Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Thoughts on Shea Moisture Apology & My Eyebrows

Hey Mocha Family,

So many people have already shared their opinion, but I wanted to add mine as fuel for thought.  I haven't been satisfied with the performance of my Shea Moisture products in a while.  I don't know if I purchased something with a new formula or if I was just over the hype.  I've heard some people react to this situation by boycotting Shea Moisture.  This is moot for me since I had no future plans to make a purchase anyway.

I'm glad they quickly made an apology which effectively communicates that they understand the angst, but will it be enough?

Be blessed!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

6 Month Lock Update |Side by Side Comparison: 1 Month vs 6 Months

Hey Mocha Family,

The one month versus six month comparison is worth seeing if you think your locks aren't changing and growing fast enough.

Be blessed!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

First Ear Piercing | My Baby is a Big Girl!

Hey Mocha Family,

What an emotional experience!  I wasn't expecting it.  We were shopping and I said to Ms. MB who had been asking to get her ears pierced for weeks, "You want to get your ears pierced today?"

The mixed emotions were completely unexpected.

Most likely she's my last child so I notice every time we experience something with her that will be a family moment for the last time.  Is it just me?

I was really proud of Ms. MB, and so glad that my daughter asked to record the moment.  Aside from pictures, I don't typically think to video tape.  So strange for someone who makes YouTube videos.

Be blessed!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easy Twist Maintenance

Hey Mocha Family,

Watching this video has made me realize how much I have changed.  Back in the day, I'd be working hard to get all the girls' hair done tonight in preparation for Easter service.  These days I don't really altar our routine, but try to work with where we are in the process.  I may use a few extra accessories tomorrow but a little bit of fuzz really doesn't bother me anymore.

It feels good.

Be blessed!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stop Negative Self Talk | Keys to Success

Hey Mocha Family,

Negative self talk is so destructive.  I think there is a graveyard of wasted potential simply because we talk ourselves out of a blessed life.  Suffering is unavoidable but we are born to live out our purpose and I know for me, negative self talk is such a stumbling block.

I really have to remind myself that I am here as a mentor.  One who shares what I have received.  I can't be distracted by the process or overwhelmed by my busy life.  As long as I upload the download, we're good, right?  Time out for making the wrong assessments and kudos for staying the course!

Be blessed!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How to Teach Better Math Part 2 | Mastering the Basics, Why Are Word Pro...

Hey Mocha Family,

I love watching Mocha Dad in action!  These spontaneous chats happen any time.  I love the fact that we don't always have to be doing school to be learning new things.  Mocha Dad's reminder that learning the basics well is so much more important than getting too deep too early was timely for me.  I've been applying these principles and have noticed a big difference in my daughters already.

Be blessed!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How to Teach Better Math Part 1| Curriculum, Building Confidence

Hey Mocha Family,

I am grateful to Mocha Dad for making time for this conversation.  It was so helpful to me that I wanted to share the entire thing.  There are three videos in all to be released Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7 pm.

Let me know what you think!

Be blessed.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Busy Mom Hair Regimen For Girls | Condition, Wash, Detangle and Style

Hey Mocha Family,

I haven't been slacking with on the hair videos.  I just haven't been doing hair!  I never thought I'd find myself too busy for the leisurely Princess Days of old.  Weekends are often booked or we're dealing with the unexpected like this week's stomach bug.  Thankfully it has stopped making it way through the family.

I was feeling all kinds of mommy guilt, until I was slid my fingers through my daughter's healthy strands and remembered that our natural hair can be resilient.  What a relief that the girls' hair is thriving!

I am excited to share our new Busy Mom Hair Regimen for Girls.  I'm getting my daughters more involved with the process, and fine tuning the steps to save time.

Be blessed!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

What's In My Bookshelf?

Hey Mocha Family,

Do you get overwhelmed with homeschooling sometimes?  I do!  Looking through my bookshelves really helps me remember where we've been and how much we've accomplished.  I thought it would be fun to share my collection with you!

Be blessed!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

5 Month Lock Update | Taming Frizz, Smoothing Edges, Oiling Scalp

Hey Mocha Family,

Hard to believe it's already been five months with these locks!  The biggest change for me this month is how much I like the way my hair looks and feels.  Everything has pretty much locked and I am loving it. There's no more unravelling, so I rinse my hair as much I like.  Life is sweet!

