A Trip to the Salon

Do you remember the good old days, sitting on the couch, TV blasting, but how suddenly the whole world would go quiet. “Could you do her hair?” my dad would say, and then time froze… I’d pack that night, I’d slip out in the wee hours of the morning, suitcase in hand ready to cross the border, I was already thinking of diversions, excuses like “no, mommy just did my hair”. If I could equate it to anything else in my life, it’s like that moment in GTA when you accidentally bump into stranger on the street, and then five seconds later your finger is about to break off from mashing the x button as you run away from some burly man with a pocket-knife. Except for me that man was my father, phone in hand ready to make an appointment to get my hair done.

 

All exaggerations aside, for a good portion of my childhood, that was my view of hair salons. When I’d go in, my palms would get clammy. I knew that for the next few hours it’d be me and the stylist, or rather me and eight knuckles buried into my head and then at least a week of a botox-esque form of paralysis in my forehead. Unless of course, I got my hair straightened, in which case, it was a different matter.

 

Yes, the flat iron is the source of my uneasiness around all hot styling tools. Like most naturals, I’ve become convinced that I could avoid the flat-iron. Until the other day… As I sat with my mom in the living room, I’d realized (or rather she pointed out disapprovingly) that I’d literally left a trail of mini puffs on the ground, and so that meant it was time for another trim and thus a flat-ironing. But in recollection of many hair fails, from the time that I burned my forehead with a flat iron trying to fix my bangs to the time a pregnant hair stylist’s iron nearly (who am I kidding) actually brought me to tears on my birthday. I figured I’d educate myself on how to make this visit a bit more enjoyable… and so I did some research.

photo credit: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/GD6qtc2_AQA/maxresdefault.jpg

 

First, I learned that I have to be my own hair’s expert, no one is going to know your hair like you, so when you go to a salon, make sure you prep your hair before you get it done. For naturals, it’s usually a good idea to deep condition before straightening hair because application of heat to hair, that is naturally dry, can rob hair of needed moisture. So by making sure that your hair is moist you can avoid a lot, if not all, of the damage that comes with straightening hair.

 

You know when you get that new hair product, and how suddenly you’re flipping your head around like you’re posing for seventeen magazine (just me?). Well, although you may think that higher temperatures may allow your hair to move more fluidly, a higher temperature can just cause more damage to hair, upset your curl pattern, and make your hair smell burnt. So the second thing I learned, or confirmed, is that more heat doesn’t mean straighter or healthier hair, and that it can be okay to ask your stylist to turn down the heat.

 

“Heat protectant does not come in a bottle, heat protectant is your ability to able to moisturize your hair in a manner that is suitable to the texture” as hair guru Dickey said himself. What I learned is that it’s not about the product, but it’s about how you use it…your hair will only be as good as you treat it. If you know how to take care of your hair, straightening can become less scary. So hopefully my newfound confidence is indicative of how well I’ve been taking care of my hair and an omen that this appointment will go smoothly. I’m predicting no pregnant women… (crosses fingers)

 

What do you do to prep for the iron? Hot comb? Share below!

Experiences of the Winter Natural

In between teaching my friend how to body roll and my pursuit of warmth this winter, it’s been a…unique season so far. With the cold weather coming in, I’ve literally had to apply at least 4 different layers of aloe vera gel to my face a day, which is admittedly not the best moisturizer, and I’ll usually end up with a beard of ash on my face at some point.

 

Although I enjoy this time of year —and not so much the ash— all the precipitation, the way the sky turns pink and brown, the holiday themed music, one of favorites being Baby It’s Cold Outside- even withstanding the creepy and questionable nature of the man’s intentions (seriously listen to what he’s saying)- it can be a hard time for naturals.

 

To be honest, this winter actually hasn’t been that tough on my hair. After, what, two years of doing my own hair, I haven’t felt the need to rely on protective styles.

 

Although most people don’t recommend this during the dry months, I’ve been doing……. (extended drum roll…) a twistout. I’ve been able maintain the moisture in my hair with aloe vera juice and a few other tricks I have up my sleeve (I have one), I’ve been able to make things work.

