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

You Never Know What You are Missing Until It Is...


...gone. This post has nothing to do with anything hair related but is dedicated to a family who has touched my life and others in so many ways. When God really wants to move, He MOVES because He set this family to embark on a new journey in His will really quick. I mean, it's so quick that I am still trying to grasp the concept that on tomorrow, I will not be seeing the Moss family in Sunday services.

God has called for Bro. B. Moss, the (now) former Assistant Minister of Southside Church of Christ in Durham, NC to lead the flock over at the Lake Como Church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX as the Senior Minister.  What an awesome opportunity! But still, my heart aches in a way because I always envisioned Bro. Moss being at Southside Church of Christ for a very long time. Since 2005-06, the Moss family has blessed the Southside congregation with their dedication, motivation, and service for the Lord. B. Moss has grown to be such an energetic YOUNG minister in Christ, and it has been such a pleasure watching him develop into a mighty servant of God. Bro. Moss' lovely wife Sis T. Moss is such a beautiful woman of God who I truly admire and adore because of her humble spirit, class, and grace. Oh, and how can I not forget about M&M!  He is the same age as Z who loves to sing songs aloud and eat his snacks during service (just like Z).

I will miss the Moss family terribly and can't wait to see them at the next God appointed time. I am excited to see what great works will be done through Moss and his congregation over at Lake Como Church of Christ. If any of you are in the Fort Worth, TX area, please do you and I a favor and stop over at Lake Como Church of Christ to support a dynamic young minister for the Lord. I promise you will not be disappointed, and I do not take that lightly. You will be surely blessed!

Love you Mosses!

Turning Back the Hands of Time: My Big Chop Pictures

I was not one of the many bold, beautiful, and brave ladies who just up and decided that they would hack away all those chemically processed ends as soon as they made the decision to return to their natural roots.  First off, there were not too many naturals in my community when I decided to transition. Secondly, I had my gazillion concerns about whether a TWA (teeny weeny afro) would compliment my head shape and size and bone structure. Therefore, when it came down to getting rid of all my relaxed hair, my game plan simply consisted of transitioning for at least one year while gradually snipping away at all those limpy ends.

The biggest factor that made my transition difficult and end prematurely was the fact that I did not know how to properly deal with the multiple textures on my head. There were not nearly as many resources back in 2003-04 as there are now for new transitioners to help get through the common woes of transitioning. Therefore, after 11 months of frustration and growing anticipation, I decided to end the hair battle by chopping the remaining relaxed ends on February 13, 2004 (The day before Valentine's Day. Yeah. I know. lol).


I probably chopped off more than I should have, but I wanted to make sure I clipped off as many of the relaxed ends as possible. I never went to a professional to shape my afro after the fact. I probably had between 5-6 inches of hair after the big chop. Here were the results (these were taken from my camera phone in 2004 so I apologize for the low quality):


Dope right?

Although my big chop was a liberating moment for me, I quickly slapped on a wig the next day to go out to a Valentine's dinner. ;o)

Lazy Saturday Natural Hair Style: Two Low Banded Ponytails

This upcoming week, I decided that I will just wear my hair in two sections underneath my wig. I washed, conditioned, and detangled my hair and banded my hair into two low ponytails. Nothing elaborate, clearly, but just a simple natural hair style to keep my hair stretched on a lazy day as today. Hope you all are having a great day! Let me know how you like some of the changes on my blog. I enjoy working with html coding but it can be frustrating and time consuming since I am a beginner. I guess that is why I have no problem with the remainder of the day being a chill one. Until next time, be blessed! :)


My Natural Hair Exposed

Most of you know I don't do the loose hair look on my head often at all. I like to keep my hair nice and detangled by wearing twists or box braids. However, every now and then, it is fun to see my hair in a loose, free style. Here are some shots of my hair right before washing, detangling, and conditioning it for the week:





Another 1.5 Inches of #Naturalhair in the Bag: Midway Length Check

If you have been following me on my 6 month protective styling challenge, we are pretty much at the midway point of the challenge! Just a few days shy actually, but I wanted to celebrate a little early. So a little over 3 more months to go ladies! Give yourselves a pat on the back. I also want to give a shout out to all the ladies on Hairlista who have joined the group and supported each other on this challenge. You ladies are amazing, and it is definitely encouraging to have over 250 supporters chiming in on their experiences and progress during the challenge. :) I would have never imagined so many ladies would be in on this with me. ::hugs:: to you all.

