Thursday, December 28, 2006
As it turned out, I didn't have much to worry about. Many things I learned through trial and error and luckily for me, my errors weren't too bad. I learned that I had to stretch out my permed ends after I washed my hair and BEFORE it dried in order to avoid bunching. It was a tedious process since I had to do it in addition to separating each lock. But it helped me to maintain the look I preferred on myself. This picture was taken at about the 10 month mark. It's still mostly perm, but it's getting near 3 inches of locked hair. And I really didn't have to worry about the loose hair getting tangled. Strangely enough, my relaxed ends behaved better than they did when it was just loose relaxed hair.
This picture was taken at about 18 months locked. It looks like my hair hasn't grown any since the picture above, but as I said, I was diligent about trimming off the relaxed ends each time I went in for a retightening. And I liked to wear it curled. This is approaching the half way mark between perm and locks at about 4 to 5 inches.
This is the first picture where you can really see more of the definition of the locks. I was still doing a braid out and curling the ends under. I wasn't brave enough to freestyle yet - still too much relaxed ends. This was taken at about 23 months.
In this picture, at the 2 year mark, I had no choice but to let it go! I was on a family vacation and there wasn't time to primp. I did have to pull some of it into a pony in the back, but it turned out well. I couldn't pull it all up into a pony because the relaxed ends were still too straight and they wouldn't fall properly.
Looking at these pictures has also helped me come to a long contemplated decision about my locks. We'll see what the new year brings! Have a happy and safe new year!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I received so many compliments on my post showing my hair from my first installation, but I think alot of it comes from the fact that you all know where my hair is now. I guess it kinda seems like it all happened over night. But lest anyone think I didn't go through some of the same trials and tribulations they did before discovering SLs, let me set the record straight!
This picture was taken in June 1991. In April of 1991, I made the first of several bad hair decisions. This was around the time when salons were screaming about dry curls. You know, the jheri curls without the juice. I had decided that I was going to get curls so that I could have that wash and wear hair that I had always dreamed about. Of course, since it's a completely different process and one is not compatible with the other, I was going to have to grow out the relaxer before putting in the curl. Since I wasn't one to cut, I had the bright idea that I'd get a weave to transition me through until I had enough length. Could my hair be any bigger??!! People actually thought it was mine and I must say that I did a great job of making sure the tracks were covered and that my hairline blended into the fake stuff.
But it was good in theory, bad in practice. Having the weave put in meant having my hair braided and then having the tracks sewn in. When I went back to the salon after the first weave installation, I found that my braided hair had matted big time. Combing through that mess was a nightmare. But bad as it was, did it stop me from doing it again? Of course not! The hair I got was the wet and wavy and as long as I sat under the dryer to make sure the sewn in tracks were thoroughly dry, I had the wash and wear hair I wanted.
The second picture was taken in November 1991. More weave, but you just don't know what was hiding under there! In September, my dumb impatient self decided that I had enough length on the top to go ahead and have the curl put in and just get a partial weave for some length in the back. OMG!!! as she took the rods out, I could tell I had messed up big time! She spritzed some greasy mess that I had been trying to avoid by getting the dry curl in the first place... and it never did curl right. Over the next couple of days, I had decided that I wasn't putting that crap in my hair. Well guess what? My hair got crispy dry since it wasn't getting any moisturizer. Then it started falling out!!! It was coming out in my hands. Believe me, I cried.
Unfortunately, I couldn't leave my hair like that. I looked like a half plucked chicken with a platypus tail which was the big, thick partial weave that was hanging off the back of my head. I don't think I went to work that week. And no, I do not have a picture of that (at least not one that I'd publish). Not one to leave bad enough alone. I went to a different salon and got another full weave on what was left of my hair.
After that, I saw a friend with the cutest corkscrew braids. I got me some of those too in the spring of 1992. Looked cute on the outside. The remainder of the decade (yes, decade!) was spent trying to recover. My hair eventually grew back in enough to stop wearing a weave in about 1993, although it was never as thick as it was, and it really wasn't very thick to begin with. Then, I got pregnant and my hair loved that! Until after the baby was born in 1994. Then, it seemed like all my hormones shut down and hair started coming out again. By the time I recovered from that, I had another baby in 1997. Here we go again. That brings me up to the first picture in 1998 in my last post, below, and my decision to get SLs in 2000.
