Friday, March 28, 2014

Fitness Fridays | Don't Be Shy...How To Get Over Your Fear Of The Weight Room!

Well well well...It's time for another fabulous Fitness Friday post. I have to take the time out to thank the lovely ladies (EbonyCPrincess of Longing4Length, KLP of SavingOurStrands, Nadege of Relaxed Hair Health, & Britt of One & 20) who started this weekly link up because I adore reading everyone's posts and writing them!

Now it's confession time. While I was in the weight room this week it dawned on me that I've come a long way. You see a few months back I wouldn't set foot in the weight room. I didn't really have anything against the weights, but the multiple muscle heads and grunting weight lifters totally intimidated me! Since I've been able to overcome my fear I thought I would share some tips that helped me move forward and take my fitness journey to the next level.

  1. Go into the weight room with a friend or significant other - When I first started weight lifting I refused to go into the weight room without the boo. I know it probably sounds silly, but somehow having him there with me made it seem less....well scary. Now I have no problems going by myself! 
  2. Start Small - It can be intimidating when you see gym regulars lifting 500 lbs. Guess what....those same people had to start somewhere and work their way up. I'll tell you a secret...when I first started using weights regularly I could only use 2.5 lbs dumbbells and now I use 15 lb dumbbells! With a little patience you'll be where you want to be in no time. 
  3. Some of them are just as clueless as you are! - If it makes you feel any better I promise that some of those same people in the weight room are just as clueless as you are! 
  4. The guys (and gals) don't bite!- Seriously! The same peole that I was once intimidated by have shared machines with me during their sets or helped me lift when I couldn't quite do it by myself. 
  5. Be Confident - Although the weight room can be scary you just have to be confident or fake it until you make it! 
  6. Use Workout Programs - When first started weight lifting (strength training) I had no clue how to break up my workouts so they would focus on certain body parts on certain days. Reps and many should I do?! Honestly, I still have no clue how to do all of that, but I discovered an awesome free app BodySpace that has free strength training programs that provide every detail from how many reps & sets to actually providing pictures and video of how to do each exercise. How cool is that! It took all of the guess work out of it for me. 
If you're interested in strength training then get out there and enjoy yourself! Don't steer clear of the weight room out of fear like I did. It's an awesome way to tone and/or lose weight and quite enjoyable if I do say so myself!

Fitness Friday

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wash Day...Mixing The Old With The New!

This past Saturday made me officially 1 week post relaxer! As much as I enjoyed how simple it was to style my hair all week it was definitely time for a good shampoo and deep condition. Here's What I did:

  • Detangled using my Mane N Tail Detangler and braided my hair into two pig tails.
  • Slathered on a bit of my Macademia Oil Deep Repair Masque (This was my light protein treatment. I will do a heavier protein treatment at 3 weeks post.).
  • Sat under my Gold N Hot conditioning cap for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinsed and then applied my newest product Mizani Moisturefuse Conditioner. This conditioner smells AMAZING!
  • Sat under my Gold N Hot Conditioning cap for about 15 minutes.
  • Rinsed and shampooed with my Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo. 
  • Rinsed and applied a small amount of Harmon Face Values Detangling Solution.
  • Did a final rinse and wrapped my hair in a t-shirt for about 40 minutes.
  • Applied my normal leave ins (Chi Keratin Mist, Kimmaytube leave In, GVP Smoothing Serum) and air dried my hair in a bun for about 30 mins. 
  • Sat under the dryer on cool for about 15 minutes. 
Style: For church I decided to rock some caruso steam rollers. Throughout the week I will be rocking a bun. Boring I know, but I've been inspired to try an updo for next week's wash day so stay tuned! How was your wash day?

The Wash Day Experience

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Monday, March 24, 2014

My Spring Beauty Must Haves!

I'm an April baby so I'm all about the warmer months! I love everything about spring (and summer) from the gorgeous sunny days to the bright bold colors. I recently went shopping to pick up a few beauty items in honor of Spring and thought that I would share.

