The Chi 2010

So...I'm gonna try to pack this all in one blog. My synopsis of my trip to The Chi '10: at the right place, at the right time. Before I left...and I mean, right before I pulled out of my driveway...I made the unfortunate mistake of checking the mailbox.

I did not pass the test. (Please refrain from making a comment that has the word "sorry" in it. I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me or feeling sorry that this happened or whatever else you can feel sorry about as it pertains to me).

I simply picked my little feelings up off the ground, packed them away, and headed to the airport. Yes, I suspected it, but there's a difference between suspicion and confirmation. So, I was bummed. There's still a tinge of disappointment as I type. But you know what?

If I only share all of my successes and none of my failures, how real would I be? Why should I be ashamed or feel the need to hide that I'm less than superhuman? The real failure comes when I stay down after getting knocked down. Or feel the need to front before anyone. I've licked my wounds, dusted myself off, and here I stand...ready for another chance at bat.

I booked my trip to Chicago, so that I could experience "The Taste". I actually have 2 girlfriends there that I graduated with from high school: one an MD in Family Medicine and another about to embark on her residency in Pediatric Psych. These ladies are some of the most faith-filled friends that I have. So when I told them what happened, neither one batted an eyelash.

As I glanced around my girlfriend's beautiful condo of modern decor, she shared her failures with me...some stories that I recalled, others that were unfamiliar. Her ascension was not upon a crystal stair, but where is she now? At the top. I just have to do what I have to do. At the end of it all, she prayed with me and the sun came out once again.

As I've mentioned before, all throughout high school, I wanted to be an architect. Knowing this was my passion, my girl was so excited to tour Frank Lloy.d Wr.ight's house with me. Unfortunately, there was a tornado the night that I got to Chicago, so I wasn't able to see the inside of his house b/c of wind damage (I believe). Instead, we did a walking tour of his house and other homes designed by him and his contemporaries.

On Friday, we went to The Taste. Some cajun meatballs, garlic fries, Chica.go style hot dog, deep dish pizza, fried veggies, and watermelon italian ice later...I needed a breather. N' and BBD performed.

There was very little time to relax, but I stole as much time as I could. My girl, who is as prissy as they come, took me to some "fru fru" place to get my eyebrows waxed. Never before have I had to lie down on a warm bed and listen to soothing music just to have this service done. Albeit, I only get my eyebrows done once a year...if that. And that's b/c I have very little hair and some sort of natural cut in my right eyebrow and am afraid that I'll get up with no eyebrows at all and have to pencil them in and look like a scared cat. Anyway...

I mentioned that we were invited to a "purity" dinner. I don't know exactly what I expected. I'm lying...I just knew that everyone would be dressed in all white, except for me. I just knew that I would feel out of place amongst people that were so on fire for the Lord, that they have chosen to abstain from anything that would taint that relationship. That perhaps these people would glide across the room and hover a foot above the floor as they awaited their "pretty wangs" in the buffet line.

To be honest, I don't know if I'm there yet. It's one thing for me to say that I'm down when there's no real temptation, but I have no clue as to how strong I am once it presents itself. However, it did put something on my mind that I would like to explore further.

I did get a lot of compliments on my puff. I kept drawing a blank every time someone asked me how I styled my hair this way. To me, this is my lazy style. I have been all about the wash n' go and trying to perfect that for the summer. After I feel as if I can no longer rock those curls, I slick it back into my go-to style: my puff. I really didn't think that it would garner as much attention as it did, but maaaaaaaan, I loved swapping techniques with these ladies that I'd never met before. My main technique on this trip: change up my flowers. Spending ridiculous amounts of time on my hair was not an option.

I had the good fortune of coming during a time that Xav.ier, my girl's alma mater, was having an alumni mini-cruise. I was excited b/c "home" was represented away from 'home". I have never been on a boat before so the concern was that I may be one of those people that get motion sickness. Well, I am happy to report that I did the Cupi.d Shuff.le/Cha Cha in my high heels and did not miss a beat. So it's safe to say that I'm not one of those aforementioned people.

The only thing that was stealing my thunder was some old perv who kept taking pics of me and my girlfriend.

While walking along the Navy, we caught a live salsa band. Let me just say that if I did make a vow of purity that salsa would get me through. I am seriously looking up lessons now. I think that I have found my summer activity...details on this later. I'm so excited.

