Sweat & Slay: Live an active lifestyle with great hair!

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT QUOTE:

“Relaxing your hair is like being in prison. You’re caged in. Your hair rules you. You didn’t go running with Curt today because you don’t want to sweat out this straightness. You’re always battling to make your hair do what it wasn’t meant to do.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

How many of us ever feel held back from engaging in physical activities because of our hair? Yep, I have definitely been there! When my hair was straight (relaxed), you could forget about me doing any type of activity that involved me sweating my hair out! Since transitioning to becoming fully natural, that has completely changed. More than ever, people have chosen to take the natural hair journey and rock their natural tresses. Even with natural hair, it can still be a lot to maintain upkeep and exercise regularly.

Sweating a lot on a daily basis can be damaging to the hair and can cause breakage and dryness. I live a pretty active lifestyle and I’m often asked how I maintain and protect my hair. Unfortunately, the first place that I sweat is my head, so I have to do a little more to my hair prior to working out.

Here are a few ways I protect  my hair against sweat:

  1. Moisturize, Moisture, MOISTURIZE! Typically before my runs or workouts, I make sure to thoroughly moisturize my hair. I use Coconut oil and Shea Moisture oil elixir spray (one or the other).
  2. Use a Leave-In Conditioner/Co-wash – In the Summer time mainly, I will dampen my hair and apply a good amount of leave-in conditioner to coat it. Also, Co-washing(Conditioning only) in between your actual wash days helps restore moisture to hair.
  3. Wear a head/hair band – This helps absorb the sweat.
  4. Protective Styles – Utilizing protective styles can be very beneficial. Wearing a protective style gives your hair a break and is not fully exposed to all of the free radicals in the air. Examples of protective styles: Braids, twist outs, locs, and buns.

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Here’s an example of one of my protective styles that I rock often when running or working out that’s quick and easy.

FINDING WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR NATURAL HAIR

 

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Sometimes it’s best to sample other curl-friends products before splurging on hair products you’re not 100% sure will work well for your curls. Recently, I team up with my fellow fit friend/DSU Alumna/curly girl, Nadia and had a hair day session where we tested each others products. Like me, Nadia lives a very active lifestyle as a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. She mentioned that her hair was feeling a little dry from her consistent workouts and needed some revitalizing. From previous blog posts, you know I’m a fan of the Kinky Curly line….specifically their Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner and Curling Custard. I’m also obsessed with the As I Am product line. They have a lot of jewels within their line, but I absolutely LOVE their Conditioning Co-wash. This Co-wash is truly amazing and never fails to bring my curls back to life; I knew it would be perfect to try on Nadia.

Let the product testing fiesta begin!

If you live an active lifestyle, your hair is bound to experience some dryness here and there which is why it needs moisture, moisture, Moisture! I started by saturating Nadia’s hair so it’s damp all over and sectioned her hair to detangle. After detangling, I saturated the hair until it was completely wet and applied the As I Am Conditioning Co-wash in sections (4 sections). This product goes a long way so you don’t have to use a lot of it. Next, we rinsed out the Co-wash and applied the Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner (separate into 4 sections). After the Leave-In is applied…use the Curling Custard.

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Before

 

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As I Am Conditioning Co-wash applied
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Kinky Curly Leave-In Conditioner applied
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Kinky Curly Curling Custard applied
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Hair Diffuser
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After! Revived curls!

Wah-lah! Nadia’s curls are refreshed, revived and beautiful! We could stop here and make it an official “wash and go” but I always like to diffuse my hair…so I tried it out on Nadia as well. Diffusing can take a while, especially if you have a lot of hair (that’s me…and Nadia!). It took me about 30 minutes to diffuse her hair, so not too bad. It’s safe to say she was pleased with her results and so was I! She loved the As I Am Co-wash so much that we popped into Target to purchase it!

Hair products are expensive and sharing is caring, people! I highly encourage product testing sessions so find a curl-friend and see what works best for you! In the meantime, let’s not let our hair get in the way of becoming a healthier, more fit version of ourselves!

Sweat and Slay…all day!

Until next time!

♥ Traci

** If you live in the D.C/MD/VA area and interested in Personal Training or Group Training, check Nadia’s website out!

http://www.npoweredfitness.com

 

Stress is a B*#@!

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“You can do ANYTHING…but not EVERYTHING.”

