An Inch for Your Thoughts #18: #LongHairProblems

I have been meaning to write a blog post on this for ages and have just finally got around to doing it!

I remember when I started my HHJ at shoulder length almost two years ago (seems like yesterday), all I could do is dream of MBL/WL hair and envy anyone who had it! I just couldn’t wait to have my hair long and flowing! Now that I have it, I have discovered long hair, while I definitely love it, is not a bed of roses! Here are some of my #longhairproblems:

1. It takes FOREVER for a roller set to dry! – And I mean forever! I am under the dryer no less than 100 minutes each Wash Day that I roller set. It is annoying, hot and uncomfortable. I have a relatively decent dryer, but it still takes forever.

2. Hair gets caught in clothes and armpits. – I think this is one of the first #longhairproblems I encountered and remembered. I think it was around BSL when I noticed that while putting on clothes, if my hair was free, it would get caught in my armpit when I was trying to take clothes on or off. I would then have to gently cock my head to the side the hair was stuck on as not to create tension so the hair would break, gently swipe my hair away from the armpit or clothes and continue what I was doing.

3. Products do not last as long. – For someone who uses expensive hair products, I know that I have to be extra careful and “stretch” the time the products will last now that my hair is MBL. That means I will add in cheaper products to give some of my products a boost. For example, instead of using just Alterna Caviar conditioner in the shower, I will add Ion Extreme Moisture cream so that I don’t have to use much Alterna.

4. Haters! – Didn’t I just mention how I hated on people who had long hair the beginning of my journey? Yep, we’ve all been guilty of possessing hair envy at one time or another. However, what about the people in your life who make shady comments (e.g. “well, your hair should be long, you have ‘good’ hair”) or the friends who say nothing at all? Like they refuse to acknowledge your length at all or congratulate you on meeting your hair goals? Yep, if it haven’t happened to you, I bet you it will at some point. Like Dave Chappelle as R.Kelly stated “Haters Gonna Hate!”

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5. More upkeep is needed. – This is a no-brainer. Long hair = old hair. Some of the hair on my head is probably 3+ years old and I have only been on my journey for 2 years. That means the ends of my hair have been through the fire!! Literally, because I used to blow dry and flat iron my hair weekly. HA! That means slacking on your pimping is not recommended. I M&S almost daily, pre-poo and deep condition every Wash Day. I strategically pick leave-ins that will enhance my hair and assist in helping keep its structure (hellooooooooooo light protein leave-in and coconut oil pre-poos!) I dust as needed and try to protective style as much as possible to keep my ends in decent shape.

6. The anxiety struggle is real. – When you have invested time and money into growing your hair out, you get more protective over every inch you acquire. I think that this is true in most areas of life. If you nurture something, you want to be able to see and enjoy the outcome. Well, once your hair starts gaining a bit of length, you may find yourself a bit more stressed out over it than before. The dreaded word “setback” (considered the “four letter word” of HHJ enthusiasts) haunts you in your dreams and every time you comb and style your hair. You may see other bloggers have a setback and now fear has been struck in your heart! Well, all I can say to this is “breathe and stop” (thanks Q-Tip!) I just chalk it up to “it is not a sprint, it’s a marathon!” Some people may jog to the finish line, some may walk and some may stop and have coffee. I say “I’ll get there when I get there!”

7. What’s next? – Having long hair may be fun in and of itself, but what about when you finally reach your goals? What then? I remember the sheer excitement of seeing my hair after relaxer day and to see what milestone I could claim! There was no greater high than realizing that I made BSB/BSL/MBL! My last relaxer day I was like “Meh. I know my hair is long. Throw me some tight curls in it!”

Well, there are some of my #longhairproblems! You have any you want to share?

 

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An Inch for Your Thoughts #17: I Want Candy [Crush]!

