Senegalese Twists

Pros

  1. Great protection from the weather
    1. I got my twists to protect my hair from the heat and humidity of the summer
  2. Cheap
    1. Ordering the hair I used Kanekalon and ordered from Amazon for an average of $6 for 3 packs per order
    2. The installation was $80 – stylist information below
  3. First protective style that was NOT painful during installation nor afterwards
    1. Very comfortable to sleep in
    2. Easy to create more styles
  4. Depending on your stylist you can do a lot of innovative and creative things
    1. See above for dark brown/blonde style
  5. Easy to create long styles without a lot of added time

 

Cons

  1. Medium size creates a loose pattern
    1. I got mine to prevent frizzing during humid summer days and easy hair care, but with a looser pattern and larger twists I saw frizzing begin as soon as 3 days post install
  2. Some Unraveling
    1. Typically twists are not burned on the ends they are boiled, but I saw some unraveling on the second day
    2. If you see unraveling – LEAVE IT
      1. I was so nervous it was going to come apart that I burned the ends and the twists (slightly) and now have A LOT of sticking and it looks kind of like a bird nest on the bottom
    3. Trust the stylists choices and leave the style as is
  3. As with all protective styles the scalp is exposed, so it will dry quicker than normal
    1. Continue to moisten the scalp daily or every other day
  4. Because they are twists and are only two strands they are naturally going to be looser than a braid, despite size
    1. You can feel how loose they are when you put your hands on your scalp, which makes me slightly uneasy, but they are NOT at risk of coming off

 

 

Hair styled and installed by IG: @_asianzing_

E-mail: meant2muve@gmaiil.com

Phone: 1-443-768-5278

Unmasked

April 10th, 2017

This week has been a weird week for me. It seems like the past few weeks I’ve started to realize I’ve been wearing masks. Not literal masks, but through my clothing. I’ve been wearing what everyone else wanted to see me in. I was wearing things I was expected to wear, styles I was expected to like, but now since I’ve started selling all of my clothes I’m stuck. I’m left with things I truly love, but those things aren’t enough to make a full wardrobe. Many of them are basics: basic long-sleeves, basic crop tops, basic one pieces, basic flannels. Just basics. Everyone needs basics and everyone loves their basics, but no one, or very few, have a whole wardrobe of just basics, right?

So now I’m left with essentially rebuilding from the bottom. I’m faced with the task of deciding what I want people so see me as, and building a wardrobe that reflects that. I tried, previously, to use the Nordstrom money for work clothes, for my new graduate school position, but I’m still lost. I look at everything I used to throw into my shopping carts and no longer find myself in any of them. I’ve realized I don’t like frilly shirts. I don’t like things with crazy patterns. I don’t like floral designs. I’m not a huge fan of the off-the-shoulder. I don’t like short shorts. I don’t like boob revealing shirts. I don’t want those 3-quarter length pants everyone is wearing now. I don’t like peplums. I don’t want anything with a huge graphic on it. I don’t like most things, now that I’m making this list, and this isn’t even the whole list!

But I do like basics. I guess it’s weird. I went through a preppy stage. I had a punk stage. I was a hipster for a while. But now I’m starting from the beginning and all I want are basics. I just want white shirts in innovative shapes. I just want long blazers in neutral colors. I don’t want shorts that cling, but shorts that flow. I don’t want pants with designs, but neutral colors in a pioneering style.

I started this piece to talk about how I feel like I don’t know myself anymore, but I guess I do know myself. I do know what I want and what I want to see myself in. I am an understated person. I’m chill, but I have a bit of flare. I’m calm, but can be very sharp. As I write this I realize that’s the exact style I’ve described. I’m not lost. I just need to become comfortable again with doing what I want, and wearing what I want. I need to feel comfortable not doing what people expect, but doing what I love. I guess that’s all I’ve got to do – Until Next Time My Friends – Be You.

