Author Archives: Skills

In the Blink of an Eye …

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Just posting this quick baby update from my cell and the WP app before heading out to lunch with the fam to meet friends! Hope it doesn’t look crazy as this is my first time trying this!! 

“Hi!!”

Here We Go … Again!

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And so it begins. Post C-section Project Slim Down, that is. My doctor cleared me to start walking 4 weeks ago as I wanted to start 3 days after I got out of the hospital. However, I never actually got around to it. And, I don’t have any excuse since Pops Wei is at home helping, he takes night shift so that I get plenty of sleep, AND we have an angel baby who sleeps 1-2 hour stretches easy. However, I’m not beating myself up because … ya know … new baby. LOL! I know that there is still a new, dependent little person in the house and a new routine is needed. And, since hers is the most important, everything else needs to be worked around it.

All that being said, it is definitely time to start getting it together as I’ve putting weight on after having dropped all but 3 of the 25-26 pounds I gained. In full disclosure, I’ve also been eating horribly, so I’m up 10 pounds from my weight prior to pregnancy. My current weight is 147 lbs at 5’1″.

So, at my 6 week post-op appointment yesterday, I got the all clear to resume working out, albiet with the caveat that I need to start slowly.

My goal is to get at least 10 minutes of exercise daily, to regain my fitness and flexibility levels, and to get rid of the excess weight, of course. Hopefully, this stomach and back fat will go as I’ve never carried too much weight in my upper body (I’ve also been wearing a Bellefit corset and lubricating my stomach daily as I know the skin and abs needs assistance retracting).

That being said, today was Day 1 of another 10 Minutes A Day for 28 Days of Fitness! How apropos that my starting weight is only one pound less than it was when I did this in 2013 and turned it into 365 Days of Fitness. Hence the title of this post, “Here We Go…Again!”

Lata Gatas!

Sips Tea …

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This was shared with me on Instagram and now I’m paying it forward. At the Oscars on Sunday, Giuliana Rancic of Fashion Police said of Zendaya Coleman’s red carpet look, “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil and weed.” Zendaya was elegantly adorned and wearing faux locs.

Well done Zendaya. Well done.

A Moment in Time

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Hi y’all. Just popping in for a quick minute to let you know that baby girl is a month old now and doing very well! She is such a sweet, easy-going baby and we are so in love. Of course, it’s all about her right now. Eat, sleep, change and repeat. Man, everyone told us that we would need a ton of diapers, but I don’t think anyone explained the collateral damage diapers!! You know, the ones that never actually make it ON the baby because they are getting dirty catching stuff coming OUT of the baby WHILE you are changing the baby. Man … a case of 100+ diapers gone in less than 2 weeks?!?! What the … what?? LOL! But, it’s all good as she’s so worth it. Of course, this laid back demeanor is possible because baby girl is such an angel and Mommy is getting PLENTY of sleep as Pops started taking the night shift at 2 weeks (but think we need to switch off sometimes so Pops can get some quality daylight time).

Okay, gotta go! But, before I do, here are a couple of pics from our newborn photo shoot! Can’t share them all yet as the baby announcements haven’t been sent. But, once they are, I’ll post more!

Lata Gatas!

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Welcome Wyntr Abrihet!!

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WyntrDay4by Shelli and Weusi

The world’s newest superhero is here …

At 9:11 am on Friday, January 16th, the worlds newest superhero emerged to bless the planet in the form of the daughter of Shelli and Weusi. Her super powers have not yet been revealed, but her eyes seem to be hinting at something extraordinary!

Her bio …

  • First Name: Wyntr
    • a “W” name like her Pops
  • Middle Name: Abrihet
    • pronounced: Ah-bri-Het
    • origin: Ethiopian
    • meaning: “She Shines”
  • Weight: 6 lbs 1 oz
  • Length: 18″
  • Eye Color: Brown
  • Code Name: Classified

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

LOL!!  Wei put together most of the above announcement before Miss Wyntr entered her new world! I stole it to try to do this quick post while baby girl is asleep.

Just wanted to let you all know that the C-section went off without a hitch and, after Wyntr spent a 2 day stay in the NICU due to low glucose from sleeping rather than eating, all three of us came home last night as planned. Our first night went pretty well in that we all got a nice little extended four hours of sleep (should have been three though). This was appreciated as the prior night in the hospital, Miss Wyntr decided she wasn’t going to sleep from 2 am to 8 am. Sooooo … needless to say after a busy discharge day, I think we all needed the rest to recover. However, I know not to expect that on the regular … at least not for a few months!

