Monthly Archives: August 2012

Black Girls Workout, Too! {Part 2 of 3} – Staying Motivated

If you read Part 1 of this 3 Part series then you know that I’ve been running for a little over a year now. If you haven’t read it, check it out here . While I do love running, sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated. Check out these tips on everything from apparel to encouragement!

Alternatives to Running                                                                        Since running isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there are other cheap ways to stay fit, lose weight and/or just feel better about yourself and your overall health. One great way is to do calisthenics. Calisthenics are workouts in which you use your own body weight to train (no equipment necessary). My favorite workouts when I don’t have the time or desire to run are sit ups, crunches, pushups, jumping jacks, burpees and walking lunges (which can also be done in place. (Click each exercise above to see a video on how to perform the exercise correctly.)

Check out these articles for more information on calisthenics:                                                                                                                              What is Calisthenics Training?

Full Body Calisthenics Workouts for Women

Calisthenics Workouts to Get Your Muscles Toned and Cut

Full Body Calisthenics Workout Routine

Workout Gear                                                                                              What you wear is sometimes just as important as what you do. While running (outdoors) is a great workout and free, it’s important to invest in the correct running attire and footwear so that you are both comfortable and safe. Without proper running shoes you can injure yourself. Check out this article, 5 Places to Get Cheap Workout Clothes.

Hair                                                                                                               Some women [of color] complain that their hair suffers during workouts. Nicole Ari Parker, who recently went natural ;-), invented the Save Your Do Gym Wrap. While I haven’t used it, I know that it’s supposed to help keep your hairstyle “fresh”. Right now they’re offering a $5.00 coupon at checkout, too. If you’re interested, check it out. I also like this article, Reader Q&A: How To Maintain Natural Hair While Working Out, on Essence.com from Curly Nikki about how she maintains her natural hair while working out. While she doesn’t work out extensively, I do pretty much the same thing she does. And, in between weekly washes, my hair holds up pretty well. But, remember, if you sweat profusely several times per week you really should wash (or co-wash) your hair at least once per week.

Staying Motivated                                                                                                                         Self-motivation is good but sometimes it’s tough. Check out this article, 34 Ways to Make You a Better Runner, on ways to become a better runner AND Black Girls Run, an awesome group I discovered  and plan on joining. While writing this, I also came across the Livestrong Woman YouTube Channel. This is a great resource for women so be sure to bookmark it so you can reference it in the future.

Top 15 Reasons to Run*

  • It’s a top calorie-burning exercise
  • It revs the metabolism even while you aren’t doing it
  • Expensive equipment isn’t required
  • It’s awesome for your social life
  • Solo runs provide time for self-discovery
  • It lifts your mood
  • It boosts creativity
  • It provides an opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature
  • It increases self esteem
  • It reduces stress
  • It fights depression and anxiety
  • It give you energy
  • It lengthens your lifespan
  • It invigorates your sex life
  • It gives you goals to work toward

*courtesy of theuniverse.com

I hope this information has been helpful (and motivational)! If you workout or run regularly, how do you stay motivated and encouraged? Please share below.

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Black Girls Workout, Too! {Part 1 of 3} – My Story

A few months back I came across a picture of Nicole Ari-Parker wearing the t-shirt above. I thought it was funny and so true that I had to have it. In the African-American community we often struggle with weight, being healthy and unlearning generations of bad food habits/choices. I personally and luckily have not had these struggles as an adult because I learned early on that healthy lifestyle choices really do make a difference later on in life. So, I bought that t-shirt, knowing it might offend some folks, but wanting to dispel the myth that black women do not workout and that we are not health conscious. Don’t believe me? Check out this site!

How I Started Running                                                                                   I have been running for a little over a year now and I LOVE IT. I found it by accident. Early last year I had some unplanned weight loss. I went from a “full” size 10 down to a 6 and sometimes a 4. While the weight loss was not my goal, I felt so much better about EVERYTHING: the way I looked, the way I felt, the way others responded to the “new” me, etc. that I decided it was time to make a lifestyle change, start running and taking my health more seriously.

