Beautiful in Every Shade!

For years my hair has consumed me. Even before I started my natural hair journey, 2 years ago.. . 2 years has it really been that long?!

I would think about how I could make my hair straighter, more like my friends, why didn’t my hair curl like theirs , why didn’t it grow like theirs? Then I would cut it every month or so, getting shorter and shorter, going red, pink, purple then black, a light brown and then back to red, my hair was my obsession, or my hobby as some might say.

Finally I cut it all off, shaved my head and decided to start fresh, now that wasn’t the beginning of my natural hair journey because over the course of the next year I only lasted with a TWA for about 3 months before I relaxed my hair and had an ultra cute pixie. . no the start of my natural hair journey started about a year later. I simply decided I wasn’t going to relax or cut my hair for 2 months that seemed reasonable at the time.

Then 2 months came and went and I decided to go for 6 months, and then in that 6 months I got engaged and decided I wasn’t going to relax or cut my hair till the wedding. (I did trim off the relaxed ends from time to time after about 10 months)

All in all I transitioned for 17 months before cutting almost all of my relaxed ends off. In this time I learned one of the most valuable lessons I have yet to learn in my 24 years. . . BLACK HAIR IS BEAUTIFUL, JUST THE WAY IT IS!

I grew up in an all white town, in an all white family, with all white friends . I loved their hair, to me it screamed versatile, where my hair screamed messy. My mom wouldn’t let me relax my hair until I was 18 but she had no idea what to do with my hair so it was most often in a poof on top of my head. ( A poof I now wish I could pull off again) and that is what I thought natural hair meant, that you were constrained to having an afro (which my younger self was not confident enough to pull off) or wearing your hair up. In a now infamous school picture I took my hair down without telling m mom right before the picture and ended up with a kind of sticking out straight from my head not down and not cute look. All I wanted was to wear my hair down and not up.. my hair loved to reach for the sky!

But over these past two years I discovered more styles for my hair than I ever I wore it in twists, braids, wash and gos, twist outs, I wore it up, down, in a protective style, I changed my hair style and color about every 2 months without damaging a thing and I LOVED IT!. I finally found a way to express myself through my hair . . .all by wearing “Black” styles.

Along the way there was a boy, my now husband who has repeatedly told me how beautiful my black is, he has loved every style every change every kink. He has reminded me over and over again that I am beautiful just the way I am. I tell him all the time that . . .”He loves my hair, , and for that I love him.”

Now I am off to a new journey I have decided to loc my hair in 2016, I started my baby locks on my collar bone length hair and trimmed the ends to start healthy. Time to remind the world again that no matter what natural or relaxed hairstyle I or anyone else chooses, we are professional, we are intelligent, we are beautiful and no standard of professionalism can stop that, it is time to change the standard.

Because no matter what, you are Beautiful in every shade.

 

Welcome to 2016.

❤ Kelsi Rae

 

 

 

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Length Check Lifestyle

So it has officially been 16 months since my last relaxer, and 14 since my last real hair cut, I have since trimmed off most of my relaxed ends, but that was done at home too. Since becoming a DIY’er I forgot how much I love to have someone else do my hair. So this week with the last of my birthday money, I splurged, I went out and go a conditioning treatment and style from a hair salon. Now while I cannot see myself spending that kind of money for something I can do at home often it sure was nice to have someone else deal with my hair for awhile.

So here is the update . .

5/9/15
5/9/15

We are getting somewhere,  I started using my tattoo as a measurement months ago and I finally covered the second star on my tattoo a major accomplishment, 15 months ago I was just about neck length and so when I start to think I am not making progress I look back and make myself see the progress

IMG_1517My bra is covering the second star in the 1st picture but that is probably a good 2 and a 1/2 inches of growth in order to cover it.

This week it reminded me how much I love the versatility of my natural hair, it can go from this

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To this

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In well with some hardship and 4 hours of straightening. . . ( or only 1 and a half by a professional)

This week has made me the most happy that I made the decision to go natural, when the hairdresser said. . your hair is really healthy! She didn’t make any comments about my “self cut” and she wanted to know all about my DIY braids and protective styles.