Sometimes I wonder if my hair has really changed all that much since last month, or if by ditching my wraps and hats I was forced to grow more comfortable with the way my locks look.  Now I am thinking it may have been better to force the issue sooner.  What do you think?  I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.  Please take a moment to leave a comment.

Be blessed!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Do We Do Too Much For Our Kids? | Raising Brats

Hey Mocha Family,

Do you feel the pressure to make your kids happy?  Are you running all over town making sure they capitalize on every possible opportunity?  Are you glad they have so much more than you did growing up?  Is everything we do producing wonderful kids or are we just raising brats?

Join me in the conversation by leaving a comment or contributing to the discussion on YouTube.

Be blessed!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Best Fitness Advice Ever | Get Your Body Back

Hey Mocha Family!

I hope this video makes you chuckle.

Truth be told, I had to stop lying to myself.  I don't love muscle pain and so working out effectively is something I dread.  For years I would do workouts without really pushing myself.  There was a time I wasn't breaking much of a sweat.  Yet, I'd feel so discouraged that I wasn't toning up and losing any fat.  I really believed that something was different about my body and that what works for others just wouldn't work for me.

The truth is that I just wasn't working hard enough!

You get what you work for and when I stopped lying to myself the results came.

If I decide to show up, then I'd better work!  I needed to stop wasting my time.

In the video I am working out to Kinect Training which is an XBOX Kinect personal training program.  I set it to meet my fitness goals and the Kinect monitors my movements and instructs me.  It's like having a digital personal trainer.  I really like it and am disappointed that XBOX isn't making Kinect anymore.  If you already have a Kinect, you can get the program online.

Be blessed!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

I interlocked My Roots Again | Semi Free forming?

Hey Mocha Family,

The video above is a close look at my locks after a recent retightening.  I used the nappy locks tool which is pictured in the thumbnail.  I wanted to come here and share why I prefer semi free forming over interlocking, and this situation is a good example of why I keep this blog going.  I could make a separate video, but for the sake of the people who aren't truly interested is my lock process, I think this is a better avenue for going deeper into a video topic while keeping the video itself at a reasonable length.

I have two primary reasons for interlocking my hair.  First, my hair texture is fine with the areas from my ears down to my nape in the back and right above my ears on the sides of my head being loosely curled and silky.  These areas typically shows length faster while being less prone to breakage. The rest of my hair is a tightly coiled cork screw type structure about the size of the coils you see inside a pen.  These textures created unique obstacles for me when my hair was loose with styling/wet sets and locking is no different.  For starter locks the looser texture slips out of most everything except interlocking. Braids did work well to hold the loose texture, but my hair was much longer when I started my first set of locks.  I think back combing would have worked as well.

My second reason is scalp maintenance.  I have mentioned on a number of videos that I am managing a chronic scalp condition which I am assuming is seborrheic dermatitis (I've never been diagnosed but my brother has, and our scalps are similar).  There are prescribed steroids and shampoos I can try, but I like to manage it as naturally as I can and have seen tremendous improvement over the years. However, it has never completely healed.  My scalp can be scale free, but if I deviate from my routine, the flakes return. Part of my routine includes rinsing my scalp a minimum of every other day and shampooing at least twice a week.

With my first set of locks I started semi free forming accidentally.  My scalp was super sensitive from the lack of frequent styling.  One month I interlocked my roots too tightly by mistake.  The pain was unbearable but I could do nothing to alleviate the discomfort until my roots grew out a little.  I also struggled to work around big buds and found that I was creating a sausage effect in my lock structure. This wasn't a problem with every lock but I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.  I read somewhere that the tight pinched looking areas (like where the sausage links are joined) would be weak spots in my locks down the line.  I found this alarming, though I never developed any problems. I hated the sausage look. Many weeks passed after that painful retightening but I couldn't drum up the courage to retighten again.  I dreaded suffering through that kind of pain again.

Surprisingly I really liked the way my hair looked with the loose, thick roots.  I loved the new fullness and not having to devote time to interlocking my roots.  Once or twice a year I found it necessary to interlock the locks around my hairline.  This kept their bases thick and strong.  I left the rest of my hair alone and loved it.  With this second set I chose interlocking to start my locks because I knew that it would provide the best hold for my short hair.  My first set of locks were started with braids, but I knew that braids would not hold since my silky areas had also been tapered short with my TWA.  The super short braids would easily unravel during my frequent washes.  I've interlocked those areas a number of times as they tend to slip.  In my fourth month they have been holding through washes and felt significantly more locked.  New growth has been the issue.

