Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 4 - Birthday Month - Return to the Gym

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Oooh, Imma get ya'll.  You guys sat right there and let me drink that coffee, me thinking it was decaf and it was regular!  I didn't go to sleep until after midnight & then overslept this morning!  Aye de me!  Lesson learned!

I really didn't do anything particularly special for my birthday month celebration today.  I worked & volunteered teaching Citizen Schools sharing with middle schoolers how to brand themselves....a very important lesson in the urban community.

Then I went to the gym.  Yes! After over 4 months, I crossed the threshold of O2 Fitness again!  I didn't go too hard.  I did a 30 minute alternating jog/walk on the treadmill & then finished off with 80 squats.


Squat challenge update - 80 squats

I thought I would share the variations that I'm using with my squats.

These first 4 days I have split my squats between squat raises with the exercise ball & body weight squats.  At the gym I also used the squat machine to finish out my 80 today.  I'll change up the type of squats after my rest day tomorrow.




My 2013 Fall/Winter Protective Style - Full Sew In (Selecting the Hair)

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Tailgating at NC Central's Homecoming

You may or may not remember but my last professional style was for my birthday last year (November 2012) , when my stylist, Taji, created this amazing soft updo look for my my birthday and UNC Homecoming weekend.





Since then, other than going in for my regular trims, I have been styling my hair.  Needless to say, I And  my hair was in need for a break.  I decided it was time for another sew in.

I definitely wanted a curly look with virgin human hair so it could be reused.  I did not want to have to invest a whole lot into the hair.  One of my friends told me about buying human hair wholesale and so I checked out dhgate.com.  On there I found a store called "wiginchina".  I bought from this company for several reasons:
1. They had 641 transactions which meant to me they had been in business for a while.
2. They were categorized as a top merchant on dhgate.  This is their highest ranking.  
3.  They had 94.4% positive rating.  I read some of their ratings and they were about the quality of the hair and so I decided to buy.

Order:  100% Brazilian curly virgin hair in lengths, (2) 12", (1) 14", and (2) 16"
Shipping:  Quick.  I ordered on a Friday and received the hair on the following Wednesday.
Bundles.  The bundles were packaged in clear plastic sleeves with the lengths marked & each bundle had a thin mesh netting around it.



Here are pictures of the hair before it had been washed. All I did was run my fingers through the 16' bundle so you could see the difference when the hair had been frizzed out some verses how it comes packaged.  You can see here that the hair is a "natural brown" color.  You can also see how curly the ends are.



Then I co-washed the hair.  I used Tressemme Natural's Conditioner & detangled with a wide tooth comb & hung the hair to dry.

After co-washing

See how curly the ends are?  Gorgeous!

The next two pictures are showing the length of a the 16" bundle.  The track was longer on the 12 inch bundles and decreased as the length of the hair increased.  You can also see the density of the hair here as well.


Hair Hanging to Dry


Showing Length of the hair

My stylist used all 4 bundles of the hair in my sew in, creating a very full install. She left a little bit of my hair out so I could do a center part and an invisible part to the left of my crown in case I wanted to do an natural fall to the right.  You can see my center part here.  I have 2 strand twisted my leave out in the front.  The first picture shows the hair with no styling product.   Where I'm pointing on the left shows the side misted with water and styling mousse applied.  The 2nd shows it after the whole head had been completed.


  

 I will share what products I am using on this hair as well as provide a preliminary review of the hair in my next update post.



Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Birthday Month - Day 3 - An Extra Hour, French Vanilla Cafe, & Being Tall Does Not Define Me

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 Daylight savings time ended last night/this morning at 2 am.  And my eyes popped open bright and early at 6:30 am as the sun streamed directly on my face.  Whaa...?  Oh well, I was awake.  I caught up on a DVR'ed show and was ON TIME for church!  Yay!!  (I usually tip  strut in during praise & worship).  I was NOT going to be late for church when we had a whole extra 60 minutes this morning.  I guess the extra hour boosted my energy levels because I was super productive today.  I blogged, bought groceries for the week, walked the dog, cooked dinner & lunch for 3 days this week and got my 70 squats in!  My personal treat for myself today was the Maxwell House International Cafe' French Vanilla. I hadn't had this in a while and thought it would be perfect for these cool fall nights.  I enjoyed a cup while I watched Black Girls Rock! tonight on BET.  Yum!  And yes, I rep UNC all day, everyday.  I even have a Carolina tumbler on my desk at work that I drink my water out of.

