How To Turn A Scarf into A Floral Headband | DIY

After my last wash day, I received a number of questions about how I created the look of my scarf. So, I figured I'd do a quick tutorial to show how easy it is! You can do this with any neck scarf. The thicker the scarf, the larger the flower will become so I like to use my thinner spring/summer scarves for this. 

{1} Fold the scarf into thirds or whatever thickness you would like your headband to be. 

{2} Center the scarf on the back of your head and tie it in the front. If you want your flower to be to one side, similar to mine, that is the side you will tie it on. Note you do not have to tie it in a knot, just once to secure it. 

{3} Two-strand twist the length of the scarf. 

{4} Begin to twist the twisted part of the scarf on itself similar to the way you would a bantu knot. The only difference is you want to keep it flat so that the twist takes on the shape of a flower and doesn't go too much upward like a knot would. 

{5} Secure the end of the scarf under the flower. Just tucking it in is enough for me, but you can always use a rubber band or bobby pin if it is not secure enough. 

That's it! Let me know how this works for you if you try it!

Wash Day

This weekend I had a quick and easy wash day. Because I sweated my hair swollen quickly after straightening it, I decided to go ahead and straighten it again. Shocker, I know. But I wanted to enjoy it some more. Here's how the day went: 

{1} Divided my hair into 4 sections. Finger detangled, which was easy since my hair was straight anyway.

{2} Pre-poo with PM Tea Tree Moisturizing conditioner and hot oil mix of coconut, grapeseed, and safflower oils. Put on a plastic cap & scarf for a couple hours.

{3} Shampooed with CON Argan Oil Moisturizing shampoo, 2 lathers.  

{4} Towel wrapped my hair to soak up the excess water for about 20 minutes. 

{5} Applied my deep conditioner - L'Oreal Damage Erasing Balm and Tresemme Naturals. Put on a plastic cap and scarf for about 2 hours.

{6} Rinsed with cool water followed by ACV (which I did not rinse out). 

I am officially out of aloe vera juice! Sadface. So, it was just the normal water diluted apple cider vinegar this week. I definitely need to pick up some more before my next wash day because that mix was way too amazing for me to give it up.

{7} Towel wrapped for about 30 minutes then allowed my hair to air dry about 75%

{8} Applied leave-ins: Elasta QP H2, It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In and Straight From Eden Repairing Oil and detangled with a wide tooth comb. 

Air-drying hair vs. Blown out hair. Barely a noticeable difference to me lol

{9} Blew my hair out on low heat then flat ironed (1 pass). Added a little Organix Macademia Nut Oil after blow drying because I didn't want my ends to get dried out. 

I know that it might sound dangerous to some ladies to flat iron my hair again so soon, but I wasn't the least bit concerned about suddenly getting heat damage from this. Here's why: I rarely flat iron my hair, I don't even try to get it bone straight so I only pass the flat iron through my hair one time, I deep conditioned well, and I used heat protectant(s). I am probably going to go months without picking up my flat iron again after this so enjoying it some more was good for me. I also wanted to check out my length/ends and do a trim. It's been awhile since I've trimmed so I knew I was due for a good one. 

I wore my hair out for the weekend and then used, you guessed it, a banana clip to pull it up into a high bun with a bang. I like banana clips for buns because they pull allll my hair up securely without any tension. I added a headscarf yesterday to jazz it up some. I loved this bright summer scarf already, but even more after realizing how much fun it can be in my hair. Perfect fit for the fun summer bun theme of this week's wash day experience!

How was your wash day this week? Be sure to check out other Wash Day Experiences over at SavingOurStrands and JustGrowAlready!

Product Review: Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie Review
Price: $9.99 for 12oz

Availability: Target & Walgreens

Product Claims: "Our Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie defines curls, reduces frizz and smoothes hair for a soft, silky feel. Restores moisture, creates brilliant shine and conditions hair without weighing it down for bouncy, healthy curls.

- Coconut Oil hydrates and protects hair while reducing breakage. 
- Silk Protein smoothes hair for a soft, silky feel. 
- Neem Oil controls frizz while adding brilliant shine.

All Shea Moisture products boast of being all natural with no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no paraffin, no gluten, no propylene glycol, no mineral oil, no synthetic fragrance, no PABA, no synthetic color, no DEA, and no animal testing."

Ingredients: Deionized Water, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut ) Oil*, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Magnifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Persea Gratissima (Avacado) Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Silk Protein, Ammonium Salt, Melia Azadiratcha (Neem) Seed Oil,Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed oil, Sorbitol Esters, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B-5), Caprylyl Glycol, Essential Oil Blend, Lonicera Caprifolium (honeysuckle) Flower (and) Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Hibiscus Flower Extract

Directions: Section hair and apply product sparingly to damp or dry hair. Do not rinse out. Style hair as desired. For best results, use as a styling cream for twist-outs, braids and wash-and-go styles.

