Back to Basics.

I’ve taken a step back from my natural hair care regimen. I’ve stopped making my whipped shea butter cream and avocado conditioner and have taken it back to the basics. I’m just using water, oil (jojoba & almond), and a Shea Moisture conditioner.

My twist outs aren’t as epic as they used to be but I’m going to start making flax seed gel (again). Since going back to the basics I’ve noticed that my scalp isn’t nearly as dry and I don’t have huge dandruff flakes in my hair. These suckers were huge and itchy but since going back to a simple routine I’ve noticed that my scalp is better moisturized and I don’t have flakes.

I thought that I had seborrheic dermatitis (aka seborrheic ezcema) which would be fitting as I’ve suffered from ezcema since I was a child. However with a little bit of change my scalp is feeling a lot better. This doesn’t mean I’ve left my avocado conditioner forever but that I needed a bit of a break.

My new routine:

  • Cowash hair every other week with Shea Moisture Conditioner
    • I let the conditioner set for about 45 minutes – two hours
  • Part hair and massage a mixture of Β jojoba oil & tea tree oil
      • Both are excellent for fighting dandruff and my dry scalp
      • You can also use it to remove makeup as well (bonus)
  • After my scalp massage I part my hair and detangle with a spray bottle filled with water and tea tree oil

My hair seems to like it and I’m enjoying keeping things simple as I roll into fall!

I’m Back.

It’s been well over a year since I’ve sat down and really wrote on NSB. A year is entirely too long and I didn’t realize how much I missed writing until I logged into WordPress. I miss you guys and I hope you miss me too.

There’s more coming…I’ll write you all soon!

 

Homemade Conditioner

When I landed in Australia I didn’t realize it would be so hard to get the natural hair products that I could easily pick up in the US at Target or the local beauty store in Harlem. Honestly, I didn’t expect the locally run Korean beauty shop to be in Melbourne but Melbs has a Target and Melbs also has people with curly hair (albeit white people but curly hair is curly hair) yet I couldn’t find my favorite conditioner and shampoo (Kinky Curly Come Clean and Knot Today) for my life which lead me to making my own products.

Thinking back on it I’m actually quite happy that I started to make my own products – one product I need the most is a great conditioner. Natural Hair requires a lot of work and part of that is in finding the best conditioner to properly moisturize, detangle and keep my curls popping! I started making my own conditioner with the following:

  • One Egg – Benefit: protein; this help rebuild damaged tresses – so if you’re one of those girls that uses a lot of heat, coloring, etc you want some protein in your life (and most importantly in your hair) If you have protein sensitive hair obviously skip this particular ingredient. Including this ingredient will help you maintain strong hair growth.
  • Banana – Benefit: potassium & moisturizer;this particular ingredient will minimize breakage as it restores your hairs elasticity and will repair damage (read: overheated and colored) hair. Bananas also include naturals oils and have 75% water. Also Bananas smell good too but you gotta be careful to strain them properly or you will have banana in your hair (#truestory #thankgodformirrors
  • EV Olive Oil Benefit: promote scalp health and prevents dandruff. It also includes Vitamin E Oil, fatty acids, and antioxidants for hair growth. It also improves strength and elasticity
  • Coconut Oil; Benefit: fight frizz, helps with dandruffs, and a wonderful moisturizer
  • Aloe Vera Juice (this was hard to find) – reduces hair shedding, dandruff, increase hair shine and acts as a natural humectant (are important cosmetic ingredients allowing to prevent loss of moisture thereby retaining the skin’s natural moisture. Some compounds also have the ability to actively attract moisture.)
  • Rose hip Oil – helps soothe a scalp and relieves dandruff plus it helps alleviate dry hair

I liked this conditioner because I had all the ingredients in my kitchen with the exception of the Rosehip Oil and the Aloe Vera Juice. I trekked all over Melbs to find Aloe Vera Juice (which I didn’t find) but I did find the Rose hip oil which has basically changed my life. It’s amazing. I could only find Aloe Vera Drink (until I returned to the US and Trader Joe’s).