Recap: Ch.icago is alright with me...during the summertime. This was a short trip with long lasting effects. I am recharged and motivated...all thanks to The Chi.


Me and this blog **smh**...anyway, I figured that now was as good a time as any to update. I'll probably be up for the next couple of hours so I have time to write while doing laundry/packing for my trip to Chicago.

This evening, I had dinner with my former professor/mentor, who happened to be in town for a speaking engagement. His brother is my version of Mr. Bi.g, since over the course of the past decade, we have continued this cycle of losing touch and reuniting.

Anyway, we went to this hole-in-the-wall spot, where I proceeded to have the worst version of shrimp and grits ever as we discussed our families and professional endeavors. Incidentally, my company had a meeting today, announcing that we would not receive bonuses this year b/c of some economy-related blah, blah, blah. I sat at that meeting, shaking my head. Last year, I had a meeting and was laid off right AFTER I returned from vacation and here I am about to leave tomorrow and then this mess is dropped in my lap.

I went to the Director of my department and expressed my concern. He assured me that that was the only consequence of the economy and that they've already seen a turnaround and predict that 2011 will be better than ever. I just had a great performance evaluation last week, so I should feel secure, right?

Nope. I had great reviews at the last job. I told my mentor what went down and he suggested that I strike out on my own. As I'm adding up the cost of freedom, it just doesn't seem worthy enough to entertain right now. If I should get displaced AGAIN, the message that I receive is that God must want me to be a housewife and marry rich.

I think that I'm at a period of my life where the things that I thought that I wanted are not as savory as they once were. Everything seems to be up in the air. I'm having second thoughts about moving back home; yet, as I said goodbye to J this past Sunday for the summer, I wondered how many more summers can I take like this. During the school year, I felt overwhelmed with his activities, but now that he's gone, I can't even focus on what I want to do for myself. I told my "friend" back in December that I thought it was pointless to pursue anything romantic; yet, when I imagine him potentially flirting with other women, I become pissed off without any right. I then have an argument with myself for being both selfish and wishy-washy and drop off from communication b/c I can't seem to stand firm on what I want...or don't want. And now my career...I don't know whether I'm coming or going. I wanted that license to have the option for entrepreneurship, but now I'm cowering in a corner just at the mere mention of it.

How did I get here? I always have these 5-year plans in place, but now...I don't know what the hell is going on.

I guess that I have this summer to "find myself" heed divine read blogs, lol.

To start, I guess that I should finish packing. I'll be hanging with my girls in Chicago, enjoying "The Taste". One of them keeps beefing up our event, a "purity" dinner. I don't know what in the hell that is, but I'm sure that it'll make for an interesting blog post once I return.


curly girl wonder diaries - it's my 1 year anniversary

...and the lack of motivation continues...

I thought of all the different ways that I could compose this post, but if you've been following my hair journey, then you've seen every pic that I've need to repost. I guess that I'll just show what a difference a year makes.

Remember this?

(Oh how I miss it so)

Well, a year later, I decided to celebrate with a wash n' go. I have taken 3 different pics but still can't seem to capture my natural coils...maybe that's simply the nature of having dark brown/black hair.

My hair decided that it wanted to cooperate this morning. I have been trying to perfect my wash n' gos for the summer without having to do a lot of work. If I can't style my hair in 10 minutes, then that defeats the purpose of a wash n' go to me.

I mixed aloe vera gel and Yes to Carrots conditioner in my hands while in the shower and just ran my fingers through my coils. I lightly rinsed with cool water and then shook my head like a polaroid picture, lol.

I am not too fond of my hair texture in the front, so I slicked that part back. And that was a wrap. I got a couple of compliments today (without the flower...go figure) so I felt relieved that I didn't look like "Who Shot John and Why".

Having dark hair is kind've tricky b/c you certainly don't want it to look dry. At the same time, the jheri curl look is not an option. I still have work to do on this b/c although I was pleased with the curl definition and sheen, my curls could stand to feel a little softer to the touch. They're not crunchy by any means...I guess I'm looking for...supple.

This is also unstretched hair, so perhaps it doesn't appear to be a lot of growth within a year. At any rate, I made it through my first year. The rest is supposed to be a breeze, right?

the "9 to 5" updo...take 1

So, here was the challenge...

After having mini-twists for 5 weeks, I was bored and refused to do mini-twists for a while. My go-to style is usually a puff, but I don't wanna continue to rely on it and possibly stress my edges.

