Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's just HAIR , right?




I've never really been one to be defined by my hair yet so many of my memories about self love/worth surround my hair.
Once upon a time I had long thick hair and it was fabulous. Then I was the unfortunate recepient of a bad perm that caused the majority of my hair to fall out. That was then 'fixed' by a "curl" or "wave nouveau" that was all the rage and my hair began to spiral downward from there. By the time the 'curl' grew out I had already had braids a couple of times and wasn't a fan of sitting for hours on end while I laid there and let someone pull my hair to it's capacity. After the curl and the braids I ended up on that creamy crack ( a perm) curling and damaging my hair all along the way. At some point I wanted a change and begged my mother to purposely cut it all off my junior year in high school.

senior year - short hair don't care

10th grade - right before I cut it all off

It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Short hair changed things somehow and I liked the way my hair framed my face, that I had a little less to "deal" with and that it took the focus off my 'hair issues' for a while. I kept my hair short off and on for the next few years until I was pregnant with Sweet Pea. It grew pretty well thanks to prenatal vitamins and the whole growing a human thing. But then in a postpartum fit I got crazy with some at home hair color on a whim and fried it to no end. I was still rocking a perm at this, point so in order to save my hair, it had to be cut ...again...




In the meantime in between time I still took all kinds of "hair growth vitamins" with little to no luck. It didn't help that I continued to dye my hair on a whim ( I went from blonde to red in the span of 3 months) and use the curling iron liberally.

1st full weave! 

I finally took the plunge and let my hair stylist put a weave in while growing out my perm and  was happy to see a change in health during the time off. But still, I didn't have any super significant increase in length. And then I got pregnant with the Baby Ninja and it was all good. I mean, I had great growth, it was super healthy as I had no real time to 'do it' and it even looked like it was getting thicker. In short, it was awesome. And I threw another weave in to avoid doing it, because summer + new baby, and it grew a bit more and I was happy with that. No postpartum hair loss here!

postpartum luxe locks 



 And then I started to get bored, it was too dark, too blah too whatever..... I wanted change. So I colored it again.


Here's the thing. Even though I knew how to do my hair, I never really learned how to take care of my hair. Not properly anyway. I picked up things here and there and college was was definitely a learning curve as far as how to maintain my hair without the regular salon appointment that I had grown accustomed to. And there were definitely some questionable moments on my part.
So after this last fiasco I've made a personal mission of mine to get a better handle on my tresses. I want to really learn how to take care of my hair in it's natural curly state as well as to keep it looking nice when it's pressed without doing too much damage with heating products.
I've tried out two of the most popular hair vitamins on the market and had good results so I'm excited to keep it up and see how far that gets me. But I know it's not just about the vitamins, it's about the products I use and styles I lean towards as well.




Yes, I know it's just hair. and for the most part, that's always been my philosophy to an extent. As much as I thought I wasn't, I've let my hair define how I see myself. When my hair isn't right, nothing really is. Not my clothes, my makeup, I just feel 'off'. This past Christmas was the straw that broke the camels back for me. I knew my hair wasn't up to snuff but seeing it in photos and realizing that day that NOTHING I did could hide my thinning edges was not only sad but embarrassing.

I promised myself from that day forward I would treat my hair with more respect, and the same way I take care of my body by working out and eating right, I have to take care of my hair.
I could wax on endlessly about my hair, black hair and our history with our hair that makes it such a PROCESS and BIG DEAL but I've gone on long enough. The point is, I know I'm not my hair but I can't help but wonder how this next step in my journey will change how I see myself yet again.

Do you have any hair struggles you've been dealing with?



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe - Killer Concept or Complete Closet Crap?

    

    When I first sort of discovered 'fashion blogging' I was still pregnant with Baby Ninja and looking forward to re-working my personal style as a young(ish) mom and fashion forward individual. I  remember stumbling across, Kendi Everyday and her 30 x 30 Remix Challenge (take 30 items in your closet, make 30 outfits)  on a late night Pinterest binge. That's actually how I first discovered Andrea at For The Love Of. But back then, she was Four Flights Of Fancy, anyhow, I liked how Andrea took on the challenge and made it work in her everyday mom life. As a working mom with one on the way, I could totally appreciate that.  Getting dressed had begun to seem like a chore and I knew with a newborn I needed to streamline as much as possible. I  also knew I wasn't going to have much to work with being between sizes and her posts gave me great ideas for stretching my postpartum wardrobe. Although I never actually tackled my own 30 x 30 remix I enjoyed seeing how the ladies worked their wardrobe and finding out all the behind the scenes scoop.
      Living in Georgia for years and having to pack clothes away for each season thanks to small closet space got me in the right head space to not miss certain articles for awhile but I still shopped my heart out for what I thought was "lacking". The concept of capsule dressing is quite appealing in theory as I like the idea of knowing what I’m working with clothes wise for any given season.  Sometimes having so many options can be paralyzing.

