Happy 2 Year HHJ Anniversary!!!

Oh. My. Goodness. It has been 2 years since I started my HHJ! It felt like I just wrote about my one year anniversary!!!

I am honestly in awe of how fast time has flown! Last year, I wrote about what worked and what didn’t work for me in my first year, so in that spirit … here goes! Note: I pretty much figured out what my hair didn’t like by the end of the first year, so I don’t have as many “What did not work!” entries!

What worked

1. Coconut oil pre-poos: I wrote this off on my last HHJ anniversary post because I thought that the use of coconut oil early in my journey caused my ends to break because of its potential to bind to proteins, which I felt was sending my hair into protein overdrive. When I was at home back in May 2013, I took some of the coconut oil I gave to my mom to try again and I have been hooked ever since. Since using it, my hair feels a lot stronger. Coconut oil is the holy grail for hair!!

2. Deep conditioning weekly: Honey, this will always work in any regimen!

3. Carol’s Daughter Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum: I began my search for a silicone-free serum back in the summer. Living Proof did not work for me and I happened to stumble across this serum on Sephora.com. I have never enjoyed welcoming a product into my life as this one. Instantly, I noticed a reduction in breakage on the ends which continues to this day! I love the smell, sheen and strength that it gives to my hair … all without the silicone!

4. Infrequent length checks: Lord, I had Nathan measuring my hair almost weekly in the first year and a half of my journey … now, I feel like I am on autopilot and don’t sweat length checks as much. If I need to remove raggedy ends, I do it and don’t fret over lost length!

5. Protein leave-ins weekly: Since becoming MBL-bound, I noticed that my hair had less breakage and felt better when I used a light protein leave-in each wash day. I used ApHogee Green Tea Keratin Restructurizer then switched to Carol’s Daughter Monoi Anti-Breakage Spray. Hair that is longer needs that protein reinforcement to stay strong and on your head!

6. Healthy Texture’s Rollersetting Video: I learned so much about rollersetting from this one video and my rollersets have come out better because of it!

7. Seamless combs: You will get my Hercules Sagemann combs from me in two ways: 1) steal them and 2) pry them from my cold dead hands. I will never use another non-seamless comb in my hair. My Magic Rake comb and rattail comb glides through my hair. They are worth every cent! I will even take these combs to the salon and have them use them on my hair!

8. Pre-pooing with Ceramides: My oils of choice are safflower or hemp seed oil.

9. Satin pillow rollers: I have raved about these, as you probably know! Get you some!

What Didn’t Work

1. My old tabletop dryer- R.I.P. Conair!!! I had to buy a roll-about dryer once my hair got to BSL.

2. [Faux] Airdrying – I began to notice that my hair breaks more when it is faux airdried. I do it to give me and my hair a break, but it is no longer my preferred method of styling.

3. Living Proof products – My hair liked none of those products. I tried 3 of them and they left my hair feeling dry and crunchy.

I plan on blowing my hair out and doing a Caruso roller set on Saturday. I want to get an official length check for my 2 year anniversary, so stay tuned! I think it is safe to say that I am approaching WL in the longest lengths and I started off at SL two years ago!!!!

Salon Fail, Plans for Upcoming Relaxer Stretch and Length Check (UPDATE!)

I probably should have broken these down into 2 posts, but whatevs … let’s get right to it!

Salon Fail

Yesterday I went and got my Redken Shades EQ put on again. I got it done in March of this year and loved it! Even thought it was a demi-permanent color, I can tell it gave me some lovely red tones that have lasted up until now. The application of the demi-permanent color also helped my porous ends, which was presented to me by less breakage.

