Life Updates

Hair

Life has been SO busy. I’ve barely had time to do my hair. I’ve only had time for wash and bunning. My ends feel really moisturized and healthy from all the bunning.I did a flexi-rod set the other day that is not even worth photographing, what a waste of time, no volume or hold. Guess, I’ll be bunning it again this week. I feel like I’m losing some volume from the length, so am thinking about getting a shape-up this winter.

For the holidays, we’ll head back to Boston. I’m really looking forward to going back to the States for winter break, to see family and friends. Also, I’m excited to get my hair done. I’ve already booked an appointment with the stylist I usually go back to. Part of me wants to color my hair, although I probably won’t, since I’m already planning on having it flat-ironed while I’m there. I’m just really looking forward to someone else doing my hair. It’s grown a lot and wash sessions are a bit longer. My edges have finally started to grown in after all that postpartum shedding. However, they look strange, because the hair is really short and growing in, so is always really frizzy. I typically use gel to tame them.

Family

My little peanut is growing and developing at such a fast rate. Sometimes it feels like I blink an eye and things change. He took his first steps a couple of weeks ago. He isn’t fully walking, but occasionally he’ll muster up the nerve to stand up and take a few steps and then sit down. It’s so cute. His first steps he took towards me and said mama and then gave me a big hug. Yep, that little rugrat has my heart forever.
We’re in birthday planning mode now. I went back and forth for weeks trying to decide if I wanted to invite friends (Peanut’s baby friends and older friends). Finally, in the end I decided to have an intimate, cozy family party. I have a feeling we’ll have to entertain kids later on down the line and I really want this party to be a celebration for him. I’m afraid if I invite too many kids, we’ll be so worried about trying to make sure the kids aren’t bored that we’ll be too exhausted to capture the day and cherish it. There will be a couple of babies there, but again close family.

What did you do for your child’s first birthday?

Travel

My last post was on a short holiday in Italy.

I wanted to take you all with my on my trip to Italy, but our vacation rental didn’t have wifi. I’ll admit, it was actually a good thing. We traveled to the Mediterranean Sea to the Finale Ligure region in the northern part of Italy. What a beautiful area. The water was turquoise blue, the coastline jagged and wild and everyday was sunny and warm. The house we rented was literally right on the beach. Every morning we woke up and there was the ocean. We’d walk out to the water and relax on the beach everyday. Peanut loved it and he especially loved scouring the beach for rocks, who needs toys. He’s also obsessed with Italian food.

In any case, our trip was mainly for rest and relaxation and that’s exactly what we did. We visited some lovely towns, strolled around, went to cathedrals and on some walks to historical and world heritage sites, ate lots of lovely focaccia (a specialty of the region). It was loads of fun and I’d definitely return to this region. During the off-season, however, as I’ve heard it’s busy and crowded during the summer. There’s something so calming about being on a beach vacation in the fall. It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing for quite some time.

Another highlight of the trip. While we were staying at this lovely rental during the low season. I noticed a man sleeping outside underneath a vacation house. The owners weren’t there as everything was boarded up. Probably belonged to people who live there a few weeks out of the year. In any case, we noticed the guy slept outside every night. I finally worked up the nerve to go down and talked to him. We figured he was hungry, cold and in need of resources, so gathered a little money, food and water and chatted with him for a little. He said his name was Jim-Jim and that he was from Ivory Coast. His family was separated and they’d all left IC for a better life. He had some family travel to Syria and he made his way up to Italy. He didn’t know what to do and was trying to figure out a way to find work and find a better life. This is the story of many immigrants, thinking the grass is greener, I’m sure. He found Italy cold and unwelcoming. He’s been harassed and told to go home. It’s frustrating for him, as those people are really out of touch with reality and don’t understand the complex nature of immigration and the countries the people flee.