Oh, to be a kid again; no worries, no care in the world…no STRESS! With life’s everyday hustle and bustle it’s easy to fall victim to it. Life may even throw you a curve ball that will knock you right on down (been there). Stress can seriously take over your life…if you let it. There are endless causes of stress; loss of loved ones, work environment/work load, financial problems, relationships, loss of a job…the list can go on forever. I have dealt with all of these causes as I’m sure most of you have. Of course, everyone’s situation is different and affects us in different ways. The stress levels I endured for ALL were pretty high (some much higher than others). So…how do we deal with stress?

As you can probably tell from knowing me or from previous blog posts, running is my outlet…and actually blogging has become a new-found outlet for dealing with stress for me. These are both things that I love and enjoy doing. Among all the chaos in the world, I know that when I’m running or blogging nothing else matters and I’m completely in my zone. I’ve found that when you prioritize in your schedule what really matters to you and things that you enjoy doing it lessens the stress. There are several ways to manage stress…here are some tips that I practice and have found helpful.

HOW CAN I MANAGE STRESS?

  1. Shorten your “To-Do” list – I’m a stickler for creating a daily to-do list. However, my list is always forever long which results in me becoming super overwhelmed. By lessening my list and being able to physically check off what I have completed for the day makes me feel very accomplished (Accomplishment=happiness).
  2. Disconnect – Sometimes you just need to detached yourself from everything and just take time for yourself to recharge and refocus.
  3. Delegate – See quote above….”You can do ANYTHING…but not EVERYTHING”. We can’t always do it all by ourselves!
  4. Ask for help – Definitely something that I am still working on. My prideful folks know what I mean.
  5. Stop trying to be perfect all the time – Don’t be your worst enemy! We all strive for perfection but remember it’s a work in progress. I will literally work on something for hours until it’s perfect (well…in my eyes). I always want it to be as close as possible! I have learned that it doesn’t always have to be perfect…just put your 150% effort into it and get it done!
  6. Stay Active – Helps clear the mind. Find something you enjoy doing and make time for it!
  7. Don’t sweat the small stuff – Trust me…it’s NOT WORTH THE STRESS!
  8. Listen to yourself – Learn what works best for you. Are you taking care of yourself? Are you eating well?
  9. Show up – Be present. Don’t let what you’re worrying about consume your thoughts! You will be in “LaLa- Land” all day (unproductive).
  10. Slow down – Breathe. Take a second. Stop rushing, it’s never a good thing (although sometimes it’s necessary).
  11. Talk to someone – I tend to keep things pent-up. I’ve found talking your problems out to someone is very beneficial and will definitely take some weight off your  shoulders.
  12. Take it one day at a time. 
  13. PRAY –  Last and MOST IMPORTANT. Prayer…It works!

DON’T LET STRESS GET THE BEST OF YOU!

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Stress can also wreak havoc on your skin, hair and overall health. The levels of your body’s stress hormones increases when you stress out, people! This creates excessive oil production and we all know oily skin leads to BREAKOUTS. In addition, stress can cause hair loss (Alopecia areata)  and gray hairs. As for your health, stress can affect the digestive system causing ulcers as well as the immune system which can cause a spike in blood pressure.

The main focus is to prevent stress from occurring in the first place. If we are able to take the necessary steps to manage stress, we will be well on our way to happier and healthier lives. 

How do you manage stress? I hope this helps!

STAY STRONG MY FRIENDS

Until next time!

♥ Traci

Love the skin you’re in.

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“Invest in your skin. It is going to represent you for a very long time.” 

Okay, so…as much as I love make-up products and getting “glammed up” I cannot wait to get home and take it ALL off! The key to flawless looking make-up is clear/healthy skin and obtaining clear skin requires having a consistent skin care routine. Many factors go into achieving and maintaining clear skin; the food we eat, how much water we consume daily and stress endured. Put it like this…whatever you put into your body reflects your outward appearance. Although sometimes it’s difficult to stay committed to a daily routine, it really does pay off and your skin will thank you!

A few skin care tips:

Know your skin type. Do you have dry, combination or oily skin?