I learned about Candy Crush Saga when I went home in early September. I saw my aunt and Kim playing this game and they were deep in thought. Once I got home, I thought I would download it and give it a try …

Oh Lord, did that open Pandora’s Box. I instantly became addicted to it, living for the feedback the man gives with such sayings as “Delicious!” “Tasty!” and that all-coveted “Divine!” as well as beating levels that got progressively harder. There was (and still is) an ugly side of Candy Crush Saga. Sometimes when I ran out of lives and that heart would show up, telling me how long I had to wait, I would bemoan quite loudly, “NOOOOOOO!” I am not on Facebook, so I can’t ask friends for extra lives! I was tempted to sign back up for Facebook with this name: LaShanda “IamonlyherefortheCandyCrushLives” Earnhardt (which is referring to my “hubby,” Dale, Jr.!) I would spend money on extra lives and additional boosters to beat levels. Also, that tune the game makes when you fail the level has become the soundtrack at losing at life period. Nathan will whistle that tune just to prove that I am wrong!

candycruhs

The first week I started playing, when I shut my eyes, all I saw was candy dropping. There was even a time when Nathan was talking to me and I was wondering if his eyes could fall into alignment with his nose to make that “3 in a row” move. Even as recent as this afternoon, I was in the shower rinsing my hair out when I was looking at my shower curtain which has dots on it. I wanted to see if I could find five dots in a row so I could get the color bomb!! Sad, I know. I took a little break from Candy Crush, which lasted all of a week! I had it on both my phone and iPad, but now I just play on the iPad. Having it on my phone would be a disaster, especially at work! It really helps hair drying sessions seem a bit less painful!

candy crush bomb

 

HAHAHHA! My sentiments exactly!

Source: http://www.rottenecards.com/card/174654/sorry-kids-dinners-going-to-be-a-little-late-tonightmamas-got-5-lives-left-and-this-candy-aintgonna-crush-itself

Liebster Blog Award 2013

Awww … hi guys! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?! I have come out of my hiatus to accept my Liebster Award from With Love, From Harlem and Diaries of Another Relaxed Chic! Thank you ladies for my first blogging award! 🙂

Ok, here goes:

11 Fun Facts About Me!

1. I am a history nerd. My favorite time periods to study are The American Civil War and World War II. I have probably seen close to every documentary ever made on the subjects!

2. My favorite food is pepperoni pizza.

3. I listen to hard rock (e.g. Metallica, Queens of the Stone Age) when I am working out … it gives me a good push!

4. My style icons are Michelle Obama and Duchess Catherine. I have been gradually adopting a more conservative type of dress! I recently just bought this Smythe blazer that Duchess Catherine had on a few weeks ago for my 30th birthday. Pricey … but worth it!

5. Cleaning up is a great stress reliever for me.

6. My sisters and I have attended each of the ACC schools in NC. I went to NC State, my older sister went to Duke and my youngest sister is at Wake Forest. My dad said his daughters learned their A-B-Cs … ANYBODY BUT CAROLINA!

7. I am a registered Independent!

8. The last book I read was “John Adams” by David McCullough and it was damn good!

9. My favorite liquor is Jose Cuervo tequila. I know, people tell me its cheap … and I have had expensive tequilas … but I just love Uncle Cuervo (as I call him!)

10. My ultimate goal in life is to travel to Australia and spend a few hours with a koala bear. I LOVE KOALAS!

11. I cannot sing a lick. I have a horrible voice. 🙂

Here are the questions With Love, From Harlem sent.

1.Why did you start blogging?

I was googling something about the line of demarcation in January 2012 and came across these relaxed hair blogs. It completely blew me away at all these ladies with long, beautiful, relaxed hair! It was like I found the answer on how to grow long hair.

2. What is the inspiration behind your blog’s name?

I don’t remember … I was just thinking about a catchy name, and Hair, There and Everywhere! came to me. I think someone else already had a blog with that name, but she was white so I didn’t think she would care! 😉

3. How do you balance your life while trying to maintain you blog?

It’s pretty easy! I blog when I can! Lately, I just haven’t had much to blog about! I do the same thing to my hair every week, so I don’t think people want to read about 4 similar Wash Days!

