Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Try Again Twist-Out


I am finally getting to the point where I can have a decent twist-out. When I was transitioning, I was so excited about cutting off my relaxed ends so I could do one of those pretty twist-outs I always saw everyone on YouTube doing. I went natural in September of 2010 and I did my BC in February of 2011. And I tried the twist-out only to have it fail. One of the problems is that the shorter your hair, the smaller the twists need to be. But that I could deal with. What I couldn’t deal with were the ends of my hair that still seemed to be straight. Originally, I attributed this to the heat I had used while transitioning so I decided I would table the twist-out issue until my hair was longer and I could get a trim without sacrificing so much length. I didn’t have much at that point to work with.

At least that was the original thought. It wasn’t long before I took some scissors to the top part of my head hoping to do away with the strightees. No luck. The top of my head grows hair that is much looser in curl, so loose that some of it will not lock in when setting a twist. The ends just kind stick out and threaten to unravel at any moment. No amount gel keeps it locked.

So, fast forward a few months. I have some length now and I’m still determined to get a good twist-out. The flat twist has become my setting style of choice because of my looser curls, but I do love the look of the twist-out. Recently I met Chai of Back to Curly and immediately fell in love with her twist out. Her hair is much, much longer than mine, but it inspired me to give it another try. So, I did.

I started with freshly washed hair and set it using a cheap but good styling creme (more on products in future posts). I used smallish twists to discourage the unraveling, but let me show you what I ended up with.IMAG0282copy-2011-10-30-12-41.jpg IMAG0284copy-2011-10-30-12-41.jpg IMAG0288-2011-10-30-12-41.jpg

The twists on one side of my head curl on to themselves perfectly, giving me a nice little spiral action at the end of each twist. The other side has twists that seem to be barely hanging together and just loosely stick. But my determination won out and I ended up with a very pretty twist-out. As you can see from the first picture, I styled it the first day with my top pinned back to mask my straighter ends. I was afraid they would become a frizzy mess by the end of the day.

That night, I reset my twists dry and put a little styling creme on the ends to seal them up. This is the day 2 hair.


It was cute, but not exactly what I wanted. That night (last night actually), I reset them by spraying a little water/conditioner mix on the hair and then sealing the ends with the styling creme. Much better results.


So, thank you Chai for the inspiration to try again. The twist- out and I have now made peace and although I still have a looser curl pattern in the top to contend with, I am loving the results. Natural hair is all about trial and error. You can’t give up. Sometimes you just need to walk away and try again later.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why You Should Use Twitter At Your Next Conference

Prior to the Blogalicious 2011 conference, I had not used Twitter since February 2010! Since I love technology, I had kept up with the Twitter news and I know how Twitter was being used for news sharing and celebrity misconduct, but Twitter’s practicality in my life had shown itself to be rather limited. Enter the world of Blogalicious and everything changed. At the start of the conference we were given the hash tag established for the event (#blogalicious11).

I ignored the request for a little while until someone at my table started commenting about something she had just read in the twitter feed. It piqued my interest enough that I thought I should at least give it a glance. Lucky for me, my computer remembered my twitter handle and password. And then I remembered one of the reasons I am not a big twitter user. The twitter website is not the most usable site out there. So, I downloaded Tweetdeck, set up a column to follow the conference has tag and I was on my way.

It wasn’t long before I started to see the value of using twitter during this conference.

        ❑        Build Enthusiasm. Past conference attendees were tweeting about how excited they were to see each other again. New attendees were tweeting about what they were hoping to learn. Some were tweeting of their anticipation as they waited to get off the plane or waiting for the taxi to at least move another five feet so they could feel they were getting closer. Everyone was buzzing and the buzz was contagious.

        ❑        Run Contests. Want to give away copies of your book, a cell phone, a new line of products? Encourage attendees to use your own hashtag and gain much needed buzz among conference attendees and the twitter-verse at large. Win, win all around.