Why I Run                                                                                                     While I initially started running to maintain my new weight and get healthy, I also started running because before I lost weight, I wasn’t at a good place in my life. Running provided me with an “escape”. For that moment, I didn’t have to think about what was going on in my life or be “present,” I could just lose myself in my thoughts and it was marvelous. I would allow my mind to wander and I always felt better afterwards.

I also run because it’s free to run outdoors.

My Usual Run                                                                                           While I do love to run, I am not a great runner nor do I run long distances. I usually run 2 miles followed by calisthenics at home (read about  calisthenics here) at least four days a week. My total workout is about 35 minutes long which is very feasible (for those of you who claim you don’t have time!!!). On the days that I don’t run, sometimes I’ll still do the calisthenics so that I burn some calories and get my heart rate up.

Do I Love Running and Working Out?                                                   No! During college and grad school I hit the gym regularly and I enjoyed it more because I was surrounded by others who kept me motivated. Running is different for me because I do it alone. Some days I would rather stay home and watch TV. But, once I’ve tied my sneakers and take my first stride, I’m glad I did. And, once I’m done I feel amazing.

I Ran a Race!                                                                                               Last year I actually ran in my very first race! It was so much fun. A college friend, Julissa, who is an ace runner and participates in races ALL the time, noticed my frequent facebook updates about running. She asked if I had ever considered running in a race. I thought that the only races were the NYC Marathon – a TWENTY SIX mile race through the five boroughs of NY – so I told her “no”. She introduced me to God’s Love We Deliver and I was sold. The Race to Deliver is a four mile run in Central Park the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

I registered a little late so I wasn’t sure if I would reach my donation goal, but I surpassed it by $85 and I was delighted. It was definitely hard and it took dedication, especially since I had to motivate myself every day. But, it was reasonable and realistic (for me), something I think people forget to be with when they start a new workout regimen (which is why a lot of people often quit).

Since my usual run is two miles, I had to train a little to build up my endurance. I also had to change the way I ate (we’ll talk about food in Part 3 of this Series). On the days leading up to the race, whenever I didn’t feel like running, I would take out my running shoes and MAKE myself do it. And, I always felt really good afterwards.

***I’m running again this year; definitely look out for an announcement!!!***

Do you run? If so, what has been your biggest struggle? How did you overcome it? If you don’t, what are you waiting for?

Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of this “Black Girls Exercise, Too” Series.

I Was Awarded the Liebester Award!

The lovely Roni of The Savvy Housewife and Fatima from Baby Teems* awarded me the Liebester Award (‘cause I’m a G!) Lol. No, I’m joking. This is my first blog award! I’m so honored. It’s always nice to be recognized by someone of the same craft who you admire.

The Liebester Award is awarded to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. {{BIG NEWS: As of this blog post I hit TWO HUNDRED followers!! :-)}} The word Liebester is German and means “sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, valued, cute, endearing and welcoming.”

How the Liebester Award Works                                                            1.      Post 11 random things about yourself.                                                                       2.      Answer the 11 questions that the tagger posts for you.                                              3.      Choose 11 bloggers who you would like to give the Liebester Award to.            4.      Create 11 questions for the bloggers you tag to answer.

Eleven Random Things About Me                                                               1.      I love love, seeing people happy brings joy to my heart.                                   2.      I enjoy nothing more than my own company but am afraid of being alone…when I get old.                                                                                                                  3.      I’m a very private person.                                                                                                  4.      I despised red velvet anything until I had a Crumbs red velvet cupcake for my birthday a few weeks ago. {heaven}                                                                                    5.      When I buy cupcakes I have to freeze them and take them out one by one before I’m ready to eat it so that I don’t eat them all. I once bought a dozen mini cupcakes and half were gone not even a hour after I “put them away”. (I’ve been craving cupcakes all day, too, by the way.)                                                                            6.      Of all my friends I admire Karla the most.                                                                       7.      If someone tells me “no” I go find someone who will tell me “yes”.                     8.      I’m at peace for the first time in my life. And, it feels amazing.                            9.      I recently learned how to say “no”. It’s powerful.                                                  10.  I wish I knew how to sew.                                                                                                   11.  Not many people or things impress me so if I tell you “you impress me” or “you’re amazing” I really mean it.