4. Who is your favorite blogger and why?

Funky Dineva. S/he is one of the funniest people I have ever seen on a v/blog

5. What is it that separates your blog from others?

It’s mine! HAHAHAH! Also, I don’t see too many people blogging about Alterna hair care products

6. What is the best thing about blogging?

Charting my progress and going back to look on how far I have come!

  • 7. How do you choose the topics you post on your blog?
  • Whatever pops into my head!

8. What is the most important thing that you’ve learned on your hair journey?

Protective styling is key!

9. How long have you been on your hair journey?

Almost 2 years … since January 9th, 2012.

10. What does it feel like when one of your readers say that your blog has helped them?

Amazing … it feels like I am paying it forward to all the ladies who helped me get where I am!

11. Name one(and only one) product that you cannot live without.

Alterna Caviar White Truffle Elixir (I use this as my daily moisturizer)

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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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photo 1

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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UPDATE!:

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.

An Inch for Your Thoughts #16: “Do you ever get tired of doing that?”

Nathan asked me this question back in the early spring when I was mixing up one of my pre-poos and I have been meaning to write about it, but it often slips my mind! I definitely remembered it today when we came in from a morning and afternoon of errands and shopping, only for me to have another 4-5 hours doing my hair to look forward to (ugh … instead of eating vanilla bean ice cream and catching up on “Hell on Wheels!”)

So as I brewed my green tea for my rinse this afternoon, I thought that today would be a great day to write about this topic.

HHJs are not for the milquetoast, as I wrote in a blog last September. The ugly truth for a vast majority of black women is that if you want APL+ hair, you are going to have to work for it … and work hard!!!! Due to our hair being so fragile and prone to dryness and breakage, we have to practice diligent care to prevent new hair from becoming damaged and to try to salvage damaged hair from our pre-HHJ days.

I look at my HHJ from a delayed gratification vantage point. Sure, I cannot wear my hair down everyday (and have to wear boring buns), I cannot flat iron it more than about 6x a year, I cannot have permanent color or highlights and I have to spend 4-5 hours almost every weekend treating and rolling it … just to name a few sacrifices, but the ability to retain length, thickness and get the oohs and ahhs (and looks of envy from some people in my hometown … the haters know who they are!) from admirers is definitely worth it in the long term. I have friends who are able to have short wash days by blow drying and flat ironing often, but they are firmly stuck at neck or collarbone length.

On days like today, when I just didn’t feel up to putting on the dog-and-pony-show for my hair, I remembered my end vision of waist length hair and how far I have come in two years and it gave me a little strength boost to get through my Wash Day!

So how did I answer Nathan’s question? I told him “Yeah, I do, but in the end, the results are so worth it.” 🙂

 

Hair Updates and Rumblings: NC Edition

In order not to make my Relaxer Day post too long, I thought I would break these 2 posts up and give some hair updates and observations during my time in NC.

– As you may have read, the week and a half leading up to my relaxer had me shedding something crazy! I literally thought I was going to be bald (hahah!) I never attribute excessive shedding as a cause of me needing to end a relaxer stretch, but since I have relaxed my hair a week ago, the shedding has been soooooooo minimal. Like a few strands a day, even with combing. I often view relaxers as kind of a Darwin-esque mechanism. Hairs (and ends) that are weak just won’t last during a relaxer processing, so I am left with strong, robust strands, if you will! I am not sure if my new birth control kicked in some hormones or whether a change in scenery was what my hair needed, but my shedding is under control – for now!

– I also experienced some breakage near the end of my relaxer stretch. I don’t think I will just blow dry my hair and not flat iron it again. I plan on roller setting my next pre-relaxer day.