The weight of longer locks effectively held the new growth in place with my first set.  This time around the shorter locks (some only .5 - 1.5 inches long) were sticking out from more than an inch of silky new growth.  In those areas more and more loose strands slipped from their bases every day.  I realized that interlocking the roots would keep these hairs in their base.  I could have stopped there and perhaps in the future I will.  For the sake of uniformity I interlocked my entire head.  The longer locks would have been fine if left alone.  Maybe I'm still paranoid about interlocking my roots too tightly.  I feel a tiny bit of pressure at the roots but no pain.  Next time I won't do as many rotations.  I can see my scalp in some areas, which I don't love.

My plan going forward is to semi freeform, but I will interlock again if necessary.  Check out the video and let me know what you think.

Be blessed!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My New Facial Products | Skin Update

Hey Mocha Family,

I wanted to share with you my new facial products since I've been asked a number of times what I'm doing differently. It was so difficult to replace the Proactive I had used for more than a decade. My aesthetician recommended a salon line, but I wanted to do more research.  I wasn't necessarily looking for something super expensive.  I confess that everything was starting to look the same until I came across a YouTube video where the lady must have said all of the right things to me.  I am so glad I decided to follow her recommendations.  The best part for me is the fact that I can find most of the products in a health food market I visit regularly already.  When I can get there, everything is also on Amazon.

Check out the video and let me know what you think.

Be blessed!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Black Moms Don't Cut Their Daughters' Hair | Hair Talks

Hey Mocha Family,

I hope these Hair Talk videos will develop over time into a series we really enjoy.  So far the response has been great.  This particular video was inspired by a video I watched by YouTubers MAZELEE.  I love their "cinevlogs" and have been captivated for months by their style of story telling.  This particular video was a family vlog about their new baby with only a snippet of the mom talking to her girls about what hair cuts they would try next.  Though the conversation was only a small part of the video, the comments section exploded with people admonishing the mom about cutting her daughters' hair and asking her to please not cut it anymore.

My immediate response was, how ridiculous!!!

Later, I kept thinking about it and wondering what it means for us as moms and for me as a black mom.

Do we still believe that black hair doesn't grow?

Is there still a fear that is we cut our daughter's hair, beyond a trim, it will never grow back?

I'm really enjoying the conversation on YouTube.  Join us!  Check out MAZELEE's channel and let me know what you think.

Be blessed!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

4 Month Lock Update

Hey Mocha Family,

Who would ever want to watch paint dry?  Any volunteers?

Probably not.

I need to stop staring at my locks in the mirror so much.  It's about as constructive as watching paint dry.

A watched pot never boils...

I could go on, but I'll stop here.

I know my locks will develop, grow and thrive to be a lush head of hair.  This process is a mind game and to win I must let myself be.

Is should be easier the second time around, shouldn't it?

Be blessed!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

My 11 Year Old Does Her First Set of Twists

Hey Mocha Family,

Out of all the styles I can teach my girls, I find small twists to be the most practical towards independence.  If you redo them often enough, they are easy in and easy out.  This particular set has braided roots to minimize matting when the girls wet their hair on wash and swim days.  The braided roots make it a little trickier to master.  I find that my girls are able to twist like pros before they can braid like pros.

I had to help my 11 year old,  Mocha Girl 3, by braiding the roots for her and allowing her to finish off the twists.  She makes her braids are still a little too loose to do the job of trapping the shed hair.  She will master the technique with a little bit of practice.  Your girl was so proud!

Be blessed!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mommy Update | What I Learned from a Chimp about Motherhood

Hey Mocha Family,

God talks to me in the most unexpected ways if I stay open.  I've shared with you guys before about how emotional the process of launching my son Kaleb has been, and two years are flying by so that Head Mocha Girl's turn is coming like lightening.  My feelings are a mixed bag.

A wonderful perk of the kids getting older is the ability to get away for the weekend with my husband with relative ease.  I was really happy on a recent trip and when we decided to pop into Busch Gardens, I never imagined I'd be getting an answer to the restless stirrings in my soul about my purpose.

Check out the video and let me know your thoughts.

Be blessed!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Great Detangling Moisturizer for Kids | Thanks Aunt Jackie!

