Paleo Shrimp and Cauliflower “Grits”

Shrimp and Grits are one of my family favorites, but there are a few ingredients that don’t exactly make it “healthy eating friendly”. My original recipe includes bacon, butter, real grits, and cheese.  In my opinion almost any home cooked meal is going to be better for you than a heavily processed fast food meal, but there are ways to enjoy favorite comfort food without expanding your waistline.

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Paleo Shrimp and ‘Cauliflower “Grits”

Ingredients

Shrimp Topping: 1 12 oz bag of shrimp,  1/2 diced onion and red and green bell peppers, 1/2 cup dice tomatoes, 1/4 cup chicken broth, paprika, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, 1 tbs. EVOO, 1 link smoked turkey sausage

“grits”: 1 cup cauliflower, 2 tablespoons vegan butter, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup chicken stock, 1 heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast.

Directions:

  1. Drizzle one tablespoon of EVOO in a hot pan.
  2. Add diced turkey sausage and cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add onion and peppers sauteed for 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and seasoning lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. While mixture is simmering cook frozen cauliflower in microwave according to package directions.
  6. Place the cauliflower, chicken stock, vegan butter, nutritional yeast, and seasonings in food processor and blend until smooth but still chunky.
  7. Once turkey sausage and vegetable mixture on stove has reduced add chicken stock and continue simmering 5 more minutes.
  8. Add shrimp to stove mixture and cook until shrimp turn pink.
  9. Add cauliflower grits to a bowl and top with shrimp mixture.
  10. Enjoy!

 

Defining My Curls

Getting good definition for your natural curls in probably one of the most sought after abilities for those with natural hair. This is especially important if you have any 4 type curl. I would put myself at 4a/ab. My hair in the front is a loser 4a curl pattern, and the hair in the center of my hair is the thickest at 4b. When I was going natural I was praying for a bouncy 3c hair type, but I have learned to love wait I was blessed with. But even if you do have denser, tighter curls, that doesn’t mean you can’t have that defined curl look. There are a couple ways you can achieve this look regardless of your hair type.

Different Sets:

Setting you hair in various ways can help you achieve a defined curl look. This may not be the way your hair “naturally” looks, but that’s the beauty of natural hair, the ability to manipulate the way it looks so easily. You may choose a roller set, braid out, or twist set.

  1. Wash hair using your typical conditioner and shampoo (if any)
  2. Starting with very damp hair, apply your favorite moisturizer.
  3. Separate hair into small sections and apply gel. I use Eco Styler Olive Oil. It will hold the style without making it dry and crunchy.
  4. Put each section into your choice of roller, braid, or twist.
    • If you do a roller set I would choose either a straw or small perm rod set to achieve small, tight curls, rather than the big “Shirley Temple curls”.
    •  With braid and twist out sets, although more time consuming I get the best results with individual twist and braids, rather than cornrows on under twist. Under twist and cornrows will still look good, but for me they tend to be more wavy than curly.
  5.  Use your favorite drying method
    • For a very sleek and shiny look sit under a dryer until hair is completely dry. It takes my hair up over 2 hours to dry under a hooded dryer.
    • You could sit under the hooded dryer for a shorter amount of time like 20-30 minutes, then let it finish by air drying.
    • Or you can let it air dry totally. I usually set my hair the previous day and let it dry 24 hours. This works for me on a lazy weekend and my hair is ready to go the next week.
  6.  Once your hair is dry take out the rollers, braids, or twist. I CANNOT stress how important it is that you wait to take your hair out until it has dried completely. If you don’t you’ll have a puffy mess on your hands once it dries.
    •  When you have out your hair you have choice of separating your hair on leaving it in “clumps”. Sometimes I like the way it looks separated, others I prefer unseparated. For me it’s a catch 22. If I separate my hair, it can turn out fuzzy, if I don’t separate it doesn’t look at full as I’d like and it looks like its been set, not very naturally curly. I typically do which ever I feel up to that day. Choosing between roller, braid, or twist sets are away of achieving a defined curl “look” if your hair doesn’t seem to cooperate on its own.

Wash and Go:

I don’t get to use the wash and go method of defining my curls often. I can only use it during the summer as when I am not working, because my mornings are too early and hectic to attempt this during the school year. This method can be more difficult if you have 4b/4c hair. But there are a few things I can do to make the curls I do have “POP”.

  1. Wash your hair in sections with a VERY good, moisturizing conditioner, saturating each section. When I am attempting to do a wash and go I save it for a co-washing day, not a long shampoo and deep condition day.
  2. Lightly rinse each section out. I never completely rinse conditioner out of my hair.
  3. Ring hair out, so it is not dripping, but DO NOT towel dry.
  4. Apply you favorite oil to wet hair. I use extra virgin coconut, or EVOO.
  5. Apply your favorite curling moisturizer and gel (optional) to sections. I use Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Eco Styler Olive Oil gel.
  6. Blow dry hair. You can set under a hooded dryer for 15-20 minutes or run a hand dryer over your hair for several minutes.
  7. DON’T MESS WITH YOUR HAIR- this is my biggest flaw. Let the curls be or else certain places with turn into a fussy mess.
  8. My wash and go typically only looks really good for one day, but I can come times stretch it out by putting it in a pineapple at night and in the morning spritzing it with a leave in conditioner (water, conditioner, and oil) and reapplying some of the Shea moisture curl enhancer.

