Take advantage of those moments where you’re able to step outside of yourself and look out you in all of your happiness. Sometimes, life happens so fast that you never get to appreciate the slightest joys. So seize the moment while you have it.

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Dear Future Me

This year was a little different. There was a lot of adjusting that had to take place because of so much change. And while I can’t say I was happy the entire time, I won’t say each event hasn’t pushed something out of me.

There’s a lot of goals I have, that I’ve always had, and now I just have new motivation to chase them. The fear of dissatisfaction will always be a lurking entity that I won’t be able to shake until I get to where I want to be. At least right now, though, I’m happy with who I am and where I’m headed.

A note to future me from your old self:

Always look up. This is a nasty habit that me, the old you, has and always has had. You’ll never get where you want to be if you’re not looking where you’re going. The ground has nothing to offer you other than keeping you attached to the Earth’s crust. Trust yourself. Trust your intelligence, your confidence, and your intuition. You got this.

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Caption: The truth is, I wasn’t sure what to post, but the short version is: happy (belated) birthday.

First Impression: That One DIY Clay Mask

Ever since I first came across it, I’ve always been tempted to give into the hype surrounding clay masks – namely, Bentonite and Rhassoul clay. But one of my favorite natural hair gurus, FushionofCultures on YouTube, also piqued my interest in hibiscus. So, after a lot of digging and research, looking for places to purchase, and waiting for money to fall into my lap, I finally caved.  This is me, sharing my firsthand experiences using Rhassoul Clay and Hibiscus Powder.

I decided to go with rhassoul clay over bentonite because I concluded that this would be the gentler or milder of the two. Bentonite clay is often said to have higher reactivity; many opinions I’ve considered said not to use any metals while working with the clay because it will react. Being a novice to the world of clay masks, I decided to take baby steps: rhassoul clay, it is. I bought this at the same time I purchased my hibiscus powder. I didn’t have to do as much heavy research as with rhassoul clay; hibiscus, the herb, is not a very complicated thing. It’s pretty, it’s multifaceted, and it’s beneficial – a summary. My rhassoul clay and hibiscus powder came in the mail about a day apart. I had already known what I would do with them, it was only a matter of them getting here.

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Caption: Links to place of purchase after post

I have been really into skincare as of late, so my first use with these products would be a DIY face mask. Prior to use, my most recent addition to my skincare routine were green tea and apple cider vinegar (AVC). I am overly grateful that I made this decision but I’ll save that for another post. I have been using this mix as a toner but I had excess in storage in the fridge. This would be my liquid base when mixing my mask; it was perfect and well fitting. One of the things I looked up while waiting for my packages were the pH of some of these items; the pH of our skin is around a 5 or 6, thanks to sebum. Green tea is around a 9, ACV is around a 2, rhassoul clay is a little less alkaline than green tea at about a 7 or 8, but hibiscus was about as acidic as ACV. This was surprising… until I opened the parcel.

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Caption: Including this photo is weird; it’s like showing you a bottle of water… but this is my liquid base.

The same way that beautiful scent of apple cider vinegar graced your nose is no different than how lovingly the aroma of some divine hibiscus powder would kiss it. Sarcasm heavily intended. Half way through mixing the mask, I ran to my storage to grab my peppermint oil and I spared nothing. I, quite literally, drowned the mask in peppermint oil. I severely regretted that decision. Let’s just say you should never drink cold water with mints or gum in your mouth. Similarly, do not drown your face masks in mint-based oils with the air conditioning on full blast. I pushed myself to at least let the mask sit for two minutes before washing it off.

Luckily, I was persistent to have a successful face mask experience (as well as to not waste what I felt was well-spent dollars). Later in the week, I had decided to give it a second go. I prefer to wait at least a week between face masks but I didn’t think it’d count if I only had the mask on for 2mins. This go-round, I use a few drops of lemon oil to mask that wonderful scent as well as tea tree oil to give me that nice (mild) tingle I liked and to deal with my acne problem. Not only was it a significantly better face mask experience, it was relaxing as well. I applied the mask, prepared a bath, and enjoyed myself. There was no minty burn, no smell that would take my breath away because it was just that celestial, and no stress.

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Caption: This was the first attempt but they both looked the same. I looked like a brick after applying but that’s irrelevant information…

As a first impression (er, second impression), I give these two products a pass. I do intend to do this DIY face mask again in the future and maybe give it a go as a hair mask as well… We’ll see.

Links

Heaven

I long for a heaven that’s out of reach. One that, no matter how many times you pray, you’ll never see. And I wish that I could grow back my angel wings because I long for my home. I crave the feeling of clouds under my feet; I miss the sounds of silky smooth silence that seemed to sing and the same time. The air vibrates with a calm that could end all of my anxieties and I wish that it would all come back to me. I wish that I could climb the layers of the sky and boost myself up on the stars because home is where the heart is and I left it in heaven. I felt it as it fell out of my grasp, as I fell away from my home. Heaven is my home and I long for it so bad.

More Faux Locs

I can’t quite remember the time frame, but it was somewhere near the middle of my first semester in college. Perhaps it was Tumblr photos or YouTube suggestions that sparked the idea, but I wanted to give faux locs another try. But this time all my own. I had wandered into a beauty store and saw this really pretty pack of lavender Kanekalon hair that I thought would do well for this particular style. I didn’t buy it right then but I kept a mental note of it. I also knew that my own hair isn’t long enough to achieve the length I wanted so I had to… well, extend it. But instead of buying a bunch of Kanekalon hair, I looked into yarn braids. This venture became two hair experiments at once. Once I finally decided to buy everything I felt I’d need, I ended up with four packs of pretty lavender hair, two packs of black hair, a large bundle of black yarn, and two lighters.

