Sunday, September 17, 2017

MY NIGHTTIME CURLY HAIR ROUTINE

Never, ever underestimate just how immensely valuable a couple swaths of smooth fabric can be to those of us with curly hair.

I'm here to report to all of you that if I had to choose between, say, food, water, and the two essential pieces of my nighttime curly hair routine, well...let's just say I may voluntarily starve.

So my message to you is this:

If you're not getting as many days in between your wash and go as you'd like...

If your curls are just so-so when you wake up in the morning, and you're convinced they could look better...

Or if you're just fresh out of options regarding what to do with your curls while you're sleeping at night...

WATCH THIS VIDEO! CLICK HERE




And when you're done, please head on over to join my curlfriends and me in Courtney Conover's Naturally Curly Love Lounge and share whatever nighttime routine works for you.



p.s. While I did mention in the video that I purchased my and Kennedy's satin pillowcases from Dollar Tree, I neglected to include that I bought my dreadlock cap from my local beauty supply store for less than five bucks.


Come hang out with me on the sites below! ✌️


YouTube  

Sunday, September 10, 2017

MY CURL JOURNEY AT A GLANCE


My decision to kick my flat iron for good and embrace my curls at the ripe old age of 38 can basically be summarized in one photo:


That's my daughter Kennedy, who had just turned two when the photo above was taken. 

She was the catalyst for All. Of. This. 

After telling her since the day she was born that she has the most gorgeous head of curls I've ever seen, it dawned on me one day that she would never believe me if I continued to make it my life's mission to straighten the bejesus out of my own curly hair. 

So, in November of 2015, I vowed to never straighten my hair again.

And the journey that followed has changed my life. The collage below details the "cliff notes" version of what I've gone through:


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: This experience has simultaneously been the most difficult yet most rewarding thing I've ever done.

Here's a closer look at why:

July 2014—Although it had been well over 10 years since I had chemically straightened my near waist-length hair, I was majorly obsessed with flat ironing the hell out of it. I was 37 years old and had no idea what my natural curls looked like. If someone had held a gun to my head and told me to style my curls, I would have opted for the bullet because I would have had no earthly idea of what to do. 


March 2015—My hair was still chemical-free and I was still conducting 4-hour blow-outs on the regular in order to keep it bone straight. Here, I had just given myself my first ever self-trim (while my kids were in their playroom watching Paw Patrol and inhaling fruit snacks) after watching a tutorial on YouTube. I was pretty proud of myself. Going curly was the farthest thing from my mind.


May 2015—Here's the thing: After years and years of flat ironing my hair to the tune of 450 degrees, my strands had long been fried, but, still, I look at the photo above, and, to this day, it's like a dagger to the heart because this point in time is where I arguably did the most damage to my hair: In addition to blow drying and flat ironing my hair, I was also curling my hair with a 2-inch barrel curling iron (also heated to 400+ degrees) to create those soft waves pictured above. I styled my hair like this for the entire summer of 2015, and I swear to God, each and every time I got done doing my hair, the entire west end of our home reeked of burning hair. Ewww. Don't get it twisted: My hair was long, but it was still extremely damaged. 



November 3, 2015—Man, is this photo bittersweet: It is the last photo taken of me with straight hair. My son Scotty, my daughter Kennedy, and I had met friends at a local cider mill, and as we enjoyed a hayride through the apple orchard, I knew that I had already made the decision to never straighten my hair again and that tomorrow when I washed my hair, I was going to be a curly girl like Kennedy. I told her that we would then be twins. Boys, was I in for a rude awakening...


November 4, 2015—When the kids went to bed, I jumped in the shower, washed and conditioned my hair, and when I stepped in front of the mirror, this—THIS!—is what it looked like: Dry, frizzy roots with wavy, brittle ends. I was devastated. It was a far cry from my daughter's gorgeous curls. Turned out, years of flat ironing had irreversibly damaged my hair. There was no bringing my curls back. I would either have to cut all my hair off—aka "big chop"—or slowly cut off my hair over time while transitioning to head full of healthy curls.  I chose the latter.