 

Since going to Hair Rules in New York, I’ve been doing my hair about every three days, maybe five… and aloe vera juice has kept my hair feeling really soft. With a couple of spritzes of the aloe, my hair stays nice and moist. Now for a while, I didn’t even know my hair was dry, until my mom pointed out that if, when I spray aloe on my hair, it sucks it up within a matter of minutes, then it’s dry. Another great way to tell if you’re hair is dry, as I’ve learned, is if you go to bed bagging your hair, to wake up with your bag tossed aside and your hair in an Elvis-like mohawk– then your hair is in fact in need of some moisture, and as my generation says full of “thirst”…

 

photo credit: http://media.giphy.com/media/Ti4OGLy0a0Mvu/giphy.gif

 

Knowing how my hair reacts to the cold, I’ve had to adjust to the weather, so that I could keep my hair in check, and for me aloe vera is really good for that. But really now that I’ve discovered how to keep my hair moisturized, although I’m a little late with this trend (as with a myriad of other things, mainly social networking sites…), it’s really been a matter of keeping all the moisture in. Although I want to be a living embodiment of Pinterest, to wear beanies and other cotton headgear without shame, I’ve had to do some searching to figure my way out of that, too. Let’s just say satin bonnets are good for more than sleeping. So while scrolling through my Facebook feed (update: I’ve finally caught up… kind of), I saw a Curly Nikki post about putting satin bonnets underneath hats to stop breakage and to keep friction in it’s place.

 

So to be clear, you can bet that that H&M beanie I have in my drawer, will be worn… So what do you do to your hair during the winter season?

 

Happy Imminent Holidays,

 

Kayla

 

“The Look”

When I was growing up, I’d always imagined myself with straight hair. Actually more specifically, I imagined myself as a black Mocha Chino look-a-like. For a majority of my childhood, that was my ideal of what it meant to be cool, so every time a holiday came up, my birthday passed, or I grew tired of getting a numb-behind after hours of sitting as my mom’d do my hair, I’d ask to get my hair straightened. However, as I’ve gotten older and had more experience with my hair, I’ve strived towards a new ideal…

 

So admittedly, I didn’t suddenly wake up one day and decide that straight was no longer the style for me… Throughout the past few years, I’ve tried everything from twists to buns, searching on websites, many of which I’m sure have spammed my computer, for “the look”. The truth is nothing was working for me, I was always looking for the style that would make me prettier or more popular, that would make me the envy of the natural-haired girls and a competitor among my straight-haired classmates. A good portion of the time, I’d just twist my hair and throw it into a scrunchie, believing that the next week or month or year, that I’d come to school and wow all the other kids. I’d let them see how beautiful my hair really was. This summer I got that chance.

 

After months of product-jumping, I was going to get the style that would finally allow me to show off my natural curls. So about three months ago, I went to the Hair Rules Salon. I felt pampered, as the stylists strutted throughout the salon, and as Mr. Dickey himself worked with his clientele, I felt a change in myself. As the women ran their hands through my curls, and told me of the world after the salon chair, the promises of the gallant locks that would fall from my head to my shoulders, I was in awe.

 

Until my hair was done. I was nervous, where were my big curls, my waves? Why didn’t I look like all the girls I had seen online? Although my hair did look great after getting the look I had been asking for, well, the past year, it wasn’t until I got the approval of my father, my band mates, my grandmother, uncle, step-mom, and even my seven year old brother, who mind you probably cared little about what style my hair was in, that I felt secure.

 

So a new hairstyle didn’t change much for me. Today, when I put my head on the bus window to rest my eyes, I still smudge the window; as I run to the bus to get to school, the wind still remolds my hair; when I forget to put my aloe vera juice in the fridge, it still spoils; when I open my umbrella anywhere near my head, my hair still gets caught; and as I learned this past week, when I put on my velcro band gloves, my hair still will manage to get snagged. What I’m saying is that my wash n’ go didn’t change much for me. While I did learn a lot from my visit to the Hair Rules Salon, in terms of how to take care of my hair, I also learned that there is no perfect hairstyle, there are no hair gods, and your hair is not ruled by fortune, fate, and anything in between.
So now I’m more open to trying new hairstyles, I found a hair style much like the wash n’ go that’s been working for me, and although it may not be perfect, I’ve realized that when I stopped looking for the ultimate natural hair style, a style that worked for everyone else, a style that was only meant to draw attention to myself, that I grew a little more comfortable with my natural hair. So… what’s your “look”?

 

Kayla

 

Giving New Life to Old Clothes

“I feel like my fear of stains is ruling my life, sometimes I don’t even feel like myself anymore” “it’s just these scuff marks… Oh!…OH!!!” may be some of the thoughts which run rampant throughout your mind. Well, I can’t blame you. As a tall girl, I am constantly looking for clothes that will fit me, so keeping the clothes that do fit me is very important. So today’s blog will be dedicated to the maintenance of clothes and about how to get the most out of the clothes you have, and of course about embracing the bagginess, the shortness, the stretching, about embracing all the deformities of your clothes.

