Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sticks & Stones Can Break My Bones...

...but words can never hurt me.

No...this wasn't going to be a quote from a Rhianna song - sorry to disappoint!

So, the other day, a rather nasty little blog "article" was posted on a junk science site that was claiming to have scientific proof that a particular gender within a particular ethnic group was "scientifically" proven to be considered less attractive than all the other same genders of other ethnic groups in the world. No, I'm not posting the link, because I know junk when I see it. And a scientific article claiming proof with no references to the actual study conducted, the population group queried and so forth is by no means a true scientific article, but an article meant to flame, ignite and piss people off - and all for 15 seconds of fame. The fact that it was created by someone who has a PhD and is also employed by an internationally respected university is equally unfathomable.

Plus, I know when someone's shining me on - so to speak. What scientist posts a "serious article" but fails to provide citable references?! That's rule one of writing any paper whether you're a scientist or a historian. Otherwise, I can go write a paper in the scientific community about how teddy bears are proven to weigh more than the earth...because I polled myself and I thought it sounded "cuddly" enough to believe. This article was nothing more than a grab for attention to probably fund a more ridiculous study to find even more ridiculous results. But I digress, the purpose of this post is the reactions that a lot of people had to the article and the reflection it shows on society at large.

So, on the blog that posted a link to the junk science site (out of outrage - not support) way too many people were replying with comments along the line of "my feelings were really hurt", "I cried when I read this", "this really ruined my day", and "now I'm really depressed". Trust me, I get it! The article was an overdone disrespectful rag that should never have been printed. I found it ridiculous, ignorant and all the negative adjectives that I can think to use to describe it. But ruining my day? Making me cry? Making me depressed? That would make me the EPIC FAIL - even though the author is an EPIC FAIL too.

I guess maybe I already got kicked through the school of hard knocks, but I learned a long time ago to not base my self worth on what others thought of me, but on what I believed myself to be. Seriously, kids can be mean, and I definitely got my share of being told that I wasn't pretty, etc etc. But true confidence and self assuredness comes from within - not from other people telling you what you are. In my opinion, if you're always looking for someone else to confirm that you're pretty, or smart, or whatever - then you're really doing yourself a disservice.

Eventually, in everyone's life, there comes a time where you won't be in agreement with the majority. It could be your viewpoints, it could be because you look different (which was definitely the case with me >_<) or maybe your financial situation in life changes (either up or down) and now you're different from what people consider to be the norm. Not everyone is going to always agree with you or support your choices. So, what are you going to do?! Cry about it? Throw your hands up in frustration and run back to the bed, pull the covers up and call it a day/life?

No. Words and opinions are just that, words and opinions. Only you can give them power by believing them, repeating them to yourself and thereby allowing them to affect your day. And then in that case, said author was are an idiot and less than ideal, because you believed a fool half way around the world rather than the reality that you knew to be the truth.  Maybe I sound harsh, maybe I really did get my ass kicked one too many times (metaphorically speaking) when I was growing up - but I don't wait for other people to define me. I define myself and have no problem emitting the vibe that "this is me, you don't have to like or agree with it, but you do have to respect it". And much like the post I wrote the other week when a commenter mentioned that she purposely filters herself for fear of peer reactions...the reactions to this article equally boggled my mind.

Seriously, I really don't understand how grown people can have their whole day and perspective on life altered by some moron's undocumented comments. "It's not what they call you, it's what you answer to." If you respond with depression, tears and the like to someone calling you ugly, then that means deep down, you kind of agreed with them...and now you're just hurt that someone peeled back the ridiculously thin layer of confidence that you had and exposed your fears to the world.

Which brings me to my final point...society is hypocritical at best and the reactions to this article just highlight that even more. We as a society at large (not just the gender and ethnic group that was singled out in the article) need to do better when it comes to instilling confidence, self awareness and self assuredness in our young people. At least here in the States, we run all these PSA's telling people to be themselves and not cave to peer pressure as it relates to drugs, alcohol and sex. Yet we push homogeny as hard as we can on a conscious and sub conscious level when it comes to being an active member of society, making friends and "fitting in" via media outlets (TV, magazines, music, etc).

You can't have it both ways! You can't say "think for yourself when someone tries to offer you a narcotic, alcoholic beverage or a roll in the hay" but then say "don't stand out too much so that you can make friends and fit in" on the other hand. It's a contradictory message, and if grown people are falling prey to it, how much harder would it be for youth to overcome that struggle?! In short, our general society has a lot of growing and mental reprogramming to do if we're going to eradicate ignorant views while simultaneously instilling confidence in our community.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...

Is a good book...and a quick read!

But actually I felt like I was reading the literary version of Family Guy or How I Met Your Mother. You know what I mean...where the storyline randomly spirals off on a tangent that sort of has nothing to do "technically" with the main plot.

So, I had actually watched the movie many many years ago and for some reason, got into a convo about the movie with my boyfriend last week. On a whim when I was in the bookstore (which is often) I bought it (along with The Girl Who Played With Fire...I know I know, I said I wasn't sure if I was going to read it but I got an insider tip that I I bought it). It literally took me two days to read it because it's hilarious and a fast read.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is actually the first in a series of books by Douglas Adams. And it shows, since the first book literally ends abruptly. Will I read the rest? I seriously doubt it. As much as I found it hilarious, it's like "stream of consciousness" on writing. However, I might read them when taking long transcontinental or international flights. :) Seriously, after 6 doesn't matter what cabin class you take...I'm over it & just want to get back on the ground!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shea Butter Baby!

So, I'm late with this post, because I've been using shea butter for about two weeks now...but wow this stuff is the hotness. And I'm not talking about some sweetly scented concoction that you get from The Beauty Shop or Bath & Body Works. I'm talking about the 100% organic...looks like a weird mass of yellow stuff in the generic tub that you have to mix with something else in order to make it into a useful daily hair moisturizer shea butter.

So, a couple of weeks ago (maybe a month at this point) I ordered a one pound tub (calm down that's really not a lot!) of unrefined raw organic Shea butter from eBay. The joke was on me because I paid for shipping for no reason. After buying it online, I went to my local BSS of choice on 32nd street and saw it there for the same price. So, I could have bought it for $8 instead of $15 (to factor in shipping). Anyway...this stuff is awesome.

Once I created my own concoction by adding Aloe Vera gel, Amla Oil, Almond Oil and a bit of turned into an awesome creamy mixture. And literally I only used less than 1/4th of the shea butter and was able to create enough mixture to fill a separate 1lb container like the one it originally came in. There are a ton of youtube vids on making your own shea butter, and it's fairly simple to do!

With this stuff, a little goes a long way. Unlike the other moisturizers that I had been using where it always felt like I wasn't using enough...I can use a tiny bit, emulsify it (rub it between your hands to turn it into a colorless oil) and it really conditions and adds sheen! I was highly surprised. I'm finally FINALLY getting the moisture that I really more dry hair!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Finally Finished Persuasion!