It has been a fairly easy challenge for me so far especially since I have been back to wearing my short curly wig. As promised, I did an official length check. I am horrible with aligning the pictures but I did the best I could to level out the two pictures. Here is the result so far:

Left: Initial Length Check. Right: Midway Length Check (Click to enlarge picture).

My hair growth is pretty much predictable. It grows a minimum of 0.5 inches a month (sometimes a little more over the summer). The first line on the picture on the right is the starting point, the middle line is the midway point, and the third line is my prediction for the final length check. By the end of the challenge, I expect to have gained and retained at least 3 inches of hair total, which is average across the board for most women. I will see if my expectation meets up at the final length check at the beginning of November so stay tuned!

If you have any comparison pictures you would like to share, please leave links in the comment section. I would love to see them plus they can definitely be sources of encouragement to others on the challenge. Hope everyone is hanging in there! Keep it up! It will surely pay off in the end. :)

Until next time. Be blessed and BE.YOU.Always! :)

Turning Back the Hands of Time: Transitioning Hairstyles


Looking back through some of my old albums from 2003-04, I am fully aware that my transitioning hairstyles were not as elaborate as those you would find on YouTube, hair social networks, and natural hair blogs today. You all have so many more resources now about the process of transitioning and many different hairstyles one could possibly try during their transition. Better yet, there exist now a plethora of video hair tutorials, which have been very instrumental to many on their journeys including me in the recent years on YouTube. It has been so awesome seeing how the natural hair community has grown tremendously over the past 7 years. It makes me feel older because YouTube was not even out when I decided to transition from relaxed to natural hair.

Nevertheless, with the few resources I did have back in 2003-04 such as online hair albums, I did manage to generate enough hairstyle options to get me through 11 months of transitioning. My signature style was the curl rod set on the back half of the hair with the front half in some type of design or flat twisted. In addition to curl rod sets, I wore microbraids, kinky twist extensions, and wigs during this time as well as alternative low manipulation styles. These styling options helped me get through the ruts experienced over the course of my transitioning phase by reducing some of the frustration of dealing with multiple textures simultaneously. If I had the option to do it all over again, I really believe I could have transitioned longer because of the information that exists today. Transitioning is much more than hairstyling, but how you handle you hair while washing and detangling. But at the end of the day, I managed with what I had and successfully got through the process with what resources I had.

Here are a few pictures from my transition:



These were taken in July 2003 when I first decided to go natural. To view pictures of my entire transitional phase, please visit: Pictures During Transition March 2003-February 2004

The Abuse of Relaxers and Heat Took Their Toll on My Hair

What were the driving factors that lead me to embark on my natural hair journey? Well, I have to share my story from the beginning...ok, not THAT far but starting in 1991.

My first relaxer was when I was 8 years old.  It was such a welcoming transition because so many of my peers at school had relaxed hair by the 3rd grade.  It was like some sort of rite of passage. Plus, I was tired of getting picked on by a girl who kept calling me George Bush whenever I wore my hair in a bushy puff on the top of my head. Ahhhh, the things I can laugh about now although THAT did hurt my feelings a long time ago.

I started to do my own hair when I got to high school. It was normally a little past shoulder length throughout my entire high school career and thinking back, I am surprised it was even THAT long. I abused the mess out of my hair with the constant curling, flat ironing, coloring (both using the boxed highlight kits and the homemade method: peroxide), and last but NOT least, chemically over processing of my hair. But of course, I did not know any better...tsk, tsk, tsk.


You all probably do not understand and this would most likely make most relaxed and natural ladies cringe, but during my 6-8 week post touch ups, my mom would slap the creamy crack OVER at least half of my already relaxed hair.. OMG! LOL. We had no idea this was a big no no (because (1) we had failed to read the directions carefully and (2) I clearly still had hair on my head to repeatedly do so by the grace of God).  The amazing part is that even after over processing my hair time and time again, I had a section in my crown area that would NEVER get straight.  I had to flat iron the mess out of that section to prevent my wraps from looking poofy on the top of my head. Oh, the torture. I still thought I was cute though...lol. My signature styles back then in high school were the loose baby doll curls and the dooby wrap.


