Caring for fine strand, low density natural kinky curly hair

 

Since January I’ve been protective styling regularly and I must say that I’m seeing results! My hair is thriving because it’s not being brushed, pulled or gelled everyday.

As I said at the start of the year, I’m protective styling as much as possible this year.  I’ve since worn braid extensions and a wig and I think my next style will be crochet braids.  It was my first time wearing wig and I don’t think it will be my last. It was such an easy alternative to styling my own hair and I had the freedom to wash and moisturise my hair at any time, compared to when I take other protective measures.

In between each protective style I washed my hair with Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt line, deep treat with Mizani Hydrafuse and Kerafuse moisturising and protein treatments. Using the LCO method ( LCO means “liquid, cream, oil”. Most people use the LOC method, but I prefer to apply the oil last) I seal my hair with Tropic Isle Living Argan oil and apply their Jamaican Black Castor Oil to my scalp regularly. I have fine strand, low density 3C, 4A/B hair. 

When my hair isn’t tucked away I have major “hand in hair syndrome”. I love that my hair is flourishing now. Its longer and thicker. The only downside is that as my hair grows my curls are not as tight as before. I wonder if my hair will be more wavy as it grows even longer?

Are you protective styling this year? What methods are you using and what is your progress like so far?

Faith over worry

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.” – Matthew 6:33

It is easier said than done right?

Sometimes it is so easy to worry about things – the bills, the next step, making the right move, tomorrow, next week, next year; and we get so caught up planning, getting things done and getting it right that we forget to enjoy now, the present moment.

We need to learn to enjoy the present, live in the moment. The daunting truth is, that tomorrow may never come. What then? All that worrying for nothing; and, do you notice how quite often things will just work out in the end?

So let’s practice faith. Let’s practice accepting and believing that life will work itself out. Yes, we should take steps to shape our lives in the direction we would like it to go, but ultimately, we should trust that life will happen and God will work in our favour.

Let’s faith it until we make it.

How do you express faith during moments of worry and uncertainty?

8 habits that may be preventing you from achieving your fitness goals

I am not an expert, neither am I a fitness trainer nor a medical doctor. I am however someone who has been physically active for almost all of my life, have competed in sporting events at the national and international levels (track and field and netball) and have paid my fair share of personal trainers to keep me show-ready for international modeling and pageantry. So, its safe to say that I have learnt a thing or two about fitness during my lifetime. Below I highlight some of the habits you might be practicing that may be demotivating you and are a hindrance to your fitness goals.

1. Rushing the process

Naturally you want to see results right away so you busy yourself in the gym daily with the hope that results would be fast coming. When you do not make the progress you think you ought to be making, given the work you have put in, you become discouraged. Soon it becomes a chore to go to the gym and suddenly you begin to miss your workout sessions.

If this is you, I suggest that you focus on enjoying the process rather than rushing it. Focus more on developing a love for fitness. Stop trying to achieve results overnight because it will not happen. Your energy and enthusiasm will last longer, and thus your commitment to maintaining your fitness goals.

Rushing the process also includes how you execute your workouts. Take the time to properly execute each move. Too often I see people in the gym, guys especially, who are pumping so quickly I wonder who they are racing against.

Take the time to concentrate on your form, technique and control. It is better to have properly executed three different routines than to have done 10 of them and they are of no to little effect because they were not done correctly. Also, properly executing your exercises will help to prevent injury.

2. Not mixing things up

Working out can be tedious. That is why it is important to keep things interesting. Cut out the mundane and monotony of working out by incorporating a variety of exercises into your regimen. So instead of running on the treadmill everyday balance your workouts with some other form of training.

Take a pilates or yoga class, join a boxing session or spin class. You could even do a variety of stretches one day (yes, stretching is important too). You could also run in the park, around the harbour or on the beach, or cycle somewhere. Joining a sports team is also an option, especially if you do not like working out on your own. Anything that gets you moving and your heart pumping can be incorporated into your regimen.

Just keep it moving and keep mixing things up. Stop doing the same excesses daily. Our bodies become accustomed to things and so we should switch things up every now and then to keep your body guessing and yourself intrigued.

