My Half Marathon FAQ’s

Peeps have been hitting me up about this half marathon I ran, so I figured I’d write a little Frequently Asked Questions about the whole thing.

Did you finish?

Sure did! In 2:28, which means I ran about 11 minute miles the whole way.

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Did you have a goal time?

Eh, not really. Instead of a time, because this was my first half, I decided that my primary goal would be A. to finish and B. do so without walking. I achieved both of these things.

Were you sore?

Oh heavens, YES! And honestly, that was the most shocking part of the whole experience. I had run two 11 mile runs leading up to the event and was fine the next day after both. I figured with just 2.1 miles more I’d be fine! Boy was I wrong. I almost fell down my stairs in the AM because my quads were so tight. Even sitting was painful. There was no reprieve. I think it’s partly that I didn’t really stretch after–too much finish line excitement and just that…well…13.1 miles is a long run!

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Did you listen to music?

Sure did! Before heading into the race, I asked my friends on Facebook to share some tracks I should put on my playlist. Bunches of people, and like *super* random people from random parts of my life alongside my friends an family chimed in. The result was an eclectic list that made me smile because it was like those friends were cheering me on along the way. Check it out for yourself:

Did you get bored?

Nuuuuuupe!

Do you think I could do one even if I’ve never run one before?

Absolutely. That’s what training is for! I’ve never been much of a runner and I certainly don’t have whatever this elusive “runner’s body” is I keep hearing about. But I got myself on a training program, worked at it and made it happen. I’m confident you can do the same!!! It might take a bit longer to train for, but who cares?! Do you and make it happen.

Would you do it again?

Funny you should ask….YES. In fact, I’m already signed up and just took my first training run tonight for the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half. My co-worker mentioned back in July that I might as well enter the lottery for this race and whaddya know–I ended up getting in! This race is October 18th, so less than two months to go! This time around, I am indeed setting some time goals—now that I know I can do it, I want to do it harder, better, faster, stronger! Woot!

Sunday Bunday {Adventures in Marley Hair}

Armed with a bag of marley hair, per my last post, I headed off to New York last week for work.

I spent the week in various stretched styles, ranging from a bouffant to a french twist to just a good, ol’ scarf style. The ultimate goal was to create a towering and regal bun using the marley hair for Afropunk.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I’m a horrible hair stylist when it comes to anything other than a wash’n go, but I was delighted to discover that this wonderful bun style took a matter of minutes.

In fact it was so easy that I couldn’t even properly take step by step photos because it was like PRESTO CHANGO: BONJOUR, BUN!

Basically:

1. Put your hair in a high puff
2. Take a length of Marley Hair and secure one end with a hair elastic. Here’s a peek at what it looks like when it’s hanging down.

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3. Attach the secure end to the base of the puff and just start a-wrapping the hair around the puff, making sure that your little curly coils are all covered. Honestly, it’s not that tough because the marley hair is super thick and offers great coverage.
4. Secure with lots of pins annnnd VOILA! YOU BE BUNNIN’

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It’s that easy!

ps. These dope after photos are from our #BevelClassics photo booth at Afropunk this past weekend and it’s 100% worth it to check out all the snaps! Shout out to Brandon King and Aundre for making me look my very best :)

How Teyonah Slayed The Bun Game (and my efforts to copy cat)

After a hearty day of fun in the yesterday, I woke up this morning feeling way less than stellar. So I did what any normal girl would do: crawl the NewsFeed.

A gorgeous round up on BGLH of Teyonah Parris’ natural hair styles stopped me in my tracks, but one of the styles truly spoke to me:

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To me this bun is everything. It is at the same time regal and effortless. Intricate yet simple. I thought to myself “only like 19 more years until my hair is long enough to do this” and then I remembered the ol’ African American Adage:

If You Can’t Achieve It, Weave It

Luckily, Teyonah’s hair stylist, Miss Felicia Leatherwood, is a dear friend of mine, so I shot her a quick text to see if even I, a sub-par stylist at best, could recreate the look on my own.

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Easy as that. Now if that doesn’t sound achievable, I just don’t know what is….

In the past two hours I have acquired myself the recommended bag of Marley hair and am planning on giving this style a whirl this weekend for Afropunk in Brooklyn. Stay tuned to see how it turns out!

Now the only question that remains: where can I find that awesome laurel leaf headband…..

To Blog Or Not To Blog…

In the span of 30 minutes yesterday, I got a phone call from my mom wondering if I thought I took too many selfies and several comments on my long-dormant YouTube channel asking if I was ready to come back to blogging/vlogging.

