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Life | What is Success?



There’s something that’s been on my heart for a while now.

What is Success?

Do you measure success by the amount of money you have? The amount of material things you possess? How big of a following you have on social media?

I want to share this dream that I had a few nights ago. It started off a little weird and skipped around a bit, but I’ll give you the most important parts:

One of my Pastors at my church, who really has a passion for engaging with men/young men, was talking to a group of young men outside on the sidewalk. My husband and I were there as well, but I'm not quite sure what we were doing there. All of a sudden, a bunch of young people just started crowding the side walk. Some of them I knew, and some of them I didn’t know. Across the street, there was another group of young people crowding the sidewalk as well.  

Someone started playing some songs by the Notorious B.I.G as well as a song he did with Bone Thugs N Harmony. I’m not sure what the group on the other side of the street was playing but everyone just started dancing and singing whatever song was playing on their side….but it was a competition. All I could see was people just getting lost in this music and trying to outdo each other in their rap.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to finish the dream since my bladder was just screaming “EMPTY ME…NOW!” But, have you ever had a crazy dream where you wake up scratching your head like “What in the world just happened?” Yea…that was me for a good five minutes after I woke up. But I knew for a fact that there was a message behind it.

I told my husband about the dream, especially since I wasn’t sure what Biggy Smalls or Bone Thug N Harmony had to do with anything! I listened to this kind of stuff when I younger, but hadn’t heard these songs in years, hence the reason why I was just…puzzled.

As we listened to the songs on YouTube (and as my husband read through the metaphors of these lyrics), we realized that these songs are about success. Getting money. Getting high. Becoming successful by any means necessary. Getting what you want by any means necessary. A total ruthless mentality. Not caring what you have to do or who you have to get through to get it.

The problem with this kind of mentality of success is that it’s all done apart from God. I’m noticing that a lot of the young people and just people in general want success but they don’t want the One who gives it. They don’t seek or desire a relationship with Jesus. They don’t desire to know who He is. They don’t commit their lives or their plans to Him. They seek to do everything apart from Him, without realizing that there is no real substance, fulfillment, or fruit that will come from it.

I recently finished reading this book by the late Myles Munroe called Unlock Your Potential: Becoming Your Best You, and it was such an eye-opening experience reading this book. It’s filled with such valuable information on releasing your potential by knowing Who your Source is, understanding how we are designed to function, and knowing your purpose according to the gifts, talents, and skills God has placed on the inside of you.


One of the biggest lessons I’ve taken from this book, and I pray that to all who are reading this post, you will walk away with a piece of this as well:

You must know God, your Source, if you want to experience a satisfying, abundant life…All you do and are apart from God will always fall short of the true value and capacity of your potential…You must know your Source to become your potential. This is the foundation key.
-Dr. Myles Munroe, Unlocking Your Potential: Becoming Your Best You

A lot of people want to be successful and they want things to happen instantly when they want it. They don’t want to wait. Most importantly, they don’t want and desire Jesus.

My Pastor has been talking about living out of the inner chambers and prayer life over the past couple of weeks. He’s been talking about how prayer is not all about making your needs and desires known to God. It’s about knowing God.

We have to want God more than our circumstances, needs, and desires.
-Apostle James R. Vinson Jr.

Success doesn’t come from the money, cars, or whatever it is that you have or want. Satisfaction and peace of mind most certainly won’t come from getting high either. It’s all just temporary gratification. Let me tell you something—you most certainly won’t be taking these things with you when you die...why get so hung up on something that's temporary?