  • Nail Polish- While Winter is all about darker colors Spring is the time to whip out your brightest nail polish shades. I opted for bold blues, purples, pinks, and reds. 
  • Stay Matte Primer- My skin has always been super oily and it really shows up in the warmer months. This primer really helps to keep my oil at bay and the best part is it can be worn alone or under a tined moisturizer or foundation. 
  • Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade- I've been working on perfecting my brows for about a year now and until this product came into my life my brows were rather lack luster. The great thing about this brow pomade is that it's water proof and smudge proof making it perfect for warm weather and oily skin. 
  • Moisturizing conditioners-For me the changing of seasons can either go really well or not so great for my hair. To keep any issues at bay I opted to try two salon end conditioners that my stylist uses on my hair regularly
  • Blush- Again, going with the theme of bright bold colors for spring I love blushes with beautiful coral and pink tones. It compliments my skin beautifully and screams Spring! 
  • BB Cream- I recently realized that I'm not too big on foundations, but I love BB creams. It gives me a light coverage and provides SPF for my skin. These babies are perfect for hot weather where you still want a bit of something on your face that's not too heavy. 
  • Blending Sponge- I've heard that the miracle complexion sponge provides a flawless makeup look so in honor of spring I just had to try it! 
What are your Spring Beauty must haves? 

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Fitness Fridays | Scaling Back...The Significance of Having A Food Scale

It's time for another fabulous 'Fitness Fridays' post! I'm sorry about missing last week, but I had an incredibly busy week at work and well sometimes life happens. Anywho, my last Fitness Friday post discussed Overcoming Plateaus. I believe that owning a food scale can not only help you break through plateaus, but it can take your weight loss journey and overall eating habits to the next level!

When I first embarked on my weight loss journey with Weight Watchers I realized that in order to truly track my points (Click here for further explination) I  needed to know exactly how much of what I was putting into my body. At first I fought the process by believing that I could eyeball the amounts of food that I was eating *rolls eyes at myself*. In my mind if I ate a grilled chicken breast with veggies and steamed rice I was good to go and the pounds would just melt off right? WRONG. You see there are these two little words called 'Portion Control'. How can you control your portions if you don't know how much you're eating?

Previously before I had a true understanding of portion control I would eat healthy foods (as much as I wanted) and couldn't understand why I would only lose about 10 lbs before I would hit a very frustrating plateau. One day after joining weight watchers a light bulb went off and I decided to invest in a digital food scale. A decent scale will cost you around $20, which is a small price to pay for what became a lifetime investment for me. At first it felt weird measuring out 5 oz of chicken, 1/3 cup of rice, and 3-4 oz of vegitables. Soon what I realized was that I could eat half of what I was previously eating and was still full. Who knew that 30 g of chips instead of the entire bag would cure my salty craving!

I've heard over and over that portion control is a big part of healthy eating and I'm just here to tell you that 'they' were right. My food scale was honestly the best investment that I've made for my health. Still to this day even though I'm basically maintaining I measure my food. It helps to keep both me and my scale in check. So if you haven't tried out a food scale think about it. It just might be the scale that helps to move your scale!

Fitness Friday

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Washday Experience | Relaxer Update!

So this wash day post will be a bit different for me because I didn't actually wash my hair myself. For those who are not familiar with  my relaxer routine I leave it all in the hands of my beloved stylist. I did however make sure I paid extra special attention to what was done so that I could share with you guys!

