Author Archives: Skills

“From the Rough”

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Taraji My girlie GG is an intern on Taraji Henson’s upcoming film, “From the Rough.” The movie is based on the true story of Catana Starks, the first African-American female head coach of an NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Team!! Check out GG’s trending Buzzfeed post to learn more about Taraji and Catana!!

10 Reasons Why Taraji P. Henson And Catana Starks Prove Black Girls Are Magic In “From The Rough”

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IN THEATERS APRIL 25TH!!!!

 

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Review: Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist

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HE_tealightfullyclean_blowdryprepmistI have been wanting to really straighten my hair, rather than just doing a light blow out, for a while now. I did a “single pass” flat-iron on stretched hair (no blow-out) in June 2013 for a trim and had done a couple of blow-outs since. But, it had been over a year since I really, really straightened my hair. Part of the reason for this was that I wasn’t really feeling the products that I had been using for straightening (see them here). They worked okay, but my hair would feel kind of stiff and hard after using them. I tried the Nubian Heritage heat protectant leave-in and spray too, but everything was pretty “meh.”

Well, a few weeks ago, Wei and I had lunch with a friend and we started talking hair. Her daughter has tons of curly hair and wanted to have it straightened, but our friend didn’t have any idea where to start. So, I suggested the BaByliss Nano Titanium Pro that I purchased  a little over a year ago. Though pricey, I told her I loved it because it has temperature control settings and straightens very well, without frying the hair. So, we ended up heading over to Harmon and picking up one for her (with a 20% off coupon, of course since the thing is $119.00!). Well, while we were there, I told her that she should also use a heat protectant and we started scanning the aisles. I had seen a couple of people use TRESemmé, so we both picked up the TRESemmé Platinium Strength Heat Protectant. But then, I kept looking and decided to see if Herbal Essences (HE) had one as I love that line. Lo and behold, I found the Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist ($4.49) and decided to pick it up too!

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What They Claim:

Light and easy does it with Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist for silky, free-flowing hair. Invigorate your senses with exhilarating tea tree fragrance as you spritz this sheer mist up, down, and all around to help protect against blow drying damage.

Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist:

  • Blow dry prep for silky, free-flowing hair
  • Sheer and lightweight protection against damage
  • With tea tree essences
  • Spritz on for silky hair
  • Intriguing ingredients
  • Incredible fragrances
  • Irresistibly touchable hair; potent pleasure for all your senses

Ingredients: Water/EAU, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Water, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Amodimethicone, PPG-2 Methyl Ether, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-11, Fragrance/Parfum, Polysorbate 80, Disodium EDTA, Aminomethyl Propanol, Citric Acid, Cetrimonium Chloride, Trideceth-12, Methylisothiazolinone.

That seem day, I washed my hair and put it into two braids. The next day, I decided to spritz the Blow Dry Prep Mist onto my hair and did a super quick tension blow out to stretch it a little more. Oh. Em. Gee. My hair was soft, silky, smooth, light, and flowy! And, I loved the light, sweet smell of the spray! I was WOWed! The claims were true! Seriously, I couldn’t stop touching my hair! That night, I put it into a braid and curl and, the next day, …

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Can you say, “Pleased as punch?” Well, this past weekend, after following my regular wash day regimen, I decided to bite the bullet and flat-iron my hair for real.

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FLAT-IRONING PROCESS

  • Wrapped clean hair in a cut-up tee-shirt to dry to damp (approx. 30 min).
  • Applied a little Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in to damp hair, concentrating on ends.
  • Spritzed hair with HE Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow0Out Prep Mist and finger combed it through hair.
  • Applied a very small amount of Chi Straight Guard (picked up from TJ Maxx on a whim).
  • Applied a small amount of grapeseed oil to each section.
  • Separated hair into 4 sections and did a tension blow-out with the Conair InifitiPro Tourmaline Ionic Hair Dryer I picked up last fall. I used it to finish drying my hair and stretch it, grasping whole quarter sections of hair, halving the quarters at some points, but never doing sections smaller than that (approx. 30 min.).
  • Flat-ironed hair in small 1″ wide sections at 300°, taking two passes over each section. I didn’t let the flat-iron stop on the hair. I  moved down the length at a slow pace, but the flat-iron was always in motion.
  • Did a third pass over the top layers of hair at 340º, moving the flat-iron more quickly.

