Nourishing My Crowning Glory

Author’s note: this post is gonna look wonky for a minute… Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I often get asked about what I put in my hair.

The answer to that question is as varied as this New York weather.

Seriously. Can you pick a season, Mother Nature? Please?

Ahem. Sorry.

Anyway.

Generally, what I put in my hair depends on the season and what style it happens to be in. Most of the time, I use Carol’s Daughter products (CD). I love the Black Vanilla line for my eternally thirsty hair, and the Rosemary Mint Shampoo (no link; it’s going away. :( )for my eternally flaky scalp.

Even though CD is available in Target these days, it’s still sometimes out of my way to go and pick it up. So, I like to mix it up and try other products when I need something new.

Ok, maybe it’s just because I love how many products are coming out for natural hair, and I want to try all of the things. Eh, tomato, tomahto.

A few faves:

Nene’s Secret: I found this randomly in a beauty supply store and fell in love with the CC (that’s Curly and Cute) Curl Creme. My hair was so soft and hydrated. Before I could try the whole line, it disappeared from the store. (Of course it did. -_-) I’ll probably have to order it online.

Optimum Care Amla Oil: I tried this after a coworker recommended it to me. I do love the hydration, but it doesn’t give me as much definition as Nene’s Secret does. Still, it smells lovely, and is normally available in your local drugstore.

As I Am: I am in LOVE with their DoubleButter Cream. I found this in the Walgreens when I went to get shampoo, and decided to give it a try. If you have desert dry hair, you are going to LOVE this.

Creme of Nature Argan Oil Line: So, this was the shampoo I purchased on the aforementioned Walgreens run. I tend to be wary of argan oil products, because of how unscented (as in, raw, 100% natural) argan oil smells. It smells like…feet. Yeah. I know. If you’re using argan oil that smells delicious, it ain’t 100% natural. Just an FYI. Now this has enough fragrance in it to keep me from thinking “ew” but not so much the benefits of the oil are drowned out. I have the Moisture and Shine Shampoo and picked up a packet of the Intensive Treatment (amazing!)

As far as care? I don’t wash my hair more than twice a week in the summer and once every two weeks in the winter.  I have dry hair and flaky scalp, and washing it all the time would make it worse. I use sulfate free shampoos when possible (not doing so makes my hair that much drier.) I always deep condition my hair, and do a leave in conditioner afterwards to keep it strong.

I braid or twist my hair up before bed (usually just 5-6 big braids) and tie up with a satin scarf.

I always use a leave in conditioning spray (try the Black Vanilla one from CD; for my DIY mavens, put leave in conditioner and water in an old spray bottle and shake. Works just as well.) before I comb it out. I put a moisturizing cream on the ends, and oil at the scalp. Rub through and pick it out. It seems like a lot, but it helps with detangling so you don’t lose as much hair when you comb.

All of this work leads me to some good hair days. Look! I have my hair completely out!

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I’m still trying to push my limits. I’m considering wearing my hair free for my birthday dinner next week. What do y’all think? I’m taking style suggestions and product recommendations!

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Nails of Literature: The Lorax, or, How To Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Author’s Note: I don’t advise having anything to drink or eat while reading this post, because you may choke on it from laughter. And I like you! So please, proceed with caution. Oh, and there’s some mildly NSFW language in here too.

I had to delay this post by a day because I wanted to make sure that I could capture the full goodness of this nail art.

*snicker*

Ahem.

Some background: ordinarily when I do posts, I usually write up drafts of them and leave them in the folder to finish later. Maybe I need to add pictures if it’s a nail art or crafting post, or I need to add links for a shopping post. So, for the Nails of Literature series, I have all of the posts planned out. I may switch the order in which I do the art, but it’s the same works.

Until this week, that is.

This is what happens when you deviate from the plan.

I originally had a different work planned for this week, but since this week’s post would fall on Earth Day, I thought that I would switch to one of my favorite children’s books: The Lorax. I love the book, the movie was cute, and the message is on point even for today. I did a little research and found a tutorial that looked like I could handle it. Pretty straightforward, and I had all the tools at my disposal.

Here, have a look (don’t worry, I’ll wait):

How cute is that, right? Now, since I was able to pull off Pacman nails, this ought to be challenging, but doable, right? Hell no. Hell NO. This did not go right at ALL. This look took the longest to do (3 attempts over about 3 1/2 hours) and I didn’t even come close to what the amazing artist above did. What I was left with was two things: 1) a mess:

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And 2) this look:

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Now, I’m eating cereal as I write this, and almost snorted a Honeycomb up my nose when I put this pic in.