My Experience: I LOVE this stuff! I've been using it for well over a year now. My mom started using Shea Moisture products and, of course, I had to try them out. I use this product when protective styling and doing braid/twist outs. Not only is it very moisturizing, but the moisture it gives is long lasting. I like that it works well whether I'm using it on damp or dry hair. When I'm protective styling, I like to use it to help mold my hair the way I want it. For example, when I do my chunky twist bun, it helps give me the perfect twists and keeps my hair moisturized for days. 

The product itself is thick and creamy. It has a sweet scent to it, which does tend to linger after it's been applied. I do not mind the lingering scent though because I really like the way it smells. With this product, a little goes a long way. Using too much definitely weighs down my hair for twist/braid outs. I can really tell the difference when I use this versus when I don't as far as the reduction of frizz and having smooth, soft hair is concerned. This product does a great job enhancing curls for me, too, although I still have to use a gel for hold. It doesn't claim to be a holding product thought so I'm okay with that.

Moral of the Story: I think this is a great styling product at a great price especially since it is very moisturizing and has quality ingredients.  

Has anyone else tried this product? Love it, hate it, never want to use it again?? Let us know your experience below

Being Me Blog Tag

I was tagged by Yvonne of Diaries of Another Relaxed Chic to do this Being Me Tag (thanks again!). I'm really quite indecisive and am known for being so bad at answering simple questions like these. A number of these answers could change with my mood, but I hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about me nonetheless :) 

1. Are you named after someone?
Yes, my mom had a childhood friend named Melanie and always wanted to name her daughter that. I also have my mom's middle name. 
2. When was the last time you cried?
Sunday, at church.  
3. Do you have any children?
Nope, not yet. I definitely want my own one day, but I have plenty of nieces, nephews/little cousins to love on & keep me busy for now. 
4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?
Yes, of course! I think I'm a pretty awesome friend, but who doesn't think that about themselves? Lol
5. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Sweets and... retail therapy!
6. Do you like handwriting?
I'm not sure what exactly this question is asking, honestly. Do I like the look of handwriting? Only when its pretty. I like my own handwriting. Do I like to write by hand? Yes, sometimes I like writing things down instead of typing them. I love a good journal, too. 
7. What’s your favorite cereal?
This is so hard! I love cereal and I'm terrible at favorites. I eat it daily, without fail. Right now, I'm loving cinnamon cereals: Cinnamon Toast Crunch & Cinnamon Life. That changes regularly though. I don't think I could pick an absolute favorite. 
8. What’s the first thing you notice about people?
Their hair and their shoes. It's immediate. I've always had eyes for both. 
9. What’s the color of your eyes?
10. Scary movies or happy endings?
Happy endings! I'm a sap for romance and happily ever afters. 
11. Favorite TV Show?
Of all time? The Cosby Show
Currently? Scandal. It's the only TV show I can't wait to watch in real time. Everything else piles up on the DVR. Maybe it should've been in the guilty pleasure section?
12. Summer or Winter?
Summer! I really prefer milder seasons like Fall, but those aren't guaranteed in the midwest so summer it is.

13. Hugs or Kisses?
Both. I'm quite affectionate. 
14. Do you have any special talent?
I have an awesome, photographic memory!
15. Where you born?
16. What are your hobbies?
Other than my hair? Lol! I love scrapbooking, DIY projects, taking pictures, reading... 
17. Do you have any pets?
Nope. I really want a dog, but #1 - I'm allergic so it would have to be a special breed and #2 - I always end up living places they're not allowed. So I guess I don't want one that bad then huh?
18. Favorite movie?
Really... I do not have favorites! Today, I'll pick Love & Basketball.
19. What color is your car?
Umm... it's a grayish blue. It looks different depending on the light.
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?
I love working in healthcare. There will be a M.D. after my name one day!

Relaxer Update

texlaxed hair
texture after relaxing
I relaxed my hair at 17 weeks post with about 2 inches of new growth. I think my hunt for a new relaxer is over. I used Creme of Nature's Straight From Eden relaxer this time and I loved my results. I really wanted to try this because it's plant-derived and doesn't have many of the harsh chemicals that give relaxers such a bad name. I want to use it again to make sure I get the same results before I officially declare it my new staple, but no exaggeration - I LOVED it! And I actually used everything that came in the box with it, which I never do. But I'd heard enough positive reviews of the rest of the products that I wanted to try them. (Plus for $10+ for the kit I better have used everything in it!) Here's how the process went:

{1} I divided my hair into 4 sections and detangled - using my fingers first then moving to a wide tooth comb.

