Pursuit of Natural

life, levity, & the pursuit of natural


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One Year Later and a Hiatus

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Happy B-Day, Blog!

I launched this blog on my big chop anniversary. That means next week I’ll be five years natural and The Pursuit of Natural will be one year old. I thought, like with most blogs, I’d be writing into the void from my little unseen corner of the internet. I did not anticipate how my words would connect and those connections would become meaningful.

Sharing is Caring

If Your Dream Only Includes You, It’s Too Small — Ava DuVernay

I knew the natural hair community was an uplifting one, but still the warmth and motivation I received surprised me. I have learned a lot in this past year of blogging–from how to manage a blog schedule (ya girl was posting manually for MONTHS. smh) to finding ways to connect, engage, and spread the love.

The pursuit of natural may be an individual journey but it is ultimately a shared experience. Year two, I want to amplify the voices of others as you all have amplified mine. Spotlights, guest posts, and reblogs. If you–yes, I’m talking to you–would like a reblog, leave a link below. If you’d like to write a guest post, drop me a line via the contact form.

A Pit Stop on the Pursuit

Being natural has come to encompass a lot more to me than just hair, and my pursuit has grown deeper and wider — Pursuit Of Natural

That was in response to a question on how I came up with the name for my blog, and it’s true. Pretty much every naturalista I’ve followed has gone through this evolution where self-expression flourishes as an outgrowth of being natural. Primarily, my pursuit of natural has led me to take my self-care more seriously, which I’d like to write about. It also made me seek out and learn from other black women who did or were trying to do the same. And I began to invest in parts of myself that have been neglected for years.

That’s where the hiatus comes in. I’ve taken up old passions and dusted off dormant skillsets. The blog will go on break next month as I focus on working on these other ventures, but you can keep up with what I’m up to on my twitter and Instagram (links in the sidebar.) So be sure to follow me there.

Thanks y’all! Don’t forget to share your blogs (yes, your blog!) in the comments. Introduce yourself and let us know what you write about. And reach out if you would like a reblog on The Pursuit, or to write a guest post.

If you’re a fan of The Pursuit, please like, subscribe, and share!

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Don’t Let Your Ends Ruin Your Look

The whole point of twist-outs and braid-outs (and bantu knot-outs) is to set your hair into some type of defined curl pattern, but then there are those annoying times when your ends just do not want to act right. What can you do?

Your Ends Demand Respect

They don’t call them your elders for nothing. They require an extra spritz of moisture, another dab of oil, and often that they be detangled first. Your ends are always trying to tell you something, and if they don’t act right no matter what style you’re attempting, it may be time for a trim. When it comes to giving my ends special attention with a twistout, I have 2 go to methods.

The Bobby Pin Curl

Urban Bush Babes put me on to curling my ends with a bobby pin. This worked great when my hair was shorter. It also doubled as a way to secure my hair as it dried in stretched twists. This will give you a tight curl, so if that’s not what you want, try the next method.

Cocoons and Hanging Bantu Knots

There are a lot of tutorials on how to do this one. The one above is from MyNaturalSistas and here’s another one from NappyFu. You do need some length for this or it will just unravel. I didn’t use this method until a few years after my big chop. It’s more comfortable than bobby pins to my sensitive scalp. It also gives a larger, rounder curl.

Many naturals love the way their ends fall on their own, but if you are more particular about your aesthetic give these methods a try.

Let me know in the comments how you treat your “elders”. And if you liked this post, take a second to “like” this post. Share, subscribe, and follow me on my other platforms via the sidebar.


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Liebster Award

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The fabulous OlenaRosanne nominated me. Y’all. She’s awesome and I’m humbled to receive this award from her. If you aren’t subscribed to her already, go do that and come back. I’ll wait. You can find her at olenarosanne.com. She blogs, vlogs, tweets, and ‘grams about natural hair & beauty, and she still finds time to show support for others.

Thank you, Queen!

The Rules:

  1.  Answer the questions you were asked.
  2.  Tag 11 people who have under 200 Twitter followers  *adding Facebook followers / Email subscribers.
  3.  Create 11 new questions.
  4. Recognize who tagged you.

OlenaRosanne’s Questions

Q1.  How did you come up with the name of your blog?  I brainstormed it out, really. I asked myself what my natural hair blog would be about and I said “life, levity, and…” the pursuit of nappiness was taken. Ha! So the Pursuit of Natural was born. Being natural has come to encompass a lot more to me than just hair, and my pursuit has grown deeper and wider, as I become the person I need to be to achieve the things I need to do.

Q2. What is your favorite color?  Red

Q3.  What advice would you give new bloggers? Don’t limit yourself. Stay open and flexible–this includes finding ways to take a break from the blogging grind. Be willing to learn from others and try new things. Most importantly, find ways to show support for others in your blogosphere.

Q4.  Do you have any children? Nope.

Q5.  What was your favorite subject in school?  Reading and writing

Q6.  Do you currently play or have you ever  played any instruments?  I play the piano.

Q7.  What are your hobbies outside of your blog?  Programming, composing music, drawing.

Q8.  Why did you decide to blog?  Introvert here, too! I thought blogging would be a good opportunity to push myself when it comes to engaging other people, expressing myself, being disciplined about my interests, and sharing my ideas. It also helped break some of the negative cycles of my depression.

Q9.  What is your drink of choice?  Girl, choice would be a luxury the way my diet is set up! When it’s not water, it’s mostly green tea infused with some fruit for extra flavor, and the occasional glass of orange juice.

Q10.  What fruit flavor do you gravitate towards when choosing something to eat or drink?  Gotta be apple–pies, jam, candy, apple dapple, apple crisp, apple apples. Alas, I can’t have most of those anymore.