Oh, boy. This did NOT go well. And this was the third and BEST attempt at this nail art.

*sad trombone* :(

The idea here was to do the Lorax and the truffula trees, and to add the picture of a factory creating smoke (Pointer finger. Yes. Yes, that is indeed what that’s supposed to be. Don’t rub it in!) Grand idea, E for effort, F for execution.

So, why even show y’all this?

Well, I haven’t been doing actual nail art for long (a few months) and only recently have I been really digging into what I can do. The point of showing you the above fail is so that you know: even the folks that love it, and are relatively gifted at it, get it wrong sometimes.

And this doesn’t just apply to nail art either.

We are human. And it is hard for us as humans to admit we are taking on more than we can handle. So we try to push through it, as if forcing ourselves into tight spots will make us adapt quicker.

And that’s why you have that…abstract (*gigglesnort*) version of the Lorax up there. That was the THIRD attempt. I should have been done after the first, but I didn’t want to let it beat me. I am the nail guru!

Ha! I’m good, but not that good. And that isn’t to say I won’t be one day. I’m just not there yet.

If you have an issue you’re tackling out there, be mindful that you may not get it the first (or third) time you try. There’s no shame in having to step away, ask for help, and work slowly towards getting it right. It will come. But anything worth having is worth fighting and planning for, not rushing towards. Be encouraged! :)

Oh, and what nail look did I do for the week? Cause y’all know I didn’t leave the house with my hands like that.

Y’all saw it already. It was yesterday’s post. :D

Hope this brought a smile to your face. Happy Wednesday!

Quick Hit: Sparkle Speckled Nails

Normally you’d be seeing a Nails of Literature post today.

That’s coming up tomorrow, and if you love my stories, then you’ll love this one!

In the meantime, have another nail look today:

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Color is Essie’s Lilacism with OPI’s In True Stefani Style layered over the top.

Off to get myself ready for work. See you tomorrow!

My Hair: A History

I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. I’ve always had a lot of it, and never could really be bothered with it the majority of the time. Mostly it was because I had no clue what in the world to do with it.

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This is me as a peanut. About 4, I think.

My mother and grandmother always kept it in braids and bows (twin beads and barrettes, anyone?)

When I got older, around 9-10 maybe, I decided I wanted to get a relaxer. I was tired of my mother burning my head with the hot comb to straighten it. After a warning of it would burn my scalp the first time, I then had it relaxed. It didn’t slow down on me being tenderheaded, but it helped the tangles a bit.

I kept up the relaxers for years after. My hair went from long, to short, to very long when I still lived in Texas (almost the center of my back), to this:

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It’s maybe an inch past my shoulders here.

I rarely wore it down, because it was HOT. Oh, good grief. Like the hand of Hades was sitting on my neck and wouldn’t move! I kept it up in a bun or ponytail most of the time, only wearing it down when I got it done (see pic above) or on special occasions. And I could guarantee I had a ponytail holder to yank it up as soon as the special occasion was over with. Typically, you’d see me like this:

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Yep. Typical. It’s in a bun here.

I got tired of never being able to wear it down (it did not hold a curl at all, and frizzed at the drop of a hat, or sweat.) So one day, randomly, I decided to transition my hair. It stayed in a bun for a while, until one day, I decided to braid it up after a wash. I let it out the next morning and picked it out, and came up with this:

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I threw a headband in it, and went to work. I didn’t know how to feel, honestly. I felt like the world was staring at me.

But natural hair will do that. Folks don’t know how to handle an afro, whether it’s out and free or in a puff. And I didn’t know how to handle the questions that resulted from my afro.

“Can I touch it?” What the hell am I, a puppy? For the most part I don’t mind, but the question is still odd to me. And please, for the love of fluffy kittens, ASK first. Everybody isn’t me.

“Is it real?” Yep. I wouldn’t know the first thing about picking out a good wig/weave.

“How long have you been transitioning?” At the point above, it had been maybe a few months, maybe 4.

“What do you think of it?” This I had a hard time answering, but I gave an honest answer. Self conscious. I was (and am) a big woman with big hair. You can’t be invisible like that. It’s a bold look, and you have to be prepared to rock it and be seen.

Slowly, I became more and more comfortable with my ‘fro, wearing it in a pouf some days:

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And pulling into a front bouffant other days:

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Because my hair isn’t even (back is longer than the front, left side longer than right), I rarely wear it completely out without a headband (it helps conceal the unevenness.) But hey, it’s all about pushing my boundaries, right? Who knows, maybe I’ll have a free fro come tomorrow morning. Anything’s possible.