First let's talk about my relaxer day prep process...
  • Even though I rocked a fabulous roller set for the first part of the week my scalp was super itchy (am I the only one who experiences that only on the week leading up to your relaxer?!) so in the name of caution I did a quick cowash and bunned my hair for the rest of the week.
  • On Friday afternoon I detangled using my Mane N Tail Detangler (shout out to Divachyk for giving me the idea to try this). I also applied JBCO to my scalp and new growth, but did not massage it in as I didn't want to risk irritating my scalp.
  • After my detangling session I moisturized my hair in sections using my Giovanni Direct Leave In and sealed each section with a bit of my GVP smoothing serum (equivalent to the Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum).
Overall my hair felt super soft and moisturized and quite frankly it hadn't felt like that in weeks. To put it simply, this stretch SUCKED. I believe it all started with a new product that I tried and my hair never seemed to get back on track again. I plan to cautiously give that product, which shall remain nameless for now another shot before I ban it from my hair forever. Either way between this last bout of winter and more shedding and tangles than normal I was happy to put an end to this stretch. Despite all of my hardships I did experience a bit of a growth spurt which was confirmed by my stylist! Now onto the actual relaxer day.
  • Per usual my stylist assessed the state of my hair making sure nothing was out of the norm (breakage etc.) She also likes to keep an eye on my problem area (my crown since I experienced breakage in that area from not detangling properly last year).
  • She then based my scalp thoroughly and proceeded to apply my nomral relaxer of choice, the Mizani Butter Blends Sensitive Scalp formula. I love how gentle this relaxer is.
  • The total processing time was about 17-18 minutes. She noticed that I definitely had more new growth than I normally do (Whoop whoop!).
  • After rinsing out the relaxer she applied the Mizani Moisturefuse to my hair (this stuff smells amazing by the way) for about 20 minutes or so.
  • Lastly she neutralized my hair with the Mizani Phormula 7 Neutralizing and Chelating shampoo. She always shampoos twice to make sure all remanents of the relaxer are gone.
  • Since I was not getting a trim she applied a bit of the Keracare Foam wrap and some of some sort of Mizani oil that I forgot to get the name of and roller set my hair. 
Overall it was a great relaxer day experience and based on an unoffiical length check I'm almost certain I've reached APL! I'm not doing an official length check until May so you'll have to wait until then for confirmation! How was your wash day?

The Wash Day Experience

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Product Review | Kenra Moisturizing Conditioner

Price: $21.00 (On Sale)

Place of Purchase: Ulta

Ingredients: Water (Purified), Hexadecanol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol (Emollient), Ceteareth 20, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Panthenol, Isopropylparaben, Benzophenone 4, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Fragrance, FD&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow 6 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Red 40 (CI 16035), FD&C Blue 1 (CI 42090).

Promises: Deep Penetrating Formula For Maximum Hydration.Hydrate excessively dry, brittle, and coarse hair with this humectant - rich conditioner.  Its deep penetrating formula replenishes moisture for greater elasticity, manageability and shine.

My Thoughts: I really love this conditioner. It has a light
coconut smell that isn't overpowering. It sinks easily into my hair and I've gotten great results no matter if I use heat or not. The only thing that I dislike about this conditioner is it's thin watery consistency. I'm not sure why, but I like for my deep conditioners to be thick. It makes me think they're working better! Regardless this conditioner has passed every test I've put it through including helping to detangle and soften my new growth after removing my senegalese twists. This conditioner is a bit pricey, but if you can catch it on sale during Ulta's 'Liter sale' it is definitely worth every penny. I've had my bottle since November and I still have a little less than half of the bottle left. Overall this product is wonderful and I will definitely keep it my stash!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Wash Day Experience | Roller Setting Challenges

The Wash Day Experience

So thanks to the fabulous ladies (KLP & Keyda) of SavingOurStrands I was invited to co-host this week's 'Wash Day Experience!' I was super excited for the opportunity because quite frankly I've been in a bit of a hair funk lately (Winter is sucking the life outta me!) and really needed to give myself a swift kick in the butt to get out of it. Co-hosting this week's 'Wash Day Experience' was the perfect way to do it!

Here's what I did:
  • Braided my hair into four sections (thanks to Abbi N of BelowTheWaist for this fabulous idea!) 
  • Shampooed with my Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo
  • Rinsed and applied my Nexxus Emergencee to the length of my hair for about 2 minutes.
  • Rinsed with lukewarm water, applied my Kenra Moisturizing Conditioner, and sat under my Gold N Hot conditioning cap for about 20 minutes. 
  • Rinsed and applied a bit of my Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Daily Treatment while I showered. 
  • Did a final rinse and t-shirt dried my hair for about 30 minutes. 
  • Applied my normal leave ins (Chi Keratin Mist, Kimmaytube Leave In, & Macademia Natural Healing Oil). 