Before starting this journey everytime I would go to the hair salon they would comment on the damage of my hair or the uneven ends or something. . I was expecting the uneven ends comment since I have been freely chopping off my straight locks for a few months now, but no she was impressed with the state of my hair, she could tell it hadn’t been cut in a while but that was the only comment she made.

So onward and upward we go, as the fro continues to grow where it will stop, we never know. ..

❤ Kelsi Rae

Photo Friday. . . Crochet Braids edition

So let me start off by saying I love crochet braids, they are quick and so much fun! This is my third instal and my love for them grows every time. The first time I installed them was with Marley Hair and while this look is wonderful on so many of my favorite youtube vixons, it was a hot mess on me. First I looked like a straight up lionness, not in a good way and then after many trials and even more errors if that is possible I got it to be manageable for a couple of weeks. . . but after so much boiling and curling and straightening the hair felt corse and hard so they didn’t last long.

Then I have done two installs with this hair, Bobbi Boss Deep Pony curls and i love it! This hair is light and mangeable and the whole process from start to finish only took me 3 hours! BOOM!

IMG_1321So soem differences with this instal, I no longer have a roommate to do my cornrows for me and I still have not mastered them on myself, so I did this install on two strand flat twists. I did a slightly different braid pattern for the bang area but mostly just 10-12 braids straight back will do ya.

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My part. .. need I say more? I am pretty happy with this part, my only concern with my last instal was that my part began to separate and looking back on pictures when I had them I was concerned with the look of the part, but overall I like it

FullSizeRender And then there they are, 3 hours on a Thursday night later and I have beautiful bouncy curls! AndI love them! This was one of the styles that I loved all the way untill I removed them andI would have kept them longer if my hair allowed. So hear is to hoping i Love them as much this time!

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This picture is clearly from before I did the instal but I love it! My shirt is from the talent show I did at my school this week, I think I will dedicate a “Proud Teacher” post to it, but for now #Roman’sArmy!

❤ Kelsi Rae

Wash and Going Strong!

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From top to bottom, left to right.

1) Sunday, Day 1 hair. I was rocking this hard core

2) Monday, Day 2 It had grown a little bit

3) Wednesday Day 4. What my hair is still down?

4) Friday Day 5; Rocking a puff!

This week was a hair week to end all weeks!

I did a wash and go which I used to be the Queen of in High School, but haven’t rocked since long before I started my transition. But at 14 months post relaxer I thought I would give it a try, and boy am I glad I did. I got more compliments on my hair in this week than I can ever remember.

So many people said, ‘girl I know you love to change your hair but this way is my favorite.” . .What your favorite? This big hair that just grows out of my head is your favorite?

I couldn’t believe it  I had spent so much time so many years trying to hide my natural texture, I can remember living with my best friends in college and even as roommates I think it was months before they saw my hair before it was done. . .and this is when it was relaxed!

So now 14 months into my transition that has shown me more sides of my hair than I have ever known, to hear that people think my natural hair is beautiful is so amazing to me!

I think wash and go’s will become a solid part of my routine, now I just have to remember that I need to moisturize even on the days I don’t want to mess up my hair.

I love the ease of a wash and go, I loved applying my favorite leave ins and a little twisted sister 30 second curl spray throughout the week and being ready to go.

My hair is officially long enough to survive the famous pineapple method!! SCORE!

I love my hair.. and I love my curls, but not going to lie I still REALLY love when I straighten my hair as well  . . some things never change.

❤ Kelsi Rae

Photo Funday!

Today is all about the pictures of my hair. . I love when I have a good hair week and I want to show it off.

So I had two goals since January, not to straighten my hair until after my birthday my birthday was Tuesday and I made that goal. The second goal was to leave a protective style in for all of March. . well that fell quite short. I took it out after a week and a half. But you know 50%! But here is my week in review. . I blow dried my hair with cool air this week for a stretched “large” look as a I call it.

