Archive for July, 2011

Curls and Exercise do mix!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

So I went to the gym after work tonight. I’m a gym rat by nature, but in the summer, I tend to slack off a little because it’s often too nice outside to wind up being stuck in such a dank place. Plus, during this time of year, I tend to hang out more with friends too. I’ve resolved not to slack off too much this summer because I’m trying to lose weight. Most people would say that I don’t need to lose anything, but I know I need to. I was thin and probably underweight at times during my childhood and adolescence. I didn’t really put on the weight until after college, which was not a great time in my life emotionally or professionally. By the time I was 32, I weighed 226 pounds. Nine years ago, I joined the Weight Watchers at Work program at my previous job and within 15 months, I lost 71 pounds. I’d still recommend the program today since they emphasize moderation, not banning entire food groups. That was important to me because I didn’t want to feel as though I could never eat the foods I enjoyed ever again, like pizza. Actually, it’s been shown that if you deliberately ban certain foods from your diet, you begin feeling deprived and you can end up binging on the banished food which could end up sabotaging your weight loss. Also, once you’ve reached your goal weight, you’re actually given the tools on how to maintain your weight loss, unlike most other diets whereby once you reach your goal, you immediately go back to how you ate before you started and you regain the weight right back, which is why most diets don’t work. The main motivation for me in keeping the weight off is that I have a lot of diabetes in my family. My mother, my aunt, my grandmother and various distant cousins all have it. A great-aunt had her foot amputated because of it. I didn’t want to end up like them where I’d need to take pills or insulin by age 40  or have any limbs amputated. It’s way easier to watch what goes in my mouth than it would be to inject myself with insulin.

For all that time, I’ve been around five pounds of my goal weight. However, four years ago, my cycle starting going crazy. It got to the point where I couldn’t track it because it got so irregular. A couple of months, I’d get it every 15 days, then another couple of months, I’d get it every 30 days, etc. The doctor did some tests and found nothing, but if you ask me, I think it’s perimenopause. Around the same time, I started getting night sweats. Still get them. After two years of the crazy cycles, I got fed up and asked to be put on the pill. I got Seasonique, the one where you only have a period once every three months. After what I had been dealing with before, that seemed like heaven. The thing is, the hormones in the pill trick your body into thinking its pregnant, so you tend to be hungrier and eat more, the end result being that you put on weight. I was on the pill once before when I was in my 20’s for about a year, but I got off it because of the weight gain. Seasonique wasn’t around then (this was around 15 years ago). It was a different kind of pill. I think it was Loestrin, but I’m not too certain. It was a long time ago. But the result was the same. Last year, I didn’t notice much change in my weight, but this year?  A couple of months ago, my job told us that we’d need to have biometric screenings done by the end of September or else we won’t have health insurance for next year. You were exempt if you were currently covered under a spouse’s health plan. They claimed it wasn’t mandatory, but in my case, I felt it was and I didn’t feel it was right. I’m single. I’m not anyone’s dependent so I can’t be covered under someone else’s plan. There was no way I could avoid it because it’s not like I can be without health insurance. My issue wasn’t with the screening itself but with the way it was kind of forced on people. They measure your blood pressure, check your cholesterol, check your weight and so on. I’ve had the screenings before at my last job but in that case, they actually were voluntary as they didn’t tie it into your ability to get insurance. So, anyway, I had the screening a month ago. And to my horror, I was told I weighed 172 pounds, 17 pounds above my ideal weight. I hadn’t weighed that much in 8 years. After I left the screening area, I started to calm down a little bit. They say its best to do the screening on an empty stomach for the best results, but I’d been scheduled for that thing at 3 in the afternoon. There was no way that I could go all day without eating. Plus I was weighed with clothes on. Clothes add weight and if you weigh yourself after you’ve eaten, your food hasn’t had time to digest and you can retain water. All this could add up to five pounds to your weight. So I figured that at minimum, I was at 167 pounds, which still wasn’t where I wanted to be, but it was a more accurate assessment. The weight crept on without much notice from me because last winter, the battery in my digital scale died and I didn’t make the effort to get another one until a few weeks ago. So I wasn’t keeping on top of it like I normally do. When I finally did replace the dead battery and was able to weigh myself from home, it turned out that I was at 168 pounds. This morning I was at 166.5 pounds. So I’ve lost one and half pounds so far. However, it’s going slowly because I’m retaining water due to the pill. I’d most likely would have lost several more pounds by now if I weren’t on it. I’m now faced with a dilemma-go off of the pill and deal with crazy cycles again or stay on it and regain all the weight I lost? If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I’m so coming back as a man.