3. Inconsistency

I read somewhere that for something to become a habit you have to do it for at least 90-days. That being said, what do you expect to happen if one week you are committed to the gym and the next you only work out once? If you have to, schedule your workouts and stick to it.

I too fall foul of this. If after a certain time of day I think its too late for me to workout during my lunch hour I always decide to go after work instead. However, after work I am usually tired and almost always go home. This is probably my biggest gym related problem, but this year I am making a concerted effort to habitually go to the gym during my preferred time of day since I know that if I do not go then I am likely to not go at all. It better to go and not push hard than to not go to the gym at all. So stop making excuses and get that work out in! Stop finding every reason in the book to not workout because after skipping the gym a few times you will soon not go at all.

4. Comparing yourself to others

Everyone is different. We do not all look the same, speak in the same way and like all of the same things. So why would you believe that you would lose weight or tone as fast as the other person? Stop watching other people’s progress and focus on your own. The other person might go to the gym only twice per week and makes more progress than you who workout daily, but that’s okay, you’re making progress too. Stick to your plan and know that you too will start to see dramatic results if you remain consistent.

5. Stepping on the scale

Weighing yourself frequently will only result in discouragement. When you lift weights you will develop your muscles which will mean that you will become heavier and seem like you have added pounds.

6. Constantly looking in the mirror

You have been putting in the work and you are feeling your absolute best since starting your fitness regimen. Naturally you cannot help but steal glances of yourself in the mirror to see what progress your hard work is making.

The problem is, you are likely to be disappointed by constantly looking in the mirror because it is unlikely that you will notice any difference in your physique, unless there is substantial difference. Perhaps wait until a few weeks or so have passed before you begin to inspect for progress. Another option is to take photos bi-weekly to document your progress. Even small progress is so much easier to notice in photos than in the mirror.

7. Overeating

You are working out consistently but do not see any results. What do you expect if you are eating the same amount or more calories as you are expiring in the gym? Just because you are working out does not mean that you can eat every and anything you want.

You can treat yourself but still have to monitor what you eat. Having a well balanced diet and drinking lots of water should always be a part of your fitness regime. I suggest that you plan your meals weekly. This way it is easier to monitor what you are putting into your body. So cut out the sugary treat, sodium filled snacks and excess alcohol and feed your body the vital nutrients it needs.

8. Skimming on sleep

It takes energy to exert energy and if you are lacking rest you will be sluggish in the gym. So no, its not that the weight was too heavy for you to lift or that the distance was too far to run. Simply put, could not lift the weight or run the miles because your body was already fatigued from a lack of sleep. So get into bed early and rest well.

I hope you will assess your practices and develop habits that will help you to achieve your fitness goals this year. Good luck!

Do you fall culprit to any of the above practices?

4 steps you should take to keep your scalp clean while wearing braid extensions

When wearing braid extensions the usual practice is to wash your hair less frequently than you would when wearing your own hair. However, having a clean scalp is paramount to preventing breakage. It is important to keep your scalp clean to ensure that your hair maintains the best possible health during your protective styling journey. Since the main reason you may be wearing a protective style is to retain maximum hair growth during a given period of time it would be futile if your hair were to break-off as fast as it is grows. Here are a few tips that I incorporate during my protective styling journey to help keep my scalp clean.

1. Do not over grease/oil your scalp

As naturals, we are often told to moisturise our scalp/roots when wearing braids or other protective styles. Whilst it is important to ensure that your hair does not lose moisture and break-off during your protective styling period it is equally important to avoid product build up.

For example, when I am not wearing a protective style, I would normally apply Jamaican black castor oil (“JBCO”) to my scalp a few times per week (usually, when I remember to do so) because I normally wash my hair weekly. When wearing a protective style I tend to apply JBCO to my scalp once per week because I typically wash my hair less often. So, I try not to apply too much of anything to my scalp.