I think if I hadn't gone through all of that, I wouldn't have been looking so hard for something that would take me away from all the chemicals and attaching hair that wasn't mine.
Coming next - pictures from the first two years of my SLs.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Back then, I'm sure I thought I was cute with this flip! But I know I was running from all kinds of water! The occasion for this pic was my cousin's graduation from UVA and we had all gone down to watch her walk. It was a mini-reunion and we stayed at a resort in Williamsburg. As all resorts do, this one had pools. Do you think I went in? I was very tempted not to, but Goldie (my daughter who actually has golden brown hair - don't know where that came from!) wanted in. So in I went, all the time trying to keep my head above water - and I told everyone within a 20 foot radius that they better not even think about splashing me! Alas, I didn't make it out of there unscathed as the humidity from the heat of the pool caught me! I still don't do water that much, but now it's not for fear of getting my hair wet - it's just I hate getting in water. This is Goldie in her pre-locks days at almost 4 yrs and A-man at not quite a year - he got some of that blond, too!
As I look at this picture now, I can only think how thin, limp and damaged my hair looks. I was diligent about keeping after the split ends since I got a trim every time I got a relaxer, but this was the extent of the growth. Un-flipped, it was just below my shoulders. I just knew something had to change.
Fast forward to about February 2000, I had decided that I wasn't going to relax my hair and was trying to figure out what to do with it. For about the third time in my relaxed life, I considered going natural, but how to transition? I didn't want to do the BC - I just didn't think I was one who looked good with really short hair. But trying to keep the length with two textures was madness! I made it to May then broke down and got creamed. Less than one week after giving in, I was in the magazine section looking at hair mags. I don't know why exactly since I was never usually one for looking at them. I came across this multi-page spread on SLs and I instantly knew this was for me!
I had thought about locks at various times before, but didn't do it because everything I knew about them said that I'd have to cut everything and start with natural hair. I had even gone so far as to have my hair braided with extensions in the hope of transitioning them into locks. Not a very well-thought-out plan and they were gone in a month.
After noting with glee that SLs could be started with relaxed hair, I couldn't wait til the next business day to call San Diego and get a referral. I was on the phone bright and early (minus the time difference) Monday morning and got the names of three consultants. I was so disappointed that one didn't answer and I had to leave a message with the second. But the third was the charm. I spoke to Jo for about a half an hour and was ready to make the appointment when she burst my bubble! She told me I had to have at least and inch and a half of new growth. Damn that cream! I told her I'd call her back in about two months.
Two months later I was back on the phone and told her I could set an appointment at her earliest convenience - how about today??? No, but she did manage to see me within a few days. When I got there, I found a woman who had small SLs that were just touching her shoulders. I should mention here that up to this point, I had not yet seen any actual SLs in person, but I just knew I wanted them. She put in about 6 test locks and in two weeks, I was settling down for 13 hours of installation over two days. The last two pictures were taken just after my installation on which she did a braid out. Amazingly, these don't look as scalpy as I originally thought they did, but I think my hair was thicker overall than it is now, at least at the crown area. My usual style in the early days was a braid-out, roller set to keep the relaxed ends under control. It would take me almost 4 years to trim away the relaxed ends and feel comfortable free-styling.
For those of you who are newbies - keep the faith! Your hair will blossom in no time, and you will definately believe that this is the best hair decision you ever made. I was by no means the poster child for thick, abundant hair, but you can see how mine turned out. I'm amazed at how far I've come. When I find more pics from along the way, I'll post.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
This evening, I had the chance to see the preview of it. I took my daughter, Goldie, who's a big Beyonce fan. I have to say that I really enjoyed it. I'm not a big fan of Beyonce's acting, but even she kicked it up a notch. But I was really there to see Jennifer Hudson, who I heard was stealing the movie. That was no lie! Her rendition of "And I am telling you I'm not going" would have done Jennifer Holiday proud. Makes you wonder how Hudson didn't win American Idol! For an acting debut, she gave a great performance.