I tag…

Baby Teems

The Nail Enthusiast

Chioma’s Evolution of Style

FabEllis

Lifestyles of the Thrifty and Shameless

LA Lynns Accessory Shoppe

snazzysavvyshanise

I Dream of Fashion

Her Name Is Kim

SooSoo Tasty

Curves and Confidence

 Questions for the Ladies Tagged Above                                                 1.      If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?                                2.      Who would you like to play you in a movie about your life?                          3.      Who inspires you the most?                                                                                          4.      What has been your biggest blogging blessing?                                                       5.      What is something people wouldn’t guess by looking at you.                             6.      Who is your favorite celebrity fashionista? Why?                                               7.      What is your favorite food?                                                                                            8.      What was your favorite subject in school?                                                              9.      What is your favorite season and why?                                                                       10.  Besides blogging, what is your favorite hobby?                                                       11.  If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things  would take with you?

Ladies, don’t forget that you have to pass this award on to eleven others. And, there are NO tag backs!

Roni, I really appreciate the recognition. Thanks, doll. I can’t wait for the “future”. 😉

Dolls, I can’t wait to read your responses! Thank you all for being amazing.

*After I posted this, I realized I was also tagged on Baby Teems. Thanks, Sweet Cheeks!                                                                                                                                Questions from Baby Teems                                                                       1. What is your nationality? I’m American. My family is from the south.                   2. How many siblings do you have? One younger sister.                                                 3. What was your favorite subject in school? Math.                                                              4. Where is the most memorable place you have been so far? China.                        5. If someone offered you great wealth in exchange for fame, would you take it? Yes! I can help people more with wealth than with fame.                                                6. If you could live somewhere else, where would it be? In the south.                        7.If you were a professional athlete, what sport would you play? Field Hockey. 8. What is your ideal job? Being a full time stay at home mom and a part-time “professional”.                                                                                                                                     9. What do you love about yourself the most? My kindness.                                            10. Would you rather have a nice car or a big house? Big house.                            11.We all try to maintain a kind of popularity as a blogger. Would you say that you were popular growing up? Nope. Not at all.

Let’s start a Virtual Book Club! Do you believe in magic?

A few months ago I heard about the book The Magic. It’s about gratitude and being thankful for everything you have. While I do identify with a particular religion, I think that people often get too caught up in [their] religion and don’t spend enough time nurturing their personal relationship with [their] God. To me, a personal relationship with God is more fulfilling than following every single word of the Torah, Qur’an, Bible, etc. But, again, that’s just me!

The Magic is essentially a twenty-eight day journey during which you read a chapter daily and then you do an exercise. Along the journey you learn gratitude. Many have described the book as “life changing”. While I consider myself a very thankful and grateful person I am very excited to embark on this journey. I’ve wanted to read The Magic for months but I was so engrossed in starting this blog and my YouTube channel that I knew I wouldn’t be able to dedicate the time I wanted to. I still don’t really have the time but I’m going to make it and start my journey on September 1st (the same day as the Castor Oil Challenge).

I want to share my journey with you all (I hope I don’t regret this – lol) so on day 1 I will post my thoughts on curlsandmo.com and every day thereafter I will add my thoughts from that day to the top of the post. However, if anyone is interested in sharing with me and others, let’s start a Curls and Mo Virtual Book Club! I like to keep things simple, so if you ARE interested, we’ll do it via email for now. Email me at curlsandmo@gmail.com with your name and “Curls and Mo Virtual Book Club” in the “Subject” line.  I will add you to the list and every day we will all email each other our thoughts.

