Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Good Advice for Parents of College Freshman | Dorms, Planning the Move

Hey Mocha Family!

I snapped on the university sheets, but have to admit that they have held up really well.  So glad we kept them after realizing that returning everything wasn't worth the hassle with our busy schedules.

This topic is being addressed super early in hopes that our College Freshman Parents will give themselves plenty of time to navigate the process.  There is no right way to plan, or single solution for everyone. However, I find myself more relaxed with enough wiggle room to make mistakes and change my mind.

Honestly, the hardest part of everything for me was letting go and trusting that my son had everything he needed to learn whatever I hadn't taught him at home.  I had to believe that he had enough practical sense and integrity to thrive.

As a parent, my inclination is to shelter and protect which is great in the right season.  College is good for testing much of what we preach and practice at home.  I found it difficult sometimes to watch my son stumble or make different choices, but have also seen this process yield tremendous growth.

This has also been a season of grieving.  Our relationship as mother and son has definitely been renegotiated.  I've had to learn to give my son space to grow and respect his privacy in leading with what he'd like to share and backing off when necessary.  Interestingly, he shares the important stuff, but in missing him, I tend to want to know the little stuff because the little stuff makes me feel closer.

I can now finally say that I really like the new normal, but looking back over the year is no less painful.

It really helped me that someone warned me in advance that this launch would be a mixed bag of emotions and to embrace whatever I felt.

Some of all of this can't be planned.  Trust what you have sowed, and try to flow with the change.  No matter how much you want to fight the current, roll with it.

Be blessed!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Summer Yarn Braids/Genie Locks | Braid Sealer Review

Hey Mocha Family!

The Braid Sealer is probably amazing for the purpose it was designed.  I can see it working really well with synthetic hair.  As a hack for yarn braids though, I am a little disappointed.

I just don't think it gets hot enough to melt yarn.

Remember when I hacked the Satin Strands Fusion tool a few months ago to seal Mocha Girl Two's second set of yarn braids? I was really surprised to find comparable results.  Let's not rehash the details here since the video is very detailed. Check that out first.  I just wanted to come here and talk about how well the braids are holding up.

This experience has gone from frustration to frustration.

As I said in the video, it was a struggle to put the braids in.  Our summer has started with so much activity and I'm already tired.  Don't worry, I am steadily rethinking my commitments and dropping stuff.  Summer is for rejuvenation.

Proud of myself for pressing through installing those yarn braids.

You can imagine my frustration when Mocha Girl Two walked into breakfast the next morning with braids unravelling all over her head.  Ok, I'm exaggerating.

Maybe it was eight braids total, but they were in multiple places.

The night before, Mocha Girl Two couldn't find a scarf to wrap her head, shrugged her shoulders and went to sleep on a naked cotton pillow!  When I heard the story my face looked like a horror emoji, and I said some things I shouldn't have said.

Namely, "Do you know how hard it was to put that style in?"

I can laugh about it now, but truthfully everything would have been fine if the braid seal had worked properly.  I commenced to seal those braids again and we haven't had further incidents.  Many of the ends don't look burnt.  Some are a little separated.  However, the braids are not unravelling.

It feels like a fail.

I will be back to let you know what happens after a swim.

Look at the price! I paid $25 for mine, but that vendor is no longer available.  Have stopped making these?

Should I try to sell mine for this?

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Deck Talk #1 | June Favorite , Burning Out

Hey Mocha Family!

So excited to be back on my deck!

Not much of a product junkie so my shopping tends to be about replenishing. This is true except when it comes to accessories.

Your girl loves accessories.

Shoes, bags, scarfs, jewelry...bring it!

When I really like something, like I do for the month of June, you'll definitely be hearing from me.

Check me out in the video and let me know if I went overboard down below.  Lol!

I'm also sharing about my narrow escape from spiraling into burn out.  I've done an entire series on homeschool burn out, but this one would have been bigger than homeschool.

My friend and I were talking about the pressures of always doing something and how counter cultural it is to sit quietly in your own home.  I almost never have nothing to do, and boredom has been missing in my life for a long time.  Yet, isn't creativity and self discovering often found in such moments?

I long to bring stillness back into my life, and to introduce it to my kids.

I want to say, "I won't do that, or I can't make it. No, there isn't a conflict".

I'd like it to be legitimate when I need a free day, weekend, week or month... just to be.

Remember when you could turn your ringer off, and be unavailable without offending anyone?

People left messages on answering machines and didn't expect an immediate response?

Counter cultural.

Be Blessed!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Bantu Knot Bun | Teen Natural Hair Styling

Hey Mocha Family!