        ❑        Get content from sessions you were not able to attend. What do you do when the session on writing a great pitch is held at the same time as the session on creating kick-ass content? Just pick one and use the tweet stream to gain information from the session you couldn’t attend. You don’t get the full impact but you definitely don’t loose out completely.

        ❑        Share notes. In sessions where so much information is flowing, it is easy to miss something. Wait a few seconds and someone in the room will tweet what you missed. No need to interrupt the presenters asking them to repeat content. The Twitter-verse has you covered.

        ❑        Virtual Lost & Found. We all loose things. It’s inevitable. What better way to let technologically savvy people know they lost something than through a tweet? But that goes the other way as well. I remember seeing tweets from an attendee that managed to hold on to her computer but not her cell phone. A few tweets and she was soon reunited with her lost lifeline.

        ❑        Make contacts. With 300+ attendees, there was no way to make rounds and meet everyone. Did I mention that I’m actually quite a shy person. While it is not common for me to walk up to a stranger and say hello, I was comfortable responding to someone’s tweet and letting that serve as the introduction that would push me into making a real life contact. Don’t forget, everyone attending these conferences are not as outgoing as you would think.

        ❑        Organize side gatherings. Cocktails, impromptu book signings, swag swaps, etc. There were so many things going on, no one could ever get bored or lonely at this conference.

How do you use Twitter at your conferences? Do you find it useful or a distraction?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sometimes You Just Need to Dance

Even though my fiancĂ© and I are 19 years apart, there is one thing that we share that is very important to me. Our love for music and thank God that we actually have similar tastes. My vast music collection has always served as bit of a litmus test in my relationships. Even most of my friends give me strange looks at the selections that pop up on my shuffled playlist. I could be listening to anything from Michael Jackson to Mahalia Jackson to Snow Patrol to Darius Rucker (pre and post country), all in one sitting. I’m a very eclectic girl and my music collection reflects this with every press of the play button. I may have even lost out on a few dates after disclosing my love of country or classical music. Yo Yo Ma and Esperanza Spalding make my skin crawl in such a good way!

So, it was no surprise that I would cringe at the idea of our first 10 hour road trip together. I just knew he would look at me with that same weird look that others before had given me. But to my surprise, he loved song after song after song. He fell in love with Snow Patrol and affectionally refers to them as “Snow Ball”. The documentary, Thundersoul, was shown during the Blogalicious 2011 conference and I immediately fell in love with the music. It didn’t take me long to download three of the albums and play it for my honey. Of course he would love it. This was the music of his childhood! We had such a great time dancing in our small apartment, sharing what I now consider to be one of our great memories.

And all of this is on my mind because we are in the car, driving to our second marriage counseling session. Our homework was to make sure we shared one activity a week for the month between our sessions. Dancing around in our apartment was such a simple activity to share, but it sure was special to me.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October #13--Before You Forget! Seven Things to Note After Attending a Conference

After returning from Blogalicious 2011, I started thinking about everything that I had absorbed and ideas that were starting to bubble up in my brain. I had notepads and word files and business cards and it all needed to be consolidated in one place before I could forget it all. I made a list of the categories of information I needed to capture and jumped right into organizing and documenting it all.


        ✓        Notable Quotes/Tips--These are all the little tidbits that I picked up in the general sessions, breakout sessions or side conversations. This is a list of things that others are doing or engaging in. Even if there are actions or philosophies that I wouldn’t follow, I still note them for inspiration potential.

        ✓        People to Follow/Comment to--These are all the presenters and attendees who I received business cards from during the conference. The best way to continue to gain inspiration over the coming months/years is to follow the web presence of these people. Not to mention, following them and providing comments/feedback could prompt them to follow me in return.

        ✓        People to Contact Directly--These are direct contacts that I need to make on a more personal basis. If someone suggested I contact them for writing or product review opportunities, they are noted here and become a priority on my to-do list.