      But let me back up a minute. Not sure what a capsule wardrobe is really? Whoorl, does a great job of breaking it down here. After reading an article on Caroline (aka UnFancy) I was intrigued by this latest capsule concept. Basically, you pare down your clothes to a set number of pieces (37 as per Caroline) , wear only those items for 3 months (also known as a season to those outside of So Cal) and don't shop for those 3 months until it's time to start planning for the next capsule. Keep in mind those 37 pieces don't necessarily include underwear, jewelry, workout gear, jammies and accessories. (The "rules" vary depending on where you look.) Ideally, at the end of the 3 months you're only buying items you may NEED for the next season and then creating yet another capsule using the previous seasons pieces mixed in with anything new you may have purchased for the current season. Make sense? The idea is that at the end of the year you only have a collection of things that you truly love and will wear often and less 'fluff' to distract you.  
       
        
image via Project 333
      While I'm impressed she can shoot all the outfits in one day, my only issue with UnFancy is that you don't really see how she wears her capsule throughout the season in real life situations. I mean, I want to know if by week 4 you're tired of wearing the same boots or yellow cardigan over and over. Or worse, you stain a key item? And what happens if something unexpected comes up that requires a fancier option than the 37 pieces? Am I just supposed to automatically work in an LBD for reasons such as this? I have questions.



image via Whoorl 
     
     

      I’m a busy WAHM and taking forever to get dressed isn’t really a luxury I have anymore so limiting my closet to X number of pieces per season seems like it would work wonders at saving me time and headache. But what about when I want to spice things up? And shopping for each season just ahead of the next? Is that too extreme? I’m thinking  I might attempt to tackle a 30 day Capsule challenge , sort of a remix + capsule combined and we’ll see how it goes.  I know one of my biggest issues is going to be shoes. The #westcoastwinterstruggle is real and you never really know from day to day what footwear will be the most appropriate so dressing "seasonally" is a bit trickier out here and I've been known to rock everything from Uggs to Birks on the same day.
      I do think it will be fun to see what I actually wear on a consistent basis and I'm feeling the need to pare down as it is so this will be a great reason to do a good closet purge. 

     I'm thinking I'll start my challenge in February as that will give me time to look at my calendar, plan what type of things I'll need to pick as well as clear out some of the closet clutter. 


     So I'm interested in finding out what you think! How do you feel about the concept of a capsule wardrobe? Does it make things super simple or you think you'd feel constricted by the number of items you can choose?

     
        




Friday, January 16, 2015

Weekend Links: New Year New Me

It's been awhile since we last did but there is just SO much good stuff out there on the internet it begs to be shared with everyone! And if you don't follow me on Facebook , Instagram or Twitter (and really why are you not?) then you're definitely missing out on some of these gems.

So let's recap shall we? I got back to blogging this week by jumping straight in with a wardrobe workhorse post about the shift dress. In this case it's a printed version but they are my jam. Everyone needs one.
I was on MommyNoire talking about how to keep rocking your holiday wear well into the new year. I see no reason to not wear sequins during the day. Do you?  Also note to self, I need sparkly oxfords.



-        Let’s Get Drinks-  This piece in The New Yorker nails the exchange between women who want to hang out but don't want to commit to hang out all while highlighting the crazy in the world. Brilliant. 
-        Churn downfor what - I love the internet at times like this. While it sucks to be the couple who are now a classic meme, these made me HOLLER. Twitter has no chill. Enjoy. 
-        If you're not reading Awesomely Luvvie you need to get on it. She has NO behavior and I love it. I don't know how she finds these photos but these #strugglefeets are everything that is wrong in the world. The comments when she posted it though! I almost peed my pants laughing so hard! 

-       I wrote a little about my  Word of theYear on For Harriet and would love you to check it out. I'm still new over there so I'd love to see some familiar faces (so to speak) and I'd like to know more about how you set goals for the new year!



