.Amani

.Amani
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2015: In Retrospect

I can't even believe 2015 is already over. I also cannot believe I haven't actually posted here since April?

I have a ton of drafts that were supposed to be finished but I never got around to looking back at them..

You can probably tell from my lack of updates, even from the slowness beginning at the end of 2013, that I have been going through a lot of personal issues and family issues. An awful lot has happened within the past two years that left me feeling emotionally and spiritually vulnerable -- crippled even. It's been extremely hard to sort through those feelings and negative thoughts, especially since I am not the type of person who exposes themselves, even to close friends like my best friend or my mother or spiritual mentors.

But before I recount anything that happened in this past year, I want to assure you that I am on a much better path now! Things are finally looking up and my absence is now something of motivation and having a sense of purpose and drive, versus when I was in the midst of my depression and losing myself in a sense.

This entire post is really personal stuff, so if you're not interested in that stuff then look forward to the (late) queued posts to come in the next couple of days!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Natural Hair Progress, New Hair Color & Local Beauty Purchases.

Life has been crazy. From my family & my grandmother still unwell, to my certification classes being much harder than I'd thought they be, to doing GAL VIP work as well as other graphic work projects, (and a little bit of dating and flings on the side...), I cannot seem to get time to sit down and make blogging a regular thing!




But! Here I am with a new post :) I'm going to share with you all my beauty updates so far.

I forget if I made a formal post about having stopped applying perms to my hair and such, but it's officially been a full year since I stopped. Last February or March was the last time I had permed my hair, which because of an lolaccident (coldest day of the year, cold water froze up + burning chemicals in my hair), I had to stop perming in order to let my hair grow out.

The damage I received wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been-- luckily I would prep my scalp with oil before perming it so I did not suffer any chemical burns to my scalp~ however, a lot of my hair did become really over-processed, especially around the crown of my head where a bunch of it broke off in the back. It wasn't really noticeable because I have really thick hair, but I didn't want to risk putting any more chemicals on it and making the damage worse.

So since March 2014 I have been on a no-perm fast, and I don't miss the 'creamy crack' one bit.

My new hair regimen only really consisted of a handful of things-- 100% pure edible coconut oil (frankly if you can eat it, then it's good for your hair as well), almond oil, occasionally extra virgin olive oil, and then for washing I would use a dandruff shampoo (which was another major problem for me) along with Creme of Nature's Argan Oil conditioning treatment, occasionally switching out and using a garlic conditioner. I would wash my hair, using my nails to massage and exfoliate my scalp to break up the dead skin, put the conditioner in my hair and let it sit for 30-45 minutes before washing out, and afterwards I would moisturize with whatever oil of choice and then either put my hair in twists or in braids. So for most of the time I either had my hair naturally stretched into soft waves without heat, or I rocked a little twist-out afro or something.

The past 12 months were really fun because I got to learn so much about my natural hair.. how to take care of it in it's natural state, how to prep-style it after washing, and watching it grow pretty quickly! When I first started, I had cut my hair to my collarbone (I didn't cut all of my damaged hair or did a 'big chop', because I value long hair the most). By early February, my hair was down to my breast when fully stretched. It grew about 10 inches or so.

Around December I decided I was going to make a little change and dye my hair. I was craving to do an ash brown for a while and decided that my birthday was the best time to do it! For my birthday I bought some hair extension wefts from Aliexpress (review to come soon!), bought a buttload of dye and bleach, and went to my sister who did the whole process for me. I ended up buying Wella "Color Charm" dyes in 6A (or a 6AA?), and also 7AA. We bleached my extensions (I ended up dyeing it another day), and then we dyed my hair without the use of bleach. After that process, my sister cut all the damaged hair off and this was the result:


A photo posted by Amber (@amanihime) on
My hair is back to past the collarbone stretched. Only the very tips of the ends are remains of my last perm. The color is really nice, though I was worried about it being too close to my scalp color, but eventually new growth came in a bit and showed the difference much better. Funny enough, my roots actually came out lighter while the ends came out darker, though they were setting for the same amount of time and the same color. I only assume that it was become of my ends being treated with perm vs. my virgin new growth.