        ✓        References--During many of the presentations and conversations, there were so many times when someone said “Oh, you should check this out.” This is the list for those items. These are longer-term items/resources to research and/or follow.

        ✓        Ideas Inspired--There is nothing better for inspiring ideas in you than to listen to people who themselves have done interesting things. These could be direct recommendations or unique spins to what I heard.

        ✓        Next Steps--Reviewing the ideas and resources and quotes/tips will lead to some solid, tangible steps of what I need to do next. This is the section for that. This is not a wish list, but an action list. I will take it one step further and actually put target dates to these steps.

        ✓        Refinements--Maybe the tips/information I received prompted me to think more conceptually about things I am already doing. Making refinements to existing endeavors can take a little more thought and planning. These should be noted and considered here.

Attending a great conference is just the beginning. Make you first “Next Step” taking a little time to complete your conference recap notes.


October #12--Conference Recap

Conference Recap by aldorris105
Conference Recap, a photo by aldorris105 on Flickr.
There were so many great tips and ideas that came out of the Blogalicious 11 conference. I'm taking the time now to type them all up in my Google Docs for a inspirational reference that I will use to improve my online presence over the next year (until the next conference).

I will be sharing the gems of what I learned and doing some product reviews from the amazing swag that we received. Stay tuned. We have a lot to talk about.

The month is almost over. Are you ready for Nanowrimo and NaBloPoMo?

Friday, October 21, 2011

October #11--Progress

The month is almost over, but I have made quite a bit of progress in my goal to make 36 posts this month. And it will continue. Progress seems to be the ongoing theme for this next phase of my life. Everyone that knows me knows how much I like to be on top of things. This is not always so easy to do when you feel like a fish out of water. I don’t feel as prepared as I would like to be. I don’t feel as confident as I usually would. But through it all, I am making progress.

You will continue to see progress from me as I head into the crazy month of November. I will be doing Nanowrimo again. I am very excited going into this year. I have a fantastic idea that came to me one day in the shower. Over the next week, I will be rough outlining. I am also doing National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) this year. This is going to be a big push. Posting everyday is a challenge. I am constantly amazed at the blogs in my RSS reader that post up to 3 or 4 times a day! I will be outlining for this as well and using the technology in front of me to prepare. It’s not about being perfect. It’s all about making progress.

I am looking forward to hearing about the progress you are making in your life.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October #10--Blogalicious 2011--Swag Bag

I must go rest up for tomorrow, but I have to share. I am attending Blogalicious Weekend and it is off to a great start. This is the swag bag we were given at registration and I couldn't wait to get home to see what was weighing it down so much!

So, all of this came out of that bag. I still can't believe all it held.

-Que Rica Vida canvas bag
-single serving Honey Nut Cheerios
-3 books (The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate, Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, Simply Done. Well Done by Aaron McCargo, Jr.)
-French Roast Coffee
-plastic water bottle (clear) with filter
-plastic water bottle (red) filled with sample of OTC medicines
-reusable, foldable water bottle
-metal bag hanger
-2 CoverGirl lipsticks
-other OTC medicine samples
-clear plastic business card portfolio
-Lots and lots of coupons for products and National Harbor vendors
-paper napkins from Wine Sisterhood
-ink pen
-Shea and Cocoa Butter baby oil
-3 pair-pack Hanes low cut socks
-1 pair Susan G. Komen socks
-Motions Light Hold hair spritz
-milk protein and olive oil deep conditioning treatment
-2 Oats N Honey Nature Valley energy bars

That is a lot!!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October #9--Why It's So Easy To Walk Away

This is another one of my favorite YouTube channels. I love the platform that YouTube has given to artist and poets. And it’s amazing the art they are choosing to share with all of us.

