Hi There!

Welcome to my blog! This space has been used over the past several years to document mainly my natural hair journey and several different aspects of my life such as spiritual matters, my jewelry design, and parenting. I will from time to time post on this blog but my newly revamped blog can be found at BeautifullyCurled.com. Here you will find much recent updates about my hair journey along with my daughter's and so much more. Hope you will come by and visit and thanks for stopping by this blog. Be blessed. -Kris

Don't Sleep on Thrift Store Finds

I have been going to the thrift store for awhile now to score some really great deals on *NEW* or gently used books for my daughter since she loves to read. I literally can get her 10-12 books for $2 MAX. Same thing with the toys but she has enough toys right now that even cheap new toys don't even compel me to buy them (although I bought her a sit n spin gently used and in great condition for $3).  I rarely peruse the clothing section because at first glance, a lot of the selection looks ragged, faded, and extremely out of date. However, I decided to see if they had any blazers my size that won't make me look frumpy. Well, to my surprise, I found 3 blazers that I really like.  Here is one of them:


This blazer was in tip top condition and was only $7! *SMILES*  So after finding a little success, I decided to head over to the women's section to see what I can score in deals and style.  Let me tell you, I had a much better time browsing the racks at the thrift store than I would at the insanely disorganized racks at Forever 21 (but they still have AWESOME jewelry).  What made things better was the fact that all clothing was buy 1 get 1 free.  I was like "Word?".  As I was looking at some of the price tags, I noticed that many of the tops, pants, and skirts were only $3.  Then I said to myself "WORD!". Lets get to cracking...

Don't get me wrong, you have to be patience when it comes to shopping at the thrift store.  When I shop for books for Z, I make sure there are no stains, frayed edges, food grime, and torn out pages in the books I purchase.  It is a process but if you just look, you would be amazed what items you can find that are either new or in really great shape.  Just like I inspect the books, I examined every piece of clothing item I was interesting in purchasing for tears, fading, stains, holes, and etc.

Some of the items, I was really put off.  They say another man's trash is someone else's treasure.  Well, some of the items are just plain trash in my opinion.  The stains in some of these items were basically like OMG...like, how can you even put this on the rack with a price tag even if it is only 2-3 dollars?

But some of the items I could not believe they were stranded in the amidst of old ragged clothing.  My most exciting findings is this top:

 
 

This top is so gorgeous in person! $3! I am so into crazy prints and patterns and this top definitely hits the spot! Amazing...

So since I bought one top, I was able to get this one free:


I don't have many blue tops so this is a great addition to my wardrobe.  It is crazy because I have a shirt that I purchased at Forever 21 that looks very similar to this one (paid $20 for it).  Throw on a nice white or khaki skirt and a skinny belt and I am set to go with this great find!

So what are some of the other items I found during my thrifting experience?

Who is Ready for a Challenge?

Hi ladies!

On Sunday, I will be starting my 6 month protective styling challenge to help get me closer to WL this winter. Some of the ladies have personally informed me that they are interested in joining this challenge with me. This really excite me because I was pretty much on my own during my 1 year wig challenge this past year and sometimes it got hard. So I figured I would ask to see if any of you are interested in joining the challenge with me. And even if you are not interested, I would love if you could come and support me in this challenge. Unlike the last challenge where I pretty much wore a wig the entire year, this one will have some flexibility in styling, which I really like since I know first hand how wearing wigs all the time can get boring.

Here are the results of my 1 year challenge in case you did not see my post about it. I retained at least 6 inches from this challenge and know first hand that protective styling is ONE method to retaining length:


In 6 months, I hope to retain at least 3 inches of length, which is approximately equaled to this:

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3 inches can get you from one hair length milestone to the next milestone (or at least close to it). So if you are interested in a challenge or cheering me on, then please leave a comment stating:

"I'm READY!"

And if you aren't ready, feel free to just say:

"GO Girl!"

I plan to do weekly/bi-weekly check ups on my blog to track progress, thoughts, frustrations, and etc. :)

Can't wait to see your responses!

Getting PERSONAL! (LONG)

I know I have been blogging mainly about my hair journey since I started my blog but when all is said and done, my hair is not going to get me through my most difficult times in life. But isolating myself and keeping my struggles to myself is not going to help me get through either. So here is to me (the introvert) being more open...



Right now, I am juggling with so much just like the next person. I am an engineering graduate student who constantly feel like giving up, a mother of a very busy toddler who is about to head into those terrible twos, a fiancee' to a guy who is just as busy with school and work, an inspiring bride to be who has NO idea when exactly she will have the time to fully plan out her wedding, a frustrated job seeker who just want to get her foot into the medical device/pharmaceutical industry to start her career, a blogger/vlogger who wants to continue to inspire her readers through her journey, and most importantly, a Christian of 5 years who is still struggling with the concept of faith and feeling worthy of God's love. 

Sometimes, we can look at someone from the outside and truly believe that THAT person has it all together.  Or we can desire to be like someone or have something that someone has without really knowing what all that person had to go through to get to a certain place in life or receive an awesome blessing.  I don't ever want someone to look at me that way because I CERTAINLY don't have it all together even with longer hair...lol.  And even when I do have things together, it is only because of God's grace and mercy. Praise HIM!