2. Keep sweat at minimum

A sweaty head will most likely be a smelly head. One way to combat this is by blow-dry your hair on cool/low temperature after completing whatever physical activity made you work up a sweat. Even if you are not drenched in sweat, passing the blow-dryer over the roots of your hair for a few minutes will work wonders. It will soak up the perspiration and help to prevent your hair from being smelly and itchy. It also helps to cool down your hair after a workout.

3. Cleanse your scalp

In between washes use a wet washcloth with shampoo or conditioner to gently cleanse your scalp. An alternative is to soak the washcloth with tea tree oil. Doing so will not only help to keep your scalp clean but to also keep itching at bay and your scalp smelling fresh. After cleansing your scalp, pass the blow-dryer over your roots to soak up any dampen areas.

4. Wash your braids

Either wash your braids at home or have it done professionally at a hair salon. Most people do not have a hooded hair dryer at home so drying their braids themselves using a blow-dryer can be challenging, time consuming and tiring. I use a bonnet hooded dryer. It’s a bonnet that attaches to the end of my blow-dryer to give that hooded hair dryer experience. It is inexpensive, around US$12. You can easily find several versions on Amazon. I use it all the time when I deep condition my hair.

If you do wash your hair yourself, make sure that your hair dries properly. I have read horror stories about people claiming to have developed moldy hair, so watch out. You might be better off just going to the hair dresser for a quick wash.

How do you keep your scalp clean when wearing braids?

Tips for flying fearlessly

Getting on a plane can make anyone uneasy, including frequent flyers. As much as travel bloggers love to see new places and learn about new cultures, it does not mean that we are entirely happy with the process of getting to those new places. Putting your life into the hands of complete strangers and trusting a machine you have no control of at 35,0000 feet in the air is a huge ask. However, fear is all in the mind. So keeping your mind occupied and distracted from thinking about the possibilities is of paramount importance whilst in-flight.

The below tips have helped to put my mind at ease during times of disquietude on some of my previous flights. I rely on some of these practices all the time and others on occasionally.

1. Saying a prayer

Before takeoff and after landing say a prayer. I start and end each journey with a prayer. If you feel like it, pray continuously throughout the flight, especially during turbulent moments. You do not need to pray out loud for anyone to hear. You can simply pray under your breath or in your mind. Whilst believing in God does not mean that bad things will not happen, it will give you a sense of comfort to put your fears before God as you make your petition for journeying mercies.

2. Reading

Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you, that is, if that person is willing to engage in a chat. Otherwise, find something to read. Go prepared with a book or the latest copy of your favourite magazine. I find that recently most of my leisurely reading is done whilst en route to my destination. I cannot seem to otherwise spare the time to read, so I get it in when I can, especially if I’m flying with a low budget carrier that has no in-flight entertainment.

Do not ignore the airlines’ in-flight magazines. Nowadays airlines are producing top notch content and it’s one of the best ways to learn about the various destinations they travel to.

I’ve been known to take a copy of in-flight magazines that inspire me, whether it’s to plan a trip to a destination featured in the magazine or to read up on a product advertised in it.

For example, following the not so nice review I got from someone who had previously visited Manila, Philippines, I had written-off the idea of taking a trip to the capital. Instead, I planned to visit two of the Philippines’ popular tourist destinations, Cebu and Boracay. After opening a copy of Aspire, which is produced by Hong Kong Airlines, and reading about Manila, I became open again to the idea of visiting that city.

3. Watching a TV show or a movie

Many airlines, especially for long haul flights, offer in-flight entertainment at no extra cost. You will typically find some of the latest blockbuster hits as well as classics. These are updated periodically with new movies and TV shows.

Alternatively, download a movie or your favourite TV series from Netflix or Amazon Prime to your mobile device and binge watch it in-flight. This is also good to do if you are flying on a budget airline or if you traveled so frequently in a short span of time that you have already watched every movie on the in-flight entertainment that is of interest you. I could almost kick myself for having to sit through the buzzing sound of the plane during a three hour flight from Hong Kong to Malaysia. I must have read every page of Air Asia’s in-flight magazine twice.