Beautiful E Human

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October #8--YouTube Favorites

After deciding that I was finally going to go natural, I started looking around on-line for resources that could help. Google can lead you to anything!
YouTube was the answer I was looking for. Before this particular search, I was not a big fan of YouTube. I didn’t see the point. Every time I saw a YouTube video talked about, it was something stupid that I had no interest in seeing. The medium just didn’t seem like something I was interested in.

But the search for help on natural hair care changed all of that for me and now I’m finding all kinds of lovely things to watch and be amazed at. I just checked my own channel information and I am up 229 subscriptions!!! I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. But these are a few of my favorites.

Natural Hair Care
Her Best Hair

Wireless Zone

Whitney Sews
Marcelle’s Creative Crochet

These are just a few and definitely not the full list of my favorites. I think I will start to do regular post giving shootouts to my favorites because they are so great. This applies to the many, many, many blogs that I have streaming daily into my RSS reader.

More to come on my media obsessions.

October #7--Natural Hair and Me


Last year, I decided I was getting a little sick of my hair and decided I needed a change. While my hair was quite cute and suited me well, it wasn’t very strong. Since my mid twenties, my hair texture has changed. I no longer have the strong, do anything and I still maintain the curl kind of hair. It had gotten to the point where all I could do was primarily wrap it and hope that by the end of the day it didn’t look like a stringy mess. I don’t know what happened, but I couldn’t hold a curl anymore.

I sought out the help of a stylist and she really helped me in keeping my hair well maintained. Unfortunately, it did nothing for my ability to hold curl. But, my hair was looking the best it had in years and I was thrilled. She was also a very good colorist and I loved, loved, loved the pretty streaks I had below.


By the good times didn’t last. I started traveling more for work and my hair at the crown started to break off. It was a mess. I was still able to style it to be cute, but the possibilities were definitely diminished. My hair could no longer stand up to being relaxed and colored.

So, a year ago I decided not to chemically process my hair anymore. My last perm was in September 2011 and my last color was in November 2011. While I can say I will never perm (relax) again, I am dying to put some color into my hair. Right now, I do a henna treatment every 6 weeks or so and that gives me a nice, deep red with my grays showing up as copper highlights.


I have been trying different products over the last year and I’m just about settled on a core staple of products, but we’ll see. I think you have to be natural for at least two years before you truly know what will work for you. Last winter I was transitioning so I don’t know what products will keep me moisturized and healthy in the cold just yet. And next summer, I will be dealing with longer hair so who knows how the heat will truly affect me then.

I’m taking it day by day and hairstyle by hairstyle, but at the end of the day, I do love my natural hair and I’m so happy I stopped with the chemical straighteners.

October #6--I am the Girl that Loves a Good Storm

Storm clouds by aldorris105
Storm clouds, a photo by aldorris105 on Flickr.
I really do need a camera that can capture the world as I see it. Most times my cell phone camera is very good, but when needing to capture the storms rain.

A very hard rain fell the other night and it was so great just to sit on the patio and take it all in. I love rainy days and I quite enjoyed this little storm. The photo didn't capture everything, but I do love the warm look of it. I really do love this neighborhood. It's nothing like being back home but its a nice (temporary) substitute.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October #5--Catching up

Catching up by aldorris105
Catching up, a photo by aldorris105 on Flickr.
When I look at the lanscape of my life and assess the clutter that has accumulated, most of that clutter turns out to be paper related.

I'm terrible about going through my mail. I had a stack of magazines, professional and otherwise, that I needed to go through and read/purge. I flipped through quickly and yanked out the articles I wanted to read later and the rest is on it's way to the recycle bin.

Next up is the rest of the mail. I have about 3 months to go through. I'm a terrible procrastinator, but I'm able to do this because all of my regular bills are on automatic payment directly out of my checking account. I do get tripped up when I use a credit card. I don't use them often and I tend to forget that I used it and need to watch out for the bill. I must improve on that. As much as I detest the credit industry, I still do need to maintain good credit for any future large purchases, like real estate.