Here’s the name of the game:

  • Cleanse
  • Exfoliate
  • Tone
  • Moisturize/Sunscreen

MY SKIN JOURNEY

Maintaining clear skin has ALWAYS been a struggle for me…for YEARS! From Middle/High school to post College…even moving into my adult years I’ve had an off and on battle with acne which I absolutely despised! I found it to be a major confidence-crusher. Even mild breakouts would make me feel less-than confident. I would have the worst breakouts to where I wouldn’t even want to socialize or be seen! I remember so vividly crying to my mom (I’m emotional) as a teenager about how awful my skin was and praying for it to improve. The day I had my first dermatologist visit (and wouldn’t be the last) was so exciting to me because I knew it was one step closer to having clear skin. I’ve been prescribed everything under the sun including the infamous “Differin Gel” that seems to be the universal treatment for anyone with acne.

To some, acne is often thought to be a trivial problem compared to other health issues/diseases. But for those who have it- it’s a real problem that can actually effect major social, psychological and emotional ramifications for many teenagers and adults. Having acne definitely took a toll on my self-esteem growing up and I know many out there can relate. It has been an ongoing goal to achieve clear, flawless skin and I’m still working on it at 30 years old! So…What do I have to do to achieve healthy/clear skin?

Here are a few tips:

  • 8 glasses of water daily
  • Eat healthy
  • 8 hours of sleep daily (that never happens)
  • Exercise at least 3 times per week
  • Reduce stress (easier said than done)
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Try sleeping on a silk/satin pillowcase

For more severe acne problems, consult with your local Dermatologist.

MY SKINCARE ROUTINE

First things first, ALWAYS remember to take off your make-up every single night! I totally understand, some evenings you’re tired and had a long day or maybe partied a little too hard and just want to crash. Either way it’s best for your skin to remove any make-up and impurities before bed. Allowing make-up to stay on your skin overnight results in clogged pores which leads to breakouts (no bueno!).

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My go-to for removing my make-up are Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes. They are super effective and gently removes all dirt, oil and makeup in just one step. I keep a pack of removal wipes in a visible place so I won’t forget to take it off at night. This product is pretty amazing and I have been using this brand for years. I usually purchase mine from Target because it’s always a great deal. Try it out!

CLEANSE

After removing my makeup, I cleanse my face with Proactiv Skin Smoothing Exfoliator or KIEHL’S Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser. Now…I’ve been using Proactiv off and on since my early/mid 20’s. I first tried it as a teenager, but it didn’t quite work for me until giving it another shot in my young adult years (adult acne is the worst!). The second time around I was so impressed with my results, I got hooked. It still works pretty well for my skin and helps me maintain clear skin with minimal breakouts. The only downside is it’s a little on the pricey side which is why I don’t use it as often so I can stretch the products out as long as I can. I only use the  Proactiv line 3-4 times a week (mostly at night). I alternate between that and other milder facial products (featured below).

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I recently started using the KIEHL’S line after being recommended by a friend and really like it so far. 

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For more of a deeper cleansing, I pull out my Clarisonic Mia 2. I’ve been using my Clarisonic off and on for years. I stopped using it for a while because I found with daily use I experienced my skin purging (breaking out) more than clearing up. I’ve read in reviews that purging of the skin may occur. However, my skin at that time just wasn’t clearing up the way I’d imagined it would. So…recently I’ve been using my Clarisonic and loving it! I use it 2-3 times a week for a deep cleansing; using the “Sensitive” brush head. It really does leave your skin feeling rejuvenated and looking radiant! This bad boy retails at $169…expensive? Yes, but we are investing in our skin, right?

EXFOLIATE 

What I love about the Proactiv line is the cleanser has gentle exfoliating beads that gets rid of any dead skin; leaving my skin nice and smooth. If I’m not using the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator (acts as a cleanser as well) I use St. Ives Blemish Control exfoliator which works wonders at getting rid of dead skin!  

TONER

Next, I use toner. Some may skip this step in their daily skin care routine but for someone with extremely oily and acne-proned skin (that’s me) it’s necessary. It removes oil and traces of dirt and grim; soothing the skin. I use KIEHL’S Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser which works very well. The Proactiv Pore Targeting Treatment is not exactly a toner, but acts as one.

MOISTURIZE

I use to always avoid really moisturizing my face because I already have super oily skin…why add to the greasiness?! In fact, neglecting to properly moisturize your face could actually lead to more breakouts! We don’t want that, do we? Absolutely NOT! Knowing your skin type is crucial when deciding on which moisturizer to purchase. I use either Proactiv Complexion Perfecting Hydrator or CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion. Both products are light, gentle (for all skin types) and leaves your skin feeling refreshed to take on the day!