Several ladies have mentioned how they can see Christ in me and see my positive attitude.  I think, "Wow, really?!", mainly because I am going through some hard times right now.  I was truly humbled by those statements especially since they were based off of not knowing me personally and based on what they can see from my video and read from my blog. As you go through my blog, I don't want you to see me as another natural hair guru/expert (far from it!) or even a big headed one at that (because there are those out there but I don't knock their hustle).  I would like for you to see me as an individual who is growing not only in her hair journey, but most importantly growing as a beautiful and unique individual in her spiritual and life journey.  I want to be as humble as I can as I share what I have learned through my experiences whether it be about hair or in life because in the end, all good things come from above and He should ALWAYS get the glory especially since I do not even deserve to be here today to share this with you.

Don't think I am going to start preaching on my blog...hehe.  But I will share some spiritual points that I want to keep note of that may help me grow as a Christian and hopefully be of some help to someone else.  What profit is for me to hog my spiritual discoveries to myself and not share it with you all?  I sure do not want God to act the same way toward me! In addition, I want to be able to be open and learn from experiences that some of you have gone through that may help me get through some of my rough patches.  Even biblical verses that you believe that can help encourage me would be awesome! 

I hope I do not turn any readers off by introducing a more personal and spiritual aspect of my life on my blog. I mean, the title of my blog is This BEadifully YOUnique Woman (not Hair).  But if I do, I apologize in advance and hope that you continue to read my posts pertaining to my hair journey because I will continue to do so on a regular basis. 

Ok, enough babbling on.  This past Sunday, my preacher talked about declaring WAR against the devil.  The catch phrase was

1-2-3-4 I-DE-CLARE-WAR!

This is on repeat in my head as I work on this graduate work.  Keep me in prayer and remember to BE.YOU.Always! :)

Kristal

Some Comparison Shots (Box Braids)

Pretty much a year difference:



My box braids definitely have some more hang time. A year from now should bring more favorable results. :)

My Pre-Poo Experience Using Shea Moisture Products

Hair saturated with conditioner

Since I had my stretched fro out this weekend, I decided to do a pre-poo to kind of help cut through a lot of the tangles in my hair. I received a tip from a subscriber to try the Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque as a pre-poo and then shampoo and condition as usual.  So yesterday, I SLATHERED a lot of the masque throughout my hair to make sure it is fully saturated because I had a lot of tangles from wearing my fro out.  In addition, I added some of the Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner on top of the masque.  The Restorative Conditioner is creamy but not as thick as my staple conditioner, the Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner.  I cannot do a full review of the Restorative Conditioner until I use it separate as a conditioner after shampooing my hair.

How long did I leave the masque and conditioner in my hair?

My Tuck and Roll Video Tutorial


I finally posted my video tutorial on YouTube of my Tuck and Roll style I blogged about 1.5 weeks ago.

Here is the video:


Please subscribe to my channel BEadifully YOUnique on YouTube and let me know you stopped by!  My video inventory is slowly adding up and I want to thank all my subscribers for being so encouraging and patient with me as I get these videos and blog posts up. :)

The Rare Appearance...

Hi  everyone! Hope you had a beautiful Sunday!

Yesterday, I decided to wear my fro out. This is VERY RARE due to the length of my hair. Check out Kimmaytube's video titled, "Afro, Why I Won't Wear My Hair In One". I agree with her 100% on this particular topic.

Anyway, I had my hair in a bun Friday night and removed it Saturday morning for a fro out look.  I did not pick it out or anything...just fluffed it out with my fingers.  It was cute but even a stretched out fro can lead to some major tangles...such a BIG NO NO!  Here are some pictures:

 




Hope you enjoyed the fro out because it will NOT be out like this anytime soon.  :)

Take care, be blessed, and BE.YOU.Always!

My First Flexi Rod Twist Out Set (Picture Heavy)

My parents surprisingly traveled up to visit moi so I have not had the chance to finish editing the tuck and roll and the flexi rod twist out set video tutorials. I am hoping to finish these by the end of the week. Nevertheless, I could not leave you all hanging in suspense! I took plenty of pictures of the flexi rod twist out set I said I was going to do in a previous post. This was my first attempt and I am very satisfied with the results!

Here is my hair after removing the tuck and roll style:

I forgot to take a picture of me with my flexi rods but you will be able to see those in my upcoming tutorial. I used smaller rods in the back of my head and increased the size of the rods as I moved up my head using only my leave-in conditioner on damp (not wet) twists.  I used one rod for every 3-4 twists. Here is me after putting in the rods and fitting them underneath my bonnet. It was very comfortable sleeping on the rods:


I did the set Friday night. It was very windy and rainy most of Saturday so I just kept the rods in until that evening when the storm had subsided and my daughter wanted to stroll around outside. I didn't separate the curls or anything since I was only going right outside to walk around with my daughter. Here are my curls right after removing the rods:


I slept with a bonnet over my curls and was so excited to see the results of this flexi rod set the next morning...