Okay, here are a few more pics before I get out of here!!

We feel beyond blessed and favored and can’t help but fall more in love with her each day that passes. As always, thank you for all of the love, support, well-wishes, encouragement and, most importantly prayers. They are beyond appreciated.

SHiNE

The Next Chapter: Third Trimester Update

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25weeks_dressy25 weeks 

I know, I know. I haven’t posted in forever. Again. Sorry. But, now that I have entered my third trimester (29 weeks 5 days as of today), I wanted to come out of blog hibernation to give an update on my pregnancy and answer some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)!

Q: When is your due date?
A: My due date is officially February 6, 2015. However, due to a prior and significant myomectomy in my early 30s to remove multiple large fibroids, I have to have a Cesarean section at 36 weeks. My doctors don’t want to risk me going into labor or rupturing. So, right now, we are expecting our new arrival on January 16th! It’s kind of crazy for us right now as we were expecting it to be at 37 weeks! Though it’s only a week earlier, we know the time is going to fly with so many things to do, including holiday gatherings, Christmas shopping, showers, and nursery preparation!

Q: Do you know what you are having?
A: Yes. We have known since the last day of week 12.  We are having a girl :). We found out due to a relatively new, non-invasive screening test called MaterniT21 that tests for 4 different chromosome defects, including defects to the X and Y chromosomes. It’s a blood test and they are able to isolate the baby’s blood from mom’s in order to look for defects. I surmise that if they don’t find any Y chromosomes, it’s a girl and if they do, it’s a boy.

babyGC28weeks28 weeks

Q: Do you have a name?
A: Yes. We’ve had that since 13 weeks. But, we are keeping that one on the DL for the most part until little miss lady arrives :). We told our close family and friends though and most seem to really like it. It’s relatively unique, but not difficult or weird (we think. lol!). There is also a reason behind each part of it.

Q: How do you feel?
A:
I have had a great pregnancy! Well, I should say, once I found out I was pregnant, I did! LOL!! The thing is, before I knew I was pregnant, I busted my head in the bathroom (slipped and hit my head behind my ear on the countertop), had a bad allergy attack for two weeks, eye infection, cold sore, and was horribly fatigued for two days. On day two of the fatigue is when I had a twinkling of hope … I went home after work and took an ovulation test (which can detect the pregnancy hormone) and it was positive when I knew I should be getting my cycle in a day or two.  Then, with bated breath, I a real pregnancy test with bated breath. Lo and behold, I was pregnant!!

Anywho, after that, other than being tired earlier than normal, I really have had minimal symptoms. I never had morning sickness, food aversions, rabid cravings, or mood swings. I’ve had sporadic heartburn, but Tums have been adequate to treat that and it’s never been horrible. On occasion, I’ve had a little back pain, which is usually resolved with a few pelvic tilts/ab contractions. The back pain is usually when I feel like baby girl is going through a growth spurt! That is really the worst of it … the distended, stretched, my skin can’t expand any further, stuffed like every day is Thanksgiving feeling that won’t go away with a nap or extended trip to the bathroom, if you know what I’m saying ;-P! LOL!!  But, knowing what symptoms others experience during pregnancy, I’m not complaining! Because, it really has been smooth sailing for the most part!

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Q: What has been your favorite part of being pregnant?
A: Feeling and SEEING baby girl moving has been one of the most miraculous things. Weird. But miraculous. We KNOW that we are so truly blessed to be experiencing this. This is a first child for both Wei and me at 44 and 42, respectively. I always knew that I wanted to get married and have children, but wasn’t in any rush. However, as the years passed, I definitely became nervous, wondering if it would ever happen. The constant bombardment in the media with the “statistics” about getting pregnant after 35 didn’t help. And, I had seen friends and co-workers try for years and using fertility specialists to get pregnant. But, whenever I would feel down, I would see the stories of women having babies over 40 and call up Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT):

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

It would ground me every time. And at 42, in 5 months time, I was pregnant with a healthy baby girl. Some days I still can’t believe that I’m so blessed to be experiencing this. It’s still surreal and I’m awestruck every day. God is so good.