You see my hair silk-pressed in one photo and freshly washed  in the next? Do you see that beauty? ; v; Since my hair was always long and had all the length to it, I couldn't properly determine my curl pattern, but now that it's cut I can definitely see that I am around a 3C-4A (more towards 3C). Despite how ridiculously thick my hair is, my hair is so tamable and I barely get tangles. Since I've had it dyed, I've been only pressing the front-half of my head, while keeping the back coarse, putting it in braids and then wearing my new clip-on half-wig piece and extensions.

A photo posted by Amber (@amanihime) on

With the extensions in--
Feels good man.

Recently I got a few new products for not only my hair, but my skin as well. I'll first start with my local shopping--



I've been buying loads more of the Creme of Nature Argan Oil packets, along with my new Silicone-Mix conditioner. The Silicone-mix conditioner is mainly for my hair extensions, but I've been using it on my hair as well and it has been working wonders. Naturalistas don't seem to like this product too often because it seals your hair and keeps any moisture from getting in it, but using 1:1 mix of both conditioners really freshened my hair, made it ridiculously soft and manageable. The only thing I will say is that the silicone mix has a strong fragrance, but since I'm mixing it with other conditioners, the smell isn't as potent as when used alone.

My other recent product from the local shop has been the Dudu-Osun black soap, which is described as an organic black soap from Africa, made with all-natural ingredients like honey, lemon, and it helps heal acne by lightening the scarring. Since in the last two years I've been breaking out pretty bad due to stress, I decided to get this product. Despite my stance on things like skin-bleaching that got me a bit paranoid, my favorite Youtube beauty gurus (with BEAUTIFUL dark skin) have recommended this product for their daily skincare routine, so I decided to give it a try. So far it has been very effective, and I'll elaborate on it in a future post as well.



I also have this Dark & Lovely Anti-Reversal cream, which I now use after washing to help set my hair for whatever I do to it, whether I blowdry it, or stretch it out naturally, or twist up my hair. It does a pretty good job in keeping the hair from reverting in wet conditions... we'll see how it does in the humid summer months though.



Other than that, I have been picking up some new makeup products, mainly NYX's "Copenhagen" & "Transylvania" liquid lippies which were the rage last October. Literally, they've been sold out for months in my local beauty supply stores, as well as online, but recently I managed to get the colors. They are beautiful dark lippies and they last for quite a while too! Besides that, I have also been purchasing L.A. Girl's Pro.Conceal HD concealer which is another popular product among POC makeup enthusiasts. I've actually been using the lighter shade "Warm Honey" for a while, and then later on Youtube gurus got hooked onto it and have been praising it since. I only just recently got the darker shade "Toast" to aid in contouring. I plan to get an even lighter one for when I want more highlight~ and then last but not least, I got a Victoria's Secret Christmas-edition Beauty Rush lip gloss like I usually do every semi-annual. The photo makes it look a bit dark but in actuality it has this kind of nudy-pink color, and it's also a gradient so the tip-half is more of a darker tone while the other half of the tube is a lighter tone. I just really have a thing for 'wintery' lip glosses that remind me of sugar cookies, cinnamon, brown sugar, or toffee.


Next is my Winter/Spring 2015 Beauty Haul~ I got so much stuff that I have to make a separate post for it xD



Stay tuned!




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Sunday, December 21, 2014

What's been going on as of late...


Every so often I check into my blog to try and catch up on my subscriptions, realize my last post was from JUNE, and then I attempt to write up new posts. I literally have at least 5 really good topics that are half-written and God knows when they'll get done (if ever).

The reality is that my life has been nothing short of tumultuous. 2014 has definitely felt like one of those "one step forward-- two steps back" motions where things just can't seem to move ahead. And while I'd love to just vent and whine like I used to do, I can barely find the energy to even do that anymore.. but I guess I'll do a small summary of how my past six months have treated me.


