Saturday, November 20, 2010

inching along: a random unstretched length check

i was on LHCF about a week or so ago when a member who recently BC'd (she reminds me so much of myself -- 3c/4a with fine strands, BC'd after 12 months) made a thread asking how long your hair is when weighed down with DC. i took it upon myself to take a picture of my hair, since i was already in the process of DCing, and found that my hair is the same length whether saturated with a heavy DC (in this case, matrix biolage conditioning balm) or freshly cowashed. i also found that when wet, my hair is comfortably SL, quite a change from 2009's unstretched wet length. (of course, it still shrinks up to NL, if i let it go without being manipulated.) enjoy this random pic, friends.
NOTE: shortly after taking this picture, the critic in me noticed that the curls on the left side looked less than stellar. attributing it to my last bout with heat and my lack of protein restoration since then, i did an overnight DC with my HG protein conditioner, ion effective care treatment. i love this DC, which i reviewed earlier this year here, and recently repurchased a smaller bottle during an impromptu sally's run. i am happy to report the curls are now back to their normal springy curly selves.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

back on the ball.....or the mat

last summer, i began working out consistently in order to lose a bit of a belly i was self-conscious about. i went from what i thought was a great 123 lbs at 5'5" to over 135 lbs less than 6 months later. on a frame my size, i felt like it was really noticeable, and i blogged about a bit of my frustrations and what i was doing to get over it. when i was in that horrible car accident last december, i lost all that weight and then some -- you get what you ask for, as the saying goes. in literally a week, i went from 135 to 115 and arose (well, as best as i could) stick thin and feeling self-conscious again. i was wheelchair-bound for about 6 weeks, then on crutches for about a month before i could walk again, but i spent at least part of my time in rehab trying to firm up my newly slim body and regain weight in the right places as opposed to flab where i didn't want it. i was just getting to a point where i felt as if i could keep up what i was learning when the rehab stopped....a good thing, considering it stopping was contingent upon me being able to walk again. although i was back to my old self for the most part, i never fully regained the ability to run, and even though i always detested running, the fact that i physically wasn't able to do it made me want it so bad. when i met my current SO, an avid soccer player and workout lover, he told me he would love to help me get back in shape, but he's such a sweetheart that i quickly learned the level at which my whining would make him give in. thus, i only find myself walking with him or doing any kind of workout maybe once every two weeks, at best. now that i am again gaining weight, something i struggled a bit with post-accident (again, you get what you ask for) it is again building up in my mid-section. making the whole struggle harder is the non-running thing, plus a bad knee and horrible back pain that i still have from breaking my tailbone and hip in the accident.

despite me not getting out there, i have always had this "thing" in the back of my head where i knew what i wanted to do, even if i couldn't get the ball rolling. once i heard pilates was not only an exercise craze but also used as PT for those with lower back injuries, i jumped at the chance to take a few classes and see if it could help me. on top of that, the jillian michaels 30 day shred DVD that i still possess from last summer worked then, and it is something that i can do at home. i figured that between the two of those, maybe erratic access to an elliptical, and some walking shoes, i could at least get a little back in shape. i became aware of groupon a few months ago, and i love the deals they offer -- cheap ways to explore your city, discover a new restaurant, and of course tons of quirky date ideas. one day back in august, they actually had a groupon for pilates classes -- 5 classes at a local studio here in durham for $15. i jumped at the chance to take 5 classes for the price of one, and though i knew their schedule would fill up, i bought the deal anyway. i largely forgot about it until two weeks ago, when i installed a groupon app on my ipod and suddenly recalled shelling out the money for the deal. i was lucky enough to call and get a spot in the beginner's class that very night, and so began my love affair with pilates. as a decidedly lazy person who believes anything low-impact HAS to be a better way to get in shape, i adored the instructor and found the poses challenging yet easy to get used to. i immediately came home and wanted to do it again, but hoped that the exerciseTV workouts included with my SO's extremely expensive HD cable package could suffice until my next in-studio session. i looked up a few, and found the instructors on there a bit hyper, but still able to guide me through pretty much the exact same workout i had just done down the street. i filed this away in my brain and continued to create a plan of attack.....even though it played out much better in my head than in my life.

