Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Henna Experience

Two weeks ago I decided to use henna on my hair. And it was an experience to say the least. My hair is dark brown...not black. I did have highlights before but once I cut off all my relaxed hair, I was left with very dark hair. And I missed my once "red" hair that I had as a child. Being that it's the winter, I can't lighten it naturally by hanging out in the sun with conditioner and lemon juice in my hair so the next best thing Henna.

So first I mixed up a batch of Rainbow henna I got from Whole Foods. I mixed Henna and Apple Cider Vinegar and I let it sit over night. It starts off green, it should turn brown. The henna from Whole Foods comes in different colors, from a bright red to black (indigo actually). I chose a burgundy one. I used half the jar of henna and about 1/4 of the vinegar. I had to make a second batch actually because I didn't make enough initially. I added a tablespoon of Neutrogena Daily Moisture to "condition" even tho I am told henna conditions your hair. Also in that picture is Sauve Coconut Conditioner (.99 cents ya'll!!!) that I decided to use to wash out the henna.

So then I applied it to my hair. As you can's all streaked up. That's because of the second batch. However, my curls "dropped" and were somewhat defined. I was shocked because I never can get my hair back in a pony tail like that on an average day. I actually put the henna on dry hair, and it was *somewhat* clean. I had washed it last week.

It sat on for 8 hours. I couldn't take the smell anymore so I washed it out. And let me tell you, washing henna out your hair is some bullshit. My whole bathrub was red-brown and my hair felt gritty. I was so annoyed with the smell that I actually WASHED my hair instead of just rinse and condition. So I used Sauve Coconut Shampoo and I smelled extra good. I had to wash my hair twice. Warning: if you wash your hair after you henna it, it will loose some of that color. So it didn't look like anything to me after I washed and conditioned.

A week later while in the bathroom my hair was doing something. I realize the henna did work but you can only tell in natural light. This is the best picture of it I can get:

Yeah I will henna again. It should get lighter as I attempt to do it more and more. And isn't my afro puff the bomb? My PNC said I should have done a front shot but the lighting was bad. I like it. If you want natural color, then go for henna. It's fun and messy. Sometimes an adult needs to be a kid.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Do Better 2010

2009 is almost over. I can't believe it.
Next month I will be turning 30 years old. I am excited and scared at the same time. I will no longer be a "young" adult. I will just be an adult.

Reflecting back on 2009, I am amazed at how I survived such an emotional roller coaster. It started good, went down, up, down, up, down, and it's ending on a somewhat higher point. I have a great job and I accomplished several goals. I was able to pay down some debt (not as much as I hoped but I was unemployed, what can you do), I visited my friends in NYC, and I got to know me a little more. Last year this time my plan was to buy a house in Jan 2010...and unfortunately that will not happen. But it's okay. I am not pressed.

Right now I am looking forward to 2010. I want to make more advancements not only in  my career but in my personal live both socially and financially. I will not make "resolutions" because those are hard to keep. I am just setting more goals for myself with the promise that I will follow through with all of them. (side note: if you are a Capricorn such as myslef, the next year is very pivotal to our development and growth. it will be as beneficial as we make it and I plan to make it big).

So the goals for 2010 are as follows:
  • Continue paying down debt (let's get a fico of 700 by the end of Dec 2010)
  • Increase my savings 
  • Travel Internationally (Canada, Mexico, and any of the Caribbean count)
  • Go visit my NYC friends TWICE
  • Attend all of my friends weddings (I count about 3 that I need to attend)
  • Get my passport (okay okay...but i took the picture and filled out the application. I just have to go the post office and finish it so this is the easy one...)
  • Work out (I am about to be super sexy come June 2010 real talk...)
I purposely selected "positive" goals. I know I said this before but people tend to accomplish positive goals rather than negative ones.

Also...I finished my grant and the application. All that is left is to complete the recommendation and mail it. Inshallah I will get this money and achieve yet another (unspoken) goal of mine. I am proud of myself.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Procrasination is a mutha...

I am so lazy.
I procrasinate until the very last moment and then I get it done. This is good and bad. It's good because when I am hard pressed for time I write my best stuff. It's bad because I end up staying up late and I often miss deadlines doing this.

Currently I am putting off writing my grant. I feel very bad about this because I am constantly saying "I am about to work on it" or something to that effect; and in essence, I am. The newest grant is I should be working on is a professional development one that is given out by my former grad school. It's not a lot of money but it's enough for me to join two organizations (which will boost my resume) and attend one national meeting (both of which are being hosted in Colorado this year). And it's not even a long grant. Two pages max with a copy of my current resume. But for some reason, I can't find the focus I need to actually WRITE out the 2 pages that are due by Jan 15. I did the budget. Money is easy. The essay portion is a mess. I started it three times and scrapped it. Add on the fact that I need a recommendation. My boss said "yeah gurl, write it and I will review it and sign it." So add another page that needs to be done in two weeks.

I will be beyond pissed at myself if I can't make this happen. As I type this blog I am thinking..."You really could be writing your grant instead" but I can't seem to  start it correctly. I could try to write it backwards, but when I do that I lose consistency and flow.