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This is my current love. . my ever growing bun. this time is was too big to fit in the picture. . .

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This is about the point I remembered why I don’t blow dry my hair. . my arms were tired, I was an hour in, my hair was still way to wet. And I wasn’t even half way done.

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And there is the a la “large” hair!

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Then I decided to rock the high school look for awhile! Given in high school my hair was 100% natural and I rarely blowdried my hair, but I rocked an afro puff, before I even knew the name about 90% of my high school career.

This is the hair do that lead to an infant and more recently my grown fiancé trying to nap on my hair.. .

I must say it is very comfortable!

SO that is my week. Even with the living large lifestyle i have had going on I am very happy with it.I love my buns and have been wearing one most days to keep my hair off my shoulders. Now that I am officially arm pit length I am trying to keep my hair up at work as much as possible in order to reach bra strap length by my wedding!

Length retention is the name of the game!

❤ Kelsi Rae

Hello March, please be damn beautiful!

February has been especially hellish for me! Denver has had record breaking snowfall and I hate the cold! I have been finishing the third quarter of my grad program and it seems to be especially terrible! Last week I had 4 papers due in 4 days. It is also hiring season for the public schools for next year! Luckily I was able to get a job quickly but to add insult to injury from everything else now everyone else gets upset because they have not secured a job for next year yet! So please please God le March be beautiful!

It is March, which means my birthday is in 6 days, I will be 24 years old! What is exciting about 24? I can’t think of a damn thing, except that I have landed my dream job and that I am getting married! These all seem like very adult things to be excited about don’t they?

Well welcome to March, I decided to do a protective style for March, my hair has been whispering at me to big chop or mini big chop, and I just can’t get myself to do it so away the hair went. I went with box braids for this month! They are medium length I like them well enough I hope that will be able to keep them in until the beginning of April, I plan to take them down and reevaluate cutting my hair over spring break, which is the first week of April!

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I ended up cutting some of the length off of the ends because they were just too heavy, now they are choppy and uneven and I think I like it even better that way.

Yesterday, one of my students was having a rough day with behavior! By rough I mean I had to pick him up from the office for group time, he was crying and had apparently pushed another student. This particular student happens to just own my heart! He is one of the 5 black boys at are school and he is one of the 3 that are continually fighting off the Affective Needs center ( which serves students with severe emotional disabilities) There is a high disproportionally to the number of black boys in these programs and I am doing everything I can to make sure this student is not wrongly labeled.

So yesterday he enters my group and asks to look up George Washington, Beethoven, Mozart, Abraham Lincoln and finally George Washington Carver. Now the first 4 I could understand, all fairly well known names in history. But George Washington Carver stumped me. why did my 3rd grade student even know his name, let alone want to look him up. So together we started dong some research, and we cam across this image

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Where there is no vision there is no hope. Now this was a big statement for this student, but we broke it down into student friendly language. We made a deal that whenever he was having a rough day, he would remember to look towards the future, have vision for himself, and that would bring him hope to change whatever is happening. I printed out the image and hung it above my desk. Whenever he is having a hard time he can come in and remember to have hope!

We had to check back in with the principle after group, when she asked him how he was going to turn around his day he turned to her and said, “No Vision, No Hope.”

I don’t think I have ever been more proud!

This is why he owns my heart.

So I had to remind myself, that even though February has been especially hellish, March is here, and spring is coming! I have to look to Mr. Carver and remember. “No Vision, No Hope.”

❤ Kelsi Rae

My hair has a mind of its own.

Before we begin, I got my engagement pictures back . .. I will share  one ff my favorites, as a sneak peak!  🙂 IMG_0251-1

So there I was going along loving my crochet braids when I made the terrible decision of passing out after a party with my hair all a mess. I woke up the next morning to a big mat of hair and a few strands falling out. My hair had been braided for two months at this point and the new growth was definitely starting to show ,the ends of my braids at my nap had began to come out leaving some natural hair exposed that was beginning to tangle. So as a result on Saturday morning, after our Hannukah party, before our Christmas party that night, there I was taking down my hair at 10 am.