It took me about 2 hours in total to blow-out and flat-iron. Here are the results.

 

As you can see, my hair was not bone-straight. There was still a little kink in it and that is okay with me as it lets me know that I didn’t kill my hair with the heat. I also know that bunning my hair will smooth it further. And, as was the case the first time I used the HE Blow-Out Mist, again my hair felt great!! It was airy, silky, soft, and felt product-less! And, at $4.49 a bottle? We have a winner folks!!!

So that’s it, my new heat protectant find! I had to do a review on this product as I wasn’t able to find any when I bought it, because the “Tea-Lightfully Clean” line is new for 2014! Of course, now I’m intrigued to try the shampoo and conditioner … but I’ll try to curb my PJ ways … for now. LOL!!

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Next time on Hairscapades: A Trim, Straight Hair Maintenance, and Straight Hairstyles ;)

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What heat protectant(s) have you found work the best for your hair?

Henna Gloss: A Quicker, Easier Way to Henna

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twistout314_8 As most of you know, I am a henna head. I have been doing henna treatments since 2010, though I’ve modified how and how often I do them over the years. I started with full strength, full length treatments every 2-4 weeks. But for the last several years, I have been doing full strength on my roots only and a “faux” gloss (i.e. dye released henna mixed into lots of conditioner) on my length. But, the time between my sessions has gotten longer and longer … every 4 weeks, every 6, every 8, now I’m lucky if I do it once every three months!! Well, about a month and a half ago, I was really in need of a henna treatment as my grey roots were out of control. I also love how smooth my hair is after a henna treatment; my hair styles post henna are always so shiny and sleek. But, I had absolutely nooooooooo desire to do a full strength treatment as it usually takes the good part of a day to complete (see My Two Step Henna-Indigo Process for details). Between prepping, washing, detangling, application, marinating, rinsing with water, applying indigo, marinating again, rinsing with loads of conditioner, deep conditioning, marinating one more time rinsing, and styling … yeah, that’s an 8 hour plus process. It just was not happening. But then I thought, “You know what? I’ll do a true henna gloss!!” I figured I could get some of the conditioning benefits of henna and maybe a little color, without all the muss and fuss … and time! hennagloss314

My Henna Gloss Recipe

  • My goat milk conditioning mask *
  • 2 tablespoons of Dulhan BAQ henna powder
  • Mix thoroughly with a fork.
  • Apply mixture to hair and massage into scalp.
  • Twist hair into 4 sections, clip hair up with a jaw clip and don a plastic cap.
  • Apply heat for 30 min-1 hour (I use a hair therapy wrap).
  • Rinse thoroughly.

(*My goat milk conditioner has protein, but it is also very moisturizing because of the honey and oils. I would generally suggest using a thick, moisturizing, protein-free conditioner.)

Applied (no plastic gloves required)

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Minimal mess (no towels or newspaper needed to protect surfaces; just wiped down with a disinfecting wipe).

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As I suspected, the gloss also gave my grey roots got a little color so that they weren’t as stark white.

hennaglossroots After rinsing, I set my hair in 4 twists, which I wore in a twist-out the next day. And, the set held up very well the rest of the week!!

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The one issue I have had with the gloss is related to my base goat milk conditioner. It can be a little chunky and thick, so I have had some residue in my hair after rinsing. Therefore, I have to make sure that my conditioner is as smooth as possible prior to adding the henna and that I rinse very well. In the future, I may try mixing the henna with water first before adding it to the conditioner. This should help thin the consistency and aid blending. However, despite the small rinsing issue, the easy, peasy henna gloss is now in my repertoire when I want some of the conditioning benefits of henna with minimal time and effort!! It may be right up your alley if you have been wanting to try henna, but have been afraid to take the leap or have been looking for some of the benefits without the time commitment!!

