Home Ownership

Isn’t all it is cracked up to be. At. All. My boyfriend purchased his home back in November 2015 and I was very excited for him. He had always wanted a home of his own. We knew that the house would need a lot of work. And it did. We rid did the bathroom, painted all of the rooms, removed a weird mantel in the living room, laid down new floors, etc.

We finally moved into the house this past April after about a year and half of renovations. Excited for this next chapter but let me tell you this: Home Ownership is not for the weak.

I should mention that we have an older home, a century home – built in 1900.  I love the archways that can only be found in a home from that era.  However, older homes require more upkeep than even I expected especially as our own wasn’t well kept after the owner passed in 2011. Her home transferred to her son who didn’t manage the home or her gorgeous gardens very well. I don’t even think he lived there to be honest but there was a dog that stayed in the house. It’s all very confusing.

I’ve heard from neighbors that her garden was featured in magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens. She spent her time properly pruning and keeping her garden looking beautiful. Her garden was filled with roses, Japenese grass, lillies, you name it (see what I did there!!) but when my boyfriend purchased the home the backyard was a mishmash of weeds taller than him. He’s 6’0 ft, so you can imagine. He had to go back there with what he described as a machete to knock down weeds and clear up ivy that had taken over this once beautiful garden. I haven’t even started working on the back of the house. Honestly, I just want grass at this point. Grass would be nice.

Right now we have three main priorities in our home. We need to renovate our kitchen as the counters and cabinets are artificially low. As in a child’s play kitchen low. Washing dishes has been (back) pain inducing. I just found out that our roof needs work of some sort – we think it’ll survive another northeast Ohio winter but you can never play it too safe with the roof over your head (pun intended). And finally, we discovered that we have carpenter ants. Yay. Said no one ever.

The first priority for my boyfriend is to fix the kitchen because he know’s that I’ll nag him about the kitchen. Smart man. But seriously, I hate having a halfway done kitchen and I want the extra space to prep food for dinner. We’ve gotten quotes ranging from $5,500 – $10,000. I didn’t think it would cost that much for new cabinets and a sink basin. Truly, this week has been a (finance) lesson in home ownership responsibilities.

I’m not exactly sure what the issue is with the roof – I believe there might be damp wood or something of that nature. We recently had someone come out and provide a quote for fixing the roof in time for a Northeast Ohio winter. The dampness explains our next issue.

Last night, we discovered our ant problem. Actually, we’ve had an ant problem for a while but my boyfriend was very nonchalant about it and because of that so was I. He thought they were just coming in the house during the summer searching for food, so we cleaned our kitchen thoroughly and put food away properly. He would spray around the house and in crevices and we wouldn’t see ants for a few weeks. Until they eventually returned. About six weeks ago, I was making my way up our stairs when I heard a rustling sound in the wall. I didn’t know what it was. I lived in NYC for about seven years so I’m familiar with things living in walls but this sounded a bit different. I woke my boyfriend up in the middle of the night but he just said I was hearing things. I would continue to hear the rustling sound and hit the wall every time to get the nose to stop. It never did. Eventually he heard the noise too.

I was laying in bed last night when I rolled over and saw a ANT crawling up my pillow to get on the wall. When I tell you I DAMN NEAR LOST MY MIND. I’m sure the neighbors heard my scream. I’m positive that the firemen and EMTs (across the street) started making their way to our home because I screamed that loud. My boyfriend came upstairs and took care of the ant but I was officially freaked. We slept in our guest bedroom last night as we had never seen an ant in that bedroom before. Now, I’ve seen ants in our bedroom before but never on my PILLOW or the wall. A quick google search confirmed it was most likely a carpenter ant and Orkin was called promptly this morning.

A few people have suggested we take care of it ourselves but I’d prefer a professional because I want that nest gone and the rustling nose to cease.

I hope that next week brings a better kitchen remodel quote and an army nest evacuation. We’ll get someone to take start the roof project next week as well.

Ahh the joys of home ownership.

 

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Wash. Day.

About eight months ago, I had to switch up my wash day routine. At that time, I had my routine down to a science, I could wash, condition and twist up my hair in about half a day, which for a natural is pretty good. But that was all about to change. I had noticed for the past year or so, that I had a lot of drandruff. No matter how often I washed or conditioned my hair and no matter the shampoo used – my scalp would be covered in flakes. It was embarrassing and made styling my hair complicated.

I had tried to go back to basics and thought it was working but a mere two months later, I found myself picking the flakes that would surface around my edges. I was also destroying my follicles in the process. My issue had also spread to my forehead as well. I had dry patches on my forehead that resembled acne. It got so bad my boyfriend even noticed. I decided that I would need to visit a dermatologist.

Dr. Angela Kyei, is my dermatologist and immediately knew what was causing my hair issue. She walked into the room and diagnosed me as well as complimented my hair (my twist out was popping!!). She explained that I basically have eczema of the scalp, which is funny as I eczema and will need to switch up my regime. Again. It had spread to my forehead.

