hello spring! | my full week of loose natural hairstyles

After such a hard core protective styling regimen over the winter, it was so easy for me to fall into a practice of carefree styling now that the weather is (slightly) warmer. Last week, I have enjoyed wearing some loose natural hairstyles in my effort to kick off the Spring season and get a feel for the increasing humidity (which makes my hair so soft).

Each one of these styles took no more than 20 minutes to do before I was done and ready to move on with my day. These styles are laid back, but that is my style. Plus, I have been working out almost daily last week since I joined my first DietBet game last week! Therefore, my hair expectation was not to have slick, pristine styles day to day but to spend as little time as possible with my hair post workout and still look presentable.

Creating this 5 minute twist out was basically a matter of having enough pins to secure the back and side portions of an old twist out upward to create lots of volume on top/front of my head.

Then the next day, I slapped a scarf on it + some big earrings and called it a day.

Then I pulled all that crazy beautiful fluffiness into a high puff.

Finally, I had to let go of the twist out and co-wash my hair to restore moisture. I applied gel on the edges, put my hair into a loose low puff, and tied it down with a scarf for 15 minutes to get flatter edges. I added some headbands (from Dollar Tree) and was good to go.

I will say after wearing my hair loose, I have noticed more SSK (single strand knots) unfortunately as I was detangling my hair Saturday during my wash session. Right now, I am wigging it for a little bit but plan to go back to the twists later this week.

What is your favorite quick hairstyle to wear in the Spring?
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some of our latest life happenings

Z was invited to a classmate's party where the kids did some indoor rock climbing. I thought it was an unique idea for a birthday party and am always down for some active fun. Another party she attended, they created their own yoga mats and had a yoga session. I asked her where she wanted to go for her own party, and she said the roller skating rink. She has been to several parties at our local rink and has really taken a liking for roller skating.

As far as the indoor rock climbing, she was not feeling the idea initially, but after seeing her friends climbing all over the place and falling down on the bouncy ground, she couldn't resist much longer. She told me it was hard work and would only go up so high because of a fear of height, but she was sooooo proud she attempted and tried something new. She definitely wants to do it again.

Last week, Z's class went on a field trip to the local creek to learn more about nature and its history. It was slated as a 3 hour trip in which 2 hours of that was spent walking around the woods and sight seeing. The kids were so drained by the time lunchtime arrived. The weather was chilly initially but turned out to be beautiful and sunny near the end. Z was given a piece of the bark of the state's tree--the loblolly pine tree. To this day, she carries it with her in the car...or maybe she just forgot it's there on the floor...lol.

Little does she know, that piece of bark has its days numbered...

These kids could not be more excited for the change in the weather (well kind of...it has been chilly lately)! One day after school, Z and her friend made a nature soup and decided to try it out. Here's Z pretending to devour her soup...

Some days after school once the car is parked, Z and I have mini conferences to discuss our day, reflect on anything good/bad that happened while we were apart, go over her daily reading, or get our sillies out. I guess I cherish this time because once we are inside, it is crunch time: dinner, bath, wind down, bedtime story, song, prayer, and lights off. I told her one day how childhood is fleeting (heck, life period). I was all sentimental about how small she used to be in my arms and now her legs are almost out the window all in (almost) 6 fast years. She was being all bashful when I whipped out my phone for an usie to capture the moment. You think she would be used to me and this phone business by now. See that piece of bark?

But of course, I threw in a bribe to give her some time on her bike in exchange for some smiles...

...and we both got what we wanted! :-) Hope you all have had a great weekend!
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going back to the basics | twist set with braided roots

Last weekend, I co-washed Z's hair with Giovanni Smooth as Silk Conditioner and did an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse before opting to go back to our basic twist set. To make her twists less poofy at the roots, I braided each section about an inch before twisting the remainder of the section. I loved how this came out because it allowed her twists to lay flatter against her head.

I don't know why this pic uploaded dark.

She has been wearing this set for the past week in different styles (aka ponytails). Her twists are really frizzy after a week of wear, so on Tuesday, I will probably have her wear a twist out up until I do a full wash day either on Thursday or Friday.

I think I will be doing her twists like this for now on. Even with the frizzy twists, her parting is still very visible. Next time though, I will probably band her hair first and then twist on drier/stretched hair. I feel it is easier for me to braid the root on not so damp hair that has been stretched.
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dollar tree flexi-rod knockoffs | curl set results on Z

Hey ladies! I am going to play catch up here on my blog for a little bit. Hope all has been blessed on your end.

A couple weeks ago, I found these at the Dollar Tree:

I couldn't resist. 6 rods for a $1! Not shabby at all. I purchased 7 packs total. I went back last week and they were all gone...lol. Go figure!

I also purchased this too:

Don't bother with this one. The contact felt great on our scalps, but our hair kept getting caught on the ball ends. Oh well. I can't mess with it. When I checked, there was still a boat load of these left...lol.

Prior to attempting this curl set on Z, she was wearing her three twisted buns hairstyle. Therefore, I simply worked with the sections already present for time's sake. I moisturized her hair with my simplified homemade spritz + SM Curl and Style Milk before setting her hair in the rods.