Anyhoo, all went well until the roller set. Normally she will blow my hair out, but since I just used direct heat last week, that was not an option. Instead of wetting my hair with each roller application (I would have stood for wetting my hair in the 3 sections!!!), she detangled and combed hair with a rattail comb while it was half dry, which can increase breakage! I wanted to say something, but I didn’t! I know, I know .. I should have spoken up! The rollers weren’t placed in a methodical way … just whatever way the fit in. Needless to say, I was not pleased. I took me about an hour to dry, probably because half my hair was already air-dried 80% when I got under the dryer with my rollers. She took them down, shook my curls out and sent me on my way. To add insult to injury, she only took the discount off one salon service (the color) when I thought it was the total bill. It was $62+ tip! Nope, nope, nope! This is why I don’t get down with stylists on a regular basis any more! I felt that my hair was not treated with the utmost care and the results were subpar! I can get subpar results at home for free!!!!! Additionally, my hair was not deep conditioned and I can totally tell by the feel of it today. Honestly, unless I am going to get a flat iron, I won’t be going back to that salon. I can apply my Clairol Colorgloss at  home as well as do horrible rollersets. Lesson learned! When I got home, I just wanted to scream! I just knew that my hair was thinner (I wouldn’t want to know how much hair I actually lost), it felt dry and when I combed the hair out, it just fell flat. I was tempted to wash and re-roll it, but I thought better of it! I immediately applied some moisturizer and serum  and put in my satin rollers to try to salvage it!

This leads us into my next segment …

Relaxer Stretch Plans

My next relaxer will be in mid-March 2014, when I am 14 weeks post. I do not plan on using direct heat and continuing my regimen to mitigate any damage done by my trip to the salon yesterday (can you say “thicken?”) Winter is the time that my hair grows the fastest, so I will try to maximize my length retention. I will be going home next month and I am deciding whether I want to go to my old salon and get me a $10 roller set (of course I will pre-poo before)! I still have 5 weeks to make up my mind!

Length Check

Since my roller set turned out quite crappy and I had to roll on satin rollers (which makes curls tight), I couldn’t get a full length check shot, so I thought I would stretch a piece of hair so you can see where it’s at!

That long part is trying to graze my waist! Hopefully I will be there by May!!! I am almost scared to straighten my hair and see my hemline due to the rough handling at the salon! Needless to say, I will be rocking curly styles for a while … just to give other hairs time to catch up! 🙂

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So around 5:20pm this afternoon I was about to tie my hair up for the evening and while detangling I noticed that my hair was shedding! It was not too bad, but it was not normal for me on the day after a roller set. Between the shedding, the dryness and the anger I had towards my hair, I decided that I needed to do a quick Wash Day. I was not going to see what happened to my hair as the week progressed. I did a coconut pre-poo with safflower oil and cheapie conditioner. To combat shedding, I added a tea rinse to my scalp and hair and sat under the dryer for about 20 minutes. I co-washed with my Ion Conditioner Wash sample pack and did an in-shower conditioning treatment with my Alterna Caviar conditioner. I did a deep conditioner with L’Oreal Total Repair 5 for 25 minutes. I did a final rinse with Roux for 1 minute. My leave-ins were as normal.

I did the faux air dry method where I tied my hair back with a scarf and let it hang. I think I may do these for the next few weeks, depending on how the breakage this week goes. When it comes to breakage, my hair prefers to be roller set, but I think my hair could use a manipulation break for a while!

Here are a few pictures. The end result was not that bad … I still have a rather full hemline and my hair still has some thickness to it, so all was not ruined yesterday. I think that I will be incorporating tea rinses into my regimen for a little while, to combat shedding. Sorry they came out blurry and it appears there are some gaps in my hemline … there isn’t, it is just how the grainy self-portrait came out!


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Wash Day and now I am WL-Bound!

It seems like yesterday (actually it was in the spring), that I declared myself MBL-bound after reaching BSL. I now feel quite comfortable claiming MBL length, so I am changing my status to WL-Bound! Yep … barring any setback, I am par to reach it in late spring/early summer, which is on par with the goals I set almost 2 years ago at the beginning of my HHJ.

Well, it has been a while since I have posted a Wash Day post, but I thought that I would today! For the past two weeks, I have been pre-pooing my hair overnight. I use the same mix of cheapie conditioner, coconut oil and a ceramide oil (hemp or safflower). After I apply the mix, I apply my plastic conditioning cap and wrap it up in a dry turban to protect my bedding. It saves me an hour and with the length of time that it takes me to dry now, any minute I can shave off is welcomed.

