So much this!

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[Hair Journey] Here you go

Here you go!

Umm… Talya… what is that?

Oh! That’s a sandwich bag full of hair.

Okay… but why are you showing me a sandwich bag of hair?

Because that is what used to REGULARLY come out of my head, whenever I used to sit down and fully detangle my hair. Now, granted- I would only detangle my hair… about once every three or four months. Yeah- I hated detangling, so I would put it off again and again. Until my hair would loc up and force me into action.

That is also about the amount that was coming out in my brush, comb, and in the shower, every time I washed my hair. Seriously. It looked like I murdered a Wookie every time I washed my hair.

(Can you imagine the fortune that Chewbacca must spend on conditioner? Or did his people develop some uber conditioner that the Empire never knew about? That’s the REAL treasure, right there! Forget the Force!)

So that is a visual representation of what I want to accomplish. Healthy hair that doesn’t break off excessively. And to stop killing Wookies in the shower. Sorry, Chewie.

[Clothes Journey] Gwynnie Bee

This is not a paid review.

I have a hard time finding clothes to fit me. Curves are not something that many designers plan for; and since people come in ALL shapes and sizes- unless you are a Size 0, or making clothes to fit YOURSELF- you have to make do. As a plus size girl- I know that clothes are not going to fit me like I like them to. Clothes generally hug my frame like an overzealous lover, or they fit like a circus tent (usually equally as colorful). Because I have an ample amount of cleavage- anything with an empire waist will not fit me. Generally the “waistline” lands somewhere around my nipples, when it is supposed to lie gently under my breasts (and no amount of coaxing will get it to stop riding up). Because I have a decent amount of butt- I have to be careful about the pants I get. Skinny anything usually becomes low riders, and regular pants sometimes land mid calf, simply because my butt is taking up more fabric than the designer envisioned (and my legs are apparently longer than the standard size). If I go up a size (to gain butt space), I usually end up with extra fabric around my crotch, which makes me look like I’m fluffier than I actually am, OR that I have a penis. Not a good look.

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[Hair Journey] Product Review: Nature Republic Argan Essential Deep Care Hair Pack

First off- this is not a paid review. Second- this company has good reviews on Amazon. Also- many people on YouTube seem to like it.

I picked this as the first deep conditioner of my journey, because Nature Republic is a Korean company. And it is very easy to find all over Japan. I’ve tried this hair pack two ways- just putting it on in the shower, and letting it work while I clean other parts of myself, and also with a heat cap on, letting the heat permeate the product and, in turn, my scalp. Umm… I’m not really sure what to expect, since these were the second and third times I have deep conditioned in my entire life. It wasn’t impressive. I was expecting my hair to be softer and more manageable. My hair was not soft. In fact- whatever softness that was imparted by the shampoo- it felt like the hair pack took that away. My hair also felt dry.

I’m not sure if the Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie had anything to do with that (if I was getting too much protein), or if I am maybe sensitive to Argan oil, but I was not a fan of this one. I plan to give it one more chance on Week 6 Wash Day, as I have weened myself off of using the Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie as a Styler, so this will be the real test. Then we will revisit this review with a final decision.

Now- I should mention that I am low porosity, and I have medium density hair.  Not sure if that makes a difference, but if you are in the same boat and want to give this hair pack a try- let me know if you get different results.

[Hair Journey] Week 1: 6/10 – 6/16/18

Wash Day

– Shampoo: Suave Professionals Rosemary and Mint Shampoo

– Deep Conditioner: Nature Republic Argan Essential Deep Care Hair Pack

– Moisturizer: Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream and Water (5%/95%)

-Leave-In/Detangler/Styling Cream: Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk

Upkeep (if needed, throughout the week)

– Moisturizer: Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream and Water (5%/95%)

– Styler: Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie

Thoughts:
I really can’t tell the difference between regular Suave and Suave Professionals. I’ve tried pretty much all the regular Suaves, and a few Suave Professionals, and the only difference that I can tell, is that the Professionals line has more “grown-up” scents. That’s it. They all pretty much work the same (in my experience). The reason I chose this one, is that while visiting relatives in another state- the hotel my Hubby and I stayed at had this as the complementary free swag. It smelled pretty good, so I went out and bought a full-sized bottle.

This is also the first time I have deep conditioned in many MANY years. I’ve heard good things about the Nature Republic, AND it is a Korean brand (and a brand easily found in Japan), so I thought I’d start with this one.

Please note: I realize NOW (at the time of posting this), that the Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie is a hair mask, not a styling cream. So my deep conditioning results on this and the next few wash days may have been tainted by the over-conditioning of my hair. I know this NOW, not at the time. At any rate- I have proved that you can use the smoothie as a leave-in, because I haven’t had any adverse effects to leaving it in my hair. Also- this is my SECOND jar of this, as I have been using it for awhile.