After the movie, I had to explain to Goldie some of the nuances of what had happened, but in order to do that, I first had to explain about the group upon whom the movie and the original play was based - the Supremes. Her reaction? Who were they? I had to start by saying, you remember the actress who plays Joan in "Girlfriends?" Her mother was Diana Ross who Deena Jones (Beyonce's character) was loosely based on. In her opinion, Beyonce was the best, but I had to tell her that in the original play, the person eveyone remembered most was Effie and her hit song.
One thing that was really funny was a point in the movie when Eddie Murphy's character is singing some song that I can't remember. All I could think about was, that sounds awfully familiar - alot like "my girl wants to party all the time, party all the time....." Horrors!
Addendum: Obviously, since I was at the preview of Dreamgirls, I wasn't home to see the finale of ANTM (see post below). I haven't checked the website yet, but was I right? Did Caridee win? I'm going to find out in a minute!
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Michelle raised a good point that the black model in this cycle probably won't win and, more than likely, it's because a similar looking black model won just last cycle. So it's not her "turn."
But could it be that she's just not that great, race notwithstanding? I've watched this reality series from almost day one, and all the episodes of this cycle, and Eugena just doesn't do it for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a huge fan of Caridee's and even less of one for Melrose, but IMO, they have way more personality than Eugena. I can't remember anything she's done that's really made her stand out. My personal choice would have been Anchal, who was gorgeous but, unfortunately, her insecurities allowed the other models to run her off. So, am I a traitor for not rooting for the black model?
And, for that matter, what about the competition going on in the Amazing Race? For the first time in ten seasons of this series, an all female team (the Bama Girls) has made it to the final three. And they're both black! Unfortunately, they aren't really my choice to ultimately win the million bucks. I'll probably root for them because the other two choices are so unpalatable - the crack-head models or the bickering dating couple who yell and scream at each other. But I don't think the Bamas really earned their place in the final three and I'd rather have seen the Cho Brothers take it. The Bamas have never come in first on any leg of the race, and the two times they came in second, it was because another team made a serious mistake. And if it hadn't been for the alliance between them, the Coalminers and the Cho Brothers, they would have been gone long ago. But I always found myself being so disappointed when the episode ended with them just barely bringing up the rear as if they carried the weight of the entire black race on their shoulders. Sigh.
Which brings me to my reaction to the first eliminations on these two shows and Survivor. In ANTM, the first model to go this season was Christian, who was black. The one thing we can be mad about is that this show is very subjective in nature since you have a panel that judges who's got the potential to be a model and, let's face it, race is a big factor. But what about the shows where it's mostly based on skill, knowledge and cunning? The first team to be eliminated on Amazing Race was Bilal and Sa'eed, the black Muslim team. They got to the pitstop last. On Survivor, they did something new this season - they made the initial tribe divisions along racial lines; a black tribe, a white tribe, an Asian tribe and a Hispanic tribe. Guess which tribe lost first and had to vote a member out? But it was because they lost the physical challenge, not because someone possibly targeted them because of race. It's down to 7 people and only one is black, Sundra. And if she doesn't win it's probably because the alliances that others formed preceded her joining them. I'm actually rooting for Yul, the diplomat!
Friday, November 17, 2006
For those of you who asked, or didn't but wondered, this is the latchhook I first used when I started latching my SL's. When I got the latching booklet, I immediately went out to Sally Beauty to find a latchhook. I figured I'd find one there. I wasn't sure this was exactly what I was looking for but I had made a decision that I was going to latch and, as usual, once the decision was made I wanted to get to it ASAP!
First, I started on my daughter. It wasn't because I wanted her to be the guinea pig, but because I'd be able to actually see what I was doing before trying to do my own.
Everything went well, for the most part, but I did have some problems. The latchhook above doesn't look that long (a little over 6 inches) but, in use, I found that it was cumbersome for two main reasons: length and straightness. When holding it and completing the rotations, the hook end was more likely to catch hairs from the neighboring lock that I wasn't working on, or the handle end would butt up against the other side of the locks or, when latching the locks down near the nape of the neck, it would butt into my back or shoulder, so it wasn't comfortable. As to it being straight, as soon as it went through the base of the lock I was working it, it would catch hair from the next lock.
