Archive for Health and Awareness

Natural Hair Update – September 2011

Hey SC Family!  Yes I’ve been gone for a minute, and I do apologize.  Forgive me…..:)  Lots going on in the orAKAle’s world and I can’t wait to share them with you.  Thanks for your patience.  Just wanted to give you guys a quick update on my hair.  Its been growing at rapid speeds and I’m so excited!

Below is a current pictures of me with stretched hair. I shampoo’d, hot oil treated, blew out (using my denman) THEN double stranded twisted the hair.  I wore the twist for about 2 weeks before taking them down.  Below are the results!  I used my hair cream to refresh an twists that were trying to get free (lol) and my flaxseed pomade daily to add shine and to do any slick ups or backs.  Take a look and tell me what you think!

this is my "long" side

back view

short side view

my pretty girl rock....

My regimen includes a homemade pomade and hair cream with Shea butter and flaxseeds as two of my staple products. To learn about the benefits of flaxseed for the hair, click here I actually make my own oil/gel from the seeds to use on my hair.  As for my hair cream, I also use this concoction over the entire body (great for when the cold months come). It feels wonderful and I’m loving ever second of naturality.  This November I will be celebrating my 4 year Napaversary and I’m so excited. Maybe I will do something exciting for the SC readers…..guess you’ll have to wait and see.

Thanks to all of you for your love and support!  The orAKAle has spoken…..


 
 
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Set Yourself up for SUCCESS!!!

I’m a firm believer that in order to achieve our goals and aspirations we must surround ourselves in an environment set up for us to succeed!  In order to assist in getting your mind right, you have to get other aspects that make up your life in order.  This week I received a QCC regarding working out/training sessions (that I’m always tweeting about) and how to be successful with these goals.  I love this question for I feel that over the year’s I’ve coined a regimen that works for me and is conducive to my work schedule. For my long time SC family…you know I love sharing some of my “tools of the trade” when it comes to health and wellness. 
 
Like most people, I work a strenuousness 8-10 hours/day weekly, travel significantly and am very involved in the community. Having all this on my plate makes it….”interesting” to find time to get my exercising in.  So how do I manage all of these….first let me clarify: I try to stay active and purposefully set weekly schedules to workout/train (either at home or in my neighborhood gym) to stay healthy overall!  This is not just for weight loss, but I have seen the power of healthy living habits and the positive results it has on all facets of life.  Those who know me via outside of this blog are aware that I take my health/overall fitness very seriously.  Due to this, getting training sessions in at least 5 days a week (min 2 days of strength training) is a very important aspect of my life. 
 
 

But back to the question – how do I stay motivated to do this DAILY and achieve my fitness goals?  I set myself up for success by laying out my gear for the day.  Not only do I leave the house with a cute scene (like the picture above) waiting for me when I return, but I also set out my attire. This way when I walk in the door after work and put all my items down/away, I see the DVD’s, weights and/or my exercise clothes calling my name.  These motivational scenes can be done the night before (if your mornings are chaotic enough) or prior to leaving the house.  Either way, you’ve already previewed your brain to what is to come later (then you can use the rest of the day battling that “devil” on your shoulder trying to convince you all the reason why not to work out after work)…achieving that daily goal and being a step further for your greatness!
 
 
So what do you all think SC family?  Any suggestions on  how to keep us ALL motivated to achieve our fitness goals?   The orAKAle has spoken….

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Tips for Growing Healthy Hair

I love when I get this question; for their is never ONE true answer to it.  Having healthy hair (be it natural or chemically processed) takes time, patience and a little TLC.  Longevity should be a factor when trying to reset your hair health; along with a willingness to learn new things.  On my journey to a more healthier Silky Coils, I soaked up as much information on wellness in general while pursuing natural healthy hair bliss.

I know the list is long, but I’ve been waiting to post this after doing more research, trial and error and speaking to YOU the SC Family on what you wanted to know. So I present to you my tips for growing healthy hair:

Hydration – If you’ve done ANY research on being overall healthy, you will find that keeping your body hydrated is key. The same would go for having healthy hair. Water makes up a fourth of the weight of a strand of hair, so when you drink the proper amount for YOUR body type, naturally your hair will respond by being supple, and shiny!  I always suggest a minimum of 8 servings (8 fl ounces) a day.