It comes from Him — seeking Him, walking in His perfect will and purpose for your life, and waiting on His perfect timing.
Focus your heart and mind on God, and do what it is you need to do to please and glorify Him. Don't let your focus be on the treasures of the Earth.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.
-Matthew 6: 19-21

Most importantly, seek Him above all things. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying give up whatever your career and business goals are. Sure, people have plans and things they want to do. But is it what He would have you do? How can you bring glory to His name in what you do?
Bring and commit your plans to Him. Ask Him to order your steps. He is your Source!
Once you measure your success by your faithfulness and obedience to God, the fruit that you bear will be long-lasting and much more meaningful.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
-Matthew 6:33, KJV

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Natural Hair Rant | Why I'm Over my Natural Hair


Natural Hair Rant // Why I'm Over My Natural Hair

Can I just tell ya’ll how done I am with my hair? Don't mind me as I spill my thoughts all over the page....
Yea…I’m over it….completely!

It feels like no matter what I do, my hair just continues to break!

As you may know, I experienced some heat damage back in the beginning of January when I got my hair blownout and flat ironed. My hair has NOT been the same since.

I had some straight pieces in the back of my hair as well as a tiny bit up front, and I knew what I had to do to restore my hair back to health: moisturize, regular protein treatments, and protective styling.

However, it seems like no matter what I do to my hair, it’s just not doing what I need it to do! The pieces in the back that were straight are curling back up, but they’re still noticeably looser than the rest of my hair. The hair in the back of my head is the loosest anyway (maybe 3c/4a in some spots), but there’s still waaayyy to much hang time for my liking.

My husband thinks I’m being impatient and a bit drastic, but I want to cut/trim hair.  I say trim/cut because I don’t know if I just simply need a really good trim or if I need to cut off more than I think I do.
Honestly, I feel like that’s what needs to be done. I know my hair. I’ve been natural for three and a half years. Back when I first went natural, my hair was a lot thicker. However, since I knew NOTHING about natural hair, I’ve experienced so much breakage over the years and haven’t retained as much length as I would have liked to.  My hair has become less dense due to all the breakage I’ve experienced, but I was making progress until this heat damage situation.
I've been going back and forth in my mind for a few reasons (and with my husband who is sick of hearing this, I'm sure...sorry honey!):
  • Getting my hair cut by someone who knows how to work with textured hair is expensive
  • I'm not sure I'm ready to chop my hair off all at once (if I even need a significant amount cut)
  • I get bored easily...I have to be able to do multiple styles with my hair. If I get a specific cut that doesn't give me the flexibility I need, that's a problem for me.
While I'd rather have a professional cut my hair since they can really see and assess the damage, in the same token I'm not sure that I'm willing to give up my coin (lots of it, at that) for a cut I may or may not be satisfied with. 

In the same sense, I know some of my hair needs to be trim/cut because this breakage is driving me up the wall! You see my dilemma here?

Just last year, I got my breakage issue under control as I researched and learned more about how to care for natural hair and learned my hair. I had little breakage, but not as much as I had. I mean, you're still going to experience some breakage here and there....that's just life. But, I could see that I was retaining length from properly moisturizing my hair and protective styling.

Since this heat damage situation, the amount of breakage I have is something I am not comfortable with. I'm tired of seeing little pieces of hair on my clothes, in my sink, and in my hands as I'm putting products in my hair.

I recently started using the Shea Moisture Yucca & Baobab since its for thin, fine hair and is supposed to combat breakage (I was deciding between this line and the JBCO line, but all I could find anywhere from the JBCO line is the Deep Treatment). One thing I have noticed with using this product is less shedding. As far as breakage, I can't really tell yet if it's doing anything for it, so I have to give this line a bit more time.

Until then, I think my best bet for now is to trim my hair myself and get rid of the heat damage slowly. I'm more comfortable with that for now.

I've been looking at some pictures of tapered cuts and short fros. While they're all beautiful, IDK if I can bring myself to cut my hair that short just yet.

               
           
Any of you ladies having a moment where you're just over your hair? Lets talk about it...

Photo Credits: 1//2//3//4//5//6
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Moisturizing Natural Hair | L.O.C v.s L.C.O Method




Does your hair feel dry the next morning after you’ve moisturized it? Does it seem like no matter which product you try on your hair, nothing seems to work?



These were the issues I was faced with when I first started my natural hair journey. Just adding product and an oil on top was not enough for me.

Moisturizing natural hair can be a pain and a bit tricky sometimes. You ask questions like, "What kind of product do I choose? How often should I moisturize my hair?"

The most important question to be asked is: “What’s the best method for moisturizing natural hair?”

Didn’t I tell ya’ll before I got you covered? Lol. Hopefully, the following tips will help.

There are two methods that seem to be pretty effective at moisturizing natural hair and keeping natural hair moisturized.

The Methods:   Liquid, Oil, Cream (L.O.C) or, Liquid, Cream, Oil (L.C.O).

The L.O.C and L.C.O method are techniques used for moisturizing hair, whether it be relaxed hair or natural hair. The order of the letters indicate the order in which the products should be applied.

  • L.O.C Method: The L.O.C Method consists of moisturizing the hair with water, or a water-based leave-in conditioner, sealing in that moisture with an oil, and then double sealing with a cream to close the hair cuticle and prevent moisture loss.

  • L.C.O Method: The L.C.O Method starts out the same way as the L.O.C method—moisturizing the hair with water or a water-based leave in conditioner. However, the last two steps are reversed. Instead of using an oil after you apply your liquid, you apply your cream product, and then an oil last to seal in all the moisture.

Both methods promote optimal moisture retention in using a double sealing technique from the oil and the cream, ensuring that the moisture that was put into the hair does not seep out or evaporate.

For some people, the L.C.O method makes more sense since the oil is the finishing touch.




However, it really just depends on your hair and what your hair likes and needs.

Personally, my hair responds better to the L.C.O method. I find that my hair doesn’t stay moisturized throughout the day when I use the L.O.C method. With the L.C.O method, I can go days before I have to moisturize my hair again.

Here are some quick tips to remember in trying to understand why you use the products you’re using:

Tip#1

Why water first? The first thing you MUST realize when it comes to moisturizing natural hair is that moisture comes from water— not products. Sure, products contain moisturizing properties like oils and butters, but if an oil or butter is the number one ingredient, it does no good for your hair because it will ultimately just sit on top of the hair instead of penetrating the hair shaft.  

Water is the number one source and only true form of moisture. Our bodies need water in order to stay properly hydrated, and the same goes for your hair. Water helps make our hair soft and supple. It penetrates the hair shaft going deep into the hair’s cuticle.

Something that I do when applying water to my hair is I apply warm water to the hair. Warm water helps to open up the hair’s cuticle so moisture can get into the hair.

Tip#2

It’s important to use an oil because water by itself (or even a water-based leave in) is not enough. Oil acts as a barrier and helps slow down the evaporation of water (moisture) from the hair.  This is why it always makes sense to apply water to the hair before applying any oils or creams that claim to moisturize the hair. The oils and creams will help keep hair moisturized, slowing down the evaporation process.

It’s best to use an oil that penetrates the hair shaft. Otherwise, your oil will just sit on top of the hair instead of penetrating it and helping the hair hold onto water molecules. Oils that actually moisturize and penetrate the hair shaft are coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil.

Tip #3

When choosing a cream, opt for a moisturizing cream. Some people use their leave in conditioners or regular conditioners that have multiple purposes as their cream. Others use a Shea butter based product, like Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Hair Parfait, or Shea Moisture's Curl Enhancing Smoothie.

The goal of the “cream” is to slow down moisture loss to provide maximum hydration. That way, whichever method you decide to use—L.O.C or L.C.O—the moisture levels in your hair are being retained because your hair is not drying out as fast as it would if you used just water or a water-based leave in alone.

Tip #4

Out of the L.O.C and the L.C.O method, there’s really no right method for any one person. The only way to find out which method works for you is to try both methods and pay close attention to the difference in the way your hair feels with both methods, so try not to get too caught up in the order in which the oil and the cream are applied.
In essence, the goal of both the oil and cream, no matter in what order you apply it in after your liquid, is to slow down the evaporation of water and moisture from the hair.
Hope this post helps some of you ladies that are frustrated with your hair and the lack of moisture it retains!
XO,
Danyelle


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Photo Credit: William Turner via We Love Curls
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Hair | Top Five Favorite Natural Hair Moisturizers

Moisturizers for Natural Hair

The past couple of posts have been all about winterizing your natural hair regimen and combating dry natural hair. I even sneaked in a little flat twist out pictorial for you!

