30 December, 2011

My New Protective Style - Yarn Twists


I decide to give myself and my hair a break to focus on other things that I'm working on, so I put in some yarn twists, I've done yarn braids in the past and while they may last longer, they are a PAIN to put in and a bigger pain to take out. The yarn braids took me about 8 hours to put in and about 4 or so hours to take out the first time I did it. Since then, I've only done yarn twists and this is my second time. It took me a total of 4 hours to install them and I expect it will be super easy to take out. I also do them a bit chunkier than normal and use four strands of yarn to make it fuller and use 3 strands for my perimeter.

I plan to wear it for at least 2 weeks, I will ideally love to stretch it longer but I know how antsy I can get with PS so I don't see it lasting 4 weeks. However, I will try really hard and see how it goes.To hopefully make me have it in for a longer time, I did cornrows in the front which I took out after the first week and redid the front with individual twists.
You see my pretty highlight?
Not a very good picture but here's it with the corn rows



I added 2 red "highlights" for some fun!

I have really fine edges so I just don't touch it. I try to get as much as I can but I let the rest be. Might not be super neat but ah well...

The below is how I maintain it:
  • Wash 1x/wk with diluted Terressentials Hair Wash ( I make it really watery so I can rinse it easily)
  • It takes about a day and a half to fully dry so I don't put anything in it after I wash it so that it doesn't further delay the drying process (we don't want a mildewy smell).
  • After it is completely dry, I spray a mixture of Aloe Vera juice, olive oil, lavender and tea tree EOs on it in sections and squeeze it into the braids to make sure my hair is moisturized as well
  • Every other day, I will spray it with the above mixture. And that's it! My hair stays moisturized and I get a much needed break
Advice if you are getting yarn braids:
  • I think it is a great protective style if you need a break,
  • the key thing to keep in mind is to make sure you don't braid too tight. This way, you are not damaging your edges just because you have a protective style in,
  • try twists (braid the roots of the twists to keep them secure) instead of braids as it is much faster to install and take down than braids,
  • twist in bigger sections but increase the strands of yarn you use to make it fuller,
  • wash your hair once a week so that you have a clean scalp especially if you workout,
  • you can choose to deep condition, but I find that as long as I spritz it every other day, I don't need to DC. Plus I keep it in for only 2 to 3 weeks anyways so I don't feel like I'm doing much damage by not DC'ing in those few weeks,
  • use a daily moisturizing spritz that is water based or you can also use aloe vera juice. This way, since you are not using creamy leave-ins, you don't have too much build-up on the roots of the twists
  • Finally.....have FUN with it, try different styles you can't otherwise do with you own hair.  A great youtuber who has a series on yarn braids is blackonyx so check her out for styling ideas.
That's it from me ladies, any more tips and tricks you have to share? Please do it below. Thanks!

~ChyChy.

PS: please let me know if you will like a detailed tutorial on how I do my yarn twists :)

28 December, 2011

Weight Loss Update 3

So, I weighed in last week Thursday , the 22nd and I had lost another 2.6 pounds in two weeks. Let me begin by saying that I am very happy that I lost the weight but at the same time, I know it could be more if only I did everything I was supposed to. If I worked out more often or ate less when I go out, I could get to 2 lbs a week loss. But we are not perfect are we? If we were, then there will be no room for growth. So, on that note, I will say that I'm grateful for that which I lost because it means that I am currently......174lbs! Yay!

So, my advice to you will be, acknowledge the smal stuff because the small stuff add up to become a really really big thing. We are not perfect, we can't be and it is in the acknowledgment of this do we realize our limitless potential for growth!

Let's all keep working at it and I'm sure we will get there...one step back, two steps forward!

Please share any tips and successes no matter how small in your healthy lifestyle journey.

My Hair Regimen


So, when I first went natural, I tried so many products with futile results. My hair was perpetually dry and I never seemed to get good results from products that I had read rave reviews about.I knew it was because my strands were clogged with so much junk that no product will get it moisturized (not even water!).

That is when I decided I was going to re-discover my hair. I follow naptural85 on YouTube and upon seeing her success with the Terressentials hair wash, I took the plunge and bought a bottle of it. Since using it, my coils are back and my hair is like I've never seen before...moisturized and naturally beautiful!

