Big Lessons in Small Places: The New Pair of Sneakers-Part 2

In the previous post, I discussed the thought process I experienced as I opened a new box of sneakers that took me outside the physical purpose of the shoes and lead me to focus on the spiritual and mental revelations these pair of shoes showed me about my life. 

Like I mentioned in the last post, the shoes are surprisingly light. Moving forward into 2014, I want to strive to feel the same way mentally and emotionally: less baggage and more freedom to move and allow the sky to be my limit. It is cliche' but so very true; life is too short.  I want to go into the new year lighter so that I can walk, skip, and run farther on my journey than ever before without the unnecessary weight of my past.

I realized that in order for me to fully enjoy the grace God has given me, I had to first accept it. In a series of classes I taught last month at the ladies bible class, I discussed the topic  "Saved Through Love". For one of the lessons, I shared how there is nothing that we as humans can do here on earth, no matter how good we think we behave or how great we are at a certain talent, to earn the grace of God. This was a very difficult fact to accept because I was brought up and conditioned to earn acceptance; trying to gain love and approval based on my actions I believe others would appreciate and value. It took me over 7 years in my Christian walk to realize that salvation/deliverance/redemption is truly a gift from my Father above because of His unconditional love for us...for me. 

It was in the middle of my lesson that something just clicked, and I felt a huge urge to just release things that have kept me mentally bound. In the process, I am finally learning how much God truly loves me and how much freedom I have access to in His body as long as I

Accept His grace aka His love toward me.

So, I have made up in my mind to heed to my own lessons and truly accept His grace and His love for me. In doing so, I can begin feeling liberated; more able to freely shine my own light regardless of how insufficient I am against my own means. The truth is that I am nothing without God. It is only through his power that I can do anything of good works. It is all for God's glory anyway. I just need to learn how to be His vessel, His sheep, and allow Him to be my Shepherd.

So now that I am learning to accept God's grace, I am learning to be content in my present conditions. This does not mean acceptance is easy but I can rely on the hope that all things will work for good and according to His will which is perfect.

Therefore, with that all said and done, I have decided to accept the following temporary circumstances of my life that I have been allowing to hold me back for so long, understanding that His grace is very much sufficient in all ways and in all things (in no particular order):
  • I have accepted that overcoming my anxiety (diagnosed in 2011 along with post-partum depression) is not something I can just snap out of (despite some belief especially within the Church).
    •  I am learning that therapy, prayer, time, and patience are my keys to recovery, and I have no reason to rush it for anyone or for myself.
  • I have accepted that I am free to be myself in my raw form.
    •  It is in my raw form where God can truly transform me instead of me being so focused on being someone else just to please others. 
    • No more people pleasing...just people loving.
  • I have accepted that in spite of my well-hidden (not so much now) battle with trichotillomania, it does not make me any less beautiful than the next person with his or her own struggles.
    •  I am more empowered than ever to bring awareness to the disorder and to encourage those who feel that are in the dark about the same disorder and have no support.
  • I have accepted the fact that much of my once "seemingly well thought out" will may not be God's will at all. 
    • I would have never thought I would be a stay at home mom for THIS long. I was supposed to be established in my engineering career, just getting married, and MAYBE having my first child within the next year. Yeah, that was the Kris who had to be in control of EVERY.SINGLE.ASPECT of HER LIFE. 
    • Note from new self to old self: Sit down. 
    • As I get older, I realize many of my plans seem to fall in the crack even with the greatest of intentions. Don't get me wrong, planning is good and setting goals motivates and gives one a direction to strive for. However, I had to realize that my goals have to be for the glory of God and not for my own selfish ambitions. 
    • Although I have seemingly diverted from my original plans, I have learned to lean more of God who knows my end and continue to be prayerful that my will aligns up with His. Lord knows, my life currently seems like some type of twilight zone, but I believe God has something in great for me. Something better than I can ever dream of.
    • Sometimes, you need to spend time alone from family, friends, distractions to listen to God. This was where I have been over the past 2 months. It has been during this time that I found true peace in just being me with all my flaws and striving to be used for whatever purpose God has for my life right now. Very freeing experience.
  • I have accepted that I am an introvert and that it is okay when I do not have a million and one things to say in words as the extrovert. 
    • However, I do admit I NEED to work of my communication within most of my relationships. I cannot allow my anxiety to distort the limits of my introvertedness (not a word, I know). 
  • I have accepted that being a stay at home mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world
    •  I do not care how many "supermoms" out there who claim to follow their planned schedules and dinner menus to the T every week. It is not easy for me at all. Some days go beautifully and some days just go and that's okay! It is not the end of the world and my daughter has been developing quite well in so many ways that I know it is only God working. I am just thankful for the blessing pf being able to experience watching my daughter grow and stay afloat financially. So many sacrifices have been made just as Christ sacrifice His life for us. 
It is amazing how a seemingly menial task of unveiling a pair of new sneakers can evoke such deep thoughts about my life. Truly there are so many big lessons in the small things we often take for granted. Just to think how many are without even one pair of shoes yet before me I have these brand new extra colorful pair of sneakers to condition myself not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and most of all, spiritually for the new year. Praise God these sneakers have given me a head start both in my mind and heart.