December 2015—Please, please, please don't be fooled by the smile on my face and the half-way decent appearance of curls in this photo. I had basically been reduced to wearing my hair half-up/half-down because my roots where so frizzy and, basically, confused: Although my hair grows relatively fast, I hadn't yet accumulated enough growth to make a full curl; meanwhile, my ends were so damaged that they were breaking and snapping like twigs. In fact, there were pieces in the back of my head that were stick-straight.😞


May 2016—Although my head was shedding like dog fur, I still couldn't bring myself to voluntarily cut my hair off. I was seeing considerable growth, but my roots were still devoid of any definition, so I cropped the top of my head out of this photo. Overall, I was still pretty depressed about my hair, but I was six months in, and there was no turning back now.


Labor Day Weekend 2016—I'm finally, finally starting to see some progress! I had had my first real haircut by a local Deva-trained hair stylist by the name of Melissa Stites (who is FABULOUS, by the way!). Unlike straight hair, it is best for curls to be cut when the hair is dry as opposed to wet. Think about it: When curly hair is wet, it appears a lot longer; but it shrinks as it dries. The problem arises when you cut curly hair when it's wet...and then when it dries, it looks completely unlike you thought it would. On the other hand, when curly hair is cut dry, you are infinitely more likely to create the shape and cut you really want. (Still, I wouldn't recommend attempting a dry cut on your own. In fact, I wouldn't go to just any hair stylist—ONLY go to stylists who have experience in cutting curly hair dry. Click here to use the search finder I used to find Melissa. This database contains a plethora of qualified stylists who specialize in cutting and caring for curly hair.)


September 2016—This photo gives me "all the feels," as they say. It was taken at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, right after the Lions wives and girlfriends dinner to kick off the new season. Now, don't get me wrong, my ends are borderline straight and I still had a long way to go. But I've also got about 6 inches of new growth in this pic and I'm starting to feel like I'm getting somewhere.


November 18, 2016—You may have to squint to see it, but my hair had grown quite a bit from mid-September to when the photo above was taken in mid-November. And, UGHHHHH, I was so ready for my next trim with Melissa that would be the next day! Look at those thinning ends. They had to go! But, on the bright side, my roots were growing thicker and thicker by the day.


November 19, 2016—This was the absolute shortest my hair has ever been. EVER. I was a bundle of nerves as Melissa snipped my ends, but I couldn't fight it. It had to be done for the sake of the progress I was working so hard to achieve. But when all was said and done, I loved the shape, I felt oddly liberated, and this marked the first time since I had embarked on this journey that I felt good about my hair.


Thanksgiving Day (November 24) 2016—It was a couple days shy of a full week since I had had my last trim, and, I swear, my hair was just getting better and better. My hair wasn't growing any faster, but I was seeing a noticeable change with regard to my hair's length because the breakage had basically stopped once the majority of my damaged ends had been cut off. Looking back, this was precisely the point where things started to turn around for me.



February 2017—Look. At. The. Progress. Here. Compare my ends in this photo with my ends in the photo above. It's freakin' night and day! Confession: During a fit of rage one night in early January 2017, I had cut much of what remained of my dead ends. And it felt so damn good to do so. Right before this photo was taken, I had just been diagnosed with a viral infection and my throat was killing me. But I remember being so geeked that this selfie turned out that my pain was pacified, albeit briefly.

May 2017—I was absolutely loving my hair at this point. What had remained of my dead, damaged ends had been cut one month prior on April 1—my 40th birthday—when I had visited Melissa again for yet another trim. At this point, in May 2017, I could safely say that I was done transitioning. What you are looking at here is the growth I had accumulated from November 2015 until May 2017. When stretched, my hair actually reached to just below my collarbone here. 


June 2017—This is one of my absolute favorite photos to date. I mean, good vibes all the way around: I'm on Belmar Beach at the Jersey Shore with my family on a beautiful summer's afternoon. It had been well over a week since I had washed my hair, and that combined with all the salt water and moisture in the hair seemed to give my hair life. 


June 2017—What a difference a year makes. Please take a moment to scroll back up to the photo captioned May 2016. What I have directly above is a completely different head of hair. And, best of all, it's hair that has never been straightened (read: fried to all hell!) with a flat iron. And that, my friends, is what I am most proud of.💚

In case you haven't seen it, here's my welcome video on YouTube:



Thank you so very much for spending some time here today. And I hope you found the information above to be inspiring, or at the very least informative. 