This is my current regimen:

  • I wash my hair every two weeks and when I do, I use the Terressentials Hair wash
  • After washing my hair, I might apply a leave-in if I feel that my hair needs it, in that case, I will use one of the three below:
    •  my Modified kimmaytube leave-in which consists of:
      • a mixture of equal parts Aloe Vera juice and Knot today leave-in.
    • or I might use the Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifier
      • I like the above leave-in because it is light and I can use it a mid-week moisturizer
    • I might also use the Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk
      • I love this especially when I'm planning to do a twist out. It gives me a nice but mild hold and enhances definition.
  •  On the other 2 weeks I don't wash my hair, I will rinse my hair with water and apply a conditioner and leave it in for 15 to 20 minutes (this serves as my Deep Conditioning treatment)
    • I use Aubrey Organics GPB (if I feel a need for a little protein)
    • or Aubrey organics Honeysuckle rose conditioner (great moisture!)
  •  Shea butter mixture : For sealing my hair. I'm light-handed on this as many of the leave-ins have added oil that can help with sealing too.
  • Henna: I Henna about once every month. I buy my henna from my local Indian store.
Styling:
  • I wear a lot of flat twist updos recently because I find that it is the easiest protective style for me since I have fine hair (individual twists look horrendous on me!)
  • I will leave my flat-twist in for about 5 day (I get really antsy) and then bun it for two days until it's time for my wash or DC.
  • I might wear the occasional twist-outs which I do by putting in 5 or 6 flat twists
  • I might occasionally wear my hair in a wash-and-go but only for a maximum of 2 days. Otherwise, detangling is a pain.
  • I only finger detangle this is after realizing that I don't have the capacity to be gentle with a tool like a comb; I end up pulling out all my hair. Finger detangling works really well, especially since using the Hair Wash.
I like this regimen a lot because all the products are natural, relatively inexpensive, time-saving and I treasure my hair much more since it's not so dry all the time.

XOXO,
~ChyChy

23 December, 2011

New Etsy Store



Hi all,

I will like to use this opportunity to announce the opening of my Etsy store. I love crochetting and anything crafty so I finially decided to share my passion with everyone. Please feel free to check out the store. Upon placing an order, please mention that you saw this on my blog and a free covered earring like so --->> will be yours as a free gift.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/ChysHandmades

Here are a few things:






Here's to a successful store!
~ChyChy.

P.S.: I also accept custom orders.

22 December, 2011

Feature on BGLH

So, I had the biggest thing happen to me, my article was featured on blackgirllonghair.com as one the top ten "Hottest Topic of 2011" on their website, please check it out....

http://blackgirllonghair.com/2011/12/hottest-topics-of-2011/

Thanks!
~ChyChy.

09 December, 2011

Weight Loss in pictures.

Before and during from 190lbs to 176lbs

One advice I will give anyone who is not "seeing" their weightloss is to take pictures. They speak a thousand words!
~ChyChy.
Posted by Picasa

08 December, 2011

Weightloss Update 2

Hi ladies,

Today was weigh-in day and I lost 1lb which means I'm back where I was at the end of the summer when I lost 14lbs (and gained back 5lbs back when I got to school). I forgot to take a picture of the scale but will certainly do next week. I still haven't been able to make it the gym and it is going on three weeks now but my eating has been on point. I went to a baby shower and went out with the hubby over the weekend and I over-indulged a little bit so I stuck to the lower end of my calories (1200) for the rest of the week and it worked out just fine.

Current weight: 176.4lbs

Goals for next week:
  • learn strategies for successful social eating
  • get back into the gym for 4 days a week minimum
That's it from me. How are you guys doing?

-ChyChy.

06 December, 2011

My Hair Journey

If you've read this post , you'll know that I got my hair relaxed by my mom sometime while I was still in grade school. I don't know why she did, but I suspect it's because it was probably easier for her to take care of. I don't remember my hair when it was relaxed, I just know that when I got to Junior high, my school in Ghana had all the girls cut their hair. So, I wore a TWA from Junior high throughout high school. i might have had it relaxed in between school breaks but always cut it all off before school started each term.

Pre Relaxer, You can't really see my hair cuz it was cornrowed back

First relaxer days

TWA days in HS with the white sneakers
So, after HS, I just kept perming my hair. I treated my hair horribly: I put the relaxer in my self probably every 4 weeks and I applied it from root to tip so they always overlapped, I messed with color a LOT. As a result, my hair never went past my shoulders.
Relaxer days, around 2005

I still didn't think anything about it until one day I saw this amazing stewardess with the best TWA and the best color ever and I decided there and then to cut my hair. I did that evening and I loved it! the freedom, waking up and going, my coils....I loved it all. I kept a TWA for about three to four months.
August 2008 BC

October 2008, I kept it short

This was in October 2008 but I had no idea that there was a natural hair revolution going on so of course as my hair grew, I had no clue how to take care of it. So I proceeded to hide it in weaves, wigs, you name it, I did it.