 I was never the type to go to the salon to get my hair done ("did") on a regular basis so when I got to college, I did my own touch ups in the great comforts of my dorm room. Once again, it was by God's grace I still had hair because with all the college parties freshman and sophomore year, I was burning the life out of my hair. I can remember all the instances of filling my room with the scent of burnt hair as I blow dried it in preparation to curl and then flat iron it for my dooby wrap. Unfortunately, I had been conditioned throughout my relaxed years to believe that constant breakage, burnt hair, and chemically over processing hair were normal processes to our hair type.

I might have reached arm pit length once but after that, the abuse started to catch up with my hair. My hair started breaking off a lot by the end of my sophomore year. To rectify this issue, it was nothing for me to chop off my ends to make them look blunt again and seemingly healthy because I was never concerned about length. Well, at least not until I chopped my hair a little past chin length. At that point I thought to myself, "my hair has never been this short". I then became more conscious about the health of my hair.

Although I did not know it at the time, my last relaxer was March 2003. It was routine for me to refrain from any relaxers over the summer period to allow my hair a "break" from chemical processing. When I was younger, I would get braids to last throughout the summer, but in college, I just continued  using heating tools to manage my hair and its new growth until my first relaxer of the fall semester. The summer before my junior year (2003), I decided to research ways to take better care of my hair online As I was doing my research, I stumbled across one of the first and few natural hair communities http://www.nappturality.com/ and after a few days of reading through articles, lurking around the forums, and stalking fotki albums of natural women, I decided that I would start my transitioning process back to my natural roots.

9 More Pounds to Go Until

...until I reach my pre-pregnancy weight. Yes, over two years after Zakiah, I am still dealing with losing my so called "baby weight" (yada yada). Before I got pregnant, I was a lovely 143 on a 5'8 frame. Right before I had Zakiah in 2009, I was at least 200 pounds with my Ob-gyn (a male) welcoming me to the "big girls club" and complimenting on my Flintstone feet. ::side eye:: O_o Now, I am 152 (well, at least I have been for the past 4 days). Here are the before and after shots (click on images for a larger view):


And no. My thighs were not THAT big in the before picture. I was wearing one of Josh's scrubs. And no. Zakiah was not this world record baby of 10+ pounds. She was a perfect 6 pounds 13 ounces of sweet joy. My greedy behind just ate way too much taco bell. ::vomits in mouth::

I am satisfied with my current size although I would love to tone up my pooch, upper thighs, and bum. I believe once I work on those areas through weight training, the excess weight will fall right off right in time for my honeymoon because I desire to present my babe with my pre-pregnancy figure once again. ::wink::

Fall 2008

Banding Zakiah's Hair in Prep for Cornrow Attempt #4

Last night, I decided that I will attempt my 4th try at cornrowing Zakiah's hair today and therefore, washed her hair in four sections using Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and conditioned it with the Shea Moisture Curl Milk (as a leave-in). Instead of leaving her hair soaking wet when I applied the conditioner, I used a t-shirt to dab the excess water out of her hair. That way, her hair *hopefully* would not take as long to air dry overnight in prep for her cornrowing session today. After applying the leave-in, I gently detangled her hair using my modified Goody's denman brush from tip to root. I then banded her hair in the four sections using the Goody's Ouchless Elastics as a way to stretch her hair without heat. Here is a close up picture demonstrating exactly what I mean by banding:




Hopefully when she gets up, her hair will be for the most part dry and nicely stretched/detangled. I will post an update on how stretched her hair has gotten from the overnight banding.

Going Turban: New Trend in Head Wear

After watching this video from PhillyDiva19154 about how to make a fashion turban, I was UBER motivated to play around with the idea of wearing turbans to dress up a casual or formal look. I had no idea that this style of head wear is becoming more popular today as these fashion turbans are being sported on the runway and in the Hollywood spotlight (Google images).  But then again, I don't keep up with the latest trends to the tee. I am content on what I like when I like.

So I decided to play around with different ways to create the turban look with one of my favorite scarves. These were my first attempts, and the options are pretty much limitless as evident in PhillyDiva's video. Check her out!

Here are the three looks I came up with on a whim:

Look #1


Look #2

  

Look #3


The second turban style is my favorite! These were so quick and fun to create and are great for adding some flare to just a plain tee.  How do you feel about this current trend? Yay or nay?

