Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage Cleansing Conditioner A La Creme

Since becoming natural, Dark and Lovely's Au Naturale line was something I had wanted to try for awhile. But in the beginning, I could not find the line in a store near me. 

When I finally was able to get my hands on something, I was excited to try anything. Since I was back in Georgia for a visit and forgot to pack shampoo or conditioner, I thought a cleansing conditioner would be a good idea. 

Well, to be honest, I thought a co wash would be a good idea. But figured I would try something new especially since it was the first time I found the Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage Cleansing Conditioner in stores.

The first time I used this shampoo I was not terribly impressed. However, I decided to give it a few more tries before I made a final judgement.

Now according to softsheen-carson.com:

Curls feeling womp, womp? Our Cleansining Conditioner a la Crème is just what your curls ordered: hydration elation! This silicone-free cowash cleanses without the squeaks and replenishes dry, dehydrated curls and coils with nourishing moisture. Made gentle and lightweight for frequent use.

Sounds pretty good, right?

As the replacement for your shampoo, conditioner, and detangler it sounds perfect. For those ingredient readers, it is also free of parabens, mineral oil, and sulfates. Anti-shrinkage is just the cherry on top of what sounds like a great product.

As I continued using the product, I felt like it was drying out my hair.  This is a problem I have had with other cleasning conditioners.  Usually the idea sounds better than the product.  

I used most of the bottle and came to the conclusion the only redeeming qualities I found with this product are that it has a pump dispenser and it did help with shrinkage a bit.  However, I still had some shrinkage so it wasn't a holy grail product for anti shrinkage.

I couldn't even finish the bottle to make this an empties post, so it is safe to say that I wouldn't recommend this product to anyone.

I am not completely discouraged from trying more products from the Au Naturale line, but I will admit that it isn't the start of a great relationship.  You only get one chance to make a first impression.  Good thing I believe in second chances.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

From Self Destructive to Self Reflection......27 Years of Learning

As I sit here on the eve of my 27th year, I feel an almost pain deep inside. A growing pain that often I tried to deny. 

Who am I and where am I? At this point I feel I should know. Maybe I do and I have just refused to acknowledge the answer.

Why am I posting this? Why does this introduction sound like some depressing sob story? Tomorrow, I will be 27. Tomorrow begins a whole new year of my life. Tomorrow, I want to FINALLY apply the last 26 years of my life to an actual chapter of growth.

This past year, I spent a lot of time learning about my self. A friend of mine pointed out that outside of college, my period of self exploration was cut short due to me getting married young and having a kid not long after that. She was right.

The last 3 years have been interesting to say the least. Full of drama, tears, triumphs, failures and more. A time of just a crazy roller coaster ride. But this last year, with my husband gone for most of it, I had no choice but to face some of my worst thoughts alone. Unfortunately, what I learned about myself wasn't always applied to my growth.

When I got married, it was a rush. I was in a transition between settling back in Atlanta and trying to maintain my long distance relationship. When I graduated, I was somewhat lost when it came to my future. While I never pressured my husband to get married, I did want him to make a decison about a timeline to help me make a decision about our life and mine. I could explain the difference but I feel that would be a waste of effort.

I saw marriage as a chance for a change, a push even, to help me find myself.  In retrospect, that was a horrible way of thinking. I live with no regrets getting married, because I love my husband. But as I become one year closer to 30, I have moments of wondering what if we had waited a year or what if I had done certain things differently in the first year of our marriage.

Too often, I play the "what if" game with myself. It is a terrible game to play, one I suggest against. But as I get on Facebook and even YouTube, I see the success of those around me and I think what am I doing with my life.  I can't even maintain my blog or care enough to clean my house like it should be cleaned. I play the "what if" game without being driven enough to do something to change it.

So why am I sharing this with you? Because I need a final nail in the coffin for the past. To stop making excuses for why I don't do certain things. To look back at this post and realize I can change and that my life is far better than a pity myself moment.

They say you shouldn't regret anything in life because at one point that is what you wanted. I don't always agree with that saying because there are plenty of things I regret and I didn't exactly want them at the time. But I don't regret the life I have chosen to share with a man I love nor the life I have given to a little boy who makes me smile and crazy.
As I enter into my 27th year, I won't dwell on the opportunities I missed, the fights that were counterproductive, and the moments I can't change. 27 will be my year. I said 26 would be a year of learning and it was, but this year will be the year I fully apply my knowledge.

27 will be a year to remember.....

