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Thursday, December 12, 2013

What Product's Do You Use? (Why This is a Dead End Question...)



Let's start off by me saying that I asked this question numerous times when I anticipated going back to my Natural Hair and when I first actually went back to my Natural Hair.  You see these beautiful curls on Instagram, in the blogs and on YouTube and it's almost an immediate reaction to ask.  This is until you become knowledgeable about your hair and realize that knowing the products a person uses does nothing for you.  Okay, sometimes if you know EXACTLY how they use the products it may help you some but generally it only gives you temporary satisfaction.  Here is what happens... You find out the products, you go out and purchase the products, you use the products that night (because you cannot wait until wash day), and then you become frustrated that your hair did not turn out the same way.  If this is the pattern you seem to be on currently, just STOP!  From my experience, I have only kept a few products that I have tried based on another person's recommendation via Social Media.  Every last product I use now was chosen by trial and error based on my own hair, preferences and curiosity.

I will say that I have gained a good deal of feedback and information by actually watching a person's actual routine over knowing what they're using.  To me that is really more beneficial in trying to obtain a similar style.  Just recently I asked a Instagrammer how she achieved her High Puff Style on her TWA (which I didn't even know was possible).  And, her first response was a list of products she used!  I actually wanted to know HOW she completed the style on her short hair (like mine) so I rephrased, asked her again and she kindly responded with the info.  VERY rarely will I comment on a particular product that is being promoted.  I may be curious about the ingredients of a product occasionally or want to know what the slip is like but I will not EVER ask a person what they used to achieve their style.  Certain things like using Gel for hold or Edge Tamer to smooth the edges are pretty general products and don't necessarily contribute to the overall style.  But thinking that the Curl Cream she's using on her 3A curls is going to give your 4B curls the same look is a no no boo boo.

Overall, just test things on your own.  A rule that has worked for me is if I find a product that works crazy good in my hair then 9 times out of 10 there are other products in that same line/brand that work well for me also.  So, I tend to have multiple products of the same line/brand versus 1 product from every Natural Hair Care Brand out there!  So, let me know ladies... Have you been guilty of asking this question before?  Has asking this question actually been useful contrary to my opinion?  Leave some Feedback below.
Monday, December 9, 2013

Social Media Monday: Laid Back YouTube Videos


So, generally I do not read the blogs on a daily basis but I do check YouTube and Instagram consistently.  I'm a huge fan of the YouTubers, Vloggers and Instagrammers who really do put a lot of time and effort into their videos and pictures.  But, I am an even bigger fan of just raw, laid back videos as well.

This week I am loving both ShamelessMaya and MissyLynn's recent YouTube videos.  Shameless Maya puts on a damn production in almost every video that she does and girl I am always here for it.  She WORKS!  But, her latest 'Sweater Weather' tag video is so turned down and appears to be in her home which is quite a change from her normal Hollywood show she gives us.  I mean, half the questions she didn't even have answers to but I appreciated that as well.  It is so uncommon to see such a popular YouTube icon who doesn't have the latest products and be hip to the latest trends... but it's refreshing at the same time.  Certainly, it put me in check real quick!

Missy Lynn's recent Couples 1-2-3 Tag with her boyfriend was outright hilarious.  I mean, I was smiling at the two of them being so real during the entire video.  The language made me cringe because I didn't want viewers to come after them for cursing but to me it truly showed a "raw" side to her and them both.  It was nice hearing a couple curse as much as my husband and I do.  P.S: We're working on that, LOL.

So, there you have my Social Media Monday picks for this week.  Stay tuned every Monday to see what I'm loving on Social Media that week.  Toodles booskies!
Sunday, December 8, 2013

Our DIY Holiday Photo Cards 2013... A New Tradition!

I am not one for the traditions that holidays seem to encourage. Not because I don't want to participate but I can never seem to remember year over year! By the time I do remember, it's too late to really enjoy it as a family so I just forgo altogether. Well, this year I decided it was time to hold myself accountable to a Holiday Tradition already! I chose to do a Family Holiday Portrait with the children wearing matching pajamas. I figured this would be easy to attempt year over year as long as we can always find matching pajamas right? Well, as "easy" as pictures at home sounds, it turned out to be not so easy. At least not for the non-Susie Homemaker, Crafty and Creative type like myself. My goodness, I had to do research on good set ups which I could accommodate in my home then go out and grab some home decor for placement in the photos. Thankfully, a blogger I follow, Tammie with lipstickwithsomesunshine, did a great post on DIY Holiday Pictures just in time for me to grab even more ideas!

 The morning of the pictures I woke up thinking I had this in the bag. All the prep work had been completed and the only thing left to do was dress the children and take the pictures. Mmm hmm... I was in for a rude awakening. I didn't want to yell at the kids and mess up their moods which would obviously make for bad pictures. So, I tried to remain as calm as possible... towards them at least. I became so frustrated internally that I looked over at husband who was simply standing by admiring the photos and said to him "Why are you just standing there, do something!!". As if he could hear the yelling going on in my head and anticipate what I needed. Even the kids looked at me strange like "what did he do?!"... LOL. Surprisingly, with little to no direction he knew exactly what I needed and began directing the kids. "Kennedy smile... Gregory sit up... Taylor push your hair out of your face"... That's when I realized that people won't be able to tell how ratchet things were behind the scenes by looking at the pictures! I was trying to have a picture perfect photo shoot as if I was being photographed or watched.

All in all, we laughed and we yelled. The kids became just as frustrated as we did but we all gave it our best. The final results were better than I anticipated and I am definitely looking forward to this tradition next year! Check out some of our photos below...
Thursday, December 5, 2013

The LifeStyle Change when Relocating...

Recently, I was discussing both of our relocations to the DMV area.  Essentially we both came to the area for the same reasons... Our significant other received a lucrative offer and we supported them.  When  doing the research to determine my own move I looked at the normal things... Rent, Taxes, Distance to nearest City, etc.  At the time of my move, my company was allowing me to work remotely from my new location so I didn't need to research child care.  Well, months after my move to the DMV I was offered a position which nearly doubled my salary and I was all too excited at the opportunity.  Unfortunately, in my research for the area I had never looked into Child Care and was dealt a huge blow once I realized the cost.  We tried the Daycare thing for a while but realized that because of traffic and other work related factors, we were not making it home in time to make the Daycare cut off time of 6:30pm.  Then, we would get home and still need to cook dinner, clean the house somewhat, do laundry, look over homework.  The list goes on and on.  Quickly, the thought of a nanny became appealing.  Again, this was not an expense we had factored into the cost of living when we considered relocating.

This all was a lesson learned very quickly.  Back in Virginia Beach we had friends and a support system that worked well for our young family.  Here in the DMV we do not have any of that and when things go wrong in our daily plan we do not have backup options besides ourselves.  This change in lifestyle was something we did not consider AT ALL.  Child care expenses, increased gas cost due to traveling to/from work and eating more take out food because of time constraints also kept us from visiting our friends as much as we anticipated.  While my friend who I had this conversation with does not have children, we both agreed that the loss of friends to make more money almost isn't worth it looking back.  And, truly it doesn't feel like we are making "more" money once everything else is added into the equation.

If you have been through something like this then I am sure you have had this conversation many times with your significant other as I have had it a million times with my husband.  If we were able to do it all over again, we wouldn't.  BUT, that was a lesson we wouldn't have learned without this experience.  He has had almost a handful of positions offered to him in various locations across the United States since we have lived here and we have turned them all down.  It's so easy to look at the dollar signs in a job offer but money can't always buy you the lifestyle you want for your family.

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