I had looked up the methods for taking down crochet braids but in my precarious state of my braids I was not comfortable taking scissors near my head. So I simply began taking the braids out from the base hoping the braid hair would fall out as I went. For the most part this was successful but there was some left over holding on even when all the braids were gone. I just jumped in the shower to remove the rest of the hair. After 2 months of only being washed in braids my hair loved the shower. I used shampoo, which I normally don’t because there was some serious build up from the moisturizer I had been applying and then conditioned and deep conditioned.

I t-shirt dried for 30 minutes and then began the detangling process. . the few tangles I mentioned earlier, turned out to be a full on dread at this point and even with soaking them in moisturizer it was difficult to remove. But  successfully detangled my hair in around 45 minutes and placed it in multiple twists as I went to keep it separated.

After this much time in braids I was curious to see my new growth. .. or lack there of( but hopefully not) So I blew out and straightened my hair. I tried blow drying my hair in the twists I used to dentagle my hair and the results we a mixed bag. I feel that in the future I will be able to do this successfully and achieve a nice curled look but for the purposes today I am not sold.But then I went to work straightening my hair, I applied tresseme heat protectant as I went. I have not had this much natural hair in probably 6 years and I forgot what a project it is to straighten. I did not give myself enough time before I had to be somewhere so it was a half assed straightening job but it did the trick.

Length Check time. . conveniently I was wearing the same bra as I was in my August length check so it is easier to see the difference. . there is growth, slowly but surely progress is happening, and that is all I can ask right?

I will leave you with some pictures, From top to bottom, Length Check – 8-10-14, Length Check 12-13-14, bang check 12-13-14. Christmas party selfie!

Length 8-10-14
 August Length 8-10-14
12/13/14
December  12/
Christmas Party
Christmas Party

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again . . . my new favorite style is . . .

IMG_0090 Still crochet braids. . . just with a new curl pattern.

I lasted 3 weeks with the marley hair, but the hair was becoming to matted and just couldnt last any longer.

The final straw was when my boyfriend turned to look at me and instead of his normal “you are beautiful you know that” he said, ” your hair is getting really dread like, like right here is a big clump.” So well up went my hair and off I went to the beauty supply the next day.

While at the beauty supply I just stood in the aisle for probably 20 minutes just staring at the different curl patterns trying to decide do I want stick to what I know, do I want them to be straight or curly or should I go back to twists. After deliberate thought process for about 20 minutes I grabbed one I hadn’t even really considered, Bobbi Boss Deep Pony curl pattern hair in a number 4. And off I went. I got home and installed the hair, it took about 3 hours to remove wash, and re do my hair so overall I would say that is pretty good. Once I was finished I was so happy I went with the rash decision. I love this hair.

It is light and bouncy, I only used about 1 and half packs of hair and it seems to be working great. I love the part line it appears less drastic than with the marley hair and this hair blends with my hair much better.

IMG_0085 While you can still see a few of the knots where I did the crochet pattern in the right direction overall I am super pleased with it.

We will see how long this lasts. . .

This is definetly on the list for my #engagmentphotos though. I am hoping this feeling will last until December 6th.

More updates later.

Tata for now

Love your do and Grow that fro

❤ Kelsi Rae

Revitalize and Refresh . . . Oh and take care of those nasty tangles!