Friday, November 7, 2014

Team Beachbody Challenge: 21 Day Fix-Day One

Yesterday began the first day of my 21 Day Fix.  I'm not going to lie, it was a bit of a rough first day.  Despite a rough start, I am determined to lose this weight.  To make myself more accountable I have decided to post everyday about how each day goes whether I am successful and even any miss steps.

At the end, I will review the program and give more details about the 21 Day Fix

My overview for day one:

Food Diary
Breakfast: Two hard boiled eggs (barely salted and with pepper), yellow container of steel cut oats with cinnamon, and a small gala apple.

Snack: Shakeology Vanilla Shake (Vanilla Chai recipe)
Lunch: Tilapia seasoned with lemon juice and Ms. Dash Table Blend seasoning-salt free, green container of spinach and mushrooms with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette, and a yellow container of Uncle Ben's garlic seasoned brown rice and quinoa.

Sweet: Dark Chocolate Chips
Dinner: Red container of ground chuck seasoned with Ms. Dash Table Blend seasoning-salt free and a yellow container of Uncle Ben's garlic seasoned brown rice and quinoa.

 Work Out
21 Day Fix Upper Body Workout with Resistance Bands-30 minutes

Fails: Getting on the scale and seeing that my weight had gotten up to 198.8.  It was upsetting to think I had gained all the weight that I lost and then some since my husband's return.  I also was a bit impulsive and ate 2 and a half tablespoons of the chocolate chips when the plan is supposed to only allow for 1.  Lastly, I had a french fry from my husband's lunch.

Successes: I stuck pretty well to the meal plan for my first day and despite eating a french fry......I threw the rest away before the temptation got too strong.  Also, while the work out was a struggle to get through I made sure I finished it unlike my first attempt with plyo fix.

Overall, my first day was succesful but it was rough. I felt like a junkie in recovery.  While walking through Walmart to pick up some things for my meal plan, I felt so weak.  Trying to find stuff to on each aisle was torture.  It was as if each aisle was filled with only things I couldn't have and nothing I could eat.  I was proud of myself for not giving into temptation, but unfortunately the torture didn't stop there.

My husband came home for lunch and what does he have in his hands but a Burger King bag.  I don't even like Burger King, but the smell of the burger and fries made me want to punch him in the face as I watched him eat it.  He left and per my request tossed the bag in the outside trash so I wouldn't smell it.  However, he forgot the container of mostly uneaten fries. I stared at it like a junkie staring at a possible next fix.

In my mind, I thought no one would know.  I ate one and quickly through the rest in the trash before temptation could overcome me in the worst way.  The rest of the day went smoothly, just hoping I can finish today as strong.

If you have any questions about the program or Shakeology, feel free to contact me at contact_chrystynsview@yahoo.com or check out my website: http://www.beachbodycoach.com/Chrystynsview

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hair Experiment: L'Oreal Excellence HiColor Intense Red

After a hectic couple of months, I decided to change it up a bit.  However, I do like to kept it a little in my comfort zone.  Once again, I visited the hair color aisle at Sally's Beauty Supply and picked up another box of red hair coloring.

I asked the sales associate what is the best hair dye for my dark hair without bleaching.  After telling her some of the hair dyes I had used before, she recommended L'Oreal Excellence HiColor Intense Red for dark hair with a 30 volume developer.

 I used two boxes of the hair color because the past has taught me that one box is never enough.  My hair tends to absorb anything placed on it quickly, hence why my hair tends to dry up so fast after a wash.

I was a little bit intimidated by the bright red color of the dye.  While I wanted obvious red hair, Crayola was not the color intensity I wanted to achieve.  After some hesitation, I parted and braided my hair and lathered it up.

Coloring the hair, while avoiding the roots, I left the color on for 20 minutes (like the box instructed) and then colored the roots for the last 10 minutes.

Now of all the hair color treatments I have tried, I had never had such a bright red dye.  If you check out some of my other color posts, you can see for yourself.  So I was kind of excited thinking for once I may actually achieve the color I wanted, but panic kicked in.  What if my hair does come out crazy red?

When I first rinsed my hair, I was highly upset. I could see no hint of red.  However, the next morning my husband told me the red was definitely obvious.  Unfortunately, I couldn't capture the red in a picture.  But I wanted the red to be a bit more intense, so two weeks later I tried the color again.

The pictures above are of my hair before the second dye job.  Once again, I colored it in it's natural state.  Now, the first time I colored my hair with this dye, I used the John Frieda Radiant Red Colour Protecting Conditioner after rinsing. I didn't use shampoo.

I washed my hair once after the first hair dye job and I used the John Frieda Radiant Red Colour Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner.

These are the results after the second dye...