So, being the amateur tinkerer that I am (I'll hack up anything to make it fit my needs!) I experimented with making it more comfortable and easier to use. Besides, it was only $1 and I figured I could get more if I totally messed it up.
One of the first things I did was remove the pink part. It was hollow there anyway. This was better, but still a little too long. Since the handle was plastic, I got a sharp knife, heated it up on the stove and cut off about half of the length of the green part, just below where the metal shaft of the hook was imbedded into the plastic. Better, but still not quite there.
The next thing I did was to slightly bend the metal shaft of the hook end. What this did was allow the hook end to curve up and away from the neighbor lock as I came out of the base of the one I was working on and lessen the chances of catching hairs. Much better, but still not quite. It was still too long and I thought I'd be more comfortable with a handle that wasn't as long or as fat.
Initially, I cut off the entire green part, leaving only the shaft of the metal hook. That didn't work very well because there wasn't anything to grip in order to manipulate the hook through the rotations. Since I had gotten several latchhooks, I got out my trusty knife and sliced off almost another half of the green part. I also cut down the sides of the sides of the green part so it was just enough to grip. The top latchhook in the picture directly above is the modified hook that I currently use to latch my new growth. At about 3 inches, it's comfortable for me and, unlike the Nappylocs tool, I don't lose it if I drop it!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I replied that right now, I'm in love with my Softspike curlers. When I take them out, I get long Shirley Temple curls. I usually leave them intact for up to a week. After that I shake out what's left of the curl and just wear in in a loose curl with some of the hairties I made to keep it off my face. You can see a picture of those curls in the post directly below or in my fotki album. I don't use setting lotion, but I've tried the JML setting lotion (it's ok). Others use Lottabody, which I used when I was relaxed.
My daughter also has 3yo locks. She likes it best when I braid in about 20 sections and then take it out for a crimped look. I use crinkles and curls on hers because it seems hers doesn't hold a curl as long as mine.
I haven't really tried to do up-dos partly beacuse they feel heavy and partly because I can't seem to get it all up in something that looks like a style using only my two hands. I think I need at least one or two more hands to make it look like it wasn't a mistake! Plus, I don't do alot of parting because my crown area is thin. When I'm not feeling like curling, I just leave it straight and pull it back with a tie or pull it up into a high "I Dream of Jeannie" ponytail. This french braid is one hairstyle that I've mastered and can do quickly. Also, this style will last for several days, even if I don't cover it at night!
I'm looking for cute, but easy to do styles. But part of the appeal of SL's is that I can do nothing and still look good! I washed my hair this weekend and, since I'm getting ready to retighten, I didn't curl it. What was unusual was that rather than pulling it back, I just let it flow with no ties or anything, which is something I rarely do because I hate it falling into my face or having to constantly flip it over my shoulder. Stay tuned for more hairstyles.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Since I didn't actually take the retightening course, I'm not saying that the way that I latch my locks is exactly the SL way that they were originated. The Latchin' booklet advises that a 2 point pattern be used. I did follow those directions, but after hearing others talk about "4's" and "reverse 4's," I started using a 4 point circular rotation to maintain my locks. I also know that the Nappylocks tool has instructions for a 6 and 8 point rotation, although I've never actually read those instructions for myself. I also started my daughter's locks myself from 2-strand twists and then retightened using the latchhook instructions.
As I said, I've had my SLs for 6 years now. Other than trimming off the relaxed ends over the first 4 years, I've never cut my actual locks in the back. My best estimate is that the bottom third of the locks is the SL pattern and everything from that point up to the root is from a latching pattern. So, for those of you who are concerned whether there's a discernable difference from one to the other, see for yourself. If you see a difference, or think there'll be a dfference in yours, then take the retightening course and use the SL tool. If you think not, save your money and purchase the latching e-booklet (for about $10-$15) and a latchhook (for about $1) or purchase the Nappylocks tool (for about $15) and the instructions. I don't know how much the instructions cost, but there's also a link to Nappylocks on the side.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Even though my daughter is 12, she still asks that I get her a costume so that we can all go trick-or-treating. I expect it from my son, who's only 9, but I would have thought she would have grown out of it by now. However, she did mention that soon she's going to have to be nicer to her brother because she's going to have to rely on him in future years to share his haul.