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Have you tried henna glosses? How did/do you like them? What conditioner(s) do you use for the best results?

Breaking One of the Detangling Commandments

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Okay, so I may be (figuratively) hung, drawn, and quartered for this one. Alright … alright … I’m being dramatic. But … I’m about to suggest something that will probably go counter to a “natural hair” great commandment that most have probably read over and over again.

DETANGLE FROM TIPS TO ROOTS ROOTS TO TIPS.

See, what had happened was … I’ve been detangling from TIPS to ROOTS for forever. Aaaaaaand, it has served me well for the most part. But, the last few wash days, I started breaking this rule. Let me premise this by saying that I primarily use my fingers and only pull out the Ouidad Double Detangler once my hair is pretty thoroughly detangled. However, my detangling sessions were becoming more tedious and lengthy due to the length of my hair. I would slather on tons of conditioner, but starting from the tips resulted in me having to work the shed strands in each section down the length of my hair over and over … AND OVER again.

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I didn’t make this. LOL!)

I began to realize that the worst matting was occurring at the roots of my hair and that if I loosened the tangles and shed hair there first, it was taking me less time to detangle, and less time = less manipulation. The trick of it is that I don’t finger detangle DOWN the length of my hair first. I detangle by pulling the strands APART. I’ve seen this referred to as “wish-boning” since you are pulling the strands apart like you would a wishbone (but more gently, of course). This provides space in the hair to allow shed/broken strands to glide out and it also helps loosens knots rather than tightening them. So, I work the strands apart at the roots, THEN I pull loose hair out of and/or down my hair.

Now, I definitely wouldn’t suggest trying the roots to tips approach with a comb as you may end up with more hair in it than on your head.  But, if you finger detangle exclusively or prior to using a tool, than you may find that the roots to tip approach hastens the end of your detangling sessions. And, if you so desire, you can use a comb or brush from tips to roots to polish off the job.

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Do you detangle from tips to roots or roots to tips? What techniques have eased your detangling sessions? 

My Winter Regimen (2013-2014)

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Regimen update time!! This is essentially the regimen that I’ve been following all fall/winter and I have no plans to make any changes for spring/summer.

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WINTER/SPRING 2014 REGIMEN

Weekly to Bi-weekly:

  • Option: Pre-poo with Aubrey GPB, Honeysuckle Rose and/or Vatika Oil. (I used to pre-poo wash day, but haven’t been doing it as much as my hair has been doing well. So, as long as my hair doesn’t feel excessively dry, I have been cutting it out to save time.)
  • Shampoo hair in twists with DevaCare No Poo or Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship shampoo diluted in water (approx 2 oz. shampoo to 5-6 oz. water). Rinse.
  • Apply Joico K-Pak Revitaluxe Restorative Treatment (or Sally GVP Joico K-Pak), gently finger comb through hair (protein) and rinse after 10-15 minutes.
  • Apply Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH) to thoroughly finger detangle hair and finish detangling with Ouidad Double Detangler. Rinse.
  • Deep condition with my awesome DIY goat milk hair mask (60 minutes with Hair Therapy Wrap).
  • Use “Cool and Seal” DC technique to rinse DC with diluted HE HH.
  • Blot hair damp with an old t-shirt or Curl Cloth.
  • Apply styling products (these can vary, but generally):
    • Leave-in: Kinky Curly Knot Today
    • Cream styler: Curl Prep Sweet Butta
    • Hold: Aloe Vera Gel (cosmetic grade) *prior to applying gel, gently detangle hair with shampoo brush from tip to roots.
    • Seal: JBCO/EVOO mix.
  • Style:
    • Part hair into 12-14 sections and braid roots, twist length and set ends on small grey perm rods; or
    • Place hair into two pigtail braids and wear in a crown braid for work; or
    • NEW: Place hair into 4 twists, stretch twists across head and dry (tutorial coming soon!).
  • Air dry (experimented with the bonnet dryer on the “NEW” style and it worked well, so may be doing that more often).
  • Wear out styles for 2-4 days.
  • Protective/low manipulation style as needed once braid-out becomes too frizzy (buns, updos, side braid, etc.).
  • Nightly: Loosely French twist hair and secure against crown with Goody Comfort Flex barrette, leaving curled ends out at top of head (click here for “How To” video). Wrap edges in satin scarf /bonnet for bed; Sleep on satin pillowcase.
  • Apply JBCO/EVOO mix or WGHO to scalp and hair as needed, usually 1-2 times during the week. I’ve also started to use Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter again (an old holy grail product of mine) to smooth my edges and moisturize the length of my hair prior to sealing.