And it only took me about a year to do it!

Normally I can finish a book within a week to two weeks. Meaning that, during whatever time I'm on the train heading into and out of Manhattan (about 45 minutes each way two to three times a week) I read and any random moments that I have that aren't devoted to work I also read. So, it's a little random when it takes me longer than 2 weeks to finish a book. Persuasion was one of those books.

The funny thing is, it was written by one of my favorite authors, Jane Austen (yes I really do enjoy Jane Austen). But for some reason, Anne, Elizabeth, Captain Wentworth, Mary & Mr. Elliot were just a tad bit dry in the first 50 pages, so I set the book aside. And literally a year later, I finally finished the book. It's a quick read - roughly 270 pages total. And once I finally convinced myself to finish the book, it got pretty juicy.

Is Persuasion a book that everyone will enjoy? Yes, if you love innocent romances - no if you prefer more obvious and less wordy fare. I liked it, but even I have to admit that it isn't exactly excitement from the jump.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Conformity at What Cost?

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."- Dr. Seuss

So,  I'm a huge fan of Curly Nikki - an awesome guide for all curly headed individuals (especially naturals). But Curly Nikki also interjects posts about staying healthy, positive body image and image perception. Today there was a post (which is clickable from my post's title) talking about how black women in particular are perceived through media - especially reality TV. Traditionally, black women are cast in the angry black woman role. You know her, she's the one doing the constant side eye, neck rolling, finger wagging (and/or snapping) and ready to "throw down" at the drop of a dime. In general - usually not a great way to be characterized.

Now, this is not a post about the ills of reality TV. In my opinion, almost no one, regardless of race, gender, age, ethnicity or socio-economic background will walk away with a positive perception from the general public if you're on a reality show. Reality TV is about extremes, and encouraging people to behave badly just for the all mighty Neilson rating score.  My post is from reading a response of a young woman who said (and I'm paraphrasing) because of her fear of being perceived as having all the negative AA stereotypes, she basically lives her life trying to appeal to the masses. Meaning, she goes into stores and is nervous that someone is following her around - so she doesn't really bother to look through the racks unless she plans on buying something. If she's out with friends and someone laughs too loud she shushes them.

My heart goes out to this young woman because think about how much in life she might be ultimately missing out on because she's constantly concerned with how others will perceive her?!

So my question is: At what point is wanting to be liked or seeking approval interfering with your ability to be yourself? Or, more importantly, why are we focusing on what "everyone" thinks instead of the thoughts of the few who actually will have an impact. 

My explanation is below:

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of people being loud and obnoxious just for the sake of it. Nothing irks me more than being stuck on the NYC subway just after the high schools let out - and being forced to hear students (typically minorities) shrieking and hollering at each other just for the sake of hearing their own voices. That to me is extreme ignorance. No, you don't need to whisper, but you don't need to let the entire train car hear your conversation either.

My point is, there's a point where you have to just "do you" and not spend all your time trying to earn approval from people who, for the most part, won't matter. In my opinion, there are two types of people in this world:

1. Those who have stereotypes and are unwilling to change them - even if confronted with proof that their beliefs are wrong.


2. Those who have stereotypes, but when confronted with proof that those beliefs are wrong, are willing to change or at least reconsider their original beliefs.

Everyone has biases or stereotypes. It's a fact of life, we're reared listening to our parents or relatives making statements which will ultimately shape how we view the world. And it isn't until we finally get to meet people through school that we either confirm or disprove the beliefs that we've been taught. On the flip side, as a minority, I definitely had my head filled with the "you have to always be perfect, always be the best, and always be ready to defend yourself (verbally - not physically)" because as a minority - and especially an AA - people would already assume the worst of me.

Have I met people who automatically assumed I was up to no good just because of my skin tone? Sure, but nine times out of ten, those people were never in a position to threaten my hopes, dreams or goals - so there was no need for me to stress myself trying to please them. Hence, the opening quote from Dr. Seuss - who's books are actually quite profound: Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.

All the people who I wasted time as a youngster worrying about whether or not they liked me (just as a person - not even talking about romantically), or if they thought I was pretty enough or worried about whether they thought I wasn't black enough (since apparently I spoke "like a white girl") are not effecting my career and personal goals today. Yet, all the people I deal with today which is literally an international patchwork quilt - don't give a rat's ass about my background but about my ability to perform and make good on the business claims that I make.

It's nothing for me to deal with people from the US, the UK, Israel, Saudi Arabia, India, Japan, China and Korea (and I'm talking about people actually from the region - not ex-pats) on literally a daily basis. And yes, these people all know that I'm a young African American woman. Never once has it prevented me from making strides professionally. But that's also the difference between the business world and the general public. In the business world, you could probably look like the frog prince (prior to getting his kiss) and people would gladly work with you if you have a strong pitch and positive success rate. And that's also the reason I don't waste my time worrying about what the guy/girl next to me on the subway thinks of me.

So, I made this uber long post to say: I don't believe in wasting time worrying about impressions that you might be creating on people who you don't even know or who will probably have no effect on your life. In my opinion, that's no way to live - and ultimately you'll end up missing out on life because you were creating a self imposed filter when it wasn't even necessary. Anyone who's going to think negatively of you just because you giggled a bit too loudly one day or dared to pull a dress off the rack to get a better look at it - aren't the kind of people that you want to be associating with anyway. I'm a big believer in people getting back what they put out. I walk in confidence, and I speak with a self-assuradness (some would say swagger). I put out a personality of "this is me - take me as I am or keep it moving". I'm positive, polite and respectful - but I will never act apologetic for being young, a woman or African American. And as a result, I almost never find myself dealing with someone who's too small minded to get past their personal opinions about me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Random Musings...The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

So, I finished reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo today and honestly, I'm on the fence about whether I want to read the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was a very well written book, definitely kept me hooked and had very believable characters - but I'm not much for dark literature. I like a little mystery and intrigue - and even love a brush up with the wrong side of the law (i.e. fictional stories with mafia backdrops!) but serial killing, depraved behavior and stories that belong on Law & Order SVU aren't really my thing!

I won't get into the details of the plot, but suffice it to say, it takes murder mystery and who-done-it's to a whole new level of craziness. I took the twists and turns that author Stieg Larsson wanted the reader to take...but once it got to the nitty gritty - I was definitely an unwilling participant. But, I can tell why Larsson intended the book to be the beginning of a trilogy.

While all the other characters have traditional character arcs where the individual starts on level 1 and ultimately ends up growing as a person or learns more about themselves through the plot's struggles, the "girl" referenced in the title, Lisbeth Salander, is a character who has minimal growth and movement until the epilogue. At which point, her character which has been emotionally stunted from the jump (someone who's always getting emotionally, physically [and literally in some instances] burned by others whether it's government officials or colleagues), ends up being even more jaded after becoming disillusioned at love.