I received a sample of Pantene Age Defy shampoo and hair masque. To see how they performed, I just washed with the Pantene Age Defy shampoo (it has sulfates) and did my in-shower conditioning treatment with the hair masque and my Alterna Winter Rx oil. Meh … it definitely was nothing to write home about. I definitely will not be buying it. The best thing about them was the smell. While applying my deep conditioning (KeraPro this week), I noticed that my ends felt a bit bumpy, so I added my MegaSilk to the lower 3rd of my hair. I wrapped my hair in a wet turban topped of my a conditioning cap and sat under the dryer for 45 minutes. Afterwards, I was feeling tired, so I took a nap with my stuff on! So my deep conditioning session this week was about 2.5 hours. I then rinsed out, applied Roux Porosity Control for 2 minutes, then began to roll.

photo 1

My leave-ins this week were as normal: Alterna Caviar Photo Age Defense, Alterna Caviar Texture Cream, Carol’s Daughter Monoi Anti-Breakage Repair Spray and Carol’s Daughter Monoi Sacred Strengthening Serum. This week, I wanted a bit more curl so I decided to use the gray and purple rollers instead of gray and black! UGH!!! It took me longer to roll and honestly, it was weird using them all over my head again. It took me just under 2 hours to dry and even then, there were a few places of dampness that I zapped with the blow dryer. Overall, when I took my rollers out, I couldn’t tell if my hair was damp or just very soft (not good in my book). That brings me to my next observation: I need to assess the mixture of water I use to set my hair.

I use a combination of water, glycerin and essential oils but last week I added some Roux 619 and a few drops of my Alterna Caviar White Truffle Elixir. On top of the leave-ins, I think that was wayyyyyyyyyyy too many products to have in my hair, which may be contributing to my hair drying so slow and it ultimately feeling a bit too soft and lank for my liking. Also, at the first sign of water, my hair just puffs up. My hair (relaxed or natural) has an almost cottony feel and I can only imagine the reversion nightmare I would have if I were to go natural. I think I need to eliminate the glycerin, since it can attract moisture to the hair, which is not what I need in Oregon’s damp fall and winter. Next week, I am just going to use some very diluted Lotta Body and water. That may make my hair dry a bit faster and make the curls have a bit more staying power.

I combed my hair out, applied some serum and took a look at it. Meh. It looks OK! If my hair didn’t feel so soft and limp (despite me using smaller rollers), I would have just picked the curls apart and had some big hair! Instead, I wrapped it up for the evening and the proceeded to watch “John Adams” (one of my favorite mini-series)! I have also noticed something else about my hair that proceeds my HHJ days … I never liked my roller sets the day I got them done. I always felt a good sleeping on the curls did my hair wonders! Day 2 and 3 hair is way better than Day 1 when it comes to roller sets, IMHO. I think it’s because the oil has had time to spread and make hair a bit shinier! I don’t know!!

Anyhoo, I didn’t take pictures of the curls, but here is the final product. Slowly but surely trying to creep towards waist length! Look at the puffiness! I will come back and post some pictures when I take it down tomorrow! 🙂

 photo 2 photo 3

Relaxer Day!

Greetings guys! I am finally back in Oregon and able to do a extended post about my relaxer day on September 1, 2013! Here  goes:

– I based my scalp with Isoplus Castor oil grease and applied my mom’s mixture of coconut oil, castor oil and EVOO from my roots to tips in 6 sections.

– Kim applied the Mizani Butter Blends relaxer and I left it in for about 17 minutes. We were using the Mizani Butter Blends Relaxer System (read more about it here), so after she rinsed out the relaxer, she used the Perphecting Creme Normalizing Conditioner, which is designed to neutralize and strengthen hair immediately after the relaxer. I left that on my hair for about 5 minutes (I am not sure that this mid-step protein treatment was as good as using ApHogee’s 2 minute keratin treatment. I didn’t feel that my hair had the volume I get with using that stuff. I don’t plan on using the Mizani conditioner again as my mid-step protein). After that, she used the Balance Hair Bath Neutralizing and Chelating Shampoo. The thing I didn’t like about the shampoo was that it was not color-activated, which means it was not pink (or another color) in the presence of relaxer. For the initial wash, I left the shampoo on for 5 minutes so it could have more of a chance to neutralize. I had her wash my hair with this shampoo twice and followed up with the Isoplus neutralizer to make sure all traces of the relaxer were gone.

– I deep conditoned with Ion Extreme Moisture cream and Redken All-Soft using my hot turban and shower cap for about 20 minutes under the dryer.

– My leave-ins for my blow drying session were: Alterna Photo Defense, Alterna Blow Out Cream (which is running quite low) and Living Proof Prime Style Extender.