Vitamin and Supplements – I plan to post a separate entry regarding these, but I did want to include them on this list.  Yes there are many hair supplements you can take (i.e. Biotin) to help stimulate growth and prepare your hair; BUT simply taking a daily multivitamin can also do the trick.  Our bodies needs nutrients to function properly on a daily basis…this also includes proper growth of your hair.  Depending on your health needs, you can find a suitable multivitamin that will not only assist in daily functions but also hair growth and repair.  Personally, I take Centrum Ultra Women’s.  If you do not take a multivitamin……START IMMEDIATELY!!! It may save your life

Control Stress Levels – CRAZY I know, but interesting enough your stress levels effect not only your overall health, but also your hair.  When we get stressed our physiological levels rise and can either stop hair growth or cause hair loss?  During this time, your hair follicles go into a resting phase cause a reduction in growth and sometimes loss.  Some of us control it better than others; but if your like me…my stress can get pretty out of control during high priority times of the year.  So ways to combat stress can be found here.

Food Intake – Long time SC family has heard me speak about this before – you have to be cognizant on what your putting inside your body.  Everything that goes in, has to come out some how; and eating nutrition foods will aid in repairing (or rebooting) the hair follicle AND stimulate growth.  Some recommended nutrients found in our food, to grow healthy hair include (but are not limited to): Proteins, Iron, B Vitamins, Essential Fatty Acids, Vitamin E and Sulfur.  It is also suggested to stay away from foods that are sugary, loaded with fat, caffeine based and carbonated for they can cause a lot of damage to our hair!

Styling/Products – First, if you haven’t’ read my post on Determining Your Hair Type you may want to first take a look before you go on. You can’t stimulate growth or achieve health with your coils if you have no clue what type of hair you have.  From there, you can find many resources on what products work best for YOUR hair.  I’m a type 4 diva, so I like products that are loaded with ingredients like Shea Butter, Aloe, Rosemary oil, etc; for I know for me, these ingredients protect my hair through any weather AND maximize growth.  As for styling, some general rules is to always keep it moisturized, utilizing protective styling and retain hair, add hair utensils that will aid in your daily matriculation of the hair not damage it; and finally to make an effort to wrap your hair at night OR use a satin pillow case to not cause damage and breakage as you sleep (I can’t stress this enough).

License Stylists are our Friends– Family, you all would be surprised how many people I run into who believe that with the proper ingridients, tools and the web they can be their own stylist…..NEGATIVE. While I pride myself on being able to better manage my hair in the comfort of my home…for FREE, I also see the importance of having a professional examine my hair.  Even though I’ve recently embarked on trimming my own ends (that’s a whole other post for another day…lol), I also make sure to see my stylist every few months to get my “art work” checked and correct if needed.

Do your research – How you think I created this list….lol.  Seriously, while reading blogs are nice and convenient, it is critical that you do your own research regarding what will work for you. I can name off at least 20 blogs/articles I found and was reading, but it wasn’t until I did my OWN trial and error after researching what I was embarking on.  There are many books, websites and stylist out there who are willing to assist.  If you haven’t done so already, take a few minutes to learn your hair type and what type of product ingredients and styling tools work for YOU.

the orAKAle has spoken…..

Sources: Stress Related Hair Loss in Women, Foods that Promote Hair Growth, Benefits of Salon Hair Care, Benefits of Multivitamins, Grow Afro Hair Long
Related posts: Benefits of Shea, Hair Types, Detoxification

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“What You SEE is What You Get”

Leadership Lane....straight ahead

After a long evening of presenting at a high school orientation, followed by a rigorous Q&A session from students and their parents, I was ready to pack up and leave.  It had been a long week.  In addition to the normal work responsibilities, a substantial amount of time had been expended in preparation for the orientation and I was finally ready to leave the auditorium and go home.  As I was hurrying out the door, I felt a soft tap on my shoulder; so I quickly turned around to see a young lady, Jessica, who smiled at me and said, “Thank you for everything. I really like this program and appreciate you being real”.  She went on to say, “I can tell you’re a fun lady, and I’m happy that you are in charge”.  I chuckled at the term used “in charge”, and smiled before answering “Thank you for the compliment Ms Jessica.  You really made my evening.  I will see you in two weeks at Ms. Jackson’s workshop in the library.”  Smiling and with renewed, uplifted attitude, I turned and continued on my way out the door.