Okay, so for all the amateur dry cleaning newbies, like myself, things like seltzer water and eucalyptus oil can be really helpful. For oil stains, simply apply a few drops of eucalyptus oil to cover the stain and then let it sit for about 10-15 minutes and throw it in the washer. Similarly to the oil method, the use of seltzer water and a soap or detergent can be a cheap investment which will keep your clothes in good shape. By using an old toothbrush to apply seltzer water and soap to your shoes, you can easily get rid of stains that accumulate on the edges of your new and old shoes. As for fabric shoes, just lightly brush over the surface of the fabric with a dab of the detergent and water to get rid of the stains. Just be sure not to waterlog them, and then when you’re out you can walk through grass and dirt guilt free, without having to worry about those J’s.

photo credit: http://theshoegame.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/clean.jpg

On another note, sometimes things happen to our clothes that are beyond our control, and we have to deal with things like stretching —yes, I know it’s a struggle—but there is still hope for reviving worn-out clothes. I’m sure many of you have heard of the notorious diaper-butt—let’s be real with each other—but don’t let it rule your life. Just throw some leggings under pants to make pants fit more snuggly. As for shirts, baggy is in. So “rock” baggy shirts with a scarf and some skinnies to make the look work. In terms of re-wearing clothes that are too short, for pants, wear high socks or leg warmers with boots to make short pants look like they fit. When it comes to shirts that are too short in the arms just wear a jacket to cover up the shortness in the arms. If shirts are too short in the stomach area, either work it, or, for more work and school appropriate uses, wear high-waisted pants or skirts to pull it all together.

 

Clothes beyond repair and “Urkel wants his pants back”

photo credit: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/oWWg-gfU4Ko/maxresdefault.jpg

Admit it, there are some things that cannot or just should not be worn again. For old clothes that cannot be refashioned, swap them out for store credit or at stores online that do clothes exchanges to get clothes that you want. However, if you still have hope for your old clothes, just cut old clothes into strips to make headbands or use the sleeves of sweaters and crocheted items to make leg warmers.

photo credit: http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/3a/eb/44/3aeb44e0fdae34e0cb20de29dd94ef27.jpg

 

So all this is to say that there is still hope for your old clothes, in the end, whatever you decide to do, just remember fashion is about finding what works for you.

 

Good luck,

Kayla

 

Tests, All-Nighters, Midterms, Oh My!

For many people being a good student is about being dedicated and focused, about spending hours hunched over some twenty-pound textbook trying to hammer information into your brain. But who has time for that, and moreover, who wants to sacrifice their personal life just to get an A? So here are a few ideas on how to make school work a bit easier…

Although, there is often little time for studying among other things, it is imperative that when you read something for the first time, that you do it right. As my father tells me, “You have to do things right the first time,” so that when you’ve finished with it, you know you are really done. By taking your time the first time around, you avoid having to revisit information, you increase your chances of remembering the information, and you also make yourself more confident in your understanding of the material, allowing you to better solidify what you’ve just learned.

photo credit: http://i.imgur.com/yX11oqe.gif
photo credit: http://i.imgur.com/yX11oqe.gif

A big part of understanding what you’re learning is putting your understanding into words, AKA ‘don’t think about it, talk about it’. This is not to suggest that you should merely parrot back whatever you read in a book, or something that your teacher said, but rather what you should be doing is paraphrasing the information. As nerve-wrecking as this may sound, take advantage of this opportunity! So even if your understanding of the material does not match up with that of your teacher, still say what’s on your mind. Being a good student is all about engaging, so if you are able to support your argument or your understanding with valid information, then, even if you’re wrong, you will be able to talk yourself through the process or be able to verbalize your struggles with the material to someone who can help.

More importantly, to get school work done effectively, you must divide and conquer. Whether you are doing some last minute studying, or preparing for a big test weeks in advance, it is important that you focus on the most important information, and then fill yourself in on the details later. By breaking things down for yourself, and then seeing how the details relate to the bigger themes, you can cut down study time significantly.

Okay, now here’s the part for the procrastinators, hey, I don’t judge and those of you with little time of your hands. If you plan on implementing the previous tips into your daily routine, you can couple them up with five minutes of note reviewing before tests to refresh memory, however, if you need more time for studying, don’t fret because I have one more trick up my sleeve. Simply watch a video on the topic you’re studying, and then find websites that give brief explanations of those topics to help you out.

This Could Be You
photo credit: http://www.playrific.com/images/media/a_1282718443897_28206.png

Once you begin to take studying in steps and try to engage in your studies, understanding comes almost naturally. So good luck in your studies, and remember what you will get out of your studies is what you put in, so don’t study harder, but as my mom has just summed up for me, study smarter.