Product reviews to come!

[Fitness] I started!

I started working out today. It was just about 25 minutes on the treadmill, but since I have not worked out in about 2 years (maybe 3)- it is best not to overdo it.

Oh, and this exercise high that people talk about? I’ve never experienced it. I’ve worked out for several months STRAIGHT and never experienced it. I mean I get that your blood is circulating at a faster rate, so you FEEL better. That part I understand. But I’ve never actually gotten a high from exercising.

I also have a 2 month subscription to the Daily Burn app. We’ll see how that one works on the days I don’t feel like trudging over to the fitness center, OR on the days when it is extra crowded.

[Hair Journey] Pre-Journey

Before we go into my history, let’s go over what I want to accomplish.

1) A simple / semi-simple hair routine that I can keep doing in Japan. This is paramount.

1a) I don’t need 1,001 products. I don’t WANT 1,001 products. I can’t take all of that with me anyway! I just need a Shampoo, Leave-In Conditioner/Detangler, Deep Conditioner, and a Styling Cream. That’s four products. (And probably identifying four back-up products, in case those get discontinued or the ingredients change, and they don’t work on my hair the way they used to.)

1b) Once those products are identified- I need to figure out how to get them to Japan. I hope I can order them and have them shipped, but if not- I need a reliable local source where I can buy a ton and put it in my checked luggage. And by a ton- I mean a year’s worth. Which means I also have to identify what I mean by a year’s worth. That’s probably 3 or 4 Shampoo bottles, but that’s easily 6 leave-in conditioner, and 6 styling cream bottles. EACH. Probably more. That’s a lot of luggage real estate.

2) I would like to grow my HEALTHY, CURLED hair to shoulder-length all the way around. This is not vitally important, but it is a want. And I absolutely don’t need or want waist-length hair. But I think shoulder length is doable. But if I don’t get to this step- that is fine, too. I am good with my hair at it’s current length. I just want it to be healthy.

What I am looking for in hair products:

Shampoo
No idea. I haven’t had a shampoo that I love. Every shampoo I’ve EVER had (and I’ve picked up pretty much all of the cheap brands, and a fair amount of the mid-priced brands) has just been okay. A few of them have stripped my hair, but I have learned to stay away from those. I’ve never had a shampoo WOW me, so I don’t know what that would be like. And yes- I’ve tried several Aveda products (my best friend is an Aveda junkie), but none really seemed to work for me.

To be honest- I think this happens to a LOT of people- they just never say anything. You find a product that works reasonably well – not GREAT mind you, just reasonably well, and you stick with it. Well I want to find something that works GREAT. This way I can brag about it.

Conditioner
Something fantastic. When I had relaxed hair- I used to use Infusium 23 and another scientific-type conditioner (don’t remember the brand, but I can’t find it now, so it may have gone out of business), which worked very well on relaxed hair. However, when I stopped getting relaxers- Infusium 23 didn’t work the same. My hair chemistry changed, and I was at a loss as to what to do about it. So I am on the hunt for a fantastic conditioner.

Everything else needs to be about hydration and stability. And what I mean by stability, is that I need leave ins, moisturizers, and styling creams to be able to hold the moisture in, but to also not mind my piling on of the product. I’ve had a few styling creams that you could not reapply. They made your hair feel greasy and limp, and a few even flaked if you reapplied over an older application. I’m mostly going to be washing my hair weekly, but there are a few times where you miss that weekend wash day, and you really don’t have time to go through the WHOLE routine during the workweek. So I need products that will take reapplication well.

I’m not sure what my hair type is. I’m fairly certain that I am a combination of most of the type 4s. But my curl pattern is not the issue. I have mutt hair. I call it mutant hair. Mostly not in an affectionate way. So as I figure out what works for my hair – I will be trying out several brands, changing one thing at a time, until I find things I like. As I go, I will be posting honest reviews of each product.

Welcome to my journey

First – the backstory.

When we got married, my husband and I were brainstorming on places we wanted to live. There is no reason that we have to live in the same state where we were married (or the same country); so we were throwing out possibilities and how easy or difficult it would be to live there. The stipulations were that we had to live in a semi-major city, with relatively easy access to a good hospital. The reason is that my husband has Crohn’s disease, so easy access to medical care is a must. (which rules out his dream of living high in the mountains.)

Well early in 2015, my husband asked about the possibility of us living in Japan. He had taken Japanese in college, and he loved the language and culture, so he wanted to put Japan on the table. There are other reasons that Japan is on the table, but it seemed the most versatile of anywhere we were thinking, so I thought why not?

So. We’re moving to Japan.

Not RIGHT THIS MINUTE, mind you. There are things that need to get done first.

1) We both need to learn the language. So- we both need to go back to school. For Japanese. Which means it’s going to take about 4 years, before we are ready to move.