This business of making myself available IF Head Mocha Girl (HmG) asks for help is pretty difficult.

Old habits die hard.

I keep wanting to suggest she try things my way, and if her interpretation of my ideas are less than exact, it's not always easy to school my features.

I talk to myself.

This was no less easy when HmG was mastering braids and twists.

Loose hair is more susceptible to breakage, but I've been here before when HmG's hair was breaking from rough handling during her wash and detangle sessions with the braids.

This process is about hair, but it's also about parenting older children.  We've taught them as best as we could, but they have to make a life of their own.

Head Mocha Girl will accept what works for her best, change things up so that they suit her personal style, and possibly reject some things all together.  As a parent, it may be difficult for me to let her.

Maybe I see some things as mistakes I had hoped she would avoid since I already made them.

I am learning that some of these mistakes are possibly just as important for her to make for herself.

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dance Mom FAIL and Recital Highlights

Hey Mocha Family!

I would be lying if I said I never make parenting mistakes.  Sometimes I'm just too stressed or get caught up in my emotions.  Sometimes I'm immature and want to go toe to toe with a kid.  Sometimes I think one thing will work when actually I've blown it.

I tell my kids all of the time, "Please forgive me, I blew it!"

Want to help your kids deal with reality right from the beginning?  Make sure they understand that we as parents are fallible.

I've apologized to Head Mocha Girl, but check out this video to see why this dance mom failed big time.

Be Blessed!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Chat & Style: Small Box Braids in Under 3 hours

Hey Mocha Family!

I will be honest with you guys.  I have to be mentally prepared for small box braids.  I love putting them in.  I would even say that the actually braiding is very relaxing and therapeutic.  A friend of mine was in the room while I was doing this set, and they wanted to know if my fingers hurt.

No.  Not when I am working with a natural head of hair.  Years ago I would do mid back length individual braids on my own head, with synthetic hair.  My fingers and wrists hurt for those, but I don't have the same problem when I limit myself to one head in a day with my girls.

Back to my original point.  I mentally prepare myself for box braids because I HATE taking them down.  I hate having to pick apart each small braid.  I would rather have everyone sport twists any day when it comes to take down.

Box braids work better for us in the summer though.  The detangling is so much easier in the end, because the strands don't matte as much as they would in twists.  The hair doesn't shrink nearly as much either, which is a win for the girls.

The last bonus I'll share is the fact that I can leave them in longer.  Yes they get super fuzzy, and old twists look better (think locks), but I have to consider more than the aesthetics.

In August, I must commit to taking down two heads worth of these tiny braids.

I always think it is going to be terrible.  It's never as bad as I dread it will be, and I am always grateful I took a hair vacation.

Side note.

When I commit like this to fuzzy living, it is so much easier to tell the girls, "Last one to the pool is a rotten egg!"

I tried to skip the fuzzy braids last summer and found myself really frustrated every time they received another pool invite.  I did finally put them in and we could all relax.

Let's go summer!

Be blessed!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Roast Yourself Challenge | Cherish My Daughter

I watched a few of these "self roast" videos on Youtube and really wondered how in the world I could make one.  I'm not much of an actress, love to sing but my zone is back up.  I can't rap and let's face it, my video editing skills are pretty basic. I wanted to do something though, because I really believe in the message.

I find considering my weaknesses in a humorous way to be extremely therapeutic.  I had so much fun sharing my struggles, and no place was given to the pity party.

I hope you can relate to some of what was shared.  I know for me, it often helps to know I am not alone and that somehow it all worked out for someone.  One day, it will be my turn.

Be blessed!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Chat & Style: My Summer Hair Styling Hacks

It's time out for letting my hair be more important than having a good time in the summer.  I avoid frustration by adjusting my expectations and making smart choices for both myself and the girls.  Always plan for moisture and remember that environment matters when it comes to products and methods.

I don't care how much I like a regimen or a hair style, I need to be flexible in the summer and practice delayed gratification.

Check out my favorite summer hair hacks in the video above!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Are You Neglecting Your Son By Focusing On His Sisters?

When I started a hair business, began blogging and making YouTube videos about the girls, it never occurred to me that people would think I was any less enraptured of my son.  People have asked me privately how he feels about my brand, but it wasn't until recently that I was challenged by someone I had a conversation with at our homeschool co-op.

The video about this experience could easily also be another one for my  "Really Lady!" series, because her opinion was strong enough to make me squirm.  It was strong enough to make me come home and ask my son if I've offended him.  Hear The Only One's answer for yourself!