Random topic that sorta goes with being a Black Girl who Rocks....I had an interesting interaction with an associate last night.  She remarked that she was amazed that I'm a girly-girl.  She said that with me being 6'1, I'm the only  tall girl she knows that's not a baller but truly a girly-girl.  She said she was trying to "figure me out".  It sorta struck me as odd because, I'm no tnow nor have I ever been an athlete.  While I love watching sports, I am the epitome of a very feminine tall woman.  Competitive - yes.  Strong personality - absolutely.  Soft, tender, emotional, girly, classy, eloquent woman - you better believe it.  What's hard to figure out about that?  #shouldershrug  The comment was posed in a slightly negative way...that there was something wrong with me being tall AND girly. Like I wasn't living up to my potential. For a moment, I started trying to share all the ways that I'm not girly.  I watch, understand, and commentate sports.  I love action films.  I have tons of male friends.  I can throw a football....WAIT!  Hold the line.  I am girly.  I love lavender & hot pink, flowers, beautifying myself, 4 inch heels and clutches.  I sashe' when I walk, giggle, cry over romantic films, and sing all my favorite songs.  I also love all of the Fast & Furious series, UNC basketball, Dallas Cowboys football, and now baseball.  I listen to games on the car radio, call to debate the games with my dad every Sunday, & would rather sit with the guys than the girls at Superbowl parties.  Nothing makes my day more than playing with my godson AND I walk the halls of the company I work for with a power walk that rivals Olivia Pope.  DON'T box me in!   My being tall is a direct result of a 6'7 man (my father) and a 5'9 woman (my mother) loving each other. Being tall does not define who I am or what I should be no more than my dark brown eyes do.  I am a woman.  I have a right to define me the way I choose to be seen by the world.  #dropsmicasIstepoffsoapbox

Ok, Day 3 of the squat challenge.  My quads are burning and my gluts are on Fiya!!! - 70 squats today.

I thought I would give my starting measurements so I can do a before & after at the end of the month.

Before shot - 11/3/2013 (after 2 days of squats)

Measurements:
39 inches around my derriere
22 inches around my left thigh
22.5 inches around my right thigh



Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Birthday Month - Day 2 - Adventures in Thrifting!

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So for my day 2 celebration, I went thrift shopping with one of the ladies from work and some of her young family members.  Her young cousin just graduated from college & needed some outfits that would be appropriate for work so my help was enlisted to show them what little I know about thifting.  While they were shopping I scored 3 cool items.






This blazer that I plan to wear with some jeans or black slacks for a casual dinner out.  I already owned the tank that picked up that pink/lavender color.  Lesson 1:   Good to be aware of what pieces you already have in your closet when thrift shopping!


These corduroy pants.  Funny story.  I'm tall right?  So the pants are a little short and they were too big.  I try everything on when thrifting. While waiting for the dressing room an older lady walked up to me and said, "Those pants are nice."  I said, "Thanks!"  Then she looked at her friend and said "Am I larger than her?"  Her friend nodded affirmative.  Then the lady looks at me and says, "Do you think you can fit them?"  I said, "I sure hope so.  If not, I'll take the to the tailor and have them altered."  She replied, "Don't do that honey.  If they don't fit, just give the to me to try on, ok?"  I just smiled.  The pants have at least a 1.5 inch hem that I can have removed and I'm having the seat taken in a bit.  Sorry lady, but these pants are mine!!   Lesson 2:  When you get the clothes for a bargain, don't be afraid to invest in alterations to get that perfect fit!




This Tahari dress was a perfect fit!  I just love the detailing around the collar.  The only thing missing was the belt.  Guess what I had in my closet?  Yep, the perfect belt.   Lesson 3:  Don't let a missing piece or 2 keep you from getting a nice article of clothing.

The young college grads finished their shopping in our first location before we did and went to grab something to eat.  They said they would be back.  A little while later my coworked said she got a call that they weren't coming back.  One of the girls had spent too much money and didn't want to continue to ride around while her cousin shopped.  Lesson 3:  Establish your budget before you leave home.  It's great to get things at a discount but you still can't afford to go shopping if your bills aren't paid.  It's also a lesson learned that it's sometimes good to ride it alone.  Who wants to have their plans ruined by a person who rode with you that doesn't want to tag along anymore?

It was a fun day and it also encouraged me to finally clean out the last little section of my closet that I had started organizing earlier this year.  Woo hoo!

Squat challenge update:  Today's goal is 60 squats.  I broke this up into 3 parts.  I completed a set of 20 this morning and a set since I've been back from shopping.  I'll do my last set of 20 before bed.  Getting tight & right!




Ohhh & hats off to my UNC Tarheels for beating our in state Tobacco Road rivals, the NC State Wolfpack!



It's November AND My Birthday Month!

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Today is November 2nd and it's 5 days til my birthday!  Taking a cue from my bestie,  I plan to celebrate all month, giving myself little treats along the way. Some will be big,  others not so much, but all will be significant to ME in some way.  Feel to make suggestions!   Why is this birthday significant?   Well they ALL are because God has blessed me with yet another year of life.  But specifically this is my 39th year.  I understand at 40 you are grown grown for real so I want to make this birthday a memorable one! I'm not going to promise to blog everyday, but I will keep you updated on all my birthday month celebrations.   Also check me out on Instagram at NaturallyNitaNC for real-time pictures!