It is hard to capture the red in pictures. But the last picture is the best I could get after multiple tries in various locations and lighting.  The color of my hair is more obvious in real life, though in different lighting it has some what of a purple red hue to it.

This time, I did shampoo my hair with the John Frieda shampoo mentioned above and used a product specifically meant to lock in the color after the dye job.  Also, I left the color on my hair for 30 minutes the second round before coloring my roots.  I think both things made a huge difference.

I am very happy with the results and with this product and would definitely recommend to my fellow dark haired colors who are trying to avoid bleach. Hell, I have even received quite a few comments, questions, and compliments about the color.

This line does have other levels of intensity, but this is the color I had been trying to achieve for awhile.  I will probably dye my hair one more time in about a month or 2 and will definitely post an update on here or Instagram.

Until my next dye job:-)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween Racism.....Am I Overly Sensitive or Just Selectively Sensitive?

 Another Halloween has passed.  Another night of over sugared children and if you are old enough (or young enough depending on how you look at it) another alcohol induced night.

I've never been super invested in Halloween.  My efforts in finding costumes have always been minimal and as a kid I had tunnel vision in regards to the candy I planned on getting that night.  But in the last few years, I have noticed that Halloween seems to be a night of exceptions.

There has always been the joke that Halloween is the one night of the year where it is "acceptable" for a girl to dress like a slut and (maybe) still be respected the next day.  But I noticed that Halloween seems to also be the time where people think unfortunate events are appropriate costumes and themes.

Now don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of inappropriate costumes that were not race related, such as the two British girls that dressed up as the doomed Twin Towers. However, when anyone voiced their disgust at the costumes all seemed to be in agreement.  When it is race related, lines can be blurry.
At Fort Campbell, a military family decided it was a good decision to hang dummies in their yard.  What seems to divide conversations is the fact that the heads were black trash bags.  It is no secret that the hangings of African Americans/black people are deeply rooted in American history. So it is understandable why people would associate this scene with a racial insensitive act, whether the bags had been black or not.

I don't know what race the family is that displayed these Halloween "decorations", but I think it is safe to assume they were not black.  My personal thoughts is that the scene is inappropriate in a family neighborhood especially since it doesn't seem to reflect any horror theme.  Maybe if there had been some sort of movie like scene then I would be less "offended" by the hangings.

A friend of mine told me she sat on the fence with her thoughts of the display and the whole racial debate and sort of laughed as she told me.  I don't know why, but on the inside I was slightly bothered by her response.  But I have to be honest, I wondered if it bothered me because she isn't black or because she found humor in it all?

Don't get me wrong, love her to death and I know she is not racist.  But it makes me wonder if I become sensitive to things when it is someone outside of my race being insensitive (selectively sensitive) or am I just being overly sensitive about racist things in general?
I see costumes that probably should be automatically offensive no matter who is wearing the costume, such as the Ray Rice and the doll costumes.  But the first time I saw this costume it was a black male depicting the the athlete's well documented mistake.  I didn't necessarily find it humorous or clever, but I wasn't automatically offended by the depiction of domestic violence. However, when I saw the flood of white males depicting the scene, quite a few in black face, and this picture above.....a light switched flipped in my head.

Over the last couple of years, I have noticed that we as black people are not the most unified of minority groups.  We divide over the dumbest of things: hair, economic class, "being ghetto", etc.  However, I noticed we can be quick to unify when under "attack" by another race especially if they are white.  The best comparison I can think of is like family trash talk.  We can call our own families crazy names or criticize their life choices, but the moment an outsider chimes in we are quick to defend that family member like no other.

To some extent, I think that is the same with all the racist moments, well at least for me.  When we make mistakes as black people, having someone on the "outside" make fun of those mistakes is harder to swallow. I mean, who wants to look in the mirror when we know we look like hell? Whether they intend to be racist or just ignorant is another debate.  I am sensitive to my race being reduced down to a joke for some people who don't even have a black neighbor let alone a understanding of any black history.

So in the end, I would say I am selectively sensitive to racist moments.  Not everything is about race, but sometimes I can't help but to see it that way when it is feels so obvious.

So what are you when it comes to racism? Overly sensitive or Selectively Sensitive?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Domestic Violence: Is It One Sided?

Last night, my husband and I were sitting on the opposite sides of the Ray Rice situation.  Shortly after, I found myself sitting in the judgement chair of my own trial of past, volatile mistakes.  My husband became the prosecutor, throwing damaging evidence out against me.  My defense team sat there in silence scrambling to pull something out of its ass.

