Updates and Reviews

Starting Weight: 186

Now Weight: 184

I have a gym setup in my house that includes weights, an elliptical, an ab lounger, fitness quality jump rope, and dvds such as hip hop abs and celebrity bootcamp, so those will be the main things that I utilize for workouts and mention on the blog.  Since dedicating to getting healthier on Saturday, I used the elliptical for 30 mins and the ab lounger for many repetitions , all while watching Law & Order to distract me from the fact that I was doing a dreaded workout 😛  I find that music is cool to work out to, but watching tv DEFINITELY makes the time go by much more quickly.  Which do you prefer, music, television, reading, silent meditation,  etc while working out?

A good resource that I’ve come across for tracking your progress while losing weight, getting healthy  is the website http://sparkpeople.com/ It tracks calories, progress, fitness, and gives good tips so I would highly recommend it.  Just remember to keep it updated!

On to beauty and hair product reviews 😀  I know that’s what you want!

Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme - Hand Cream - Burt's Bees

I have found the key to satiny soft hands!   Burt’s Bees Almond Milk beeswax hand creme is pure heaven because it smells good, feels like lush creamy goodness, AND garners awesome results.  My hands take a beating in the winter because of the harsh cold winds of Chicago, so it’s nice to pamper them with something that leaves the skin feeling healthy and moisturized.  Wish that I’d had this for the winter!  A+ for this product all of the way.  I purchased mine while at the Cracker Barrel waiting to eat, but it can be found online or anywhere that Burt’s Bee’s products are sold such as Walgreens.

Since my hands are looking and feeling so much better, I’ve been on QUITE the nail polish kick, changing the color practically every other day.  Part of that changing so often is because of my general restlessness with one look, but another is the annoying fact that so many polishes chip if you happen to even LOOK at your nails the wrong way.  So annoying, right ladies?  Well, Sally Hansen has created a godsend for those of us who may want a nail look to last for more than half an hour.  Their new Complete Salon Manicure really does have the effect of a base coat, rich polish, and top coat in one.  This stuff LASTS!  So far I’ve purchased in Choco-latte and Hidden Treasure.  Hidden Treasure is fun because it’s clear with flecks of grey, pink, gold depending on how you look at it and works wonders when used as a top coat over something else.  When I went to Jamaica last week, I put on a cream colored base coat with Hidden Treasure on top and it lasted the whole trip of 4 days and beach fun.   Definite A+ on this line of products as well and I WILL be getting many more of the colors which can be seen here: http://www.sallyhansen.com/product.cfm?product=385

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Nail Polish, Choco-Latte

Remember when I posted about starting to take biotin to help my hair continue to grow?  Well dear readers, I am one of those people who had the unfortunate side effect that they say can happen, which is broken out skin 😦  I’ve curtailed my usage of the supplement because it has caused a massive slew of bumps along my jawline and on my cheeks.  NOT a good look, especially when my hair has been healthy anyway and not really needing the extra help.   So I just wanted to give the update that Biotin is not the route for me, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you because different bodies react differently to it 🙂

Now about this huge head of hair I am growing.  My beloved Qhemet’s Amla and Olive heavy cream is running low, so of course I had to go to the health foods store and replace it.  While there, I happened to notice Qhemet’s Olive and Honey Hair Balm and a light bulb went off.  I’d spoken “here” about wanting to incorporate honey into my summer program because honey is a humectant and therefore takes moisture from the air and imparts it into the hair!  So when I saw that, I bypassed the heavy cream which may be a bit much for the summer humidity and grabbed up the olive/honey balm.   Can I just say, this stuff is divine?  PARTY time, I LOVE Qhemet’s 😀  Hair is soft and pretty and smells nice.  So far I’ve just added some to dry hair that was in an old twist out, but when I was my hair tomorrow, I will use it out of the shower for a wash and go and see how that works and to do some two strand twists.  I have high hopes on it’s moisture potential!  😀

hair hero: Singer Nneka (Check her out here: LOVE this song – Heartbeat)

Aubrey Organics

I deep conditioned last night with Aubrey Organics GPB for the first time!  My hair is usually wanting for moisture more than anything, but since I’ve never done a protein based treatment, figured that I’d give it a go just because and see how it turned out.  The smell is pleasant, has a spice-y type vibe, maybe star anise?  Something out of a spice rack, which is fine by me!  That type of product isn’t listed in the ingredients, but I got a spice vibe from it, nevertheless.