So I have had my crochet braids in for about two weeks now, and for the most part I have been loving them. I still haven’t changed my routine of wearing my hair in a low bun everyday but, when I wake up I can shake my hair and go. And it has maintained the straight look since I blow dried it so over all I am happy with the hair. However it definitely gets some pretty bad tangles. So yesterday I took the time to comb it out. So I applied some detangler and she butter moisturizer and started by finger combing the tangles and even just snipping some out with my good ole scissors. I was pretty liberal with the scissors because really  I have TOO much hair on my head right now! I did not realize how much volume this hair would have when I first installed it. So I finger combed, snipped and then took my wide tooth comb and started at the bottom and worked up! In the end I applied more moisturizer and put my hair into 6 two strand twists, twisted them up and put those six in two buns. IMG_0052 IMG_0053

I then went to boxing class like this and went and watched the walking dead with friends, before I went to sleep I made the two buns into one and was ready to go. Then in the morning all I did was take this twists down and my hair was ready to go. It had a slight curl but still maintained the blow out look I wanted. It didn’t gain all of the volume back which is good for me since I was not rocking that volume while I was teaching. I even liked it so much I left my hair down for the day.

IMG_0056 I was worried the tangles would cause me to take this style down before I want to. I hope to keep this style for about 4 weeks at least. So at 2 weeks I think I can do it.

If you have any tips for maintaining this crochet braids style let me know!

I hope you are having a wonderful week

Love your do and Grow that Fro

❤ Kelsi Rae

Do whatever you want. . . Oh I did

The Journey from this. . . IMG_0006

to this. . . IMG_0020

So I had decided I wanted crochet braids. so I came home and my roommate braided my hair, in simple cornrows straight back, we connected the two center braids about halfway back so that I could wear a side part of down the middle. So then I took my Marley hair and began installing it, this was a fairly easy process once I began, probably the most simple protective style that I have tried yet. And since I have no previous hair experience and YouTube is my instructor, simple is good.

However I did not realize that with this type of hair less is definitely more and I ended up being too generous with the hair throughout my head. . I ended up only using about 2 packs of hair, but I think that 1 to 1 and half packs should be my limit in the future. I loved the texture of the hair but was not a fan of the pure fact that it was HUGE! I couldnt even get it all in my hand to put it up, and since this took be till way past my bedtime to complete ( in total I think it still only took 3 hours, braids included) I wore my hair all pinned up around my head the next day to teaching. So back to the drawing board, aka YouTube I went, how can I control these tresses?? The answer I seemed to get was to curl it. . . so when I got home I set back to work .

I did a combination of styles of curlers and curled all of this hair and then dipped them in boiling water to “seal” the hair.. . this must be a process I am doing wrong because with both my sengalese twists and this style I havent’ been able to do it. . . the result came out like this. . . IMG_0008 Not bad. . but not the look I was going for.

So I wore it like this for two days and then tried once again to master the curl method. . IMG_0015 Result . .. Oh and did I mention I got engaged last week?? So I had been promising friends that when I got engaged I would rock a Feyonce shirt for my girl Beyonce so here it is. .. I absolutely loved my hair in this picture, unfortunately the look did not even last the day and by that night I was back to a poofy mess.

After 4 days I was about ready to give up on this style and just call it a day. Simplicity was not worth the hassle that this hair was causing me, I had spend three nights doing my hair instead of lesson planning. . . something that is not unusual but this time it was not for fun reasons.

So then with a heavy heart I started looking into straightening marley hair, the girls on youtube were helpful once again and said that Marley hair actually takes heat fairly well and with a good moisturizer and the proper time, you can do a blow out on Marley Hair, http://youtu.be/Ln31O1Ld_Ug , following this video I blow dried my hair and the result was finally something I LOVE! And the bonus . .. It has been about 4 days and It is still holding up. I wear it in a bun at night which gives it  a slight curl pattern that I love and the size is much more managable!  So crochet braids are here to stay. Next time I will probably not go through all of these steps. but who knows. .. knowing me I will probably attempt the curls again. ( Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a new result?)

IMG_0020 Here is the final result. this picure was taken 2 days after I blow dried it and I am still loving it. I am testing it out to see if I want to wear my hair this way for our engagement pictures. If anyone has any good suggestions for hair styles let me know.

Also if anyone has the key to the curl method, you would save me if you shared! Maybe then I would be successful and not burn my hands.

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend! Have a great start to your week tomorrow

Love your do and grow that fro

❤ Kelsi Rae