Q: Do you have stretch marks/how do you prevent stretch marks?
A:
So far, so good. I haven’t gotten any stretch marks. But, from what I’ve read, it’s mostly genetic and not prevented by creams and/or butters. However, I do think that controlling my weight gain for the most part and keeping moisturized helps. At 29 weeks, I’ve put on about 16 pounds so far and I have been using a combo of lotion, an oil mix (coconut, jojoba, and castor), and shea butter to lube up each morning. Through the summer and early fall, I only used the coconut oil and shea butter. But once it started getting cool and dry, that just wasn’t cutting it, even when I added the thicker jojoba and castor oils to the coconut oil. My skin would be CRAWLING with itchiness. So, I started using the St. Ives Naturally Soothing Oatmeal and Shea Butter lotion as my first layer, prior to applying the oil mix and shea butter. That helped immediately.

25weeks25 weeks: Linea nigra in effect, but stretch mark free.

Q: Has your navel popped?
A: Y’all, I was not feeling my deep innie belly button popping. Like for real, the idea of it was freaking me out! I’ve heard mixed things on this. Some say their navel never popped, others said it didn’t pop until the last few weeks. There’s a little bit that is out on the top edge of mine, but I think it’s only going to stretch flat as there doesn’t seem to be anything that can pop now. Guess we’ll see!

Q: Have you continued to exercise?
A: Yeah … no. At least, not consistently. I was working out when I first got pregnant, would fall off a couple weeks, start again, stop again, start again, stop again … I’m still on a stop. I just haven’t been focused enough in the morning to get going and at night, I’m too tired. I’m promising myself that once I’m pulled out on disability that I’ll walk at least 15 minutes a day and do yoga as well. At least I can get a month of working out in before the little lady arrives as I know I won’t be able to do too much in those weeks immediately following her birth and the C-section. Fortunately, Wei will be home to help me.

longwalk18 weeks when I was “on.”

Q: What about your diet?
A: 
Yeah. That hasn’t been the best either. It hasn’t been horrible, but I definitely could stand to eat a lot more fruit and vegetables. Though I haven’t had crazy food cravings, I have caved to my sweet tooth far more often than I normally do. Meaning … almost daily. But, I can’t eat a lot at one sitting or I’ll suffer the consequences, so I think that has helped with portion control. That is probably why I haven’t gained excessively. I also tend to have a protein shake with almond milk most mornings, green smoothie style sometimes, water is a must, and I take my pre-natals religiously (I get the free ones from Shoprite and take DHA separately; I take them at night because they made me feel off/a little sick if I took them during the day … plus fish oil tasting/scented burps? Not cute). Oh, and I do have my one cup of instant coffee every morning.

Q: Has your hair grown a ton?! 
A: LOL! So, as a hair blogger who has researched a lot, I knew that pregnancy hormones can cause the hair to “freeze” in the anagen (growth) phase (it’s not the prenatal vitamins ;)). However, I hoped that my hair would continue its normal shedding so that I could be spared post-partum shedding (i.e. the telogen phase resuming en masse 3-6 months delivery). Ummmm … I don’t know how that is going to work out for me. Though my hair has continued to shed, it does look like it’s a lot less than normal. The length hasn’t changed much, but it feels denser in the upper half. So, guess we’ll see.

photo 5-1After 8 weeks of straight hair.
Only washed it twice in that time.
Hence, why it was straight.

Q: Is the nursery ready?
A: No. No it is not. LOL! We know our colors (pale teal and coral, NOT pink) and we have a crib, dresser, rug, bookcase, and paint. But the room and condo still have furniture that needs to go to make room for baby girl (a dresser set, leather couchcoffee table, ottomans, drafting table, and a Lot of size 6 1/2 women’s shoes are up on Craig’s List, if you live in the NJ area and are interested :)!!).

Q: Are you registered?
A: Okay, so I put this one here because I feel like someone is going to ask, not to be self-serving! But, yes, we are registered. It took some doing, but we registered at Buy Buy Baby (with a “personal shopper” in the form of an awesome friend) and Amazon. And let me add this little disclaimer. Weusi had been losing his mind and adding things to both registries late at night, unbeknownst to me. But, I do think it’s cute that he’s so excited and looking forward to our new addition. Oh, and our ground rules? No princess, pink, or glitter. But Batman items are welcome any day in my book ;)! LOL!!

batcaveonesieAlready got gifted a Batman sleeper and Batman onesie with tutu.
Don’t think they’ll be a dirth of Batgear! LOL!!

