Rejuvenating my Mane.

hairHave you checked out my natural hair regimen? If you have I should note that I am a complete fraud. My lion mane has been very unkempt for the past few weeks, for no reason other than my own laziness.  I hate to use the “busy working mom” excuse, but this stuff is hard. Just yesterday a student said “you look tired” and I replied, “gee, thanks a lot”. In his opinion I should not have been tired because its Friday, but my reply was that “I’m tired because its Friday.” My past month has included: being snowed in, car repairs, potty training, parent teacher conference nights, and various other after-school meetings and requirements, and sickness.

Every weekend my intention would be to do my typical winter routine of wash, deep condition, and twists. Saturday would come and go, Sunday would come and go, even some Monday holidays/workdays, and snow days off, and I still would not have the motivation to do anything with my hair. To make things worse I wasn’t even protecting my hair at night. I would either fall asleep on the couch or be to tired to find my bonnet to wear. (This is where a satin pillow case would come in handy). So I really wasn’t worrying about putting my hair a pineapple, sealing and moisturizing, or using the plastic cap to lock in moisture. The most I was doing was  fluffing it out in the morning after it got moist in the shower and adding a leave in. Occasionally, I would put it in a puff and/or maybe add a twist or something in the front. But I am determined at this point to get back on track. These are the steps I plan on taking.

1. My twist routine.

This weekend, as in today, I am going to reset my usual routine. I really mean it this time. I am going to do a hot oil treatment with coconut, EVOO, or avocado oil, co-wash, and deep condition. I will then put my twist in and wear them for 1-2 weeks. This is my typical winter routine, when I am trying to use as much protective styling as possible. I will usually wear my hair out for a little but after I take the twist out. But I need to get back to this.

2. Straightening

I know this might seem like the opposite of what I should be doing for healthy hair management, but sometimes I just get a boost my seeing my hair totally stretched out. I plan on going to a professional stylist that specializes in natural hair. I got a blow out at a Dominican stylist last year, and while I was happy with the results, I was skeptical about the treatment of my hair. They were VERY rough. I understand that there is going to be some pulling and tugging, but I want to make sure my hair is getting the best care possible; especially after my own bad habits. This is also an opportunity for me to get a good trim. Although it always breaks my heart to see them trim away all that length, I know its damaged ends so no need to keep it. After this I will be ready to keep up my healthy hair.

3. PROTECTIVE STYLING

For the rest of the dry wintry season, maybe even through spring break, I plan on keeping protective styles. And I mean real protective styles with all my hair tucked away. I’ll probably rotate between crochets, corn row styles, and buns with some added hair. I will of course be moisturizing throughout and washing/conditioning in between styles. I just want to make sure that I am keeping my hair away from the elements as it has been very much exposed for the past month or 2.

My hair is so important to me. Natural hair care is no easy task. Some people think its easier than having a relaxer, boy are they wrong. I had reasonably long hair before I was natural, it would be a shame if my hair was worse of now that I am natural. This is by no means swaying me back to the creamy crack. I am a Naturalista for life, for more reasons than just having long hair. I would be lying if I said my long was not to surpass my relaxed hair length. I know we all have ups and downs, but I hope to get back to my old self; rocking my coils for the world to see.

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Blogger Recognition Award

Image result for blogger recognition award

 

I cannot believe I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award. I’ve seen this floating around, but never really knew how it works. I want to thank LeanSixteen so much for nominating me.  You should take a look at her blog if you haven’t already. She offers some great health and fitness advice. Be sure to follow her.

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

How I got started:

In the past I never really considered blogging. But after getting married and having a son, I felt like I needed something for myself. Thus healthy.nappy.nerdy.mommy.com was born. These 4 name topics are very big parts of my life and personality being: healthy living, natural hair care, nerdy entertainment like comics or anime, and being a mom and wife. I try to alternate which topic a blog about so one does over dominate the other. I hope to appeal to a broad range of folk.