These are my techniques for achieving a defined look. What I do may not work for you. Everybody has to experiment to find what products and techniques agree with their hair. When I first went natural and came back to college after winter break I had a twist out. One of my friends asked me, “Why doesn’t your hair look nappy like it did in the pictures?” I took it as a compliment meaning that my twist out made my hair look like defined curly hair. But it did start to make me feel like doing these sets was a cop out, rather than embracing my natural hair texture. I know people who only wear there hair out if it has been set someway because they aren’t confident in their texture. I just see it as another style. Just like I wear different clothing styles, I change my hair style. Its not about not accepting my natural texture, its about getting the look I want at that point in time. I hope everyone can love their natural texture as well as learn different ways to style and show off the versatility of natural hair.

(Marvel)ous Mother’s Day

Captain America: Civil War

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The first event listed in 6 Anticipated Events for a Nerdy Mom was seeing “Captain America: Civil War”, and now I can scratch that off my list. For Mother’s Day some ask for flowers, others jewelry or clothes, but I’ve known for quite some time that all I wanted for Mother’s Day was to see “Captain America: Civil War”. Our grandparents watched our son and we got to enjoy one of our favorite dates; going out to see a superhero movie. I was very excited about this movie. To me it is the Marvel version of Batman vs Superman, so naturally in my opinion it was bound to be ten times better. As far as I’m concerned it was. I probably shouldn’t call this a review. Reviews are supposed to be unbiased, this is very biased. I’ll call it my opinion and views on the movie rather, than a review. SPOILER WARNING: after this point significant details about the movie may be revealed.

Synopsis

The movie takes place a year after the events of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and people want the Avengers to take responsibility for the destruction they caused and make better decisions. There are those that feel guilty enough about the innocent lives lost that they are willing to sign a document called the “Sokovia Accords”, created by the United Nations, to govern over the Avengers. In the wake of the signing of the Sokovia Accords it seems the Winter Soldier attacked the United Nations summit, killing the King of Wakanda. His attack caused people to believe even stronger that people with super abilities need to be put “in check”, but Captain America doesn’t buy it. He remains true to his decision, that the Avengers should make their own decisions and tries to help clear his friends name. It turns out the whole attack and scheme was of Zemo, a soldier from Sokovia, who wanted to get revenge on the Avengers for killing is family, by tearing them apart from the inside.

My Initial thoughts

On one side you have Iron Man and those that believe the Sokovia Accords are the best option for The Avengers. On the other side Captain America and the others that believe the Avengers should use their own judgement in deciding their actions. This is a major argument in any superhero series. It is pretty much what Batman vs Superman stemmed from except on a smaller, less awesome level. See Movie Review: Batman vs Superman. At first I didn’t know which team I would side with, but very shortly into the movie I began rooting for team Captain America. It is as the Cap said “What if they send us somewhere we shouldn’t be or don’t sent us somewhere we need to go.” Governments can’t be trusted with these types of things. The Sokovia Accords would turn the Avengers into some kind of team of henchmen. I had also been wondering about the absence of the Hulk and Thor. A little into the movie I understood why they couldn’t be in the movie. If the Hulk and Thor were to participate they would probably have been on team Captain America and with both of them on that team there would’ve been no fight. The God Thor would not have submitted to being ruled by mere mortals. And the Hulk would not allow the government to make him turn his beast “on and off” at their will. He didn’t even want to use it in the first place in the past “Avengers: Age of Ultron”. At first I wondered how it is a Captain America movie and not another Avengers movie. But it was not the Avengers being the Avengers. There was not world ending catastrophic event for the Avengers to assemble. This was Captain America trying to save his friend and the conflicts that arose from it.

Character Spotlights

There were several brilliant aspects of the movie in my opinion. The first thing that caught my eye was the budding romantic relationship between the Scarlet Witch and Vision. He is keeping her on “lock down” by Iron Man’s orders, but he is also trying to plant some seeds. He starts be attempting to cook for her then it does turn into a deeper conversation about their thoughts on the Sokovia Accords. And its like most of the Avenger’s members, they have different view points but still respect one another and want to avoid this major conflict that is about the occur.

The friendship between Iron Man and Captain America is obviously on the rocks, its the entire basis of the movie, but another interesting relationship dynamic comes from the Caps loyalty to Buckey, and that’s the relationship with Falcon. Its like Buckey is the friend from back home who never quite got it together, but they grew up and are like brothers and Falcon is the frat brother he met and college they are close now because they’ve experienced and helped each other so much to get where they are now. Falcon is completely loyal to Captain America, even though he knows he will go down with him. I’m not entirely sure if Falcon would’ve opposed the new laws if Captain America wasn’t. Now with Buckey all Captain America thinks about, its getting in the way of he and Falcon’s “bromance”. He even tells Buckey that he hates him, but they both come together in congratulatory looks when he kisses, Sharon Carter, Peggy Carter’s niece.

