Reflections

I don’t normally get introspective before my birthday. I normally treat it as another day, and celebrate all month long. I work on my birthday most of the time.

Now, I did celebrate all month long. I bought myself beautiful things. Treated myself to a full spa day and turned off my phone (that never happens!)

And this birthday, as per usual, I will be at work (and take the rest of my week off.)

All I can think about, though, are the things that I have done in my 28th year that have made me happy.

I am happy that I am learning to focus more on what matters most to me. I want to work more on honing my craft. One of the best gifts I am giving to myself this year is working my schedule so that I have a solid hour per day to write. Whether it’s working on posts for here or working on my novel, I just need to write. Often.

I am happy that I am learning to accept myself as I am. I put my foot in my mouth, but I still am not afraid to express my opinion. I am not thin, and may not ever be. And that’s okay. I still am going to dress this body well, and emanate the confidence I’ve found.

I am happy that I am exploring the craftier, artsier side of me. It’s a hobby, but I am making sure I am dedicating time to the hobby. If it’s a stress reliever, I ought to turn to it in times of stress, right?

The thing I am the happiest about is that all of the above showcases my growth.

My biggest worry is that by the time I’m 30 that I won’t be happy with the person I am. I’m not concerned about what career I’ll be in (I’ll find it eventually) or if I’ll have a family (I’ll have one eventually). I just want to be content with me, flaws and all. And if I can find content, all other things will follow.

As my 28th year closes, I can say I’ll enter year 29 being happy with me. Happy with my growth, happy with life.

I’m grateful.

Here’s to year 28 and it’s lessons, and to year 29 and it’s blessings.

Positivity Stories

Birthday Week: The Kickoff

Hello my lovelies!

I’m still doing some birthday preparations and being run ragged at work (what else is new), so have this song I’ve had on repeat this weekend:

Songs like this make me wish I had at least a corner of some rhythm. 😀 Anyway, enjoy, and I will be back tomorrow with a post of substance!

Uncategorized

Fatshion Friday: Reevaluating The Birthday Outfit

Don’t you hate when you have an outfit planned to the hilt, then you look at it all together and realize…this ain’t it?

Luckily for me, I managed to figure this out before the event.

I know, I’ve been on about this birthday outfit of mine for weeks now. Since my birthday is next week, you’ll be able to see the grand reveal soon.

So, I got my new dress from Eloquii last week, and it’s as gorgeous as I expected it to be. Fits like a dream, colors are gorgeous, oh em gee. I am excited! No link, wait till next week!

But when I laid everything out together: cuff, bag, dress, and shoes:

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These elements are good by themselves. They would be good in combination with another dress. But not this one I bought.

Sigh.

To avoid having to share another epic fail in addition to the nail art that went awry earlier this week, I’m gonna have to reevaluate this outfit.

Ordinarily I’d be excited to go and shop, but this was supposed to be the year where I wouldn’t do the I Can’t Find It run.

You know that run.

That’s the run where you have an idea in your head of the pieces that you need to take your outfit to the next level, but everything you find is just missing that one thing to make it perfect. Then you end up settling for what you don’t really want, but it’ll work because you’re tired and want to go home to do your nails and prep your hair for your event already.

I don’t want to do that run. It takes all the fun of crafting an outfit and makes it labor. And I do enough laboring at work.

So, what’s gonna happen is this: I’m going to find a pair of shoes online and have it shipped to the retailer, then me and a hot glue gun have a date so I can pull this off. At least if I’m home putting everything together, I can just take a nap when I’m ready. 🙂

Next week: more NYCC sketches and next Saturday the Birthday Outfit reveal!

Retail Therapy Shopping

Nourishing My Crowning Glory

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!

Hair Reviews Shopping Uncategorized

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. 😀

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

Nail Adventures Positivity Stories

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!

Nail Adventures

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.

Hair Stories