Have you developed a daily skin care routine? Do you know your skin type? What products work best for your skin?

Until next time!

♥Traci

 

My Running Journey

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It never gets easier, you just get stronger.”

Throughout the last three years, running has become a substantial part of my life. Whether training for a race or just for leisure, running has always been an outlet for me. I often come across people who are interested in running, but end up convincing themselves that they can’t…but the thing is, you CAN! Anyone can become a runner and no, you don’t have to be athletic or have an athletic build to start. There are a million and one excuses…”Running is too hard”, “I’m too slow”, “My hair will get messed up!” Listen, I’ve had all of these excuses and some! However, as I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts…everyone has to start somewhere, just as I did.

Life hits you HARD

2012-2013 were particularly some tough years for me. I experienced a very tragic loss in 2013 that put me under…way under. I was so confused about life and just…EVERYTHING. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and wasn’t motivated to do ANYTHING. Sure, on the outside looking in may have seemed as if I was happy; partying and eating ALL the time. These were all coping mechanisms. I was depressed and in a dark place for a while. I tried to think of things that would lift my spirits…other than hitting the streets of D.C. with my girlfriends. I also neglected the fact that I had packed on some pounds in the process. I’ve always been an active person and getting myself back into shape was the only thing I could think of to help turn things around.

In the beginning,  I never ran long distances…no longer than maybe two miles primarily on a treadmill. To clear my head, I began running outdoors. Something about running outside and taking in your surroundings was so liberating. I started with 2 miles (STRUGGLE miles!) and then as my endurance increased, I would push myself a little farther each run. I wasn’t the fastest, in fact I was very slow starting out. The main objective for me was not my pace but not to give up, no matter how painful or exhausting it was. I wouldn’t let myself quit… all of the sadness, anger, frustration, loneliness…all of the emotions I felt helped push me farther and farther. Then my competitive spirit kicked in and I became interested in running a race.

When one of my friends mentioned she was registering to run the Ukrop’s Monument 10k (6.2 miles) in our hometown (Richmond, VA) I was very intrigued…so I signed up! I wasn’t aware that I needed a training program so I pretty much did my own thing; alternating between running outside and strength training in the gym. Fast forward to the day of the race…so excited, anxious and nervous! I felt great 2 miles in until the sky decided to open up and pour buckets…downpours the remainder of the way (oh joy). I was pissed but wasn’t letting the rain discourage me (although it was!). I thought of all the reasons why I started running in the first place and pushed through to the finish line. I was completely DRENCHED but so elated that I had officially completed my first race!  At that moment, I understood why people run and participate in these races…that feeling of accomplishment is like no other!

From that moment of completing my first race, I didn’t want it to end there. Since then, I have completed 3 10k’s, 2 ten milers, 5 half marathons (13.1 miles), and most recently completed my first FULL marathon (26.2 miles). Through running, I have accomplished things I never thought I would and have pushed myself to limits I never imagined I’d reach (and still going)!

Running is metaphorically a lot like life. Some days are great…some days are not so great. There may even be some unforeseen twists, turns, and hurdles that you have to push through no matter how hard it is. The good thing is…through all of the struggles lies victory at the end!

Get up, get out and get moving!

:: Check out my dope running crew’s (District Running Collective) site to learn more why I love this running culture (link below) ::

www.districtrunningcollective.com

While you’re there, check out my “Journey to 26.2 miles” blog posted in their “In the Running Room” blog tab (link below).

#TrayTakesPhilly: The Journey to 26.2 miles

Until next time!

♥ Traci

My Daily Make-up Must Haves!

 

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“Beauty is about enhancing what you have. Let yourself shine through.” -Janelle Monáe

Of course nothing trumps (poor word choice) natural beauty, but there’s nothing wrong with a little enhancement sometimes…right? RIGHT! It’s safe to say I’m a bit obsessed with beauty products from skin care to make-up. It just brings so much excitement to my soul browsing through the cosmetic aisles and testing new products. Only downside is it could burn a huge hole in your pockets if you go nuts! I don’t discriminate, I’ll try ALL brands from Chanel to Revlon. Just because a product is a higher price point, doesn’t always mean its the best! It’s all about trial and error. My make-up collection consists of all different types of brands.

