GAME ON!!: Fitness Link Up and Looking Hot While Sweating!

I don’t do social media anymore (does blogging count?), so I miss out on the #ManiacMondays, #WackyWednesdays or whatever alliterative description the internet decides to use for a specific day. I don’t even tell my closest friends about my blog! It’s just an outlet for me to remember what I did to my hair and I love it when people stumble upon it! (Hello new friends!)

However, I saw on Saving Our Strands a call for link-ups for fitness and this is where I can shed my anti-social skin and share my story!

Let me start by saying this … I was never big, so I don’t have a dramatic weight loss story to tell. Throughout my childhood, I was normal weight. I played outside and played softball. In high school, I ran cross country and track. I also was lucky enough to have PE and recess on an almost daily basis, with our teachers never letting us sit down! Genetics also plays a role. My mom is very little (she is skinnier than me). She has a high metabolism, as does my brother and my granddad. My dad’s family, while gifted with beautiful hair, was not blessed with this high metabolism.

Well here comes my 20s. I am not overweight, but I am not toned. I have long abandoned working out except for superficial walking and jogging whenever I felt like it. In spring 2006, my dad gave me the surprise of a lifetime … a cruise to Hawaii for my college graduation (this trip changed my life forever – stay tuned)! I had until the fall to get into great shape so on Memorial Day weekend 2006, I began my fitness journey and haven’t looked back! I started out doing ExerciseTV on Demand (RIP!!) videos and recording Total Body Sculpt with Gilad! A bonus was that he filmed in Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, HI, which is where I was going!

Me and my boyfriend at the time also moved in a brand new apartment complex in Raleigh, NC with 2 state-0f-the-art gyms at my disposal. I worked out almost everyday. I got down to 118 lbs at one time (which is a bit too thin, no one liked it), but slowly started to get to my set point of about 130 lbs. When I graduated from college and got a full-time job, I would exercise on my lunch break. I would run about 2 miles at a nearby path, do sprints in the parking lot (which prompted one of my co-workers to ask if I was going insane) or go home to the gym. I made working out a priority, which I still do to this day. I am fortunate enough to work for the government where they offer us $4 memberships to a fitness club located on my office floor. There, I use the AV system and do Insanity (or another video) and they offer us classes like yoga and boot camps. I am also going to be joining the LA Fitness in Wilsonville so that I have access to more group fitness classes, especially on the weekend. I LOVE working out in a group setting. I find myself pushing a little bit harder when I have others around! With all of the access to fitness that I have, I have NO excuse not to work out and I rarely make them. There are times where I may go a week or so without working out if I am on vacation, but if I am at work or home, I’m hitting the gym!

Sooo … with that said, I also want to say that despite me working out for the past 7 years, my weight has fluctuated. I have been up to 140 and down to 118. I think it has a lot to do with hormones, water retention and muscle gain/loss. In Hawaii, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get down to 135, despite me arriving on the island at 130! I lived a very active lifestyle in Hawaii, but just couldn’t shed the weight. I think it was me constantly retaining water due to the heat, because when I came to the mainland, I would cut weight almost immediately! I no longer weigh myself, as I can tell how my clothes are fitting and my measurements. The scale never tells the whole story, so keep that in mind!!!!

So enough of the backstory …. here’s what I am doing now to stay fit!!! I told myself that I was going to get a new workout wardrobe in 2014 to keep me motivated to take my fitness to the next level (go hard or go home!) I had been wearing the same Old Navy cotton yoga pants and Danskin Now tanks for eons, it seems. Now that I am doing high intensity interval training (e.g. Insanity), I need performance gear that will wick sweat, unlike my cotton workout clothes that just got drenched. I asked a lady at work where she got her cute workout clothes from. They were colorful, sexy and functional at the same time and she suggested I try Lululemon. Nathan and I stopped at the Lululemon Outlet in Burlington, WA on our way back from Canada and boy, did that start something! I began going to their retail stores and buying their running crops and tops. They are compression capris that fit like a dream and make your tush look amazing! They also wick sweat and allow you to wear them more than once before washing due to their Silverescent (or anti-stink) technology!