Pictures from Zakiah's Playgroup

I really want to start incorporating more picture posts of Zakiah on my blog since this blog is not solely a natural hair blog but also a venue to share my memories and experiences as a mother to an amazing blessing from God. I used to blog like crazy for the first 10 months of her life but fell off greatly. She is developing so fast I would hate to not record some of her special moments on my blog to look back upon. This evening, Zakiah was invited to a playgroup, and it was awesome. There was a good mix of different cultures and she interacted with them pretty well. Here are some pictures from the outing:

Sponge painting which soon turned into straight finger painting. lol

Zakiah playing with the kitchen set.

LOL. Noticed how she left the baby as she fixed the baby a drink. #planking :-P
 
So focused on cooking that meal. You do it girl because you will be doing it in real life in due time! ::wink::

One of the few shots I was able to get of her face. She was on the GO!

She loves the kitchen set so much that I am really contemplating getting her one for her next bday. She spent so much time here.

Exploring...

Doing a lot as usual. Cup in the mouth, baby in arm, and diaper in hand.

Such a beautiful little girl. That is my Z. Camille!
It was truly a great experience! I was nervous at first because I know how she can react to other kids who play with a toy she really wants to play with--gets upset. She still has not gotten completely over the "its MINE" stage so toy snatching is not out of the book for this two year old, which is not abnormal. On a side note: Zakiah did SO well with using the potty. We had no accidents for the 3 hours we were out. That is truly a blessing to make a proud mommy joyful! :)

Can't wait until another playgroup!

I'm Featured on LoveNWright.blogspot.com

Seriously, how cute is this? I love creativity and this particular natural hair blogger brought it on!

Kay from lovenwright.blogspot.com was so kind to give me the opportunity of being her latest feature on her blog. It was a fun feature to complete with lots of great questions.  I am always honored when I am asked to do a feature because I love sharing my experiences (successes and setbacks) whenever possible in hope of helping at least one person gain a steppingstone in his/her journey. Kay's personality is so humble and sincere in our exchanges on twitter and gmail; I can definitely appreciate that type of positive energy! From one humble sister to another, I would like to thank her for her time in putting together all the details of the feature in a very nice presentation. She has definitely gone above and beyond. Check out the feature HERE and tweet her your thoughts @LoveNWright. Also check out her etsy shop where she sells her stylish Konvert Kotten Towels.

This is Totally Random: Coffee is Wearing Off

Yep. It is late. My cup of coffee from 7pm has finally worn off. Thought I would just post this random post (with a random picture for the sake of having a picture) as a note to myself to not drink a huge cup of coffee in the evening. I got work done BUT now I will have to drink another cup of coffee in the morning. I am not a habitual coffee drinker because I do not ever want to lose the effect of caffeine due to tolerance.

For me, coffee is like the ideal credit card: for emergency purposes only.  ::wink::

Ok. I am out. I feel like me in the picture...in la la land. lol :)

Be blessed!

What is in Your Products?

I found this ingredient list off hairlista.com and thought it would be helpful to learn what those ingredients in your favorite products mean and how they contribute to the properties of your products. If there is an ingredient that is not listed, post a comment, and I will look it up for you.

Acetamide MEA - Water soluble conditioning agent compatible with anionic and nonanionic systems as opposed to quaternary surfactants compatible only with cationics, adds shine.

Alcohol - A general term for organic ingredients that contain the OH (hydroxyl) group. Alcohols differ substantially in their properties ranging from water soluble solvents like isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, ethyl alcohol (used by breweries, the only drinkable alcohol) through moisturizing agents like glycerine or propylene glycol to fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol and sugars (multi alcohols).

Algae Extract - Extracted from seaweed and pondscum, rich in minerals, algae extract is claimed to prevent wrinkles, very moisturizing.

Learning How to Cornrow: Attempt #3

I washed and conditioned Zakiah's hair yesterday, stretched out her hair by placing her hair in four braids, and allowed her hair to air dry overnight. Today, I decided to try cornrowing again thanks to Diva Locks (check out her blog! She is so skilled. One of my inspirations.) for her wonderful tips. When I took down Zakiah's braids, her hair was pretty well stretched and SOOOOO soft! I was not sure what products to put on her hair so I put on some Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie.