Advice:

I feel weird giving advice, because I have only been doing this for a few months, but here goes:

  1. Find your niche and run with it-These topics that I write about are things that I am always thinking about, researching, and talking about. Stick with what you know and love. If the content is authentic people will know it and love it as much as you do.
  2. Be an active participant- Don’t just focus on your blog alone. Follow other blogs, like, and comment on their posts. Create a dialogue and give people a reason to come back to you.

My Nominations:

Speakyourpurpose 

Amy’s Pantry

It’s A Bella Life

Nikki’s Confetti Life

The Otaku-Don

nutritionnut84

One Flawsome Momma

oh those baby feels

jchotog

Holistic Locs

Dad the Geek 

Queen Nique

Super Sirrious Mom 

A Busy Working Mama

Natural Hair Lounge

 

 

 

 

 

Potty Training: Phase 2

My son Xavier is daytime and #1 potty trained. I’ve highlighted my process with this in My 5 Steps for Potty Trainingpoop Progress. We had some progress with those steps, but he didn’t really get it down until he stayed with my mother for a week over the summer. “Grandma Jeanie’s Boot Camp” is something that started after my niece and nephew were miraculously potty trained after a week with her. From what she told me she does everything as I did, but for some reason it just works for her. After that there were no more pull ups on long rides, and I don’t really have to ask him to go to the bathroom. If he needs it, he just goes. But now we are entering Phase 2, which is tackling the night time, nap, and the big #2!

For some reason at daycare he only has the occasional accident during nap time, she does not use pull ups. But at home he always wakes up wet. I limit his drinking an hour before and make him potty multiple times, but he still wakes up drenched. Night time wasn’t even a question; I was not ready to night time train him. With nap and night time training will come #2 training, because that’s the only time he poops. He waits until I put a pull up on him and deliberately poops before he falls asleep so he can get changed. I read a story, lay him down, say prayers, and turn off the light. In about 30 seconds he gets up and turns the light back on. He then proceeds to take every book off his bookshelf and several toys out. In about 5 minutes he’ll peep around the hallway and whisper “I pooped”. This was strategic, he is a bright child. He knows he does not want the poop on him in his sleep, so he does it before hand to be changed. I tried putting him on the potty right before bed, but he still refused to poop in it. You would think I’d have enough of this and decide right then and there to take the pull ups away, but I was not ready for all of that.

Fate would decide when the time came. Right after Christmas break we had a snow storm. Of course anyone from the North jokes about how everything shuts down in the south due to a little snow. We got 5-8 inches, which is a big deal for North Carolina. I could not get out of my apartment complex for 3 days. I didn’t realize we were running low on pull ups; we only had 3 left. If I wasn’t able to get out that day I would have enough because he uses 2 for nap and night time due to his scheduled poops.  During nap time I used the expected 2, and then….I found a way out of that parking lot because I was not ready to clean pee and poop out of his bed.

I bought a small bag of pull ups because, I was not sure I wanted to commit to the jumbo box. I regretted it immediately.  You see, my son is very large for his age. He will be 3 in March and is current 3 and 1/2 feet tall, and 40 pounds. Most people mistake him for 3,4, and sometimes 5. So the 4t-5t pull ups were on their last leg. He was often peeing out of them. I didn’t not want to pay the astronomical price for the “Under Jams” for big kids, so I decided this was it. After he finished this small pack we were going to finish potty training. I should’ve just stuck to my guns and started while we were snowed in, but I’m stubborn.

We are still working with this, but have had some success. He has his lunch and last beverage 2 hours before nap time, and 3 hours for bed time. After that I make him potty as many times as possible. He sits on the potty 10-15 watching poop in the potty videos before he lays down. He doesn’t poop in his underwear before nap time, but he does at night. He is showing remorse for it now. He doesn’t come and get us, but instead he cries in his room, waddling around. I’ve also started to put his character underwear on at night. If he poops or pees I tell him he made whatever character sad, because he pee’d or pooped on them. We have started to spank and give him a stern talking to when he does this, because he is capable of coming and telling us that he has to poop. I do feel bad about this a little, because I understand that for kids #2 is hard to do. There seems to be some kind of mental block that won’t allow him to let go and just do it in the potty. But, its ridiculous for him to just have been on the potty and plan to do it before falling asleep. It would be another story if it was done, accidentally while asleep. After he has his pooping out of the way if we wake him up during the night to pee he can have a dry night.