The best characters in the movie seemed to be the newer additions, including Black Panther, Spiderman, and Ant Man. It seemed like each team needed a bug. Spiderman and Ant Man provided some much needed comic relief and fun. Although, some would say that Spider-man’s role was unnecessary, his action scenes were some of the best and his youthful humor was much welcomed and has been the best Spider-Man I’ve seen on screen yet. Black Panther was EVERYTHING! In the movie he was seeking revenge for the death of his father, the king of Wakanda. He was strong and feline at the same time. I got chills every time he stuck a landing. As my husband said “he’s a cat, but not feminine like Catwoman.” They nailed the Black Panther. I am so glad to see another superhero of color represented. This may be a way to get more X-men integrated in the Avengers as they are in the comics. They have Scarlet Witch and had quicksilver, this could be a way to bring in Storm and then Wolverine. Fox and Disney need to get over themselves and let these movies intertwine as they did in the comics a lot. The whole Sovokia Accords tie right in the sides involved in mutant registration. But back to my man point Black Panther is OP. He has it all; wisdom, money, strength, power, I mean he’s a freaking King with super powers. He was the “REAL” hero of the movie and ended the cycle of revenge, by not killing Zemo once he found out he was responsible for his father’s death, not Buckey.

Possible Criticisms

There were probably all kinds of inaccuracies within the movie that some fanboys/girls hate. After watching Batman vs Superman I researched different things ( because I have not read a lot of comics) and began critiquing and comparing the inaccuracies. This movie itself was so good in my opinion that I don’t even want to know what they got wrong. I don’t want to ruin this good feeling I have about it. There are also those that are probably on the completely opposite side of me, thinking that Iron Man is right and the Avengers need a governing body. At the end of the movie, though, you see that Iron Man is questioning this and War Machine tries the reassure him that it was the wrong decision. If there was one flaw in the movie, I’d say that I expected more from Vision. His powers seemed like they should have completely overwhelmed anybody on the other side. The only person they had with that kind of power was Scarlet Witch and at this point she’s still a little untrained, but you could tell he already had a soft spot for her. Nobody was fight to their full potential, because this was a fight among friends, not trying to kill each other, but trying to get to a point when they can come together again. Some might say the movie was too long, but I wasn’t at any point waiting for it to be over. Another thing that really bothered me, was that I wanted Blank Panther to step into the Iron Man/Captain America fight and shed the same wisdom he had gained with them and ended the war. But it is a Civil War, so no way it could be ended this soon. They will probably continue it into other MCU movies, resolving it to protect the world from what ever catastrophic, world ending adversary they will meet up with in the 3rd Avengers installment.

I am completely biased. I love everything Marvel. It was a great movie, better than “Avengers: Age of Ultron” in my opinion and better than the rival “Batman vs Superman. Thank you, hubby, for my Marvelous Mother’s Day gift. Now the countdown to “X-Men: Apocalypse”

Leading for Self-Improvement

I previously discussed how disappointed I am with my weight loss progress. I had lost 50 pounds of the weight I gained from pregnancy. This brought me back to the heavier end of my pre-baby weight. I was feeling good about myself and encouraged to keep the momentum going in order to lose an additional 20 pounds to reach my goal weight. But, then I hit a wall. I found myself unable to continue my gym membership, thus unable to workout 1.5-2 hours that was critical to achieve the initial weight loss success. I wasn’t working out and I was also over eating. I found out around Christmas that I was allergic to wheat, eggs, dairy, and peanuts. My diet consisted in a combination of over compensating with what I could eat and just ignoring my allergies all together, rebelling and eating any and everything in sight. 3 months later and I am looking at a 15 pound weight gain. I identified my decrease in exercise as a catalyst for everything, so I wanted to tackle that problem.

Not being able to go to a gym and exercise is just an excuse for me. I have too many resources and too much knowledge about fitness. I am a Physical and Health Education teacher for crying out loud! I have to walk the talk and be a good example for my students, peers, and family. This is my passion and my calling in life. So I have to put in the work necessary to lead the masses. So how can I get over my own personal issues for the greater good? I decided to use my passion to motivate me. I am a very competitive person, which is what made the group exercise classes such a great thing for me. I took pride in being at the front of the class trying to out do or stay up to par with the instructor. Now that I don’t have my membership the only way to bring that same spirit would be to lead my own workouts.

Some colleagues of mine expressed that they wanted to lose weight by running the stairs in our school. I had previously brushed it off because I had my own workout regimen that was working for me. I decided that I would not only join in on their activities, but I would also invite them to some activities of my own. Another reason I did not reason jump at the opportunity to workout with them was because I didn’t believe what they were planning to do was effective. Of course doing stairs is better than nothing, but it wasn’t a very comprehensive exercise. They would not being running up and down stairs long enough to build any considerable amount of cardiovascular endurance and it would be focusing on building lower body strength. I didn’t want to rain on their parade so I just avoided the topic. Now that I am planning workouts in addition to theirs, I can give some advice and ideas without being condescending.