Faux Locs

Pros

  1. Fully protects the hair from the elements
    1. I got mine to protect my hair from the harsh dirt/sand and heat that will be present at the Coachella Music Festival
  2. Hair used for installation is incredibly cheap
    1. I used Marley hair, which is a little more expensive, but I was able to find a vendor at aliexpress that supplied me with 15 packs for $85
    2. Other types of hair are much cheaper and still work really well
  3. Because the scalp is so exposed you have to oil your scalp daily, which is incredibly good for your hair health and growth
  4. The style looks more natural, in my opinion, than braids or twists
  5. The style is very unique

 

Cons

  1. Stick together a lot when you first get them
  2. The sticking together may cause some of the locos to unravel
  3. The upkeep is extensive
    1. Because of the sticking and unraveling you often have to use scissors to cut off extraneous strands
    2. You should also have a lighter on hand to re-seal the locs after you’ve cut the strands
    3. Use use the lighter on the strands running it up and down the strand briefly, then roll the locs in your hands to re-loc the hair
    4. Have de-frizz spray or oil on hand to help keep the locs from frizzing over time
  4. Because your scalp is so exposed, depending on how thick your locs are (mine are quite thick) you’ll have to oil your scalp daily, sometimes twice
  5. They are really tight and heavy when you first get them so sleeping and moving your head may be difficult for the first week
  6. The installation takes FOREVER!!! Mine took 15 hours

Kinky Curly Natural Hair Routine

How to Maintain Natural Hair in a Healthy Way

If you’ve seen my Instagram (@mini_vegan) or visited this blog before, then you’ve probably seen my kinky curly dark brown hair. It’s been almost ten years since I went natural and taking care of my hair has been mostly trial and error.

How often do I put oil in it? What types of oils? How often do I wash it? How often should I deep condition?

Hair Maintenance

In answering these questions it’s very important that you remember that curly hair, especially African American hair, produces fewer natural oils than a straighter or looser curl texture. For this reason, those with very curly hair types need to have external oils ready to apply regularly to both the hair and scalp. Now, I understand no one wants their hair to feel or look greasy and that’s why trial and error is such a big deal when choosing the proper hair products. Lucky for you all, I’ve done the bulk of the trial and error for you!

My Very Favorites:

  1. Cantu hair moisturizer (shea butter – Grow Strong – strengthening treatment)
    1. I recommend this for all curl types: relaxed, natural, and color-treated
    2. For curly hair, start at your ends and work your way to the roots and scalp. Do thoroughly after washing and as a touch-up to dry spots each day as well as your ends.

For all hair textures it’s important to pay close attention to the health of your ends as they are the farthest away from the root and the least likely to receive all the natural oils, vitamins, and minerals your body provides.

For dry scalps that prefer to use a lathering shampoo, like Head and Shoulders, please try to follow with a non-lathering conditioner. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir and all of you have heard of the harmful effects of lathering shampoos and conditioners on hair, so for all hair types please shy away from the bubbles. I know you feel like it’s working when you get lots of suds, but what you’re really doing is removing the natural hair care products your body produces from your hair, roots, and scalp.

  1. DevaCurl Conditioning cleanser and Conditioner are great for washing curly hair.
    1. When you condition your hair, if you are not planning to use a deep conditioner afterwards, be sure to rinse your hair lightly to keep some of the conditioner in your hair to continue moisturizing throughout the week, or two.
    2. DevaCurl Gel is great for styling
  2. Use a moisturizer on the hair, after washing
    1. Section and apply moisturizer and oil to the hair and scalp
      1. Recommendations: Beautiful Curls – Hydrating Oil, Cantu (mentioned above)
  3. Gel is recommended for all curly hair types to lock in the moisture and curl, after moisturizer has been applied

Going natural is the sure way to the healthiest head of hair! Your natural hair is at it’s softest and most strong when you let it grow and treat it with care. Allowing this process to happen also clears a path for great results when dying your hair. Don’t worry, as the Queen of Color, I’m here to help you natural people go safely through this transition!

 

 


*I am not a licensed beautician or professional. I am a fellow member of the natural hair community with useful advice. I am not liable for any advice I give that does not receive equal results or produces damage, injury, or otherwise.*

Underbudget

March 17th, 2017

Through one of my returns I managed to acquire about $400 in store credit. Usually I could blow through $400 like someone had just given me a quarter for a candy machine, but I used this moment to challenge myself. Usually I pick out everything I’ve ever wanted on the site and then dwindle it down to the few things I feel I really really enjoy. However, the things I end up wearing and the things I find pleasing to my eye are two completely different things a lot of the time. I now have a total of about 10 shirts, in my closet and about 200 ready to be sold. I know, I have a problem; I have completely and totally accepted it!

So through this exercise I began to try and separate the things I will really wear from the things I just think are fun. My goal was to become better acquainted with the things I love, versus the things I simply like. I was left with less than $200 in my basket and a face full of shock and confusion. This had never happened to me before – under budget. If there’s anyone you know in life that would not be under budget that person would be ME! This minimalist movement has really begun to change me, and this is the first time I’m really seeing it. I went from wanting and desiring everything to realizing it takes only a few things to really truly feel happy and satisfied. Surrounding myself with a bunch of things I like, be it people, clothing, objects, etc. just serves to fill a void. But to be surrounded by things I love gives me a chance to heal; feel real love and be loved by others!

