a simple twist out | progression of z's natural hair

It is always a special treat when Z wears her hair out. And when the wind blows through her twist out, she is on cloud nine! This was several weeks ago from an old twist set.

Here are some older pictures of Z and her twist out since September 2013 when I started to consciously take proper care of her natural hair. Click on pictures to be directed to the original posts.

September 2013:

Beautifully Curled: The First Day Twist Out

Beautifully Curled: The Two Day Twist Out

January 2014:

November 2014:

Oh, how her little face is changing, and her hair is growing! :-)  She is currently on the last leg of a twist set so I may do a twist out for tomorrow. If I do, pictures will be posted!

Just for kicks, she is in this sun hat phase:

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first time adventure | day trip to the nc zoo

I've been to my hometown zoo plenty of times growing up but going to a different zoo was a breath of fresh air especially when it was a first timer for both Z and me.

We took a day trip to the North Carolina Zoo during Z's spring break several weeks ago based on the recommendation of her media specialist at school. I did not tell Z where we were going except that we would be doing a mini road trip to get to our special destination. The weather was perfect compared to the day before (which I originally planned for our visit until the forecast called for cloudy/misty weather). The weather was cool initially but warmed up nicely over the course of the day. We had our lunch and snacks packed, water bottles filled, walking shoes tied tight, and our game faces on in anticipation of some good ol' girl time together.

We arrived at the zoo around 10:00am and stayed at the zoo until 4 when it closed. Talk about walking! I felt like we walked a good 5 miles around the zoo. Z was a champ though! She didn't complain about the amount of distance we had the cover although I picked up from her body language within the last two hours that she was getting weary and was ready to get back to the car. I think running around in the playground contributed to some of her tiredness because she was all over the place! :-)

There's so much at this zoo, and they are currently in the process of building a few exhibits (thus enabling another visit in the future hopefully with hubby next time). Here are some snapshots I captured throughout our trip...

They had statues galore...

Amazing animals...

Z loved the flamingos the most, and I always considered it a great disservice if I don't get to see the African elephants at some point of my visit (which we were able to catch near the very end). I think the cutest moment was when a chimpanzee came and sat near Z on the other side of the glass. She looked back at me and smiled. The most disgusting moment was when the seals swam pass the observation glass and released their waste for all of us to see. There was a big choral "EWWWW!" from both the kids and us adults alike. The entire viewing area was green and gritty (I am sparing little for the imagination...lol...sorry!). I don't ever want to see that again despite how "natural" that process is. I am bummed I did not get to see the giraffes (up close), gorillas (renovating exhibit), and roadrunners (never seen before but they were renovating the exhibit).

The botanical garden was beautiful...

Of course, the restroom selfie. Kudos to the staff for very clean restrooms. This was near the end of the day before heading back on the road (because I had no plans on making a restroom stop on the way).

Pollen did catch up with us near the end with lots of runny noses and tissue, but it did not stop us from enjoying our visit to the NC Zoo. Now that we pretty much explored the entire campus, our next visit shouldn't be as pressed to cover every ground. We definitely have a list of things to see the second time around and do (hint, trying the ice cream at the very popular stand we did not have the patience to wait for at this visit...the line was soooooo long).

Within 5 minutes on the road, Z was knocked. out. cold. #success :-)
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young girls lecturette | family pictures (smartphone style)

Clearly, I am back tracking on my posts to make up for lost time mainly because this blog not only serves as an outlet for natural hair and lifestyle information, but also as a journal to keepsake some of our most special memories on this side of life.

Earlier this month, Z participated in her second Young Girls Lecturette at our Church. It is a ministry for young girls between 4-9 years of age that aims to encourage, uplift, and edify these young souls in Christ. Last year, Z co-shared the role of presenting the acknowledgements at the end of the program. This year, she presented the purpose/mission of the ministry--all from memory. It was a three paragraph summary but through her hard work and much practice, she aced the part during the program with great voice volume, composure, and audience eye contact. My daughter never ceases to amaze me despite being so goofy and silly like a 5 year old should be.

This year's theme was Follow the Narrow Road (Matthew 7:13) based off lessons that were taught from the movie, The Wizard of Oz (hence the program's colors were yellow and red). The girls also recited a poem from the book God's Wisdom for Little Girls. Z's part was:

God’s Little Girl Is…Thoughtful

I love you, dear Mom-and I want you to know it.
Each day I ask God to please help me show it!
And if, when I’m grown, I have little ones too,
I pray that I’ll be a mom…just like you!

She did so well just like the other girls in the program and can't wait to see what her part is next year. I am thankful for programs like this one for today's youth to instill character building and Godly principles into their hearts. It is much needed in these perilous times.

So blurry. Sorry!

Afterwards, we took some pictures outside because what started out as a cloudy cool day turned out to be a very sunny and mild day.