I am by no means an expert or even an intermediate user of flexi rods so this process was a matter of trial and error. Initially, I was going to just wrap her loose hair (which was slightly damp from product) around the flexi rod to create her spiral curls, but by the time I got to the roots, the hair looked really frizzy around the rod.

Frizzy during set = frizzy post set.

To reduce the amount of frizz, I decided to roll the section of hair first before wrapping it around the rod. This worked out better although I knew her curls would not be the flat voluminous curls I had originally envisioned. The take down was a breeze the next morning:

She liked them, and they held up for several days until it was time for her wash day. I think I am going to try my hand at these rods again later this week for a special event Z is having at Church this Saturday. This time around though, I am going to deep condition her hair and blow dry it (for the first time!) to straighten her hair a bit before adding the rods. I want fluffy spiral curls this time! I am going to look at a few YouTube tutorials prior to get some tips first.

What tips do you have for achieving a successful flexi rod set?
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fitness update | better progress + one-bowl meal formula


I am glad to report that things have been much more consistent with my physical activity. I am still rolling with Jillian Michael's and Leslie Sansone's DVD workouts and averaging between 30-60 minutes 4-5 times per week.

According to my Polar HR monitor, I have burned 3428 calories between 3/6-3/18 with a total of 392 minutes of physical activity. For the next two weeks, my goal is 5000 calories. I am already on a pretty good start...1465 calories burned so far since 3/20. Tomorrow, I will be going on a hiking field trip with Z's class for about 2-3 hours. Granted, we will probably do more standing as we explore nature and listen to specialists share information, but at least it won't much sitting around during that time.

Although I notice my body changing, some days are still hard for me to push myself to workout. On those days, I end of forcing myself to workout around 8:30 at night when I should be relaxing and heading off to bed. A lot of this have to do with poor management of time when it comes to fitting in my work outs in my schedule. Ideally, I would like to get them done early in the morning before Z gets up to prepare for school but that realistically means that I need to sacrifice that extra chill time between 10:00-11:30pm at night to get my rest early so I can rise early to work out. It makes sense on paper, but my brain is struggling with the concept. But if I really want this to happen, then I just have to make this happen. Only I am stopping myself from accomplishing my goals.


If you don't know, I am a vegetarian (well, mainly...I do eat fish occasionally I guess making me a pescatarian). Last January (2014), my husband and I decided to abstain from eating meat for a month, and for whatever reason, it just stuck with me ever since. I really was not a huge meat eater and was that one child who would pick off EVERY.SINGLE.PIECE of fat off a chicken wing...lol. So giving up meat wasn't a hard pressed issue for me.  Occasionally, my husband and daughter still eat meat (aka chicken...hehe) at outings and social events, but as far as eating it at home, we eat primarily vegetarian meals since I am the primary preparer of meals.

Beans is a staple item in our household. We almost always have some type of bean meal incorporated in half of our weekly meals. Rice is another staple, and ever since I discovered making the perfect oven baked brown rice, I easily have a batch of rice made each week. I will also whip up some millet or pasta to change things around so we don't get too bored week by week.

Now that things are starting to warm back up, I look forward to eating my cold one-bowl bean meals again. They are quick to prepare and are packed with complete proteins and nutrients. These one-bowl meals are so versatile to put together based on a very simple formula I use:

Within 5 minutes, I am ready to sit down and enjoy a filling and healthy meal!

Going forward, I will be sharing some of the vegetarian/vegan meals I eat either here or on Instagram or facebook to hopefully give you some inspiration to try a meatless meal or two if you would like!

Hope you all are having a great Monday!
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freestyle pinwheel updo hairstyle | pictorial

This might just become my go-to hairstyle when time is short. I mean, I rarely style my hair early in the morning, but I had to do something quick in under an hour before I had to be out the door. I did not have much time to think about a specific style; all I knew was that I wanted some sort of updo so I would not have to mess with my hair for a few days. Then, I recalled an older style that I did month in an hour and knew that as long as my twists were done medium to large in size, I could pull off a similar style in the limited time frame I had. Lo and behold, the freestyle pinwheel updo style was created:

Hopefully this will inspire you to create your own freestyle looks even when you are short in time!

What are your go-to quick protective hairstyles?
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wash day (finally) | back with another easy updo

Oooo weee! I could not have been happier to run some shampoo through my hair and on my scalp. In the relaxed/transitioning verbage: I was 17 days post last wash day...lol. I felt nothing but utter bliss when I was finally able to massage my hair under warm water and go through my typical full wash day process this past Monday. Normally, I would dread the full wash days, but after such a looong hiatus, I was actually ready to put in the time with gladness.

