Are you giving your hair some TLC?

Take a second and think, do I give my hair the proper attention and care it needs?

Whether you’ve just conquered a big chop, transitioning, or been in the natural game for some time…we can all agree that managing our natural tresses can be quite a tedious task. Does it have to be, though? I’ve been natural for about 13 years now and been through so many struggles with managing my hair. We can get so caught up in work, active and social life that it’s easy to neglect our hair. I mean seriously, how easy is it to just slick back a bun or pony and put off a wash day? We are all guilty! However, I have found that managing my hair is so much easier when it’s MOISTURIZED and makes detangling a breeze! These Summer months are brutal, not only on our skin but our hair as well. My hair is most dry in the Summer and on top of living a very active lifestyle, I have to make the time and give it some T(ender) L(ove) & C(are). There are tons of Moisturizers, Hair Lotions, and Oils out there; here are my go-to’s :

1.) Shea Moisture Reconstructive Finishing Elixir- So this is my absolute MUST HAVE! I use this product on a daily basis to keep my hair moisturized and to add some shine. A little goes a long way with this oil spray. Made specifically for dry and damaged hair which is a plus (especially during the Summer). It also helps control frizz because the way this humidity is set up, that’s bound to happen. Sulfate and paraban free and smells amazing!

2.) Shea Moisture 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Head-to-Toe)- My love for Coconut Oil is so deep because it can be used for and on just about ANY and EVERYTHING! I use it to remove my make-up at night, on my body, and most importantly to moisturize my hair. Hence the “Head-to-Toe” because you can literally use this product from head to toe! I use Coconut oil before I go to bed, dividing my hair into 4 sections to make sure it’s thoroughly moisturized.

3.) Tea Tree Oil- Along with having dry hair comes dry scalp, which I have struggled with for years. Tea Tree Oil is great for alleviating itchy, dry scalp. I use this Tea Tree Oil on my hair daily to sooth my scalp. Every night, I massage into my scalp. Also promotes hair growth which is always a plus!

4.) Shea Moisture Daily Hydrating Finishing Oil Serum (100% Virgin Coconut Oil)- This product is also a gem that I use every other day. I’m obsessed with this particular line from Shea Moisture. This oil can be a little on the heavy side so you don’t need to spray too much. To make sure the product is distributed properly, I separate into 4 sections and work into my hair. Leaves hair super soft, hydrated and so much easier to manage.

You can find all of these products at Target in the “Natural Hair” aisle.

How do you manage your hair on a daily basis?

Are you keeping your hair moisturized?

Until next time!

Tray’s Fav’s!

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So…piggybacking off my last post “Consistency is Key…” (Check it out if you haven’t), EACH MONTH I’m going to be to sharing some of my favorite things or people with you all. These things can be from natural hair/beauty products to fashion trends/classics I’m digging as well as showcasing people that inspire and motivate me. 

LET’S GET INTO IT!

  1. Cantu (Shea Butter)Apple Cider Vinegar Root Rinse: OMG. Can we say obsessed?! I stumbled along this product frolicking the aisles of Target (per usual). I have the worst dry scalp, especially as seasons transition. I previously was prescribed something for my dry scalp but eventually weaned off of it and haven’t quite found anything comparable to clear it up. That is until I found this jewel! I faithfully use this every wash day, before applying my co-wash and/or conditioner (it acts as a shampoo). It’s made with apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil and shea butter. This product will definitely leave your scalp feeling invigorating and hair soft. Try it out! $4.99/Target
  2. Kinky Curly Custard: So, if you follow this blog or had a “Hey, what do you use in           your hair?” talk with me YOU KNOW this product is holy grail. It’s my go-to for styling gels…..PERIOD. I’ve tried other styling gels/cremes/custards but nothing else really compares and has worked wonders for my hair for years. This custard is great for people who are transitioning into the natural hair world and works well with all hair types. Also, a little goes a long way with this product so you don’t need to use a lot. I always get super defined and frizz-free curls…WIN! $16.39 <— YIKES…I know. Y’all know it’s expensive to be natural!
  3. E.l.f Poreless Face Primer: Stellar product for the price! I am just as into makeup/beauty as I am with hair products. Using primer before applying makeup is so important to protect your skin and will make applying makeup so easy. This primer reduces the appearance of enlarged pores and leave skin looking smooth and flawless. Also, made up of tea tree oil and vitamin A & E. $5.69/Target A must-try!

So there you have it! Hope this was helpful in any way! What’s on your “Must-Have” List?    As I mentioned in my last post, I will be posting BI-WEEKLY and posting my “TRAY’s FAV’s” EVERY MONTH. Consistency is key, right? Stay tuned….

Until next time loves…

♥ Traci

Consistency is Key…Balance is also Key.

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“Consistency is what transforms AVERAGE into EXCELLENCE.”

“Never get so busy making a living, you forget to make a life.”

Let’s face it, nothing comes easy and if it’s worth having it requires much effort, persistence and consistency. It goes across the board and applies to so many different areas; fitness/personal goals, career goals, relationships, etc. In order to achieve a specific goal, it means putting in that WORK! As I mentioned in my previous post (check it out if you haven’t), one of my goals for the year is to be more consistent with my blog posting (My goal is to post bi-weekly). I also mentioned the reason for neglecting my blog last year was due to “Life Happening” events. One of those events was training/running and completing my second FULL Marathon (Yes…26.2 miles again y’all!). If you don’t know by now…I’m a runner. I’m also one of those crazy people that weirdly enjoys challenges and pushing my body to the limit by running long distant races. If you have trained and ran a marathon you know…IT IS NOT A GAME!!!! Training for a marathon (or any race really) demands extreme dedication, drive, consistency and TIME. Time that was spent focusing more on my training and less on my blog posting. 

Which brings me to BALANCE. Maintaining balance in your life is just as important as consistency…why? For your sanity, that’s why! Working hard training for a marathon is great. Grinding hard at work and excelling on every level is fantastic. However, when you are burned out, you are no good to anybody. It is crucial to create time to spend with family, friends, and YOURSELF (and your blog)! 

I am currently training for the Women’s Half Marathon (13.1 miles) taking place in Washington, D.C. at the end of April. I am also working towards setting a Personal Record (PR) which calls for a more intense training plan (In other words, time consuming). Which leaves me in a similar space I was in last year. My goal is to not drown myself in one specific area. All accountability is welcomed to keep me on track as well! Challenges may arise when creating balance between your work life/personal life/active life. However, the test is making it a point to CREATE the balance and MAINTAIN it. 

Over the years I have learned, when you truly commit to something and consistent with it…you will always WIN in the end (it’s inevitable). You WILL get frustrated, you WILL get discouraged, you WILL have setbacks, you WILL FAIL and that is OKAY!  Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t go as planned. It’s how you react to these obstacles and failures that really shows who you are and how strong you are. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what REALLY matters! It’s not always going to be easy, but will definitely be worth it. LET’S BE GREAT! LET’S BE ENCOURAGED! LET’S BE CONSISTENT!

What are you consistently doing to better yourself? Have you mastered the art of creating/maintaining balance? If so, could you school a sistah? Haha!

Until next time,

♥ Traci

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