things progressed pretty much unchanged until yesterday, when my SO asked me to meet him outside without telling me why. we began with a short walk to duke's campus, which turned into sort of a sightseeing tour for me. before i knew it, we had been walking for quite some time and it added up to over 2 miles of walking. as unexpected as it was, i felt proud of myself -- not only had i been able to walk further than i have (at least, on purpose) since before my accident, but i was able to ignore the growing pain in my ankle and keep on truckin'. the one thing that used to get me down about walking when i first started was the throbbing that would start, almost as a warning sign, when i stood longer than 5 minutes, and feeling that same pain yesterday was almost a badge of honor to prove to myself how far i have come. i expect that the more i walk the less i will feel it, and eventually i will be able to run around the campus walls without that pain bothering me.

today, i got off to a late start and for some reason started thinking about pilates again. i then realized that it was because the class is on wednesdays at 7, and this was at about 5pm. i wanted to bash my head against the wall once i realized that even if i did want to go, i couldn't, since my SO was out with the car. all of a sudden, the little voice in the back of my head got on me -- why can't you just work out here? all the excuses began to formulate, and i entertained them for about 5 seconds before i decided to suck it up and do the total body pilates workout. after it was over, i felt sufficiently stretched, but not finished working out. i couldn't believe what i was doing, but i then did the jillian michaels 30 day shred workout to get in a good sweat. it was harder than i remember, maybe because it's been almost a year since i last did it, but when it was over i felt all the familiar emotions rushing back: the burn in my abs, my legs feeling like they were about to give out, and an ache in my shoulders giving way to this overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

that's two days of workouts down -- let's see if i can keep this up for a while.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

This darn shedding!

I have fallen off of my projected straightening schedule ALREADY....but for good reason. The blowout that I got last month took me well through the end of October, just like I expected. It wasn't difficult at all -- my regimen was super simple, being that most days I wore my hair in some sort of bun (high bun, donut bun, braided bun), updo (usually with a claw clip or good hair day pin), or braidout and I only moisturized maybe 2 times a week to avoid buildup from too much coconut or avocado oil. The hard part actually came from what should have been a simple step in my regimen: washing my hair. I rarely combed my hair all the way through from root to tip when it was straight, opting to finger comb or brush only the edges when needed. Therefore, I completely forgot about the crazy seasonal shedding I get in the fall.

The day that I washed my hair, I stepped in the shower with a large comb, a few clips, and my shampoo, but came out with a few huge hair balls! Of course I panicked, but luckily I have been taking great care to track not only my growth, but also my shedding and breakage amounts -- not to the point where i am doing obsessive things like counting strands and examining every piece of hair for that little white bulb (okay, maybe just every OTHER strand, lol), but I do know what is normal versus abnormal for me. I first noticed in the fall of 2008 as a new natural that something wasn't quite right with my hair....I remember not combing a WNG for about a week and being horrified to discover on wash day that my hair was matted. I did learn quickly that once-a-week detangling was not going to be an option if I was wearing WNGs, but I also learned that the amount of hair I shedded that week was what caused the matting. Even after starting to PS, I was still getting these huge hairballs, and all the troubleshooting in the world didn't fix it. I calmly waited it out, and noticed around December that things were back to normal. The same thing happened last fall, despite the fact that I was PSing a lot more, and no matter how many garlic treatments I did or pills I popped, it didn't stop until it was ready to. This year being the third year, I have now realized that it's just a seasonal thing that I can't really do anything about. I did do a few protein treatments to a) restore my hair from the heat use and b) ward against any possible breakage there could have been, but even with all that Megatek, I am still pulling back tons of shed hairs every time I touch my hair.

The only plan of attack I have is to keep doing what I have been doing: wearing my hair in protective styles and keeping up with a strict moisture regimen. I cornrowed the sides of my hair last Sunday to make a semi-frohawk and wore my loose hair in a variation of sponge roller curls, french braids, braidouts and braidout buns this week, making sure to wet, moisturize and finger comb my hair each night before resetting. Tomorrow I will take down the cornrows, prepoo with coconut oil, shampoo my hair, DC with matrix biolage conditioning balm and add the kimmaytube leave-in with a few sprays of aphogee green tea + keratin. Not quite sure how I will style it yet, but I am kinda liking the combo of cornrows and french braids, so that may win out. I will try straightening again in December, since I hope the shedding will have stopped by then.