Previously I occasionally led Zumba Fitness classes, but it didn’t really take off. I wasn’t able to be consistent with my demanding athletic schedule and everybody did not like Zumba and dancing. Now I am planning on alternating between circuit training, weight lifting, running, HIIT (high intensity interval training), Dance Fitness (I can’t call it Zumba anymore because I am no longer licensed), and Yoga. I will lead workouts Tuesday and Thursday and alternate between the different types of workouts each week. As the instructor this will push me to do my best and be consistent for my group. When I workout on my own its hard for me to push myself without any competition so the intensity of my home workouts tend to be very low. I hope to lead by example; spreading the importance of fitness, introducing others to some new exercise ideas and concepts, and intensifying my own weight loss efforts. Plus, I gots to have a really hot body to pull off a lot of female Cosplay ideas.

jogging

 

6 Anticipated Events for a Nerdy Mom

ID-100412814Life is tough. There are bills, work, cooking, cleaning, working out, and many, many, more things that just make it seem like its too much. Sometimes you just have to take time for a few things that bring you joy.  These are the top 6 things I’m looking forward to right now:

 

1. Captain America: Civil War

Forget Batman vs Superman, the battle I’m waiting for is Captain America vs Iron Man. There have been a plethora of memes that joke about the cause of their rivalry and Iron Man not being in the movie. Those are funny and hyping up my excitement for the movie. Let’s not even mention the fact that Black Panther makes his first appearance in this movie. I don’t even know which “team” I’m on. I’m just ready to see this thing. It almost looks like an Avengers movie in itself with all the characters that will be involved. A movie review post will be forth coming.

2. X-men: Apocalypse

The X-men is probably my favorite of all super hero groups. My son is named after Charles Xavier and we plan to name our future kids (if any) after X-men characters. I especially like the “reboot” that the series has somewhat morphed into. I always wonder how they pull off a victory against these seemingly all powerful adversaries. How does anybody “defeat” Apocalypse? I know the writers always create a “way”, which is somehow undone in the future or some alternate universe.  I’ve seen previews that show wolverine in the movie. Is it Hugh Jackman? Or has Wolverine been recast with a younger actor? If so, hopefully this actor can still have Hugh Jackman’s skill but with a closer physical resemblance to Wolverine. My favorite character of all time is Storm. I really appreciate them going to the mo’hawk punk storm, although it pains me to see her under the villains control. We shall see how it all unfolds, which I’ll definitely be highlighting in a post of its own.

3. Otakon 2016

Otakon is an Anime convention in Baltimore, MD. This year it will be August 12-14th. Unfortunately, after this year, it will be moving from Baltimore to DC. Our brother lives in Baltimore so if we couldn’t get a hotel we could always bunk at his place. In DC this won’t be an option, but we will find a way. Its like Christmas for my husband and I. We skipped a year the summer after we had our son, but vowed NEVER AGAIN. Each year I attend I am motivated to learn more about anime so I can be well rounded and prepared to participate in panels and sessions. I may even dabble in some cosplay, although some of our cohort has threatened to leave me if I get caught up taking pictures. I doubt that I’ll attract that many photo ops since I don’t have the funding or skill to create anything amazing. I’ll just be doing it for my own fun. Last year I went to a panel about the African American influence in Anime and it blew my mind. They say they are going to be continuing and expanding it so it one of the first things I’ll be looking for this year. The other big things I enjoy about Otakon are the AMV awards, the raves, and of course walking and experiencing the Baltimore Harbor. Keep your eyes open for pictures and constant updates regarding this trip.

4. Bahamas Cruise

As I said earlier, I don’t get to look forward to many things. I don’t travel out of the state, non the less the country often. So when my best friend was getting a group together to go on a cruise I jumped on board. I’ll be taking some time off work and having a real vacation. We’ve had some financial changes with my son being in daycare and I almost said forget it, we can’t afford it. But I changed my mind, we have several months to save so we can make this happen. They have different types of theme cruises like Nickelodeon, Disney, and even Zumba Fitness have their own cruises. I would love to see a Marvel, DC, Star Wars, LOTR, or Harry Potter themed cruise. I’d pay for that in a heart beat.

5. The return of “One Punch Man”

This is a great Anime. It seems like of spoof of all other Anime. In a lot of action anime it starts off slow. The main character is learning the art of combat and things seem pretty normal. They have sometime of inner drive and a deep story. Then slowly but surely things get bigger. Regular combat is always joined with supernatural power that gives the characters special abilities. One Punch Man is exactly the opposite. The story starts with a “crab monster” attacking a young boy, so you already know some supernatural things are going on. Then he undergoes the “extensive” training of running a 5k, 100 push up, 100 sit ups, and 100 squats with no AC everyday. And after this you have the invincible “One Punch Man”. In each episode you see him defeat his opponents in literally one punch. There have been rumors of the writer not doing a 2nd season, I hope this isn’t true. My husband and I spammed episodes and finished the first season quickly, so I can wait to see the next.

6. Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan was supposed to pick back up in April, but they pushed the new season back. They postponed the next season because they have to wait for the manga to get further away from the anime. Attack on Titan does not do fillers, which I LOVE. Every episode is action packed. There was no slow getting to know the characters. In the very first episode you witness the titans barge into the wall, bite the head off, and eat the main character’s mother. I hope they continue this style of writing keep the action coming. I will be waiting patiently for the return.

One day I hope to be in a place where my husband and I can travel the world, have romantic getaways, and expose my son and any future children to experiences I never had. Until then I will find joy in the simple things; a new anime, superhero movie date, and small trip here or there. Whenever life gets me down I think about the fun times I’ve had with family and friends during these experiences.

 

Questions about potty training

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I have a few things to say about this process called “Potty Training”. I feel like I’m supposed to be the one giving wisdom and advice, but with this I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING! We’ve been introducing it since our son was 21 months and 5 months later he’s kinda sorta showing some signs that it’s starting to catch on. I’ll start with questions, then move on to my own thoughts.

  1. How do these people supposedly do this in 3 days?

I started like this. It was a 3 day weekend, Martin Luther King Day to be exact. I thought we’d be “free at last” from buying and changing diapers. After reading about it on Pinterest we let him walk around commando for the weekend. The only thing we got were puddles and piles all over the apartment, so we decided to do pull-ups. It did make for some adorable pictures that I’ll be using as blackmail later in life.

2. Is using pull-ups counterproductive?

No matter how many times we say, “If you have to pee or poop tell us, so you can go on the potty.” The little star on the from of the pull up ends up blurred. I’ve read that putting them in diapers or pull-ups doesn’t work because if they have something to use, they will. It makes sense, but the pull-ups must work for somebody or else they would still be on the shelves.

3. Did we start too early?

When we started potty training, he was showing some of those signs that the list say, mean he’s ready. While visiting my parents during Christmas break he even brought me his diaper bag when he pooped. I thought that MUST mean he’s ready to learn, but we’re 5 months into this and although he’s making some progress it seems its happening way too slow. Is it happening slow because we’re forcing him into something he’s not ready for?

4. How to respond to or get rid of the extra opinions?

I’m talking about the old school women looking at me funny when my  2 year old that’s the size of a 3-4 year old is still being laid on a changing table. I myself think it looks weird. But I can’t help it because that’s how I was raised. All I hear is how I was walking by 9 months and potty trained before 2. So 2 seemed to be the cut off. Now I’m learning from other “modern” moms that every child learns at their own pace and he’ll do it when he’s ready. Who’s right? Am I missing my son up for life my rushing him too early? or Am I ruining him by not giving him the extra push and firm hand I was given as a child?  I can hear my mom, aunts, and grandma now “That boy is too big for them diapers.” “You need to just put some underwear on his butt.”

5. How should I use incentives?

I’ve tried a couple of things, although not consistently (this is probably my problem). I’ve kind of set up a tier of rewards. He gets a sticker for pee pee and a small toy for pooping. I used to do M&Ms, but I didn’t want to get into the habit of food as rewards. Plus he got really upset when I only gave him a couple at a time. One thing that I always do is say “YAY! You Pee Pee’d in the potty!” And continued the celebration by singing the “Pee Pee in the potty” song, which every mom seems to know. As with most things with kids consistency is key so this is something I have to work on.

6. What do I do about travelling?

This is also where I think we fall apart. It just seems like such a burden carry the potty everywhere and he won’t go near the regular toilet. So when we leave for errands or go out of town potty training kind of takes a back burner. I’ve just got to get that breastfeeding mindset back again and get used to the inconveniences for the sake of my son. Sure I hated either having to find somewhere to pump or stopping to nurse, but it was necessary. So is this if any of the training is going to stick.

My Thoughts:

I have had some success with the training. When we started it only took him a couple days to actually “go” in the potty. What we’re working on is getting the point that he will tell us he has to go. I’d say within the past month he has started to tell us he has to pee, sometimes he actually does and others he doesn’t. But, I’ve let him know that if he says “pee, pee” he’s sitting on the potty so he better say it when he means it. He’s only pooped in the potty twice, and I’m pretty sure it was by accident. He’s gotten up while I was cooking and went in his room to go number 2 so its safe to say that he doesn’t want to do it in the potty. He will, however, tell us he has to poop after he’s done it. Now its just getting him to say it before and get it in the freaking pot! I worry that I’m doing things wrong. As with all the child milestones I want to make sure he’s on track and really my competitive side wants him to be ahead of the curve. I did the same for walking and I’m working on his talking. Once again, this is how I was raised. My mom taught me to read before I was in school. I learned most things quickly and excelled, so it’s only natural to want the same for my son. What I am learning is that I have to take my own experiences, knowledge, and my sons individual traits and come up with what’s best for him. Hopefully some determination and reinforcement of expectations will get him in the right direction.  If you’ve been through this please let me know your thoughts. If your going through it right now share your story as well.

