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Healthy Breakfast + Unhealthy Television

 Note: High-lighted hyperlinks will take you elsewhere to learn about the health benefits of each ingredient.

You know, sometimes I surprise even myself with genius meals. This morning’s breakfast consisted of fried egg, guacamole, and cilantro on a whole wheat bagel. To wash it down? Hot mug of Chinese Detox Tea, a full glass of ice water and half glass of almond milk (to get my calcium without the lactose). And last, for breakfast dessert. . . yeah, I do that, a small cup of Mott’s Granny Smith apple sauce with cinnamon. Now that’s what I call a breakfast!

The bad thing is I usually don’t have breakfast like this, I usually don’t have breakfast AT ALL. When I met Noah, he was horrified to see me flitting out the door with a toaster strudel or nothing. I’m trying to do better now that I’ve lightened up the “meat load.” And I’m also trying to be creative with what I’ve got in my pantry, taking a page from Evelyn’s book.

While I’m eating, I’m deep conditioning with a thick thick coat of Tresemme Conditioner and wearing shower cap. I’m watching the Wendy Williams Show and drinking in the gossip about Lindsay Lohan. I like Williams, she’s the kind of bawdy lady who talks frank, all the time. She’s kind of an Everywoman too, very preoccupied with cheap fashion, bitchin’ heels, and beef jerky.

How You Doin’?

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Packed the Fro and Took it to Bangkok

This is an old blog post from my days in Thailand.
If you want to read more a black chick’s adventures in Bangkok, go here

That’s me writing this blog. In my fro. You all have seen it, no big deal. Here in Bangkok, even with their progressive fashion sense, it is a HUGE deal.

So Monday, I stepped out on the street in a gray pencil skirt, blue blouse and cream colored pumps. There was never a hotter English teacher in all of Thailand.

And the people knew it.

The Thai teachers were amazed. The kids were enthralled. The two sisters, who own the restaurant I go to, gave me a thumbs up! Of course, there were blank stares. Those I expected immediately.

“Teacha! Teacha!” screamed a group of girls.
“You are BEAUTIFUL!” They all ran around, arms circled above their head, giggling like mad. There is the occasionally pointing and staring, there are giggles, but I say it all beats having to straighten my hair obsessively for the next four months.

I couldn’t believe how big an issue hair would be before I came over here. To tell the truth I feel like I did very little to prepare for this trip, hair was probably the last thing on my mind. Friends and family did ask my what I would do about the it.

Leave it as is, I guess. I don’t know.

However, when I got here, I chickened out. I wore it in a bun, a ponytail, and then I started to straighten it. A hot press job takes a good hour to complete on a good day. On a bad day, (going from an afro to straight locks) maybe two hours.

I don’t have that kind of time! I can’t possibly wake up earlier than I already do just to fry my hair! Only for it to frizz up in this wet and humid weather anyway. For that reason, there was no way I could keep it up.

Another reason was the enthusiasm my co-worker Ploy had for my straight do as opposed to other days. “Ahh Charish, your hair look beautiful! Wear it like that all the time, yeah?” Or whenever we had a meet and greet with school officials. “Look beautiful tomorrow, yeah?”

uh. . . no.

Never been too fond of people telling how to look. I broke down and combed it out. The first afro outside of the house was to a bar. At this particular bar, women, who I believe were prostitutes, swarmed me immediately. The “madam” asked me if it was real. Sure it was, who would willingly fake this? About ten hookers began patting my hair.
“Oooh. . . aaah!”

Interesting first.

Just today, the third day of the fro, a student asked if I got it at Khaosan Rd. I was puzzled. Got what? My hair? I tugged at it and told her. This is mine. I didn’t get it anyhere. My student was amazed.
“You grow?”
I nodded.

Yeah, well. The fro is not going anywhere. I think it’s going to be a staple.


Do It Yourself (For Real)

I’m back in twists and I’ve been wearing my hair like this for a week now. They’re holding up nicely, here’s a picture:

I’ve gotten lots of compliments on my hairdo which is really exciting. Black women that I don’t even know have approached me on the street, in the mall to tell me they like my twists. They’ve also inquired about who did them. When I tell them that I do my own hair, they are almost always shocked. 

“You do that?”
Sure, I do.
And you can too!

I have the attitude that if I can’t do it, then I need to know what it takes to learn. I’m also cheap. I’m not trying to fly to the salon just so someone can braid my hair. I know there are livelihoods at stake and salon owners depend on the business, but I’m afraid they won’t be getting any of my paycheck. I’ve got working hands! I’m crafty and smart!