Hey Mocha Family,

I may not be a product junkie but I will typically watch any video promoting a product to help with detangling.  For me, this is the most challenging aspect of managing our natural hair.  I am so happy I watched a recent review of Aunt jackie's Knot Havin' it.  I bought bought the girl version and the adult version but as far as I can tell the main difference is the scent.  I would describe the girls' version as a more of a candy scent.  My girls love both products.

Be advised that this is a very light moisturizer.  I am accustomed to using much heavier products, particularly my shea butter mix when I put in long term styles like twists and braids.  Knot Havin' it melts in the hair completely with a feel of almost no residue.  I wanted to try the product alone so I did not layer oils and butters over it.  By the time we were finished styling I was very pleased with the softness of the girl's hair.  There was also a natural looking sheen to their hair.  I do think I will have to moisturize again after swimming and washing.  I will come back and report on the overall performance of this product as a moisturizer.

As I shared in the video, I was amazed at how will this worked as a detangler.

Be blessed!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Son's Debut Album is Out! | Kaleb's Musical Process

Hey Mocha Family,

I'm so proud of my son Kaleb!  He managed to release his first album while maintaining such good grades in college to continually stay on the dean's list.  We are so blessed by his faithfulness and happy to see him live his dream.

I love Kaleb's idea of sharing the story behind the music on his website.  How enjoyable it is to follow the creator's story while listening to the music!  As I shared in the video, Kaleb has been drawing emotion from me with his music for years.  This album is a unique glimpse into his imagination.

Please check out his album and make the purchase if you like.  We really appreciate it.

Purchase Kaleb's Album LEGEND

Companion Website

Be blessed!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Lock Style FAIL | Styling my Baby Locks for the First Time

Hey Mocha Family,

Hubby and I had such a great time on our trip.  My hair was of no concern.  It is so funny to me what an issue I thought it would be when we were planning our get away.  The set I did in the video took away too much volume from my locks.  Nope.  Fail.

Have you ever heard that sea water helps hair lock faster? I took the opportunity to test this myth while we were on our trip by rinsing my locks with sea water.  They did tighten up, but once I rinsed the sea water out, my locks were the same as ever.  Since I am not about to walk around with salty locks, I'll leave that one alone.

Be blessed!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Weight Loss Update | Losing 21 Pounds in 21 Days

Hey Mocha Family,

I can't tell you how many strange looks I get when people find out that I actually fast food instead of something like media.  At the very least, the expectation is that I am having some sort of juice.  Turns out that water fasting is quite healthy and not as uncommon as you might expect.

I was really amazed to find so much information on water fasting online.  My family and I have been doing a 21 day progressive fast for more than a decade now.  We drop one meal the first week, two meals the second, and the last seven days is a water fast. This was my first year making it all the way through the seven days on just water.  Previously, I have reverted to one meal a day to make it through after a few days on the water fast.  It was largely a mental feat. Once I believed I could actually succeed, I did.

Every year I lose weight but this was my first time tracking it.  I lost 21 pounds in 21 days!  I have regained 8 pounds and counting.  Not sure where my weight will rest.  I am trying not to focus on the scale.  My goal is change my relationship with food and get back into a fit lifestyle.  No more emotionally eating and spending all of my time on the couch.  During the fast I practiced telling myself no.  I hope to continue to discipline myself.

Be blessed!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Get hair to lock faster: Fact of Fiction

Hey Mocha Family,

Does experience count for anything?  I really expected this second time around of watching my hair lock to be easy.  What fears could there be?  What lies could I possibly be made to believe?

My reality is that I find myself experiencing some of the same things from the first time!

What will my locks look like...?

Will this or that aspect of my locks ever go away..?

My hair will lock, won't it?

I'll thank my first experience with the lock process for not falling prey to all of the gimmicks and concoctions promising to get me there faster.

I know that my locks will look great.

My hair will lock.

The secret is time.

Be blessed!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Skin Update: Change is coming!

Hey Mocha Family,

I am more than a week into weaning myself off of the proactive.  Initially I thought of going cold turkey like the aesthetician recommended, but after careful consideration, I realized that a lot of her advice could be sales pitch.  She had a line ready to sell me.  I did some research online which suggests that a slow process may radically reduce my breakouts.

My plan will be drop to once a day for a month, followed by every other day for a month etc.  After every two days I think I may be able to go cold turkey.  I will just have to see how my face reacts.