Style: Since my relaxer day is fastly approaching (next Saturday to be exact) I decided to roller set my hair. Not to mention I was totally inspired by an Instagram picture FancyFlairLady posted of her recent roller set. I mixed a bit of aloevera juice, mane n tail detangler, and lotta body. After sectioning my hair I spritzed each section and proceeded to roller set. Due to my impatience with sitting under the dryer and my bright idea to attempt my first at home saran wrap my results left something to be desired. However, I refused to let all of my hard work be in vein so I whipped out my caruso steam rollers to give my hair the 'vavoom' I was craving and boy did it ever! Here are my results! And because I was feeling extra good this weekend I even recorded a video tutorial to go along with my wash day post! 

How was your wash day? 

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Fitness Fridays | Plateaus...Jumping the Hurdle

Plateau is probably one of the most dreaded words within the weight loss world. Honestly it didn't have much meaning to me until it came in and just turned my little weight loss world upside down! For those who may not know plateau is a nice way of saying 'NOTHING IS HAPPENING!' I experienced my first plateau after I'd lost my first 20 lbs, which for the most part came off smoothly. Then suddenly it seemed like my scale became fixated on one number and wouldn't move! I was annoyed, disappointed, and frustrated at the same time. Thankfully I've learned a thing or two about breaking through plateaus and am happily sharing in hopes of saving y'all some of the same frustration that I experienced.

  • Be Honest- Sometimes we expereince plateaus because we've lost a certain amount of weight and our body decides to try to hold on to the rest, BUT sometimes we experience plateaus because we haven't been as diligent as we should have been in our eating and exercising habits. I long ago had to come to terms with the fact that my weight loss had stalled because I'd gotten a bit too comfortable. An extra bite of this here and a skipped workout there wouldn't make a difference right? WRONG! So if you're experiencing a plateau first have an honest conversation with yourself and see if you've really been giving it your all and make the necessary adjustments from there.
  • Change Your Eating - Are you eating the same boring foods everyday (chicken, salad, rice, repeat)? Try something new! Our bodies get tired of the same old thing and sometimes something as simple as introducing new foods into our diet is just the change we need to jump over our plateau hurdle. Like with exercise I also get tired of eating the same thing so I like to incorporate different things into my diet. Tired of chicken? Try Salmon. Tired of salad? Try spinach or asparagus! There's a whole healthy food world out there waiting for us to explore it! Don't limit yourself for the sake of being healthy. Your mind and body will soon get tired of it if you do!

  • Switch It Up! - When I first started working out I would diligently go to the gym 4-5 days a week, hop on the nearest elliptical and sweat myself into a tizzy for 30-45 minutes. Sound boring? Believe me it was as boring as it sounds and before long my mind and body were both bored to tears! Furthermore I wasn't challenging my body. My body had gotten used to my 30-45 minutes on the elliptical and it took my scale refusing to budge before I figured out that it was time to give my precious elliptical a rest and explore other options. Now I do a variety of things such as Zumba, Walking, Jogging, Strength training, YouTube Workouts, etc. Basically I keep my body guessing and in turn my scale finally rewarded me by moving!

  • Keep Pushing! - Trust me I know plateaus suck. They're not fun, they're draining, and they can make you feel like all of your hard work is in vain. However, I promise you that if you just keep trying you will break through that plateau!
Fitness Friday

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why I Trim On A Regular Basis

     I used to be the girl who would try to trim about once a year if possible. What I noticed from doing this is that by waiting so long to trim I'd end up having to cut more than I wanted and that my ends were not where I wanted them to be. Now don't get me wrong, I totally understand why so many of my fellow healthy hair ladies steer clear of the scissors (bad experience with a stylist, want to retain as much length as quickly as possible, etc).
     Luckily I've found that for myself trimming my hair every 4 (or 5) months has worked wonders for my ends and my length retention. Not to mention because I get trims a bit more often I end up getting my ends dusted versus an actual cut! I also find that I experience fewer split ends. The icing on the cake for me is that I'm a sucker for lush, thick, freshly trimmed ends.
     I mean let's face it...meeting our goal with scraggly ends isn't what we want! How often do you ladies trim and how is it working for you?

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