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Deducting the time spent “marinating” a pre-poo and DC, the actual work time for my wash day is probably about 2-3 hours to wash, condition and style. I spend very little time on my hair during the week. All the heavy lifting is done on either Saturday or Sunday, but usually Sunday after hot yoga.

Every 8 Weeks (or so):

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And that’s my regimen! I am really loving the products that I am using and think they are working very well. My shedding and breakage have been significantly reduced since incorporating goat milk into my regimen and reincorporating Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in. So, my PJ ways have been seriously curtailed and I am pleased and content with the state and health of my hair. Though, I really need to schedule a trim since I haven’t had one since last June!!

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Have you found a regimen/products which is/are working well for you?

Growing Long Hair: Diet, Exercise and Vitamins

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I have been asked about the whether diet, exercise, and/or vitamins help hair grow a few times and have seen it posted in some form or the other a lot lately. So, I figured I’d share my thoughts on the subject. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but these are my observations based on the things I’ve learned about hair through reading lots of hair blogs, watching lots of videos, and/or observing through my own experiences.

A good diet, adequate nutrients, hydration, and exercise are foundations for healthy hair and growth. But, many mistake lack of length retention for lack of growth. Unless there is some underlying condition, hair is always growing. If hair is growing elsewhere on your body, it’s growing. And it’s pretty easy to know your growth rate if you relaxed/relax or color/colored your hair. However much new growth you had 4-8 weeks post relaxer/color will tell you your growth rate. The problem often is that the growth is lost to breakage (i.e. the hair is not retaining length).

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So, the assumption is that the hair isn’t growing when, in fact, it is. So, the focus needs to change from growth to retention. All that being said, hair is dead once the strand “erupts” from the scalp. So retention is about preserving dead cells. Eating a healthy, well-rounded diet and exercising helps build stronger hair IN the scalp. Stronger and healthier live cells inside mean stronger and healthier dead cells outside. And the latter will be better able to retain length with the right protective/retention practices for you.

And those are my thoughts in a nutshell!! Yes, a good diet, exercise, and adequate nutrients play a part in growing healthy hair, but if that hair isn’t retained, you won’t see longer tresses. So, you have to make certain to take care of both ends, literally ;), to see results if long hair is your goal. To learn more about what I do to “grow” my hair long, check out my post, How I Retain Length.

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What have you found helps you grow healthy, strong hair that retains length?

365 Days of Fitness Complete … and Then Some

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This post is a few weeks overdue. I really planned to post it on day 366 … but I just never got it together. I mean, I posted the above pic on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. But, I am aware that a good number of you don’t follow me on those platforms. So, I did mean to do a blog post for those who only follow here. Butttttt … yeah, I just have not been motivated to write more than a caption!! And, I have so many posts that I want to write … but after work, I’m just tired. And on the weekends … still tired?!?!? Blame it on the cold and snowy weather in NJ? I blame it on my self-diagnosed SAD (seasonal affective disorder), although … I’ve been pretty happy. LOL!! Oh well … no more excuses.

So yeah, I finished 365 Days of Fitness with a minimum of 10 minutes of exercise/activity every day on February 17th. The last week was pretty lackluster as I was in Ireland for “holiday” (love that term for vacation) with my mom, sister, and niece.