{2} Applied my triple threat layered protection - Aubrey Organics GPB conditioner, grape seed oil, vaseline - to the length of my hair.

{3} In each section - parted hair ~1/4 inch to base scalp with vaseline, then twisted the hair to keep it separated (pre-parting for easy relaxer application).

In every single review for this relaxer that I watched, the women's hair got straighter than I like my hair to get. Even ladies who texlax. This made me nervous that it would process faster than I wanted. Originally, I wasn't planning on adding anything to the relaxer mix because I wanted to see how it worked on its own, but once I got nervous, I decided to add some oil.

{4} I added about 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil to the relaxer mix. I usually add about 1/4 cup so this amount is a lot less than normal. 

{5} My hair is the most coarse at my crown so I always start applying the relaxer there first and do my edges & nape last. It took 14 minutes to touch up my whole head start to finish. FYI: I DO NOT smooth the relaxer. Once I've touched up my whole head, I just go back to make sure I didn't miss any areas then hop in the shower to rinse. 

{6} Mid-step protein treatment: After thoroughly rinsing I applied Umberto Repair Treatment Masque & Aphogee 2 Min Reconstructor. I put on plastic cap and my bonnet dryer for 15 mins then rinsed.  

New growth before & after relaxing 

{7} Shampooed with Straight From Eden Neutralizing 3x. I always lather 3x, allowing the final lather to sit for a few minutes, to be safe. This shampoo smells so good! At this point, my hair felt strong, but not hard. 

{8} Towel wrapped my hair for about 20 minutes.

{9} Applied Straight From Eden & Tresemme Naturals conditioners. I had to add the Tressemme just in case the Eden conditioner didn't have enough of a moisturizing effect on my protein treated hair. I put on a plastic cap with heat for 30 minutes, then probably sat with it for another 30 at least before I went to rinse. 

{10} Rinsed with cool water followed by an ACV and Aloe Vera Juice rinse, which I did not rinse out. 

{11} Towel wrapped for 30 mins.

{12} Applied the Straight From Eden Repairing oil & It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In, and detangled in 4 sections.

{13} Blow dried and flat-ironed my hair. I only did one heat pass with the flat iron so I didn't get my hair bone straight. 

This relaxer day went very smoothly. The Straight From Eden line worked so well with my hair and it smells amazing. I am very pleased with the progress of my hair! Especially my nape. I will be doing a proper length check and trim soon. Though I can already admit my hair's in much better shape than I thought. I am not used to trying to maintain straight hair while working out; so, between Zumba and running, my hair definitely swelled. I ended up pulling it back into a banana clip ponytail, which I quickly fell in love with! I use banana clips a lot, but I hadn't tried this style yet. I think I will more often now :) 

How I Ran My First 5K | Fitness Friday

It's my 1st Fitness Friday post!! Yaaay! I'm excited to share the progress I have made with one of my fitness goals: running. Obviously from the title, I ran my first 5K! Woot woot!! I have always LOVED running, but as a kid who struggled with asthma, I had to give it up in high school. One too many running-induced asthma attacks + my parents equaled me having to quit the track team. But still, deep down inside, I wanted to run a marathon one day. And earlier this year, I decided I was going to start working towards it. 

Initially, I started out training using the Couch-to-5K program. But umm... it wasn't working well for me. I'm not sure if it was because I wasn't exactly a couch potato before I started and the pace of it was moving a little too slow for me. But I know I didn't like that it was only time-based and not distance-based. It made me wonder if I reach the final step of running 30 minutes straight, but haven't gone 3.1 miles in that time, have I actually reached my goal? Nope. So, I let that go after a few weeks and started using a run-walk-run program with distance goals. I know there are a lot of different versions of the Couch-to-5K program so it may have just been that the one I had wasn't specific enough. 

My training was going so well: I was dedicated, feeling good about myself and everything. Then *boom* I hurt myself. Massive sad face. My shin to be exact. At first, I wanted to just push thru it, but shortly after that I decided that wasn't a good idea. I would take some time off, try to run again, be in pain and have to break again. Until that break was almost 3 weeks. I was so sad, ladies. I felt like there was no way I was going to be able to make up that lost time with only 2 weeks until my 1st 5K - the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Originally, I wanted to run it in 30 minutes or less, but I decided I would have to just be happy with finishing. And I was! Coming in just a few minutes over my original goal at that. Here are 3 things that I believe helped me finish my race, despite not finishing my training:

Mind over Matter
Running is all about your mindset. It's one thing I love and hate about it. I am in competition with no one but myself. And we all know that sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy. I think it's the ability to overcome the little voice in your head that wants to quit, which makes running so fulfilling. I had a made up mind that I was going to finish this race. I felt so proud when I was done! Lord knows I thought about quitting several times. I was determined to run.