It almost forces me to believe that if I want to see Lisbeth Salander grow into a complete person rather than a relatively emotionless individual, I'm going to have to read The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest to see if Lisbeth every truly becomes emotionally whole.  The question is if I felt invested enough in part one to take that ride through books two and three to see if Lisbeth Salander ever becomes whole...we shall see!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

So...I Flatironed

Yes...I did it! And what?

I ended up going out last night so I flatironed my hair. But I also rationalized that I wanted to do a length check and it's a little hard to check the length (at least for me) when my hair is in its curly state. So, I did chop off about 4 inches, but my hair is still pretty long. Previously it was mid bust length, now it's about 2 inches below my collar bone.

Although, I jazzed up my straight hair by putting in a few tracks of Kinky Straight which is truly a perfect match to my hair when flatironed (I love length, and I missed the fact that I could have replicated this look entirely on my own - length and all before I cut my hair) and added plaits on the left side...just to create some pop. In total it took me about an hour and a half to flatiron my hair, add in the KS tracks and do the three side plaits.

Will I rock it for long? I give it 'til Tuesday and then I'll probably wash it out. Until then, I'm going to attempt to keep this look without adding any more heat to it. But, the caveat is that I went dancing last night and definitely sweat up a storm. So, my roots are a bit puffy. Thankfully, KS can get that same puffy look it all matches still! ^_^

Edit: I just noticed it but, if you look very closely at the roots on my bangs, you can see the henna hue. it's a very rich dark burgundy color. At first you think it's just the lighting (because this picture was taken with my iPhone4) but it's the actual henna deposit. Compared to the KS which is a jet black shade. The color contrast isn't noticeable in indoor light typically, but in the sun you would notice it.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

To Flatiron or Not To Flatiron...

That IS the question. So, most people who know me know that I change hairstyles like some people change cell phones. Meaning, I change them quite frequently, and it's the reason I'm a huge proponent of extensions and would never swear off of them. Hair is definitely an expression of self and I love to work with texture and color whenever I get the chance. Over the years I've been a blonde, redhead, dual colors, super kinky-curly, spanish wavy, wavy and straight. And I certainly would never have tried to do all of those processes to my real hair - I think if I had, I'd be happy to have 2 strands on my head.

So, when I decided to wear my hair out in it's "natural" texture, I also chose not to do any chemical coloring to it - which I'm definitely sticking to. I prefer to go with henna, the color effect I get from it is extremely subtle, and unlike with box color, I don't have to worry about over processing. Although, the general recommendation is to keep henna paste in your hair for about 3 hours, you could technically keep it in overnight, wash it out and still get the same effects without harming your hair. I'm a firm believer that if I want to experiment with color, I had better head to the BSS or my favorite CV (if you don't know the terminology...don't worry it won't apply to you!) because I'm absolutely not putting a chemical dye in my head.

Fast forward to today, (lol) and I'm super bored with my hair right now. It's just one of those days where I want to do something different with my hair - in fact I'm desperate to do something different to it! I've been doing twist outs for about a month and a half to two months now and it's cute and all...but literally it's the same style over and over again. I think part of it is because normally, I change my hairstyle up about every 3 months or so. And around the 2 month mark of whatever style I'm currently rocking, I'm already contemplating what to try next. I had planned on giving my hair a break (and myself a break from my hair) anyway in the next month or so by doing a shout out to my favorite Chinese vendor and going with a new do. Incidentally, I'm also going to do this because it'll help promote hair growth since my hair grows fastest when it's neatly braided up and undisturbed. Plus, now that I'm about to cut back on my henna routine by half (once a week instead of twice a week), I can leave my hair braided up for most of the week without having to deal with doing the do.

Until then however, I'm super tempted to flatiron my hair (just for today) and do some funky twists on the side a la these pics (taken in January/February of this year). Now, the reason I'm having a dilemma is that when I decided to wear my natural texture, I also promised myself that I would abstain from heat. That meant no flatirons and no blow dryers. Literally for the past 8 weeks or so, whenever I've washed my hair, I dutifully did my twist outs to set it while the hair was wet (which is also why I tend to wash my hair at night and not during the day) and then undid it in the morning to reveal awesome curls. I haven't used heat in two months...and it's not like I'm going through withdrawal or anything over it.

Plus, it's not like I don't practice safe heat when I heat style! I use a heat protectant when I flatiron, use the minimum amount of heat necessary to do the job, do it with a paddle brush to maximize stretch and never pass the flatiron over the same section of hair more than once. The funny thing is, when I mentioned to my boyfriend that I was considering flatironing my hair today, he actually seemed semi disappointed haha! He's used to me changing up my hairstyles all the time, but he really loves my hair in its "natural state" (although I have yet to embrace "wash 'n go's" as I believe I'll get screwed by frizz and shrinkage and the curl pattern towards my scalp is not nearly as well defined as it is in the last 4 to 6 inches of my ends). So, I think I will flatiron - pending whether or not I choose to go out tonight. ^_^

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm So Behind on Henna Apps & Random Musings!

Urghh seriously...the twice weekly henna app deal is getting SUPER old! Thankfully this is the last week for it! I completely skipped out on henna apps last week. Between putting out fires at work and dealing with the mine field that is television licensing, trying to prep for the Easter weekend and still decorating my newly-moved-into apartment, the last thing on my mind was to use two separate days spending nearly 5+ hours doing the "henna-do". Starting next week, I'm down to once a week henna apps! Woohoo! I seriously can't wait! ^_^

So, now I'm sitting here with a head full of henna and 1 more hour to go before I can rinse it out. I must say, as much as I complain about henna days, I would definitely recommend henna treatments for anyone who's looking for a one-stop-shop way of fixing their hair/head woes. Reasons I think henna is useful:

1. It helps to cure dry scalp. Prior to doing henna, I'd always had an issue with dry itchy scalp. I never had it so bad that I would have needed something like Selson Blue or Neutrogena T Gel...but let's just say, there wasn't enough oil or hair grease in the world to keep me from having to scratch my scalp. Fast forward to just two henna apps later, and my scalp has been itch and flake free since the beginning of March! ^_^

2. Less hair shedding. It used to be that whenever I would comb or brush my hair, I would have just a tad bit more than "normal shedding". Not enough to call it hair loss, but enough to feel noticeable. Now I have much less shedding and my hair feels stronger.