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We had  long, cool, rainy, castle and green field filled days and I never managed to get up and workout in the morning. So, I mostly just finagled in 10-20 minute of yoga stretches for hip flexibility each night. Gotta say though, I think that’s what I needed as we spent a minimum of 4 hours driving in the car each day and it was more like 6-8 hours on a couple of occasions. So, I was very stiff and sore and the stretching was welcome!

Anywho, we returned from Ireland the evening of February 16th and so my last two days of 365 Days of Fitness were also quick and sweatless. Add to that, I’ve put a good 10 or *mumble muble* so pounds since the wedding … let’s just say, 10 Minutes a Day is still in full effect. Seventy-five minutes of hot yoga this morning made Day 385.

LESSONS LEARNED

So, what I have I learned over this 365 Days and Then Some? Welp, I can’t say that it was anything earth shattering because I’ve worked out off and on, hard core and moderate over the last 20 years. But, I did learn a few things.

  • 10 Minutes of exercise a day is better than 0 minutes, no matter how little it may seem. And 10 minutes can easily turn into 20-30 minutes with enough time. But, if it doesn’t, it’s okay. Because tomorrow is always another day.
  • I discovered I can do just 10 minutes of exercise a day and not feel guilty that I didn’t do more. See prior bullet!
  • I love green smoothies!! LOL!! During this journey, I started drinking green smoothies after my in-laws (no more *future* in front of that ;)) gave me a NutriBullet for my birthday last year. I used it daily for months … until I broke it by constantly overfilling it (overflowed and burned out the motor, I think). I got another one at my work bridal shower and finally broke it out a couple of weeks ago. So glad to have green smoothies back in my diet!! It just feels good to start most days with my breakfast smoothie (see here).
  • Eating badly is not an excuse to not work-out! This one was HUGE for me!! I use to always fall off of the wagon of exercising when I ate badly a couple of days in a row. I would feel like I had no energy and that I was sapped and bloated. Well, I learned that I can eat Wendy’s, a crapload of food on a cruise, cupcakes, pancakes, burgers, candy, what-have-you, and STILL workout! In fact, I often have MORE energy and get great workouts due to the calorie boost! Given that I often work out in the morning on an empty stomach, working out fully fueled feels a lot easier!! Now, that’s not an excuse to eat junk, it just proves that eating junk is not an excuse ;)!
  • ♥♥♥ yoga!!!!! I mean … really, truly! Although my body is not as young and nubile as it used to be, although I have aches and pains in my 40s that I never experienced in the past, I still find myself learning how to do new things with my body … things I couldn’t even do when I was “young and nubile!” This is all because of yoga.  So, last Sunday, I started a 30 Day Yoga Challenge by DoYouYoga on YouTube! It’s comprised of 10-20 minute videos that I do daily, usually in addition to some other exercise. I feel like it has already paid dividends as hot yoga was awesome this morning!! I had a great practice and everything was flowing, my breath, my flows, my inversions! Can’t wait to see what I feel like after 23 more days!! 

Okay, time to wrap this up! So, on the anniversary of the day I began 365 Days of Fitness (I was just trying to make it through 28 Days back then!!), I recommitted myself to eating well and staying active. I plan to continue to work out daily by doing at least 10 minutes of activity a day. I don’t have any “end game” in sight. I’m still working on getting my eating habits FULLY back in order (I’ve improved over the last couple of weeks, but I’ve still got work to do to be consistent). However, I know that with just a little focus and discipline, I can get these extra pounds off. It’ll be a lot easier this time as I never fell off the fitness wagon! So, though I’m not where I want to be weight -wise, I will not give up. There is no finish line for being healthy and active. It requires a LIFE change. But, I’m up for it.

Onward and upwards my friends!!

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How goes your health and fitness?
Did you learn anything about yourself through exercise and eating well in 2013? 

28 DoF Final Check-In: Week 4

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Yesterday was the day!!! It was the end of our 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge!! So, how did you guys do? Was it harder or easier than you thought? If you missed a day, did you get back to it the next? Do you want to do it again? Are you going to set a longer goal? Time to update us with your Week 4: Days 22-28!!