In the coming weeks, I'll delve deeper into the products I use on my and Kennedy's hair (and why), as well as the tactics I now consider game changers.

Three more things I want you to know: 

One is that if you have any questions or comments, please head on over to my Facebook group, Courtney Conover's Naturally Curly Love Lounge, and share them there. I want to reiterate how much I want all of you to share your respective experiences, goals, and successes at the lounge! I will continue to share my experiences as well—and I do so to demonstrate that things were not always peachy-keen for me, but that with patience, transitions WILL work out. But, again, this lounge is NOT just for Kennedy and me: It's a place for all of us!

Second, if you enjoyed what you read here and want to learn more about my experience in greater detail, then download my e-book, Mommie Straightest, which you can find here.

And third, you can view my corresponding YouTube channel here

I will be uploading new content regularly!

Thank you so much for spending some time here!


Come hang out with me on the sites below! ✌️


YouTube   

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

NEW FACEBOOK GROUP: COME JOIN US!


Do you want to embrace your naturally curly hair—or have you already begun the journey to do so? 

If so, then come on over to our new Facebook group:


ALL ethnicities, hair types, and curl patterns are welcome here! 

Discuss your highs, lows, frustrations, and everything in between. Plus, share photos and tips, too. 

You won't find negativity or judgment here; just love, encouragement, and constructive dialog about ways to create our best curls.

A little bit about me: I am a wife, mother, writer, and certified yoga instructor (you can read more here and here) who ditched my flat iron for good in November 2015 to make an honest attempt at rocking my natural curls because I wanted my then-two-year-old baby girl to love her own curls. 

Honestly? 

It was simultaneously one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I have ever done. 

For those in the midst of the struggle, know this: 

It won’t last forever, and you will come to love your curls. 

I’m living proof. 

If I can do it, you can, too. 

And even if you aren't in a state of transition and already have the curls you want--you're welcome in this group, too! Come on in and share what has worked (or continues to work) for you. 

EVERY curl is beautiful. 

Let’s be kind, support, and love each other here while we celebrate our curls!

Meet Kennedy and me in the lounge; we'll save you a seat!


 ☮️ and 

Courtney


Come hang out with me on the sites below! ✌️


YouTube  

Sunday, July 23, 2017

MY SUMMER FASHION FAVES for 2017

Oh, summer, how I love you so!!!

Your sunshine! 

Your warmth! 

How your very presence calls for the breaking of while-school's-in-session rules, such as always wearing shoes and paying mind to bedtimes.

And you know what I truly love about summer?

The clothes.

Here are my sartorial staples for summer--along with a few other items I remain enthusiastically geeked about--that stay in constant rotation literally All. Season. Long. 

And p.s., the following items listed are the exact items I own... 


HAREM PANTS
Alright, I realize that when you look at these pants the old 90s MC Hammer classic, You Can't Touch This may come to mind, but if you can move past that and follow me here, you just might understand why I've come to believe these pants are the greatest things since sliced bread. First of all, they're 100% cotton, roomy, and thereby extremely comfortable. I've worn these harem pants during a 500-mile car ride to the East Coast, when I took the kids to see a magician perform at our local public library, and these pants have also become my go-to pants to practice yoga in. Simply put, I now live in these pants. And, thankfully, my kids are not yet old enough to inform me that wearing them will embarrass them. Whew.


 LULULEMON POWER Y TANK TOP
Like the pants above, I seriously consider the top above to be of holy grail status. In fact, every single time I wear the pants above, practice yoga, get dressed in the morning, or, say, take a breath, I am wearing one of these tanks. To date, I've purchased nine-- one for every day of the week, plus one to spare! Wearing this tank is like a "twofer" because of the built in bra. Plus, these tanks wash well and fit like a glove. They're worth every penny.

HAVAIANAS FLIP-FLOPS
Okay, I'm about to hop into my fashion time machine for a moment, and those who were fans of Nicole Ritchie's closet circa 2005, will remember this era fondly: When The Simple Life star accessorized all of her outfits with colorful Havaiana flip-flops. Well, I immediately bought four pairs...which I still have today. I found them in my closet a few months ago, dusted them off, and began to wear them around the house in place of my shearling-lined Minnetonka moccasin slippers when spring arrived. And guess what I discovered? I still love these flip-flops, so I bought a silver pair, pictured above. Yeah, I can hear the naysayers poo-pooing the mere thought of spending over twenty bucks on a pair of plastic thong flip-flops, but in this case, you get what you pay for: These don't fade, lose shape, or fall apart. 