3. Thickening. My hair feels much thicker - although I always had thick hair - but it feels even thicker now!

Now for the random musings - although it's really not random, it's about hair; which has been my topic of choice for the past month or so on my blog. Ok so here goes:

So, now that I'm focusing on wearing my hair in its natural state, I'm more aware of this whole "natural vs. processed/relaxed/extensions" feud that's been going on for who knows how long. It's almost impossible to go on a natural hair blog or informational site without having to read through some (at times) very strongly worded posts that practically trash out anyone who considers using any kind of non-natural product to permanently or semi-permanently alter the structure of their hair. o_0

Now technically I'm officially riding the fence on this issue (I did attempt a texlax back in March which didn't take very well so I've since chosen to just work with my "natural texture") but I don't understand why people have to take things to such extremes. In my opinion, hair is a very personal issue - for all women not just African Americans. Although we do tend to get the most visibility in the media for our hair choices, I challenge you to find a woman from any race, ethnicity, etc. who doesn't have some form of hair envy, hang up about her hair, or who does something to their hair to make it slightly different than the way nature intended for her to have.

And although I'm not personally interested in attempting to relax/texlax/texturize or even color my hair with unnatural chemicals anymore, I certainly wouldn't sit in judgement of someone else who chose to use those methods. Everyone has to do what works for them, and their lifestyles. To be honest, I don't think I would have had the time to do twice weekly henna treatments, spend 45 minutes to do twist outs every other night or some of the other things if I was still working a traditional 9 to 5. Where would I have fit it in between getting up at 7am, getting home at 7pm and still trying to have a semblance of "time off" after the work day?

I also have to add that as much as I enjoy this natural progression, even I get tired of hearing naturals "wax poetic" about how simple, easy, quick and "non-challenging" it is to be natural. Please stop telling this lie! Having done both (being relaxed and going natural) I can definitely say that there are pros and cons to both. In fact, every hair style option has its own pros and cons, so it's unrealistic to claim that one is inherently better or easier than the other.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Someone Pour a Shot for My Old Ends...I Trimmed!

*Bloop bloop bloop*...what's that sound? That's the sound of me pouring a shot of some kind of liquor in memory of the 4inches that I trimmed off between Wednesday and Thursday of this week! I couldn't take it anymore. I had awesome S curls going on until you got to the last 4 inches of hair...then it was like my hair just gave up and ended up looking thin and not matter how much I twisted and applied product. Currently, when stretched my hair is between my shoulders and upper bust (like literally in the middle between those two markers) and when curly hits just at the shoulders.

I've also decided that my goal for the next year (April 2012) is to grow 12 inches worth of hair. This is a totally doable goal, since in my hardcore extension days, I can easily grow 2 or more inches of new growth in about 3 months. So, now that I'm on a strict Megatek and Nioxin kick...I'm hoping to make that about 4+ inches in every 3 month period. In reality, 12" of new growth will really only look 8-10" depending on how tightly curled I want my hair to be. So, I'll keep you guys posted, my 4th henna app will be either tomorrow or Sunday, depending on how I'm feeling! ^_^

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Henna App #3 Revisted


So earlier today I put up a post regarding my third henna app - which by the way I finally did! It was my second time using Jamila but this time I added more green tea and a bit of honey. The application process was way better than last time when I didn't add enough liquid to the henna powder when making the paste.  This time I also wore gloves while rinsing it out - because I'm tired of getting orange tinted finger nails (so not hot -_-).

My hair has an even deeper burgundy tint to it (which is an awesome side effect but not the goal of my henna regimen) and I am actually starting to see some release of the curl pattern near the roots (which was something that I really wanted in addition to the softening and moisturizing effects of henna). My next app is going to probably on Friday.

As promised, I have some pics regarding the henna, my twist outs and the other style I mentioned in the earlier post (the one that fell flat a few hours later :-/):

Jamila henna in my designated
henna container!
Henna paste after the dye release (this is Jamila henna). I do a quick henna paste method by using warm green tea to help the dye release. I also add a little bit of pure lemon juice, honey, amla oil, almond oil, and pure almond oil extract (that's for the smell - I LOVE scent of pure almond oil). You can henna instantly if you use heated water versus using just lemon juice alone - which requires that you let the henna sit for at least 3 hours to fully release the dye.

Twist out & curler method
I saw on
And this is the twist and curl method that I attempted over the weekend. It was cute, but unlike my usual twist outs that last for three days, this one barely made it through the afternoon. Kind of a fail...but maybe I'll try it again later with different holding products. I'm really trying to focus on using as many natural or non-alcohol containing products as possible.


I forgot to add, this is the Megatek I'm always referring to! You can buy it on Amazon for about $30 a bottle. You can use it as much or as little as's up to you!

My 3rd Henna App is Today!

So, obviously it's not Friday. I got so lazy last week and had no interest in doing a henna app this past weekend. I love henna, but it is a tad bit time consuming...I've gone to fast tracking my henna paste by using hot green tea as the dye release activator - which also removes the 3 hours of waiting for the dye to release. But it's still time consuming - applying takes about 20 - 30 minutes. Then there's the minimum of three hours to let it work in the hair, followed by an hour of rinsing and 45 minutes of twisting my hair up.

I like the henna results, but the process is a bit much. I've decided that I'm only doing twice weekly henna apps for April, and then starting in May I'm backing it down to once a week. Originally I had thought I would do twice a week apps for April and May...haha how naive I was! June will be two apps for the entire month and by July, I'll only be doing henna once a month. Again, it's not the cost, because for $3.99 a box, it's definitely worth it. But a henna day means I can't leave the house and I have to work conference calls and work around the henna rather than the other way around. o_0

A few people have asked me how I learned about henna so I'm giving credit where credit's due! I'm not a magical know it all who just randomly got the idea to henna. I strongly suggest that someone thinking of taking a dip in the henna pool checks out the following resources: (seriously a treasure trove of info and a place where you can buy henna if there are not BAQ henna suppliers in your area) (awesome for African Americans looking for information on maintaining natural or very curly hair. Curly Nikki also talks about henna quite a bit as she's a serious henna head!) (I used to be seriously addicted to this site when I was wearing my extensions more regularly however they have hair care forums that cover everything from natural to texturized to weaves to full lace wigs. If you're an African American woman - or even just someone who wants to learn about hair in general - I highly recommend this site.)
Youtube! (seriously...if you want step by step directions, this is the spot. There are a lot of vloggers on there who will show you how to make henna, apply it, and different styling options for people with natural hair. All you have to do is search!)

So, I'll try to update this post or just make a new one later with updates on my hair (pictures). I took a couple over the weekend, since my hair was looking super cute - I tried a new twist/setting option. It looked really cute but didn't last after a few hours (womp womp) so I won't be making it my go style...but for "once in a while", it's a good alternative!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

To Trim or Not to Trim...That is The Question

Sorry Shakespeare for hijacking one of your more famous quotes...but it had to be done.