I am absolutely obsessed with my Lulus! I swear I am more motivated when I work out now! Sometimes all we need is a little make-over and upgrade to take us to the next level. If you have a chance to get a piece (or more), I highly recommend them!

Here was my WOOTD (workout outfit of the day). I went to bootcamp this morning since our office was closed due to snow and I will be going back to kickboxing tonight.

I am wearing Luluemon No Limits Tank and Lululemon Run:Pace Crop (my Valentine’s Day gift from Nathan!) Here’s some arm shots, too!

photo 1 - Copy photo 2 - Copy photo 3 - Copy  photo 5 - Copy

And to prove that the struggle is real when it comes to my hair when working out … here’s a shot of my hair after I got home from boot camp class. It is a puffy, sweaty mess. I will co-wash it tomorrow and just spritz on some moisturizer until then! For this upcoming Fitness Friday, I will share a typical weekly workout schedule!

Ugh! This hair is a mess! I just want to say “Bye Felicia!!”

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JBCO for Scalp Coverage!

Today I was looking in the mirror and noticed that I could see my scalp in a few places around my edges when my hair was pulled back. I remember the stylist I went to see saying the scalp coverage can decrease with age and with the use of chemicals (e.g. relaxers). It also does not help that I wear my hair pulled back almost everyday in a tight headband. My mantra is: “the tighter the better!” (that’s what he said – hahahahah!) My hairline for the most part is fine, but the front part where my hair begins needs a little love!

With this said, I am going to do a personal challenge by using Jamaican Black Castor Oil 2-3 a week on this area. Also, I will not wear tight headbands. I have a black one that allows me to adjust it so that it is not too tight, so I will just wear that until I can get some more colors. Hopefully in a few months I will notice a bit more scalp coverage. It is not too bad, but it definitely is noticeable!

See below …

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Oh snap! I just remembered these pictures from when I started my HHJ. I was also a bit scalpy … maybe me using the JBCO and cutting down on tight headbands have been needed for a while! 🙂

January 2012                                                  May 2013

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I went to Nathan to ask him if he could see my scalp in the front. He said yes and that I was going to end up looking like Coolio of late with the struggle plaits! Ooooooh! It was kinda funny! He’s just bitter the Cowboys lost to Denver today.

Summer Goals Recap

I totally forgot about my summer goals, quiet as its kept! I was reminded by two bloggers who looked back on their goals to see if they made it … so in the spirit of completion, I thought I would a quick check-in and see how I did!

For the most part, I did well with my summer goals.

1. Get to MBL! This is the ultimate goal. I do not mean just a few scraggly hairs, either, I mean a good portion of my lower layers (meh, I will take 20%).

Kind of … I did a lot of trimming this summer. I got to MBL in my longest parts … I can’t say for sure if it was 20%!

2. Continue to grow out my front. It is a few inches past my chin, right at my shoulder (HOORAY … I am full-SL hahahahha!)

I did! I will have to take a picture for comparison’s sake.

3. Use the L-O-C method to improve moisture retention.

I did this only on air-dried hair. If I would have done it on hair that was roller-set, it would be a soggy, limp mess. But nevertheless, I did it!

4. Use only one heat pass for length check in mid-July (if I so desire)

Since June, I have flat-ironed my hair once (for my August 2013 relaxer) and used the blow dryer on my entire length twice.

5. Pre-poo with ceramides weekly


6. DRINK at least 60 ounces of water a day (sigh … I will accept 4/7 days on this one!)

Done … kind of phoned it in in September.

7. Dust only once this relaxer period (search and destroy sessions for overgrown hairs are OK)

Did NOT do. I dusted more because my hair needed it. Oh well. Scraggly ends are a no-go for me.

8. Protective style 80% of the time


9. Maintain my hair’s gorgeous thickness! ;)

Well, done for the most part … there was some autumn shedding I had to contend with.

10. Apply clear semi-permanent color late June/early July to help with ends

Did this in late June and mid-September.