2) I need to learn how to care for my hair. I’ve never really learned to take care of my hair- I’ve just been muddling through… for YEARS. But since the availability will be scarce of black hair care products- I’m going to need to lock down a routine, and then find a source for my products (which will probably be Amazon).

3) We currently have a cat. So, if we have a cat in three years- we need to figure out how to get him through the quarantine procedures as quickly as possible. (Which means starting a year before we leave for Japan and getting him the vaccinations he needs to breeze through quarantine.) Now- please note that I don’t plan on getting rid of the cat- it’s just that he is about 13 years old, so he realistically may not be alive in three years. But, since they can live 15-20 years. It’s likely that he’ll still be around.

4) I’m a plus size girl. I do plan to lose some weight (see point number 5), but I’m not going to get down to being absolutely thin. Just healthy. And healthy… is still around a size 10/12. And an American size 12 is still too big for 90% of the clothes in Japan. Plus- we Westerners have a bigger build than Japanese women, so even if we could fit- most clothes would still fit weird. Our shoulders are broader, so sleeved clothes would have a weird shoulder seam, and the sleeves would probably not be long enough. Also- the pants definitely wouldn’t be long enough. So bringing my own core wardrobe, PLUS having reliable sources of clothing is a must.

5) Getting an exercise routine. And mostly it’s going to have to be a routine that doesn’t use weights. Now hand weights are fine, but even the gyms in Japan don’t have a lot of weight machines. Not to mention the gyms are expensive. So it’s going to have to be workouts that can easily be done at home or at a public park.

So if you have read this far- this part may affect you. I will be tagging my posts. Posts about my hair will be tagged [Hair Journey] in the title. Posts about clothing will be tagged [Clothes Journey], posts about language will be tagged [Japanese] (or whatever language I’m using), and posts about exercise will be tagged [Fitness]. This way you can just skip the post if you’d rather not read about that subject.

Where I’ve Been

I haven’t left. It’s just hard to find time to blog, when you’re night shift AND working 12 hour days. It’s also hard to find time to knit. Basically- I just work, eat, sleep, and repeat.

Work has been fun (if you didn’t catch the sarcasm there- please reread and insert sarcasm). We basically can’t keep anyone on the other 2 shifts to do my job. And it’s not a hard job. It DOES require some thinking, and some attention to detail, but it is not hard. Yet- when people find out that this is not a breeze- they don’t want to do the work.

And anyone who works night shift knows that sleep is hard to come by. And sleep in an apartment complex is extra hard. See- there are noise ordinances for the night time. Basically you can’t do crazy things after 9 pm and before 6 am. So deciding to rearrange your house? Do it before 9pm. Washing a few loads of laundry? Do it before 9pm. Beating that steak to make it extra tender? Do it before 9 pm.

However- there are no ordinances for the daytime. Everyone mows lawns… works on cars… blasts their stereo as loud as possible. Everyone works on roofs… does siding… road work… maintenance… moves in… moves out… sits on their keys so the car alarm goes off repeatedly for an hour. And all of this while you are trying to sleep.

And then there are the other people you LIVE with. People still on daytime hours. They bang stuff in the kitchen… drop heavy things on the floor… stomp back and forth to the trash can, and all of this while you are trying to sleep. And it is no use trying to ask them to be quiet. Have you seen someone TRYING to be quiet? They make MORE noise.

Then there are your friends. They are mostly all on day shift, so if you WANT to spend time with them- it means you have to alter your sleep schedule. Get up earlier or stay up later. In some cases- you have to forgo sleep entirely. And they want you to be happy! Yes, I’m happy to spend time with you, but I’m also happy when I get sleep.

And then there’s the food. When you get off from work, all you want is to grab something quick and go home. Do you know what it’s like to be FORCED to grab breakfast food? I appreciate bacon and eggs as much as the next person, but when that is your only choice- you don’t really want to look at another egg.

Then there’s the sunlight deprivation and sunlight overload. See- when you’re not really used to seeing the sun- being up and running errands in the sunlight means it’s that much harder to go to sleep. Why? Because sunlight triggers a switch in your brain, telling you that you should be up. But it’s time to go to sleep. So you’re tired, but you’re also WIRED, because your brain received the sunlight signal. That is sunlight overload. And then there is sunlight deprivation. Because you are up mostly when the sun is not- you become Vitamin D deficient. Which means you’re tired and sluggish ALL THE TIME.

So all of this makes you eternally sleep deprived and cranky. It’s hard to focus to do all of the things you used to do. And THAT is where I’ve been for about a year and a half.

But- I have some news.

I’m going to take this blog in a different direction. Not necessarily leaving behind all the things I’ve done up till now- just adding to it. I have a new journey, and with that comes new and different things to talk about.

So stay tuned!