– After my hair was blow dried, I applied Alterna Bamboo Smooth Anti-Breakage Thermal Protectant spray. It has dimethicone as the fifth ingredient, but I loved this stuff! I didn’t experience any breakage after using it (maybe because I washed 2 days after using it). I also applied Living Proof Satin serum (silicone-free). Kim flat ironed my hair a few hours after it was blown out.

I noticed that my ends looked a bit rough and weren’t holding a curl well, so I clipped about 1/2 inch in some places. I CANNOT STAND RAGGEDY ENDS. DID YOU HEAR THAT? NO RAGGEDY ENDS! My hair looked so much better once I did!

I have to admit … while I look forward to getting my hair relaxed, it is also causes me great stress! We all hear about the woman who had her hair fall out due to a bad relaxer! I say a prayer before my relaxer and hope everything goes OK! Well, all-in-all, this relaxer day was a success!

Below are the final results.

Hair blown out – longest hairs are right at MBL!



Hair I lost during the relaxing process … not too bad



Hair flat ironed … the bra is at waist length


Me after a long night at this ratchet club where I just wanted to go home and eat pizza and sleep!! 



Length Check and Happy 18 Month HHJ!

I have not done one of these (officially) since April! Since my hair is not to be straightened until my relaxer in about 6 weeks, I thought that I would just stretch the longest layer and see where I am at!

LOOK! I’M SCRAGGLY MBL!! (After I released my hair from being stretched, one of the ends promptly broke! – HAHAHAH!)

As you can see, I am half-way between BSL and MBL back in April and now my longest lengths (if they were flat ironed) would be right at MBL. Progress is continuing to be made! Halleujah!
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I also wanted to throw in an air dried hair comparison shot from January to July (honestly, I can’t tell too much difference in these shots, but sometimes its good to see the thickness is still there!)
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And because my 18 month anniversary of my HHJ has come and gone (it was July 9th), I wanted to take a look where I was in January 2012, July 2012 and now … . I went from shoulder length to chasing MBL in 18 months, which is about 9 inches (3 to 12 on my length check shirt). That means I grew and retained exactly .5 inches every month. Of course that doesn’t count the dustings and hair that has broken off … I always knew my growth rate was slightly higher than the .5 average.

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And for good measure, I am throwing this picture in from February 2012 – I remember I was so proud of my hair being this length! LOL! Hey … we all have to start some where, ya know?


Well I must say, I am very pleased! This journey has really been something else! There have definitely been moments of frustration (mainly at my breaking ends) and moments of sheer joy! I have been blessed to have a relatively easy journey with no major setbacks (knock on whatever is handy!) I have learned so much and have enjoyed sharing my experiences and acquired knowledge with others! One of my dear co-workers stated she has learned so much about her hair listening to me talk about mine … and she’s white! It just goes to show that healthy hair practices transcends hair types and color lines! 🙂

Here’s to the next six months!

I don’t think I will be waist length until next spring. I have about 3.5 inches to go in my longest layers, which is at least 7 months of growth. Maybe I will be there for my February 2014 relaxer … we shall see!

Well, happy growing to everyone! 🙂


Monday, January 9th, 2012. That was the official start day of my HHJ. That was when I started protective styling and reducing the amount of heat that I used on my hair. I cannot believe that it has been one year since the beginning of my hair journey. I am just astounded about how fast time has flown! I was wondering what to write on this momentous occasion and was inspired by Carolyn over at Waist Length Wishes. The post was a reflective piece on her 4 year hair journey and the things she discovered that did not work for her. I was like a-ha! That’s a great reflective prompt!! Thanks to her for thinking about it!

A quick comparison of lengths!

January 2012                                                                                                January 2013

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I remember that when I first started my hair journey, I was hungry for information and resources. I read blog posts and forums and saw how the wonderful results these people had, so of course, I started spending money and time trying all these things out. I can honestly say that with the exception of a few tweaks here and there, the products that I used pre-HHJ are still the ones I use for the most part today. Here are some things that did work for me and some that did not!

What DID NOT work

Coconut Oil –  Using coconut oil by itself yielded bad results for me. My hair became dry, brittle and broke off when I sealed my ends with it.