So, let's do an update on the hair journey. This week I switched from Mehendi to Jamila henna - HUGE DIFFERENCE. Jamila henna was a lot smoother in terms of mixing and putting into my hair. Although I don't think I added enough liquid since during the application it was chunking up and sounding like hard bricks hitting the counter. o_0 However, the wash out was still an issue. I definitely still have henna in my hair and am considering doing a shampoo tomorrow to remove it (although at this point I might as well wait til Sunday since Friday is my next scheduled henna app).  Also, the color I'm getting from the Jamila is absolutely gorgeous! It's a nice tint of burgundy which in the sunlight is amazing. I think this is actually because the Mehendi gave me a sandy brown tint and then the Jamila had a lot truer shade of red, so it ended up depositing as a darker stain on top of the Mehendi. Hopefully, I'll start to see these softening "baby doll" results after henna app #3 on Friday.

I tried a new twisting method last night which gave me much more consistent results. Normally, I do between 12 to 13 two-strand twists all over doing it in the french braid style (gathering up hair as you go instead of two full twists all the way down). I do four in the bottom back, two in the middle back and anywhere from five to seven for the remaining hair depending on how committed I'm feeling.  Typically I was creating the twists starting from the front hairline and working my way to the crown/mid ear area. Well normally the middle back had the best volume and the front twists ended up being a variety of sizes for the individual strands (I know, I need to post pics but I get lazy!). So, last night I decided to part the front section down the middle of my scalp and do three twists going vertically on each side of my head. MUCH BETTER. The waves were a lot more uniform in size so...go me!

So, I definitely mentioned it before that I still had some old relaxed ends from my hardcore relaxer days...about 6 to 8 inches. I was checking out my hair this afternoon and the majority of my hair looks super thick and healthy - with the exception of about 4 inches of old relaxed ends. It just looks thin and tends to frizz. I'm definitely debating doing a trim...or in this case a cut; since IMO cutting off anything over an inch is beyond the "trim zone". I'm 75% leaning towards doing it since it just looks super thin and detracts from the thickness. We'll see what happens after henna app #3 later this week. Although, I'm 90% sure that even with the softening/thickening results...the ends are still going to look busted. So, more than likely, I'll be trimming/cutting over the weekend. This means my 14/15 inch length hair (around the top of my bust area) will now be 10/11 inches. But I'd rather have healthy hair than length that looks scraggly!

Still on my Nioxin and Megatek (I'll take a pic of Megatek later) kick - although I haven't megateked this week. Normally I only MT immediately after I wash my hair (so about 2x a week) but this week I've been distracted and I only washed my hair on Monday when I did my 2nd henna app. Hopefully I'll remember to do it on Friday! Nioxin is a daily multi-vitamin supplement, reviews state that people actually manage to grow about an inch of hair a month versus the average half inch. I definitely think that it's working. Although I can't tell directly in my hair, my nails are growing super fast - and Nioxin is meant to aid nail/hair growth as well as help to keep your skin supple. I've only been using Nioxin for about a week and a half (right after St. Patrick's day) and already I've had to trim my nails twice - which is a good sign IMO. I keep my nails short since I do a lot of typing and don't have the patience for long nails.

Will definitely keep you guys posted with my results! ^_^

Monday, March 28, 2011

Another Dip Into Henna Land

Okay, so last Thursday I did my first henna application - and as many other reviewers had mentioned, the first time you henna, it's not really anything to write home about. On my first day post henna, my hair was a tad dry - but I expected that based on all the research that I had done about it.

Hesh Mehindi & 2 oils I add to my henna
paste: Amla & Almond Oils
Last time, I used Hesh Mehendi henna. After I fully rinsed the henna out, I could already tell that my hair was definitely lighter - even in indoor light. It was the one side effect I wasn't expecting to have instant effects. The goal with my henna treatments is to achieve stronger, thicker, softer and more moisture rich hair - in addition to loosening my curl pattern without using harsh chemicals.

As an FYI, if you're considering doing the jump into the henna pool because of all of the benefits that I mentioned earlier, do make sure that you use only body art quality henna. Body art quality henna doesn't come in a variety of hues. if you want to make your hair lighter or darker, you have to alter it with other natural dyes like indigo, cassia, etc. So, if you go into a store and ask for henna, and they reply with "which color would you like"...walk right back out. That henna has been altered and contains just as many chemicals as regular hair dye. The point of henna is that the color (if you're solely using it for color) enhances the more you henna. But since it's all natural, there's no danger in over processing. The more you henna, the stronger a red hue that you'll achieve, depending on your starting color.

Now, back to me. Like I said, the first time I henna'd I had immediate color results. My hair had an interesting and notable brown hue to it, but that later mellowed out by Sunday (which is also to be expected). But my goal is thickness, curl loosening, moisture retention and softening of my hair. Finally today, I noticed that my hair was a lot moister! I usually twist my hair with a combo of Cantu's leave in shea moisturizer and a few drops of castor oil (per twist). Sometimes it came out pretty well moisturized, and sometimes it wasn't quite as successful. Well this morning, when I untwisted my hair, I could clearly see a nice sheen to my hair - something which was sometimes elusive for me!

Today, I switched it up and decided to henna my hair with Jamila. Now, to explain:

Last week I used the Mehendi, and although I think it does work well, it was super gritty. After doing some research, it seemed like the general consensus was that Mehendi was a good henna to use - if you didn't mind spending an hour washing the grit out of your hair. And seriously...that's probably the only thing I don't like about it. I first dunked my head in a tub full of water to get the majority of the visible henna paste out of my hair. Then I literally spent about 30 minutes in the shower doing a co-wash. After rinsing so long that I became prune-y and the water was running clear from my hair, I did my usual twist out.

Well, fast forward to every day that I twisted or combed my hair between Thursday and Sunday evening - and every time I touched my hair, henna flakes were coming out. o_0 REALLY GROSS! If I rubbed my scalp - henna flakes, if I twisted my hair - henna flakes (which also left henna flakes in my shea butter conditioner o_0 skeeve). Based on reviews, Mehendi doesn't sift their henna powder as finely as some of the other higher quality BAQ henna brands. So in addition to getting the ground down henna leaves (which is all henna powder is) you also get stems and any other random dirt particles that made it through the sifter.

So today, I made a henna paste using 3 boxes of Jamila henna. Instead of doing the regular "slow release" henna paste method (it takes about 10 minutes to mix but a minimum of 3 hours for the dye to release), I chose to use 2.5 cups of heated green tea to help make the dye release faster and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Already, I can say that the Jamila was less clumpy when I poured the powder into my designated "henna bowl".  So, now I'm letting the henna sit on my hair and am about to rinse it out in 30 minutes. I'm definitely hoping that it rinses out easier than the Mehendi.