January 2009

July 2009

October 2009

May 2009, 1.5 years later but still with no noticeable growth and damaged ends

May 2010, back in a wig

May 2010. I straightened the front portion of my hair and had permanent heat damage
As a result of this, My hair did not thrive; it was dry and dull so what do I do? I color it...many many times (about 3 times back-to-back) but for some reason, I never thought to perm it, I just thought I will keep wearing weaves and so on until I figured it out.
October 2010, still stagnated growth
That is until I moved away from Chicago to Indiana in August 2010 for school. I didn't have any where to get my hair done, no friends to braid it up for me in a heart beat and I was forced to learn how to take care of my hair. Here begins my foray into YouTube videos and blogs and the rest as they say is history...:)
Nursing school, started taking better care of my hair September 2010

My hair was finally thriving but my ends were still damaged from heat July 2011

October 2011, 3 years natural. Flat ironed and cut off 2" of damaged ends. Yay!
November 2011, My hair today
I'm still learning to take better care of my hair as it is very thin and fragile. My challenge for 2012 will be to keep it simple (KIS) as much as possible. Here is to a fabulous continued Journey, never give up even when it seems really really hard. Just remember that it gets better once you are committed!!

~XOXO
ChyChy.

Update: African vs. African American Hair care Practices

My mom did it all, relaxer and plucked eyebrows lol. I LOVE her though!

The post I posted a few days ago that appeared on CurlyNikki engendered a lot of response beyond my expectations. I really wrote it from a special place in my heart because it was an experience I lived without really understanding the implications of the practice. There were varied responses - from those who made it a "we" vs. "them" thing and those who were the litmus test as to who had more "cultural baggage" than the other. It wasn't intended as any of that but I do understand that there are as many perspectives as there are individuals.
I still thought I will write clarify that it wasn't meant to be divisive in the least neither was it meant to speak for the whole A or AA people. I couldn't do that, after all, my viewpoints are only shaped by MY experiences and that of those around me. So, my experience were:
  • my hair was actually relaxed throughout primary school (picture above) until the secondary school (Junior high/HS) mandate to cut it off,
  • in majority of schools (especially public schools), girls from Primary school onwards had to cut their hair and wear a TWA or else you were punished or your hair shaved in school,
  • this practice was not enforced on those who were biracial,
  • I did not become aware (as it were) of any problems with the aforementioned practice until I travelled to other countries, and
  • we all have some "cultural baggage" in one way or another. Yes, even those who might be considered exempt i.e. white or biracial people. Side note: In Daniel Silva's (my favorite writer of all time!) book The Rembrandt Affair, there is a character who is plagued by his father's activities during the Nazi regime. He could never live it down because everyone judged him by his father's actions. This is to say we all have things we have to contend with either out of choice or forced upon us.
This having been said, it is by having discussions like these are we able to delve into our differing experiences to determine that which unites us. If it is our new found/ renewed love for our hair in it's natural state, then by all means let's celebrate that!

~ChyChy

04 December, 2011

Body Measurement Update 1

09/11/2011
  • Weight: 180lbs

  • Waist (no sucking in): 37"

  • Lower abdomen: 38"

  • Hips: 44.25"

  • Thigh (L): 26"

  • Arm(L): 13"

  • BMI: 29


  • 04/12/2011
  • Weight: 177.4lbs

  • Waist (no sucking in): 35"

  • Lower abdomen: 37"

  • Hips: 43"

  • Thigh (L): 25.5"

  • Arm(L): 12.75"

  • BMI: 28.6


  • I'm happy with the results and looking forward to what the next week holds.
    Any successes/not-so successes to share? Please go ahead! There is power in sharing.

    ~smooches
    ChyChy

    02 December, 2011

    A mosaic of a simple flat twist updo

    You can either leave the twists hanging or you can flat-twist all of them upwards towards the crown and secure with goody spin pins ( review coming soon) or hair pins.


    This is an updo I did as a way to get my hands out of my hair. I wore it for about 5 days which is average for me before I start getting antsy. It is a really great style if you have fine hair that tends to look scalpy with individual twists like I do.

    If you have fine hair, what is your go to protective style?
    ~smooches,
    ChyChy.