Before I go any further with my post I want to make a few things clear.  I have never been the victim of domestic violence.  With the exception of one sexual partner who got the wrong idea and decided to put his hands around my throat assuming that is what I wanted, I have never suffered the pains of being struck by a boyfriend or my husband.

Now with all that being said, what does one usually think of when they think of domestic violence? I think it would be safe to say, often the first thing you think of is a woman being abused by her husband or boyfriend. 

According to The Boston Globe, "An estimated 1 in 6 women who have been victimized by domestic violence experienced being hit with a fist, and 29.7 percent said they’d been slapped, pushed, or shoved."

While the statistics for domestic violence against women seem to be relatively consistent amongst surveys, the numbers for domestic abuse against males seem to be more inconsistent.  I have found surveys stating that 4% of domestic violence reports are men and stretch all the way to 40%.

As I looked over various sites and surveys about domestic violence against men and women by their "intimate partners," I couldn't help but think about the disagreement between my husband and I that inspired me to write this.

I would be lying if I said I fully stood behind the belief, "A man should never hit a woman."  After reading some of the abuse stories online of woman against their male partners, I couldn't help but think, "What a pussy.  Why didn't you fight back against her?!"

When my husband seemed to get annoyed by the fact that I said Ray Rice was wrong, I was a little thrown off.  While my defense team started off strong in our different views, they were somewhat silenced when the prosecution (my husband) held a figurative mirror to my face.
He asked if I ever made a mistake and had I never been so mad that I made a impulsive reaction that was wrong.  Then he called me physically abusive. While I tried to argue my point, the look on his face told me that I had already lost my case in his eyes.

Now don't get it wrong, my husband doesn't condone Ray Rice's actions and I am not beating on my husband like a crazed woman.  But I have had my child like moments where my response was to hit as opposed to use my words.  But in my mind I never intended any true harm.  It is one particular incident that he mentioned that solidified his case and later on made me think about my own actions.

One of my cousins once said that there is something about your family and your partner that they just know how to push the button that no one else can.  The button that depletes you of your sanity and sense of right and wrong.  My husband found that button and it has left a literal and physical permanent mark in our relationship.

With all of this being said, I still think Ray Rice is wrong.  I have been wrong.  Laying your hands on a loved one is wrong and isn't gender exclusive.  My issue with Ray Rice is how he handled his wife after the punch and even to this day he has apologized to everyone publicly but his wife which I find to be odd.  But what Janay Rice and my husband have taught me, it is none of my business and despite the camera in her situation......we don't really know what is going on behind closed doors.  A victim shouldn't be blamed, but sometimes a story is not always as one sided as we want to envision.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Deployment Weightloss: Final Weigh In, Ball Dress Dreams, and New Goals

My deployment weight loss ended August 7th and so did my self control.  For about 3 days, I juiced in anticipation of homecoming.  While I did not hit my goal weight, I did just break the 180 mark the morning of homecoming.
So I went to homecoming pretty proud of my transformation and my husband definitely noticed the difference.  However, as we distanced ourselves from homecoming, I noticed the scale number going back up with each passing day.

When Akeem was away, I tried not to keep snacks, juice, and sweets in the house.  I have no self control and nothing has been more evident of that fact than the last few weeks. Once we decided not to go to the ball, I just went into "fuck it" mode and decided to eat what I want and enjoy having my husband home.

Tried these on back in April. Set a goal of trying to fit into a size 8 dress for the ball. 
I got on the scale on Monday, after telling my husband I was going to start doing better and get back on track.  The number that appeared was disappointing but not really surprising.  I had gained more than 10 pounds in the 3 weeks since my husband returned.  The biggest thing that got me was the juice and the sweets.  Two things that I had managed to fight took over my diet when homecoming was over.
  Staring down at 191.4 was weird.  I had worked so hard to get to the 180s that allowing myself to let go so quickly was kind of hard to admit and witness.  But I decided that I can't sit around and pity myself for something I did and decided to tackle it head on.

While it is hard to eat like I did before my husband returned, I have been taking little steps such as drinking more water and not repurchasing ANOTHER bag of Oreos (I've eaten like 3 or 4 packages basically by myself in the last 3 weeks smh).  I am also looking into a meal replacement program. I will be trying out Shakeology finally in a few weeks and excited to see what changes it brings.

My biggest motivation is a possible move.  Akeem put in a request to PCS (move) to Hawaii.  I refuse to move to a beachy duty station and not feel beach ready.  So already worked out for the last two days and planning to hit the gym in a couple of hours.  With Hawaii possibly in my future and an attempt at another pregnancy next year, I will be getting it in.  So be on the look out for more weight loss tracking post to come soon because I won't let this setback bring me down.

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