Our weekend was pretty fun, we had a date night with several of our friends (which never happens) and we took full advantage staying out late and enjoying each other's company in celebration of all the December/ January birthdays of our friends. Good times were had and we spent the rest of the weekend watching football, cleaning and hanging out at home.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2014 A Look Back + Some Lessons Learned


Happy New Year y'all!
Even if I am about two weeks late. I love the beginning of the year. I love change ( to an extent) and I dig a fresh start. I love all the new year new me postings. And I love reflecting on how far we’ve/I’ve come in 365 days and how excited we all are to start anew. It's been so long since I've posted over here and for that I apologize! I've had ideas and thoughts but a lack of words and the ability to coherently express them.  I spent the latter part of the year in a bit of a downward spiral internalizing negative vitriol found in the comments section while alternately laughing hysterically at random videos. Subsequently I  had a hard time getting out of the heavy fog in which I was wallowing. I took a little (unintentional but necessary) time off from writing over here and focused on my writing for MommyNoire and For Harriet (and it's sister sites) while catching up on all the DIY's I had been putting off.
It sort of felt good to check out of the 'need to post a blog' routine a bit but still be "social" via Instagram and Facebook. I was having a hard time gathering my thoughts for a cohesive posts and then when I did write for here, it was sort of all over the place. So I took a step back. Sometimes a break is the best thing for some clarity and inspiration and I got a little of that while I was "off".

Looking back on the year I saw how not having one word for the whole year kind of threw me off kilter and it took months for me to get back on track.
I've chosen my word for this year and it has me feeling positive and looking forward to whatever lies ahead.

In the year two thousand and fourteen :
  • Baby Ninja turned 2 and we celebrated the only way Wild Things know how - at My Gym with the rest of the tiny tornado crew.


  • We moved for the first time in 5 years, 5 miles down the street in the same town. It took 5 men approximately 5 hours and it happened to be the rainiest day of the year. Go figure.
  • Sweet Pea turned 12, got a cell phone and started junior high. I am currently still recovering.
  •  We took a family road trip up to San Francisco and it was beautiful and tiring and exciting and majestic and everything I hoped for. ( I have plans to finally post about that later this month)
  •  I went to New York in the summer for Blogging While Brown and got to spend some much needed time with my East Coast besties in the heart of NYC, I took the subway, saw art, had brunch, was refueled with conversation and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was epic and I'll never forget it.
  •  I also attended my 2nd LUCKY FABB conference, saw my girl crush Nicole Richie up close & personal and got to reconnect with some old favorites as well as meet some awesome new ladies. Bloggers are my jam.
Danielle of The Style & Beauty Doc
  • It was also "the year of the margarita" and I spent a great deal of time perfecting my blending technique with a variety of fruits and flavors. It got so serious I ended up with a margarita machine for Christmas. This is going to make 2015 that much more exciting.
  • D &I celebrated 4 years of marriage. We had a fancy dinner at RuthsChris (my first time) where they sat us next to another couple celebrating 44 years on the same day. I took that as a sign and we made sure to speak and wish them well. Storing up our own good marriage karma if you will.

  •  I took on more writing outside of the blog with contributing roles at MommyNoire and For Harriet and it's sister sites in the beauty and style categories and I hope to continue expand my work in the coming year.
  • There were a LOT of trips to Target and the Farmer's Market and while we weren't the most fit, we did eat cleaner. This year is all about bringing it all together, fitness, wellness and nourishment. I have a couple new cookbooks I'm looking forward to using to help us on that path.
  • I turned 35. It was.....both monumental and not. It's hard to explain but I have to say I felt good about it and really feel like myself more now than I ever have before.

I am SO excited about this year. It's not as if I have in stone HUGE opportunities planned or anything but I just feel a shift, not only in my psyche but in the energy in the air as well.  Well, that's not entirely true, I do have some things planned and I AM super excited about them all but I'm okay with being patient while it all comes together and I work on my master plan.
I've got my vision board up and left a little open space so I can add to it as the year goes and things crop up. I spent a little time this week working on my office, a task I've been putting off and am excited to get even more organized and get the gallery wall up once and for all so I can be inspired on the daily.
In regard to the blog and the posts here, in years past I've tried to stick to daily themes and post up to five times a week and I've come to realize that's just not going to happen. So plan to post as often as I can , 3 days a week. Lots of fun features on up and coming business, events and life happenings. Should be pretty fun.