Throughout the years I’ve gone through a lot of make-up products; some that were AMAZING and some that were an epic fail (and waste of money)! Here’s a peek at my daily routine and the products I’m loving right now.

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Smashbox Photo Finish Water Primer

First thing’s first before applying your make-up…PRIMER. Make sure you are working on a CLEAN palette before applying your primer. I normally use the Smashbox Foundation Photo Finish Primer, but decided to give the new water primer a try and I LOVE it! This baby is formulated without parabans, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, silicone, oil, fragrance and talc. I have super oily skin so all the products that I use are all oil-free. What’s best about the water primer is that the light mist leaves your skin super hydrated and make-up flawless for hours! Just a few sprays and you’re good to go! This is perfect for all skin types as well. Since I was testing it out, I purchased the travel size which was $16 from Sephora (also available at Ulta).

Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation

After using my water primer, I then apply my foundation. I can never seem to find the right foundation for my complexion (Don’t you hate that?!). Especially with the season changes; Summer time calls for a darker shade…Winter calls for a lighter. I’ve always had to personalize my own color, mixing two foundation tones together (COSTLY!). This product is the only one that comes close to my actual complexion (a tad darker than my complexion). I purchased this from Sephora and what I love is that the ladies there have a device they use to closely match a foundation to your complexion. A lot of choices appeared  on the device but I chose the Urban Decay line because I’m a fan. I tend to go for the foundations that have a matte finish because of my oily skin. It’s also full coverage; I tend to use full coverage in the Fall/Winter months and sheer to light coverage in the Spring/Summer months. It wears beautifully and really lasts all day with not need to touch up. A little goes a long way with this product which is great; one pump and that’s it! It’s $40…but worth the splurge!

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer 

So…how my bags and dark circles are set up? Concealer is a MUST and my savior! I usually apply my concealer after my foundation but sometimes apply it before…depends on the day. Picked this one up from CVS for $6. It wears really well and has a natural finish and look. Apply to your problem areas for example; under eyes, blemishes, acne scars and any discoloration. I also use concealer under my brows sometimes to make them POP.

Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder 

Next, I apply my powder. Now…some folks opt out of using foundation because they already have perfectly flawless skin and just need a little powder…YOU are BLESSED my friend(haha)! My foundation is full coverage so I use very little powder just to set it. I hope powder doesn’t expire quickly because I’ve had this one for a while (Google’s…). Also purchased this at Sephora for $49…I know, but it really does LAST! I also use MAC Mineralized Skinfinish bronzer (Gold Deposit $30) for a little highlight action on my cheekbones and nose.

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Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen

Now, time to make the eyes pop. I’ve always been a fan of liquid eyeliner because it’s longer lasting and doesn’t smudge. The felt tip pen also makes for a good winged out look. You can purchase this at any drug store, again I got mine from CVS for $6 (Blackest Black color).

L’Oréal Voluminous Original Mascara 

Honestly, there are tons of great mascaras out there. This one is my normal go-to if I’m not trying to spend an arm and a leg on mascara. Clump-free is a must when choosing mascara for me and color of choice is the Blackest Black for a more dramatic look. Only $7 from Ulta, CVS or any drugstore. If you’re looking for length and volume, try this out!

LIPSTICKS

Last but definitely not the least…the lip color. Let me tell y’all…I have lipsticks for days and will most likely post a blog just for it! It has to be my all time favorite make-up product; it just sets everything off. How do I determine what lipstick color to wear? It really just depends on the day, how I’m feeling and what I’m wearing. One thing’s for sure, I will always love a bold lip. If you don’t care for a bold lipstick color…totally fine! Go for a nude shade or just some lip balm, it’s all up to you.

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There you have it! Whether you are into wearing make-up or not, CONFIDENCE is key and knowing YOU are beautiful with or without make-up. Remember, you wear the make-up, don’t let the make-up wear you and let that confidence shine through (promise I didn’t mean for that to rhyme)!

What are your make-up go to’s? 

Until next time!

♥ Traci

 

Everyone has to start somewhere…

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“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred DeVito

Happy March everyone!

With Summer only 4 months away, we all tend to re-evaluate our bodies and where we are physically. This typically happens at the beginning of the year when folks make their New Year’s resolutions, with the most common resolution…lose weight. Whether preparing for a summer vacation or just wanting to become a healthier version of yourself; we all have to start somewhere. One thing’s for sure…fat is not going to magically disappear off your body with no action and what better time than NOW to get moving! So…what are you waiting for?

