved the styles I was able to create, but I just never knew how to manage my natural tresses (they don’t teach you much about ethnic hair in beauty school) and I always ended up going back to a relaxer or texturizer because I didn’t know how to deal with the two textures on my head.  This time I learned some basic tips for managing my natural hair so I was confident when I did the big chop.

    Anticipation

    My hair seemed like it was growing so slow at first, I kept thinking “I’m never gonna be able to wear a ponytail again!”.  My husband would reassure me that it was growing to make me feel better, but I still had a feeling of “what am I gonna do?”.  Sometimes when i wanted to just run out of the house, I would feel the need to hide my hair under a wig or a hat.  Soon I did start to notice growth (thanks to taking pictures every month) and I started trying out different styles.  I learned about protective styles and how important they are to retaining length.  I started seeing my texture better as it grew and was happy to find products that defined my curls and allowed me to wear it in its natural state.  My comments went from “what are you gonna do to it now?” to “ooh how did you get your hair like that?” Next thing I know I was able to get a puff! That became one of my signature styles in the summer.  You can wear a puff up high or down low, off to the side or with bangs, put headbands or barettes to decorate it.  I love my puffs lol.  When I’m not going anywhere and my husband isn’t home, I keep my satin bonnet on most of the day and try to keep it in twists or braids.

    Discovery

    Now at 9 months post big chop I am able to pull my hair into a ponytail (with some help from gel and bobby pins) and I am so excited.  It really just takes patience and knowing how to care for you hair and I believe anyone can see great results.  Once you get past the first stage, if you aren’t used to seeing yourself with short hair, you will be fine.  You can focus on other things like accessories and clothes.  There are actually books about what colors look best on each skin tone and how to bring out your eyes etc.  I would have never stumbled across some of these things if I weren’t on this natural journey. It has made me learn a lot more about myself and things I like.  Trying new things is good and I’ve even started eating healthier.  Having beautiful hair and skin starts from the inside.  It truly is a journey, you have to make pit stops, go through construction, take detours and see some beautiful sites as well.  For me, the natural journey is not just about hair, it’s about my life as whole, it has opened up a new outlook for me; how I look at other people,  I am guilty of looking at someones natural hair in the past and thinking “its time for a perm” or “she got some naps in the kitchen”. I feel shamed that I used to think that way, but part of this journey led me to do research on words used to describe our hair such as, “nappy”, words used to degrade us and make us feel that “our” hair is not pretty or acceptable.  I also looked up information about black woman in the past and present and why so many of us feel that we need to have straight hair to be excepted. There are reasons why we feel that way.  I still like straight hair and I’m not saying everyone with a relaxer only gets it to “fit in”, but a lot of woman don’t even know what their natural hair texture is.  I was one of them!

    Coming to Terms with Myself

    I stopped and asked myself why was i getting relaxers every 3 months, and the answer was, so my “roots” don’t show.  Even after going to school for cosmetology and learning what relaxers and texturizers and colors were made of and what they actually do to our hair, I still continued to get them. WHY?  I finally figured out that I was afraid to let my hair grow out because of what other people would think and how it would make me feel.  To me that was a poor excuse, especially after seeing my hair damaged by a girl down here who said she knew what she was doing (had a license) when she put the last texturizer in my hair and applied it wrong, leaving my hair limp and lifeless.   I decided enough was enough, I haven’t seen my natural hair since I was 6 years old.

    A Beautiful Journey

    Going through the phases to get where you want to be is well worth it.  If you are considering going natural, do a little research, ask some questions and go for it!  You can ask me anything you want.  If you have no desire to let your natural hair grow out, still do some research and find out how to take good care of your hair.  A lot of things I was doing to my relaxed hair were wrong and I never would have known.  Remember, having natural hair doesn’t mean you have to wear it in its natural state all the time and you don’t have to do the big chop if you don’t want to.  I’m so glad i made the decision to go natural. I don’t remember the last time my hair was as healthy as it is now.  I wish I would have done this a long time ago!

    I know this was long but I hope someone has been encouraged and educated. If you would like to share your story of going natural or if you are still transitioning, please send it to me at iprefer2benatural@yahoo.com

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    This is my personal natural hair story in hopes of encouraging others, these are my opinions and experiences and not meant to offend anyone. All are welcome on this site regardless of what your hair condition is, chemically processed or natural.  This blog has many other things to offer that aren’t focused solely on natural hair.

    National Diabetes Month

    November is National Diabetes Month

    Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses food for energy.  With diabetes, the body’s cells cannot use food properly, and the blood glucose (sugar) becomes high.

    Over 20 million people in the US have diabetes, but many cases are preventable with important steps you can take to lower your risk.  I wanted to post some information about this disease to hopefully spark some interest.  Awareness is a crucial key in being able to prevent many diseases.

    There are many complications that come from diabetes and poor blood sugar control. People with diabetes can develop nerve problems, kidney disorders, blindness, and severe infections. They also have a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers, like pancreatic and uterine cancer. Each year almost 200,000 Americans die from diabetes and its complication.

    Who is at risk for diabetes?

    Anyone can develop diabetes, but most people that have diabetes are adults over the age of 40 and the risk increases with age.  African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk of developing diabetes compared to whites.  Also, people who are overweight, inactive, smoke or have family members with diabetes are at higher risk.

    What are the symptoms?

    Some people develop symptoms like strong thirst, increased feelings of hunger, frequent urination and wounds that don’t heal. However, many people with diabetes have no symptoms. That is why screening is important.

    Who should be screened?

    Everyone over the age of 45 should have their blood sugar checked by a doctor at least once every 3 years.  People at higher risk may need to be tested earlier and more often.  Screening is easy with simple blood and urine tests that can have important benefits. If you find out you have the disease, you can take steps to treat it and prevent complications.

    How can you lower your risk of diabetes?

    There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing diabetes:

    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Get regular exercise
    • Don’t smoke
    • Eat a healthy diet that focuses on whole grains and “good” fats (like olive and canola oil)
    • Count your carbohydrate intake (the amount of carbohydrates you eat effects your blood sugar level.  The more carbs you eat, the higher your blood sugar will be.  Some people use carb counting to balance food and insulin keeping their blood sugar in a healthy range)

    To use carb counting you should know:

    1. What foods contain carbs
    2. How much of food is a carbohydrate serving
    3. How to read a food label
    4. How many servings of carbohydrates you should have at meals and snacks

    Diabetes is not curable, but fortunately it is treatable.

    I hope you enjoyed this post, I like to stay up to date on important issues like this.  When I found out this month was National Diabetes Month I knew I wanted to post something about it.  There are people on both sides of my family with this disease.  I have to be especially attentive to the things I can do to prevent it.  Please do some research of your own and learn more about this disease.  Knowing the facts early will aid in prevention, there’s no sense waiting until you are 40 to learn about prevention.  At any age we can all benefit from knowing a little more about diabetes whether it be preventing it or coping and dealing with it.  I’m sure we all know at least one person who has diabetes.  If you can sit down and talk to or call someone you know who has diabetes this month and see if you can learn something new about it.  Feel free to share here in the comments section.

    This blog is not just about hair so stay tuned for more health, fitness and beauty related posts.  Don’t worry the natural hair/healthy hair posts will still keep coming too! 🙂

    I gathered information from these sources:

    http://www.yourdiseaserisk.siteman.wustl.edu

    Natures Place Magazine

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