What do you think? Leave comments or suggestions below. 🙂

About the Author: Rhonda Byrne, like each of us, has been on her own journey of discovery. Along the way, she brought together a superb team of authors, ministers, teachers, filmmakers, designers, and publishers to bring forth The Secret to the world, and through her vision, bring joy to millions. She began her journey with The Secret film, viewed by millions. The Secret book, now available in 47 languages, continues to bring the law of attraction across the world—still on bestseller lists after five years. In The Power, another worldwide bestseller published in 2010, Rhonda Byrne reveals the single greatest force in our Universe.

Update: I know some of you curlies bought the book and are going to read it on your own, so no virtual book club BUT I’ll likely do a review once I’m done. 🙂 (6/8/12)

Want Longer Hair? Join Me for the Fall Castor Oil Challenge!

Hi, curlies! As we get ready for fall with new fashion and accessory trends let’s also get ready for fall with healthier hair. What am I talking about? The Fall Castor Oil Challenge!!! 🙂 This spring and summer Jenell, founder and Editor-in-Chief of kinkycurlycoilyme.com, hosted Castor Oil Challenges and she’s hosting one again this fall. I’m really happy because I missed the spring and summer Challenges but I saw the growth that some of the women had and I want in! (The Challenge is for people with all hair types, styles and textures.)

The goal of the Challenge is to grow thicker longer healthier hair during the three months. I’ve been consistent with the LOC Method (read about it here) all summer and I have experienced some growth as well as increased overall hair health. Now I want to take it to the next level and sign up for this Challenge.

The Fall Castor Oil Challenge will run from September 1, 2012 until December 1, 2012 and the deadline to register is September 7, 2012. There are very specific registration requirements so please read the registration page thoroughly and follow them all. During the Challenge Jenell sends weekly Castor Oil Challenge Newsletters and there are weekly Check Ins. Take a look at the Spring Week 5 Check In to get an idea of what a “Check In” is.

Four HUNDRED women registered for the summer Challenge which I think is amazing in and of itself. Healthy natural hair is a process and a journey and I’m super excited to start this next chapter of healthy natural hair. Having a support system and a network to encourage me and share it with is huge. Support is what often separates finishers and quitters. I truly appreciate Jenell for hosting this, the weekly Check Ins make it much more likely that I will complete it. And, as if motivation wasn’t enough, at the conclusion of the Challenge there will be prizes!!!

I’ll be using Rite Aid brand castor oil (which can be found in the laxative section…YES, laxative). It’s $6.00 for 6oz. I’m not sure how much I’ll need so I’m going to pick up 2 to tomorrow. You can use any kind of castor oil. Here is the CVS brand and here is some from shop.oilsfromjamaica.com.

I’ll keep you all updated on my progress through instagram and twitter so be sure to follow me on both @curlsandmo. Read about some of the benefits of Castor Oil here and join us. Your hair will thank you.

Have you participated in a Castor Oil Challenge before? Do you use Castor Oil regularly? If so, how? Please share below.

Update (8/20/12): I bought my Castor Oil from amazon.com, 16 ounces for about $10.00.

Recap: Charleston Natural Hair Expo

In early February I heard about the Charleston Natural Hair Expo in South Carolina. Since I live in NY, I knew this event would be extra special for me because I could also visit family while there. I bought my early bird ticket for the two part event, booked a flight and was ready to go.

Part I: The Expo (10a-4p)

When I arrived I was instantly impressed, outside of the venue was gorgeous. It was right off the water with a beautiful view.

As I parked I was instantly excited by all of the different natural hairstyles and beauty. I entered and received my early bird ticket swag bag which was filled with great products and promotional literature. I was also given a ticket to the Shea Moisture Lounge which entitled me to a massage. I didn’t know about the Shea Moisture Lounge so that was a nice surprise.

As I walked in, the first vendors I saw were Huetiful, Karen’s Body Beautiful and Shea Radiance and it was jumpin’ (at 10:30am)! I walked around and visited vendors who were selling accessories, hair and skin care products, apparel, magazines and candles. Every inch of the indoor space was utilized. There was an amazing outdoor area, as well, with more vendors, an icee cart, an exquisite view and a live band.