Like shit. The past 6 months has been shit. (Well, more like the past 3, but it feels like 6 months.) The summer was another 'struggle-season' for job-hunting, as people were refusing to hire, as usual. Since the spring, I was really pressing to go to Florida for a convention and had all these timelines and plans sorted out, but when it came down to it, I was never able to secure a job. I was literally shooting dozens of letters and resumes out by the day but only gotten maybe 3 responses or so back, all which ended up being some sort of pyramid scheme thing, or just wasn't good. A lot of things were not coming together and I found myself becoming more and more enraged over this warped job market...

It was only at the last moment that I actually ended up landing a job, which was a paid internship, and for the next few months I was pretty set. I managed to get to Florida, even though the job didn't start until after I got back, and I had a decent time.

The internship experience was pretty good. Through it I was able to work New York Fashion Week (which was.. an interesting experience) and also later work at one of CUNY's grant programs which was really fun. I'll actually make a blog post about it in the future.

At the end of the internship I was basically offered a lot of college opportunities including admission to really awesome CUNY scholarship programs, so basically at the moment your girl is looking into college. When someone says 'free!' you don't have to tell me twice xD I'll also speak more about this later. But I'm pressing to start Fall 2015, and in the meantime I'll be starting some other career certification programs over at one of the Educational Opportunity Centers to kill time and get used to class settings again. So now it's just the matter of killing time until that starts in Febuary..



A photo posted by Amber (@amanihime) on



The main stressor at the moment though, has been my grandmother. A few months ago she somehow fractured some bones which ended up getting worse. At first it was just a little pain which she tried to ignore, but soon after she couldn't even walk anymore. We sent her to the hospital, where we first found out about the issue. After being in the hospital for a few days she was transferred to a rehab facility, and a terrible one at that. I can get into specific detail about it, but you can maybe check my Yelp page in a while for when I leave a shitty review on their page...

She was released sometime last month and has been bedridden since. She did not recover at all at the rehab, in fact since she left she's been suffering from diarrhea so she's been very weak and dehydrated. This has been going on for at least 5 weeks now, and all the antibiotics and stool hardeners that she's been given by the hospital has not been working at all.. to top it off, we're in the middle of trying to change her PCP and find specialists that will take her health insurance (which is next to none, because lolveteran's insurance. Those good ol' service benefits-- Not.) She was also cut off from her medication for her Rheumatoid Arthritis.. so she feels everything all over her body.

It's been very hard on me and my grandfather because we're both not emotionally able to really handle this issue easily. I personally have been so behind on so many projects, things that should have been done in October are just now getting worked on. Meanwhile my grandmother is becoming more difficult to handle, and it's somewhat understandable. She's not able to do anything for herself anymore, she's in constant pain, and her motivation to go on has been dropping more by the day. Christmas is basically not happening this year, at least the way we've always traditionally celebrated it. My grandparents barely want anyone around, they don't want me or my mother to get any of our usual German deli meat or christmas cookies to send out to our relatives or anything like that...


So it's been a productive couple of months, but at the same time it's been a very emotionally/ physically/ spiritually draining experience for everyone. Especially all the injustices going on in the world and in the U.S... This is pretty much the reason I have not updated since the summer. I'm just trying to keep my mind clear and keep my focus on finishing the school application process, and trying to make time to meet with program directors and school counselors, and preparing myself for the EOC courses. I've also been working a lot with GAL VIP during some of this time, and hopefully starting in 2015 we'll be putting out some amazing stuff, look forward to it!


So I apologize for the slowness, just please keep my grandmother and my family in your thoughts and prayers, and hopefully everything will be back to speed and good again soon  I hope everyone has a Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year! In case you want to see more activity from me, follow my Instagram and my Facebook Fanpage until I'm able to catch up on my blog (and Youtube!).





  

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