It’s crazy how the most simple tasks, when seen under the light of minimalism, can teach you some of the most profound lessons.

Minimalism – Day 1

February 20th, 2017

I was looking at the pile on my couch in the living room of all the things I plan to sell and it hit me. This is really happening. I’m really doing this. My closets are becoming emptier by the day as I challenge myself with what I do and do not need. For a minute I felt like a little kid whose favorite toy had just been taken away. It’s hard to explain the real feeling, but it felt something like the true essence of greed. I had the urge to take everything and put them back on the hangers, restore everything to its original place. When I noticed that 4 of my items had already been bid on and were going to sell, I felt the same twinge. I didn’t want to let it go.

I think one of the hardest things about this processes is that I am essentially redefining myself by the most bare and real definitions. Neither the things that I own nor the clothes that I wear define me, but only the real person inside. It feels as though I’m naked, almost. What I wear tells you nothing now about who I am. What I own tells you very little about what I like. For the first time in my life I have to let my personality, my real personality speak for itself. I have to put myself out there and allow others to really get to know me. It’s actually a bit terrifying, if I’m being completely honest with you.

I’ve worked so hard to become the person I am today, but I never really had to show it. I could hide behind my clothing, or my preference of solitude, and be myself by myself. I could let other things speak for me, but now I’m forced to speak for myself. And not only an I completely exposed to others, but I’m 100% exposed to myself. I’m forced to see those greedy moments where I want to turn back. Those selfish moments where I want to keep just for the sake of keeping. I’m not faced with just the beautiful parts of me, but the ugly. I didn’t realize this practice would be so profound, but I’m ready and I’m staying the course!

The “Only What Brings Me Joy” Challenge

As you guys know, about a year ago, February 28th, I became a vegan. I gave up meats, dairy, and any products that were not plant-based. As I’ve embarked on this path it’s made me realize society has influenced our desire and subsequent need for material things. I successfully transitioned in one week from eating everything to eating only things produced by plants. Society tells us it’s unhealthy. Society tells us it shouldn’t be done and we need meat, dairy, and everything else mass-produced to live a healthy and successful life. But it’s just not true.

I have had my blood tested and gone to the doctor several times to make sure I am healthy, and have passed every test with flying colors. I, among countless others, have successfully debunked this myth that being vegan is not something humans were meant to do. Literature says that not being lactose intolerant is a genetic mutation that developed because human beings insisted on drinking cows milk. Cows milk is meant for baby cows, just like breast milk is meant for baby humans. We don’t drink breast milk once we grow-up, and cows don’t drink milk from other cows once they grow-up. It’s statistics like these that have engaged many in re-evaluating our ways of life and general consumption.

Big business has fooled us into thinking the only ways to get what we need are from foods and beverages that they provide. But now, with the world’s environment going to hell in a hand basket, to save the next generation we must do something different. This is no longer the time where you can say, “Well by the time this happens I’ll be dead,” because that is no longer true. Change needs to happen and it needs to happen now, and by us. We must take responsibility for our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. We can change this world. We just have to realize it’s OURS, and no other generation’s responsibility to get the ball rolling.

Through becoming a vegan, and learning to cut out certain foods and supply myself with exactly what my body needs to be happy and healthy, I’ve also begun exploring this idea in other parts of my life. Minimalism is the idea that you only have what you need. You only buy what you absolutely love, and you only keep things that bring you true joy. I have, for a long time, had a love-hate relationship with clothing and fashion. Each year I find myself staring at my closet and wondering when is it going to be time for me to give this stuff away? A positive quality of mine is that I do keep things until I absolutely have to throw them away: they rip, or break, or are just plain unwearable. So, it’s not that I buy a lot, but I keep a lot. Over the last ten years I haven’t changed shoe size or height and have barely grown anywhere else. I still have jeans from freshman year of high school, because they still fit and I still love them. The problem is that 10 years worth of clothing, shoes, and accessories tends to add up. I have way more than I need or can even wear.

The Challenge

What I am challenging myself to do this year is to go through my closet once a month for the next 12 months and pick out at least 5 items that I no longer wear, and “no longer bring me joy” – As Gilmore Girls would say. Over the next year I should have given away at least 60 items in my closet.