For a quick run down, this is what I did:
  • Pre-poo: Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle + 1 hour + Hot Head Heat Cap
  • Shampoo: SM Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo diluted in applicator bottle
  • Protein Treatment: Aphogee Two Minute Reconstructor + 20 minutes (I don't know what I was thinking but I thought it was a good idea to fix something to eat before rinsing this out. My hair definitely felt fortified after such a long time.)
  • Deep Condition: SM African Black Soap Purification Masque + 1 hour (with Hot Head Heat Cap) + Overnight (to help with the hard fortified feeling)
  • Moisturize: LOC- Homemade Spritz + Coconut Oil + SM Curl Enhancing Smoothie
  • Style: Freestyle Pinwheel Updo {somewhat similar to this pin up hair style}

I made a pictorial for this style which I will post this is posted in the next post to give you a visual on the steps I took to create this style. What I love best about freestyling a twist updo is that it does not have to be time consuming. I used to believe that small twists create the best updos, but now I have a greater respect for those medium to larger sized twists.

How was your recent wash day? Come share and celebrate the first year anniversary of the #washdayexperience linkup below (click badge to open in a new window):

The #WashDayExperience

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wordless wednesday | picture day + st. patrick's day

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three twisted buns hairstyle for girls | quick + easy + protective


I confess--I have been kind of lazy with Z's hair for the past several days. After taking down her half halo half twists hairstyle and co-washing her hair on Friday, I just did not feel like investing hours into styling her hair. So ever since then, she has been wearing simple and quick 3-section hairstyles lately. On Sunday evening though, I decided to refresh the sections and put them into buns to keep her hair protected. The styling time was under an hour which I love, but being Z, these types of hairstyles frizz up quick even over the course of one day. She had picture day on yesterday so I wanted to make sure the style would last until then, and it did! 

All I did was:

  • take down the braids I had in before {sorry no pic} to keep her hair stretched after co-washing,
  • re-moisturized the hair
  • smoothed the hair into the elastic bands {see how to make your own easily}
  • twisted each ponytail into medium twists
  • pinned the twists into buns
  • twisted the bang section
I loved how the style turned out, but Z gave me the disappointed thumb down. Sigh...#ohwell I will definitely keep this style in the quick and easy style arsenal especially when her hair gets really long, and I need to do a style in a flash. It only lasted two days before I had to re-style it again, but nevertheless, it served its purpose.

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how I preserve my twist out overnight | pictorial

Back in the day when it came to extending the life of my twist outs, I did not know any better. I had two options:
  1. slap a bonnet on that sucker and face that HORRIBLE flat side (or back!) twist out in the morning
  2. spend longer than planned re-twisting my hair into smaller twists
I have learned since then that my twist out definition can still be maintained simply by re-twisting my style into chunkier twists (than the original ones). It was hard for me to believe for a long time until I actually tried it. And guess what? It worked beautifully! Here's a little pictorial to show how I was able to preserve my twist out overnight:

The process only took me under 30 minutes and I was off to bed. The next morning, I took some coconut oil, applied it to my fingers, and quickly untwisted my hair. The twists separated very easily and the definition was all there. I teased my roots and was able to achieve a really nice second day twist out:

Now I am a believer and no longer have to wonder how women are able to maintain a nice twist out several days in a row! I am all in the know now. :-) Check out the other {twist out styles} I wore with this set.
Oh, this journey...taking risks, trying new things, and discovering new revelations!

What other ways do you employ to maintain your twist outs? Do you use a similar method as above?
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goodbye 12-day updo | hello twist out hairstyles

It feels like forever since I had a serious wash session with my hair of any sort. Well actually it has been a while...over two weeks...but that streak is ending today. It is time to tuck my ends away for a little while and enjoy the low maintenance route. Several of you over the past week have anticipated my twist out results, so here's how it all went down.

I wore my lastest updo hairstyle for almost two weeks and still wasn't ready to let it go. Therefore, I did my twist out in stages. The first stage, I simply un-twisted the bang portion of my style and wore my hair like this for one day:

Then I wanted a full twist out experience after loving the volume of my bangs from the twist out. To prep for this second stage, I took down my updo the night before and rinsed my twists under water to encourage them to fall straight down (and plump up!). I moisturized my hair with some SM Curl Enhancing Smoothie, re-twisted the bang section in chunky twists, and allowed the twists to air dry overnight. The next morning, I applied coconut oil to my fingers and took down each twist resulting in this twist out:

Yes, I was loving my hair. So.much! Wigs could never compare to my own although they are still my sidekicks when needed. Naturally, my hair grew bigger over the course of the day from being out in the misty weather, but this was totally acceptable in my book. I love big, frizzy, fuzzy hair. That same night, I decided to re-twist my entire head in larger twists to rock another full twist out the next day. I will explain my process in the next post. After removing my twists this past Sunday morning, my twist out came out like this:

I still had great definition, and my hair definitely had more volume than the previous day. I surely could have gotten a few more days out of it but opted to sport a puff with a scarf yesterday:

No sleek edges, no re-twisting. I just let my hair be. I surely enjoyed experimenting with my twist out and learning how to achieve a good second day result without having to deal with a mashed up twist out (from just simply throwing on a bonnet) or spending longer than necessary re-twisting my hair (in order to maintain a good definition). Literally it took me less than 20 minutes to twist my hair in preparation for my 2nd day twist out. #winning I am not sure when I will do a twist out this many days in a row down the line (because I want to retain as much length as possible this year), but I allow myself to enjoy one every now and then. Stay tuned for my next post explaining in further detail my twist out maintenance process.

What is your favorite way to rock a twist out?

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