SPERRY TOP SIDER ESPADRILLES
While I love the Havaianas above, the one thing they lack is arch support, which is truly something my forty-year-old feet have come to appreciate. While I still kick it in my Havaianas at the beach and around the house, my go-to summer shoe all other times has been and continues to be the Birkenstock Gizeh. However. I bought a pair of Sperry Top Sider espadrilles (pictured above) last year at a deep, deep discount on clearance last fall, and promised to break them in this summer. Well, honey, let me tell you. We're only half-way through this summer and they already feel like buttuh! And they go with nearly everything I own.


AMERICAN EAGLE COTTON KHAKI SHORTS
I've worn these shorts literally four days straight. (Yes, I washed them after the second wash; then air-dried them flat.) Honestly, if I'm not in the harem pants, I'm rocking these. In short (no pun intended), I love these so much. The end.



J. CREW "PAPER THIN" COTTON T-SHIRT
(With ruffle detail)
My only regret now is that when I bought this shirt (in white) back in 2015, I didn't buy at least three more. I don't think J. Crew makes them anymore. (**INSERT A CRYING EMOJI HERE. :-(**)




RAY-BAN AVIATORS
These babies have been by my side since the summer of 2010. A true classic, they are. And while I consider myself somewhat of an aficionado when it comes to sunglasses (Chanel is my other favorite brand), I always come back to this pair, which is why I'm wearing them in the photo at the very top of this post.



LOUIS VUITTON SAC SHOPPER TOTE
Oh, Sac tote, how I love thee. Let me count the ways: Your long beautiful straps that (thankfully) don't dig into my arm despite the fact that I load this bag down like a pack mule; the lustrous patina that has developed over your leather detail; your dimensions, which enable me to fit everything from, say, a gas can to a Kitchen-Aid mixer. I bought this bag when I was pregnant with Kennedy, in anticipation of using it as her diaper bag (which I did, and it worked out great), and now that both she and Scotty are older, I carry around much less and this bag serves as my go-everywhere tote. I know that this bag was discontinued in favor of the now-current Louis Vuitton darling, the Neverfull tote, but I don't care. To me, this bag is Still The One.



WAI LANA STICKY YOGA MAT
Do you know how people get nostalgic over songs and perhaps movies? Yeah, well, I get that way over yoga mats....Back when I was studying to receive my yoga teaching certification and learned midway through that I was pregnant with Scotty, I bought myself an orange Wai Lana sticky mat. To this day, it is the most comfortable yoga mat I own, and, trust me, I own too many yoga mats. So, this year, for my 40th, I gifted myself  with the Wai Lana mat with Ganesh detail (pictured above), and although it has only seen about four months worth of practice, as soon as I step foot on it, it already feels like home. Namaste.





HEM WHITE SAGE INCENSE STICKS
If it is possible for peace, clarity, and joy to be condensed into a half-millimeter-thick stick, this has to be what it smells like. Admittedly, I am a fan of dried sage, and smudge (an ancient practice of healing and energy clearing) our home with it every New Years Day. So, simply based on my love of sage alone, I took a chance and ordered this incense, despite never having smelled it...and now I can safely affirm to you that it is the best incense I own.



TOM'S OF MAINE NATURAL LIP BALM
I'm an EOS girl, but I am also a fan of Tom's, so, 'eh, I picked this up at Walmart. Love the ingredients; love the scent, and I love the way this feels.



WETLINE XTREME PROFESSIONAL HAIR GEL
As curl-obsessed as I am, you know good and well I could not end this post without a shout-out to the product that I credit with keeping my and my daughter Kennedy's curls frizz-fee and shiny during this (sometimes) oppressive summer heat. The key is this gel right here: WetLine Xtreme Professional Hair Gel. It's cheap, doesn't contain alcohol or silicones (but is made with aloe vera, which makes this gel quite healthy), and it performs well. This pretty much means it is a curly girl's dream.



