Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Trimming Natural Hair and Length Retention

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I straightened my hair about two weeks ago (see that post here). Although I “search and destroy” regularly, my ends were desperately in need of a trim as it had been 10 months since my last professional one. So, the Monday morning after straightening my hair, I reached out to my stylist Tameeka (aka Jaded Tresses) to see if she would be in her NJ location that night. I was hoping that she might be able to slip me in between her other appointments.

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Well, it turned out that it was her son’s birthday and she wasn’t working that night. I was totally bummed, but understood. However, later that day, Tameeka texted me that she was going to Sam’s Club in Edison and couldn’t come to NJ in good conscious without trying to hook me up.  So, she asked if I could meet her at the salon later! Y’all … I was on YouTube trying to figure out how to self-trim when I got the text (and, she suspected that is what I would do)!! LOL!! I was ecstatic that I wouldn’t have to take on that task myself!!

So, I met Tameeka at the salon in South Orange, NJ, where she usually works Monday nights. And, in like 5 minutes flat, she cleaned up my ends and made me a very happy lady.

Left: Prior to trim; Right: After trim

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My hair felt sooooo much better after that trim!!  The thing that I love about Tameeka is that she really listens, understands, and respects my length goals and that when I say that all I want is a small trim, that is what she does. I’m sure other stylist would have tried to chop several inches off of my hair due to the thinner perimeter and would claim that my ends are not healthy, but that has NEVER been an issue with Tameeka. She never says, “Oh, you should take more off” or “your ends are unhealthy” or “It would look better like … .” No, she respects that I know MY hair and really evaluates the condition, and not just the aesthetics, of hair to determine what it needs. And, she has never taken off more than an inch when I have requested a trim only. A non-scissor happy stylist? That’s priceless for me y’all.

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TRIMMING NATURAL HAIR

Anywho, since we’re talking about trimming, I figured I’d take this opportunity to discuss my thoughts on a couple of questions that I’ve seen related to trimming natural hair and trimming in general.

1.  Do naturals need a blunt perimeter/even cut/ends?

In my opinion, if you wear your hair in a curly state the majoirty of the time, no. I don’t trim, cut my hair to keep my ends even. I trim to eliminate damaged ends that are excessively weathered, knotted and/or split. I do this with regular search and destroy (S&D) missions (usually on wash day) and a professional trim every 6-12 months. I trim in this way because, if I don’t, the damaged ends will inevitably cause collateral damage (i.e. more splits, knots, and weathering), because the “bad” hair snags on healthy adjacent strands and causes friction to the cuticle.

Another reason I don’t worry about a totally blunt/even perimeter is because hair tends to grow at different rates. The front and lower back half of my hair grow a lot faster than my crown. So, I accept that my hair does not grow out evenly or into a blunt shape. What I do try to do is keep the longest layer not too much longer than my shorter crown. When I get trims, I ask Tameeka to trim more off of the longest layer and less off of the shorter layers, to gradually thicken my perimeter. Since I wear my hair in updos and twist or braid and curls the vast majority of the time, my irregular curl pattern and length differences are disguised.

2.  Does trimming the hair stunt or encourage growth?

It does neither. Hair grows from the scalp and is dead the minute it “sprouts” from the scalp. Trimming eliminates weathered, thinned, split and knotted ends. It makes the hair appear healthier, neater, and more aesthetically pleasing to some. It helps reduce and prevent the continuous cycle of splits and breakage. However, it doesn’t encourage growth. Some may call it semantics. However, I want to state for the record that what trimming actually does is help prevent continued breakage, which impacts length retention and can make it seem like the hair is not growing. By trimming damaged ends, the hair will be better able to retain the length that grows, which some see as “encouraging growth.”

That being said, if you constantly trim and hair grows at an average of 1/2 an inch a month, you may trim off all or most of the growth, which will make it seem as if your hair isn’t growing. For example, if your hairs grows an average of a 1/2″ a month, and you get a 1″ trim every 3 months, you are only retaining a 1/2″ of growth instead of 1-1/2″. If your ends are healthy and well-maintained, that is totally unnecessary. This is why some may think that trimming stunts growth. But again, it’s not the growth, it’s the retention that is being impacted by trimming.

So, in conclusion, trimming (or not trimming) impacts length retention, not growth, depending on how it is used. And that’s all I have to say about that.

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How do you trim? How often do you trim?

About these ads

“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!!!!

 

♥♥♥♥

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!!

bantuknotwaves(Heatless waves added with 2 big Bantu knots)

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?

