Archive: July 2015

10 Tips on Surviving Two Under Two
I am officially a "two under two" survivor!
6 Natural Hair Tips for Busy Moms
You are just as important as everyone else. Take the time to take care of you too!
Life | Things I Learned in my First Year of Marriage

This past Sunday, my husband and I celebrated our one year marriage anniversary! Sheesh! Its definitely a bit scary when you think about how fast time flies because it literally doesn't even feel like it's been a year! I feel like it was yesterday when I shared my testimony with you guys leading up to the wedding day.

Anywho, I wanted to share with you guys some of the things I've learned in my first year of marriage.

I'm not at all saying that this is the end all be all. I'm most certainly sure that some of these things I'll continue to learn and re-learn five, ten, and fifty years down the line as we grow.

  • Submission: One of the things I've had to struggle with in being married is submitting to my husband and respecting the authority that God has given him as the head of our marriage. I like to be the one in control sometimes, but  I've had to learn that that doesn't work in a marriage! Don't get it twisted: submission does not mean that your husband controls you, tells you what to do, and makes ALL the decisions in your marriage. You're not a dog, and that would be completely abusing God's intent for the covenant of marriage. Ephesians 5:23 says that the man is called by God to be "the head of his wife, as Christ is also the head of the church" (Ephesians 5:23). In submitting to my husband, I place myself under his protection and provision since he now has a responsibility over me. In submitting to my husband, I let him know that I trust the authority that God has given him, and trust that he will make the right decisions as the head of our marriage. Most importantly, I trust the Spirit of God that lives on the inside of him that guides him and directs his path. Let me tell you: it definitely becomes easier to do as you learn to submit yourself to Christ. At the end of the day, that's what it's really all about - your love and reverence to God by trusting and obeying His commands.
  • Love & Respect: With submission comes the idea of love and respect. By submitting to my husband, I'm showing him that I respect his authority as given to him by God, and in that, I'm displaying my reverence to God in my obedience to His commands. Even aside from that, sometimes I have to check my attitude: Am I being snappy when I talk to him? Am I talking in an unloving tone? Is it too harsh? That's why its important to think before you speak because I admit, sometimes I'll say the first thing that comes to mind, and it may not always be the right thing to say. Respect is everything for men! In the same sense, husbands are commanded to "love [their] wives as Christ loves the church." Women need love and affection! Of course, I know my husband loves me, but sometimes I like hearing him say it, and I also need to feel it!
  • It's Not All About You: When you're married, you have to shift out of that "me" stage and focus on "us." There is no "I," "me," "my," or "mine" when it comes to marriage. You have to learn to take the focus off of you and your wants and desires and focus on doing whats best for the both of you, even if that means you can't get those shoes you wanted this week!
  • Compromise: Compromise is a huge part in marriage. Without compromise, everything would be difficult. This comes with getting out of the mindset that it's all about you and everything has to be your way or the highway. [raises hand] Yep...that was me! I've gotten better with this, but I'm still a work in progress, as we all are. 
  • Communication: I can't tell ya'll how important it is to TALK TO YOUR SPOUSE!! For a VERY long time before we were even married, I had trouble with talking to husband. I've always held my feelings in and internalized everything without dealing with whatever the issue was. I'll even admit that I still have that issue from time to time. I'd tell myself to just spit it out. It's hard saying what's on my mind sometimes because I don't always know how to say what it is that I'm feeling. I think part of it is me being stubborn, and the other part of it might be stepping out of my comfort zone and dealing with the issue straight out the gate instead of just sweeping it under the rug like it never happened. Ugh! I'm working on it ya'll! Thank God I'm not where I used to be!
  • Continue Dating: It's so easy to get caught up in the busyness and monotony in life. You definitely don't want that to spill over into your marriage. I think it's important to keep dating your spouse even after you've won them because that's how you keep things fresh! Setting aside a specific day during the week for date night, watching a movie at home together, talking, cuddling, etc... Don't stop dating and having fun just because the union is official. Keep it going.
  • A Day with the Girls is Far & Few In Between: I definitely don't get to spend as much time with my girls as I would like to, especially because we all have different schedules and different lives. They may feel like doing certain things that I'm not willing to do either because its not my thing, or I have no business doing it as a married woman. Thankfully, my girls respect the things that I'm not willing to do and we find something to do where we can all be involved whether it be movies, dinner, a sleepover, or a day out of the city somewhere. 
  • Take Time For Yourself: It's definitely important to take time for yourself & having something that you love to do outside of your spouse. At the end of the day, we're individuals. For my husband, he likes to go out and play basketball. For me, I love to blog and I also like to treat myself to a mani + pedi. Whatever it is, find something that makes you happy. 
Some people say the first year of marriage is the hardest. Honestly, it wasn't all that people make it seem. Yes it was tough because you're adjusting to everything. I see it this way: If you allow certain things to enter into your marriage, and if you're not willing examine yourself first instead of always pointing the finger, you will always have a problem. If you allow a bunch of negativity and frustration to take over your marriage, that's all that it will be. Marriage is work, ya'll! I definitely don't know it all, but my goal is to be the best wife I can possibly be to my husband.