The first time I made the conditioner (sans Aloe Vera Juice) I found it to be way to runny and it actually ran down my face (and cause a major breakout on the right side of my cheek – ugh). I don’t think I measured the oils properly; I am pretty heavy handed with Olive Oil and Coconut oil and got my face totally busted for about 4 months. It was horrible. So besides the breakout my hair did feel well conditioned, my scalp wasn’t itchy or dry but I did have bananas in my hair (I needed to strain better!). I made too much conditioner so I had to throw out half because it doesn’t last very well due to the egg. I thought the idea of using this conditioner two weeks later would lead to ringworm or some type of fungus in my hair due to the egg being spoiled.

If you are protein sensitive just skip the egg part and add additional banana. While this was my favorite conditioner in Australia I started making a new one once I arrived back stateside and it has quickly become my new fav. My hair loves it, it taste amazing and it only requires four ingredients. Win Win. I’ll post more about this later!

Full Disclosure: I first discovered this conditioner via Naptural85 but made some changes – this was originally her Protein Sensitive Conditioner but I added protein (egg) and additional Oils (EVOO, Coconut Oil)

Office Politics

As many of you know I traded in the corporate lifestyle and the politics that go with it for a life as a yoga teacher…unfortunately, I still find myself navigating politics but in the yoga room. I guess I can’t be surprised I do live in a battleground state and politics matter here in OHIO but I’m not talking about Trump’s brashness or Obama’s current ratings or even Clinton’s emailgate – I’m talking the politics of working at a yoga studio…

I’ve been teaching at the studio for four months and it has been a great experience. I received a warm welcome and loved coming to the studio to teach and interacting with the students…but recently things have felt a bit off. I don’t always feel welcomed in the studio not by the students – the students are great but mostly by the teachers (not all the teachers but a few). As if me deciding to take the plunge to go back into corporate (more on that later) is a travesty of sorts. When I was trying to figure out a potential job offer I was forthcoming with the studio about my inability to commit to August and was given a deadline. The time I got the deadline I was told that the class schedule would be changed and I would maybe only be able to get 1 – 2 classes a week.I was surprised but I understand and felt that if the studio needed to go to less classes for the business I totally understood but it seems that wasn’t the case.

My deadline came for committing to August and I sent the studio owner an email stating that I hadn’t heard back from the job but I wouldn’t be able to commit to the month of August because I thought I had the job in the bag. That was my mistake – I shouldn’t have put all of my eggs in one basket but I really thought I had nailed the interviews and was expecting an offer. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive an offer and told the studio that I would be able to teach but lo and behold they had found another teacher.

I was honestly upset about this because I thought the schedule was changing (for business reasons). I know that I put myself in this pickle but still I was hurt that I was so easily replaced in less than 24 hours and that they couldn’t reach out to the new teacher and explain that she wasn’t needed (yes i know that is quite egotistical of me!) because I could continue teaching. I was also annoyed that the studio manager and I had talked about a particular weekend of me covering her classes but shed didn’t put me on the schedule – instead she put herself down and then asked me if I could pick up the classes even though I had already told her in July that I could. I felt that was a bit passive aggressive and I felt a bit slighted.

I’m not entirely sure how I can navigate this particular scenario especially since I’ll most likely be relocating to this city and would like to teach at the studio – one to times a week. So again I feel myself in a bit of a conundrum trying to manage politics of a yoga studio. I don’t want to beg for classes and I’m happy to pick up classes but I also want to have set classes as well.

I’ve navigated the office politics and I guess I’ll learn to navigate politics of the yoga studio as well.

Anticipation

As human beings we anticipate everything. And I do mean everything – we anticipate that call that we’ll get everything nailing a final interview, meeting the love of our life, or even a great night out with friends. It’s in our nature. We always want to know what is coming next and with Bikram you know what’s going next every single time.