YOU GOT THIS!

Stepping out of your comfort zone is hardly easy and that goes across the board. Ever walked into a gym and have absolutely no clue what to do? Or what machine to get on or how it even works? Been there! The gym can be a very intimidating place especially if you are a newbie…and NOTHING is wrong with that! Everyone there was once a beginner and trust me, they are focused on themselves NOT YOU! That was something I had to get over quick when I started my fitness journey.

The best thing to do is to keep it simple. Prior to starting your workout, determine what area of your body you want to focus on. This will help narrow down options so it’s less overwhelming. For cardio, the treadmill is always a great option. It may be a little on the boring side but listening to a dope playlist always does the trick! If you are not comfortable with running, start with a brisk walk…the idea is just to keep moving and increase your heart rate. For starters, 20-30 minutes at a brisk walking pace is sufficient. As your fitness level elevates, you can increase your speed.

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Another great cardio option(one of my favs) is jumping rope. So simple yet so effective and a killer at burning calories! Make sure your jump romp is adjusted to your height and get to jumping! A good 10-15 minutes will get the heart rate going. Try incorporating jumping rope in between your workout to maximize calorie burning.

Want to tone/build muscle? Grab some dumbbells! They’re perfect for targeting the upper and lower body and allows you to focus on one arm or leg at a time. Beginners, try using 5-8 pound weights.  There are various exercises you can perform with dumbbells. Try 3 complete sets of 8-10 reps (exercise of your choice), resting for 45 seconds in between.

Interested in something more creative and fun? Check out some high intensity classes! There are so many to choose from like Zumba, Body Combat and Cycling to name a few. I love participating in these classes; it’s fun yet challenging. Also, a great way to meet and interact with other people that share common interests.

WE CAN’T ALWAYS DO IT ALONE…

Motivation can be here today and gone tomorrow! You could have all good intentions on waking up at 6:00 A.M. to workout….but you lose the battle to your bed. Or even committed to running a few miles after work…but Happy Hour sounds a hell of a lot better!  Either way, it’s always best to have an accountability partner to keep you in check and remind each other to stay focused on your goals.

What are your fitness goals? Find a partner and start MOVING!

Until next time!

-Traci

That hair tho?!

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“Let it FRO!” 

I don’t know about anyone else, but I absolutely  DREAD my hair wash days! It always makes me think back to my “relaxed” days when washing my hair was so much easier…still time consuming…but easier. I could wash, blow dry and flat-iron my hair in three hours…tops! Now? With detangling, washing, deep-conditioning(sometimes overnight), styling and air-drying/diffusing it’s damn near an ALL DAY task! Of course I’m exaggerating a bit, but it does take up a good portion of the day, especially if I’m deep-conditioning. Although it’s a lengthy process, given my hair length and texture…I wouldn’t trade it for the world! I definitely have embraced my natural curls more in recent years and LOVE seeing other naturalistas doing the same.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND…

I’ve been natural for 12 years to be exact. You would think after 12 years the process would be easier/faster…NOPE. You can’t rush greatness…right? There was no big chop, my transition was sort of an accident-it just happened. When I was in undergrad at Delaware State, it didn’t make sense for me to drive 4 hours to my hometown (Richmond, VA) just to get a relaxer. I know you’re probably thinking why not find a salon closer? I have serious trust issues when it comes to my hair. For that reason, I’ve been going to the same hair stylist since High School! I eventually started doing my own hair and got trims often to get rid of my relaxed ends. So…that’s when my natural hair journey began.

WASH DAY!

Who’s infamous for prolonging their wash days? I know I am, but we all know it HAS to get done! One thing’s for sure, Kinky Curly products never let me down! Specifically, the dynamic duo of the Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner and the Curling Custard for styling. They are my all time favs for sure! I have been using the Kinky Curly product line for years and they were great during my transitioning period. My hair is super thick (as you can see below) so when styling, I need a slightly thick, gel-like consistency to help define and lock in my curls. If you are looking for curl definition…this is it! I’ve experimented with other products but nothing quite amounts to these jewels…or at least I haven’t found it yet.