I challenge you, ladies and gentleman, to declutter your lives as well. Provide both your body and your mind with only what makes you happy. Stop living by the societal norms that we are worth more the more we possess, and start living for you and what you enjoy. Find love and happiness within, and stop looking for it amongst other people and things. This year and every year to come are going to be the years where we change the world! They are going to be the years where we challenge both ourselves and others to just Be You. in both the happiest, healthiest, and most sustainable ways possible, so who’s with me!?

Why I Lost Faith In Gifts on Christmas

“Love people, use things. The opposite never works.”

– Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

Growing up the holidays were about getting presents. They were about asking for everything you’ve ever wanted, and waiting for the moment where you could rip off that wrapping paper and get at all of those gifts. I would create these monstrous lists filled with literally everything I could have ever wanted in life – and I do mean literally everything. It was fun looking through magazines, going on websites, and just filling the list with anything. However, as the years went by I went through this weird transformation, from asking for everything and expecting everything to asking for everything and being fulfilled by nothing.

For several years I asked for things just to fill my list, but on Christmas day when I had gotten everything I’d asked for I was excited about nothing. My parents thought I was ungrateful and spoiled, but I really wasn’t. I’ve always been thankful for everything I’ve ever gotten, and thank God every day for everything I’ve been allowed in my life. I am beyond fortunate, and that’s the real truth. But over time I began to realize that commercials were advertising this happiness they couldn’t guarantee. Society was telling me to get more, get more, get more and you’ll be happy, but it just wasn’t true. Every week was a new promise from some new company of how their product was going to put a smile on my face and joy in my heart. However, when it came time to unwrap my gifts and get the joy and happiness I was promised – big business fell short.

It took a couple of years of unhappy holidays where I just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t content. While waiting for the rest of my family to get to my house for the festivities, I would just cry. I was just so unhappy, and I just knew, based on everything the world had taught me thus far that I was supposed to be happy. This rut finally hit rock bottom when one holiday season I decided to follow my fashion designer dreams. Yes, you laugh, and so do I – don’t worry! I taught myself to sew and even sewed a dress by hand, zipper and all. For Christmas I asked for a sewing machine and a dress form. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted, but I knew I was supposed to ask for something, so there they were. It wasn’t even two full weeks after I had received them that I realized I’d made a big mistake. I’d wasted so much money, and nothing I’d received had made me any happier. I love sewing and making clothing, but I also don’t have the time. I would love to fit my handmade clothing properly on a form, but I also know my particular petite size does not come in a standard dress form. Yet another waste of money. I had just asked for things because that’s what society told me to do. At this point, I’d even go as far as to say that’s what I thought the holiday season was about – Jesus and gifts.

It wasn’t until afterwards – sitting in my room with a whole bunch of material and string and needles and this useless dress form that I saw it. What made me happy on Christmas was being with my family. What gave me real joy was giving and not receiving. I don’t find true joy in materialistic things, but I do love to see the happiness on people’s faces when I give them gifts. My mother, the sweetheart that she is, continuously asks me what I want for Christmas every year, and every year I tell her “Nothing really,” because to me I already have it all. I no longer see a need to ask for something unless I don’t think I can live without it, or it is something that I really truly love. There are no more long lists full of everything I could have ever imagined. I now create short lists of things I really love or absolutely need, if I create a list at all.

I don’t think it’s something you’re just born knowing though, because everything around us tells us differently. Everything around us tells us the happiest people have everything and the saddest people have nothing. Commercials tell us we’ll be happy if we buy their products, and the kids at school smile in our faces when they tell us they received it. We want to fit in, so we believe what society tells us, make our lists, ask for things we don’t need, and go through the motions. I don’t think it’s until we come to truly love ourselves and are confident in ourselves that we realize none of this other stuff is going to help. If we’re sad, a new Givenchy will not make our pain go away. If I’m angry, new Jimmy Choo’s will not calm me down. It’s when we realize that we hold the key to our happiness, and that it lays nowhere but within that we truly begun to understand.

To me, this is what the holiday season is about, not only loving others, but truly learning to love ourselves. This Christmas I challenge you to ask for things you really need or one or two things you absolutely love, and nothing else. Be present during this day. Pay attention to every joke told and hug given. Listen when your family tells their stories, and help when the kitchen maestro’s need a hand. Take a moment and look around. Notice everything beautiful about that day; from the way your mom seems to jump into warp speed, to the way your grandma seems to notice every time you attempt to go outside without a coat. Take mental pictures in your mind of the emotions on people’s faces as they laugh, the way the tree lights up the room, or how your cousin’s face becomes an excited emoji when she gets exactly what she asked for. These moments are the real gifts of Christmas, and they’re all free.