In this new techno-age, where information is so readily available, people are now able to make well informed decisions about their health and beauty. As consumers, we are finally at a time where we can get our power back from companies. If I don’t want to buy your shampoo because I can’t read your ingredients, that’s now my prerogative. I can search the internet, read a book, watch a YouTube video and find that I might want to slather avocado in my hair instead.

Imagine that!
Black hair care is not a Super Secret Club 
with an exclusive membership, decoder ring or handshake! Don’t feel like you
need to go somewhere to get something done by a wizard or buy something in a magic elixir bottle that promises to save you. 
Now this doesn’t mean that journey to self-help is not fraught with some mistakes! If you read about my Chia Seed SNAFU from earlier posts then you know experimentation can be risky. But you feel great when it pays off, don’t you? I love my twists and I have no one to thank but myself (and of course the YouTube video that I watched). That sense of accomplishment is worth it! So remember this, even though it’s a tad corny: I did it and you can too!

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Twist Out Falls Flat

Perhaps I had the wrong idea about my twists. After all the work that I did, I was more focused on the great moment of undoing them and having cute curls. I don’t think I appreciated the “cocoon” stage that my hair was in while in twists. I think I failed to understand that twists themselves are just as pretty as twists outs.

After I trimmed all of my twists, I hopped into the shower and got my hair wet. That was a bit of a mistake, because some of them started to unravel at the ends. I towel dried and went to bed with a satin cap and flattened my hair a lot. By the time I work up and took them down, the result was not very impressive at all. At least not “butterfly” enough to take a picture of. I kind of wished I could go back to my “cocoon” stage.

I feel like there might be a grander metaphor in there somewhere.


Day 2 on Twists!

Hey people, I’ve finally mini twisted! Evelyn was my muse. I did it in 2 hours without meaning to, but I did it while watching Saturday Night Live with Noah. It was a flat episode but these twists were poppin’. Anyway, while I’m in twists, I thought I should go ahead and trim. I went ahead and cut the raggedy edges of each twist. Hopefully this won’t disturb the shape of my righteous fro later and correct my split ends.

Not a real change in photos.  No glasses?

I’m going to co-wash again while I’m twisted. I hope to take these puppies down tomorrow and get a good wave or curl. I shall post pictures of the twist out. Keep fingers crossed!


My Curly Haired White Boy

I definitely want to talk about married life with my white husband and how that’s effected my hair journey. Noah is also a curly, in his own Caucasian way, but he’s learned a lot about black hair. While we dated he watched in utter fascination while I stood in the bathroom carefully flat-ironing my hair, burning my ears and fingers. When I ran my fingers through his hair and commented on his curly “kitchen,” he was delighted to learn such an interesting new word for the nape of his neck.

Noah and me while dating

One evening when I picked my hair out into the most righteous afro and wore it around the apartment, Noah saw it and told me how gorgeous I was. “You should wear that ALL the time.” Needless to say, I looked at him like he was crazy. I explained to him that black women don’t walk around like that in public.

Why not? he asked.

I was forced to give him an answer that made sense. I couldn’t find one. Why not, indeed. Black women don’t go out and about natural. To say those words out loud were just ridiculous. He told me so. I tried to explain it the best I could. But in the end, I tried it out. It was a wild experience taking such a boss fro into the world.

Noah was there during my Big Chop, he drove while I sat in the passenger’s seat sobbing about my “loss.” He was perplexed but supportive. He watched the Chris Rock documentary “Good Hair” with me and he learned what black hair industry was really like. He has made room for all of my hair concoctions on the bathroom counter. He’s excited at the prospect of raising some curly headed kids with me.

Through teaching him so much about this culture, I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s outsider, a white man, who has taught me about loving my natural black self. The irony was not lost on him either 🙂

Our wedding 2009


Natural Debate

 What is your definition of “Natural?” 
 When I first started with this journey, I thought being natural was 
No Chemicals Relaxers/Perms
No Flat Ironing.
I told my husband: “If you noticed that bathroom door closed for about 40 minutes and there’s burning smell in the house, please tell me to turn off the flat iron.” I have kept away from my hot styling tools since December and I’m proud of myself. I wanted to get that natural curl back and now that I’ve got it, I’m flirting with the idea of straighten again. I like having variety and believe I look great straight or curly. I just have different hair moods!
Now, this might disappoint or turn some readers off. But is it wrong to apply some heat to your head and call yourself a natural at the same time? Would I be ruining my ethos as a natural hair blogger if I turn back?
Am I a flat ironing wolf in natural sheep’s wool?
Is excluding chemicals natural enough?

I would love to hear your thoughts.