The saying "You are what you eat" definitely holds true in so many ways. If you eat crap, you're going to feel like crap.

My eating hasn't been all the way together lately, and it's definitely not conducive to my plans to shed some weight or my goals to preserve my youth.

I don't eat too bad, but there's always room for improvement.  I've been feeling really sluggish and tired, even when I've had 7-8 hours of sleep. The goal from now on is to not only work out consistently, but to change my eating habits so I can really start seeing results.

There's been a few healthy eats that I've been enjoying and incorporating into my diet that not only does the body good, but does the skin and hair good as well.

  1. Water: Water is essential...period. Drinking water daily is a no-brainer, and I honestly am just now understanding the importance of drinking enough water on a daily basis. Water hydrates the skin from the inside out, which eliminates dry flaky skin. Being properly hydrated also brings out your skin's natural glow, so you're looking radiant all throughout the year. 
  2. Kale: Kale is pretty popular for its low calorie and high fiber content. It is also known for its high vitamin A and Vitamin K content. Research shows that a diet lacking Vitamin A leads to flaky, dry skin. Nobody likes dry patches, especially since it prevents your foundation or tinted moisturizer from going on flawlessly. Vitamin K, on the other hand, is great for skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of dark circles. Kale also works wonders for hair! It's rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6. Taking in more kale helps with hair elasticity which helps to eliminate breakage, strengthen your roots, and increase blood circulation to your scalp, which is stimulates hair growth. 
  3. Blueberries: I've never been a huge blueberry fan, but since I started eating fridge oats every morning (oats, greek yogurt, almond milk, almond butter, honey, and frozen blueberries), they've become one of my favorites. 
    Blueberries are great for acne-prone skin, helping to eliminate toxins from the body to help clear up your skin so it looks younger and healthier. Blueberries are also rich in Vitamin C, which stimulates the production of sebum, your scalp's natural oils to work as a natural conditioner. 
  4. Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are more than just a savory sweet treat in casseroles on Thanksgiving. It's definitely one of those foods that are underrepresented, especially when it comes to hair and skin benefits. The beta-carotene present in sweet potatoes gets converted into Vitamin A, which is essential to preventing hair loss and dry, lifeless hair. The vitamin A boosts your scalp's natural oils, adding moisture and promoting growth as Omega-3 nourishes the hair follicles. 
  5. Almonds: I snack on almonds occasionally when at work since our kitchen is always stocked with almonds. Almonds are rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E which offer skin protection against sun damage and also helps to hydrate the skin, Omega-3 fatty acids which help improve skin radiance, and Vitamin D and Magnesium which helps reduce hair fall. 
Having great skin and healthy hair isn't something that just happens. You have to make sure you're fueling your body with the rights things so your skin and hair can truly flourish. What are you doing to make sure your hair and skin thrives?

Since this blog is generally about all things natural hair, I wanted to start a series where I showcase fellow naturals to generate some discussion around natural hair and healthy hair care practices. I've featured women in the past on this blog, but my goal is to go a bit deeper than before. To keep the conversations going, my goal is to not only get to the nuts and bolts of why women decided to go natural, but to really get other women's views on the natural hair movement, the natural hair community, and the ways in which returning to natural hair has affected them.
I bring you the "naptural TALK!" series, and this week's feature: Angela Clay of Liberated Strands