 

Is colored hair natural?

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I went natural December 16th, 2011. It was the day before my 22nd birthday. I had intended to transition and slowly cut the relaxed hair out, but I got impatient and decided to do the BIG CHOP. I wanted to go natural because it seemed like the healthiest thing for my hair. I was on a quest to make my body the healthiest it could be….from my head to my toes. Before I went natural I had relatively long hair, for a black girl. So my hair dresser was not happy when I was prepared to cut 10 inches of hair off. I was getting my hair done by her while I was transitioning, but maybe she didn’t believe I’d actually do it. But, as you can see, I did. I went back to get a roller set in my hair for Easter that following March or April whenever the heck Easter was that year. On that day she convinced me to get my hair permanently dyed red.

I’m not sure if she had motives other than just wanting to introduce me to a cool new look. Part of me feels like she wanted to keep me as a consistent client, because since going natural I had not been making my regular 6-8 week appointments. I can’t blame her though, its good business to try and keep customers. I thought the red looked really good on me. It was a dark, kind of burgundy red. I probably wouldn’t have liked my short afro as much without that brilliant color. It never dawned on me that I was doing anything out of sorts until one day I saw a Facebook status from a friend that said “how you gonna be natural and dye your hair, doesn’t that defeat the purpose?” This person was also natural, so I began thinking “I’m a natural hair sell out?”

I continued to get my hair dyed red for 2 years. I had always been the type to not judge others, so I was making my own decision for what I wanted for my hair and that was to keep it red. I LOVED the red look, especially after one of my colleagues said it made me look like a superhero ( I’m thinking Jean Grey or Black Widow)! I even got my eyebrows lightened a little so it didn’t look so obvious that they were different colors, although I didn’t go red all the way with them. It wasn’t until after I had my son that I decided not to color my hair anymore. I got my hair dyed for my Superhero Wedding (that I will highlight in another post), but I did not tell my hair dresser that I was pregnant. There is a theory that the chemicals in the dye can seep into your scalp, and then body,
harming the baby. After some research I deduced that it was just a myth, but I didn’t want to risk telling my hair dresser and her not put in my superhero red color. It seems kind of silly that I’d even risk something like that. If there was a question for the baby’s safety I should have just not done it, but that just shows how vain our society is. I could not have brown roots at my wedding. After that I did not dye my hair the entire pregnancy. After I had my son I decided to go completely natural and not add any chemicals at all to my hair. I slowly cut my ends each month and in about a year I cut the rest of the color out of my hair. So now it is my natural brown color.

Does being natural mean that you have NO chemicals in your hair? Or is it just, not having a relaxer? What about people that get texturizers? Its kind of like when people question what it means to be a virgin. I guess it something you have to decide for yourself. Why did you decide to take the journey to become natural? Was is it purely a decision for cosmetics and you just like the look of your curly hair texture? Or,is it part of an all-natural lifestyle? People will always have their opinions about natural hair. Even within the natural hair community there is some judgement. I just try to be comfortable and work what I’ve got and hope that others do the same.

“I da pappi”

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“I da pappi”, is a quote from the comedy movie “Life” starring Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy. In the movie the inmates at their prison all say this to protect a mentally ill fellow convict that impregnates the wardens white daughter. It’s a very funny movie, you should watch it if you haven’t seen it. But, that’s not what I am about to discuss and question you about. In this hypothesis “I be da pappi” would be what Professor Severus Snape says in regards to Harry Potter. That’s right, it is my belief that Snape was really Harry’s biological father.

I am not the only person in this universe that has this theory. It was probably the 100th time I had finished reading the Harry Potter series and watching the movies last year, when suddenly I had an epiphany. It was after seeing that beautifully heart felt scene at the end of HP and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, that I thought this had to be bigger than his love for Lily Potter. You’re telling me that the love of his life dies and 17 years later he is risking his life as a double agent because Harry had her eyes….please. This man was secretly protecting he son. I feel like this would also explain his extreme hatred of James Potter and why he went crazy every time Harry tried to believe his father was such a wonderful person. Yes the books and movie explained that he hated James because he was a bully as a child. This doesn’t really make sense, though. I mean people trusted Snape after being a death eater, Dumbledore trusted this whole secret mission to an Ex-death eater, but Snape can’t forgive his childhood bully. No, he was salty because James Potter got his woman and his child. I feel like Lily was stuck between a rock and a hard place and loved them both. So in order to save face she went along with Harry being James’ son rather than revealing that she had an affair with Snape. For all she knew he was a devoted Death Eater, so as a person of non-magic heritage, their love was taboo. James, at this point, had grown out of his immaturity and had become an honorable man. It just made sense for them to keep this under wraps. Maybe James even knew and went along with it provided he and Lily stayed together.