NJoy’s Sulfur Mix – This concoction may have worked for her, but it did nothing for me. Not only was it thick and weighed my hair down, it had a horrible smell. I did not yield great results from it, so I abandoned it late spring.

Baggying my ends – I did this roughly for two weeks. My hair became mushy instead of moisturized. I quickly threw it out of my routine.

Saran wrapping hair after roller setting – I know some sistas can do this and get sleek results, but I cannot. When I  put a bit of moisture and oil on it, then wrap it up and tie it in saran wrap, it puffs up. I have even tried it with just oil to prevent my hair from reverting, all to no avail. If I want to wrap my hair after a roller set, I just tie it down with a scarf and unwrap it the following morning.

Country Life Maxi Hair Time Release vitamins – Early in the journey I fell for the supplements-can-make your-hair-grow bit. I am sure they can, but these damn vitamins caused me daily headaches! I think it may have been the niacin or biotin doing it, but I could not take them. Since then, I only take my daily supplement gummies and my fish oil/omega 3s.

Activators as Daily Moisturizers – I was very surprised to see sistas with great results using curl activators as daily water-based moisturizers such as S-Curl and Wave Noveau, as these were products I associated with the elderly women at church who still had their jheri curls! I tried Hawaiian Silky 14-n-1 curl activator, but it did not do well on my hair. I just went back to my beloved Alterna Caviar White Truffle Elixir last February and have used it ever since.

What did work 

Airdrying – I did this a lot in Hawaii, just because it was so hot and I sweated a lot in my head and it needed frequent cleansing.  Now that I am doing this as a part of HHJ, it has renewed significance for me! It saves me time while giving my hair a much needed heat break!

Hot Oil Treatments (Pre-Poos) – At first I was like, what the heck is the point of this?, but I can definitely feel a difference in my hair and scalp when I implement this into my regimen. I feel that my hair has more condition now and I never get dandruff or an itchy scalp.

Deep Conditioning – Now the only time I deep conditioned pre-HHJ was at the hair salon. I would throw conditioner in my hair in the shower, leave it on for 5-10 minutes, then rinse it out. I knew I needed to do better about conditioning my dry hair, but I was just too lazy … now, I cannot do without deep conditioning! I love it and my hair has thrived since including them in my regimen. I do one each week!

Heat Breaks –  Pre HHJ, every week I would blow dry and flat iron my hair. I see how my ends act when I get my hair flat ironed once every few months by breaking off … I don’t even want to imagine what I was doing to my hair back then! I would see the floor littered with pieces of hair, but I thought nothing of it and kept on doing my thing! SMH! 

Today I went to Sally’s to renew my membership. I wanted to wait until it was my HHJ to do so! It seems like yesterday I went into the same Sally’s buying rollers, clips, Roux, spray bottles, bottles with nozzles, etc. to  start my hair journey! I also got a free Ion or Silk Elements product with my renewal, so I went with the Ion Extreme Moisture Cream (review forthcoming!) as well as a $5 off coupon for my next product. I think that I will use it for the Roux Porosity Control conditioner, as I am almost out!

Well, happy first anniversary to me (and my hair!) I went from full shoulder length to right at BSB in a year. By my measurements, I have retained between 4.5 and 5 inches of hair this year (from about 3.5/4 on my length check shirt to 8.5). It has been a wonderful journey thus far and I can’t wait to see what the next year on this journey brings (Full BSL/MBL would be nice)!

That’s right! It’s time to get back to grinding! I went out for appetizers with Nathan tonight to celebrate, then had to come home and wash and air dry. Sigh … a HHJ never rests! 🙂

I lied … Got my hair flat ironed! (and other state of affairs)

Well this weekend was Nathan’s birthday and I wanted to flat iron my hair. I have gotten to the point where if flat ironing my hair every 4-6 weeks causes me a little damage, then so be it. I enjoy switching my look up!

So to prepare my hair for the blow dry and flat iron session, I pre-pooed with Pantene Relaxed and Natural and vegetable glycerin for about an hour. I did a light clarifying session with the Alberto V-05 to remove any product buildup followed by my Alterna moisturizing shampoo. I mixed my Redken All Soft and Alterna Caviar conditioner and left it on my hair while in the shower. I then deep conditioned with my Alterna 10 hair masque for an hour.