Napturally Dany (ND): Introduce yourself!
Angela Clay (AC): Hello my name is Angela Clay, and I am the founder of Liberated Strands, a website that is geared toward helping naturals stay on their natural hair journey.  I am also an Accountability Coach. I work with women entrepreneurs who want to start up a business, but feel confused and lack confidence on where to start. I help [women] with accountability, overturning self-doubt, and assist with tapping into resources to build the business of her dreams. 
ND: How long have you been natural? What motivated you to transition to natural? Did you transition for a period of time, or did you Big Chop?
AC: I have been natural since 2009, so 8 years. My, how time flies!  I transitioned for a while, [wearing] weaves and braids until I was ready to take the plunge.  I really needed to boost my confidence before I could really step out. 
ND: Going natural creates a bit of uncertainty for women, especially those who are used to their relaxed texture. What were some of your fears/concerns when deciding to go natural?
AC: Back then, I think it was the fact that there was not a lot of products out on the market.  The information was scarce and I live in an area where people have no clue about natural hair.  As I sit back and think about my fears it was more or less how will I look with this new hair.  I was thinking will I be able to do awesome things with my hair? My hair came in curly so I basically did a lot of wash & go's, pack [my hair] with gel and oil, and then go! I had a little concern on how others would receive my new do!
ND: What do you think is the perception of kinky textured hair, both within and outside of the natural hair community?
AC: Most people always want what they don’t have.  That falls in almost every catergory in life.  People can be fit and lean and look at Beyonce and long to have her body.  However a reality check needs to come in! Genetically your hair might not get to waist length and no matter what products you use it will not magically change your hair into a different texture, unless you pick up the relaxer again. 
I really try to embrace my natural hair, kinks and all. Many people kick and scream when they think about shrinkage. This is my take on shrinkage… it’s like those delicate flowers that you see open in the morning. They absorb the fresh dew, reaching out to it. When the Sun’s heat [becomes] too much, the flower folds in to preserve itself from withering and drying out. Can you think about the preservation of your hair? What a beautiful design.  I mean really, to have a hair that automatically knows what to do. Who else on the planet can say that their hair does that? Only kinky textured hair. Learn to love your intelligent design.

ND: What do you love the most about being natural? What has your experience as a woman with natural hair been?
AC: Hey, as a natural there is always a conversation to be had about our hair.  It is a conversation starter, a room show stopper, people pause and take a moment to ponder on our hair.  The versatility of my hair is awesome. One day you can rock a twist out and the next day you can let it air dry and rock a short Fro. As far as my experience with my hair is concerned, I am happy that I have been able to motivate people to love their hair.  I have a diverse group of friends, and I paused one day and noticed that they are now wearing their hair, wavy, curly and really liberating their strands. 
ND: You have an online community called Liberated Strands. What is Liberated Strands' mission, and how did you get started with your online business?
AC: Really, my mission is to [encourage] people to really learn to love their hair.  I think it also needs to go a step further: grow a business. There are so many entrepreneurs in the natural hair community with great ideas. What [would] happen if you shifted, learned to love your hair, and let it run its course on its own?  Then took that energy to really build, and grow a sustainable business that could give you the income to live the life you want to live?  What would that life look like? 
ND: What do you enjoy the most about owning and running your own online magazine for naturals?
AC: The magazine is on pause at the moment. I felt that my talents are stronger with rolling up my sleeves and being hands on with my community.You never know I may relaunch, we just have to wait and see.. 
ND: Given the stigma against women with kinkier textures, what advice would you give to women to encourage them to love and embrace their natural hair?
AC: Research before you decide to take [on] this journey.  Be aware of the highs and the lows and learn to overcome objections.  I have a workbook on my site that is free, it helps you to really get into the emotional side of returning natural. 
ND: What makes your strands liberated?
AC: I just say… In an awe inspiring way we are wonderfully made.-Jah 
It was for that reason, India Arie could say “And I know my Creator didn’t make no mistakes on me.” 

ND: What do you wish to see more of within the natural hair community?
AC: Unity among all hair textures, and if you made it in the natural hair game, turn around and give value to other people. 

I really love Angela's flower analogy as it relates to our natural hair. Really, what other hair textures knows exactly what to do! Learn to love your hair, liberates your strands, and be confident in the fact that God didn't make any mistakes when He made you. You are beautiful! Be sure to visit Angela's website, Liberated Strands, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

The summer is officially here, and that means all hands off for my hair. There's always a constant battle with my hair and the humidity during the summer. I'm always hopeful that I can just let my hair down and rock a twist out, but get disappointed literally the second I step outside as my hair frizzes and poofs up.

Don't get me wrong- I love my hair and I love my texture. But the summertime is a love and war battle with my hair, and I'd honestly rather not deal with it. Sure, I can find some products that will block out humidity, but in my frustration and unwillingness to try at that point, I decided to install some Marley twists for a few weeks. 

Now, this isn't my first time installing my own Marley twists. However, this is my first time installing Marley twists using the invisible root method. Typically, I'd braid first for about an inch or so, and then start twisting, but I wanted something a bit more natural looking. 