My First Tuck and Roll Attempt





Very simple style jazzed up with two flower pins and a thin headband. I did not apply anything on my twists because my twists (the ends) were still well moisturized from bunning. Will provide a quick how-to tutorial soon. 


Going from Protective to Expressive this Weekend

So I have been enjoying my bun for the past several days and decided I want to go from protective to expressive with my twists this weekend.


So what does this mean?

My Upcoming 6 Month Hair Challenge

Visit link for more comparison pictures from this challenge: Results of 1 Year Challenge

After seeing the amazing results of wearing wigs and protecting my natural hair for an entire year, I knew I had to continue with protective styling to help retain at least 3 more inches over the next 6 months starting next month. I have been tweaking the details of my next protective styling challenge, going back and forth between wearing wigs strictly the entire time or incorporating some other protective styles in addition to wearing wigs.

To be honest, it is hard for me to wrap my mind around wearing wigs for another 6 months. I mean, I just completed almost a year of wearing them! I kind of want to wear my natural hair out from under the wig some more especially since I have been ENJOYING my twists and buns lately.  I am TOTALLY feeling the bun:


So with that said, here are the terms of my upcoming challenge so far:

My Review on Some of the Shea Moisture Products

So here is the gist of it:

Move over Kinky Curly Come Clean because I am loving my *NEW* shampoo!

Haven't tried it on my hair but it makes my daughter's curls POP! Keeper!

It smells GREAT and is a pretty decent product BUT I feel like I can make a homemade version of this.

AND

BLAH! I tried it as an 1 hr deep treatment, a leave-in by itself, and a part of my leave-in recipe. It didn't work for my daughter's hair either. Someone on Youtube suggested I try it as a pre-poo and then use my moisture retention shampoo following it. I am going to try that because I do want to try out all the possibilities before truly coming to an absolute conclusion. I will update you with the results of that. 


What do you think about any of these products or about the ones I have not used yet?

I am pretty excited about using the elixir and the smoothie on my hair. I will let you know how those turn out once I try them.

Here is a video of my in-depth review of some of the Shea Moisture products:



Thanks for reading!

BE.YOU.Always!

My Twist Bun Maintenance

In this video, I go over how I maintain my bun overnight and throughout the week.



I plan on keeping this bun until Friday or Saturday.

Be blessed and thanks for stopping by!

Zakiah's Finger Coils


Of course being a wild sleeper, these did not last that long but looked cute for 3 days at most. I did these right after I washed her hair with the Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and applied some leave-in and Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie to her hair. Side note: It is SO amazing how she has straight strands of hair like I do! Genes sure can go a LONG way in a family's tree.

I pretty much started from the back of her head and worked my way up twirling small sections of her hair around my finger to create coils. I applied a little of the Kinky Curly Curling Custard prior to the twirling to help set the coil. I did the coils on damp hair, and it took me a little over an hour to do just because she is a mover.

Here are some pictures of her fresh coils:

 
 


Trying to run away from camera crazy momma!

  

Those cheeks are just delish! :)

Day 3 hair...the end of the coils!

Freshly Threaded Eyebrows and My New Goody Products

Ahhhh...nothing quite as refreshing as FRESHLY threaded eyebrows! I get them done every 4-6 weeks and maintain them the best I can with tweezers in between sessions.

Zakiah wanted to get into the picture. So, why not?  She has finger coils in her hair. I will post pictures of those soon!

Now on to my new goody products. So, what did I buy?

April 2011 Length Check: Mid-Back Length!

April 2011
I wished I would have done a length check last March (2010) when I first started my healthy hair journey. I honestly was not even thinking about it plus I did not think to create a length check shirt until that summer when I took this picture:

July 2010
I was about an inch past from APL last July and 9 months later, I am 0.5 inches past MBL. Pictures speak volumes.

How much have I retained in 9 months?

Create a Thicker Bun with a Banana Clip

LOL...I look like that black guy off Star Trek aka the Reading Rainbow guy.
I decided that I want to wear my twists in a bun for extra protection this week. Therefore, I pulled out my banana clip, elastic band, and long bobby pin. The banana clip is an excellent tool to help create the illusion of a thicker and fuller bun when wearing twists.

This is how I completed my thick bun in 5 minutes:

Feel JUST Like Mousse!

 

I am torn between wearing my wig and wearing my hair out in twists for my 6 month protective styling challenge that is supposed to start in May.  I wore my wig for the entire week and now I have my hair in some twists.  I washed my hair last Saturday but skipped this Saturday because I wanted to dry twist my hair after being stretched by the four box braids I wore underneath my wig this week. I started to put some of the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie on my hair but then I switched back to my trusty leave-in conditioner with the Kinky Curly Knot Today conditioner.  I want to wait to try the Curl Enhancing Smoothie on fresh clean hair instead.

How long did it take for me to complete this set of twists?

Working with Coconut Beads...

I have been wanting to work with some different types of beads to switch up the design of my earrings for a little while. I decided to work with some coconut beads that I ordered off Etsy. These triangular beads are originally from the Philippines and are extremely lightweight. I posted a few of these on my Etsy shop and plan on creating and posting some more of these earrings over the next week or so.  My focus on some of my dangle earrings is that simple is better.