His story warmed our hearts and brought me to tears. I wish we could have done more. All he could do was cry and apologize when we gave him the things we could offer. He said he felt ashamed and didn’t do anything to deserve it. I just explained we’re all brothers and sisters. One day, when he sees someone struggling, I’d hope he’d do the same. His face still haunts my memory. For each day of our trip that remained, we decided to take him things to help him out, blankets to keep warm, as he was sleeping outside on cold nights, hygiene products, pants and socks – he only owned shorts and half-socks (i.e. they only covered half of his feet), lots fruits and food that could keep without refrigeration like sardines, crackers, etc. Jim-Jim was writing a book in French when we came upon him. It was titled “Annoying Others” or something like that. I hope he keeps telling his story and let it be a companion that he takes along with him. He embarked on a dangerous and very long journey, to go to a country and culture that he didn’t know at all. In Western and developed cultures, we call these kind of people transplants, expats, backpackers etc. Jim-Jim felt like he was looked at as less than a mosquito. A parasitic insect, with the sole purpose of taking resources from others and invading their personal space. Of course the issues of immigration are really sensitive and really complex. I know Jim-Jim will continue living as an invisible person within the boundaries of Italy and he has been paid and will continue to be paid next to nothing to work for the next farmer that offers him a physically tough and difficult job. I know I couldn’t do a lot, so I chose to just try to show some compassion.

I want to be make sure I teach my son daily to never take his life from granted and never look down on anyone. I really want him to treat every walk of life with love and respect. I have no idea what it’s like to see genocide, bombings and raping, etc., right before my eyes. For this and much more, I have so much to be thankful and grateful for.

One day maybe I’ll see Jim-Jim’s story on the big screen or in a book, I have hope in my heart that he’ll find safety and normalcy some day.

How have you all been? Are things in your lives crazy this time of year as well?

Summer Product Haul/Review

Hi Everyone,

I’m back from my stay in the States. A lovely time was had by all. With so many hands to pass around and care for the Peanut, I was really able to enjoy a little “me” time and just do some things with friends. I loved being able to catch up with friends over tapas and mojitos or grab brunch and do a little shopping by myself, knowing that my little boy was in good hands. Peanut loves his second home and he really enjoyed meeting all his family and friends. He especially enjoyed his time with grandma, she always spoils him rotten.

While home, I took advantage of buying some of my favorite must-have hair products (i.e Giovanni 50/50, Smooth as Silk, Aussie Moist and KCKT) as well as trying some new ones. I’ll be reviewing three products: a shampoo, a conditioner and a gel (gasps, yes, I used an actual gel) that I’m really enjoying at the moment.

1. Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Cream Shampoo

Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Cream Shampoo - 13.5 fl oz

Claim: Promises to moisturize your hair with oils, keep your hair and scalp healthy and clean away build up without stripping the hair.

I’ve only used the product once, so this is really a first impression. However, I actually applied this shampoo not only to my scalp and roots, but also to my hair. It didn’t leave my hair feeling stripped and I got really defined curls after using the conditioner. So it does deliver on what it claims.

Texture: Runny and pearly, almost an egg-white consistency. I didn’t find that it was very creamy, but in the middle.

Lather: Excellent, bubbly and slippery, which is just what I was looking for.

Price:Very affordable, I spent about $4.00 for 13.5 ounces and I feel that a little goes a long way.

Overall Impression: I actually really like this conditioner shampoo, especially how it cleaned my hair yet kept it moisturized at the same time. Normally, when I use conditioner shampoo, my hair shrinks up immediately, not the case with this one. Notice, I kept accidentally referring to it as a conditioner, because clean and moisturized aren’t generally characteristics that describe my hair after shampooing.

2.Trader Joe Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner

This product is so good. It doesn’t even need a review! Why are you still reading this, go out and get yourself and bottle of this conditioner. You won’t regret it! I only regret not being able to stock up on more of this stuff. It’s moisturizing, slippery and makes detangling a breeze! It’s creamy and so rich and leaves hair touchably soft and shiny. The peppermint essential oils also smell wonderful and it’s very calming. I can’t say a single bad thing about this product. It’s very affordable, at about $4.00 a bottle, you should always have a bottle of this stuff on hand. I will buy more on my next trip home!