On the way home I reflecting back on the conversation and how other’s perceptions of me as a role model and/or leader. One of the things I hope to instill in the young ladies that I’m mentoring, as we progress through the semester, is its ok to be your TRUE self.  Like most young professionals, I continue to strive and hone the straits of my leadership style. Clearly Jessica saw something within me that was authentic and sincere, and as a result, she felt comfortable in sharing her thoughts.  As leaders in the work place and within our communities it is difficult to strike a balance between “getting the job done”, producing results desired by our bosses, and being authentic in all that we do.  Most would agree that it is sometimes difficult to hold true to your values in any of the above settings, but personally, I believe the concept of authenticity is the best trait to have as an effective leader.  If a leader’s vision aligns with what they hold true/value in life (generally), it will be reflected in their leadership style; and it will be recognized by others (peers, co-workers, and mentees).  Before you can lead ANYONE, you have to build/instill trust in those you want to follow you.

one of a kind I am

I have to admit;at times I feel that being my true self is problematic in the work place.  Not only am I very confident in all that I do, it’s done with the energy level of the energizer bunny…and that is ok.  Some of my previous work environments were not as receptive to my personality; and often times it was even difficult to relax/be myself, but also hold true to my cultural values.  As a result, it was sometimes easier to change who I was to assimilate into said environment.  It wasn’t until I had the conversation with Jessica that I realized that it’s seriously OK to be authentically me!

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“White is Right, Black Get Back”

“My lighter skin is better than yours; and I’m proud of my white side”.  You “black” skinned girls are just jealous that my light skin will help me in America…don’t hate cause it won’t for you”.  This was a statement made in a heated dialogue between two young girls that I am mentoring. The workshop (being given at the time) had nothing to do with ethnicity/skin color; but it seems that a simple and harmless discussion regarding goal setting and vision for the future, turned into a competition of skin color, culture and a rejection of one’s self.  Jessica (quoted above) is biracial and was convinced that her Caucasian culture (which she attributes to her lighter skin) made her superior to all her darker skinned peers.  Despite my feelings of insult/disgust, I had to take a step back and reflect on what I was witnessing.  Jessica failed to realize the bigger, under lining issues that SHE has with her black identity; rejection in part of who she is, and categorizing individuals according to physical attributes.  It was at this precise moment that I knew it was going to be a very long afternoon.

The atmosphere in the room was tense; as most of my fellow mentors mouths fell open in response to what we had just heard.  Immediately, eye contact was made with one of my colleagues; for the outburst seemed to confirmed our suspicion… that most of these young ladies were stuck between the “preecounter” and “encounter” stage of Cross’ Black Identity Development Model; and, the issues was being brought into the classroom/middle school setting.  The Black Identity Model depicts the stages that all black people move through as they develop their identity.  Jessica is considered to fall between the first two stages for she has clearly accepted the norms of the majority culture/group (her White heritage) and, without realizing it, is internally perpetuating negative stereotypes towards her black culture.  It is also at this stage that a young black girl may pull away or distance herself from anything or anyone resembling the negative, Black image that she has formulated in her mind.  It was evident that either the messages received at home or those within her community was confirming her view of her Black heritage; and was not only affecting her relationships with peers at school, but also hindering her overall development and, consequently would shape her vision for the future.  In order for young black girls, like Jessica, to reach stage five of the Cross’ Black Identity Development, “internationalization/commitment”, it is critical that they are afforded continued education to progress successfully through the stages, and also be surrounded by positive images of our black culture in their community. As mentors, we should not skate around these types of issues and should continue professional development of our own identity in order to be comfortable with leading our mentees through this difficult period; while assessing where WE fall in Cross’s model. It is my hope that by doing this we can reset the young girl’s way of thinking, spark positive self-image, and neutralize the negative categorization currently being displayed.

If nothing else, this controversial experience had confirmed how blessed I am.  My parents instilled strong family values, promoted positive self-images of Black people (especially women) and expose me and my sister to our culture in a manner that cultivated positive black identities.  However, what was experienced with Jessica is not an isolated incident.  Many girls struggle with what is right and wrong; and far too many times society is playing a major role in influencing our youth on who they are and what they should aspire to be.  The negative messages being transmitted are contradictory to the message that our black girls should be receiving; and, the results are slowly but surely causing them to formulate a negative identity with black people.