Q: Are you scared/nervous?
A: We are excited and nervous at the same time. We are preparing as best we can. But we both know that we only know that we don’t know. That being said, we are surrounded by friends and family who support us enormously and know our faith will carry us through. So we ask that you continue to pray for us and that we will bring a happy, healthy baby into this world in a few weeks time. We thank EVERYONE who has shared prayers, a kind word, positive thoughts, encouragement, well-wishes, love … all that. It really means the world to us!

And that’s that! Hope I answered some questions and gave hope to those ladies who may have started to become discouraged due to age and/or relationship status. I’ll leave you with another verse that resonates for me and pray that it will bless you, Isaiah 64:4:

For since the world began, no ear has heard
and no eye has seen a God like you,
who works for those who wait for him!

28 weeks

Lata Gatas!! 

Hot Head Deep Conditioning Heat Cap

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As some of you know, I have been using a Hair Therapy Thermal Turban Heat Wrap for several years now with great success. However, a few months ago I saw posts from my curlfriends and fellow bloggers, RadiantBrownBeauty and AHairStory, about the Hot Head Deep Conditioning Heat Cap. I loved the look of the cap and both Michelle and Rece had positive reviews. So, needless to say, I was intrigued.

Therefore, a couple of weeks ago, I reached out to the creator of Hot Heads and Etsy shop owner, Sandra, to see if she would send me a cap to review. She graciously obliged and I got a chance to try out my new cap this past weekend.

But first, the deets.

via Hot Head:

The Hot Head heat cap is filled with renewable flax seed which will generate heat when warmed in the microwave. It’s reusable and is the most environmentally friendly way to deep condition your hair with heat at home. There is no need to plug it into an outlet or use batteries to power the heat. With a few minutes in the microwave, Hot Head will produce up to 30-45 minutes of gentle moist heat. The fact that there are no cords and no plugs means that you are free to move about while deep conditioning your hair.

Hot Head is available in multiple styles and is also reversible so that your look can fit your mood. When using Hot Head you can feel good about the way you look while conditioning your hair, and dramatically improve the results of your hair treatment.

MY REVIEW

As I said above, I used the Hot Head Deep Conditioning Cap this weekend. Actually, I used it twice. Because, after 3 weeks of not washing this mane (pregnancy fatigue definitely has me doing the least when it comes to hair), my strands desperately needed some TLC. Therefore, I used it for a pre-poo treatment, as well as for deep conditioning after I washed my hair. What did I think overall and how does it compare to the Thermal Turban Wrap?

Packaging: No frills and functional. As this is a smaller Etsy company, that is totally fine with me. I prefer not to spend my money on expensive packaging and cheap ingredients, though I know some appreciate “shelf appeal.” The most important thing was that the cap was accompanied with detailed and simple instructions (plastic caps sold separately). THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: The wrap came packaged in a large, nice box that I still use to store it. It also included two plastic caps some free hair product samples. 

Appearance: I love that the cap is reversible and has a solid terry side and a patterned fabric one. I’m all about animal prints and zebra is in my top three (after cheetah/leopard and giraffe). The cap comes in a variety of prints and colors, so there’s something for everyone! I also like the “quilting” that looks like a big daisy! Very cute! THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: The wrap is made with terry, non-reversible, and only comes in two colors, brown and white. The cap that I have has a tail at the back that you twist and secure to the front with velcro. But, there seem to be other versions that secure in different locations.

Construction/Durability: As I’ve only used the cap one day, I can’t speak to the long-term durability. However, it looks very well-constructed and strong. It is actually a little weighty, in a good way, because of the flax seeds. The fabric on the patterned side appears of good, strong quality and leads me to believe that it will not rip anytime soon. Terry can start to bead, get ratty, and pick up lint, especially with a thicker pile. But, I think that as long as I keep it stored away from other fabrics, it’ll likely be fine. The instructions on the site indicate that a lint brush can be used to remove excess lint, so that is simple enough. And, I also have one of those fabric “defuzzers” that I can use if it becomes too beady. So, not too worried about that. As to cleaning, I haven’t had to do that yet, obviously. But, the site says to just spot clean with warm water and a mild detergent. Seems simple enough. Finally, again, I can’t speak to long-term use of the cap, but I would expect that flax seeds truly are a sustainable source of heat and the cap will heat effectively for years to come. THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: I have had the cap for almost 4 years and, though the heat packs that insert into it seem to have deflated somewhat, it still works effectively. I was initially concerned that the heat packs might burst because they make a popping sound when heated, but to date they have not! The cap is made of a short pile terry, so it really hasn’t attracted much lint nor beaded in an appreciable way. And, though I use it to henna, I have done minimal spot cleaning. But, because the gel packs can be removed, the wrap can be thrown in the wash on the gentle cycle and air dried.