Will keep you posted!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Forray Into Henna Land...and a BzzAgent Review


So, I posted last week that I had decided to try to wear my hair out curly and to also work to help grow out my hair better. As a recap, my hair in it's naturally curly state is shoulder length, but when stretched it reaches somewhere between just below my shoulder blades and my back bra strap. The goal for me is about increasing growth but also infusing moisture, stronger strands and thicker hair. Last week, I attempted a texlax (a mildly reduced relaxer) and the results weren't really all that great. I ended up with less tangling, but it did nothing to make the virgin portion of my hair mimic the curl pattern that was going on in the old relaxed ends of my hair...kind of a womp-womp. -_- I think the culprit was a too weak relaxer - I used Hawaiian Silky in mild and then cut it with olive oil as instructions dictated...clearly my hair needed something stronger than "mild"

I was tempted to retry the texlax after a couple of deep conditioning treatments, but thought better of it. Not that I'm against using relaxers, but I didn't want to burn my hair off! So, I went back to researching online and saw that a lot of people used henna as an alternative to chemical methods to loosen curls and infuse strength. Additionally, I noticed that a lot of people who were able to achieve strong, healthy and faster growing hair with vitamins. After even more research, I decided on the following:

Started taking Nioxin's "Intensive Therapy Recharging Complex" multi vitamins: online testimonials all stated that it takes at least a month of consistent use to see results, so I'm only a week in...I'll let you know how it goes in late April.

Twice weekly deep conditioning treatments using an olive oil hair cholesterol followed by Megatek (another follicle infuser and rebuilder). Megatek is actually a crossover product which was initially created to help horses grow stronger manes and tails, but also has been proven to work for humans as well. I'm actually a huge fan of Megatek - I've been using it for two years and a lot of the growth and strengthening of my edges is definitely because of Megatek.

And now, I'm doing a twice a week henna application. I use body art quality henna which is 100% pure Lawsome with no fillers or metallics included in it. Pure henna has been proven to strengthen hair, thicken the strands and soften hair - in addition to naturally dying the hair without damaging it. Typically those results take about 4 to 5 consecutive henna applications to see the results. What's awesome about it (based on the research and reviews I've done) is that it works cumulatively - so the more you henna, the better your hair will be. Henna's fairly cheap too..I bought 4 boxes at roughly $4 a box. But depending on where you are in the world, you can find 100% pure henna for as cheap as $2 a box. This also makes it a really affordable option for people interested in henna but afraid that it would be too expensive with the upkeep. Just note that depending on the length of your hair you might need more than one box. One box equals roughly 100g which is enough for short short hair. Considering that my hair is shoulder length in its natural state but below the shoulder blades when stretched (and that you're supposed to thickly coat your hair when applying the henna) I ended up needing to use 3 boxes.

Anyway the one thing I learned about henna is, results will vary based on your own hair's chemistry. For example, normally for African Americans who are using pure henna on non-chemically dyed hair, there are no noticeable color change results when indoors (in other words, you have to be outside to see the tint effects that are clearly visible on lighter hair). Soooo not true for me. My hair is definitely a lighter brown, and I had always thought that my hair was super close to being almost black - like a very dark off black...not so anymore. It's cool, I'm not upset, but color was the most unimportant aspect of henna for me. So, now I'm going to try to maintain this henna regimen of a twice a week application for at least two months and then begin to taper off to the point where I'm only henna'ing my hair once a month.

Now...for the BzzAgent Review:

I'm currently doing the SC Johnson Smart & Easy Spring Cleaning which is where I was given a bunch of cleaning products from Scrubbing Bubbles and Pledge in addition to fragrances from Glade. If you don't know BzzAgent is a company that offers consumers free products in exchange for spreading the word about how we felt the products actually worked. So, after doing my massive henna routine today, let's just say that the bathroom was a bit messy. Although I was able to contain a majority of the henna splash back when I rinsed it out, there was still a kind of gross ring in the tub and in the sink.

It was the perfect excuse for me to use the Scrubbing Bubbles Foaming Bath spray which is intended to keep the shower (or whatever surface you use it on) clean for up to 4 days. The concept is that as water washes over the surfaces, the "invisible barrier" is activated to keep the surface clean. And, I must admit, it was pretty easy to use. After trying to rinse as much of the henna off as I possibly could, I shook the can of Scrubbing Bubbles Foaming Bath Spray and then sprayed an even coating over the entire tub and on parts of the shower walls and the bathroom sink (which also took some battle damage from the henna). I waited the requested 3 minutes and then rinsed everything with water (thankfully we have a detachable shower head so a lot of this process became much easier). Now my tub and sink are spotless. So, would I buy Scrubbing Bubbles Foaming Bath Spray? Yes I would, I'm not the world's most amazing house keeper, so anything that keeps me from actually having to scrub the tub myself and/or give myself back pain in the process is a must have. ^_^

SC Johnson Smart and Easy Spring Cleaning

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Things I've Learned Since Living In New York

It's always great to be able to do a bit of reflection every now and again. And today, as I sat on the 2 train heading uptown to my home in the Bronx, I reflected on a few random nuggets of knowledge (some street smarts and others just random things) that I've learned since moving here. Technically speaking, I've been in the area since 2002 although I was commuting in from NJ (yes I bridge & tunnel). But officially I moved into NYC in 2007. So, now that I'm entering my 4th year of NYC living, without further adieu, here are a few things that I've learned thanks to living in NYC:

1. New Yorkers aren't rude: 

It's a common misconception the rest of the world is taught, that New Yorkers are inherently rude. No, we're (and yes, after almost 10 years in and around the city and 4 years of living here, I feel I can consider myself a New Yorker) not rude, we're just very direct. In a city that has a lot going on and very tough competition for every industry imaginable, attention spans, free time and availability are at a premium. Whether you're vying for a job interview or even a date, you need to get to the point and ASAP. Hemming, hawing and stumbling all over yourself will only get you ignored here!

2. Saying you're from New York = instant street credit worldwide

Seriously...the minute you say you're from New York (unless you clarify to say that you're from "Upstate" and not the 5 boroughs) people automatically consider you cooler by default. Whether you're talking to someone from the 50 states or someone in another country, New York = awesomeness.

**There is a caveat to this: Saying you're from NY can also backfire in the States. Being that I'm originally from Indiana, I do know that many other people in the rest of the country think that New Yorkers think that they're better than everyone else in the country. New Yorkers do have a tendency to act as if the part of the country between NYC and LA is barren with nothing in between. Hence, a lot of people in other states tend to find New Yorkers pretentious...use caution when repping NYC in the'll usually get a mixed bag of responses.

3. When getting hit on by dudes, it's almost a 95% failsafe that saying you're from the Bronx will make them leave you alone. 

This one needs a bit of explaining but generally is true and works whether I'm talking to someone from the 5 boroughs (except the Bx) or someone from another place:

First of all, for better or worse, the Bronx has a reputation for being a little "rough around the edges" from the 70s - 90s period where the Bronx had a lot of negative things going on (drugs, buildings being burned for insurance money & a general decline in NYC). So, even though today much of the Bronx is safe, there are still some very rough parts (Soundview, Edenwald, etc) and unfortunately the rough parts are what people remember.

