17 month post relaxer check in!

So 17 months ago I decided I was going to grow my hair out and do it without relaxers, I was going to go natural. Over the next 17 months i have become slightly obsessed with my hair, I have tried more styles than I could count, trying to find a style that didn’t require heat and was low maintenance  that I could manage on my own.

In those 17 months I haven’t gone to a hair stylist until last month when I wanted to have my hair straightened for the first time in months. I found that I loved playing with my hair and watching it grow. the different lengths brought different curl patterns some I loved and some I hid. I can remember years like 23 of them longing for straight hair and now when I straighten my hair I long for my big curls, I find myself trying to make my curls bigger.

Now I have found that I can rock the wash and go again. Today on my time hop I came across my wash and go from last year, my wash and go has improved 110% in the last year. I wear my hair in a wash and go most days now, partly because I get the most compliments with it, it is easy and my hair loves it.

Here are the two pictures comparing my wash and go. ..

What do you think?

Also any suggestions on good leave in conditioners that won’t weigh down my curls?

My Wash and Go 1 year ago today!
My Wash and Go 1 year ago today!
Wash and go today!
  Wash and go today!

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

Day 365

Its New years eve y’all! The last day of 2014, tomorrow is what you make of it. People like to act like this is the new chapter of the book of life, but in reality in my mind everyday can be that new chapter, everyday is what you make of it. So whether you decide to change your life on January 1st or June 4th or November 23rd, it can be a blank slate a new space for you to be who you want to be, so make the most of it.

In 6 days it will be my Hair anniversary. My last relaxer, which was by accident and a mistake was on January 6th 2014. I have trimmed but still have relaxed ends that I am just now really noticing as a problem .IMG_0405  This was my wet wash-n-go yesterday. Look at those ends. they are just limp and hang there no life or bounce at all. I am thinking January will possibly call for their removal. At least in the bang section, I don’t notice them as much around the rest of my head, and don’t know if I am ready to part with that length yet.

IMG_0407This is the same wash-n-go today. It is dry and I simply added a tiny bit of mouse and some curl activator. Still noticing those limp ends hanging in front. They have got to go. I made the mistake of combing the front section of my hair, in thought to prepare for a roller set, when that didn’t happen I am left with just frizz as a result. But I am ok with it for now.

Overall over this year, I can not think of anything more accurate to say than, ” My hair is my hobby.” I have fallen in love with the ability to change my hair, to change my attitude with it. It is something that I now take pride in and it and hope to share with people.

This year brought lots of changes for me, Grad school, engagement, as well as my natural hair journey. All of these things have made for a wonderful 2014, and excitement for 2015, which will bring grad school graduation, marriage, and hopefully a full head of natural hair that is achieving some of my hair goals.

I will set hair goals later and share them with you,probably,  in my first post of 2015. What are some of your goals, hair related or otherwise? All goals are good to share I believe.

I hope you all have  safe and AMAZING NYE! Make the most of this day, of day 365. But remember make the most of day 1, 35 and 178 as well. all days matter, and all days can be whatever you want them to be.

❤ Kelsi Rae

Photo Friday 2. . . I hope you all had a Merry Christmas.

You know you are going natural when you get excited that your hair is getting bigger as opposed to longer.

This week I tried my second curl former set on dry hair, and I think that is the way to go for me. It lets me retain some of my length and over night I was able to achieve the definition of curl that I wanted.

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As you all know this week was Christmas, we headed to my future in-laws for the week. I had hoped to maintain this set over the week, but unfortunately even with my newly bought just for this occasion satin bonnet ( I forgot my trusted satin pillowcase at home) The curls fell by the third day and I was left putting my hair into its usual bun. I tried a flat twist out overnight on christmas and the results were fabulous. So maybe that is the key to maintaining my curl former sets. . a flat twist after over night.

I also was overly excited that my hair is now long enough to do one continuous twist all the way around my head. IMG_0341

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Results of the flat twist.

Now for some photos of my week. As a teacher I got off of work last Friday and will stay off until the 5th of January. YAY! So all of the outings must happen in these two weeks. They started with a roommate lunch date and a trip to zoo lights to wish my friends who are moving to Zambia fare-well.
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Now for my favorite present from christmas.. . given we have not had Christmas with my mom yet. . marriage is all about compromise right? But so far my favorite present are these ornaments from my future mother-in-law. She made us ornaments with pictures of us throughout our relationship and some with our initials K B H. H for my soon to be last name. They are so thoughtful and sweet, I love it.
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I hope your Christmas was blessed with happiness, family and friends and good hair. As a girl going natural I know my wish is always for good hair, I bet some of you can relate.
This is my favorite season of the year, because even if you do not celebrate Christmas there seems to be a cheer in the air.

Now onto thinking about what to do with my hair for new years eve. . . . any suggestions. . .

Love your do and grow that fro. .
❤ Kelsi Rae

Photo Friday. . . #1

Photo on 12-19-14 at 10.25 AM ( The final product, and yes this is in my classroom so there are some lovely sentence stems behind me.)

Why not just upload a ton of pictures one day. . I don’t have a reason so that is exactly what is going to happen. . . So I bought a christmas present for my hair, Curlformers, I have decided to try and keep my hair out of braids for a little while mostly because my students get really confused with my ever changing do, so I tried curlformers which I found extremely easy to install, and sat under the dryer for about an hour, before removing. However I had to do bigger chunks of hair than i would have liked and so my hair was not completely dry when I removed the curlformers. The peices of hair that were dry created perfect spiral curls that I will dream of until I redo this style but overall they came out well and I will definitely be keeping these around. So for the photos right. . .

IMG_0255-1 IMG_0261-1 IMG_0264-1 IMG_0267The progression from curlformer to ready for school, the only difference in the bottom two pictures is that I have put on some eyeliner and added a headband.

It is hard for me to believe my hair is down to my collar bone when straightened and doesn’t even touch my shoulders when curly. .. but hey after seeing pictures of others, that is nothing in the shrinkage world.

So what do you think?

Happy last day of school fellow teachers. .. we are out for winter break for two weeks now and boy do the students need it. We are taking 3-5 grade roller skating today. .. wish me luck!

Love your do and grow your fro

❤ 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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