Hope you're enjoying your summer!!!!!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

HOW TO SOAK UP SUMMER

Go outside.

Play outside, walk outside, exercise outside, relax outside, eat outside, and most importantly, breathe in the outdoors; do as much as you can in the sun or under shade.

Go barefoot.

Feel the earth against the soles of your feet. Get your feet dirty as often as possible. (It's nothing a good shower can't fix.)

Lay down on the grass and look up. Take a moment to really observe the sky above--the passing clouds, the birds flying by, the trail of vapors from an airplane. 

Do we ever really notice these things? Probably not often enough.

Study trees. 

Watch them move in the breeze. Go ahead and wrap your arms around one while you're at it.

I'm serious!

Humans and wildlife could never survive without the benefits we receive from trees and other plant life: Trees facilitate the production of breathable air, after all. 

The least we can do is show our appreciation with a hug.

Use your sense of smell.

All the barbecue, the elusive whiffs of bug spray, the fragrance of flowers, the traces of freshly cut grass, evening rain, and everything in between.

Buy something from the ice cream truck--and if it doesn't offer anything you like, buy something for a child.

Take a moment to sit on your front porch (or nearby curb) after the sun has gone down.

Just be there and take it all in with an open heart.

And then count your blessings that you're able to do all of the above.

But, wait, there's more.

Do copious amounts of the following:

Smile.

Laugh.

Sing. And loudly. Especially with the windows down in the car.

Live.

Do all of this without thinking about it; it will come naturally if you let it.





Sunday, May 7, 2017

GlassesShop.com review & coupon code


Confession: I am pretty close to being blind.

And while I don't know how close I am to being legally blind, I can tell you this for certain: If I were behind the wheel without my corrective lenses, I am liable to mistake Niagara Falls as a tiny puddle--or my husband as Danny DeVito.

I'm not trying to be funny here: I NEED prescription lenses or contacts in order to see clearly.

If I venture beyond home turf, I wear my contact lenses 99.9% of the time.

But as soon as I return home, I pop those suckers out so fast, it would make your head spin. And then I slide on my eyeglasses

So I was pretty psyched when it appeared that The Eyeglasses Gods had decided to smile upon me in the form of an email from GlassesShop.com: They told me to pick out a pair of frames and they'd send them to me -- with prescription lenses -- and they'd sweeten the deal even more by providing the readers of this blog with a discount code for 50% off eyeglasses and sunglasses with FREE lenses. 

This was a darn good deal, and seeing as though I was in dire need of a new pair of eyeglasses myself, I was like Heck, yeah! Let's do this.

Having partnered with this company before, I know what GlassesShop.com is all about, and if you haven't visited their site which arguably possesses the best selection of stylish and affordable eyeglasses online, then it's time you check them out. Oh, and their prescription sunglasses are awesome!

And the best part?

GlassesShop.com provides lightening fast shipping, so my new glasses were on my doorstep about a week after ordering them. They were well-packed and arrived with a clear hard case and microfiber lens cloth:



The frames above are the same ones I'm wearing in the top photo; they're the Kalamazoo style in black. It's a style I keep coming back to again and again. What can I say? I like a strong, sturdy frame.

But make no mistake, whatever frame style tickles your fancy, GlassesShop.com has got it.

And here's how you can find a pair of your own: Simply visit GlassesShop.com, select the eyeglasses or sunglasses frames of your choosing, have your eyeglass prescription handy because you'll need to enter it when ordering, and, finally, enter the following special coupon code to receive 50% off eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses (sale frames excluded)*:

GSHOT50


That's it!

Now, go on: Change the way you look at things by visiting GlassesShop.com!


*Shipping rates are as follows:
Cost of standard shipping when order amount is less than $49:      $4.95
Cost of standard shipping when order amount exceeds $49:           Free
Cost of expedited shipping when order amount is less than $49:    $14.95
Cost of expedited shipping when order amount exceeds $49:         $10
Cost of expedited shipping for orders that exceed $99:                   Free


Saturday, April 29, 2017

WEEKDAY MORNING: WINS vs. FAILS

Like many moms of young school-aged children, I liken the act of rising and shining on weekday mornings to herding cats.