Second, by default since the Bronx is considered rough, people who live there are often typecast as being equally rough. So, when you say "I'm from the Bronx" some guys might think a Bronx girl = crazy biotch. And the next thought might be: "If I break up with this chick she might pull a 'Waiting to Exhale' AND bring her crazy relatives to come get me too!" (Seriously, I've heard it happen so even though it's a crazy assumption - it isn't entirely unbelievable.)

Third, even for a New Yorker, the Bronx can be intimidating and/or unappealing if you're not from there. It's very common for people to only stick to their borough + Manhattan. So, if you're talking to someone from Brooklyn and you tell them you're from the Bronx, more than likely they'll think you live too far away - and they wouldn't be wrong. With the exception of my annual pilgrimage to Coney Island (the very end of Brooklyn on the very last stop on the D train) I don't venture into Brooklyn very often because it usually means a nearly 2 hour ride from my house (the NE Bronx practically kissing Westchester county near the end of the 2 train). I might like you, but I doubt I'll want to ride almost 2 hours in each direction to see you.

Saying you're from the Bronx works best when you find out where they're from first and when dealing with corn balls - especially in other countries. It's the perfect line every time I go to Tokyo and random guys (both Japanese and from the nearby US military base) try to hit on me at the clubs. For maximum effect, you need to say it with a straight/slightly bitchy face. If you say it but you're still smiling and giggling like a teenager then you're wasting your time.

Note: Saying you're from the Bronx to someone who's also from the Bronx has no effect unless you mention a particularly rough neighborhood and they happen to not be cool in that neighborhood. So, in this situation, you're assed out. Suck it up and find a way to evade him.

4. People rep their borough so don't disrespect their borough unless you really do want a fight. 

Seriously, I've never lived somewhere where the borough someone lived in meant as much to them as a member of their family. With the exception of Staten Island (sorry but everyone I know who lives in SI says it slightly apologetically?!) everyone takes pride in their borough. And I must say, now that I live in NYC - and the Bronx in particular - I have to agree. I like my area, I love the fact that it has diversity and true character & personality. Never tell someone that their general hood is a hot mess unless you want to get into an argument - with Brooklyn people being the most likely to get bent out of shape. Nothing starts fights quicker than telling someone from Brooklyn that their borough sucks. o_0

5. If you can live & work in NYC, then you truly can make it the world. 

It's a much overused cliche but it's so true. Coming from the Midwest and then forcing myself to get up to speed in New York was definitely a huge hurdle to overcome. NYC will definitely show you what you're made of, you'll learn to think on your feet or fail miserably. It's expensive as heck to live here, the competition for everything (jobs, living spaces, and relationships) is FIERCE, and you always have to come with your "A Game". So, if you can do it and still keep your sanity and manage to come out somewhat successful, then you deserve to gloat in that success.

Cue Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" and then transition into Jay Z's "Empire State of Mind". ^_^

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Battle of the Curl - Curly, Natural, Straight...Tired of Fighting It!

A woman's hair is her crown...I don't know who said this but never have more truer words been spoken. There are more products on the market to make a woman's hair shinier, bouncy, change the color, lengthen, fluff, tease and do any other form of manipulation than any other product category that I can think of at the moment. And, in the African American community, never were truer words spoken. A lot of importance is put on hair - for a variety of reasons - many of which I'm not going to get into. I for one have never been one of those people who thought that there was a direct link between an AA woman's hair and the rise or fall of the strength of the AA community. So, if you thought that this was one of those posts, sorry to disappoint you. If my choosing to wear extensions or relaxed hair or natural hair keeps you from going to college then it's more a sign of your lack of focus than my choice in hair styles.

Anywho, it seems like my hair journey began when I was little. Pictures of me as an infant show me with these really awesome almost silky looking corkscrew curls (unfortunately I don't have any of those pics on hand - but take my word for it!). Fast forward to when I was 2 and the silky curls turned to the traditional afro puffs that most AA little girls rock until they're at least four or five. And then somewhere around there, my hair went from being somewhat manageable to being something of a nightmare for my mother to deal with in its natural state. My theory: my 1c/2c baby hair came into its own and turned into a 3c/4a even pushing 4b combo that was a bit more resilient to baby oil and a spritz of water.

So, then we transitioned into the relaxer years (although back then it was always just called a perm even though that was technically an incorrect term). The relaxer years took me from about the age of 5 up to my early twenties. I really didn't know much about my hair growing up except that I always remember it being referred to as the "not so easy hair to manage". It wasn't necessarily bad hair, but I definitely remember my mom saying that I inherited my Nana's (my great grandmother) coarse hair. The regimen was usually just relax it every 6 to 8 weeks and then press it straight. Braids were the normal fare in elementary school, followed by overnight roller sets in middle school and high school was a mix of roller sets and curling irons.

By high school, I was pretty well conditioned to believe that my hair was the kind that didn't do much growing, was the most difficult of AA textures to maintain and should never be seen without the world's strongest relaxer on it. I definitely bought into the theory - once college began I chose to get my hair braided rather than deal with my actual texture (on fear that I wouldn't find a good stylist in a decent radius of the school). College turned to post college and I had switched from micro braids to sew in extensions because they took much less time to install (3-4hrs vs 7-9hrs for braids!).

This is around the time that I also stopped relaxing my hair (circa 2004). In my opinion - if I wasn't wearing my hair out there was no real purpose for me to relax the hair - which honestly makes a ton of sense. Why create an extra step if you really don't have to right? This is also around the time that I would tell my stylist to go ahead and cut my hair if necessary to braid it down because I wasn't wearing it out anyway. Well, fast forward to about 2007 and I decided that I would try and grow my hair out and one day start wearing it on the regular again. What prompted this? Seeing all the length that I was gaining between sew ins. My hair had gone from barely just above shoulder length and being thin and scraggly to being in the shoulder blade area. And, it wasn't gross and stringy but was actually quite thick. At the time I still wasn't ready to wear it out, but I was interested in making the effort to grow it out.

Fast forward again to 2010 and during one of my take down processes (removing a sew-in for you hair novices out there) I realized that my hair was now reaching BSL (bra strap length - referring to the back bra strap)! Literally the longest my hair has ever been! And it was healthy, full - but really coarse (or so I thought). I still wasn't interested in going back to relaxers just because I had this concept that relaxers are inherently bad for you based on my experiences growing up. Thinking back I think it was more of a poor hair care routine, stress and probably not the world's greatest diet that had more to do with that than with the relaxer itself (although looking back, my mom's relaxer application methods are definitely not orthodox - putting relaxer on all hair, not just the new growth).