I wanted to try an updo but thought that my hair wasn't long enough to do a cute one. In my head (I was short of actually drawing out what I envisioned), I wanted to simulate a puff, but without using an elastic band to push my hair back. My hair didn't really come out the way that I intended, so I decided to just make minor changes as I went.

I settled on doing flat twists all the way around my head, going upward into what I hope to be a bun one day soon. The decision to do a side-swept curly bang came at the last minute...mainly b/c I was can be witnessed by my crooked parts.

Now, here's the thing. I'm not a pro at doing flat twists, but I intend to keep practicing until its second nature. My mom taught me how to cornrow both overhand and underhand but the only time I did it was on my Barbie's hair and well...that was an entirely different situation. So, I need to master all of the above, preferably within the next few months.

I am challenging myself to do something different every week. We'll see how long that lasts.

Despite my crooked parts, I got a lot of compliments on the style today. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to carry off wearing my hair under a hat...without looking bald. I may attempt to cornrow into a low twisted bun, but again, I don't know just how much I butchered myself with my last trim.

the haps

So, 2 "big" things are coming up during the week. My 1st year natural anniversary (Friday) and my 32nd birthday (Sunday).

My "friend" asked me if I was excited. I'm not necessarily in cabbage-patch mode about either one. I will say that I am proud of myself for sticking with the "natural" thang. For me, it hasn't been all sunshine and butterflies. I just don't like taking a long time to do my hair. And at times, I questioned why I traded in my predictable roller wrap for an unruly wash n' go. Don't get me wrong...relearning how to do my hair hasn't always been doom and gloom. I find that it is awakening my dormant creativity and is challenging my thoughts on "beauty" and what's considered "beautiful".

It almost feels as if I am having some sort of identity crisis. I considered myself to be low maintenance (not to be confused with NO maintenance). Now, I find myself buying new clothes to compliment my hair (and also b/c I am in dire need of new clothes since I put off shopping for myself) and accessorizing. Now, me and accessories have never been friends. I just didn't see the point in buying something that will go unnoticed. I was wrong. I was surprised to see that men actually pay attention to a nice necklace and my "gaudy" $12.99 rings. The flowers that usually adorn my puffs draws the most attention. But I get more giddy when a little brown girl at J's school compliments me more than a man does.

Growing up, I hid behind big clothes and caps. Now, I understand why my mom had much heartburn over my craving for oversized t-shirts, militant gear, and black this and that. She could see my beauty even when I couldn't. I actually feel more attractive as a natural...and never thought that I'd ever feel that way. For someone that has battled with her self-esteem for so many years, today, I feel as if I am standing on top of a mountain.

So, I would say that I have graduated to medium maintenance...and only medium b/c my love for purses and shoes just hasn't kicked in yet...I don't know if it ever will, lol.

But enough of that, I'll probably do a post on Friday. I trimmed the shit out of my hair yesterday and put it in an updo. We'll see if I butchered myself once I take this 'do down.

As for my birthday...I don't really intend on doing too much. My dad is coming into town the day before. On Sunday, me and some of my lady friends will have a big hat b-day brunch at this restaurant near my house that overlooks the water. Yes, we are getting our "southern" on with mimosas in hand. I have yet to buy my hat though, lol. I have a peach dress hanging in my closet that I haven't worn. Come to think of it, I'll need some shoes and love how DSW is to the rescue with my birthday coupon. It is truly a sin for me to work so close to Steinmart, Ross, DSW, and Michael's...I'm constantly going broke on my lunch break.

No offense to anyone in their 20s, but I don't want to go back. I feel great in my 30s and will probably feel even more fly in my 40s. I'm just happy that God saw fit to allow me to see another year. Lord knows that I have played russian roulette with my life with some of my poor decisions. And then there were the trials...the "why me"s...the "it can't get any worse than this"s, lol. I survived and there is so much beauty in wisdom. That's probably why I like hanging with older women so much. I think back to myself 5 years ago and wow, I am happy that I'm not THAT woman anymore.

Even my blogging is different. I remember writing about anything and everything that came to my mind...oversharing (I'm glad that I deleted that stuff). With age, I've become more selective of what I share, who I allow into my life, and how I spend my time.

I'm not in cabbage patch mode, but I do look forward to the milestones. The best of me has yet to come.