MBL-Bound and Goals for Summer

It’s been awhile since I have posted some goals (see these from last summer) and I felt that it was high time to do them, considering that I am heading into a 13 week relaxer stretch!!

Summertime is upon us and for some, it’s when their hair grows the fastest … for some reason mine grows faster in the winter! Last summer did not yield too much new growth for me. I am not sure why that was, but from May to about September, it looked like I gained maybe 1.5 inches, which is pretty slow for me! I will definitely be looking to maximize growth and can only hope to get the same amount of growth that I did the past relaxer stretch, which was about 2 inches in the front and back and 1.5 inches in the middle (yes, I measured).

So without any further mindless chatter, here are my goals for the summer (defined as ending Labor Day weekend, when I get my next relaxer):

1. Get to MBL! This is the ultimate goal. I do not mean just a few scraggly hairs, either, I mean a good portion of my lower layers (meh, I will take 20%).

2. Continue to grow out my front. It is a few inches past my chin, right at my shoulder (HOORAY … I am full-SL hahahahha!)

3. Use the L-O-C method to improve moisture retention.

4. Use only one heat pass for length check in mid-July (if I so desire)

5. Pre-poo with ceramides weekly

6. DRINK at least 60 ounces of water a day (sigh … I will accept 4/7 days on this one!)

7. Dust only once this relaxer period (search and destroy sessions for overgrown hairs are OK)

8. Protective style 80% of the time

9. Maintain my hair’s gorgeous thickness! 😉

10. Apply clear semi-permanent color late June/early July to help with ends


How much further until … 

– MBL – I have about an inch to go!!!

– WL – Ugh! I can tell this is going to as elusive as BSL was! Nathan measured and I have about 4.5-5 inches to go. My length check shirt indicated that MBL was only 2 inches away from WL … well, anatomy trumps markings on a shirt! This will definitely be next year (*screams at hair to grow*)


Well there you have it … my hair goals for summer! I will check in periodically to look at my progress!


Hair Update: Growing out my hair in the front

Greetings! I wanted to do a length-check update for my hair in the front! It is still in chin length territory, but it definitely has grown! Unfortunately, this part of my hair is the first place I cut when I do my dusting since I can see it the best, so yeah, it definitely is taking a lot longer for me to see results compared to the back of my hair.

I have only dusted once this relaxer cycle and I don’t plan on doing it before my relaxer. This part of my hair is doing well and does not appear to have any dry ends at the moment, so even if I have to do an unexpected dusting, I will just ignore this part! My goal for this part of my hair is to be shoulder length by the end of the year (while the front part of my hair is BSL+??). I really hate the fact that I had a cut with my hair with the front part so short, but there is nothing I can do about it now but let it grow.

So here a look at my “bangs” progression from August 2011 to now!

August 2011 – Eye length and eating watermelon (yum!)

April 2012 – At my top lip


June 2012 – Almost chin length

September 2012 – About an inch past chin length!

January 2013 – Over 2 inches past chin length

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New Growth

I am about 4 weeks post and have seen a considerable amount of new growth in the front. The rest of my hair seems like it is freshly relaxed in some places! It is really funny looking at all the textures going on! Here’s a picture of the front …

At least the front is growing out now, as that is the slowest part of my hair. I really think the JBCO and EVOO mixture is doing well, so I have no plans to incorporate the NJoy mix back in to my regimen anytime soon. I just didn’t like how heavy the mix was and how the sulfur smelled. The JBCO and EVOO are pretty light and I can even wear my hair down with it.

I think I will relax my hair around Veteran’s Day … I will be about 11 weeks post then. I am not looking forward to self-relaxing, so I need to start watching videos to help me out!


Challenge Results – Length in Front Update

Well, my length in the front appears to be coming in. Right after my relaxer, I was a bit worried that I trimmed it all away! I did another look yesterday and it has definitely grown over the past year. I want to showcase its growth it from August 2011 where it was darn near eye-length (hahaha! Is that really a length??)

It appears that it really is growing! I rarely pay attention to this area as far as charting progress because it really doesn’t impact my true length (and it’s kinda hard to measure), but that will change! Using my chin as a guidepost … I guess I will be XX inches past chin length.