3. Curls Goddess Curl Gel

Claims: “Curls Goddess Curls is infused with Plumeria Alba Flower Extract and Aloe leaf juice, this botanical curl gel imparts sheen, fights frizz, and creates popping curls! “

Aloe is really low on the list, which means there is probably very little used in the product. Just mentioning that f0r my readers who know that I generally don’t use aloe on my hair. I used this product once so far, so again, this is more of a first impression. I can say I’m really impressed at how defined my twist out was after using this on top on my leave-in. I have a little frizz on day 3, but didn’t have any on day 1 and 2. I don’t mind a little frizz. My hair is also touchably soft, it didn’t flake at all or make my curls crunchy.

Texture: Goopy and slightly runny, making it a breeze to distribute evenly.

Price: I believe I paid about $9.00 for 8oz of this gel. That’s like over a buck a ounce, which I think is on the pricier side, when compared to other drug store gels. What caught my attention with this gel is that it doesn’t contain any silicones, mineral oil, parabens or alcohol. I didn’t want anything coating or drying.

Overall Impression: Positive. I will give this another try on the next wash day. In the meantime, I’m happy to have found a gel that works on my hair, because my hair hates gels usually! Also, I like how moisturized my hair still is on day 3. It gave my hair some weight, which helps elongates my curls. It wasn’t that voluminous on day one, but day 2 I got stretch + volume, so win-win.

Have you tried any of the above products? Any new products that you’re loving these days?

Top 5 New Parent Pet Peeves

 

Things I hear and see as a new parent, which annoy me. (many of these come from complete strangers)

1. Let’s hold hands little one.

My response: Hey stranger, while I appreciate your enthusiasm and the positive energy you’re showing towards my baby. Please don’t rub or touch his hands. He sticks his hands in his mouth all the time and I don’t know where your hands have been! In fact, I don’t even know you. There’s this little thing called personal space. Do you think you can respect it? I would be weirded out if someone I didn’t know came up to me and held my hand, wouldn’t you? Let’s slow things down a bit, how about a simple “hi” or a smile, heck even a little baby babble would be preferred.

2. Are you going to breastfeed that child until he’s 20?? In my day, we smoked, drank wine and our kids turned out just fine. We also breastfed for a couple of months. Longer than that is just unneccessary.

My response: When are my boobs and what come out of them any of your business? My child is 4 months old, I nourish him and give him antibodies to keep him strong and healthy– end of story! On the bright side, if my boobs are the major concern in your life now, I’d say you’re doing pretty well for yourself. (I’m just a glass is always half full kind-a-girl, I guess)

3. Wow, he’s so cute and handsome (this isn’t a pet peeve). Caramel skin and blue eyes, oh my gosh. How did that happen? They’ll probably change to brown, right? What’s he mixed with? His hair is straight, you both have curly hair. His hair will probably be curly or kinky, I’m sure.

My response: He’s mixed with his Mom and Dad. His eyes are his as is his hair. They can do whatever they please and I wouldn’t care, I’m head over the heel in love with my child regardless of those things. Let’s stop obsessing over what features a baby should and shouldn’t have and just enjoy them for the plump, adorable little creatures they are.

4. (When my son cries) Did you burb him? He’s probably hungry, feed him!

My response: Side eye and keep on moving.

5. My all time favorite: so when are you going to have a second one?

My response: Oh I’m sorry, you didn’t read the newsletter? Guess you’ll have to go back and refer to that one to find out. I mean really, raising a life is one of the most challenging and humbling things I’ve ever done. I’m enjoying not carrying around a belly the size of a basketball at the moment. Let me enjoy my baby as is without the pressure and stress of thinking about that.