Before actually styling, I wanted to make sure I touched all bases, one of which involved preparing the yarn. I was reluctant with putting the yarn straight out of the packaging into my hair, but I wasn’t sure how I would go about washing it, since it behaves more like clothing than hair. After going through many videos on how people had prepped their yarn before installation, I decided to go my own route. I took a large tub I had in my room which was holding all of my reading books at the time, emptied it, and used it for a yarn bath. I filled it up about a third of the way with water, pouring in two or three cap-fulls of apple cider vinegar and adding drops of Tea Tree oil. I would let the yarn soak for about 30mins, checking on it every so often and moving the yarn around so as not to create layers. During this step, I was actually glad I made this decision; the water from the bath had changed from a clear, slightly yellow tint, to an increasingly more opaque black. I had figured there would be factory set dye on the yarn but I suppose I hadn’t anticipated how much. Once I felt the yarn was clean enough, I filled the tub once more with clean water, adding a few more drops of Tea Tree oil to fight away any lingering bacteria, as well as mask the vinegar scent as much as possible.

Luckily, I had decided to do this at the beginning of the week because it took just about every day after for the yarn to dry. I had draped the yarn over a hanger and let them drip onto a plastic bag. By the end of the week, they were dry enough for me to feel comfortable enough to begin braiding. Once the school day ended on Friday and I made my way home, I didn’t bother to do too much school work (at least, none that I remember). I set my bed up for braiding my hair, put on a good show (which I believe was a Korean drama), and got to it. Because I knew the wrapping part of faux locs would take long, I decided to do more of a bob length for my braids. I finished braiding rather quickly, in comparison to how long it typically takes to finish braids or singles any other time. I almost regret going through the next step because I really enjoyed my yarn braids. Not only did they frame my face nicely, I’d say they were very flexible in terms of style and aesthetics.

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Can you see the purple peeking through?

I started wrapping the braids from the back, as always. This was quite the task because I was having difficulty securing the hair from the root — additionally, this was the back of my head. This problem persisted through the extensive styling process. And by extensive, I don’t mean longer than a day or two. I mean, there were many times I went to school with my hair half styled between yarn braids and faux locs until my entire head was done. It was a trying process, but eventually, a week, three lighters, a sore thumb, and a K-drama later, I finished my entire head. I was, for the most part, satisfied with the look initially. I was happy that I was finished, happy that my thumb could rest, and happy that I wouldn’t have to come home and worry about another yarn braid to wrap and re-wrap. I had ran out of lavender by the time I reach the front so I did use some of my black hair. Nevertheless, the look still was pretty… initially.

Remember that I was having a problem securing the Kanekalon hair to the root? I also had this problem down the braid as well. I found myself having to readjust the Kanekalon so that the black yarn braid was not peeking through underneath. I also had the problem that the ends of the loc, where I had burned, would occasionally become unraveled. By the end of one week’s worth of wear, the entire style had begun to fall apart. As much as I love the weight and color of the style, this look had gotten out of control. Tearfully, I spent the next week removing the style — periodically hating myself, constantly criticizing myself, and regretting investing so much in a style that I had planned to wear for at least a month.

I actually think about that hairstyle a lot. I enjoyed it, though it was short lived. I’m not sure what it is but one of the reasons I love protective styles that involve extensions is to feel the weight of the hair. Those locs definitely had their fair amount of weight to them and sometimes I miss it. But I don’t see myself going through that process again. At least not any time soon. However, there is still some fun things I had the chance to do later along my timeline. I’ve always loved colorful extensions and the more I wore them, the more I wanted colorful hair. There was a time where my wish was granted…

Last

(Completed 10/5/2017)

A Post Lost in Time

Typically, before I post any lengthy reading online, I pre-write it in a word document. As I was scrolling through this document, I came across an old, unfinished post that I believe I started writing the same day or the day after the event it was referring to. I just decided to share it before it either gets lost further down the line or I delete it entirely.

I had the greatest opportunity of attending a conference for one of my social justice heroes… and it’s still so surreal to me.

I found out about Jane Elliot around a year ago. It started with a simple video that circulated my Facebook page, but I wanted to know what I was watching, I wanted the full story. Jane Elliot is best known for her “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes” experiment she did with an elementary school class she taught. The videos I found myself watching while looking her up involved her replicating that experiment with groups of older people. I listened to her explanations on why she continued to do the experiment and why she does her work. After those moments, I made up my mind that should I ever get the chance to see her work in person, I would take it without hesitation.

And I lived up to that promise. My psychology teacher told us that he and a committee of others worked hard to make it happen, but Jane Elliot would be presenting at campus. “Jane Elliot? At our little community college campus…” Surely, she was there. And so was I. I was anxious to see her when presentation day came; I was both nervous and excited. I loved every moment of the event. I’ve always thought of Elliot to be a considerably strict, “business” woman on a mission. But she’s charismatic, entertaining, and very informative all at once.

I’ll admit, however, it was difficult listening to and believing some of what she said. It wasn’t the factual things or the more obvious things that I knew to be true; it was those anecdotal moments where I couldn’t bring myself to believe that she had those conversations and that people are actually as nasty as she depicted…

And those moments are what makes the whole experience so surreal.

Jane and I
I honestly love/hate this photo. She had said something funny just as the shutter went off… nonetheless, I got to have this moment. That’s what matters.