I’m still not going as hard as I have in the past, but I was mostly back to morning workouts this week, if I remember correctly. They were just short ones though … but hey, that’s the point right? Even 10 minutes a day is worth it!! So, this week, I decided I really want to work on improving my hip flexibility for yoga as I felt like I had kind of plateaued in my practice lately. I really want to be able to do the cross-legged full lotus pose. So, that was somewhat my focus this last week.

WEEK 4 RECAP

Day 22 / 342:  Hot Yoga / Vinyasa Flow at Younique Yoga studio in Sparta, NJ (75 min). 

Day 23 / 343: Lauren Brooks Kettlebell Joint Mobility Warm-up and 12 Minute Full Body Blast. But, I switched it up. Since I didn’t have time to do 2 rounds of the short routine, instead of taking the 30 second rest between each  1 minute set, I jumped rope during that “breaks” instead. This kept my heart rate up through the entire 12 minutes.

Day 24 / 344: Jump rope (5 min – whew!), 12 reps x 3 sets of rows with door jam “suspension trainer,” 12 reps x 3 sets of “superman” back extensions, Developing Lotus Flexibility video (10 min), forearm tripod inversion for 30 breaths (total: approx. 20-25 minutes).

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Day 25 / 345: Developing Lotus Flexibility video (10 min).  I did the video in the morning with plans to get some cardio in the evening. Well, I’m sure glad I did that in the a.m., because I was on the road for 4 hours for work and when I got home, passed out on the couch at 8:30 p.m. I woke up, thinking it was 10 or 11 … it was almost 2 a.m.! Needless to say, I hit the sack, counting myself lucky that I had done the video in the morning!!

Day 26 / 346: Developing Lotus Flexibility video (10 min) and Lotus Hips video (20 min). 

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Day 27 / 347: KeiraLashae Kickboxing video (10 min), jump rope (5 min), and Developing Lotus Flexibility video (10 min).

Day 28 / 348: Angie Miller Kettlebell Bootcamp sets 1-3 plus 32 alternating hand swings and 16 two-hand swings (22 min).

So I’m also going to include a little of Day 349 / 29 (Hot Yoga Vinyasa Flow – 75 min) in this post, because …

Yeah, I know the video is kind of crappy, but I didn’t have any help today!! LOL! But, the point is, those hip opening stretches are already paying dividends!! Today was the first time that I’ve even come close to this one leg arm balance (Koundiyanasana)! Usually, I can’t even get that front foot off of the ground!! So, I’m kind of excited and, after I finish this post, think I’ll be doing some more hip opening stretches. Hey, I’m home alone while many are starting to enjoy Superbowl parties, small and large. So, why not? Think I’ll catch up on last week’s Justified and Community too ;).

Lata Gatas!

(p.s. Don’t forget to check out our FB Events page where many folks update daily! You can find lots of ideas for home, outdoors, YouTube, DVD, app, and gym workouts to mix it up and beat boredom!! If you aren’t on Facebook and/or want more ideas, check out the Fitness Playlist I created on my YouTube channel to share fitness videos that I like!)

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How did you do the last 7 days of the challenge? 

Who is still going to continue and for how long are you planning? 30 days? 100? 365? 

Who wants to try again, because they didn’t make it all the way through?

Who wants to do it for the first time?

If there is enough interest, I’ll keep this going for another 28 days with weekly update posts for accountability and inspiration!! 

28 DoF Check-In: Week 3

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Sookie Sookie Now!!! Only one week to go chicas and chicos!!! Time to update us with your 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge progress for Week 3: Days 15-21!!

And don’t forget to check out our FB Events page where many folks are updating daily! In a work-out rut? You’ll can find tons of ideas for home, outdoors, YouTube, DVD, app, and gym workouts to mix it up and beat boredom!! If you aren’t on Facebook and/or want more ideas, check out the Fitness Playlist I created on my YouTube channel to share fitness videos that I like!