Now it is time for my physical self to take suit. I am not even going to get into the last time I worked out. The evidence is there. ::looks at tummy, thighs, and behind:: 

With that said, let bygones be bygones. I am thankful for grace, mercy, and second (3rd, 4th, 5th, ...) chances.

Now to gear up for our family's quest to reduce meat consumption and focus more on vegetarian meals for the month of January once we complete our holiday travel.. ::gasp:: Stay tuned!

Happy New Year's Eve and goodbye to 2013! Thanks for all the lessons you have brought. :-)

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Big Lessons in Small Places: The New Pair of Sneakers-Part 1

This post is not hair related but life related as it involves a deep revelation I gained from simply unveiling a pair of new sneakers. God works like that sometimes...

The Reluctancy
Two weeks ago, my husband finally convinced me to get a new pair of sneakers that he had picked out for me online because 1) he knew I needed them and 2) if it was up to my own devises, I probably would never get around to getting a new pair anytime soon because the current pair I have were just "fine".

He ordered the colorful sneakers (totally different from my usual neutral colored sneakers), and they arrived several days later. The first thing I noticed immediately upon picking up the box was its lightness. "Are the shoes even in there?" I asked.

My Comfort Box
My past sneakers all seemed to have the same characteristic of weighing a ton right out the box; it was a quality I expected all my sneakers to have in order to be "good quality" sneakers. I never really CONSIDERED any other options because being the non-sneakers girl I am, I found the process of exploring new shoe designs too daunting, too overwhelming. Rather, I would stay inside my comfort box and stick with what I knew. Knowing what I know now, it is clear that I have been getting the wrong shoes for my intended purpose. I digress...

The Reveal
(Back to my story...)
I opened the box and immediately noticed all the colors blaring in my face. Totally out of my element at first. Nevertheless, I must admit, after a few moments later, I found the look of the shoes pleasing. Intrigued, I proceeded to put one of my feet inside the shoes. I was blown away at how light the shoe felt on my foot. Seriously, the feeling was nothing I have ever felt before in a pair of sneakers. It was mind-blowing, so much to the point that I wanted to keep them on all day. I was floating!

The Reflection
In all my years of buying sneakers, I realized that my ignorance, laziness, and nonchalant attitude have prevented me from exploring and experiencing the improved technology and designs of shoes that are more beneficial for my feet, my body, my physical performance, and my ultimate purpose of becoming a more fit and healthy individual. 

The Revelation
That is what brings me here. Initially when I saw my shoes, I thought about how many times I have gotten on and fallen off the bandwagon of changing my dieting and physical lifestyle and trying to lose the same 15-20 pounds from over 4.5 years ago (a pretty depressing cycle). Then I tried on the shoes and was amazed how light they were and immediately was recharged to pick myself back up again and move forward with my goals. Granted, I am very much aware that it takes more than a new pair of shoes to become fit and lose weight but unveiling these new pair of shoes gave me a sense of hope as I began drifting into deep thought about where these new pairs of shoes will lead me over the next year.