I stayed for about 2 hours, talked to merchants and entrepreneurs, took pics, advised a few ladies on products that would be good for their hair, purchased a few things, scored extra free samples (thanks, Beautiful Textures) and discussed a few business ventures. Needless to say it was a VERY productive 2 hours. 🙂 Before I left I found the woman who was gracious enough to snap a pic of Karen of KBB and I and I gave her my ticket for the Shea Moisture Lounge. The Lounge was set up beautifully (I was escorted inside to take a peek before I left).

When I got home I was pleasantly surprised by the contents of my swag bag. In addition to the hair products there were also makeup items, including crackle nail polish which I have wanted to try for a while. I was pleased and at that point I knew I should rest up for the All White Party later that night but decided to go thrifting instead (read about it here).

Part II: All White Party (9p-1a)

When I arrived at the All White Party it was very early so there weren’t many attendees. I was able to snap a few pics of the decor and cake/cupcakes.

Not too long after, Karen of KBB (Karen sponsored the All White Party) arrived along with Imani of Tribe Called Curl. I had met and spoke to Karen earlier in the day and Imani at a prior SavvyBrown & Wonder Curl event so I spoke with them for a while. Both women are amazingly down to earth. Once Vaughn, MeechyMonroe and CharyJay (the “faces” of the Charleston Natural Hair Expo and YouTube personalities) arrived, the momentum picked up and everyone was ready to party.

I am a HUGE Vaughn fan so when I saw her I wanted to talk to her but I was very hesitant. As you know I am the self-proclaimed anti-groupie and definitely not a fan of groupie love (as mentioned here – lol). When I saw her alone I took a second to say hello and thank her for inspiring me to finally start my blog and always staying true to herself. She was very pleasant and approachable. She even complimented my nails which is HUGE because if you watch her videos you know she creates the funkiest freestyle nail designs.

All in all, it was a great night and a wonderful event. I danced, had a cupcake and mingled. I am definitely excited about next year’s expo, as it can only get better!

Check out my pictures here! 🙂

Have you ever attended a natural hair expo? If so, which one? Did you enjoy it? Please share below.

Subway Eat Fresh…For FREE!

Last year when I started running I took a more active stance on my overall health. I decided that if I was going to run and focus on my physical health, I should also be conscious about what I put into my body. While I didn’t cut out anything completely or take any drastic measures like becoming a pescetarian (again), I did decide that I will make better food choices.

That said, I found Subway. I started eating there more often and put a complete stop to eating McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, etc. I realized that if I had to eat “fast food,” I should choose the best option possible, Subway. Not only is Subway a healthier option, but eating at Subway also comes with a few perks if you have their SUBWAY® Card.

Every time you eat at Subway, ask the cashier to swipe your card and one point for every dollar you spend is added to your points balance. I’ve had my card for a while and I always have it swiped but I never knew what the points entitled me to. Last week I found out that I can redeem my points for FREE menu items, meaning FREE FOOD.

Here is a list of how many points you must redeem to get each free item:

1 Cookie 10 points
1 Bag of Chips (single  serve) 15 points
Fountain Drink (21oz) 20 points
Bottled Beverage (8oz, 15.2oz and 20oz) 30 points
Seattle’s Best Coffee (12oz & 16oz) 30 points
Breakfast Sandwich on 6″, Flatbread or English Muffin 35 points
Regular 6″ Sub or Flatbread 50 points
Premium 6″ Sub or Flatbread 65 points
Regular Footlong Sub, Flatbread or Salad 75 points
Breakfast Footlong Sub or Flatbread 75 points
Premium Footlong Sub or Flatbread 100 points
Add Double Meat or Extra Cheese or Bacon to Any Regular Sub or Flatbread add 20 points

To date I have 169 points! I plan on buying a few 6″ subs or salads with my points. That’s free lunch for almost the entire week! Find out more about the SUBWAY® Card here.

Do you eat at Subway? If so, do you have a SUBWAY® Card? If not, make sure you get one the next time you’re there!