This is what I’m working with. If anybody has some pointers or suggestions, I’m all ears. I know this won’t happen overnight, but if it could that would be great. This is not a fun process for anybody involved. All of the extra washing clothes, and  I not built for cleaning this grown man poop out of underwear.

Update: This just in, I had to stop writing this because, my son woke up crying and said he had to poop. I sat him on the potty and he did just that! We of course erupted in excitement and sang the “poo poo in the potty” song. Hopefully this is the start of him finally getting it down.

7 Benefits of A.M. Workouts

morningSince the New Year, I got the crazy idea to start working out in the morning. I always avoided it before, because I need my precious sleep. But I’d always end up too tired or overwhelmed to exercise in the evenings. I thought I’d lead workouts after work, but those have been a flop this year. So I finally decided to stop making excuses and get my workouts done in the mornings. These are the reasons I’m loving it.

1. It gets me pumped!

Exercising in the morning has been so rejuvenating. Rather than tire me out for the rest of the day, it gives me energy. Exercise releases endorphins, those chemicals put me in a good mood and gets me ready to concur anything that comes my way.

2. I have to be organized

Because I am waking up an hour early to workout if forces me to organize the rest of my day so that everything doesn’t fall apart. I pick out my clothes, make lunches, clean, prepare lesson plans, and etc. I do all this to make up for waking up an extra hour. I usually make up more than that and I am more on point than ever before.

3. I actually get MORE sleep

Yes, you read that right, waking up an hour earlier actually allows me to get more sleep. Because I am preparing to wake up earlier I deliberately go to sleep in order to get my 8 hours in. Sometimes I still fall short, but its much better. Before, I would stay up on social media until 1, 2, or sometimes 3 in the morning. My sleeping schedule was HORRIBLE. Before I was working out I’d pass out shortly after I put my son to bed at 8, wake up again at about 11 and then be up until 4 in the morning, no wonder I had no energy to exercise, much less anything else. I was miserably just getting by during the day. Now I am well rested and energized through the day and fail asleep soundly somewhere in between 9-11, then wake up ready for my next workout.

4. I drink more water

Drinking water has always been a struggle of mine. Even if I was eating healthy I would not drink water. I could go an entire day without drinking anything but coffee. Before I workout I drink a big glass of water, I drink another during the workout, and another after. That’s half of the water I need for the day. It does make me have to rush to the bathroom right as I clock in. After that if I get just 1-2 bottles in at work and 1-2 at home with dinner, I’m good for the day.

5. I get creative

What exactly am I doing at 5 in the morning? Right now I’ve been alternating between doing Beachbody Cize workouts and Insanity. The Cize day is like the fun workout, and Insanity puts me in beastmode. I do the videos Monday-Friday, Saturday is a wild card day for a free community class or playing with my son, and Sunday is a rest day, I might do some yoga if I feeling up to it.  I also have a fitness room at my apartment that I could use. I have saved tons of circuits and workouts from Pinterest that will acutally be put to use now. The sky is the limit, but I have a chance to actually get creative and independently try new things without being worried about the other people around me are doing or thinking.

6. I have “me time”

I absolutely love my husband and son. I love my job. But these morning workouts I have all to myself. Its just me and the living room space. Sometimes I lose myself in the workout, I don’t even realize I’m exercising because I can hear all the thoughts that I don’t hear during the business of the day.

7. I eat healthier

Doing my workouts in the morning sets me up for healthier eating throughout the day. I’m already motivated and don’t want to undo my progress. So many times before, I’d put the workout I intended to do in MyFitnessPal and the never do it. Now I already have it covered, so I know not the overindulge. Plus, I still have the opportunity to do a little extra if I want at the end of the day. Although I still have issues with extra snacking, at least I’m motivated to plan better meals, because of my exercise routine.