The Application
As I wrap up this year, I realize how much 2013 has been a transitional year as it concerns my spiritual growth especially over the past 3 months. In the painful process of being honest with myself and with God, I have slowly come to the realization that I must CHOOSE victory instead of defeat over the things I have struggled with over and over again throughout the past 5-6 years of my life. I have been holding onto my past shortcomings, failures, losses, disappointments, diversions from MY goals, intense desire to control, control, control, and etc because these aspects of my life were things I was used to carrying around on my back. Unfortunately, I did not realize how debilitating the process of carrying such dead weight (like excess fat) was to my growth in every way. Kind of similar to those heavy clunky workout shoes I was so used to buying over and over the years that made working out so uncomfortable to the point that I would just give up

The lesson in all of this is carrying all that excess weight (or emotional baggage such as unforgiveness) will break you down despite how strong you think you are to carry such mess. And unless you drop the excess, you will not be able to live a free and healthy life. It all boils down the one action: To CHOOSE a new plan of freedom or to STAY with the old plan of bondage.

For 2014, I have decided to choose freedom just as I chose to get a completely different type of shoe outside of my norm. I am choosing freedom through God's abundant grace because it is through His grace I no longer feel I have to condemn myself over past happenings. It is through God's grace that I can actually be free to be as wonderful and unique as God fearfully made me from the very beginning.

In the next post tomorrow morning, I will discuss some things about my life that I used to condemn myself over but instead have now accepted about myself, not as a way of defining who I am, but as a way of allowing my trials and tribulations to help shape me into more refined individual for Christ.

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LOC'ed Up, Bunned Up, and Ready to Go!

Quick update on Z's Double Buns with Cornrows and Twists Hairstyle:
  • She was over the whole double buns on day 2; I combined the two buns into one at the middle of her head. She was a much happier camper.
  • Wearing hooded coats significantly increased the frizz factor of her style. I need to find hair friendly head coverings to keep her head warm while minimizing friction and frizz against her hair.
  • We are traveling up North today to bring in the New Year with family, and it is going to be coooooold compared to our visit down South this past week. Therefore, I moisturized Z's hair using the LOC method to help combat the effects of the cold weather against her hair especially her ends. I:
    • moisturized her hair with my homemade moisturizing spritz
    • applied coconut oil to her hair focusing on her ends
    • applied Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie to her hair
    • applied a small amount of Castor Oil on her ends for extra protection
  • I bunned up her hair and tucked away her loose twists at the front of her hair to create a bang look while keeping her ends hidden.
  • I plan to do nothing much to her hair while we are on vacay except re-hydrate her hair if necessary using water and coconut oil. When we return this weekend, I may curl her loose twists with flexi rods for her to wear a curly twist out look for Church this Sunday. 
I totally adore this hairstyle on her and love the fact that all her hair is up instead of down and rubbing against her clothes and coats. I truly want to stay in line with the December goals I set for Z's hair and finish the month (and year) off strong.

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One Head. Multiple Natural Hair Textures: A Visual Example

As you have seen in my last post, I do not have that much hair on my head, but I sure do have a large range of textures throughout my hair. From stray straight pieces to tight little o's scattered here and there, I am the true epitome that one texture does not fit all; instead I have multiple textures resting on this one head of mine!     
I know there is the Andre hair typing system, but I have not gone into a detailed discussion about it here on the blog. Nevertheless, many women like to classify their hair type based on the hair typing system so here is a chart I came up with of the different hair types:

To answer my own question, I mainly have 2a, 2b, 2c, 3b, 3c, and 4a types of hair on my head. I know as my hair grows out, the 2-3a textures on the top of my hair will start to flop down the sides instead of out like my daughter's hair is currently doing in an afro state. Her texture is more 4a, 4b, and 4c (like my husband) with a few strands of 2a throughout her head.

I took a few close ups the best that I could to show some of the different textures I have on my head especially in the front section:

A: Tighter Spiral (3c); B: Loose Spiral (3b); C: Loose S Curl (2b/c); D: Tighter Spirals (3c); E: Spirals (3c)
Regardless of all my textures, I prefer to go by the fact that my own set of hair has an unique plethora of textures that all mesh together to form its own personality and character. Hair type=Mine. :-)

Is your hair multi-textured?
How does it affect your washing, moisturizing, detangling, styling routine?
Do you go by a hair typing system? Why or why not?
Natural Hair Type Chart
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Curly Status: December 2013 Progress

Natural Hair Progress

I have not exposed my natural hair online or on my instagram in such a looooong time. For months now, I have been wearing a wig and enjoying the simplicity of having short (twa) hair. However, it has come to the point where I need to hold myself accountable as I gird myself up for my growing out process. 