First, she put me on a medicated shampoo that I am to use only on my scalp. She was very clear that the shampoo would in fact dry out my hair so I should only use the shampoo on my scalp. Interesting. How exactly, should I just shampoo my scalp – I had been taught to shampoo my hair not just my scalp. I was directed to place just the shampoo on my scalp and let it sit for 15 – 20 minutes OUTSIDE OF THE SHOWER. That’s right. I know shampoo my hair in 4 painfully parted sections in front of my vanity and then promptly sit on my couch for about an hour because there’s a different world marathon or girlfriends and I get sucked into the TV.

After my shampoo sets, I rinse it out and try my hardness not to get in on my hair which will dry out because medicated shampoo is dry AF. Once, I get it washed out, I use a conditioner given to me by my dermatologist. It’s Head and Shoulders Co-Wash. Yes, that’s right. I know it’s pure blasphemy but I use Head and Shoulders Co-Wash and my HAIR LOVES it.

I condition my hair (not my scalp – that’s important) and rinse it out. After I rinse it out, I come back to the couch because black TV excellence marathon (DUH) and grease my scalp with Kenalog. Yup. I start my twist out by placing Kenalog (which I also use for the eczema on my left leg) on my parted my hair. I’m supposed to do this 3x per week but I’m a lazy natural so I probably do it about once a month. Then I twist my hair up with my signature whipped shea butter.

New Routine:

  • Shampoo my scalp with medicated shampoo and let set for 15 – 20 minutes (sometimes longer)
  • Rinse the shampoo from my scalp
  • Deep condition with Head and Shoulders Co-Wash (sometimes I use Knot Today by Kinky Curly)
  • “Grease” scalp with kenalog when parting my hair for twist
  • Detangle & twist my hair with a combination of the LOC (Liquid, Oil and Cream) method using my homemade whipped shea butter.

So yeah….my new regime is very long and tedious but I don’t have to worry about showing my scalp because it’s clean and finally flake free.

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)

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

Let’s talk hair.

Since finishing training and landing in Australia I’ve had the time to finally start playing in hair again and I am loving it! One of the biggest reason I chopped off my hair was because I knew that during training I wouldn’t have the time to focus on it. Training is so busy already that I wouldn’t be able to spare the time to properly detangle, twist, and style it properly (plus how would I make my own hair gel in my hotel room) so I chopped it all off. A decision I don’t regret at all. My hair has never grown this fast even the first time I big chopped – it could be because this time I know what I’m doing with my hair (thank you naptural85 for all your tips and haircare regimens). My hair feels healthier and thicker than ever. I’m able to twist it up and rock a little TWA (teeny weeny afro). Here are some photos from my first twist out:

First Twist Out:

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The Twist – This was on NYE

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Day Two Twist Out

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Day One Twist Out – I used a bit of gel to get a hold. I can’t find flaxseeds so I haven’t been able to make my own hair gel as of yet.

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It’s hard to find certain conditioners and shampoos (I’m a big fan of Kinky Curly Products) but it is so expensive to get them down in Australia. I checked a website and the price for the shampoo/conditioner set was $61 AUD which is about $55 USD. Normally, I can get my shampoo and conditioner for about $22 at Target or Duane Reade – so since, I’m not made of money I’ve decided to start making my own shampoo and conditioner. I ran out of conditioner a few weeks ago and I’ve just been conditioning with EVOO (yes you read that correctly) but now that I finally have sheabutter and coconut oil – I’m going to make my own conditioner (I’ve still got a bit of shampoo left!).

I’ll post more photos of my conditioner expert once I’ve made it this week.

And It Begins…

Hello from the other side of the world! I’ve decided to pick up writing again as I make this transition from the corporate world to the world of teaching Bikram Yoga. I wanted to have a place where I can direct family, friends, etc to read about my experience.

First I wanted to share some details about the name of my blog: Nappy, Sweaty and Broke.

Nappy: I’m natural (meaning I don’t put any chemicals in my hair!) As a natural my hair is what some might call “nappy” (mom I’m looking at you!) but having natural hair has brought me great freedom in my late twenties. I remember cutting my straight hair off and feeling freed for the first time. I remember even at a young age I was always bound by my hair and having to spend Saturday’s at the beauty shop. Now my hair doesn’t hold me back – if I want to go swimming I can (with or without a hair appointment). It’s hard to put into words but here on this blog I’ll be writing about my natural hair experiences. As most of you know I recently big chopped so it’s very short for the first time in years and I love it. I can’t stop looking at myself in the mirror (even more than usual) #naturalhair

Sweaty: I practice Bikram Yoga and that entails a lot of sweat. We practice in a hot room this isn’t your typical hot room either. It’s generally around 105 degrees. Vinyasa this is not (not poking fun) just saying that the room is hotter than 70 – 80 degrees (please note: i respect all forms of yoga!). At this current point in my life I have decided to become a Bikram Yoga Teacher which means that I’ll be sweating a lot. #byttfall2014

Broke: Piggy backing off the becoming a Bikram Yoga Teacher is the fact that I have quit my job in corporate America. Once I decided I wanted to become a teacher I made the decision to leave corporate America and pursue teaching full time hopefully down under in Australia. Because of this I am broke and living on my savings! #pennypinching #bartersystem

So welcome, if you have any questions, comments, well wishes, etc please leave them in the comments! Thank you for reading! Namaste!