– I am going to have to learn my hair all over again when I move back to NC. It is soooooooooooo humid! My hair just didn’t stand a chance! I don’t think all the products in the world will stand up to the humidity in the South! I will say this, I think the Living Proof products I am using helped (see below for full list of products). Instead of my hair poofing up all wild-like and leaving me with wet, swollen, and limp hair, the curls just fell and I was able to still wear it down (not sleek … pulled back in a headband) or in a ponytail. I am so glad that I did not pay $45 for a roller set only to have the NC rain and heat come and whisk my curls (and coins) away!

– I don’t like straight hair. It’s fun to have a sleek, flat ironed look sometimes, but to me, it’s gets old pretty fast and the reasons should be pretty obvious to someone on a HHJ! For one, there is too much upkeep involved to maintain it. You have to wrap (or cross-wrap), take it down, make sure there aren’t any bobby pin or clip indentations and if there are, apply heat to remove them (if you so choose). Also, if it needs to be “bumped,” you have to apply more direct heat. Then you have to watch what you’re wearing, where you go, what the forecast is looking like, etc.! It would be remiss of me not to mention that straight hair displays all your flaws. If your hemline is chewed up, it will show. If you ends are like Rice Krispies (snap, crackle and pop!), it will show. You can hide easily hide subtle flaws with roller sets and other protective styles. Also, I like the look of voluminous curls or waves that I get from roller setting or doing the faux air-drying method.

– I did a roller set two days after I got my relaxer on Labor Day. I was heading to Raleigh to meet with some friends and had to be fly! I washed my hair with some sulfate shampoo Kim had on hand to remove silicones from my flat ironing session and followed up with my Alterna Caviar Volume poo. I did a 20 minute deep-conditioning session with Ion Extreme Moisture conditioner and followed up with my Roux for 1 minute. My leave-ins were: Living Proof Prime Style Extender, Living Proof frizz Nourishing cream and Alterna Texture cream. Kim kept insisting that I use a setting lotion or foam. I said nope … water only! She rolled me up, I placed on my roller net and I went back to my mom’s house, where I had a dryer like mine waiting for me! I can’t do tabletops if I can avoid it! I sat under the dryer for about 1 hr and was so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open so I decided to sleep in the rollers for the first time to let it air dry over night! It was a bit uncomfortable, but I was so tired, it really didn’t matter. I misted my hair the next morning and sat back under the dryer for about 30 minutes for a final setting. The curls were beautiful! I was very tempted not to blow them out in preparation for my hair to be wrapped, but I did! In hindsight, I should have left them alone and maybe the frizz wouldn’t have been so bad!

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By the time I got to Raleigh in the late afternoon on Tuesday, my hair had had it. It was humid, my ends were screaming for a dusting (which I did when I got to the hotel). To add insult to injury, after dinner at Second Empire (yum), we went to Solas, which is a rooftop bar! By the end of the night, my hair was in a bun! The next day, I combed and detangled it, smoothed with some Vitamin E oil and wore it down with a headband.

– People touching my hair makes me very nervous. I think the longer my hair gets, the more protective of it I become. At the ratchet club we went to Saturday, I sat still in a booth and made sure people couldn’t get behind me. I was in fear that someone would try and pull or cut my hair! In my hometown, there were a few people who checked for tracks. One hairdresser told me, “I would just cut all that hair off if you came to me!” SEE? That’s why I won’t allow black people to do my trims! That almost turned my blood cold.