I've tried the invisible root method in the past, but really just couldn't wrap my head, or my fingers, around which direction to twist the hair so that it is secure. However, I tried the invisible root method at the very last minute after already installing about half of my head, loved it, and re-did my entire head. Call me crazy, but I was too hype about finally figuring out how to do it, and I absolutely loved the look as opposed to braiding first and then twisting. 

I just love the convenience of Marley twists. Of course, there's lots of versatility when it comes to Marley Twists, but it can really be a no-fuss hairstyle if you really just want to get up and go.

I don't have to worry about re-twisting my hair at night, or my hair frizzing up on me when I step outside. The most I have to worry about is moisturizing the twists every so often so my hair underneath is moisturized and cleansing my scalp when needed.

What kind of styles are you rocking this summer?

Image via Create Her Stock

So often, we get frustrated with our natural hair for a number of reasons, leaving many of us on the verge of giving up. 

What we often don't realize is that our natural hair doesn't have to be this huge burden.

I get it: our natural hair can become a bit much sometimes. But you have to admit, sometimes we do too much that's not really necessary, hence the picture below:

Honestly, having natural hair is no different than having relaxed hair, aside from the completely different textures. You'd still have to wash it, deep condition it, and style it. I know ya'll remember all those hours spent in the hair salon getting that blowout! 

I find the notion that having natural hair is "too much work," or women "don't have time" really has a lot to do with our approach to being natural.

Are you walking into it thinking you need 50 million products for wash day? Are you walking into it with no real goal in mind? Are you comparing your hair to others?

Natural hair doesn’t have to be the bane of your existence and it definitely doesn’t have to be this laborious task that you dread all the time. 

There are ways to make your natural hair work for you, and I’m here to help some of you ladies who may either be intimidated by “what goes into being natural,” and those of you who have grown weary.

Here’s a few quick tips on how to make your natural hair work for you:
  • Set a Goal: The first thing you should do both when deciding to go natural and when you find yourself in a natural hair rut is to set goals. What is it that you’re looking to achieve? Do you want long tresses? Or are you focused on the overall health of your hair (as we should be)? It’s important to establish goals for your hair so you know how you need to move forward. Otherwise, You’re just going through the motions, which can cause frustration since you’re not seeing whatever your desired end is.
  • Love and Embrace Your Texture: One of the biggest mistakes naturals make is coveting the style of other naturals. The one thing you should have embedded in your mind is that ALL textures are beautiful, no matter how curly, wavy, or kinky it is. Learning to embrace your natural hair texture saves you lots of time, money, and disappointment, which leads me to my next point…
  • Work With it & Not Against it: It’s important to work with your hair and not against it. You can’t have a kinkier texture and expect your hair to hold up to the same styles as someone with a looser texture, and vice versa. It just doesn’t work that way, and your hair is going to do what it wants to do. You just have to go with it. Learn your hair: learn what it likes, what it doesn’t like, what methods work and don’t work, and go from there.
  • Find Products that Work for You: It's important that you find hair products that work for you. In the same token, hair products can be expensive! If you're looking to find hair products I suggest signing up for subscription boxes, like CurlKit, CurlBox, or Cocotique. Check out my recent post on how to save money on natural hair products! One of the reasons we get frustrated with our hair is because we can’t find the right products that work with our hair. The important thing is to find something that works for each integral part of your regimen (cleansing, conditioning, and styling/moisturizing), and stick with it! Find shampoos that leave your hair feeling moisturized and not stripped. Find conditioners that give you enough slip to cut down on detangling time. Find styling products that give you moisture and crazy definition. Subscription boxes are a great way to get a variety of what's out there without going broke.
  • Create a SIMPLE Regimen: Once you’ve found products that work, you should definitely create a very simple regimen. I cannot emphasize this enough because to be honest, sometimes we do way too much when we don't need to! When I first went natural, I did the same thing thinking I needed to have this extensive regimen, wash on certain days, etc...You definitely don’t have to be completely anal or systematic about your hair care regimen, but having a general idea of how often you’ll be washing your hair and what styles you’ll be rocking throughout the week definitely eliminates some time and frustration. We all have busy lives, so time tends to escape us all. In that case, create a regimen for your hair that fits into your schedule! It doesn’t have to be something super complicated or completely drawn out. For me, I know that by the time I get home from work, relax a little, work on the blog, cook, and relax with the hubby, I don’t feel like sitting for 15-20 minutes to twist up my hair for a twist out. I also know that I don’t have time every week for a full-out wash day (shampoo, condition, deep condition), nor does my hair necessarily need it every week. Because of that, I rock the same low- maintenance style throughout the week (occasionally, I may feel like seeing my hair out, so I’ll do a flat twist-out), and I usually just co-wash in between wash days since co-washing is usually super quick.  
The most important thing to remember when it comes to this natural hair game is that what works for others may not work for you. Listen to your hair. Learn it. Love it. Embrace it. Find what works so you can make your natural hair work for you!