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MY GO-TO’S

Testing new products are cool, but COSTLY! For someone on a tight budget(like me!) it’s best to stick with what works best for your curls. So what are my “Go-to’s” on wash day? Well, you already know I’m a fan of the Kinky Curly line…but also Shea Moisture products.There are tons of amazing products within the Shea Moisture family but right now I’m hooked on the Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Shampoo and the Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner. I’m not a huge fan of shampooing since I typically co-wash (meaning conditioning-ONLY). However when I do, this one is a winner! This is the only shampoo I’ve found that feels like it’s not stripping my hair of its natural oils. And for the conditioner…saves my hair every time! I also use this as a deep-conditioner and occasionally a leave-in.

SO OBSESSED!

I DO NOT like vinegar of any kind and definitely cannot get past the potent smell! So when I saw tutorials and heard of all the great benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar(ACV) with “Mother” for natural hair (and body) I became very intrigued. Lo and behold, an ACV rinse was the BEST thing to happen to my hair. I was stunned at how soft my hair instantly felt after the rinse! Once you get past the smell it’s really worth it. Check out the benefits:

  • Balances hairs pH level
  • Kills bacteria and relieves scalp
  • Clarifies and Cleanses hair
  • Detangles and defines curls
  • Adds shine and reduces frizz
  • Stimulates hair growth & prevents split ends

I use the ACV rinse in place of shampooing most wash days and use 1 part ACV to 3 parts water. Tip: make sure you purchase the Bragg with the “Mother”. I’ve tried using regular vinegar and trust me, it does not work the same! The ACV with “Mother” is unpasteurized and naturally gluten-free. Pour the ACV/water mixture directly on hair, massaging into scalp…then rinse (followed by conditioning). Another tip: it’s best to pour the mixture into a spray bottle for easy application. The amount of ACV used depends on what your hair can handle, so it’s a trial and error process. Try it, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

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What are your wash day essentials? What products do you obsess over?

Until next time!

-Traci

Time to make some changes!

“It matters not how long we live, but how.” – Philip James Bailey

 I had a dream last night that caused me to have a crazy epiphany! We all know nothing in life is promised and it’s oh so short…sooo why the hell do we waste precious moments dwelling on insignificant things? Things that won’t even matter in a couple of weeks, months or even years! Why do we continue to hold ourselves back from things we are yearning to do?

I know we hear all the time “Do what makes you happy” or “Follow your dreams”….way easier said than done! Are my dreams going to pay my bills now? Probably not, but WILL pay off in the future if you hustle and want it bad enough. Life is all about taking RISKS. That’s where my struggle comes in…taking risks. Sure, there are things that I’m passionate about and would love to pursue, but how? Where do I start?

fullsizerender-3START NOW

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try”, one of my favorite quotes by Gail Devers. It’s so simple yet kind of tough. For some of us, it’s difficult to even attempt to try something because we’re so worried about the outcome (that’s me). However, the key word in the quote is TRY..there’s no harm in trying, right? Obviously change doesn’t happen overnight, but taking initiative will put you one step closer to your dreams. 

SEEING IS BELIEVING/GOAL SETTING

Brainstorm and jot down some goals that you want to accomplish for the year. I received “The Happy Planner” as a birthday gift a couple of years ago from my best friend and have been obsessed since! Aside from being a daily planner, it really helps me organize my thoughts and goals. Something about physically writing down your goals makes it seem more tangible. I also implemented a great idea from a friend to list some goals on a mirror as a daily reminder and motivation. Try it out!

TAKE ACTION

One of my goals this year is to create a blog…so here I am! Trying new things and taking risks! It’s also very important to surround yourself with POSITIVITY and like-minded people. We don’t need any Debbie Downers over here…keep that negativity to yourself!

With all that being said, life is short…just go for it! Yes, it’s uncomfortable and a little scary but whatever it is that you want to accomplish it starts with trying.

What goals do you want to accomplish this year, this month, TODAY?

-Traci

Long time coming

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” -Gail Devers

Okay…so FINALLY after contemplating for years (yes, YEARS) I’ve decided to create a blog! What’s it about? Well, I figured why not create a platform where I can combine the three things that I love; Fitness, Beauty, and Fashion.

Everything from natural hair/skin care tips to workout routines/benefits will be showcased in my blog. I’m super excited to share some of my daily regimens with you all! Come along with me on this blogging journey!

-Traci