Last  year was full of ups and downs. As always things did not turn out as expected. They were both infinitely better and worse. New relationships were forged, old ones flourished while others simply withered away. This is the circle of life and I'm learning to continue to  cherish those who remain, be open to what comes my way and to roll with how things play out.

Welcome 2015, I embrace you with open arms and a smile on my face. Let's do this thing!










Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Shifting Gears

It's no secret that I'm a little obsessed with ASOS and shopping online in general. It gives me a little thrill to hit "proceed to checkout", punch in whatever discount code I have and then get the subsequent email confirmations that my package is on it's way to me. But at the same time I'm also making a valiant effort to truly streamline my wardrobe and curb my compulsion for consumption. I've come a long way believe you me, but as I begin the fun process of my annual closet purge I can see there are a few things that I still need to really complete my wardrobe in terms of staple items.
For example: I could use a simple black dress. Don't get me wrong, I have several black dresses. But nothing that is sort of an all purpose type dress. One has lace, one is a tank (and a little on the shorter side) another is of the shirt dress variety and all are specific as to what type of event they lend themselves towards. What I really need is a simple all purpose shift dress.
I think I've found a few I like and it helps that I have a gift card so I'm pretty excited to sneak off one afternoon and try a few things on. But that's another post.

The other item I'm looking to replace is the floral printed dress. Oddly once upon a time I was strongly against floral print of any kind but clearly I have since changed my stance on that.
I purchased the Prabal Gurung for Target A-line dress and it was lovely but I knew when I bought it that it wasn't really ME but I loved the print so much! I'm not a full skirted dress type of lady really.  At least not the way that piece is cut. So it's going to have to go, however, a floral dress is always a handy piece to have in the arsenal as it can do double duty as both a casual and more elegant dress.
I've got my finger on the trigger of this one by Warehouse from ASOS and I'm sure I've said before how beneficial it is to have a printed dress hanging in the closet ready to go at all times.





It makes me feel put together even when I'm feeling like I don't really have it together and it tends to break up the abundance of solid colors in my wardrobe. One of the main draws for me, to this particular print is the bright splash of yellow and pops of green that mix seamlessly with the grey/ black/white theme and even that there are even hints of blue. The grey trim on the sleeves is a fun contrast while the overall color combination  can easily transition between seasons. I can see pairing this with sandals, heels, wedges, tights and my favorite ankle boots. I'd also like to see it with some of my favorite chapeaus and necklaces too.





As in previous years, I have no desire to purchase items on a whim and I'm for sure making a more concentrated effort  than ever to only purchase items I really and truly love and can see myself wearing for awhile. If that means spending a little more per item and buying less then so be it. This Warehouse dress is a prime example, it was originally $95 (roughly $100 + shipping + tax) and it was then marked down to $66 and getting back to about $70 with shipping so I saved about $30. I'm familiar with quality of the brand so this was a practical purchase for me. Now some of you might be saying either that's not a lot or that's too much. There's no pleasing everyone but since I don't shop all that often (although it would appear otherwise from my instagram dressing room diaries) this is






Also, let it be said, I've learned over the last year, I'm not really a form fitting dress kind of woman. I don't mind them, but for some reason I feel somewhat self conscious in them so I tend to lean toward a looser shift style and while going through my closet I've come to realize that's sort of my 'signature' look. I don't mind a plunging neckline, open back or even a shorter length but I am not about the body con. That's not to say I don't own an figure hugging dresses but that those aren't really my forte and at this stage in my personal style quest I need to focus on what works and what I feel great in. Shifts are where it's at.


Do you have a favorite style of dress? Tell me in the comments!



*this is not a sponsored post....I just love ASOS!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Holiday Redux - Casual Glam


If you're like me, maybe you're feeling a bit of the post-holiday blues? The gloomy weather we So Cal residents are experiencing are definitely playing a role in our January moods and it's only fitting that we spend a few hours staring off into the distance reminiscing about that FABULOUS holiday soiree we attended or how much we loved our office holiday party outfit and musing about why we don't wear sequins EVERY.DAY.
The struggle is real, which is why I created a Holiday party redux - a great way to gain inspiration on how to wear some of your favorite party pieces well into the new year!

Read the full story over on MommyNoire........





Casual Glam

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