This time around, I decided to still do the basic straight back pattern since I want to master the basics first.  I didn't do small parts because I want to get a grip on how to pinch a little bit of hair as I go down the row plus get comfortable with the braiding pattern. When positioning my hands, I had to keep in mind: underhand. My first two attempts, I started overhand and then switched to underhand. No wonder why the braids looked like french braids. I realize now that underhand is for cornrowing and overhand is for french braiding.

When I started a cornrow, I had a hard time gripping the first several pieces of hair because her edges are so fine and soft. They kept slipping so the beginning of the cornrows are not as tight as I would like (although I don't want them too tight and cause any damage).  Once the cornrow was started, I began to pick up small pieces of hair as I braided along the section (much smaller pieces compared to the previous two attempts).  To my surprise, my cornrow started to look like a cornrow. All smiles!

As I moved along, I struggled with keeping the three pieces of the braid separate. This made it difficult with pinching and grabbing her hair, and I think this contributed to much of the frizz seen in the picture. I continued on until I reached the end of the section and was really excited with the dramatic difference from the last two sets of cornrows.

I only did one quarter of her head. She became restless so I decided to remove the cornrows and put her hair in a puff. I might try again next week. I do see progression in my cornrowing effort. This time was definitely easier than the last. That's the point right?

Until attempt number 4, please leave any other tips that would be helpful with minimizing the frizz and starting a tighter braid at the beginning of the cornrow. Oh, and any product suggestions would be awesome!

Be blessed and thanks for reading!

Heat Damaged Hair Versus Healthy Hair

Now that I have been on my healthy hair journey for a little over a year and an half, it is amazing to see the difference between my healthy growth and the portion of my hair that has been heat damaged over the past several years:

Big difference, huh?
After looking at this picture, I pretty much feel like I am transitioning all over again but this time from bad hair habits to healthy hair habits.  My healthy roots are so thick and the curl pattern is much tighter than the pattern of the damaged sections of my hair. 

So how long do I perceive it will REALLY take to grow out my hair out to thick and healthy waist length?

Shopping Haul: 26 Items for $15. Saved Over $120. Happy Momma.

So I happened to check my email to find a message from Plato's Closet. If you don't know what Plato's Closet is, it is a trendy consignment shop. The clothes are gently used and most of the items are name brand like Express, Gap, Forever 21, Charlotte Rouse, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and etc. I have shopped there on a few occasions but mainly go there to trade in my clothes for cash.

In this email, it had an advertisement stating that there is a Grab Bag Event going on for today only. I have never heard of this but quickly became interested when I learned that you only pay $15 for every clearance item you can stuff in a plastic bag (provided by Plato's).

I was on that!!!

The event started at 10am. So I grabbed the kiddo and proceeded to head out to Plato's Closet. When I got there around 10:05, there was this huge mass of people going inside. I have never been out shopping on a Black Friday, but I felt like this event is comparable to that because the place was packed! As far as a game plan, I knew that the easiest items for me to stuff in my plastic bag while still keeping a close hand on Zakiah were tops. Plus, I knew there was going to be a mad line for the waiting rooms so me trying to pick out pants, skirts, and dresses was not going to work. Zakiah and I don't have THAT kind of patience...lol.

I am very much a tank/t-shirt and jeans type of female because I like to be as comfortable as I can be when I am out with Zakiah and my fiance likes that about me. Laid back and comfortably fashionable. So I went through the clearance racks and started grabbing, tightly rolling, and stuffing my bag until I went through the shirt racks. Although things were getting picked through, I found some pretty great items that best fit my style. I refused to just put any old thing in my bag just because it fits inside.

An hour and an half later, I got 26 items for $16 (including tax). Mostly tops, one dress, and one black romper. No more summer top shopping for me. Seriously. Here are pictures of all the items laid out, the plastic bag in which all the items were stuffed into, and the receipt showing my savings. God is good and is definitely a Provider of both our needs and WANTS (if it be His will).


 If you have a Plato's Closet nearby in your area, you should sign up for their emails to see what kind of special events and deals your local store may be having. Plus, it is a great way to clean out your closet and get some extra cash in exchange for your clothes.

ETA: As I was cutting the tags off, I noticed the Express price tag. The pictures are self-explanatory. :)



A $128 dress for $1.77. :)