According to psychologist, procrastination is a coping mechanism for stress and anxiety. I believe this. Sometimes it seems as there is so much pressure to complete or finish tasks that I can't focus or deal with it and would rather work on it later. It is also prominent in people who have ADD or ADHD. Now I was diagnosed with ADD as a youth but "grew" out of it (or did I?!?). At times I think I have Adult ADD because I am so easily distracted it's ridiculous.

So instead of writing the grant that can help me spice up my resume and better my professional standing, I choose to blog, twit, play sorority life on facebook, and work on ChaCha (which I've been bullshitting too...I do just enough to get paid each month).

Procrastination is a muthaf*cker.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Life is a Beautiful Struggle"

I randomly look at my blog tracker to see what brings people to  my site. I don't pay too much attention to the places people come from unless they are in other countries...My #1 topic is "hip hop movies" (I am #5 if you google this topic). But today as I was looking I saw that someone googled "What does life is a beautiful struggle mean?" and this struck a cord with me.

I have never truly thought about what that means. I KNOW what it means inherently...that is why I named my blog what I did. But to try to explain to someone else...that's hard. I just know the first time I heard it I was like "Yes!" and held that phrase close to  my heart. It wasn't just that name of Kweli's cd, it was my life. And I will admit, this is my favorite Kweli cd because it came out at a time when I was beyond hopeless and fed up with life. I was at the point where I couldn't see my life lasting longer than the moment I was living in. I wasn't suicidal, I didn't want to die...but I wasn't living and couldn't see myself living anymore. However, I met some great people who helped me a lot (tho they don't know it...they helped me reclaim my sanity by just being).

"Life is a Beautiful Struggle" is not easy. I don't know anyone who has ever said life was easy. That they never had any problems. I am sure there are people who have that type of life...but not anyone I know. A struggle is defined as "opposing force or an adversary" and to put it quite frankly. The purpose of life is to live...but the end result will always be death. Death is inevitable, however we love life. Life is great. We love living. We find enjoyment in the things we do from day to day despite the fact that we KNOW one day this will all end.

Personally my life has been hard. Very hard. I could tell stories or tales dating back to me being a baby to recently but I realize that focusing on those hardships will not help me move ahead. Despite the bad times, I wouldn't give up my life for anything (well maybe one thing...but that was another hardship that added to who I am today and why I do what I do). Essentially the phrase is simplistic.

Life is beautiful.
Life is a struggle.
Life is a beautiful struggle.

And this is my favorite song on the cd: Beautiful Struggle ("the trouble you have today you just can't laugh away")

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The End of an Era...

As of Friday, December 4 2009 @ about 5:30 pm, Steff is carless.
No car.
At all.
This shit sucks.

I already knew the car was on it's last leg. Every day I get in it begging it to work until January at least. I was really pushing the limits. In Feb, the mechanic told me I had about 10,000 miles left on the car before the engine was done. Then the rotors were fucking up. Then I found how much all that costs to fix and said hell no. Well...I didn't have a job so it really didn't matter.
Anyway, as I am driving home on Friday it makes this noise that I cannot describe. I hit the hazard button and stopped. I just sat there. Then I said "I can make it home, I am only like 3 miles from the house" and I was literally on the street I live on...just 3 miles down from my house. As I attempt to drive the remaining 3 miles, it's making this UNGODLY noise. I just knew it wasn't going to make it and then I see smoke coming from the passenger back side. I pull over and cut the car off. I then weigh my options...take a hack or walk home. The car is done for. I pack everything I had in the car (including the tags on the car) into my bag and make the decision to walk 3 miles home. I have no clue how the bus works...and didn't have cash. Hacking is only cool during the day time.
The two people I might could call were 30 minutes away...and I have my pride and I am an independent woman. Now I am slightly worried seeing as how there are some rapists on the loose in Baltimore.  I grab my head scarf and wrap it as if I am Muslim. I have learned that guys in Baltimore will NOT bother a woman they think is a Muslim. And I proceed to walk.
And I am dad decides to be a jerk when he calls and hassles me about Thanksgiving. Now I am so in love with my dad but I literally wanted to cry and as I told him I was on my way home, he hung up on me. This pissed me off but I kept walking, silently thanking God for all those years of track and for the fact I carried my Aveeno bag to work (instead of my oversized Coach or other designer bag).

It takes me about 40 minutes to walk 3 miles. I stop at the local KFC and grab some dinner and my ass is cold, sweaty and tired. There is something about being cold and sweaty. I get home and try my best not to just lay down and cramp up. I walk around the house trying to bring down my heart rate, and I guzzle a jug of water. I realize walking is NOT the safest thing...but I really had no other options. It sucks not having readily available friends who live close enough and drive that I would not feel like I am bothering.

I abandoned the car. I figured since I stripped the tags and left it illegally parked, it will get towed soon enough. And whoever takes it can keep it. Good riddance.

Now I have to learn how to catch the bus until I can get a new car. Hopefully I can find me a nice "certified used" car by the end of the month. I could rent a car but that's a waste of money to me. And I could hack to work everyday but I would rather have a reliable hack that I could use everyday.

*sigh* As SOON as I get money this shit happens. It figures

EDIT: I realize people not from Baltimore may be confused about what a "hack" is. In the most simple terms, an illegal cab. Read about hacks here: