Pictured below is J and I at the school's Mother-Son dance a few weeks ago.

Pictured above is a woman, who just found out 2 days ago, that she passed her PE exam!!! I am still on cloud 9! I believe that I have hit the stage where you debate what kind of frame you want to display your certificate in and on which wall will you display it. Should I hang it up in my home office or bring it to work and ask, "Are you ready to take me seriously now?" I have 2 months to decide since that's when it will arrive.

Admittedly, I was freaking out this week b/c my co-worker and accountability partner found out that she didn't pass her exam (a different one from mine). And then I heard tale that 2 people in my department (who were attempting a different certification) didn't pass their exams. And seeing as how I'm not foreign to failing, I was ready to hang it up. My books have been stacked against a wall across from my bed since I took the test, ready to be picked up again if necessary. Yet, in my mind, I couldn't fathom having to sacrifice my livelihood for months, holed up on weekends and getting up at 3 am on weeknights (when it was quiet), studying until it was time for me to get ready for work.

I had just finished discussing my plans for the Memorial Day weekend when I checked my email on my phone and saw that the testing board had posted the results. This is earlier than normal b/c they usually like to ruin your July 4th, lol. I wasn't so sure that I was ready to give up being content with life to know my results. I logged into my account and viewed my notice with my hands covering my face. Slowly peeking to the right, I saw in all caps, "PASS!" Holy mother of God, I had to muffle my screams. I cried. I jumped around. I got my shout on. This.was.big.

I am the first one to acquire this license in my specialty, one of 2 women in my dept., and one of 2 black people in the whole daggone company. I popped my collar so hard that I almost got a crook in my neck, lol.

I promptly printed my results notice and pranced around with it. The VP of my dept. wasn't in his office, so I kindly emailed him the results and cc'ed my direct supervisor.

I got a "congratulations", 3 handshakes, increased respect....oh, and a RAISE effective immediately. And there's more where that came from come annual review time in July.

I know that I neglect my blog more often than not, but to retrace what I have written to date about the things that I have gone through career-wise makes me feel so blessed. Two years ago, I had just been laid off and had no clue of what I was going to do. Interestingly enough, the same people who were responsible for letting me go were the same people that wrote my recommendations for my exam application afterward when asked. I guess that I have to thank them for helping me to get where I am now. Finally, I'm at a place where I'm valued.

I almost feel as if things don't come easy for me for a reason. I adore humility in others and that's how I wish to remain. But mayne...when I get my stamp in the mail, like Ye, "You can't tell me nuthin'!"


hair challenge: 4 months in

I try not to write so much about my hair b/c, in my mind, I think that I may bore some if not all that still read my blog. However, I get the most interest by way of email questions and comments with regard to my hair. I guess that I'm getting traffic based on some product that I mentioned or just by talking about my journey. Sooooo, here's another hair post. :)

I last washed my hair on Saturday morning and here's my 5th day twist out. I have a little less than 2 months left in my 6 month hair challenge and I have to admit that I have slipped more than a few times. I have gone to sleep without my bonnet, stretched out the time between washings while I was studying, and trimmed my ends a little too often. On the flip side, I have been more open to trying different products and techniques in order to optimize my hair regimen.

Here are the things that I've learned so far:

(1) I love the Shea Moisture Restorative Masque; however, I have discovered that the best moisturizing deep conditioner for me is the yogurt and coconut milk homemade conditioner. I change up what I mix in it...banana baby food (after a mishap with unproperly mashed avocados), amla (to darken my hair), random oils that I have laying around, etc. I just need to be sure to not leave it in too long before my hair gets mushy. Otherwise, incredibly soft hair for days.

(2) Try as I might, I cannot give up aloe vera gel. I thought that all gels were the devil, but aloe vera has been really good for my slicked back ponytails and for my frizzy curl section.

(3) Alone, castor oil creates a hot mess. When mixed into my deep conditioner, I get a shine like no other.

(4) Washing my hair in twists has been the business.

(5) Suave Professionals Almond and Shea Butter has given me life. Up until now, I was sold on Yes to Tomatoes, but the new formula wasn't cutting it for my strands. And I was also having more trouble finding it at Ross for $2.99...I might've told too many my secret. I read a review on the Suave Professionals line and thought I'd cop it the next time I went to the grocery. Kroger had the 14 ounce bottle on sale for $1.15. Couldn't lose, right? Detangling was a BREEZE with this stuff. Plus, I diluted it with water and used it as a leave-in. Once again, winning. Went back to Kroger and bought 7 more bottles (only b/c that's all they had left). Yes, I have a problem. So much for using only all-natural products, but who cares when it gets the job done.

(6) Despite the minimal manipulation rule, re-twisting at night has minimized my single strand knots a great deal.

(7) My hair seems thinner on my right side than it is on my left. Hoping for the miracle cure of simply being natural, my hair remains thinner on this side from my relaxed days. Maybe it's b/c I sleep on the right side of the bed while on my right side. At any rate, I've come to accept it and don't plan on trying all kinds of treatments to cure it. It is what it is.

(8) I hope to never have to part ways with my Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. It has loved me like no other.