4. Listening to music

Ahead of your flight load your mobile device with the latest tunes and have your own private jam session in-flight. The music will also help to drown out the sound of the plane’s engine. Better yet, invest in noise cancelling headphones so that you can listen to your music in peace. Having your favourite tunes on heavy rotation is soothing and will help to keep your mind from wondering about the possibilities. Most in-flight entertainment systems also offer music so you might still be able to listen to music if you forgot to update your playlist on your mobile device.

5. Playing games

While you are thinking about your next strategy in the monopoly game you and your travel partner have engaged in you will have no time to worry about something you have no control over. In fact, last year I purchased miniatures of the chess and monopoly games in Malaysia and have whipped them out mid-flight for some friendly competition with my other half. Alternatively, you could play games on your phone or other mobile device or on the airline’s in-flight system (if there is one).

3. Sleeping

If all else fails, pop your headphones into your ears and go to sleep. The economy seats on most planes do not offer the most comfortable slumber, so if you know that sleeping is the best way for you to get through your flight fearlessly then why not spend the extra bucks to upgrade your seat? I flew “premium economy” once on Cathay Pacific and it was worth every dime! After my long flight I felt rested upon arrival at my destination. If your preference is to sleep through the entire flight but you have trouble doing so on a plane then consider consulting with your doctor before travelling to find out if sleeping pills are suitable for you.

I hope that these tips will help you during your next flight. Let me know if they do.

Do you have a fear of flying? What do you do in-flight to keep it your mind at ease?

Three of my favourite lipsticks this season

Winter is all about the deeply dark hued lipsticks – the browns, the rich purples and the red wines. My staple lipsticks this season have all of these hues.

It’s amazing that a good lip colour can transform a person’s look even if the rest of that person’s face isn’t made up. For example, on a day where I don’t feel like being made up I would typically do my eyebrows, line my eyes, then apply mascara and concealer under my eyes. It’s takes only a few minutes but if I only have a couple of minutes to spare all I need to do is fix my eyebrows and slap on a bold lippy and I’m ready to go. This helps me to stay Instagram ready even when I’m not fully made up and truth be told, I don’t wear a full face of make up on a daily basis and I like to make my skin breath.

In no particular order, I’ve listed below the three colours that are keeping me photo ready this season.

1. Cover Girl outlast longwear + moisture in Amazing Auburn #955

What I love about this lipstick is the reddish-brown colour. It’s one of those red lipsticks you can wear with anything. It’s a combination of bright and dark red; the perfect balance for Winter. I bought this lipstick online and wasn’t disappointed at all when it arrived. It is exactly what I wanted, a red hue that isn’t so bright that you’d think its Summer.

I do wish that this lipstick was a matte colour but that’s only because I have taken a liking to matte lippies. Because it’s not matte, it is also slightly runny but since I am aware of that I know to keep checking my lips every so often or to gloss my tongue across my teeth to remove any lipstick that might be on them.

2. MAC Antique Velvet #A37

This matte lipstick is my absolute favourite of the three lippies. It’s a richly deep brown hue that compliments everything in my closet.

I try to wear it every chance I get, even to work where nude lipsticks are my go-to. I can get away with this because although this is a rich and deep colour it has a nude effect against my chocolate skin.

I do sometimes have to remind myself that I have other lipsticks. I could see myself wearing this lip colour all through the year. However, in the Spring and Summer  I would probably wear it in the evenings or if I’m going for a vampy look.

My only issue is that because this lipstick is matte it can sometimes feel dry after wearing it for a while. When that happens I usually wipe it off and reapply.

3. NARS velvet lip glide in “Toy”

I’ve been wearing this rich, deep purple lip lacquer since the Summer.  It was actually my go to lip colour then because you can either apply it lightly for a soft look or put on a few coats for a vampy look. I always chose the latter because the purple hue helps to balance out the dark look so that its not too dark to wear on a Summer’s day.

The matching lip liner is a must. It helps to guide you when applying this liquid lip colour so that your pout looks more luscious. It’s the perfect colour to wear during your weekend soirees.

What’s your go to colour this season? Don’t be afraid to share, you just might help me find my next favourite colour.