It appears that I have grown and retained bout 4-5 inches since last year, so that is a good start. Maybe next year, my front can be past my collar bone? We shall see!


August 2011 – Eye length and eating watermelon (yum!)



April 2012 – At my top lip





June 2012 – Almost chin length




September 2012 – About an inch past chin length!




JBCO Challenge Results and new milestone made!

Well I did a JBCO challenge for about two months and wanted to give a quick follow up.

The back of my hair grew … as it always does. I could not tell a difference it the amount of hair that grew.

My ultimate goal was to grow out the front where some pieces fall about chin length. Well, it grew out a bit, but not enough to make me happy.

I did have to dust my hair twice this summer, so maybe that hurt a bit. I am getting new growth in the front, so why I am not seeing much progress is beyond me. I am going to start taking more pictures and monitoring the front of my hair’s growth progress!

On another note, sans a few layers in the front and on the sides, I am officially full APL!!! Most of the hair on my head passes that line and I am claiming it!!!!!!!! WOO HOO!

Now onto BSB by the end of the year!!!!!!!! I have about .5 inches left!

Wash Day (and an end to the Heat Break!)

Well, I could not take it any longer. I had not seen my hair straight for a month (I like my hair straight) and I wanted to make sure that the dusting that I gave myself did not jack my hair up. I should have had my hair straightened before I dusted, but hey … no harm, no foul, right?

I made an appointment at Ulta on Saturday for Sarah to flat iron my hair. That morning, I pre-pooed with a hot oil treatment under the dryer for about 40 minutes. I applied the oils to the scalp as well as to the length of my hair. I did not apply any conditioner.

I then proceeded to wash with a sulfate shampoo because I saw where the Alterna Overnight Repair contains dimethicone (that is a water insoluable silicone which can eventually damage your hair if you do not clarify enough or use sulfate shampoos), followed up by the usual Alterna moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. I deep conditioned with the Alterna 10 Hair Masque, Alterna Caviar conditioner and a tsp of Roux Porosity Control for about 45 minutes, followed by a final rinse of Roux and cold water.

I then proceeded to detangle and apply my normal leave-ins for a blow out. I blow dried my hair on cool and low (sigh, I have gotten lazy … I didn’t enjoy this at all!). I must say I was sooooooooo impressed with how thick it was!!!!! See??

I applied a little bit of grapeseed oil (for its thermal protectant properties), tied it back and headed to Ulta.

The flat ironing process was as usual! Hair turned out very nice! Sarah commented on how healthy it looked and what a decent job I did on dusting my ends! I have not been complemented for the health of my hair for as long as I can remember (if ever), so it was great to have my hard work validated!

Well, it has grown! Progress is continuing to be made! I am between the 6.5 and the 7 on my shirt … whoop whoop! I am also glad that I have a baseline in which to work towards my relaxer goals next month. I am still wanting the longest point to be at the 7 (or a little past is fine), but I am still going to be working on growing out the front and side layers with the JBCO challenge! I have a month … I think I can get a .5 inch of growth in!

So after enjoying wearing my hair down this weekend … tomorrow it is back up in the protective styles. Also, no more heat until the relaxer in 4 weeks!!!


A new challenge … using Jamaican Black Castor Oil

For the past four months, I have been using NJoy’s sulfur mix. I have had OK growth with it, but nothing mind-blowing. Another thing is that the sulfur smells horrible. It is kind of embarrassing when I am at the gym and the sweat and the sulfur starts mingling. To top it off, I use the machine closest to the fan, so it just blows on it. I hope others do not notice it!

I have been inspired by old challenges on Hairlista, in which Sunshyne uses Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) and sees pretty good results. I am going to try a 2 month challenge using only JBCO and a carrier oil, as JBCO is very thick. I will be using it just like I do the sulfur-mix, which is 2 to 3 times a week.

I took some baseline pictures. My ultimate goal is to grow out my front, as it is the slowest growing part of my hair. I will take pictures after I relax in mid-August to see how I did!

Wish me luck!