Fatshion Friday: Gearing Up For My Birthday!

If you’re following me on Instagram, then you saw me post this picture of my crafting space last night:

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My crafting space being an extra chair I place in front of the TV. :) Glass of wine optional.

So, this jumble of things I had spread about is a part of my latest Darby Smart purchase. I am slowly building the outfit for my birthday dinner (dress coming soon!), and I wanted to make the accessories myself.

You’ve already seen the bag I’ll be carrying that night.

So, what was that jumble of stuff I posted?

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I made a cuff!

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Here’s a couple of super huge pics to show the detail. There are a couple of spikes on it!

The cuff is a mix of blue, purple, green, and pink rhinestones to go with the colors in my dress.

Yes, I do love rainbow things. It’s an offshoot of having to wear black to work every day–I want to wear all of the sparkly, obnoxiously colorful things on days I have off just to remember it exists. I tend to go over the top on off days, unless it happens to be cleaning day. Then I’m in colorful sweats instead.

Anyway.

The kit comes with two cuffs from Jewelmint (they have some really pretty baubles!), a bag of rhinestones in all of the colors you can think of, a small bag of spikes, adhesive, and a sponge brush to apply the adhesive with. So much fun! The cuff can be a bit small on a larger wrist (it just fits me perfectly, for example, and I have large arms) so this may not fit larger arms. I do hope they’ll consider making larger cuffs so that crafters of all sizes can get in on the fun (and I left them a message on the product page saying so!)

The final personal touch to my birthday outfit? I need something for my hair. That’s coming next Friday! :)

Quick Hit: Spring Sparkle Manicure

Hi Folks!

I have some stuff I’m working on for y’all for Friday, so I just wanted to pop in and show you that I can do…normal (?) nails!

So, last weekend I volunteered at a health fair. I was there to do makeup, so I toned my nails down for the event.

I didn’t want to poke anybody with a giant charm or anything. :)

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The fuchsia is called Hawaiian Punch by Orly, and the glitter is In True Stefani Fashion by OPI. If you’re in the Northeast, I’m sure you feel some kind of way about the random snow, ice, and frigid temperatures that came Wednesday. This is my way of trying to appease the Weather Gods into giving us back the warm weather!

See you tomorrow for Fatshion Friday!

Nails of Literature: Goldfinger

Nope, your eyes are not deceiving you.

Yes, I know Goldfinger is a movie. It’s my favorite James Bond film and the first I ever saw.

But James Bond was a literary character before he became the super spy we know on film. And I finally had the opportunity to read the novel.

I love it as much as I do the film, and this rarely ever happens.

The first time I encountered Goldfinger, I was but a peanut. My mom and grandma were watching a movie, and I wandered into the room. Of course, things exploding attracted me to the tv.

“What are you watching?”

“Bond, James Bond,” my mother replied.

Confused by that introduction, I sat down to watch. Mesmerized, I fell in love with that suave character.

As I got older, I watched almost all of the Bond films, and of course debate with people about who is the best actor. Hands down, it’s Sean Connery (Daniel Craig second, Pierce Brosnan third.) But it could be because he was the first Bond I knew.

One day I happened to actually be paying attention to the credits and noticed in the small print: “based on characters by Ian Fleming.”

Does what now? It’s a BOOK?

I kept telling myself that I would take the time to find the novels and read them, and it was something I kept putting on the backburner. And then I saw this miniseries on BBC America.

Ok. That does it. I will read these novels!

And naturally, I didn’t get around to it until a couple of days ago. But I am so glad I did.

It’s as well paced as the movie, and just as interesting. Bond is a bit more introspective in the novel than he is in the movie, but that is to be expected. I am looking forward to having a Bond marathon this weekend, starting with Goldfinger, and anticipating seeing the movie through new eyes.

With this in mind, I present to you She Loves Only Gold:

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I have no shame in admitting I took the name from the title song of the movie. :)

The gold base is a combination of two colors: OPI’s Ski Slope Sweetie (pictured) layered over Julep’s Kennedy. I did some golden rhinestones at the base of my nails, and tuxedoed the ring fingers on each hand with Essie’s Licorice. Right hand has no bowtie, as I would end up knocking it off doing orders at work.

Now, I’m off to have martini (shaken, not stirred), and listen to this amazing movie opening.

Have a novel you’d love to see in manicure form? Email me!