Perseverance & Endurance
These two may seem like no-brainers, but when you're running they are both continually tested. It made me truly understand why Paul is always comparing the our walk with Christ to running a race. The ability and strength to withstand anything the race may throw at you is truly rewarding. I did not do much hill training and this 5K was full of them. One particular hill was a serious incline, too. But once I was done, it made me feel like I could conquer anything. A little cheesy? Yes, but I really did! It was very encouraging. 

Listening to My Body
I honestly feel that if I had not given my body the proper time it needed to rest, I might not have been able to run at all. Injuries can be detrimental if you're not careful with the healing process. At first I was so upset that I had to take so much time off. After my doctor confirmed that was the best thing for me to do, I felt better about my choice. I think sometimes we focus so hard on the training, that we forget the importance of listening to our bodies and letting them rest. Especially when your body wants to rest at a time you feel it should be pushing harder. 

I have been keeping all these things in mind as I continue training. I think that anyone can train to run with the right mindset. I am set to run the Chicago Half Marathon this fall. I'm very excited about it. Ultimately, I don't know if I want to run a full marathon or not. I think running the half will help me answer that. I will make sure to keep you all posted on my running journey. Thanks for following along!

Be sure to check out other the other lovely ladies' Fitness Friday posts over at SavingOurStrands!

Wash Day | Quick Flexi-Rod Set

Birthday Style! :-)
This was a relaxer prep kind of wash day. At 16 weeks post relaxer, I decided to flexi-rod set my hair. And, with a solid 2 inches of new growth, I tried setting the rods a different way than I have previously. I like my hair to be set or straightened in some way before I relax it because I find it is easier to work with that way. This fact combined with Divachyk's (of Relaxed Thairapy) awesomely inspiring roller sets lately got me to go for it. This probably could've went very bad, but my theory was if naturals can get amazing roller sets, I should be able to, too. Should is the key word in that sentence :) 

{1} Divided hair into 8 sections and detangled.

{2} Pre-poo - applied PM Tea Tree Moisturizing conditioner and coconut oil to each section and braided. Put on a plastic cap & scarf for a few hours.

{3} Shampooed with ORS Creamy Aloe. Since my next wash day would be a relaxer day, I wanted to make sure I got my hair really clean. (I'm still out of my Shea Moisture Deep Cleansing shampoo unfortunately).

{4} Deep conditioned with L'Oreal Damage Erasing Balm and Aubrey Organics GPB conditioners. Protein centered conditioners in prepping for relaxing. My hair is not at all protein sensitive either. It eats it right up. I kept this in overnight, too. 

{5} Rinsed with cool water follow by my Apple Cider Vinegar & Aloe Vera Juice rinse. I let this sit for a few minutes before I squeezed out the excess and towel wrapped my hair.

{6} After about 20 minutes in the towel, I let my hair air dry for awhile. Not completely, just because I don't like to comb my wet hair. 

{left} moment when I realized I had SO much hair left & a small area to roll it in; {right} finished

{7} Section by section, I started applying my leave-ins (Elasta QP H2, Aussie Curl Definition + Soft Feel Serum), added some more water and put in the flexi-rods.  

{8} I put the rods in horizontally, instead of vertically like I did the last time. I've seen a number of ladies use a lot less rods with great success this way. I wanted to try it since it would take less time, but my inevitable problem was securing them tight enough to set & smooth my new growth. I also added some Eco-styler gel before putting each flexi-rod in. 

{9} Put on my bonnet dryer for awhile. Not sure how long because, of course, I fell asleep under it. 

{10} Took out the rods in the morning and separated the curls some. 

My curls were kind of fuzzy and my new growth was quite fluffy, but guess what? I loved this set anyway! My solutions for the fluffy new growth was just to pin my hair up different ways, use a banana clip, head scarves, and headbands. The curls were so soft and they lasted so long! The picture below is of my curls after 4 days and the one at the top of this post is of my curls after 7 days. In the past, I probably would have considered this a fuzzy fail; I had a hard time keeping my new growth taut and wasn't consistent in smoothing alllll my hair on the rods. But I embraced it and I will just have to keep practicing this method until I get it right. It was so ironic to me, too, for two a couple reasons. One is because someone who is natural (and really wants me to go natural) told me my hair gave her hair envy. I took that as a pretty big compliment. Perhaps that wouldn't have happened if I didn't choose to rock my big, frizzy curls confidently. Also I have always made sure I have a fresh relaxer and some kinda straightened style in time for my birthday. I haven't done much celebrating yet, but this year on the day of - I was rocking 7 day old curls lol! Talk about how things have changed! For the better, might I add. 

How was your wash day this week? Be sure to check out other Wash Day Experiences at SavingOurStrands and JustGrowAlready!

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