 

Good luck,

Kayla

The Clean-Up

Overwhelmed with school? Work? Tv sitcoms that try to seem unpredictable, but give away the entire plot in the first few episodes? Well, don’t let a messy room add to your daily frustrations. In the past, I’ve let my room get to the point where I literally would have to jump onto my bed in order to get through the door, it was like a real life game of Super Mario. As fun as that may sound, it made life difficult for me and it made my room a generally uncomfortable place to be. So if you want to avoid spending precious hours (I may be exaggerating) of your life looking for keys, then try some of my tips on how to keep your room clean.

photo credit: http://www.valleymagazinepsu.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/BrittanyTrappe.SpringCleaning.jpg

 

Okay, so the first thing you need to do to clean a mess is to make a mess. As counterintuitive as it sounds, the first thing to do when cleaning your room is to gather all the things that are out of place and make a pile. Once you have your pile, you need to take all of your clothes from the pile and get to hanging. Assuming you have a closet, or drawers, the clothes should be the easiest thing to hang up because they already have a designated spot. So whenever you’re home or have a couple of minutes to clean, just be sure to put away your clothes, it makes a huge difference.

 

So, that brings me to my next point, consistency!!!!!!! With so much, it is absolutely necessary for you to designate spots for your things. A mess is really just a room without structure, so once you create that structure, things get way easier. But don’t worry, this is not as scary as it may sound, try to think about it as if you are playing tetris with your room. Grab things with similar sizes and functions, group ‘em together and then just find a spot.

 

Now that we have some small solutions to our mess, here’s the hard part—getting rid of the excess. I know, I know, this is the part where things get deep… Now wait, before you click off, remember you don’t have to throw your whole life away, but just by taking a few moments to get rid of the old you can clear out a lot of space. So whether you give your things away to a friend or to the Salvation Army, sometimes reevaluating what’s in your room can make cleaning a breeze. Easy, right? No?… wow you’re stubborn, but I like that…

 

The Passive-Aggressive Approach

You’ve made it this far, and it seems like you still need some help. Well, this is another one of those counterintuitive moments for you: sometimes getting more things can help. By buying bins to sort hair products and clothes, you can organize your things into compartments that allow you to maximize your space and to keep old and out-of-season items out of sight and out of mind. By simply re-organizing the furniture in your room, you can give the illusion of a clean room, which can make it easier to prep for occasions when friends come over and to motivate yourself to keep your room clean.

As they say “Home is where the heart is,” so instead of digging under piles of jeggings and t-shirts to find yours, keep your room organized by following these tips and by doing a quick clean up at the end of every week to make your home is as cosy as it can be.

 

Good luck,

Kayla

Time Stops for No Fro

As a student, I’m always on the run, but one of my goals for this year is to make sure that even when in a rush, I dedicate myself to taking care of my body. So here’s to the one of the parts of my body, and likely yours, that needs some of the most TLC—the hair.

Between wash days, there are times when it seems like there is nothing we can do to care for our hair. With all the spritzing of water and slathering of products, it can seem like nothing will do the job but another wash day, thus comes the Baggy Method. After applying water (just enough to dampen and not to soak the hair) and the product or oil of your choice, place a shower cap or a plastic baggy over your head and just wait. Whether you’re eating dinner, working, or even sleeping, you can use this method to quench your hair with moisture and to reduce manipulation to it. Not only is this method great for home, but it can also be a great way to care for your hair on the go. As you leave your house, simply grab your baggy or shower cap, slip a small portion of hair out to make a flat twist or a bang, throw on a hat, and TA-DAH! You’ve just successfully multitasked, getting out of your house quickly and caring for your hair all in one swift move.

Not a fan of the baggy method? Or want something a bit more suitable for the winter months? Try looking for new methods to getting your hair detangled and styled quickly. For instance, vloggers like Naptural85 have great videos on quick detangling methods. As seen in Naptural’s 25 Minute Cowash + Detangle video, she provided a quick and easy way to get hair ready for styling without all the hassle of a dry detangle. Couple her method with a few chunky twists and a head wrap, and you cannot only get to bed earlier, but you can have a nice twist out ready for the next morning. As you get more comfortable with this method, you can begin to experiment on days when you are more free so that you optimize your time for future washdays. Just remember the more you do your hair, in simple or complex styles, the easier and quicker becomes the process of doing it.

Although, all days will not be perfect hair days, sometimes you can turn them into one. If you’re not finished with your hair, simply take the part that is not done and make a flat twist out of it, and then add on to the hairstyle over the course of the week and people will actually think you’re changing it up. When you want to take care of your hair, but don’t have the time to do a lot, try pushing your hair up into a bun, moisturizing the ends of your hair and tucking them into the bun for a fun protective style. By putting your hair into this style, not only do you create a quick style to go, but you also stretch your hair, which can be useful for setting yourself up for future looks.

So all this is to say, no worries, “everything little thing is going to be all right”… literally! By taking small steps to take care of your hair each day you ensure that big things like sleep and work get done too, and more so that your hair is knows you’ve got it’s back, or strands.

 

Good luck,

Kayla

 

photo credit: http://bit.ly/1tZK5S5

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