Bikram is the same 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises every single time – no matter where you go in your city, the country or the world. It’s hard to not anticipate the next posture or second set. As a practicing teacher I do it all the time. All the time. I have to make a conscious effort to not repeat the dialogue in my head while practicing so that I can stay present with the teacher (or Bikram’s recorded dialogue) and the class.

I noticed that students were anticipating what I was saying after only a few weeks of teaching at Bikram Yoga Cleveland. Students were anticipating when the posture would end especially in balancing stick. Balancing stick is one of my favorite postures, it’s so beautiful to see when students lock both knees and bring their bodies down parallel to the floor like a T as in The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!). There are benefits to holding this posture including increase circulation (flushing out your heart and arteries), stretching lung capacity and heart muscle, flexibility improvement, stregthen and tone your shoulders, upper arms, spine and the hip joints. Not only that but balancing stick is a therapeutic and preventive posture for heart conditions – got a heart problem get in the hot room. Want another reason it also burns the most calories from the other yoga poses plus you’re sending rejuvenating flood of fresh blood to brain!

But students know this posture ends with “stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch…” so by the time I get the second stretch out of my mouth most of them have come up from the posture! But I’ve figured out a way to trick them into staying the posture longer! I want my students to stay in the posture for the correct amount of time and I also want them to be PRESENT in class not just ANTICIPATING the posture – I want them to really listen to me as a teach. (I’ll tell you a story about one time a student really listened and I made a mistake next time! It was funny!)

Sometimes I’ll add more stretches and sometimes I’ll only say one stretch! The first time I added four stretches you should have seen the look on their faces as they started coming up and I was still yelling stretch stretch stretch stretch! I got them good on the right side. A few of them even smiled at me and I just winked back. One the left side I only said one stretch but I prolonged the posture with more dialogue focusing on the alignment so when I said “stretch, inhale breathing come up!” They were shocked! Couldn’t believe it.But in both instant they held the posture for the required 10 bikram seconds (which is more like 30 human seconds!).

What I’m trying to convey here is don’t anticipate your class – don’t think if you’re going to have a good class or a bad class, if you’re going to have a good day or a bad day, if you’re going to everything that you want out of your life. Just make the decision that you’ll have a good day, a great class, and you will get everything you want out of your life and you might just pleasantly surprise yourself and get exactly what you need!

See you in the hot room!

Unexpected Rapid Hair Growth = Drink lots of WATER

I am amazed and quite honestly flabbergasted by my hair growth over the past 11 months. Last June, I cut off all of my hair in anticipation of attending Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand. I figured with all the classes that I would be taking plus lectures, studying and the heat (inside the room and out) I wouldn’t have the time (which I didn’t) or the focus to really “do” my hair. So i big chopped – cut off four years of hair growth and was ready to start fresh. In all honesty, I had been dying to cut off my hair for years, I was always jealous of folks rocking little TWA’s (teeny weeny afros) but I didn’t have the guts to actually cut off my hair but last year I finally found it.

June 2014 Hair Cut: I was so happy in this pic! Just felt to free!!!

June 2014

Anyway, back to the hair growth, my hair is almost back to the growth of last spring in just 11 short months. I can’t believe it and I started thinking why exactly has it grown back so fast this time. Have I started taking better care of my hair? Has my diet changed? What’s really different this time around?

You know what the difference is? WATER.

I spent nine weeks in Thailand, taking 97 hot (and I do mean very very hot) bikram classes, sweating in the room, lecture room, and outside which lead to me drinking A LOT of water. I was probably drinking one to two gallons of water a day, actually it was probably more. I needed to stay hydrated to survive training and I always had my hydroflask full of water and I was chugging before, during, and after class. Everyone has always said that drinking lots of water is good for a clear skin complexion but it’s also great for maintaining healthy and happy (nappy!) hair too. Think about it? If your body is dehydrated than your hair is also dehydrated. It needs the water has much as your body does…so give your hair what it wants lots of water!