The Real Thing: Dieci Uomo Salon for Men

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17MihalikDieciUomoExt_1363by Weusi

NY’s “fake it til’ you make it” mentality has spread like a virus all the way through my beloved NJ. Now, in NJ’s everyday culture, there are a lot of things that I would call flashy, overkill, extreme, or extravagant. Cars, hairstyles, accessories, celebrations, parties, relationships, explanations, restaurants, etc. So, when Shelli forwarded me an email about this new “upscale salon catering to men” in Livingston, NJ, that also claimed to be environmentally conscious, I was skeptical. After a few e-mails, I set up a tour and an interview with a manager. They are kind enough to fit me in for a manicure too. The day arrives. I try to stay in journalist mode. I’ve done a little research on the owners and their other spot, but I’m still a little worried because part of the magic of the internet is that it can make any place and everyone look good. I pull up and it looks just like the picture. The building stands out among its surroundings but with its clean lines it looks  … square. I take a lap around the back of the building before I park. I don’t see any AC units. Why is this important? Because they promote a space for a rooftop lounge. If they put some patio furniture next to the massive, noisy AC units … that’s not a lounge … it’s just patio furniture on the roof! So now, I’m super suspect. But then I walk in … I’m impressed. The place is clean. Not just regular clean. This spot is like fresh out the box clean. And instead of the loud frantic energy that accompanies many men’s salons, there is a masculine serenity about the space. The clean design of the outside matches the modernist design of the space. The subtle mix of line and curve in the furnishing combined with cool, interactive colors make the glow of the sunshine the first “Welcome” as you enter. Then, I was greeted with what felt like a sincere, “Hello, how can we help you,” accompanied with an honest smile. I lowered my wall.

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One of the hostesses took my jacket and offered a beverage (coffee, expresso, tea, water … or wine). Another introduced me to Maria. Maria was my manicurist. Now, I like manicures. I can be kinda critical about them. I’ve had a few. Maybe more than a few. Some good. Some average. An occasional great one. As I’m soaking my cuticles, I strike up some conversation and find out that Maria has been doing manicures for 8 years and us obviously a professional. She pulls out the freshly sterilized gear and then … then she proceeds to give me the best manicure that I’ve ever had. Now, I’ve had manicures in 9 different states and overseas … so what made this one so good? There was no mental or physical discomfort. She not only took the time to look at my hands, view the shape of my fingers and nails, but she also invested a few seconds to touch them before she started and it made a difference. Then, after the manicure, the exfoliating hand massage was exceptional. It wasn’t just rubbing my hands and forearm with some goop. It was a real massage. I watched her eyes as she focused on my hands and responded accordingly to my points of tension. Not only did she really know what she was doing, she was invested in making my experience a pleasurable one. AND … she didn’t ask me if I wanted some damn clear polish! Over the next week, I found myself looking at my hands. They looked and felt great!

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After the manicure, the owner Paul Gaglioti was kind enough to give me a tour of the space. He explains to me that he started sweeping up salons at 19. Now, 4 decades later, with Dieci Uomo, he and his partner (his wife Marie), have jumped ahead of the trend to create an incredible space for gentleman to reward themselves.

Photo of Marie and Paul Scratch Surface 2009

The world class salon has a spa on site, with semi-private manicure rooms and private pedicure and waxing rooms. Their state of the art massage rooms house independently controlled sound systems to customize your experience on the upper level. Also on this level is the “Outdoor Lounge.” Paul and I walk outside and stroll past a few guys kicked back on lounge chairs, sipping on some scotch while they enjoy the day’s mild weather. He opens a discrete door and shows me the AC units that I was looking for earlier. Now I get it. Not only are they hidden behind 4 walls, but he explains that the space which houses them is designed to isolate and disperse the noise created by the whirling units, so as not to disrupt patrons’ lounge experience. With plans to add a full bar, (possibly a humidor?), as well as additional seating and shading, I’ll definitely be back to partake in the rooftop festivities! *(They are starting weekly events on the rooftop as the weather gets nice!)