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On the one hand you have one person thinking my face is out there in over abundance and others wondering where in the world it’s been.

I’ll admit it, my blogging, vlogging and posting has been sporadic at best over the past couple years. I blame it on the fact that just about 2 years ago to the date I shaved my hair down to about a 1/2″. This was a big mistake for a person whose primary foundation of content is in fact their hair. I was thrilled with the cut, it was fabulous and freeing, but a shorn head doth not good content make.

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But two years have passed and every time I peek my head into my social channels, someone asks me “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN AND WHEN ARE YOU COMING BACK?”

So I figured I’d answer!

What I’ve Been Up To

During the day, I head up editorial over at Bevel Code, the editorial site of Bevel, a men’s shaving grooming company owned by Walker & Company Brands. I’ve been there over a year and to be honest, it’s been a lot of fun. Everything I’ve done in terms of here and other hair-centric sites, I now get to apply when it comes to men and their shaving. Go ahead and take a peek at what I’ve written, including but not limited to interviews with Obama’s barber, Kanye’s barber, Nas’ barber and Charles King, one of the most influential men of color in Hollywood. I actually just got back yesterday from interviewing comedian/social media juggernaut King Bach down in LA.

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The TL;DR: I’ve found out I really like helping PEOPLE, not just women, but also men, finding the tools and products they need to be confident in their own skin. Hair, shaving, clothing, fitness—>I’m here for it all.

So. You Bloggin Or Nah?

I mean, SURE. Let’s do this. I’m down to get back in the game a bit. Especially these days, I’ve been FEELING my hair. Lola is back. Like SO back. Check it out.

WHET!!?!??!?!?! That stuff is so long—AND I’M LOVING IT!!!!!!

I’m having to deal with detangling and deep conditioning, sleep pillows, shedding and scrunchies. I’m resurrecting old products–only to find that SOME OF THEM DON’T WORK ANY MORE. Others that I didn’t like, now are my most favorite products on the planet. It’s like going natural all over again. I’m back at square one, except that now I have 6 years beneath my belt.

Point is, I’m now back to a point where Lola is back in her element enough where sharing my adventures in curl is likely worth sharing on a more regular basis. Plus it would give some reason for all those selfies my mom is oh-so-concerned about.

28 and Freaking Out.

As a gal in the midst of her 28th year, I’m realizing I’m looking down the barrel at the ol’ 3-0. I know, I know, I know, “20 is the new 30″, which is a trendy and convenient thing to say when you’re in my position, but no matter– I’m kinda starting to freak out.

And apparently it’s…perfectly normal?

I don’t want to get mystical on you guys, but I’m going to get mystical on you guys. Hear me out.

Have you ever heard of Saturn’s Return? According to the astrological world, it takes Saturn 29 years to return to the same place it was at your birth. It’s during this phase of Saturn’s Return that we go through a period of testing, questioning, shifting and evolving that ultimately ends with the dust settling and you emerging with a new perspective, goals and course in life. It’s supposedly this first Saturn Return that is the most difficult because it coincides with the firm end of childhood and entry into adulthood.

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Whether you’re into astrology or not, I think that there is something to be said about this bridge between your 20’s and 30’s and how you navigate that.

I turned 28 several months ago and since then my life has felt a bit unsettled and has thrown some pretty serious ups and downs my way. Coupled with the fact that my body just doesn’t seem as young as it used to in some ways (hangovers!? aches and pains!?!? WTF!?!), I’m pretty darn sure that I’m in the throes of my Saturn’s Return! I’m never too shy about letting you in on what’s going on in my life, so I thought I’d share that things are seemingly a little wonky over in my neck of the woods right now.

I found this great Saturn Return Survival Guide over on Galadarling.com that I thought I’d share with you. While these lessons and learnings seem to be particularly pertinent to me right now, I think we can all appreciate the wisdom they hold.

Never compare yourself to anyone else.

No matter what stage you’re at right now, that is the exact place you should be. We all move, grow & mature at different times, but that doesn’t make any of us better or worse than one another. Someone may have their career all figured out but their relationships are a mess, while you might have your spirituality on lock but haven’t learned to save any money yet. It’s okay. You’ll get there. Take it one day at a time.

Take responsibility for your thoughts & actions.

I say this over & over & over, but now is REALLY the time to put it into action! You will never be in control of your life or your emotions until you start to own up to everything you think & everything you do.

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FINALLY! I’m 100% Natural.