It has the same creamy, wonderful consistency as my beloved Honeysuckle Rose conditioner by them, so that is a plus.  After sitting under my heated cap with it for 20 minutes then rinsing out, my curls were very defined!  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but popping curlies wasn’t it!  I would love to do that treatment again once the weather is nice so that I can have a lovely wash and go with it, but I ended up doing the usual twists.  My amla/olive heavy cream came in handy after the wash so that I could make sure that the hair stays moisturized.  This morning, sprayed with my aloe grow and sealed with coconut oil, felt lush, so overall I give the protein treatment an A+ and look forward to using that again.

Me being slow, I didn’t even get photos of it after the treatment!  Wow, curls popping and there is no photographic proof 😦

hair hero: curly afro wearers

New technique = EPIC failure

Okay, so yesterday I wasn’t all that keen on the new hair style where I sectioned my hair and put gel in to define the curls.  Some curls popped, some was just fluff with a little curl, whatever, but I just thought it looked like a bad afro wig, lol.

Not a happy camper, but I figured it was trying something new and I won’t like all results but I’ll wear it a couple of days because I might as well.  HOO-BOY, that was NOT going to work.  I’d slept in my satin bonnet as usual, woke up and WOOF!  Took the cap off and holy crap batman!  Ever get those ignorant people asking “is your hair rough?  natural kinky hair looks rough, is it like a brillo pad?”  MOST days I would laugh in the face of that blatant idiocy and say no, my hair feels like soft pretty cotton THANK YOU VERY MUCH, but today?  I would have had to sadly put my head down and say yes, yes my hair is just like the texture of a rough wiry piece of dish washing equipment.  :weeping:

Hair was shrunken, hard, wiry, and just overall a complete change from the soft, lush, pretty, want to bury my face in it hair that I’m used to.  So um….yeah….definitely got in the shower asap to wash that crap out with my lovely pure life aloe shampoo (wooo, that stuff is great)  and sat with honeysuckle rose again for about 5 mins.  Detangled my now soft again pretty hair and rinsed out.  I decided to do my own rollerset for the first time, used small blue rollers with tiny itty bitty combs on them and my amla/olive heavy cream.  Sprayed with my homemade aloe juice concoction after all done and voila!

I started at the back and made my way to the front where I got lazy and didn’t make sure that the sections were uniform or wet, so it’ll probably look like a crap spirally bush in the front, but at least i can walk backwards and look fly to death!  lmao 😀

so, to wrap this up, experimentation is good but know all RESULTS won’t be good and now I know that i don’t have easily defined spirally curls everywhere on my head.  Beware overloading on the gel and thank god for just today not having a job because I would have been MORTIFIED if I’d awaken to that head of hair and couldn’t do a damn thing to change it!

Homemade Concoction

In the past couple of months I’ve been compiling many bits and pieces of information on how to grow strong, healthy, long hair.  The products that I’ve wanted and tried have been showcased on my blog, since I’m all about the premade, just buy and use products, lol.  Now, however, I am going to mix up my own concoction from a variety of sources and see how that goes for my hair.  Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE all of the products I’ve bought so far (well, most of them, there are a couple that haven’t fared too well in the reviews section of my site) and plan to continue, especially the thick butters and creams that I use on my hair like Qhemet Biologics amla and olive heavy cream (aka cavier for the hair, LOVE it).