Hence, the gym. I did a spin class tonight. I love the teacher, Nathalie. For one thing, she’s team natural! She keeps her hair in a Caesar, but she’s a natural, all the same. She’s also very motivating and the music she plays is slammin’. It’s more like club music and not the Top 40 pop that other spin teachers play. So the beat is always fast and it doesn’t vary like with pop music. My wash and go from the past few days was getting kind of fuzzy so I had it in a puff today. Even though I sweated profusely in spin class, my hair was still on point and I could rinse it when I got home and it would still be fine. I didn’t exercise much when I had a relaxer because I always feared sweating it out. So being natural has freed me to do what I need to do to stay healthy. I’ve seen articles where it’s been stated that black women are the least likely of any group to exercise because we fear messing up our hair. That’s just crazy to me that a number of us would prefer to die premature deaths from heart disease or diabetes and have our fried, dyed and laid to the side hair look on point at the funeral rather than do what we need to be healthy. That won’t be me. Ever.

Natural Hair Event

Posted in Uncategorized on July 26, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

So on Saturday, in the middle of a brutal heat wave, I attended a natural hair event sponsored by the websites Naturally Curly and Natural Selection, two of my faves! Now that I’ve finally figured out how to add links and make my blogroll appear on my site, you can now check out the links.

Anyhoo, the event was held at the Grace Hotel near Times Square. The hotel had a pool, albeit a shallow one, which was a great thing during a heat wave. When I first arrived, some people wondered whether anyone would actually get in it, as black women in particular have an aversion to pools, because we don’t like our hair to get messed up. It’s a real concern for relaxed women, as they’re advised to avoid getting their hair wet as much as possible since it could degrade the perm. Natural women? Pshaw! The chlorine can potentially damage your hair but there are some steps you can take to limit it, such as wetting your hair and putting some conditioner on your hair before you go in the water. Otherwise, no worries. As soon as I got to the pool, I jumped right in and cooled off.

I’m in the back, second from the left.

The event had product demonstrations from Jane Carter of Jane Carter Solutions, Sondriel from Ouidad, Dickey from Hair Rules and the people from Shea Moisture. I actually tried a Shea Moisture body scrub. I wasn’t aware they made anything other than hair products. Where have I been? Anyway, I liked it. It left my skin very soft. I also met curliesT from all over the internets, including Ms. EmpressRi, who’s second  from the right in the above picture. I also got to meet Cassidie from the blog Natural Selection. I was extremely excited since I’ve followed her blog for at least 18 months and I love the humor and warmth she brings to her writing. Here we are:

The event also had giveaways. I actually won the Curl Defining Cream from Jane Carter’s line. I hardly ever win anything so I was quite happy. I had fun at the event and hope to attend another one soon. I actually tried the Curl Defining Cream the next day and I must say, I likey. Unlike a lot of gels, it doesn’t leave my hair hard or crunchy and I haven’t noticed any flakes or other buildup with it. My wash and go from Sunday is still going strong actually. Here’s what it looked like a few minutes after I applied it. I was on my way to brunch in the stifling heat:

So that was the extent of my weekend. It’s cooled down a little bit the last two days. I actually like summer, but when it’s 104 degrees, like it was on Friday, that’s too extreme even for me.