When I had my hair last cut several months ago, I had it cut looooow (I am not brave enough to post those pictures YET but I promise I will). At the same time, I wanted to be able to easily blend my hairline with my curly wig. Therefore, I had all my hair cut to a low buzz except the front portion of my hair, which is now a good 2-3 inches longer than the rest of my hair as shown below:

I am not sure if I will cut the longer section down even with the rest of the hair anytime soon (or ever) because I do plan on wigging it as my mode of protective styling over the next 3 months to get me through the winter. 

What is amazing about having really short natural hair is that I can easily spot the many different textures I have on my hair. My hair has really loose S curls along the middle strip of my head (going from front to back) while my sides have a tighter, more spirally pattern. I even have lots of straight strands throughout my head. 

In the next post, I will show a close up of the many different textures visible in just the front portion of my head alone.

Do you have multiple hair textures along your head?
How does your texture vary in certain areas?
Does this pose a challenge when it comes to moisturizing and styling your hair?
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Basics 101: The LOC Method Chart

Most know that water is the best way to hydrate our natural hair. However, water alone will not aid in retaining a good moisture balance over an extended time due to certain factors such as dry weather, hair porosity, heat exposure. The optimal method of keeping natural hair properly moisturized involves an effective layering of products on the hair.

The LOC method is a layering system that helps lock in moisture inside the hair shaft over a longer period of time compared to just using water alone. The above picture explains the 3 components to the LOC method and what role each layer plays in hydrating the hair.

The LOC method is very simple to employ and is extremely versatile so that it can be adapted to your own hair needs. In addition, some women find they have better success with switching the O and C steps of the system thus using a LCO method for moisturizing their curls (which I believe may be my case whereas my daughter's hair works well so far with the LOC method).

It is recommended that the LOC (or LCO) be tested on your hair for 2-3 weeks before coming to a conclusion on the efficacy of the method. Nevertheless, please share your experience with the method below!

What products do you use to keep your hair moisturized?
What products just do not work in your moisturizing regimen?
Do you LOC or LCO?

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Hair Tip: Dealing with Snagged Hair Bands

Snagged Hair Bands

The Problem: 
Snagged hair band in hair

The Culprit:
 Shed hair raveled around band

The Solution: 
Grab those scissors and cut the band--
The band should easily slide away from the section of hair.

Shed Hair in Snagged Band

Save the hair. Not the cheap hair band. :-)

What is your solution(s) to snagged hair bands?
Have you found a brand that is completely snag-free?

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Z's Last Style of 2013: Double Buns with Cornrows and Twists

Double Buns With Cornrows and Twists

Yesterday, I deep conditioned, co-washed, and threaded Z's hair to prep for today's style. Her hair was completely dry after a full day of air-drying and was nicely stretched after removing the threads from her hair:

Stretching Hair via African Threading

My inspiration for Z's last style of the year came from this pin on my Pinterest Board:

Of course, I wanted to add my twist to it by adding a front section of twists for the bang and creating doughnut buns on the sides.

Since her hair was well moisturized from yesterday, all I used today was a little bit of my homemade moisturizing spritz and aloe vera gel for hold:

It probably took about 5 hours to complete this style. I started braiding in between Church services so I was not able to complete the entire head before afternoon service. Fortunately she was content with my makeshift style to get her presentably through service with too much hurt, harm, FUSSINESS, or danger. I could not escape her silliness though:

When I got home, I finished up the front half of her head and here are the different angles of her completed style:

Double Buns With Cornrows and Twists

We will be traveling out of town over the next two weeks so this set of cornrows and twists are to last until we complete our holiday travels. 

How are you planning to wear your final hairstyle of 2013?