But why compile all of this lovely info if I in turn do nothing with it??  So when my Oyin Frank Juice runs out, I’m using the bottle to create my own super grow spray 😀  It will be a mix of the following:

Aloe Vera (99.7 aloe vera juice)

a bit of olive oil

rosemary oil

tea tree oil with lavender extract

peppermint oil (maybe)

water

mix all of that together and put into the spray bottle for a daily spray for my lovely locks.  Sounds like a good plan!  Peppermint stimulates the scalp, rosemary aids in growth, olive oil is rich, should be an all-star lineup 😀  I’ll let you all know how that goes!  Got any homemade concoctions you just adore and can’t live without??

hair hero: my late, great sweetie Michael Jackson in his afro days

Knots and locks

I keep finding single strand, or fairy, knots in my hair which is super annoying.  I’d done a wash and go for my ‘fro a couple of days ago, because I simply didn’t feel like twisting it after washing and am coming to the conclusion that my hair out so much is no good for my ends.  Even when I do a twist out, I still get some single strand knots, probably from when I sleep and my hair may move with me under my satin cap.  Oh what to do?

Last night to keep my hair from doing that, I did dry twists with my new Amla and Olive Heavy Cream.  Can I say, this stuff is like caviar for the hair, soooo rich and luxurious 😀  AND I got it on sale for 20% off.  It’s amazing, so creamy and delicious, smells and looks like my coconut lime body butter from bath and body works, just a lighter scent.  I smoothed some on my dry hair on each twist before I twisted, brushed through slowly with a denman-esque brush (worked well, didn’t have to tug at my hair and only like 2 strands came out in the brush. Yay for tangle free hair!) and twisted medium and small twists throughout.  The cream made it soft and smooth while brushing, so I highly recommend and give the product an A+.   I look like a reject cast member from Bebe’s Kids, but if it’ll keep my hair healthy I’ll do it!  Not like I planned on going on some hot date with it like this anyway, lol.  I suppose it can stay in these twists for a couple of days while I try to finagle someone into cornrowing my hair 😉

What have you done to minimize single strand knots?  Any suggestions?  I’ve just come across a great post on http://bglhonline.com/ about how a mother grew her type 4 child’s hair down to her waist, simple regime and emphasis on LOW MAINTENANCE, so I’ll have to adapt that by learning how to braid and twist much smaller twists so that they can last.

hair hero: beyonce’s afro (i know it’s not natural, but it’s damn cute!)

Great Moisture

Chicago winters are NO joke, with it’s icy strong winds and all.  My hair used to always be dry, regardless of season, but practically a dry bush in the winter!  NO MORE.  Going natural was the best thing I could do, simply because it kick started an INTEREST in my hair and its well being.  From stalking blogs to reading product ingredients, my hair is now THRIVING.  It’s thick and lush, soft and moisturized!  I can’t believe it, I’ve never felt my hair be soft and moisturized without being greasy from overloading on any old oil or grease that I got my hands on.  Now, I know that mineral oils and petroleum are NO good for me.  Luscious creams, butters, and virgin oils have my hair dancing with happiness 🙂

my dream team of products.

Now, thanks to natural hair blogs and good ole knowledge, I can see my hair flourish.  I cowash with olive oil and Organix conditioner, use Kinky Curly Knot Today as a leave in mixed with coconut oil, twist my hair with yummy blended beauty curl styling butter, then spray with either oyin frank juice or qhemet karkady tea mist the next days for added moisture.  And it’s perfect!  Now I’ve purchased the Amla and Olive Heavy Cream by Qhemet because it was on sale and the ingredients like castor oil, olive oil, and amla are divine for the hair! I can’t wait to add that to my arsenal as well.   You really don’t get how amazed I am at how soft and lush it feels 😀    So for you 4A ladies, especially in a cold Northern climate, check these products out if you want to retain delicious moisture!  What are your dream team products, kinky curly girls??

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