I blew my hair dry on low and cool using as my leave ins Alterna Caviar Perfect Blow Out, Roux 619, Alterna Photo Defense and a new heat protectant, Chi 44 Iron Guard. After it was blew out, I put on my Alterna Elixir and more Chi 44 Iron Guard. Then it was ready to have the flat iron!

Sarah wasn’t available so I had to go to a salon close to home. The lady introduced me to a new Joico flat ironed called K-PAK ReconstrRx VaporIron. It actually repairs your hair as it passes by filling in holes using its special reconstructor vapor. I was in awe!!

The lady complimented my hair and said she can tell I take good care of it and that it was healthy. She flat ironed it kinda fast (not like the way I am used to, but whatever). It was more like grabbing pieces as she went instead of starting at the back and working her way up. The end result was ok, but I don’t think the iron was quite hot enough and for some reason, white people do not understand the concept of bumping the hair on the end … It’s always straight for some reason (despite me asking for it). Ah… I miss Sarah! I will make sure to book her in advance next time, but at least I got to hear about this flat iron!!! Hey, when life hands you lemons…

But all in all, I have great news to deliver on the state of my hair. I am oh-so-close to BSB! The red line in the picture is BSB and the green line is BSL. However, I am suffering from a horrible case of hairorexia. I see where my hair is growing, but it just doesn’t look all that long to me. I don’t think I will be “happy” until MBL!!

Also, I am soooooo happy that my ends appear to be in really good shape. I have a fear of see-through ends, which happens as hair naturally weathers at the ends, but mine seem to be doing ok. I am sure I could use a trim, but I will dust when I relax in November. I also like how the ends have broke off into a lovely rounded U shape! Hahhaha! I don’t know when (or if) I will do a blunt cut. I like the look of the U and V shapes, so I think I will keep that for now. It also allows for reaching milestones faster. If I cut up to my shortest layer, I would be SL. No thanks.

I am almost 9 months in my journey and doing alright. I think I will be BSL by my relaxer in February. I feel now I can be on autopilot and not rush to milestones and cut as much hair as needed, as I think the hardest part of the growing journey (unless I suffer a setback) is almost over. Man, that period from SL to APL to BSL … Ugh!!! It’s an 18+ month process!


January 2012


July 2012


Am I there yet? (and other ramblings) – Progress Pics!

Because I am a little Type A … I like to have my goals written out. I feel that I affirm and acknowledge them more … if that makes any damn sense (it does to me, so I guess that is all that matters, right?)

So as I previously mentioned … I am about .5 inches away from BSB. I think it is high time I evaluate my goals and see how far I am from the other milestones of hair growth land!

First of all, I must recount about how much hair I have grown AND retained this year. It is about 4 inches from January – August, which is amazing, since some people do not retain that in a year. At that rate, I retain .5 inches per month (counting the dustings and breaking ends), so yeah, BSL could definitely be in my immediate future.

From January – August, I have retained about 4 inches of growth (from about a 3 on my shirt to now past 7) … that is pretty wild if I must say so myself.

Here is my hair growth from the beginning of my hair journey in January to August. Sometimes it helps to compare and  see how far you have come!

January 2012                                               August 2012

Note to self: get a higher fitting bra. The bras I wear (and like) are darn near MBL. I need to pick out a bra that will more accurately gauge that length for me!

BSB – 1 inches

BSL – 1.5-2 inches away! (depending on bra!)

MBL – 3.5-4 inches away

WL – 7 inches

Replies are in bold and made on 12/23/12

So my short-term goal is to hit BSL by December/January. It would be great if I was able to grow from full shoulder length to BSL within a year’s time (my one year HHJ will be in January!) – This will not happen. It will end up being me going from full SL to BSB in a year. I think that BSL is going to happen in spring 2013. It took me from August to December to get a full inch to get to BSB!

My mid-term goal is to hit MBL by mid-May 2013. I think that is totally doable unless I am faced with a setback. It will take me about 8 months to grow and retain that amount of hair. Again, this is not going to happen unless I am given a miracle growth of hair! From today, I am about 3.5 inches away from MBL. That will take me about 8 months of growth and retention to get there. I am predicting this will happen in the Fall of 2013.

My long term goal is WL. That is probably 12-18 months away depending on my trimming schedule. I want to be WL by the time Nathan finishes law school in May 2014 … I think that will be a great milestone to look forward to … for the both of us!