So far, so good.

I am down to using proactive once a day and trying out some popular natural products I ordered online and purchased from a local health store.  I have noticed one zit on my cheek, but wonder if it is from my new regimen or hormonal shifts that come with my period.

I will definitely keep ya'll posted!

Be blessed!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

3 Month Lock Update | My edges, Flat locks

Hey Mocha Family,

I behaved like a true newbie this month by stopping my wraps and being bareheaded around the house.  I watched my hair like a hawk and as a result felt a little impatient with the process.  Find out what changing I plan to make for next month to get back on track by checking out the video above.

Be blessed!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

How to Think Outside the Box | How I Handle My Homeschool Day

Hey Mocha Family,

It's not homeschooling if we are trying to bring a public or private school situation into our homes.  I struggled for years thinking I had to recreate what I experienced as a child in public school (without the bad stuff) to educate my kids well.  The truth is that such a goal is impossible for one person to achieve.  Schools are filled with an army of workers, and specialized equipment to get the job done.  How can one person play the role of all those people?  Anyway, the beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility to create an ideal situation specific to your family and child.

Every now and then I still have to zap the feeling that someone is watching and waiting to report me for not doing things a certain way, but it has become much easier to beat to the drum of our own vision for the family.  Check out the above video for ways I try to homeschool outside the box.

Be blessed!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Cheap Deep Conditioner That Works

Hey Mocha Family,

I shy away from products with a long list of ingredients I can't pronounce.  Isn't this what we've always heard from the natural hair community?  I'm sure this advice has merit, but does it follow that just because we don't understand the ingredients the product will be bad for our hair?

I'm glad I took a chance with this Africa's Best Hair Mayonnaise.  It's super cheap but has worked wonders for Mocha Girl 2's hair.  I share our experience in the video above.  Check it out and let me know in the comments what products have surprised you?

Be blessed!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Homeschool Problems From FALL FAIL to SPRING SUCCESS

Hey Mocha Family,
I don't like to call the mistakes I make in homeschooling failure. The growth experienced from these mistakes testify of their value. However, struggles don't feel good and we are still looking for those good grades and happy looks on our kids faces day to day as proof of success.

I usually regroup by reflecting on the semester with my husband or by consulting friends. I watch the kids like a hawk and make my own assumptions, but I've never drawn them into a conversation to hear their perspective until now.

I learned so much. Check out the video to see how it went and leave me a comment down below about how you assess your performance.

Be blessed!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Great Moisturizer for Dry Hair

Hey Mocha Family,
I finally tried rose water. What great results! Check it out!
Here is the one I bought.

Be blessed!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Weight Loss Journey | Holiday Weight Gain

Hey Mocha Family,
I can't believe I am packing twenty extra pounds! I guess weight management comes to everyone sooner or later. Can I smirk at the younger me who didn't own a scale and could eat whatever she wanted?

Here is what I am doing to kick off my weight loss journey. I don't expect to lose twenty pounds in twenty one days. Instead I hope to break some really bad habits and restart my body for the New Year. With more than a decade of experience fasting like this, I know this works well for me.

Be blessed!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

How to Remove Build up from Locks

Hey Mocha Family,
I really enjoy getting my hands in my son O&O's locks. I can't believe how quickly they are forming. Four months in and his hair already looks and behaves like much older locks. You can imagine my horror to one day find white sticky build up in his locks!

Product build up can develop easily in locks. We typically avoid creamy products, but even clear shampoo can build up over time when not properly rinsed away. Sometimes, even under the best of circumstances residue can build up in locks. I've learned that clarifying is an important part of the maintaining healthy locks.

We work hard towards prevention by limiting our product usage, diluting with water and minimizing. When I apply shampoo to my locks I usually follow up with an apple cider vinegar rinse, which works as a clarifier. I also do super rinses where I allow water to run through my locks for long periods of time. Five minutes can seem quick, but when timed I realized how long it feels and the fact that I was rinsing for far less time than I imagined. I no longer detangle, but I rinse. Baths are great for giving locks a good soak.

We tried all of the above with O&O's locks over Winter Break. His build up was significant. Check out the video above to see what finally worked. I've heard it argued that baking soda is not properly PH balanced to cleanse hair safely, however so many lock wearers are successful, we decided to give it a try.

Be blessed and Happy New Year!