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Rope Twist Out Results

Just a quick post about the results of Z's rope twist out. Let me state that I applied deep conditioner to her hair as a part of her wash day routine before unraveling the rope twists because I knew due to time restraints that she would not be able to wear the twist out out for the day. Therefore, her twist out came out really plump compared to doing the twist out on dry rope twists.

The rope twist out came out really cute and is a style I would definitely like to revisit in the future. One caveat in my case was that they were more difficult to unravel compared to regular two-strand twists. I am not sure why I had issues with little knots forming at the ends of the twists in which I had to carefully and sloooowly work out (so tedious!). I only used the scissors once for a very small yet stubborn knot. However, I incorporated my homemade moisturizing spritz in the take down effort which help a whole lot in reducing the occurrence of those stubborn knots. In addition, the spritz increased the plump factor of her twist out.

I say this was a short-lived success of a twist out! :-)

Side note: My husband and I have off black hair but our daughter's hair is very much so brown just like my brother and my husband's siblings. Genetics is something else!!! I love her natural hair color.

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Z's Last Wash Day for 2013

Rope Twists

The final days of 2013 is winding down and I am so glad I have a better grip on Z's hair regimen now compared to the beginning of this year. The above picture is of her rope twists from yesterday, which, in my opinion, have held up pretty well since I first installed them almost two weeks ago. I decided to go ahead and wash Z's hair today so I can style her hair in a protective style on tomorrow since we will be traveling out of town on Monday (and who wants to do hair on vacay???)

I did take a few pictures of her rope twist out which I will show in the next post. Here is what I did to her hair today to prep for styling on tomorrow:

Wash Regimen

I used to be a fan of banding to stretch out her hair but now I am leaning more and more on the African Threading technique. The best part about using thread versus cloth bands to stretch her hair is that I do not have to keep up with a gazillion bands and the thread is very easy to remove.

African Threading on Natural Hair

Here is the completed look which she will wear to Church tomorrow. I will attach Bead Barrettes to the ends of her hair to keep the ends protected from her clothes. It only took me 1 hour to thread her hair.

African Threaded Hair

I still have not figured out a hairstyle yet (ugh!) but I am sure something will manifest tomorrow afternoon/evening. Of course I will update!

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Z's First Length Check: December 2013

Just wanted to post a picture of Z's first length check for future reference. I know later down the line, I will need to get a better angle as her hair grows longer. For now, the eyes on the ruler will be my guide. :-)

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Random Babbles #1

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This is sort of a test post because I needed to insert the above link in a post to claim my blog on this site called Bloglovin. Seriously, very random hence the post title. Then the brilliant idea came to create an ongoing series of Random Babbles just for me to get out some things that just do not have any legit place on the blog (hence the #1 marking the first set of babbles of many).

I might as well note that I have already scheduled several posts to be posted within the next week and a half. Go me! So if you notice I am wearing the same blue shirt I had on in this post from a few days ago in a post or two in the near future...em, yeah. I went ham on blogger because I will be traveling and cannot guarantee any focused blogging time while away. Had to get them done while I could.

So to emphasize: I do wear a different shirt (and every day. :-)

I took the time to organize some of my digital files on Google drive especially all things related to my blog revamp. I am so proud of what I have learned in regard to HTML coding and CSS design (but do not go asking for my service yet ::smiles::). I am really enjoying my blog design although I have so much more to do (hence the links behind the Navigation/menu bar that direct you all to my "coming soon" page). More content is coming soon. Even Rome was not built in a the saying goes.

Anyone who happens to be interested in the photo editing program I use for my blog: it is called PicMonkey and everything is done online. How nifty is that? No downloading of a bulky program. It is a great tool for beginners (like me!) to format pictures, create collages, and add wording to images. Try it out!

Ok. Dinner time is approaching. Most posts to come soon! Be blessed!

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Ending the Year with a Two Week Challenge: The Baggy Challenge

Over the next two weeks, I will motivate myself to buckle down into a more consistent moisturizing regimen by engaging in a simple challenge. This challenge entails baggying my hair overnight on EVERY OTHER DAY with a grocery bag and sealing in the moisture with coconut oil the next morning. My goal for this challenge is to make myself more conscious of my hair moisture's needs on a regular basis. At the end of the challenge, I will give a quick assessment on my results.

Feel free to join me!

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