Since moisture seems to be the hallmark of these posts, I figured I’d give you all some more helpful tips on products, deep conditioning, and more to make sure you're retaining moisture  this winter.

To kick off the rest of this series, I figured I’d give you ladies some of my favorite moisturizers full of butters and oils that are sure to keep your strands protected and moisturized this winter. The weather here in NYC has been no joke, and these products  have been tried and true and helps combat the dry, brittle hair that comes along with the colder months.  

Moisture is a huge factor in keeping natural hair (or any type of hair) healthy. Dry hair leads to breakage, split ends, knots and tangles, which all result in a lack of length retention. It’s especially important to make sure your hair is moisturized during the colder months since the weather tends to make our hair feel dry and brittle.

Ever feel like your hair is not growing? It may be because your hair is breaking off as fast as it’s growing, so you’re not really seeing any of your hair growth.

No need to fret, though, because I got you covered! Here are some of my favorite products that are sure to provide the moisture that your hair needs this winter:

·         Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream :: I live and swear by this leave in conditioner. Not only is it a really good leave-in conditioner, but it’s an excellent moisturizer and styling aid for twist outs, bantu-knot outs, etc… It gives you the best of both worlds—moisture and definition. Don’t believe me? Check out my previous post on the ahhhmazing definition and moisture this product gives me. This is a great moisturizer for all hair textures.

·         Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream :: This product is just as good as the Leave in! Both of these are a match made in heaven.  The Coconut Curling Cream is jam-packed with Shea butter and natural oils, is thick in consistency, so you know for a fact that your ends will be protected, and provides great definition both by itself and in conjunction with the Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream.

·          Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie :: This product is great for moisture, especially since the first ingredient is Shea butter. I tend to use this product a lot in the winter because it’s a thicker, heavier product and it’s packed with so much moisture. A little bit of this product definitely goes a long way! I think I've had the same jar for about a year and a half now, and I still have product left!  I use this when protective styling—I apply this product to my hair, put my hair away in two flat twists, and I won’t have to moisturize my hair for another three-four days. Now that, my friend, is a great moisturizer!

·         Alikay Naturals Moisture Rich Hair Parfait :: Alikay Naturals has some a truly mazing products! The Moisture Rich Hair Parfait is known for its amazing moisturizing properties.  One of the main ingredients in this product is Shea butter, which is a really good moisturizer and sealant for the hair. If your hair likes thicker products or butters, then this is a great choice for a moisturizer this winter.  Not only is it a great moisturizer for natural hair, bit it’s also a great sealant. It contains moisturizing ingredients like Shea butter, argan oil, and coconut oil. Since its packed with Shea butter (Shea butter being the first ingredient, so that means there’s more of it in the product as a whole), this would be a great moisturizer for naturals with thicker hair.  You can also check out the Alikay Naturals Shea Yogurt Hair Moisturizer, which is just as good.

·         Get Craftsy and Make Your Own :: Of course, another alternative that you could try is making your own moisturizing spritz! You can create your own moisturizing cocktail using some water, conditioner, and a variety of oils (coconut oil, olive oil, Castor oil, sweet almond oil, etc…), and you have yourself a moisturizing spritz. On top of that, you can create your own whipped shea butter to seal in the moisture from your moisturizing spritz. I like Naptural85’s DIY Shea Butter mix. April Bee also has a really good recipe for whipped Shea Butter that’s worth trying as well.

So, that’s all the moisturizers that I’d recommend for the winter! If your current moisturizer just isn’t cutting it anymore, give one of these a try! What are some of your favorite moisturizers?

XO,

Danyelle

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