Extreme heat and hair

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

Last week on a hair board that I visit nearly every day, I was alerted to a Groupon for the beauty supply store Aveyou. I so heart Groupon. They actually had two deals. One of them was $12 for $25 worth of feather hair extensions. I have no interest in getting any more extensions anytime soon so I passed on that one. The other deal was $25 for $50 worth of beauty products-hair, makeup and accessories. That one was practically a steal so I got not one but TWO Groupons for it. Aveyou is in New Jersey and I’m in New York City and since I don’t have a car, there’s really no way that I’d be able to go there in person. I’d have to order stuff online through their website. I was a little hesitant at first. For the longest time, I’ve gotten my hair products on the ground because I found it to be a PITA to order them online. Many companies have exorbitant shipping charges and often take about a month before they ship the items to you, because the demand exceeds the supply and they can have difficulties keeping up. I’m not a very patient person so I’d rather just get what I want when I want it.  I live near two Targets and can get to Whole Foods and most Ricky’s (a beauty supply chain in New York City) by public transportation, so when I want Kinky Curly, Jane Carter or Shea Moisture products, I’m set. However, I’ve wanted to try some other lines for awhile, so I figured the Groupon would be an opportunity to get stuff I don’t usually get. Which meant I’d have to bite the bullet and order online through the Aveyou website. So last Thursday, I ordered the Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Conditioner, the Curl Junkie Hibiscus and Banana Moisturizing Conditioner and the Curl Junkie Curl Queen. The order came to $60. The site offers $1 shipping for orders over $50, which was great. With the Groupon, I only paid $10 out of pocket. Sweet. The order came on Monday. Doubly sweet. My faith in online ordering of natural hair products has been restored somewhat. Aveyou has a customer for the long haul.

On Wednesday, I used all of the Curl Junkie stuff I bought. The thing was, I’d used the H&B Moisturizing Conditioner as leave-in (it can be used as a DC too) and had put the Curl Queen on top and my hair turned totally white. I was horrified since I’d done this in the morning before work and I didn’t have time to wash everything out and start over. I was also perplexed since the only time this has happened to me was when I used several products from totally different lines, since each company formulates their products differently. So I had to go to work like that. My ends were still white by the time I got to my job. It dried by night time, but it was a little crispy. I’d posted what happened on a hair board and one of my curly sisters stated that the H&B conditioner and Curl Queen didn’t play well because the conditioner is very heavy and the Curl Queen, which is a gel, is very moisturizing. She suggested to use a light leave-in under the Curl Queen or use it by itself in the future. I did like the Daily Fix and the H&B conditioner since they left my hair very soft, but I wasn’t sure about the Curl Queen.  Even though I’ve been fully natural for nearly two years, I’m still learning something new all the time, which is humbling. The learning curve for natural hair can be steep mainly because many black women had little to no experience caring for it themselves in childhood, like yours truly. These days, a lot of black girls get relaxers before they hit puberty, some even before they reach kindergarten. As such, they don’t even know what their natural hair looks like. There’s a lot to be said for that but that’s an entirely different post altogether.

This was my hair on Wednesday. It wasn’t my worst hair day, but I’ve had better It’s not all one length and there are sections that are uneven. I’ve only been to a salon twice since I went fully natural-once for my BC and another time I got braid extensions. Due to some horrible experiences when I was relaxed, I’m scared to have a stylist cut it though. The back of my hair is 10 inches unstretched, which is a couple of inches from APL for me. I wouldn’t put it past a stylist to cut it down into a TWA:

 

Last night, I went to see Rihanna. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go since I was worried that there would be a rowdy element and that most of the other people there would be kids. My friend and I were definitely on the older side, but there were way less kids than I’d thought they’d be. Many of the other people there were in their 20’s, so it wasn’t too bad. Jay-Z made a guest appearance near the end, so it was insane. It was a great show.