 

Happy Holidays! – Love Be You.

Photo by Neokentin on Creative Spotting

Gluttony and Greed

 

wpid-fed-up-trailer-header.jpg
Images From Fed Up and Cowspiracy Documentaries

Recently I’ve been watching a lot of “cause” documentaries on Netflix. I stumbled upon two documentaries that have really changed my outlook on American and worldly big business: Cowspiracy and Fed Up . Based on just these two documentaries alone I have been provided with copious information about the environment and the world around me that I would have otherwise never known. Big business and big food corporations have done a fantastic job of keeping these shocking statistics out of the media. For example, 13% of children today are MORBIDLY obese, not just obese, but morbidly obese. In the next 25 years it is estimated that 1 in every 3 people will have Diabetes. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US [more than all modes of transportation combined (cars, trains, planes, etc.) – 13%] and 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The gluttony and greed of the human race is destroying the lives of the next generation and the world as we know it. Please, I beg everyone, start paying attention!!!

The Change Starts Here

“The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people.” – Napoleon

About a week ago the United States had over 100 lives changed forever. Orlando, Florida became the location of the largest mass shooting in American history, at a nightclub called Pulse. Pulse is known as a largely homosexual nightclub, and the shooter is said to have struggled with accepting his sexual preferences (a possible cause for his unhinging). I know I told you guys we were going to do a Top 10 posts in honor of the new Be You. Page, but I think this cause is way too large to be ignored.

Lately, the minority of focus has been African American males. It seems like every day there’s another cop shooting of a young African American male that can’t be justified by a simple “fear for one’s life.” I in no way try and belittle those wrongs or make light of those losses, but I think sometimes it’s easy to forget the struggles of others when we have such flagrant misuses of authority occurring so frequently. Last week was a shocking reminder of the prejudice other minority groups are still facing. Being different has become such a threat for American’s today. It almost makes you wonder why people would want to move here in the first place. The United States is supposed to be a melting pot of racial and ethnic acceptance, as well as social, religious, and marital/relational freedom. FREEDOM. That’s what we’re known for. We’re known for allowing people to be exactly who they are without judgment or persecution. But the more time that goes by and the more aware that I become, the more I notice that being different in the United States is almost a death sentence waiting to happen.

It is human nature to not like change and to prefer things that are normative to their group, but the extremes we’ve hit today are inexcusable. When you’re afraid to just be a minority, to just be gay, or black, or in a minority group of any kind then it should be a red flag to everyone in America that we’re doing something wrong. We’re teaching values that are giving way to violence and rigid thinking. We aren’t teaching our children to love and be loved by others, but to judge others that are unlike them, to fear them, and/or verbally and physically abuse them. Violence has become such an easy answer to delaying dealing with emotions we don’t understand. We’ve taught the next generation to take the cowards’ way out, even worse they’re now using guns. There’s no talking in gunplay, there’s no healing from death, there are no take-backs. We’ve given these children, that already lack the proper skills to process his or her emotions and already value prejudice over acceptance, access to guns. We’ve given them the ability to end the life of anyone who doesn’t see their side, agree with his or her way, or choose to live according to his or her standard. We’re failing. We’re failing to teach the next generation what’s important. We’re failing to teach them that’s it’s not about “Keeping up with the Jones’s,” it’s about being exactly who you are and loving yourself. It’s about accepting yourself and being tolerant of others.

These senseless acts of violence are cries for help from people who have lost their way. They are cries for help for entire communities and populations. It’s easy to look at the news and say, “Man, I wish that would change. There’s so much wrong with the world,” but the real change starts at home. The change starts with accepting our children and teaching them to love and accept others. The change begins when we do away with “the norm” and teach that what’s normal is exactly who they wish to be, whenever they wish to be it. The change begins when we are able to see someone different than ourselves and not see disgust or desire aggression, but see beauty and desire love and tolerance. Don’t put this burden off on the next generation, because guess who is now looking to us and paying attention to how we react to adversity and different lifestyle choices? The Next Generation. The next generation sees it all and is paying attention. The next generation sees this hate, judgment, and violence and is likely to imitate what they see if they aren’t taught otherwise. Be responsible for your part. Love all human beings and all life choices. Pass on this love and acceptance to everyone around you. Teach peace and open-mindedness. And most importantly never be afraid to, in your own life, just Be You.