I wasn’t always just drinking plain water while at training, I also would take two (2) Emergen-C packs every day like clockwork – one after class and one during lecture (or posture clinic). Emergen-C was great for putting back in the good stuff that my body was losing from sweating so much…vitamins C, B, Calcium, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Zinc and a whole slew of other nutrients I needed. One key nutrient for hair growth are the B complex vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12 which are all in Emergen-C.

B Complex vitamins are essential micronutrients that assistn in optimal health and well being. B Vitamins have a minimal risk of toxicity and are water soluble whilst promoting overall health to the body. The combination of these vitamins helps promote hair growth as they assist with conditioning and strengthening hair.

B1, B2, and B3 nourishment of hair follicle cells.

B6 – dandruff prevention (as someone that is prone to drandruff this makes me very happy!)

B12 – hair loss prevention; it also helps produce red blood cells which helps to deliver oxygen to your hair follicle assisting in healthy hair.

In a nutshell B vitamins are a blessing for your hair so as Porsha would so “go get you some!”

The last thing that I think was key in helping my hair grow – I wasn’t in it all the time. I wasn’t combing, detangling, twisting, etc I was just simply washing, deep conditioning, oiling my hair on a weekly basis. That’s it. For the first time in about four years my hair routine was simply simple.

Hair After Training (no manipulation)

November 2014

First Twist Out: December 2014 – Australia

December 2014 First Twist Out

April 2015: Curls Popping – twisted hair!

April Twist Out

Hair prior to the 2nd Big Chop: This is a pic from my last trip to Maine where I decided to go to teacher training – June 2014

Hair in Maine

Hair 2015 – Super Stretched! But look at the growth! CRAZY

May 3rd

Blessed in O-HI-O

Greetings! I’ve made it back to Ohio…it’s so crazy to think I went all the way around the world to just come home. If you want to know if god has a sense of humor just make plans – someone famous wrote that and it couldn’t be more true.

When I first had the idea that I would be quitting my job, traveling the world, and teaching yoga I never in my mind thought that I would end up right where I started in Warren, Ohio. I remember having a conversation with a dear friend in her apartment about my upcoming travels and she said “this is the perfect time…your parents are healthy, you have no real commitments.” How untrue her words would be a seldom seven months later.

My mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2000 – I’ll never forget the moment I found out about her cancer. There is nothing that can prepare you for realizing that at 15 1/2 your mother isn’t invincible. I was a brat that day – I believe I had said “i wish you would die” and my mother simply replied “you might get your wish – I have breast cancer.” Yup. That was a turning point in our relationship…I stopped being a brat. I can’t even remember why I was upset but no matter what the issue whatever I was feeling didn’t warrant wishing death on my mother. I remember sitting on our steps and just crying – not understanding, how does this happen and why but my mother (even though she must have been scared, frustrated and pissed since I just told her I wish she died) told me that she would be just fine and she would beat this. She did. And we’ve lived a very happy existence since them. Our relationship has improved tenfold, not just because of the cancer but because I grew up and stopped being a bratty 16 year old. You get perspective quickly when the most important person in your world gets sick.

About six weeks ago, I was speaking with my mother and she sounded a bit off. She just didn’t sound like herself and I was immediately alerted that something was wrong. I asked what was up and she said she’s tired her neck has been hurting her and they were doing a test on her lymph nodes the next day. That would be a terrifying conversation to have if I had just lived in NYC a short 50 minute flight or an 8 hour drive away…but being on the other side of the world (literally – used correctly!) it was earth shattering. Once again, my mom reassured me that things would be fine but this time she was wrong. Things weren’t fine and we quickly found out that her cancer had not only returned but it had metasized and found her bones as the perfect place to take up residence. As the daughter of a cancer survivor, I’ve had the remission dream time and time again but I was always able to wake up – call my mom and know that it hadn’t returned. I didn’t get to wake up this time.