I hope I keep this up and don’t fall off, because it has been really beneficial for me all around. My husband has even noticed. He says I seem happier and not so exhausted and defeated when I get home from work. He even claims he can tell a difference in my body, but I never believe him when he says that, because he says it even when I know I’ve put on 10 pounds. You can’t beat these results though. My ultimate goal is to lose weight, but all the other improvements are great as well. I waiting a month before I weigh myself. Even if I don’t like what the numbers says, sometimes there’s more to it that just losing weight. I’m just trying my best to be healthy, hoping that everything will fall into place. Making exercise a MANDATORY part of my schedule is my first step.

Are Orcs the Blacks of Middle Earth?

I have mentioned the influence of my race a few times. It goes without saying as I am discussing various aspects of natural hair care. In the world of geekery I am interested in African American Sci-Fi and Fantasy characters. Because African Americans have been under represented in vaorcsrious forms of entertainment, since I was a child I find myself yearning for characters that “look like me”.  So my first time watching a “Lord of the Rings” film I found myself asking “where are the black people?”

I’ve read “The Hobbit” and the “Lord of the Rings” books. And although descriptions of characters are given their race, as far as color, is not. But I believe European characteristics are the “default” of what people imagine in their minds if it is not specified. Much like the outrage of Hermione being cast as black in “The Cursed Child” to which author JK Rowling responded on twitter saying “Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione”. The film makers who bring the movie to life create their own interpretation of the world the writers created. So in the Middle Earth created by Peter Jackson, the only people with dark complexion were the Orcs/Goblins.

In the Middle Earth of “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” there are a few races which include Elves, Men, Dwarfs, and Orcs/Goblins. I’m not even sure if I sure include Wizards as a race, since there a few of them one serve as guardians. Technically other than “Man” the other races of Middle Earth aren’t “men” (if you get what I’m trying to say) but nonetheless they were chosen to be cast as Whites in the films. Then you have the Orcs. Their skin color varies greatly in the films. Some appear the palest of  white like Azog the Defiler.  While others are yellow, pinkish, red, brown, and black. Some of their hair is matted in a way that reminds me of dread locks, I’m thinking primarily of Lurtz, the Uruk-Hai scout leader. The Orcs appearance is the most distorted of all the Middle Earth creatures. I’d imagine that is to reflect what these creatures have endured (sound familiar).

Saruman describes the orcs as “elves taken by the dark powers, tortured, and mutilated. A ruined and terrible form of life” he goes on to say “Now, perfected, my fighting Uruk-Hai.” These creatures are typically shown controlled and following orders of either Sauron or Saruman. Saruman “the white”, marks his soldiers with his white hand insignia. They are used for their physical strength, and depicted as unintelligent, savage creatures. They will turn against each other if it suites the individuals needs and follow orders of their leader with little question. They are largely regarded as villains in these works, although have little to gain from their “sides” victory other than remaining in servitude. Obviously, works in particular locations and time settings would not accurately have blacks, but why not if it is fantasy? Why could there not have been black Elves, Men, Dwarfs, or Wizards? Orcs are the only character that seemed to physically fit the bill. Then when I looked closer, I thought “maybe it wasn’t coincidence?” It is believed that Tolkein wrote these books to reflect what he saw during World War I. Could have also been showing his thoughts of the treatment of blacks during that time and over the course of history?

My intention is not to race bate or offend. I am merely stating my observations.  I have read “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” as well as seen the films, although I have not read “The Silmarillion” (future gift idea). These stories may close some gaps and give me more answers proving or disproving my hypothesis. Have anyone else had similar theories?

Natural Hair Product Wish List

These are just a few products that I think will be beneficial for my hair. Some of them are items that I’ve been aware of but just never tried because of availability and/or price. Others are things that I recently been introduced to. I look forward to actually purchasing them, trying them out, and sharing my experience in the future.

  1. Kinky Curly Line (especially the Kinky Curly Custard)

    I’ve known people that swear by these products. The two main items I hear about the most are the “Knot Today” leave in conditioner, and the Kinky Curly Custard. I typically try not to by into marketing of “black natural hair” product. I by items that are affordable and don’t have harsh ingredients. The only actual beauty brand products a buy are shampoo, conditioner, and sometime of curl cream. Everything else I make with a mixture of ingredients. Natural hair products are more accessible now than every before. So, I may try to catch a sale and get me some.