    01 December, 2011

    African vs. African- American Hair Practices

    I've been thinking of developing this story for a while now. It is the story of how girls were/are made to wear their hair shaved from grade to high school both in Ghana and in Nigeria.

    A little back story, I was born Nigerian and grew up in Nigeria until I was 10 years old when we moved to start a new life in Ghana. Since I spent most of my formative years in Ghana, that became more home to me than Nigeria was. There are many similarities between the two countries and one is the rule to have young girls wear a TWA until they graduate from high school.I think the reasoning behind it is the same as there is for wearing uniforms. It ensures homogeneity,also, the girls who could not afford to get their hair braided did not have the pressure to spend the money and thirdly, everyone looked "neat" and "presentable". Now, that is not to say it was right or wrong, just giving the possible reasons.

     As far as I can tell, this practice was mostly the case in public schools. I noticed that many (not all) private schools permitted their female students to wear their hair at whatever length they wanted as long as it was braided up neatly.  The only girls who were exempt from this rule (public and private school) were those who were biracial. There weren't many girls who were biracial, but those who were, got to wear their hair long. Again, as a little girl, you don't think anything of it. You just knew that their hair was "prettier" and more "manageable" than yours and it wasn't a big deal. You didn't read meaning into it (at least not consciously), you just accepted it.

    I remember our final year of high school, many girls (me included) will grow their hair out but will tie it down with a scarf overnight to encourage the maximum shrinkage to avoid being punished (spanked) by a teacher. We did this because we knew that once school was out, we were going to get our first relaxers...good times :)

    That's me with the bandanna and our senior year of HS :)

    This practice did not seen like such a big deal to me when I was growing up, but as I get older and upon going natural, I've been thinking about how it affected my love or lack thereof of my natural hair. You see, most of my Friends are Nigerian or Ghanaian and most of them - if not all - sport relaxers and will not let go for anything (although I've convinced 7 including my mama to BC yay! #teamnatural). But why is this the case though? Why is it that after growing up without relaxers we hold on to it so strongly. Many of the experiences I read on blogs pertaining to natural hair are those of African-American women. They relate how they got their first perm at 4,5,6, or thereabouts. The stories go on to say that since relaxers was the norm for them, they just kept getting them until their decision to either BC or transition.

    My question is this, why after having two very different and distinct experiences do African -American and African woman have this reluctance to let go of the relaxer?

    Weightloss Update

    So from my last post here on how to have an achievable weight loss plan, there has been some ups and downs...
    • Downs
      • I have not been to the gym in over 2 weeks
      • I did not stick to my calorie count for a whole week
      • Hence I gained 1.6lbs
    • Ups
      • I took back control and stuck to my calorie range for the last week and a half
      • So, even though I still haven't been able to make it to the gym as I've been crazy busy with school
      • BUT.....I lost 4.2lbs by eating around 1200 and 1400 calories a day.
    Sticking to my calorie range even with the busy high-stress time I've been going through will not have been possible without the loving support of my hubby. He packs my lunch for me and includes snacks and he measures and weighs everything. That way, throughout the day, I have a snack whenever I'm getting hungry. I also have been sticking to my water goal of at least 64oz a day.

    So, overall, I'm pleased but I need to get back into the gym!

    Current weight: 177.4 lbs.

    Goal weight for next week: 175.9

    See you next week for my next weigh-in. Are any of you ladies using sparkpeople?

    ~smooches
    ChyChy.

    Protective Hairstyle for Fine-Hair Naturals

    


    I find that it is really hard for me to protective style with twists because they end up really scalpy. When I say that, a lot of people think it's because I'm not comfortable with the "look" of twists, no, believe me, that's not it. I wish I could wear twists out without looking like a de-feathered chicken. So, anywho, I began experimenting with different styles and this particlular one was really easy to do.

    • I washed my hair with the mud wash, sealed with shea butter and banded it overnight
    • In the morning, I seperated a section of hair in the front from ear to ear
    • I further divided the front section into two sections
    • I did chunky single twists on one section and flat-twisted the other section up from my ear
    • I thin pin-curled the loose twists as well as the ends of the flat twists and the below pictures showcase the results...enjoy!
    • I wore it for about 5 days before doing something else with it.

    I tell you, this hair accessory is the best, you just gather your loose hair in the back and clip it in and viola!

    The pin curls, please forgive the shine it was the end of the day

    Flat twists up from the ear area
     ~Smooches
    ChyChy