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Oh, and the environmental aspect of the building isn’t a vanity item. This is the real thing! The intent to create a clean look and parallel it with a clean building was successful. A LEED energy certification makes this more than official. This may be the only LEED certified men’s salon in the state. A variety of high tech components infused within its infrastructure that assist with water circulation and energy efficiency truly enhance the experience. In addition to the recycled materials used in the buildings structure, low tech components such as super fresh sinks created from cement and broken bottles are one of the many highlights of the space. My green side got really geeky in our interview and I have a bunch of info about it, but you can check out their Environmental Commitment Brochure here. The other component that makes a man spa experience special is the hospitality of the staff. As we spoke, Paul made it clear that the Dieci Uomo experience was far superior to having a haircut in a swanky salon with a few big screens and staff dressed like waitress from Hooters. There were some big screens, and there were both make and female staff members. Paul stated that he considers his employees his professional family. He hires staff that are committed to the work of serving people, not just stylist, technicians or masseuse that are looking for a gig. He has been determined to create a team who is interested in learning how to best serve others. They are educated locally and internationally on the latest techniques and technology in hair and spa services. What I find interesting is that even with the international diversity in the staffing that mirrors the United Nations, there is still a very old school Jersey feel to the place. No … not Tony Soprano gangster like Jersey. More mom and pops store, show respect to everyone, speak to your neighbors not only because you know them but also because you know that their being safe means you and yours are safe too! Tactfulness, professional knowledge, a sense of community, progressive visioning, environmental consciousness and great customer service …  this leads to a spa treatment that I am sure is amazing. Yes … This is really the real thing. SO … if you live near Livingston, NJ and have a Significant Other that would appreciate the comforts of a spa experience … Or a man in your life that deserves a little something special … or are a dude that gets tired of the regular barbershop experience and wants a nice spot to get a fresh cut or shave  … OR are a groom that wants a spot to get all your dudes together and get fresh & clean for your wedding … check it out! I’m going back in about a week to get a cut and a shave! (*They also have these 6 and 12 month membership program that allow for UNLIMITED haircuts, express manicures, shoe shines and discounts on retail products! They have an entire line of men’s grooming products that I will expound upon in another post!) I’m reminded that sometimes there is a thin line between something that is cool and something that catches your eye because of a flashy presentation. Oftentimes the difference is intent. The Gaglioti’s have matched intent with both form and function. Dieci Uomo is the real thing, a full service salon and spa designed for men. It really is a cool spot! Swing by to check it out … or set up an appointment …

www.DieciUomo.com

48 West Northfield Rd
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 535-1400
info@dieciuomo.com

or their sister spa (Shelli said that it’s really nice!)

www.DieciSpa.com

90 West Mt. Pleasant Ave
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 716-0101
info@diecispa.com

So, yeah … in the end, Dieci Uomo (and New Jersey) restored my hope in the goodness, honesty, and beauty of people wanting to help other people. I walked out feeling so good that I forgot my coat! So, I went back in and grabbed my jacket, then headed to the car. As I walked, I thought … “Yeah, I’ll be back.” But wait, there’s more …  AND … because this is my new favorite song … and it matches the sharing and giving sentiment of this post … straight from the Muppets Most Wanted

I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo In Malibu) by Brett McKenzie

 *yes … Even Kermit knows what natural  hair lovers want … at 1:20 he says “You want a satin pillow? I’ll give it to you!”

  SHiNE,

Weusi

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? 

Shine Shantrelle!

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181922_1847487628641_4791108_nby Weusi

I woke up Sunday morning to work on a post, but checked my personal Facebook page first. I’ll get to the other post at a later date. But first, I wanted to share this post from my sister Shantrelle Patrice Lewis (@APshantology) who, as a curator of national and international art exhibits, is viewed as a defining voice for Black culture.  It kinda moved me, so I wanted to share it with you.

Focused on the Positive

I will do most anything to avoid catching the bus in Philadelphia for multiple reasons. Pretty much hate it actually but had no choice today. An elder gentleman sits next to me and says “that purse is genuine leather isn’t it?” I tell him yes and say that I got it in Egypt. His eyes opened wide and he said “wow! What was that like?! They say traveling broadens your mind.” I replied that it absolutely does and that I’ve been all over – Nigeria, Ghana, Brasil…” He said, ” you’ve been to the motherland?! That’s incredible! That’s my one wish before I die, to go the motherland.” He then tells me that he’s originally from South Carolina and that he traced his family back to Mali. We got off the bus and I asked if I could take his picture.

shantrelle's philly elderMr. Columbus, Germantown, Philadelphia ca. 2014.

I then told him that I was on my way to [the] UN office in Geneva. He says “You’re going over to do what Malcolm did?! And tell them about what our people have been through?” I paused and said, “yes, I will do my best.” I almost forgot about Brother Malcolm’s appeal. In the presence of my elders I’m always reminded of the path that I travel. He goes on to tell me to keep up the good work and that he liked my hair. It looks strong and healthy and I didn’t have all of those chemicals in my head. Blessed. And Focused.
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There is no doubt in my mind that Shantrelle will represent Malcolm, Black people, our angels and ancestors, Mr. Columbus, and the natural hair community and its supporters proudly!
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Do what you do …
Shine Shantrelle! 

News Anchor Reveals Natural Hair

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newsanchorby Weusi

This is a salute to natural hair and to the strength of the human spirit. A quick reminder that being natural isn’t just about vanity for everyone, but it is a gift for those who choose to embrace it!

Please check out this 4 minute story …

SHiNE

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!!

365DaysofFitness

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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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Day344jumprope

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).

via YogaVidyaEnglish

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). 

via Eckhart Yoga

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!!