  2. SLAPS Satin-Lined Cap

    This is seems like a must have item for any naturalista. I can wear it stand alone for a stylish look or under other hats to protect my hair from damage. It will also keep my hair an styles protected at night.

  3. Satin Pillow Case

    This is not some brand new invention that has been hidden from me all these years. I just have to remember to pick one up the next time I’m in a department store. I need this for nights when I just plop myself in bed without doing any of my nightly routines. At least I can reduce damage from friction with the fabric fibers.

  4. Flexi Rods and/ or Perm Rods

    I used thick flexi rods when my hair was relaxed, but its been years, and I know the results will be different. I’ve seen results from both that look good. Just like the satin pillow case its another item I just have to snag the next time I hit the beauty supply store. I will have to get A LOT because I have a bunch of thick hair. I know plenty of naturals say this, but mine is on another level.

  5. Straightening Brush

    I’m not super enthusiastic about getting one of these. But I am slightly interested. I imagine the results will be similar to the original InStyler. I was never able to just use it on wet, damp, or tangled hair and get a sleek look. I did use it on my hair after it was straightened professionally to do touch ups if my hair got puffy, and I liked those results better than a flat iron. I probably won’t buy this, but if I now someone that has one, maybe I’ll borrow theirs.

  6. Hooded Dryer

    This is a product that a disparately want and need. I am an advocate of putting as little heat on my hair as possibly. But when I want to do a twist, braid, or roller set, I would like the option to do it one morning or evening and be ready to go. Versus having to do it 2 days in advance, or partially blow drying my hair for it to be dried within one evening. Once again the thickness of my hair is out of this world so on night of air drying is never enough no matter how early in the evening I do it. I’ve considered getting a smaller bonnet dryer, but have heard mixed reviews. I may still try it out over a large hooded dryer.

These are some products that I’ll be getting in the near future. Please share your thoughts if you have experience with any of these.

 

Vegan Mac & Cheese

I am not a vegan, but I do try to eat a plant based diet most of the time. I highlighted some of my diet ideals in 7 Reasons I Became a “Flexi” Vegan. mncAs I am allergic to dairy, eggs, and wheat/gluten, Macaroni and cheese is pretty much off limits for me. I’ve had to become very creative with my cooking. I have not become creative enough to make or invest in gluten free pasta.  I often ignore my mild allergies if becomes very inconvenient to adhere to them. I have made this same cheese sauce with spaghetti squash or zoodles making it gluten free. This particular recipe I made for my Vegan bestie as a Christmas gift. She said it was really good and it didn’t taste vegan. I ate some and it was good; although not as good as good ol’ fashioned macaroni and cheese. I think it was a little heavy on the garlic and cayenne pepper. You may notice from some of my other recipes that I don’t include measurements, and specifics about cooking time. That’s because unless I’m baking something I’ve never tried I don’t use them. Some of the things I cook I’ve just made up based on other recipes I’ve seen and what I think will work. My friend enjoyed the recipe though, or she just lied because she is too nice to tell me that my gift for her was nasty. Here is my simple recipe I used for vegan mac & cheese .

Ingredients: cashew milk, vegan butter, sweet potato, garlic power, onion power, salt, pepper, turmeric, mustard power, cayenne pepper, elbow macaroni noodles, bread crumbs, dried parsley.

Directions:

  1. Boil pasta until it is tender with a slight bite ( about 10 minutes)
  2. Once done, drain and set to the side.
  3. Cook sweet potato in microwave for about 5 minutes.
  4. Put sweet potato in a high powered blinder (i used a ninja) or food processor.
  5. Add cashew milk, vegan butter, and spices except parsley (use sparingly so you can add more if needed for desired smoothness and flavor)
  6. Blend ingredients until desired taste and texture is achieved
  7. Rub a baking dish with oil of your choice (I used olive)
  8. Add cooked pasta and prepared sauce
  9. In a small bowl melt some vegan butter and mix with bread crumbs
  10. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of pasta and cheese sauce.
  11. Sprinkle with parsley.
  12. Bake in oven on 400 until bubbly and golden brown.

I hope you enjoy!