My son was a ninja this year. It seems he alternates between that and power rangers. My daughter found a cute geisha costume. The other two girls are sisters who're friends of my daughter's. The one in red with socks stuck to her (she said she was a sock puppet!) also has traditional locks, as does her mother. Even pets were dressed for the day.
Quite a number of people put their carving skills to good use on pumpkins. These weren't your ordinary jack 'o lanterns. One even had a carving of Samuel Adams (from the beer label) on it and it was on the block where they traditionally have treats for the adults (think beer, wine and cheese, and hot and cold dips) as well as candy for the kids. I even found a pumpkin that appeared to have dreadlocks!
We got really luckythis Halloween. The temperature this evening was almost 70 degrees. Perfect for trick-or-treating. There's nothing worse than trying to stuff yourself in a cute costume over enough clothing to keep you warm without having to put a coat on top of it so no one can tell who or what you are. Not to mention that it's too cold to stay out for hours to ensure that you get maximum loot!
But, to tell the truth, I like trick-or-treating because I benefit as much as they do. After we examine all the candy, we sort out the ones that they don't like, they make their trades and I get to keep the ones neither one of them likes. My son doesn't care for chocolates (obviously not a trait he inherited from me), preferring the chewy types like starbursts, skittles and twizzlers. While my daughter likes chocolate and takes all the peppermint patties, 3 musketeers and milky ways, she doesn't like those with nuts. That means I get all the snickers, hershey's with almonds, reese's cups, mr. goodbars and almond joys. I'm licking my fingers as I type!
One of the things I really miss about Halloween is the ritual of ringing a doorbell and yelling "trick-or-treat!" The majority of people who participate sit on their stoops (east coast city word roughly equivalent to a porch) and wait for kids to walk past. Some even leave a lonely bowl of candy from which kids help themselves. It's kind of disappointing, but I guess it does save people from having to get their creaky joints up and down every time the bell rings.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Another thing they're involved in that I encourage is Tae Kwon Do. They've been training for almost 2 years now and they really enjoy it. I was lucky enough to find a community center that offers classes 3 times a week for an amazing price. While I've never participated in other forms of martial arts, I like the principles that TKD tries to instill in young children. It's focused on self-discipline and integrity and, surprisingly, that's it's better to avoid fighting when possible. Having said that, it's also important to know how to defend yourself, when the situation warrants. Classes are all about practicing the various techniques for each belt rank, but several times a year, students have the opportunity to practice what they've learned in friendly competitions, near and far. I say friendly because students are very likely to be competing against another student from their own training hall that they're friends with.
This weekend, my kids participated in a small tournament. The pictures are from the sparring portion of the competition. My son is in the silver head gear and my daughter is in the blue. The sparring is full contact, but the referees are careful to warn the students that contact is not to be overly agressive and students have been disqualified for hitting too hard. As you can imagine, it's a little difficult as a mother to stand there and watch your kid fight, but spectators are allowed to shout encouragement and instructions. As you can also imagine, some parents get a little too excited and there are those who treat this as a kill-or-be-killed street brawl!
My son won a 3rd place medal in the sparring competition (we were late for his portion of the patterns) and my daughter won 2nd place medals for both sparring and patterns. We were all happy with the end result and I'm proud of their dedication. Hopefully, next month they'll get a recommendation for testing to move to the next belt rank.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
coast that summer is not going to make a return visit for several months, is the transition of Six Flags Great Adventure from regular theme park to Fright Fest. The park is draped in cobwebs and ghouls roam the paths. All the shows have a spooky theme.
Since we have season passes we usually go once before the park finally closes for the season. It’s our last opportunity to ride the roller coasters. Unfortunately, we must have picked the wrong day for this visit. The park was beyond crowded. We’re used to having to stand in line for about 45 minutes to an hour for the good rides, but this was ridiculous! The lines for the most popular rides stretched out of the line-up maze and well into the walking areas of the park. The line for the new El Toro roller coaster was easily 3 hours long. Had I paid a regular admission on that day, I’d have been pissed!
Luckily, on our previous visit to the park, we had the opportunity to ride Kingda Ka. Billed as the tallest (456 feet), fastest (128mph in 3.3 seconds) roller coaster in the world, it was quite an experience. The concept is simple, you go straight up, make a hairpin turn and come straight down. I was actually more scared going up than coming down! For those of you who don’t do coasters, this picture’s for you!