Content: Right off the jump I loved the idea that the Hot Head Heat Cap works via a sustainable and natural heat source. I don’t follow a strictly organic/natural lifestyle. However, I do like to be conscious of the products I use and the foods that I eat. Therefore, I try to incorporate organic and all-natural products to the extent that I can find them conveniently and affordably. This allows me to reduce my exposure to products formulated or treated with artificial or potentially harmful chemicals. So, the fact that the Hot Head uses flax seeds as the heat source is awesome to me! (Is there no limit to the wonders of flax seeds?!?!) THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: Gel packs are the heat source for this cap. I couldn’t tell you what’s in them, but I’m 99.9% sure that it is not natural and is some type of artificial chemical.

Ease of Use: Using this cap was as simple as throwing it in my microwave (with a rotating tray) for one minute on one side, flipping it inside out and microwaving for another minute. Then, I just donned a plastic cap prior to putting on the Hot Head Cap. If your microwave does not have a rotating tray, the instructions do indicate that it should be rotated at the 30 second mark on each side. I was concerned that the cap might be too small to fit all of my hair, due to my length, not thickness. But, I had no problem at all. Of course, I love that I can be mobile with this cap and do stuff around the house while DC’ing. THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: The wrap only takes 45 seconds to heat and, aside from the initial challenge of getting the gel packs into the wrap and getting it to lay flat, it is very easy to heat. As to putting it on, it is a little trickier to get it tight enough and secure the velcro in the right place. But, it is still pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it. I also have no problem fitting all of my hair under it. And again, since the wrap is cordless, my movements are not limited while I’m DC’ing.

hothead3After heating

Effectiveness: I found that the cap reached an appropriate temperature (not too hot, nor too cool) following the instructions. You could see the “moist” heat it generated as the cap became slightly damp in some areas after microwaving it. I also found that it stayed warm (not hot) for about 45 minutes, which is what I would have expected. The cap felt like it warmed evenly in the flax seed “pockets.” However, I could feel that the areas without the flax seeds were cooler. As the heat is still “contained” to the head by the cap, I don’t know if that would make one part of the hair more conditioned than the other. However, I did want to note that. THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: The wrap heats evenly, but it can get very hot. So the instructions indicate that it should be left to cool for 30 seconds prior to using it. I find that my cap stays hot to warm for 45 minutes to an hour and the heat feels uniform over my head. I usually heat it 2-3 times for a henna treatment, with consistent results. 

Pricing: The Hot Head Cap is $29.95 plus $6.50 USD shipping (plastic caps sold separately). So, it’s not cheap, but it’s not crazy expensive either. I am definitely a frugal person and won’t give up my money without some thought. However, given that I tend to deep condition with heat weekly and henna with heat every couple of months, the mileage I will put on this heat cap would definitely justify the cost (reminder: this cap was gifted though).  THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: The wrap is $21.95 on CurlMart.com, but I paid $16.47 for it because I had a 25% discount code at the time. As I write this, the cap is not available there though. It is available on DermStore.com for $29.99 with free shipping. It seems like it can also be found on eBay, Amazon, HairEnvy, and a few other sites for prices in the the $27-$32 range. Again, for me, the price is worth it because of how frequently I use the wrap.

Conclusions: I LOVE the Hot Head Heat Cap. In most ways, it is very comparable to the Thermal Turban Wrap. The quicker heat time and more uniform heat distribution of the Wrap are bonuses for it. However, the wider variety of patterns/colors, reversibility, simplicity of wearing, and, most importantly, the use of flax seeds as a natural and sustainable heat source, gives the Hot Head Cap the leg up in my opinion. So, I’ll definitely be using the Hot Head Cap going forward and will update you guys on whether it holds up for the long haul!

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 Have you tried the Hot Head Deep Conditioning Heat Cap? If so, how do you like it?