– At Sephora in Crabtree Valley Mall, this beautiful lady with beautiful natural hair gave me some tips on how to deal with long hair and frizz! I asked her if she thought the Living Proof frizz shampoo and conditioner was good, and she said she didn’t recommend it, as even without sulfates, she found the shampoo stripping and the conditioner didn’t work well. She said she uses the Alterna Caviar shampoo and conditioner and Living Proof leave-ins (frizz Nourishing cream, Prime Style Extender and Satin Serum). I knew when she said that, she was a HHJ sister, as she even mentioned the word “journey.” She admired the thickness of my hair and ends, even though the curls had been long gone! She told me that I missed one spot when dusting (which was the very back!), but other than that, my ends looked good! She told me she is preparing for a trim in December to remove some of her ends, but she wants to be MBL when she does it. I talked with her a good 10 minutes, sharing hair tips  (I recommended she try the Hercules Sagemann rake comb) and would’ve stayed longer had my friend not come in to retrieve me! One story she told me stuck out and validated my choice not to go to this salon I was thinking about trying. She recalled a time she was at a salon and she was asking the stylist what products she was using, instructing her on how to detangle her hair, etc. and the stylist told her “Oh … you’re one of THOSE!” HA!!!!!!!!!!! I know there are great stylists out there, but I don’t want to go bald on my quest to find one! That’s why I will stick with me or my friend doing it for now!

P.S. As soon as I got to some shears, I had my friend helped me get that last piece of rough hair!

– I went to see my dad and thanked him for his genes when it came to hair (he gets no love for my beady, non-descript eyes, but some love for my thick eyebrows). He said, “you’re welcome!” 🙂

– My ponytails are on point! I was swanging my long ponytail the last two days I was in town! I can’t wait until I see my WL ponytail!

– I don’t think I am going for full waist length. It would be just too much to deal with, IMHO. I actually like soft, subtle layers, so maybe when my length in the front hits BSL (in the year 2025), I will be happy!

– No tea, no shade, but so many people are not getting the HHJ memo in NC! These thin wraps that have been flat ironed into oblivion, lacefront wigs, double-processed hair, etc. Kim wanted to know why I sat with conditioner every time I got my hair washed and I told her I never miss a weekly deep conditioning – EVER! I will mind my own damn scalp, but I’m just saying …

Well, I think that’s all the hair updates and observations I have for now! 🙂

Like Hay in the Middle of the Barn

Today I was M&Sing my hair and noticed that the ends of my hair looked so dry! Instantly, I thought about this old song from Crucial Conflict a la 1995-96 called “Hay.” In the chorus, they say “smoking on hay  in the middle of the barn … ” That’s what my ends felt like … some hay in the middle of a barn!!!!!!

I was very tempted to grab my scissors and get to cutting, but I had to remind myself of a few things:

1) I blow-dried my hair and did not “smooth” it by flat ironing it

2) There was not very much breakage from the ends. My hair breaks at the first hint of dryness, so for ends not to be popping off left and right, they must not be that bad; all-in-all, I may have had 7 small broken ends today (I had 0 yesterday), so I am not too concerned!

To combat further dryness, I M&Sed in 6 sections using the L-O-C method with my Alterna White Truffle Elixir as my liquid, kukui nut oil as my oil and Amla Legends 1001 Oils Night Wrap Cream as my cream. I twisted the cream onto my ends and instead of leaving my hair in a bun for the night, I wound up each of my six sessions and pinned them close to my head, hoping the heat from my head would help the product penetrate my hair a bit better and let me wake it to soft hair!

Here’s how it looked when I was finished pinning my hair up!

photo 1

As far as shedding goes, it hasn’t been too bad since Saturday. Yesterday evening I lost very little hairs and this is what I lost today. I checked each of them for bulbs to make sure my hair isn’t breaking heading into a relaxer. After I inspected each hair, there was 3 strands without a bulb, which could be breakage or the fact that I sometimes yank at my hemline trying to remove shed hairs and sometimes those strands break. Either way, the number was not so great that I was alarmed in any way.

Here’s the hair I lost today, which is not at all excessive, even in my [tightly-wound] book!

photo 2

 

I will continue to monitor the ends of my hair and shedding volume until my relaxer on Saturday! Whoop whoop! 5 more days!!!

Couponing (and begging) Rules!!!