My hair flatironed Jan '11
Shift to January of this year and I decided to actually take my hair out for a test drive. So, while I was washing my hair, I realized that I had these awesome corkscrew curls throughout my hair. However, when it air dried, the top 6-8 inches of my hair experienced a ton of shrinkage because those inches were all virgin/unrelaxed hair. The bottom 6 - 8 inches maintained their cute corkscrew curls without the shrinkage issues because it was the old relaxed hair that had grown out. Technically, I guess, I'm only half natural. I'm not one of those people who felt like doing a big chop, nor am I one of those people who gets a high from telling people that they're "all natural" - seriously I have bigger concerns in my life than whether or not other people think my hair is really all mine/unaltered by chemicals etc. So, since I couldn't control the curl pattern on the virgin portion of my hair, I ended up straightening everything just to keep some uniformity and because I really wanted to get a look at the length that I had achieved.

Braid out & pinned back
The drawback of trying to wear your hair straight when you're natural is that any little bit of humidity would make the hair poof a bit at the roots - meaning I had to flatiron the hair again to achieve the straightness that would last longer on the relaxed ends. I didn't flatiron all the time, but even I knew that all the length I had achieved I was jeopardizing by flatironing my hair even on a weekly basis. So, for the past week or so, I've been considering alternative methods - and I only had a few options. I could attempt to really embrace my two textured hair (virgin vs. relaxed ends) - but considering that I'd been doing that for the past two and a half months with no luck, I wasn't really taking that option seriously. I could just go back to extensions, keep my hair braided down - problem solved, but not really what I wanted to do. Or, I could put in a texlax, an under processed relaxer that doesn't actually straighten the hair but loosens the curl pattern and somewhat alleviating the shrinkage issue.

Relaxed ends curl pattern
Well, after seeing the super cute curls on my older relaxed ends that I've spent lots of money on to recreate via extensions, and doing a ton of research I opted for the texlax. The reality is the Dorian today isn't the same Dorian who had no clue about proper hair maintenance, relaxer applications and the like. So, tomorrow I begin yet another phase of my hair life and enter the world of texlaxing. And before the natural heads come in and circle the wagons...I think being natural is awesome, but for me it was really an unrealistic option. My natural curl pattern is a mix of 3c and 4a. And it creates gorgeous curls when wet - but when it starts to dry, the curls tighten into something unrecognizable where I can't even comb the virgin hair without wetting it down first. That's just way too much work for me to put into having "natural" hair. I'm a busy chick, I run my own company, I'm always on the go. I DO NOT want to spend all day in front of the mirror - that's why I switched to extensions for so long!!

I'll try to actually document the hair journey via pictures when I remember to do so - I would say that I'd post videos - but I'm not quite that committed to the cause. Anywho, I'll try to keep this updated, but my ultimate goals are gorgeous curls and super healthy, strong and growing hair. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Ode to My Pet Peeve - Improper Word Usage!


This is a short but sweet post. I've been trolling Daily Dawdle for the past hour and managed to come across this great little English grammar illustration. There are tons of words in the English language that act like a mine field...waiting for you to misuse them just so you can look a little ignorant in front of your friends, colleagues and family. So...many of my pet peeves of misused words are on this little drawing.

Enjoy and please share with as many people as possible! Little by little...we can get rid of the ridiculous amount of glaring usage errors that are happening across America! ^_^

My New Fave iPhone App - Words With Friends


This is by no means a "new to market" app...but I felt the need to discuss it! For the past month or so, I've been hooked on Words With Friends - a Scrabble-esque app that allows you to play an extended game of word generation with known or unknown opponents around the world. So, if you didn't know already, I'm a huge fan of the Milton-Bradley "Scrabble" game...but "Words With Friends" is Scrabble-x-10!

Instead of having to totally concentrate on the game for two to three hours at a time, I can play at my leisure. Literally every day I find myself checking in to see if my various opponents have created impossible to beat words. So far, I've beaten as many people as I've lost to...and in some cases I'm playing my actual friends in real life - which always makes things a bit more interesting!

**Note: I downloaded the "Words With Friends" free I see ads everytime I make a move...but it's worth it to me. I think the "ad free" version retails for roughly $2.99. These are iTunes I can't vouch for the prices on the Android store!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Relationship What Point is Money a Taboo?! it's been a long time...I shouldn't have left you! (couldn't resist the Aaliyah song reference).

But in all seriousness, it has been farrrrrr too long, but I've been super busy. However, I'm back now with a relationship question and I'd love to get some feedback on it!

So, I was on a forum earlier tonight and a guy (we'll call him Mr. X) mentioned that he has a $20 spending cap for first dates. He doesn't feel like it's necessary to spend money, and first dates only consist of walks through parks, visiting museums (if free) and taking them to Subway for meals. Basically, he's been burned enough by gold diggers that he know forces all women to pass the first date test (although the spending limit extends well into the 3rd, 4th and 5th date). And to add to this, he hadn't met a girl yet who made him feel like she was worth breaking his $20 test formula. Errmmmm...yeah I know! Anyway this is the question:

Should first date spending caps be implemented? Should a woman be frowned upon for not accepting a cap as low as $20 for a first date? And is it possible that Mr. X has as much to do with the kind of woman he's attracting as much as the woman is responsible for her behavior on a date?

I preface this by saying, no woman should force a guy to pay top dollar just to prove a point. Ordering the lobster at market value, the best champaign just because, and dragging a man to the mall to take you shopping are all signs of gold diggery that are not acceptable. Gold diggers (much like bad boys) create bitter jaded men and make the rest of us struggle that much harder to break through a guy's outer shell to get to the warm fuzzy center. I'd also like to know in what city you can have a date for $20 that covers food and activities?!

But on the flip side, no one should create a test formula that's set up to make the respondent (date) fail. In my opinion, a $20 budget test is really a waste of time for both parties. Time is the one thing that none of us can get back. I think my time is pretty valuable, and I would hope that if I was single, the guy who asked me out would already know in advance if they wanted to spend any kind of one-on-one time with me before asking me out on a date. Walks in the park and free museum nights are great for an occasional break from the routine...but if every date is a trip to cheapskate world...let's just say it won't take long for a woman to pick up on it.

If you're spending all of your time focusing on a mental obstacle course (via the $20 cap) then you're not focusing on getting to know the person that you're dating. You're so focused on proving that a cliche (the gold digger) is true that you miss the opportunity to get to know what makes your date unique and interesting. Which segues into my next point...

Maybe you need to re-evaluate your criteria for asking a woman out on a date if you find yourself always dating gold diggers that force you to implement a budget test. Much like a woman who complains about dating "no good hood dudes" but only replies to the guy hanging on the corner...I feel like this guy is attracting and interacting primarily with women who are less than ideal. We're told that there's two sides to every the blame can't rest entirely on the woman's shoulders!

But now you know my view...I'm definitely interested in hearing your take on the topic!