The dress she wore was one she picked out at the very last minute. The original dress she selected was the typical poofy Cinderella dress with nice heavy material and fine details including a sparkly accent. Of course, Z loved it because it was fancy and princessy (not a word), but my husband kindly noted that the dress was more gold than yellow. Z's response: "Gold is a different kind of yellow so it's still yellow." So practical! lol

However, after picking out my dress (thank goodness for Ross), I realized her dress was a more golden color in comparison (although the tag explicitly said yellow) . I decided to make one last stop at Kohl's to see what they had left. The ONLY dress that was in her size was the one she wore to her program. I picked it up, inspected it, and presented it to Z. Her face lit up, and she excitedly expressed that she wanted to wear this particular dress instead. Honestly, it fitted her personality so much more: carefree and bright. Plus the dress was 50% off! #winning #blessed

Big shout out to my hubby. He works 12 hour shifts on Fridays so he was running off no sleep the following Saturday of her program. Yet, he was alert and very supportive of his little girl. She was so happy he was there ready to escort her (and her friend) down the aisle.

I praise God for my husband and his dedication to his family. There were many qualities I did not appreciate in him enough (and took for granted) at the beginning on our marriage (or even in our dating period) that I am learning to cherish more and more each day. I am truly blessed by his gentleness, meekness, and compassion. Times are very challenging for our family with him in nursing school and work right now, but he tries his best to be with us whenever he can even if that means sacrificing on some much needed sleep. I know God will carry us through our present situation because He promised never to forsake us. #believing #holdingfirm

Lastly, this little soul that God blessed me to be my daughter is simply amazing. I know many parents say the same about their kids, and they should! Children generally have such pure and innocent spirits that oftentimes humble parents (and others) if we are aware and seeking for opportunities of humility. So many times Z leads me to reflect on my relationship with my heavenly Father. The world can harden our hearts so much, but Z and her actions encourage me to be more childlike (softer) in my heart and mind. I cherish so much of her every day as she matures into her own special being. :-)
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show me some length | twist set on blow dried natural hair

In the previous post, I explained the process of stretching Z's hair using the tension method. {read more here}. After originally deciding to curl her hair using flexi rods following the heat stretch, I ultimately settled on doing a set of twists on Z's hair. Twisting was so easy except when it came to parting her hair...we ran into a few tangles near the root of her hair. I guess I did not detangle as thoroughly as I though I did. We survived, and Z was so happy with the results. She was amazed at how long her hair has gotten.

As far as using heat to stretch her hair, I doubt I will do it anytime soon. It would have to be more of a "press for time" issue before whipping out the blow drier again. I will say that this set lasted two weeks of really good wear. I re-did the twists, which of course have shrunk quite a bit since these twists were first installed. Presently, Z is on week two of the second set of twists. She has class picture day next week so this weekend, we will prepare for that. She expressed she wants a "cornrow into a bun with a side bang" hairstyle for the picture so I will see what I can whip up!

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the tension method | our first heat experience on Z's hair

Several weeks ago, Z had a special event at church so I had to come up with the task of finding a hairstyle that's Z approved, would not take all day to do, and could hold up against the fickle NC weather.  I presented the idea of lightly stretching her hair with the blow dry before setting her hair with flexi rods for a curly style the next day. She was all aboard especially since she would be able to see her hair "straightened" for the first time ever.

When blow drying my own hair many times in the past, I always got the process wrong. I faithfully believed that I would get the best and straightest results if my hair was dirty, dry, and oily. Yeah, ew!
My poor hair did end of straight after using tons of direct high heat from raking the comb attachment through my hair a gazillion times only to end up super dry, brittle, and fried over time.

This time, I did my research. I was not about to fry my baby's hair nor use a ton of heat either. I did not want to chance any irreversible damage especially after taking decent care of her hair for over a year and seeing progress. I was blown away in my search that the key to a successful blow out included clean, deep conditioned, and well moisturized hair.

So I did just that. I used:

  • Pre-poo: Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner
  • Shampoo: SM Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo
  • Deep Conditioner: SM Jamaican Black Castor Oil Treatment Masque
  • Leave-in: SM Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-in (can't you tell I love this line on her hair!)
Here's a basic run down of steps used to stretch Z's hair via the tension method:

The process took 35 minutes to do (while she was eating dinner). This is a major pro considering the fact that if I am in a real time crunch, I can achieve a nice stretch on her hair in a very short amount of time compared to the non-heat methods of threading and banding! Her hair was very soft and moisturized after completing the tension method and of course, she was blown away with the results:

Her hair is getting so thick although she has fine strands of hair. I did not focus the heat on her ends because I want to preserve the oldest parts of her hair as long as possible. As stated earlier, the original plan was flexi rods, but I ended up doing a set of twists. I will post the results of her first twist set on heat stretched hair in the next post!

Have you ever tried the tension method? What is one important key for you to achieve a successful stretch using heat?
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