Not wanting to waste the entire visit standing in line, the kids and I decided to check out the shows, which we rarely do at other times because we’re riding. The best one was Hypnosteria. A hypnotist called a group of 20 people on stage and then weeded them out based on their susceptibility to hypnotic suggestion. Once he got them under, he gave them all tasks that one would suspect they wouldn’t normally do if fully aware. Parts of it were hilarious! He suggested to one guy that he had his pants on backwards and told him to go behind the curtain and switch them. The guy actually came back with his pants on backwards. And you should have seen the rump shaker contest. Everyone participated and let’s just say that some had a little more to shake than others and did so for all they were worth! Due to the potentially embarrassing nature of the program, no pictures were allowed. I’ve never been hypnotized, but I wonder if I’d be susceptible to it. Have any of you ever been hypnotized?
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Here's the first appearance of my kids on my blog. Enjoy it! You probably won't see them so well dressed for a long while. Their usual uniform is jeans and tees. The occasion for such a grand display was that while I was in AC, they attended the NAACP Gala (that was my babysitter). At least they smiled for the camera. They look like they're having a better time than they told me they did. But what do kids know?
I did my best to put my daughter's hair in flat twists. Earlier in the week, I had set her locks (locked 3+ years now) on SoftSpike curlers for her school pictures, but it rained several days that week. She still has some curl left but it wasn't enough to leave it out completely and still be in keeping with the formality of the affair. Plus, she so hates for me to do much of anything to it, preferring to free-style most of the time. I think it came out rather well. I wish I'd had some shiny clips or beads to anchor the twists - but I really didn't plan ahead for that and had nothing to match.
They so rarely get the opportunity to dress this formally, so I'm glad I have a picture. But I'm going to confess my little secret - I'm a BIG fan of shopping at the thrift store, especially for the kids, who grow out of everything in the blink of an eye, and for occasions like this when they'll only wear an outfit once or twice. My daughter's dress is a Nicole Miller purple velvet (Brunsli - I'll save it for your daughter!) that surprisingly fit her perfectly considering she's a toothpick. Unfortunately, due to her modesty, you can't see the beautiful rhinestone spaghetti straps that hold it up. My son's suit also came from the thrift store and also didn't need alteration. I can't believe how dapper he looks! For the price I paid, you can't beat it. And I know someone's going to ask, so I'll tell you now - the dress cost $4.95 and the suit was $7.95. Champagne taste for beer money!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Overall, it was a good show - when the show was on. Maybe it's just me, but I thought it was an extraordinarily long time between when the doors opened (7pm) and when the show started (almost 9pm). And the amount of time to set up between acts was long too, especially since the first two acts didn't perform for more than 10 or 15 minutes. There were two acts before Floetry - I can't remember the name of the first woman (and unfortunately, she was forgettable anyway) and the second act was a group called Algebra. Never heard of them, but that's not unusual for me. They were pretty good and I was actually looking forward to hearing their last song, but something happened. Suddenly, they just announced they couldn't do their song and said good-bye. As I said, I couldn't have told you beforehand what songs Floetry sings, but when they started playing, I was actualy able to identify two of them! They put on a great show and had everyone up and dancing.
Of course I had to take a picture, so this is us in front of the House of Blues. I decided to go with leather pants, the first pair I've ever owned. However, I kept thinking of Eddie Murphy thanks to my DH's comment!
Now what would a trip to AC be without a stop in the casino? I'm not gonna lie, I have absolutely no interest in losing any money, but we did put in a quarter and cross our fingers. Guess what??!! We lost a quarter. We got this one picture before security came and told us we couldn't take any pictures on the casino floor. Guess they thought we'd use it to somehow rig the slots.
Friday, October 13, 2006
As you can see, my links and other stuff isn't fully developed, but I'm working on it. Let's just say that I'm not the most computer literate person. Some things are intuitive, but for others - I just stare at the screen, clicking my mouse and asking myself "what the hell does this mean. English, please!" But all of you are so wonderfully helpful, I know I can count on the more experienced bloggers to help me along.