I spoke with her doctor on Saturday March 21st and a week later I was back in the states. That last week in Melbourne was unreal. I didn’t do much besides practice, teach and start packing my clothes. I had friends coming to visit in July and we had talked just earlier that week about booking rooms and flights but something in my gut had told me to hold off. I made calls to my studio owners on Saturday letting them know that I wouldn’t be able to teach after the 28th and I’ll be sending my final invoices. I wanted to give myself a week because I wasn’t sure about flights back to the states that quickly and I needed time to find someone to take over my apartment, buy my furniture, close my bank account, etc. Looking back, it’s funny to see how quickly I was able to do everything – within 24 hours my roommates had found someone to take over my part of the lease and buy my furniture and the studio owners were more than gracious about my leaving so abruptly. It reminded me of when I left NYC – everything just fell into place which made me feel like I was doing what I should be doing. By Tuesday, I was ready to go but my flight wasn’t until Saturday…again I thought there is something more than just my mom’s cancer sending me home. I’m meant to be here at this point in my life.

During this time, my very good friend Brian created a gofundme page to pay for my ticket back to the states and other travel expenses. I am beyond grateful for the 44 folks that graciously donated so that I could get a flight back to the states and not have that financial burden. As I saw the donations coming in and the sweet messages from college friends, sorority sisters, friends of friends, co-workers, and the anonymous I felt incredibly loved. If you know me, you know that I’ve been looking for love for a long time and finding it in my friends and family that have rallied around me in this time of need is unbelievable. For the first time in a very long time I realized that I am loved. And I will be forever grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you so very much.

I started reaching out to yoga studio’s in the area because I would need a job…I had previously reached out to the studio in Cleveland about teaching in December 2015 but they were full up on teachers so I figured nothing would have changed since my last email in February. Boy was I pleasantly surprised – one of the teachers wanted to cut back on classes and that had availability for me. I couldn’t believe it- again it was so clear that I was supposed to be home.

Spending this time with my mother and grandmother has been wonderful and terrifying. My mother cancer is at stage four and that won’t change but luckily she has a great oncologist who has put together a wonderful treatment plan for her. At first we were so worried that we were looking at months, maybe a year at best but we’ve got YEARS on YEARS on YEARS! I know that my mother (and myself as well) is very lucky. Stage four cancer doesn’t always have such a happy diagnosis and for that I feel very blessed.

I do believe that blessed is the new humble. πŸ˜‰

It’s not about the heat

I’ve had a few students comment on the heat in the past few days, actually move than a few. I’ve had one that point blank threw a temper tantrum (at least that’s what i call it ) because the heat wasn’t on prior to the class (there was a slight hiccup with a heating program). I was teaching on Friday AM and another student asked how hot the room was – I simply replied that it was 42 ‘ C (For all my American friends that’s 107 F plus the humidity was 40%), she wasn’t impressed with my response. “Oh really? It didn’t feel that hot”. Interesting.

That brings me back to title of this post – it’s not about the heat. The heat is an element and yes, it is something that separates Bikram from other practices of yoga but it isn’t the entire point of the yoga. The heat is an element that allows your body to go further but it isn’t the most important part of the class. I feel that students get so caught up on the heat and if the class is hot enough or not that they can’t focus on what they should be focusing on which is them!

As a student, I’ve never come out of a class thinking it was really cool in there. Usually, I just felt rocked but a really good rocked. Coming out of the hot room is one of the best feelings – it’s a feeling of joy, accomplishment, knwoing that I’ve worked every bone in my body over the past 90 minutes. I’m so elated that thinking about the heat isn’t even on my mind. I’ve just spent the past 90 minutes focusing on myself in the room and I’m not going to ruin it by being worried about the heat. The heat is something that I as a student can’t control. What I can control is my focus and my breathing.

I just wonder if a student is spending so much time on focusing on the heat how can they be focusing on themselves in class? How can the student be present in a 90 minute class when all you’re concerned about is the heat? You’ve got only 90 minutes to strictly focus on yourself for the first time in your day and you want to spend it on worrying about the heat. I can find something better for each of my students to focus on in classΒ  – themselves.