No, it's more like playing a game of wack-a-mole.

Wait, wait, wait. Scratch that. 

It's like juggling flaming chainsaws.

Yeah, that.

Because despite being a self-professed master of organization, something--some way, somehow--seems to slip between the cracks. 

I call these tiny earthquakes "fails".

But the small "wins"--the things that go well--make it all worth it.

Here's a glimpse into a recent weekday at Casa de Conover:

5:30 a.m.     My cell phone vibrates. It's time for morning yoga in my yoga den while everyone is still asleep and the house is quiet. I love this time! I crave this time. I press snooze. Four times. (I really need to give up late-night TV.) #FAIL

5:53 a.m.     I tiptoe out of bed, make my way to the other end of the house, turn on my Himalayan salt rock lamp, and twist and bend my way through an carefree, relaxed impromptu flow that makes me feel stretched, light, and ready to take on the day. #WIN

6:35 a.m.    Time to wake up the kiddos. As I open the door to Kennedy's bedroom, I hear what appears to be a moan of despair. Why? She had rolled over and crushed her binoculars in her sleep, which was quite easy to do because her binoculars are actually two empty toilet paper rolls that were duct-taped together, a craft made more than two years ago by Scotty's preschool teacher. (The fact that this mangled contraption hadn't found its way to a recycling bin before now is The Eighth Wonder.) I silently curse myself for allowing her to go to bed with these things in the first place. #FAIL

7:00 a.m.     I head to the kitchen to pack the kids' lunches and feel a wave of accomplishment when I place their lunchboxes alongside their backpacks on the bench by the garage door. #WIN

7:10 a.m.     Now it's time to make the kids' breakfast, and I'm secure in the knowledge that because I had just completed a Walmart run the evening before I've got all the food we need. Except that we don't, because The One Thing I meant to get (frozen cinnamon waffles)...I forgot. And guess what I had just promised the kids they could have. You guessed it, frozen cinnamon waffles! After rooting through the fridge for the fifth time (How could I have forgotten them!?!), I locate a pack of frozen pancakes in a clear, sealed bag. Based on the clearly present freezer burn and ice chips throughout, I surmise that the pancakes might be older than Kennedy. But...they're still edible...right? I mean, really. How bad can they taste? I say a silent prayer, promise not to over-heat them in the microwave, and hope for the best. One minute and thirty seconds later, I realize exactly how bad they could taste. I wouldn't serve these pancakes to a starving squirrel. So in the trash they go:
Toaster hash browns doused in ketchup it is. Sorry, kids. At least they're not encased in a glacier. #FAIL

7:59 a.m.     Both kids are dressed -- and their faces scrubbed clean of ketchup -- with minutes to spare. We're gonna leave this house on time! #WIN

10:11 a.m.    Having dropped off the kids over an hour ago, I'm now en route to the yoga class I teach I'm a mere seven minutes away from the school when I'm struck -- no, overcome -- with a profound sense of fear and dread. You know, that feeling in the pit of your stomach that's liable to induce vomiting: Because I had just realized that I didn't have my yoga bag:
In my haste to usher the kids and their belongings into the car, my bag was left by the wayside. Everything I needed to teach my class was in that bag. It contained my iPod, portable speaker, props, and my mat...and the bag was still on the bench by the garage door. I'm screwed. I'm too far long. I can't turn around and go back home to get it. I'd never make it back to the school in time. #MAJORFAIL

10:13 a.m.    God bless The Hubs. I call him, explain what I had done, and without thinking twice, he grabs the bag and tells me he'll bring it to me. In an act that can only be described as miraculous, he meets me in the school parking lot literally seven minutes before my class is slated to start. IlovethismanIlovethismanIlovethisman! #WIN

12:17 p.m.    My class is over, and I am on a high (Blissed out, is how we in the yoga community often characterize the feeling.) I absolutely love what I do and consider it nothing short of a privilege to share the gift of yoga with individuals, particularly youth. And that's totally a big, fat #WIN:


The frozen pancake debacle.

My epic brain fart.

I don't give a flying flip about either one.

How can I when I've shared energy with these smiling faces:


And after I've picked them up from school at the end of the day, these smiling faces hug me and say they've missed me all day long:


Today was a good day.😊



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...