Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair?

Titllong haire sound familiar? Those are the lyrics from the 1967 musical and song “Hair“. The question mark is my own addition. A couple of weeks ago, the topic of hair seemed to be popping up everywhere. From a father’s tribute to his daughter’s curly hair, to Willow Smith’s whip-lash inducing “I Whip My Hair” video, hair was hot. The hair indoctrination begins from the time we’re little girls. Popular culture teaches us that hair is an essential part of being a woman, and that the longer and straighter that hair, the better.

That hair indoctrination transcends race, ethnicity and culture, but as you can imagine, the message can be an especially difficult one for little girls whose hair grow naturally from their heads in crowns of tightly woven corkscrews. Within the African American community, women are dealing with hair issues including going “natural” or not, straightening, weaving, and yes, “the long hair” phenomenon as well.  I’ve learned that some Asian and Caucasian women use Thermal Conditioning to remove even a hint of curl or wave from their hair. And it wasn’t until Chris Rock’s visit to Oprah last year that I started paying attention to blonds with roots, and realized that an awful lot of blonds weren’t born that way.  But we’ll tackle those issues in a future post, today’s hair issue is about long hair and older women.  (Image credit: George Eastman House)

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WAF’s Five for Friday – The “Homemade Beauty” Edition

honey and oatmeal As I become more aware of the kinds of harsh chemicals and mystery ingredients in today’s food and beauty products I’m turning into a modern day kitchen magician, whipping up concoctions at home and road testing on semi-willing family members. In the skin and hair department I’ve created my own deep conditioners, face masks and facial scrubs with varying degrees of success.  I have no desire to become the next Carol’s Daughter (and she can relax, because it’ll never happen) but the idea that Propylene Glycol, which is used in brake fluid, is also used in my face cream, creeps me out.  So, here are five quick, easy, all-natural (brake fluid free) beauty treatments you can make at home.

1. Honey & Oatmeal Mask – The benefits of oatmeal have been touted for years, but did you know that it also makes for a great facial? Best applied at night, this oatmeal and honey mask is safe for almost all skin types.  Mix ½ cup fast cooking oatmeal and ½ cup water and cook. Let the oatmeal cool about 5-7 minutes, then add ¼ cup honey.  Mix well into a paste.  Apply this ‘mask’ to cleansed skin, and let dry. Rinse after about 15 minutes. I found this recipe at Diva Village, click here for more great info from their site.

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Somewhere outside a cafe in Italy…

00305920 When I launched this site I was 38. It had just dawned on me that at the rate I was going 40 wouldn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, be what I thought it would be.  I started asking myself some tough questions and began examining the things in my life I was unhappy with. On Monday I asked you some of the same questions. These questions related specifically to living your dream life. What would that life look like and where would you be living it, were just two of the questions.  Today I’m answering those questions myself, and the answers may surprise you…

What would you be doing? If you know anything about me you know that I love reading and writing just about anything I can get my hands on. I can spend days doing (almost) just those two things. If I could read and write for a living that’s exactly what I’d be doing right now. The truth is, reading and writing is what I spend most of my time doing, it’s just that I’m not always reading and writing the kinds of things I want to, and the making a living part has been hard to come by. In my dream world I’d be editing or writing an article/post/book while (and this is where the ‘Where would you be doing it?’ question comes into play) sitting in a cafe somewhere in Italy. Or I’d be writing about my experiences while visiting South Africa or France or *closes eyes and picks a place on a map*, on the plane ride home. Continue reading Somewhere outside a cafe in Italy…

Speaking of losing weight…

pea on fork Editor’s Note: On Monday I shared with you the fork in the road of my ongoing health/exercise/weight loss/fitness battles. Sadly, I’m no stranger to fad and starvation diets. But today I’m sharing a great post from Esther Kane on a better path to weight loss. As a social worker, counselor and “ardent anti-dieter” Esther’s take on dealing with unwanted weight gain in our 40s is enlightening, and she offers a softer, gentler way to achieving weight loss.

Balanced Weight Loss by Esther Kane

Normally, I try to avoid talking about weight loss, being an eating disorders therapist- it can be a touchy subject indeed. But lately, I’ve come to realize that there is what I believe to be, a balanced approach to losing a bit of extra weight if you really need to for health reasons. How did I come to this realization, you ask? Personal experience of course!

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On the road again

00387446 After weeks of laying off the knee I injured in the embarrassing incident now known as The Matrix Paper Retrieval Incident (TMPRI), I finally took the old knee for a test drive. It was a short one. A one and a half mile walk, with Kingston along for support. I even prepared for it by getting myself a pair of those butt/calf toning sneakers (not the Reebok version shown in their soft-core porn ad, but a cheaper, less salacious brand), and donning a knee brace. The verdict – the walk was great – until the day after. My knee, sadly, is not back to its pre-Matrix-move state, and my walks, which had gotten up to five times per week, will probably only be two to three times weekly for the next few months. It’s a fork in the road to fitness I hadn’t expected.

It’s ironic that just before the TMPRI, I’d decided that since so much of what happens to us in life seem out of our control – jobs, lay-offs, the economy – we should take ownership of the things we actually can control. Eating and exercising was at the top of my “Things I can control” list. Or so I thought. The next day I broke the record for the most embarrassing knee injury story ever. Coincidence? I’m not sure.

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