Beacuse it isn’t about the heat. It’s about you.

Liebster Award Nomination:

Yoga and Donuts, was kind enough to nominate me for a Liebster Award! Thank you so much for the love Yoga and Donuts πŸ™‚

This award is given by bloggers to other bloggers, recognizing bloggers and encouraging new bloggers and readers. I am definitely encouraged to continue writingΒ  about my experience being Nappy, Sweaty, and Broke and sharing some of my favorite blogs! As part of the nomination I need to do the following:

Acknowledge who nominated me (thank you Yoga and Donuts)
Answer the eleven questions they’ve listed (below!)
Share eleven random facts about myself – this should be very interesting!
Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers and give them 11 questions to answer

My 11 Questions
1. What made you want to start blogging? This is my second time blogging and I wanted to start NSB because I’ve recently started a new adventure and thought it would be great to properly document everything that I’ll be doing while teaching yoga, living in Australia and traveling the world.
2. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go? If I could go anywhere on vacation I would go to Portland, Maine. There is nothing better than Maine in the fall (well maybe Maine in the summer!).I started visiting Maine while I was living in New York City. I am a massive lover of seafood and lobster in particular and where else to get fresh lobster than Maine? I got the idea to road trip to Maine in the fall of 2009 and took off with two friends for a great weekend in Maine (New Hampshire). Maine (and Portland) in particular have a very special place in my heart – I decided to attend teacher training while I was in Maine on June 7th, 2014.
3. What is your favorite thing about yourself? My Smile.
4. Who is your favorite band? Of all time? Hands down TLC. I loved listening to them as a little girl – Left Eye was my favorite. Right now, I would have to say that Galatic is my favorite band.
5. What is the last book you read? The last book I read was A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald – I love reading about the writers of the Lost Generation from their wives perspectives. F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my favorite authors and it was interesting to read about him from his wife’s perspective.
6. What is your biggest, most irrational, pet peeve? Sniffling – if you’re sniffling please blow your nose. It’s easy – pick up a tissue and blow your nose. Thank you! Also, leaving hair in the shower drain; it’s just gross.
7. What is your favorite food? Lobster. In any form – lazy lobster, boiled, fried, sauteed, etc.
8. If you could do anything (occupation) what would you do? I would be a novelist.
9. What was your most proud moment? Leaving NYC
10. What did you learn from your biggest regret? Not applying to Howard University.
11. What is your favorite post that you have written to date and why? My favorite post is a post I’ve recently written – Don’t Close Your Eyes. I love this post because it goes deeper than just the yoga. It’s a post about loving yourself and always being open to seeing yourself.

Eleven Random Facts About Me:

1. I was born at 9:18 on Sunday January 13th, 1985
2. Both my mom and I are capicorns
3. I hardly ever wear matching socks – weirdly enough as I’m writing this my socks match but that’s the exception not the rule
4. At the age of 16 I had a 1990 gold sedan cavalier that I called the gold mine
5. After that I had a purple cavalier that I named the purple
6. I’ve always wanted to be a cheerleader
7. My first job was a busboy (busgirl!) at Bob Evans
8. I worked at Bob Evans for four years (16 – 20)
9. My nickname is Btown that I got from summer camp – I was a camp counselor
10. I also wanted to go to summer camp but my mom wouldn’t send me so I went as camp counselor and had the best summer
11. I love Jiffy mix blueberry muffins – my grandmother would make them for me growing up.

My Nominee – I don’t follow a lot of blogs but I would like to nominate the following blog:

1. https://naturallyrissuh.wordpress.com/

Questions:

1. Who is the biggest influence in your life?
2. What is the book that you can read over and over?
3. What is your favorite movie?
4. Why did you start writing your blog?
5. What’s your favorite quote?
6. Who is your favorite author?
7. What do you do on a lazy Sunday? 8. If you could travel anywhere where would you go?
9. What’s your favorite room in your house?
10. What is your favorite food?
11. What is the one meal that you cook for yourself all the time?