Here’s the thing: I absolutely LOVED having colored hair. I thought it enhanced my skintone and eye color and allowed me to show off my unique texture in a really great way. Thing is, over the past few months, I really and I mean really started to miss my natural hair color.

The anxiety started to plague me in my sleep (y’all know I get weird hair anxiety dreams) and I started to think about how gray hair is probably just around the corner for me (le sigh). Each day that passed, I started to hate the little straggling blonde curls and even pulled out the scissors and cut a few off myself. When I saw the damaged ends after my most recent adventure in straightening, I new that it was time to cut it off.

Sitting down in Marie’s chair, I explained that I just wanted the blonde gone.

“You’re going to be able to see your scalp, you know,” she explained.

“I know. Just cut it.”

And cut it she did.

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The result was shorter hair than I’ve EVER had before, but I’m absolutely enamored with my natural texture AND color. As I said earlier, I loved having colored hair, but there’s no question that it is a chemical process that altered the texture and integrity of my curls. I definitely fell off on the care front, for some reason short hair doesn’t seem as though it needs as much deep conditioning and pampering as long curls (although this is probably not at all true.)

Knowing me and my whims of style, I will certainly be back to color sometime in the future, but for now that I’m back to fully natural, my hair is softer and more shiny than I can remember!!

My Must See TV (no spoilers)

Its taken me YEARS to admit to being an avid TV watcher. I don’t own a TV so I can roll around all smug and say that, but HELLOOOOO—with the internet and there about a bazillion different ways in which I keep up with all sorts of high (and low) quality broadcasting. So yea. I watch TV, I love it and I’m in pretty deep on a few shows that are all starting soon (or have already started) this fall and I just COULDN’T be happier! Here’s a rundown of my must sees:

1. SCANDAL

I got into Scandal first through hate-watching it. You know, where you watch something because you’re so morbidly fascinated about how bad it is. Then I kept watching it and before I knew it, I was HOOKED and wrote a post on why I think it’s a smart show. Good lawd this show is good/bad!! It also has a gloriously long season, so I know I can get my Scandal on from now thru the end of May or something ridic.

Premieres Thursday October 3 AKA TONIGHT!!!!

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2. Parks and Recreation

For some reason, this show just brings out the waterworks with me. I can’t explain it, but I’ve shed a tear at least 5 times watching this comedic sitcom. Weird, right? …I think that when these characters are happy it’s so sweet and pure. <3

On the other hand, Ron Swanson with his Pyramid of Greatness is my hero and Jean-Ralphio is one of my most favorite people in the world.

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Premiered September 26

3. HOMELAND

ZOMG HOMELAND IS THE JAM. This show had me hook line and sinker after a single episode. After last season’s finale peeps were all like “wtf, Homeland is soooooo unrealistic now.” But, uh….it’s that the point of TELEVISION? I want this ish to be AS unrealistic as possible, especially this show and all its domestic terrorism mindf***ery. Bring on the bipoalar bomb squad that is this Showtime gem!

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Premieres Sunday September 29

4. Girls

Reminds me of girls I know from college. And I heard there’s a black chick on the show this season. I’m intrigued.

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Premieres: uhhhh….this is devestating…. Last year, Girls was a fall premiere, but apparently it’s not back on until 2014 and I didn’t find this info out until looking it up for this post. BUMMER.

5. Downton Abbey

If you’re a Downton fan, you’re probably thinking “ummmm…that doesn’t start til January, dood!”. FALSE, my friend, FALSE! The US version premieres in January, while the UK version started last week. God bless the internet for allowing me to watch it on that lovely UK schedule.

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Premiered September 22

HONORABLE MENTION

The Boondocks

It’s not a new show by any means, but thanks to the wonder that is On Demand, I recently got into Boondocks. I grew up loving the comic strip in the Sunday paper and this show is absolutely ON POINT. Season 4 starts in 2014 sometime, but until then I’m plowing thru Seasons 1-3. It’s pretty magical. Case in point (warning: LANGUAGE!)

Wait, WHO launched a new natural hair product???!!!!!

During my day spent cruising the natural hair product aisle with, I had a grand ol’ time recommending a bunch of my favorite products to attendees. I was pretty impressed that of the 15 or so brands in the aisle, I had pretty much tried them all EXCEPT for one product, that I had never seen or heard of before.

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At first I glazed over the product line, being like, okay so VIBE Magazine has a hair product line. Then it hit me: WAIT A SEC: VIBE MAGAZINE has a hair product line for naturals!