Why I might not travel over Christmas

Its been a year filled with lots of travelling and work. I’ve made use of most of my annual vacation allowance and almost every long weekend (Hong Kong has at least 13 bank holidays for the year) to travel throughout Asia. I’ve tried to make the most of it because I wasn’t sure that I would definitely be in Hong Kong for a second year (and I’m still not entirely sure).

I initially planned to travel during my two-weeks Christmas break, but as the time draws closer I’ve been feeling like I don’t really care to go anywhere. For some reason, nowhere really seems to interest me. The initial plan was to ring in Christmas and the New Years in Sydney, Australia but that soon changed to Taiwan or Bali and then, to no where.

IMG_20181230_210205_079

I think its time to stay put and see and enjoy more of this place I call home. Since arriving in Hong Kong I haven’t really done or seen much. My main routine is home to work, repeat. As I consider whether to travel or stay in Hong Kong over Christmas/New Years I remember a few years ago when I encountered the same challenge, save that I was living in the Cayman Islands (home) at the time.

My mom and I had plan to spend Christmas abroad, but then she was not able to do so. I contemplated travelling on my own but didn’t want to leave her during Christmas. So I stayed at home and I was actually happy that I had done so.

My days were filled with well needed rest and relaxation. I had more flexibility with my time. I didn’t have to worry about trying to fill every moment of the day because I was afraid to miss out experiences in whatever I country I would have visited if I had traveled. Furthermore, I had much needed time with God. I used the time to pray and praise daily. By the end of the two weeks I was refreshed, relaxed, rejuvenated and renewed. I returned to work READY for everything! It is this memory that is persuading me to stay HK. I know I need a break, some time out, and lots of rest. Hopefully, if I do stay in Hong Kong, I will once again be refresh, relax, rejuvenate, renew. I might do exactly that.

Do you feel the need to travel over Christmas or do you prefer to stay home and rest?

Me, the mother of an adult child? No thank you!

As a 30 something year old I couldn’t imagine myself with a teenage child, yet alone a young adult child of say, 18 years, calling me mommy. I can’t even imagine a two year old (I assume that’s when a child can speak, i.e. string together sentences) calling me mommy. I still haven’t even gotten used to my age and often forget how old I am. In my mind, although I am a mature and responsible individual with a flourishing career and I’m in a committed relationship, I still cannot imagine having to parent a child of that age at this moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not putting down anyone who is around my age and who has a grown child, not at all. I am simply expressing my feelings. I cannot imagine that situation to be my truth. On one hand though, I do sort of feel a little jealousy towards those mothers, that they will still be very young when their child(ren) flees the nest and they can still enjoy their lives. Whereas, on the other hand, I will have to parent any child I’m blessed with into my old age and, by the time the child is grown up I am closer to the grave (sorry to sound so morbid but its the truth).

However, there must be major benefits for having a child at a later stage in life. For example, you are likely to be in a more stable position in life, you most likely know what you want, are probably ready for a child and even if you aren’t and life surprises you, its not as disruptive or detrimental to you, your personal, educational and career growth. I cannot imagine the struggles a young mother goes through. It must be hard enough mothering a child much less, somewhat, missing out on your youth. Whilst your friends are at the movies, at college, attending the Summer festival or backpacking throughout Europe you are at home changing diapers and breastfeeding. Kudos to you though for sticking it out and not abandoning your child or your life. I see you as a strong person.

I guess I’m just speaking out loud because lately I am seeing more and more of my high school classmates wishing their young adult child happy 18th birthday or congratulating them on their graduation from high school and we’re not even (that) close to 40 years old yet. So it had me thinking about how I would feel if having an adult child was my truth. From the outside looking in I can’t imagine it. I do not feel that at my age I could be someone with a child that old. Albeit, if that was my truth I would know no other and I would probably not be able to imagine life as anything else and would completely embrace it but, the fact is, it’s not my truth and I can’t imagine it now.

What are your views, would you prefer to have a child at a younger or older age? If you had a child when you were younger, do you wish you had/could’ve waited? Did you have a child at an older age, did you wish you hadn’t waited to become a parent?

Getting back into the gym after a break

I have just started back in the gym after not working out for two months due to being sick, travelling and otherwise busy.  It is typically difficult making the time to work out but I try my best to do so at least three times per week.

This week, I finally made it back to the gym after this short hiatus.  Naturally, I am taking things slow.  I do have to ease myself back into the whole process.  Its an entire routine.  I have to get my mind right and in the zone to want to work out again.  I have to work up the desire and appetite.  It takes a lot of energy to stay wanting to work out.  The sad thing is, if you miss a few sessions, let alone a couple of months, then that is it.  Its usually difficult to get back on track and you almost always have to start over.  That is why it is important to stay consistent with your workout routine.

FB6DC965-0EB3-459C-992F-A57EAA34E216.jpeg

I didn’t really have to push myself to get to the gym on the very first day, but during the actual workout session I was constantly giving myself little pep talks.  After about ten minutes on the elliptical I wanted to stop.  Not even the Wendy Williams show I was watching on YouTube was doing enough to keep me distracted me from thinking about the actual workout and wanting to stop.  However, I got through it you all, I surely did.

I reminded myself of how unhappy I would be if I stopped after 10 minutes, then after 15 minutes and so on.  By the time I had been on the elliptical for 20 minutes my pep talk changed.  I was now telling myself that surely I could stay on for another two minutes, another 5 minutes and so on.  I even did half of the five minutes cool down session after my 30 minutes workout.  I had told myself that I would stop once the 30 minutes session ended but I went into overtime. Yea me!

My stats on the elliptical (day 1):

Cal/min: 8.5

Distance: 2.60km

Strides/min: 94

Calories 294

 

During the second session I started out with light training before my cardio session.  I worked my upper body only, my back, triceps and biceps.  I managed to finish three sets of 15 reps on each machine.  The weight was light but enough to make me feel like I was lifting something.  I then completed 15 minutes on the elliptical.  Normally my session on the elliptical is 30 minutes but not only did I have to finish my a certain time to get back to work on time, but I was finding it difficult to motivate myself.  I figured I would go again the next day but I decided to take a break.  I’m happy I did because by the fourth day I was a little sore from the weights I had lifted.

As I said, my aim is to take it slow and work back up to where I had left off at the end of Summer.  I do not intend to go easy on myself for too long though.  I had reached a very good place at the start of September and I’m anxious to get back there.

The funny thing is I did shed some pounds during my hiatus from the gym.  I know you’re going to say its because I lost muscles but I don’t think that’s all it was.  You see, before my break I mainly did cardio.  I had only just started to incorporate light weights into my regimen so I do not believe it was all muscles that I lost.  Also, since I was no longer going to the gym I was being even more cautious about what I eat.  I rarely had any sweets or snacks and dinner was mainly something light like a huge fruit salad – you know what they say, have breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. As always, I try to not eat after a certain time.

Have you had to take a long break from the gym before?  How did you get back into your routine?

Fall ready lipstick

I am loving lipsticks more and more these days and dark colours are currently my go-to. I used to love pale or nude colours. I think it was partly due to my profession but also because neutral colours match everything in my wardrobe (yes, I was being lazy).  Lately I’m having a little more fun by indulging in an array of colours.

My latest obsession is MAC’s “Velvet Antique” lipstick. The dark brown hue is perfect for Autumn. The colour stays put (of course with the usual re-application at some point during the day especially after eating or drinking) and doesn’t feel cakey after wearing it for hours. Initially I was hesitant to buy this lipstick because before applying it it didn’t look like what I was looking for. Since trying it in-store, and buying it of course, I’m trying to find every opportunity to wear it.

C371FFC3-2595-4DBD-9D8F-90D9F6A16636

I really needed to update my lip palette. I have a couple (literally two!) lipsticks from the Summer that can transition to Autumn (everything else is more Spring/Summer) but having rocked those all Summer long I felt that it was time to update my stash.

Whats your go-to lip colour for Autumn? I’m still looking for other lip colours to add to my stash for Autumn so, suggestions please.  Thanks!