There was another person that made it all come together for me, and that was Lily’s sister Petunia. Petunia was disgusted with the fact that her sister was a wizard and was killed. But, once again it seemed a little extreme. What could add salt to her wound? Her sister falling in love with and making a baby with the very person that took her beloved sister away from her, Snape. Snape got in between them and began to tell Lily about the wizarding world. When Lily got her letter to Hogwarts Petunia was shut out, and Snape was let in. Harry was a constant reminder that her sister was special and she was not. This also explains why the Dursley’s went out of their way to always keep Harry’s spirits down and put Dudley on a pedestal.

There’s also Harry and James relationship as a whole. Although he didn’t have much time with either of his parents before Voldemort had his way with them, there was always lots of emphasis put on Lily’s love and sacrifice.  James died to protect them both before Voldemort got into the room with Harry and Lily, but everyone kind of dismisses that. Its always his mothers voice, face, and screams that he envisions. It is also his mother that talks to him at the grave yard in the Fourth movie and in the forest in the final. His dad is always their in his dreams and memories, but kind of in the background. It is like his dad memory is not as significant. It might be because people always put the “mother’s love” above all else, but it could also tie into my theory.

So what exactly disproves this theory? The only thing that does is what people always said about Harry’s appearance. They always said that he looked just like his father (presumed to be James) except for his mother’s eyes. My argument to that is, people thought he looked like James because he was supposed to. They say if you live with person long enough you start to look like them, although Harry didn’t live with James very long. The mind sees what it wants to see. How many children go their whole lives thinking one person is their father and never question it? They don’t have a reason to so they see features of that person in themselves. There could have also been a spell or potion that was created by Snape and/or Lily to make Harry favor James strongly so that no one would question his paternity.

Is my evidence the soundest? Absolutely not. But I think it would make for an interesting spin off. Let’s make Harry Potter into the Jerry Springer Show. It was what I believed to be an interesting theory, which from my research only others agreed with. Maybe it was just my effort to make Harry Potter like the crazy world we live in now, full of drama. In my opinion “Snape is da pappi” But I’m just one person, what do YOU think?

 

Weight Loss Woes

One of the major topics of my blog is healthy living. And for many, like me, the journey towards a healthy life includes losing weight. Weight loss is probably one ofID-10019615 the most influential aspects of being healthy if you are within the overweight and obese range. I have historically fluctuated between being on the high end of overweight and the low end of obese. Since having my son 2 years ago I have been obese according to my BMI. My weight loss happened steadily while breastfeeding and then I hit a plateau after my body wasn’t naturally burning those calories from producing milk for my son. After I stopped breastfeeding I started a more rigorous schedule of exercises and a stricter eating plan. I don’t use the word diet, because I always attempt to make lifestyle changes according to my goals. Diets to me are gimmicks that people start and stop and generally the results are temporary.  So I reduced my caloric intake and the pounds started coming off again. I was getting very close to my pre-baby weight. And then life happened. Stressors from work, increased financial difficulty, and along with the already present demands of raising a toddler caused my current success to come to a halt.

This past year we started my 2 year old in daycare. We appreciated him getting more social time, and us not having to follow him around 24/7, but it came at a cost of $113 a week. The cost along with the time cause me to cancel my YMCA membership. My workout schedule included Zumba, Yoga, Body Pump, and a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class. I’d go to 2 classes a day, meaning I was working out 2 hrs each day. These classes were typically at 6 & 7 pm. By the time I got home it was after 8 o’ clock, and I’d get my son in bed by 9pm. When my husband was a stay at home dad that wasn’t an issue, as they’d just wake up whenever they felt like. But know that our son had to wake up at 6:30 for daycare, that was an issue. I attempted to selfish route, meaning he’d adjust to less sleep and nap longer. But after a week of having a hysterical baby at night, I decided to go with my sons best interest which was bed by 7, meaning I could not make it to my classes. Our apartment complex has a fitness room with medicine balls, a universal weight machine, elliptical, and treadmill. Given that I get all these resources for free I thought it would be silly to keep he gym membership without being able to attend the classes. So I cancelled my membership and said I would continue working out using the fitness center at my apartment complex. For the first 3 weeks that didn’t happen. I came home, made and ate dinner, put my son to bed, and often passed out myself.

The changes that had occurred in my life also had a toll on my eating habits. I began drinking wine each night, buying cakes, cookies, and ice cream to eat at nights. Any snack left in the workroom a school stood no chance if I saw them. I was out of control. I didn’t know what to do about it. I used to have so much will power. I college I’d go in the “caf” with my friends, watch them go through the pizza, burger, and ice cream stations, while I ate my salad or other health options available that day. While talking to one of my colleagues, she said it’s because you feel a sense of entitlement. When I walk through the break room after a tough class and see some leftover cookies from a church even I think “I’ve earned, this treat, I deserve this.” And that’s often times the exact thing that has crossed my mind. I often say that I believe in “all things in moderation”, but at this point there was no moderation, it was just an all out free for all. I’d seen almost 15 of the 50 pounds I lost over the past 2 years come back in 2 months. That’s when I decided I had to make some changes.