We’ve all heard the saying “Beauty is pain.” All those hours spent in your hair stylist’s chair trying to get the sleekest blow-out. Or, those four-five hours spent getting braided up so your hair is snatched (literally and figuratively).

Not only is beauty pain, but it is also a lot of money! The hair care and beauty industry is expensive, and brands are popping up left and right with the latest products for us naturalistas. Giving your hair all of the proper moisture, cleansing, and conditioning comes with a huge cost sometimes, but it doesn’t always have to.  Here’s a few ways you can save money on natural hair products:

  1. Mixtress in the Kitchen: One of the major ways you can save money on hair products is by becoming a mixtress in the kitchen. If you’re one of those D.I.Y chicks and love making your own products, then this one is for you boo! Making your own products definitely saves you money because you aren’t spending anything extra— you’re using what you already have in your kitchen.  Need a shampoo? Make a water and ACV mixture as a clarifying shampoo. Need a deep conditioner? Grab some eggs and mayo for a protein treatment, or an avocado and honey for a moisturizing deep treatment.  Need something for those twist outs, bantu knots, or perm rod sets? Grab your flaxseeds and make some flaxseed gel. There are ways around the kitchen! 
  2. Shop during sales…and stock up: One of my favorite times to buy hair products is when a store is having a BOGO. It’s either buy one get one half off, or buy one get one free. Duane Reade, CVS, Walgreens, and even Target are notorious for it, and I will love them forever because of it! BOGO’s definitely come in handy when you need to restock on conditioners, the main product naturals tend to run out of the most because we use so much of it. There are moisturizing conditioners, strengthening conditioners, leave-in conditioners, co-wash conditioners, deep treatments, and the list goes on and on.  Stalk their sites and get you a free product or two! If I can get two for the price of one, I’m there!
  3. Use Cheapie Conditioners: Now I know this may be a bit unconventional, especially since cheapie conditioners tend to be extremely watered down and don’t provide much slip. Adding some of your favorite oils quickly changes the game! Not only do you have yourself a conditioner with more slip, but you’ve got yourself a deep treatment too! Throw in some oils and touch of honey, and your hair is left feeling just as moisturized.  This is especially good for those college curlies who are working with a tight budget and can’t afford to splurge on some of the latest brands.
  4. Multipurpose Your Products: More often than not, you can find a product that does more than one thing for your hair. This is another tip I used while I was in college. Shea Moisture is one of my go-to brand when it comes to hair products. Their Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner was on heavy rotation for me as my rinse-out conditioner, deep conditioner, and leave in conditioner. Sometimes I even used it as my styling product, and it worked just fine for me.
  5. Buy Sample Products: Whenever a new product hits the market, we all want to jump on the new wave to see how it works. The problem with that is, you’d be stuck with a $15-$20 product that may not work for you, and you’ll be mad because you spent that kind of money and it doesn't work. Some products can be returned, but save your self the time, hassle, and the money and seek out brands that offer product samples. Some brands offer free samples if you cover the shipping costs, while others have a sample products at low prices.
  6. Sign Up for Subscription Services: Subscription boxes are a great way to save money on hair products. You pay between $20-$40 a month for a variety of full-sized and sample products, and often times, the products in the box are worth more than your subscription costs. That sounds like a deal to me! You get to try out a variety of products, giving you the chance to test the waters to see what works for you and what doesn’t work for you.
  7. Keep a Hair Diary: Keeping a natural hair diary is a great idea, especially as a newbie natural. Our eyes tend to get bigger than our actual coin can handle, and we tend to go a bit over board. It’s easy to forget which products you have and haven’t tried. Keeping a natural hair diary where you log what product you used, how it made your hair feel, and whether or not it worked is great because it keeps you from re-purchasing a product that you bought a month ago that didn't work, but you wouldn't have known since you have mounds of products piling up in your closet.
  8. Swap it Out: If you find yourself with mountains full of hair products, it may be time to gather some of your friends and do a product swap. Of course, make sure your products are gently used. Don’t do your girls dirty and try to give them a bottle that’s only a quarter of the way full. Swapping is great since your friends may have something that you've been dying to try.
Before you go out there and spend all of your coins on products, think about some of the ways you can cut back on spending. Who doesn't love to save money? I know I do! I hope these tips helped!

SO, TELL ME: What do you do to save money on hair products?
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