As for my week, the struggle continues. I’m still not getting up as early as I’d like. A 5:30 am wake-up can be beastly in the winter when it’s still very dark and cold and especially when it seems to be snowing EVERY OTHER day in NJ! Ughhh!! So, I was still fighting the time crunch most of the week and ended up doing late night workouts on Friday and Saturday.

WEEK 3 RECAP

Day 15/335:  Hot Yoga / Vinyasa Flow at Younique Yoga studio in Sparta, NJ (75 min).

Day 16/336: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 min). In my defense, I cleaned house ALL day … well, I mostly dealt unpacking (ummm … see, what had happened was … Okay. I have no excuse. I just fully unpacked from the honeymoon on MLK Day. I know. Sad. But, whatcha gonna do?). So, I sorted, organized, and shred a lot of mail/paperwork and washed, folded, and put away a crap-load of clothes.

Day 17/337: 10 Minute Kickboxing with KieraLashae (don’t get it twisted, you will get your sweat on with these 10 minutes, IF you give it your all).

Day 18/338:  Lauren Brooks Joint Mobility Warm-up and 12 Minute Full Body Blast x2 (29 min).

Day 19/339: FitSugar’s Treadmill Pyramid Intervals to the 22 minute mark, then 6 minutes to cool down (28 min).

Day 20/340: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 Minutes)

Day 21/341: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 Minutes)

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We’re in the home stretch now!! How did you do Week 3, days 15-21? 

What are your plans for your final week?

(Hair) Lessons Learned 2013

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A couple of weeks ago, Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty did this post about what she discovered about her natural hair in 2013. I had been thinking about doing something similar and her post was the incentive I needed to write down my (hair) lessons learned.

As she said, these are things I learned about MY hair and may not apply to others. But, they are things that I found helped improve my hair and will hopefully allow it to get better in 2014.

So, here is what I learned in 2013.

  1. Inadequate consumption of water and dehydration is not only bad for the body/skin, but it can cause excessive hair breakage and shedding too. I had a bout of bad breakage last winter all over my head and I believe it was very much related to my unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, excess caffeine, and insufficient water consumption. My hair is recovering and regrowing, but the breakage was bad, creating a fuzzy halo of “flyaway” hair over my entire head. So, I try to make certain I get at least 48 ounces of water a day to ensure that I’m hydrated from the inside out. (Note: I’ll be doing a post on this topic soon!)
  2. My hair does better with wet detangling only. I lose a lot less hair and am able to detangle just fine without thoroughly finger detangling during a dry pre-poo. When I pre-poo now, I just smooth and smush the oil/conditioner down my hair with some minimal separation to make sure I coat each section.
  3. Using a comb and/or shampoo brush after finger detangling results in a less stressful detangling sessions the following wash day. It also makes for smoother, more defined braid/twist-out sets. So, I reincorporated these tools into my regimen.
  4. My hair LOVES goat milk in styling products and deep conditioner!!! My hair has been rejuvenated by it, especially my ends, which were starting to feel pretty rough. My stubborn crown has softened and become more supple and stronger!! My shedding and breakage have been drastically reduced. And finally, the straighter “tail” of my nape that used to hang now holds a curl when I set it on perm rods!! The goat milk DC has replaced Aubrey GPB as my light protein conditioner of choice (note: I also use Joico K-Pak conditioner on wash day, which also provides light protein).
  5. Cosmetic grade aloe vera gel works great for setting my hair in twist/braid outs and for smoothing/setting my edges.  It provides flexible hold and softness without product build-up. (I think this gel began to work well for me because my hair started behaving so well once I incorporated goat milk products into my regimen).
  6. The braid n’ twist n’ curl is my new go to style because the braids keep my roots smooth, but the twists gives me the fullness I desire. As the braid at the roots result in three sections once the set is released, I don’t need to separate my hair any futher to get fullness, which also means less manipulation and frizz. Also, the BnTnC dries more quickly than a braid out.

And that’s what I learned about my natural hair in 2013. Here’s to better hair in 2014! Onward and upward my friends!!

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What did you learn about your hair’s likes and dislikes in 2013?