I love coupons. I love to clip them, plan my shopping trip around them and most importantly, I love to see how much I save with them! Unfortunately, the foods I need to consume the most (fruits, vegetables and meats) do not have many coupons, so I have to save where I can!!

I came across a coupon in last week’s Sunday paper for a buy one Pantene shampoo, get a styling product or conditioner for free (equal or lesser value, of course). I happened to have it with me today when I was at the grocery store so I decided to check out the products. Lo and behold, someone had taped a $2 off a Pantene shampoo coupon to one of the shampoos (I consider it good karma … I always do this for coupons I do not plan on using!) I promptly grabbed it and picked out which products I wanted. I planned to stack them, costing me only $2 for shampoo AND conditioner!! I chose the moisture rich shampoo and anti-breakage conditioner, as those pretty much sums up what I need in my regimen!! I am also washing and conditioning my hair more often since I am working out hard, so I don’t want to have to use my Alterna for every wash … That will soon become very expensive!!! Pantene products are pretty good and I feel comfortable using them!!

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Additionally, I also like to beg from time to time. This weekend while we in the mall in Spokane, I walked into Sephora to see what type of Alterna products they had. Oh the glory!!!!! There is this new product called Alterna Caviar CC cream (“CC” stands for “Complete Correction”) and it is a “miracle leave-in product that perfects hair in 10 different and unbelievable ways. It provides moisture, shine, smoothness, softness, anti-breakage, heat protection, light hold, UV protection, manageability, and strength—everything your hair needs to look absolutely beautiful, healthy, and flawless. This 10-in-one formula can be used alone or as a foundation for the layering of other styling products.”

Oh you know my face lit up!! It is something about new Alterna products that gets my quite giddy. I know they are discontinuing some Caviar products (my beloved Texture cream being one of them), so seeing new products with the potential to be in my regimen excites me! Before plunking down $25, I kindly asked the lady if they had samples, as I would love to try it before I purchased it. She happily pumped a generous amount into a plastic bag for me!!! I then proceeded to ask about the Bamboo Dry Kendi oil (which will probably replace my Caviar serum). I then asked her if I could sample that product as well. She was so kind … She gave me two vials of the oil!! Being ever the greedy girl, I would have asked for other samples, but then I would have been pressing my luck!! I happily thanked the lady and walked out with my goodies!! I also loved one of the small containers she gave me! I plan on using that as a travel container!!

I can’t wait to try these Alterna products!! Look for a review soon!!

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An Inch for Your Thoughts #15: Arrested [Hair] Development

For the past few days and nights, Nathan and I have been on an Arrested Development mission. He has never seen the series in its entirety, so before we embark on watching the all-new season 4 episodes, we made a deal that we would watch the old ones from Seasons 1-3. We have almost made it through Season 1! Mind you, I was an original Arrested Development fan since 2004. I remember that I would make sure my Sunday nights were free so that I could watch those Bluths and their tomfoolery! I remembered having such a crush on Will Arnett (Gob Bluth) and loving the antics of Lucille Bluth (portrayed by the lovely Jessica Walters) who held NO punches when it came to speaking her mind (I loved her classiness and snappy tongue)! I even paid homage to Lucille last week when I had a liquid lunch (nothing but alcohol) at The Cheesecake Factory (mmmm … their green apple martinis are the best!)

Today, I was thinking about my hair and antsy I get during the first weeks after a relaxer, because I don’t have any new growth! As someone on a HHJ, having new growth presents affirms the mission that we are on and it allows us to track progress. Well, at the moment, I feel some tingling and movement in the scalp, so I know my hair is growing (revisit this post when I first revealed I could feel my hair grow), but not seeing it kinda makes me sad! Sooooooooooo …. I thought I would use Lucille Bluth to depict how I feel during my relaxer cycles. Her faces represent my sentiments exactly!!!!

My Relaxer Cycle!

lucille