November 1

I had planned to go an area football game but it rained buckets.  Sooo, I ended up givivng myself the gift of rest.  LOL.  I went to sleep early to sweet sounds of rain on my window.  What joy!  I also started a 30 squat challenge & completed 50 quats.  Whew!  So I am giving myself the gift of a round derriere this month too!  LOL.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Recap: Black Girls Run! Sweat with Your Sole Event! September 8th! Charlotte, NC

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So for those of you who followed my couple of postings about my Journey to 10K you know that in July and August I was training for a 10K race to support my best friend.  It was a great hurdle for me because I previously did not enjoy running.  After learning how to pace myself, I rather enjoyed the challenge of seeing how far I could go without stopping.  As we approached the time of the race, Christina informed me that she wasn't prepared for a 10K (neither was I) and we could do the 5K.  Whew! Hooray! Since I had been training for a while, I felt way more prepared for the 5K than the 10K.  I got excited.  I went down to Charlotte on Saturday to spend some time relaxing and to mentally prepare for the race.  While down there I also had some time to visit one of the local jazz restaurants downtown, Deltas.  The food and the setting was amazing. There was a live jazz band playing and I ran into Nicole, one of Christina's cousins, who I remember meeting when she was a young girl.  She has grown into a beautiful young lady!

Me & Nicole!
Me standing in front of Delta's 
My pre-race dinner.  Probably not an appropriate choice but it was so delish!

The morning of the race we were up early but I was super excited.  There were SO MANY WOMEN there, excited about exercising!  Christina and I walked to the 5K line and took a few pictures and stretched prepping for the race.  I was so proud of myself.  I ran way more than I walked.  I would have to say that I probably ran over 1/2 of the 3.1 miles.  The thing I was not expecting was the hills.  I'd trained on flat courses so that was a shocker.  We've already been told if we plan to go to Atlanta next year for the race, the course is even hillier. As I approached the finish line there were those who had finished ahead of us who had come back down the last 1/4 mile of the course to cheer us on!  The supportive environment was amazing.  As I waiting and watched for my best friend to come I watched & encouraged other ladies towards the finish line.  I got so emotional seeing women with strollers, golden women, and even one lady in a wheelchair finish the race.  What an amazing accomplishment!  When I saw my bestie coming I jumped back on the course & finished with her.  Of all the races she'd done, she always said she never had friends or family waiting at the finish line for her so it was important to me that we finished together. And this time she had both!  Her mom & dad were at the finish line too!  Overall it was a great event.  I felt great right after the race, but needless to say as the day progressed, my 38 year old body started to let me know that I had done the most that day...LOL!  I will definitely plan to keep running as a part of my cardio regimen and plan to run another 5K or maybe a 10K in the future!  To your health on our journey to 100!

My bestie cheerfully greeting a friend from Cali

Us before the race

After the race with my metal!  Success!

Just a snapshot of a few of the women

My official results



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Do You Remember The Time? A Walk Down Memory Lane

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I was listening to Lenny Williams sing the song "Cause You Know I Love You" the other day & when he sung one of the verses, I chuckled because I thought, young people today couldn't even relate to that.



Here is the verse:

**It seems that I call her on the phone and I, I just can't get her to answer
And then I went to her house and I saw a car parked in the driveway
I knocked on the door, but still my knocks went unanswered
And then I went home and I, I watched television until television went off **

Do you guys remember when television straight went went OFF?  Like at midnight either God Bless America or America the Beautiful would play and a big American flag would wave across the screen and the next thing you knew, there was static.  Television went off back in the day! 


It made me think, what things did I experience as a young person would the youth of today, not know anything about?

Here are some things that came to mind:

  • When things were paid for with cash or check only.  And if you had a credit card it wasn't swiped.  An imprint was made.
  • A rotary phone
  • A phone without call waiting or caller ID
  • When play time meant being outside all day 
  • Carebears, Monchhichi's, Tom & Jerry, Popeye the Sailor man, Looney Tunes on Saturday morning
  • When the majority of cable programming included sitcoms and there were no reality shows
  • Life before the internet
  • Researching a paper meant going to the library and searching through the encyclopedia (either World Book or Brittanica) 
  • When the choices for gas were regular & unleaded
  • When movies were $5 at night, no stadium seating, and no 3D features
  • There was no microwave.  If you wanted to reheat something you either put it on a tin pan in the oven, or you heated up the whole dish.  And everyone thought the microwave would give you cancer.
  • Before cell phones were affordable, a 2 way pager was the way young people stayed in contact & you came up with secret codes so the recipient knew what you meant, and before those days if you didn't call someone, you wrote LETTERS and MAILED THEM!
  • When you had to wait 3 days for photographs to be developed at your local drug store.
  • No Walmart & Target!
  • Or life before malls!  Stores like JCPenney, Hudson Belk, and Thalheimer were in the downtown area and that's where people went to shop.   
These are some things that came to mind today just from my generation.  LOL!  What are some things that you know the generation of today would not remember from when YOU were young??





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