This experience reminds me of Shakespeare’s saying:  “To thy self be true”.  As a role model/example to these girls, projecting a sense of self confidence with who I am and where I AM with my black identity awareness sends a powerful message.  To girls like Jessica, displaying a strong sense of black identity will provide encouragement and foster a sense of self-worth.  It will also assist them with a positive transition to the next stage.  This task is not an easy one and will prove to have some pros and cons with the techniques used.  I am convinced that with diligence, while continuing to draw upon the positive black images in my life, a huge difference can be made in the lives of these young girls…

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You’ve Got the Power

Every once in awhile I come across a daily devotional worth saving and posting. Below is just that family….taken from Joel and Victoria Olsten this week.  Read, reflect and please share; for this was an on time word for me.  The orAKAle has spoken…..

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”
(Proverbs 18:21, NIV)

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TODAY’S WORD

Every word we speak is a seed. We are constantly planting those seeds that will, in turn, produce a harvest in the future. When we speak words of life and blessing, we will see life and blessing in the future. When we speak words of defeat and failure, those seeds produce defeat and failure. It’s that simple. The life you are living today is the harvest from the seeds you planted in your past; and today, you are planting seeds for your future.

The good news is that no matter where you are today, God has given you the power to change your future! You can begin, right now, to plant seeds of blessing, strength, victory and joy for your future. If you’ll be proactive and consistently declare the Word of God, even if it’s just five minutes a day, you are setting yourself up for victory, freedom and blessing.

Today, choose life for your future by agreeing with and declaring God’s Word. Put Him first because through Him, you have the power to embrace the life of blessing He has prepared for you!

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A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Heavenly Father, thank You for empowering me to live in victory and freedom. Today, I choose life by choosing to declare Your Word. Help me, by Your Spirit, to always plant seeds of life and blessing into my future. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Joel & Victoria Olsten

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5 Day Detox (Food Intake & Exercise)

if Lola can do it....so can you

Silky Chronicles needs YOU……

The holiday is upon us and to be frank…one of my favorite ones.  Good family, entertainment and definitely gooood EATING.  Due to the indulgence that is not uncommon for us to have during the 4th, I thought this would be a perfect time to post a challenge to YOU the SC readers.

Starting July 5th, I will be doing a 5 day detox.  The purpose is to cleanse the body (again) of unneeded toxins, etc to continue with my CLEAN eating initiative.  A distant acquaintance is a vegan chef, and solicited volunteers for a piloted program she is creating….so I figured I would pose some of the same to you the readers.

What is clean eating????

Short and to the point…food that is closest to its NATURAL state.  This means no processed and refined foods (put the boxed lasagna down), sugary drinks (i believe in NOT drinking my calories), saturated and trans fats, etc.  The intent is to consume the food as God intended.  You can however jazz up your dishes by being creative with your spices/cooking oils, versus entrusting that duty to someone else (fast food joints, mass food production companies, etc).   Remember, you can create some great delicious dishes without weighing it down with that junk that keeps those unwanted pounds on and/or worse….. clog your arteries.

When grocery shopping you have to remember to read labels.  Just because the front says “no fat” or “sugar free”, doesn’t mean that the ingredient list on the back says the same.  My suggestions to avoid food trickery is listed below:

  • Research foods prior to grocery shopping
  • Write out a list BEFORE walking into the store (will save your life & wallet)
  • READ the nutrition label AND ingredient list (you won’t know what to look for if you don’t do number 1)
  • When in doubt, leave it out 🙂

NOW….my challenge to you all is more than just the foods you consume…but also exercise.  In order to live life to the fullest you can’t just focus on what you put into your body, but also the energy that is being exerted daily.  It has been proven that daily/weekly exercise helps to relieve stress, illnesses and of course weight loss.  Starting on the 5th I want all SC readers to vow to exercise IN SOME WAY for 5 days straight.   This can include (but is not limited to):

  • Gardening
  • Cleaning (house work and lawn)
  • Running/Walking
  • Lifting weights (heck lifting kids at that…lol)
  • Taking the stairs
  • Any and all cardio or weight machines at your local gym
  • Home workout routines (see below link for suggestions)

So are you up for the challenge?????  If so, email me at silkychronicles@gmail.com and let me hear from you.  I will be available to answer any other questions you may have, along with motivate you DAILY to not give up.  I’m confident that if you seriously commit to 5 days of this detox, you will feel better and ready to begin a more healthier life.

the orAKAle has spoken…………


To read more about clean food eating, click here
To read more about at home workout routines, click here

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