That’s like Vogue starting a line of haute couture gowns. Town & Country releasing a suite of adirondack chairs (or something equally home-y and preppy). Allure creating a line of lipsticks. Martha Stewart launching a line of home products…oh wait.

According to VibeVixen.com:

Our line doesn’t just have pretty packaging and a cute name, we really are different. All products contain coconut oil, argon oil, and olive oil and when combined, they create an amazing tri-complex blend of awesome-ness. “The oils are proportioned such that your hair receives the maximum benefit from each ingredient which offers a variety of benefits,” says VIBE Beauty Expert and VP & Global Creative Director Lindsay Ebbin.

(sic)

I will admit that I’m totally intrigued, but also a little bit skeptical as it seems like yet another attempt trying to cash in on the natural hair movement, but I will not make any final judgements until I actually try the products themselves.

What do you think? Have you tried Vibe Natural Curl Therapy? Let us know!!

Shop The Aisle Wrap Up

This past weekend, I had the honor of participating in Shop The Aisle. As a blogger, people are always asking what they should use and where they should get it, but it’s very difficult to make expert recommendations when you’re taking an assessment over the interwebs.

Enter: Shop The Aisle, which allowed me to actually talk to people, hear their stories and touch their hair in an effort to be able to send them home with the tools and knowledge they needed! It was really fun to be able to mix’n’match the products from sponsors including, Shea Moisture, UR Curly, Beautiful Textures, CurlMAX, Curl Care by Dr. Miracles, EDEN Bodyworks, Curls and Curls Unleashed. Attendees not only got to chat and shop with myself and Danyelle of SF Bay Area Naturals, but also went home with a goodie bags of products!

Thanks to all of you who came out and thank you to Charlette and DeAnthony of Shop The Aisle for making the trek across the country to support the Bay Area natural hair community! Here’s a few pictures from our day spent at the Walmarts of San Leandro and Oakland! If you want to be notified of future Bay Area events by NaturalSelectionBlog, enter your info into the sign up form on the right sidebar.

In Which I Straightened My Hair (???????)

If there is one person that shouldn’t go messing around with my hair, it’s DEFINITELY ME. I am absolutely the WORST when it comes to experimentation, but for some reason I just can’t seem to resist it!

Case in point: a few weekends ago, I woke up with a craving to straighten my hair. I mean, it’s been YEARS since I’ve done this myself (and last time I almost broke my neck in the process), so I guess I was due for a bit of adventure.

I rummaged around my natural hair goodies and remembered that Motions had sent me a sample of their new Straight to Finish line! I popped open the box and not only was the whole product set in there, but ALSO a handy-dandy little flat-iron! How serendipitous indeed!

So I washed and conditioned my hair with their products. There’s actually only a leave-in (no conditioner), which made me nervous, but whatever—I was on a M.I.S.S.I.O.N.!

First things first, I sat beneath my hooded dryer and let my hair dry 85% of the way through. Then I dug out my comb attachment for the blow dryer and worked it through my curls.

At this point you might be asking yourself a very, very, important question:

Cass, do you even have enough hair to blow dry it straight!???

The answer is no, not really. But I worked it out.

Well, kinda.

The result was one of the more ridiculous looks I’ve ever, EVER seen on my head.

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So, yea. That happened.

Then I proceeded to smooth on the Motions Straight Finish Sealer, aka heat protectant, a CRUCIAL step. Ever since I had to cut of 10 inches of heat damage once upon a time, we do not mess around without heat protectant!

Then there was the flat-iron. Almost immediately I was ready to be done. It’s that SMELL, ya know??? My hair wasn’t burning or anything, it just smelled…. straightened. It is a scent (stank odor?) I do not miss.

After about 30 minutes, I was through my entire head and the result was………..less than appealing.

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I tried to make it work by adding my side part back and using some styler to hold down the sides, only to realize that the only styler I have is actually for CURLS so almost immediately my hair started to revert back to its natural texture.

Within 30 minutes, I was in the shower washing my hair and getting it’s texture back!

So what did we learn??

  • First of all, the Motions Straight Finish products did a great job. My hair reverted immediately and there was no damage. Thumbs up on the product living up to its promises!
  • Ya girl needed a haircut. BADLY! When I got my last cut, I didn’t want to go TOO short, so the blonde ends were left on. It added a little pepper of color, but honestly it always kind of annoyed me. However, seeing the colored pieces in their straightened form realized just how dry and damaged they were. It was absolutely time for them to go!
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  • I love my natural hair. Simple as that!
  • Welcome back, curls!!  You were missed!

    Welcome back, curls!! You were missed!

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