So, this is the call to you to join me in clearing some of the clutter of your life. How much mail do you have laying around waiting to get your attention?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October #4--Upgrading

I just spent several days updating to iOS Lion. I’m checking all of my programs (applications for you younger folk) to see if they still work. I’m happy to say that my blogging program (MacJournal) is still working. There are a couple of form factor differences but I’m still waiting to see what the big advantages are.

I would love to hear from you Apple users out there to see what you think.

BTW, it took me so long to upgrade because the program requires much more hard drive space for download than advertised. Downloaders beware.

October #3--Lazy Sunday

I’m just sitting here enjoying and wasting away my Sunday afternoon when I start to think about all the things I should be doing. Instead of watching the last episode of Project Runway on the DVR, I should be catching up on work or sewing or finishing the shrug I am crocheting for my grandma. If nothing else, I SHOULD BE WRITING. I had a couple of hiccups this week in my professional life and it has me a little miffed about what is to come next. And that in turn is zapping away all of my creativity.

For the past year and a half, my life has been moving along and I’m not quite keeping up. I am quite uneasy when there is too much change in my life. It’s been so difficult for me to put into words but in church today, the pastor did just that for me. He spoke of the storms that rage in our lives that we don’t quite deal with. BUT, we concentrate so much on the external storms of our lives that we forget to speak peace to the internal storms that rage within us. The external storms come and go but those internal storms stick with us long term and really impact us so much.

Yes, I am in a uncomfortable position right now, but that is an external storm that will pass. More than anything I need to deal with the internal storm that causes me to be so uncomfortable. Not to mention I have some other internal storms that need speaking to, but those are hurricanes for another day in time.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October #2--I Have a Problem

I Have a Problem by aldorris105
I Have a Problem, a photo by aldorris105 on Flickr.
Since I tend to post more to Flickr than anything, I decided to port some of what I've been posting over to my blog. This is the picture I took after cleaning my purse of all the pens/pencils and whatnots. This is what I have.

11 blue pens
8 black pens
1 Livescribe pen with refills
1 multi-color pen with 2 refils
6 colored pens (2 of which are blue)
3 Sharpie/Mark it
3 highlighers
1 stick eraser
2 fountain pens
3 wood pencils
2 mechanical pencils

I pared down a bit but most of them went right back into my purse with the addition of a red pen. And now that I think of it, I didn't need the red because I had the multi-click pen thingy. I don't use that often so I forget all about it so often.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October #1--Hello Again

Sometimes the best laid plans just don’t work out. And honestly I shouldn’t say that considering it was just a thought and not exactly a plan. Leading up to this month, I kept thinking the best way to get myself ready for the hustle of Nanowrimo was to get writing on my blog during the month of October.

So, in my head I made the “plan” to write a blog post for each day of the month. Even though the word count would be much less than the daily goal for Nano, it would still get me accustomed to sitting down and putting thoughts to paper on a daily basis. Well, the first of the month has gotten away from me already.

Today, the 2nd of October starts my Nano readiness effort. Since I missed the first day, I am not going to bother with trying to post daily. What I will do instead is set a goal of writing at least one post for each of my years of life. I celebrated my 36th birthday in September. I am a strong believer that every birthday should be celebrated. I love getting older. I love the new things and new places and new people I am able to experience each year I am here and I love where I see my future years taking me. I have never been sad about a birthday and I am definitely not going to start now.

I have been away from this blog for months for a number of reasons, but it all comes down to me letting life take away those things that I love so much. I started this blog to get myself used to letting others read what I have written and what I am thinking. There is not much point to writing in journals for years and years, not knowing if your point of view resonates with anyone. But I have let myself down and I have let you down (those of you who are still around). But here I am, shouting to the world that I have something to say and this is my journey into getting those words out into the world.

I hope you all are still with me and I hope I can welcome new friends to my blog. More than anything, I am just saying hello again to the girl that wants to write her own world.