I decided to make a realistic exercise and eating plan. I could no longer rely on 2 hour hardcore workouts per day to offset the calories I consume. I know that I don’t push myself while working out independently the same way I do while in the front of a class with 10-20 other people. So I decided to start working out before I leave school with a couple other colleagues so we can motivate each other as well as get the workout done before I go home so whether I accidentally pass out or not, I’ll be Ok. I also decided that I’d allow myself a cheat meal on the weekends. That way I can pass everything up during the week knowing I’ll get a treat later. I’ve thought of a couple of rewards for myself (no food) if I reach certain goals. These rewards would included getting my nails done, new piercings and tattoos, and new clothes or shoes to show off my transformed body.

One of the major things I’ve been working on is trying to be happy and comfortable with where I am now. I may not have the time or energy to put in the strenuous workouts that would get the results I want as fast as I want. But I can take baby steps and get there in due time. This past week was the start of my new expectations and goals for myself. I can say that I was a lot more successful that I’d been before, although I still wasn’t perfect. But I will celebrate my successes. I pasted up cinnamon rolls left in the work room Monday. I worked out 4 days this past week. Even one day I did not workout before leaving school since everybody else in my group had other requirements, that same day I passed out at 8pm until 11. But I woke up at 11 and did a circuit of 40 jump and jacks, 30 crunches, 20 squats, and 10 push ups 5 times. I decided that would be my go to workout if I didn’t do anything else. Hopefully when I weight myself at school I’ll see some progress on the scale. If not at least I’m going in the right direction, and can make further adjustments to get my weight loss going again.

 

Twist and Shout

To all my naturalistas out there, What’s your regimen like? Mine fluctuates, depending on my level of commitment and dedication. In a perfect world, I would deep condition and detangle my hair every week, especially in the winter, when hair tends to need m11410539_935279409841593_718639953_n(1)ore moisture. But, of course this is not a perfect world. During the weekends, when I make these grand plans, I usually end up running after my son making sure he doesn’t wreck the apartment too much, looking at anime, and sleeping when I can. Before I know it, its Sunday evening and no real time to do anything fancy along with cleaning, meal prep, and getting clothes ready for the next day/week. So what do I turn to, my tried and true twist out rotation.

This regimen was formed by accident. I started twisting my hair about 8 months, to year after I did the “big chop”. Before I had enough hair I would do a twist out, but I wasn’t comfortable wearing twist as a style until I had enough length. Once I did, it was the perfect style, because you get a 2 for 1 special. I get 1-2 weeks with my hair twisted, then 1-2 weeks afterwards with a twist out. Once again, in a perfect word, this would only be a 2 week process. I week with twist in and another with twist out. But I tend to try to stretch that time out, usually I get 3 weeks out of it.  During the winter I tend to leave the twist in longer or not do the twist out option for protective styling. Only at my busiest or laziest times to a let it go for 2 weeks each. After a week the twist are fuzzy and don’t look that great. The fresh twist out look only really last a couple days, before my hair reverts.

My monthly regimen now is centered around this cycle. I will typically do a hot oil treatment with EVOO. Then I shampoo with a sulfate free product, I like Organix Coconut Milk ( listed on the “products I love” page under Natural Hair Care). I detangle with a silicone free conditioner (Aussie Moist), then I deep condition with my own concoction. My deep conditioner consists of whatever conditioner I’m currently using, mayonnaise, EVOO, and coconut milk. I let this set on my hair for at least 30 minutes up to sometimes the whole day! The longer, the better. Afterwards I rinse, and do my twist. Sometimes I do the twist a little thicker, if its a vacation or holiday when I’ll probably only be running a few errands, so they’re in strictly to dry and take out the next day. My hair NEVER dries over night because its so thick. I always need at least 24 hours. If I intend to keep the twist in for a week or two I do them as small as I can stand. When I do the twist I use either eco styler gel and coconut oil or eco styler gel and Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. After I’m done with the twist I usually clip the scraggly ends off. This was how I slowly cut the color off my hair over a 1 years time. I’d twist my hair monthly and cut about 1/4 inch off each time. But that’s my 2 for 1 special.

When I do he twist I get mixed reviews. I have one friend, in particular, who absolutely loves them. She raves about them every time I do it. But this is not the thought process of all. I’ve been compared to Celie from “Color Purple”. My father in particular has some particular views about natural hair. He often taunts my mother and I, mostly out of fun, but also from some old school standards of beauty. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wearing twist in my hair. I would love to get to a point when I’d be comfortable doing the same cycle with bantu knots. But I am not at a place where I am comfortable wearing bantu knots as a style. Maybe that means I still have growing to do in my natural hair journey, or maybe its just my style preference. Some people are more conservative than others. Some keep their hair straight, in a bun, braids, or weave. I try not to judge anybody. This is my natural, this is a process I’ve formed that works for me, my lifestyle, and budget.  So for my natural sisters out there, tell me, “what YOUR natural look like?, What are your go to styles?