Here’s a picture. I have a cheap camera so the quality isn’t that great:

 

I wore my hair the same way I did on Wednesday. I just spritzed my hair with a water and Wonder 8 oil mix in the morning, fluffed and went. It held up fairly well in the heat since the Curl Junkie stuff I have don’t have a lot humectants. They’re ingredients that attract moisture to your hair. Glycerin and propylene glycol are two of the most common ones. High humidity contains a lot of moisture in the air. So those ingredients plus extreme heat and humidity=puffy hair. Some people don’t mind it but if you don’t want an Angela Davis fro, it’s suggested that you avoid humectants in the summer.

I took the day off work today since I knew I’d be getting home late the from the concert, I didn’t walk in the door until 1:15 the morning. My cat, Hazel, was overjoyed to see her mommy. I’m staying under the AC today.

 

Misspent weekend

Posted in Uncategorized on July 18, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

I happen to organize several different social groups on Meetup.com. A member in one of my groups told me about a cabaret/aerial/burlesque show in DUMBO (Neighborhood in Brooklyn. It’s an acronym for Down under the Manhattan Bridge)that was supposed to be pretty good. However, I was told about the show last winter and as DUMBO is a rather isolated neighborhood that’s fairly far out and is near water, I wasn’t about to check it out in ice and snow. About a week ago, I remembered the show and scheduled an event there with one of my groups. I had also told several friends about it and invited them to check it out with me, because as I stated, the neighborhood the show was held at is fairly isolated and not that easy to get to by public transportation and I wasn’t sure I’d have a good turnout. There were about 7 or 8 RSVP’s-three of them from my personal friends. Turned out the members that had RSVP’d that were not personal friends of mine all backed out, so it turned out to be a ladies night out for me with friends. Their loss. The members of this particular group are extremely flaky and it’s a little discouraging planning things for them. My other two groups, which revolve around dining, have better turnouts. I’m considering dumping the flaky group and keeping the other two, actually. So anyhoo, the hair. I had it in a curly fro. I’ve been kind of lazy with it during the summer and I’ve been doing a lot of styles which don’t require a lot of upkeep. I neglected to take a picture over the weekend, but here’s what it generally looked like:

The show was good and was something different. I had three drinks there-two cosmos and a martini. After the show ended at nearly 2AM, we ended up going to bar in Fort Greene as there was nothing we found open in DUMBO. I’m noticing that more and more bars and clubs are closing down at 2AM lately. WTF? This is New York City, not Peoria. The bar in Fort Greene, Frank’s, was old school and didn’t close until 4. That’s more like it. While there, I had another martini. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have as I was tipsy by that point. I didn’t get home until 3:30AM.

I was supposed to meet some people I know from a website called “Naturally Curly” the next day. Operating word is “supposed.” Because when I woke up at 10AM, I was completely hung over and sick. I hate canceling on people and having them be disappointed, so I waited a while and hoped that I would feel better by the time I had to leave to meet them, but my stomach had other ideas. I had to cancel at the last minute, cursing myself the whole time. I must be getting old. When did I suddenly become unable to hold down four drinks? And they were similar drinks too, it’s not like I’d had a beer, a shot, some champagne and some wine. I’ve done THAT before too and lived to regret it. So lesson learned. I will NOT drink more than two drinks at any time. Ever. My stomach will thank me for it.

Origins

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 16, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

Yeah, I know. This is yet another blog. What I intend to do with mine though is relate what being natural is like in the context of my everyday life. So you won’t see many product reviews or styling demonstrations on here. Other hair blogs do those things very well. This is going to be a lot more introspective and personal as I won’t just talk about hair. I have never done anything like this before, so I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I’ve wanted to have a blog for awhile but the mere thought of starting one was daunting. I’m not the most technologically capable person out there. But then I finally figured that the only way to get started was to just jump in. So here I am. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey.

  • ‘Natural Hair’: New Divisive Movement (venusgenus.com)