Q11.  What nationality do you identify as?  African-American

 

My Questions

  1. Does your blog have a message, and if so what is it?
  2. If you could describe your relationship to your blog in one word, what would it be?
  3. Can you share your other social media handles and how you feel about doing self-promotion, if you do any, in these other places?
  4. What is your favorite way to de-stress and relax?
  5. What are some of your sources of creative inspiration?
  6. Big or small, can you share one thing you’ve accomplished recently that you are proud of?
  7. If you could have an all expenses paid vacation anywhere, where would you go?
  8. Are you multilingual, and if not what language would you like to speak?
  9. What’s something you used to do for fun and don’t anymore, but would like to get back to ?
  10. What’s your favorite time of the year?
  11. And because this is an important question OlenaRosanne asked, I’ll pass it on: What advice would you give new bloggers?

 

My Nominees

  1. NaturalMuse
  2. NaturallyHappyKinkyHair
  3. WhetstoneEditor
  4. DoingItNatural


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Versatile Blogger Award

 

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NaturalMuse nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award, and I am so grateful for this recognition. Thank you! She writes about natural hair, beauty, fashion, motivation and inspiration, and more. So, there’s plenty of reasons to go check out her site.

The Rules

  1. Thank the bloggers who nominated you and share their links.
  2. Nominate at least 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.
  3.  Inform them about their nomination.
  4.  Reveal 7 facts about yourself that your readers may not know.

7 Facts About Me

Let’s talk sci-fi

  1. I love sci-fi
  2. I used to write a lot of sci-fi short stories–some of it is out there somewhere on the internet
  3. My favorite Doctor Who is Matt Smith.
  4. My favorite YouTube channels for explaining weird and trippy science things are Vsauce and Vihart
  5. Last sci-fi film I saw: Interstellar
  6. Favorite classic sci-fi film: it’s between Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still
  7. Last sci-fi book I read: Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Word for World is Forest

The Nominees

  1. OlenaRosanne
  2. Delly Bie
  3. JustBrittanyMoments
  4. MyYeka


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The Deceptive Pick-Out

 

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The one thing I couldn’t wait to do when I went natural was pick out my fro. And pick it, I did, but unbeknownst to me I was obscuring some major issues beneath a kinky halo.

A Kinky Cloud of Awesomeness

For the first two years after my big chop, I applied my products and went to town with my black fist afro pick. I picked and patted until it was uniform, and I rocked that glorious kinky cloud of awesomeness every day. And when you make your hair look uniform, it’s impossible to tell just how not-uniform your true texture is, let alone how to work with it.

Cloudy with a Chance of Mixed Textures

It wasn’t until I stopped picking out my fro long enough to examine my curl pattern that it really sunk in I had mixed textures. And when picking and combing my hair in general became detrimental, I had to figure out how and why my hair shrunk differently and shaped itself differently than when I manipulated it.

Clear Skies Ahead

For a quick demo on how combing can change the way hair behaves, check out Cynthiarf’s video on the matter. Once I understood that, and came to understand how to work with my real textures, I developed a set of techniques to get those varying curl patterns to work together in harmony and look good.

These days I rarely wear my fro, and when I do it’s my full-shrinkage or banded-overnight 2nd-day fro. In fact, I just unleashed it of recent after an extended protective styling period, and it looked more amazing than I remembered. I don’t use a pick (or combs) except to part my hair, but if I did, I’d go with Naptural85’s afro tutorial which uses minimal combing on the ends, and which I’ve written about before.

Let me know in the comments if you pick your fro on the regular and what, if any, changes you see in the way your hair behaves. And if you liked this post, take a second to “like” this post. Share with your friends, subscribe to The Pursuit, and follow me on my other platforms via the links in the sidebar.


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Treat Yourself to Mini Twists

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When me and my hair need some time apart, I treat us to a month long hair vaycay with mini twists. At first blush, the idea of installing this style myself seemed anything but relaxing, but I picked up some techniques to make the whole process, from start to take down, go smoothly.

Why Mini Twists?

Mini twists are great for length retention and they save so much time in day-to-day maintenance. I can style them like loose hair, wash in them, and did I mention I can take a break from my regular regimen?

But That Time-Consuming Install, Tho

My first set (above) took 9 hours over 3 days. My second set took 3 hours in one. The difference was in which instructions I followed. Google implied it was best to allot three days so that’s what I did. Originally, I made my twists really tiny and my parts precise. To prep, I stretched my hair in regular twists, which has always taken time to separate into a new style when dry.

It Only Took Three Hours

For my second set (below), I followed the advice of a different YouTuber, ProtectivePrincess. I stretched with rollers, which meant all my sections were ready to go when dry, no extensive separation needed. I didn’t bother with perfectly straight parts, and I darn sure did not make extra small twists. Three hours, ya’ll. I save way more than that in the month I don’t have to detangle my hair every week.

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But That Time-Consuming Takedown, Tho

The main source of angst with the take down is matting. It is bound to happen when you don’t free those shed hairs for a whole month. Keeping your hair clean can reduce the problem but just cancel all your plans when detangling day arrives. And pray for extra patience.

Prepoo With Coconut Oil First

Again, ProtectivePrincess’s after care videos for long term protective styles saved me so much stress. I followed her advice and let my hair marinate in coconut oil (you could probably use a substitute with slip). I left mine in overnight and tackled those matted roots the next day. Most of them came apart with careful detangling. Some needed an extra dousing of melted coconut oil with an applicator bottle and then they, too, loosened up.

Give it a Try

It’s always a good idea to follow up a long-term protective style with deep conditioning, and I usually take the opportunity to snip any split ends or knots. I did a set after some heat damage and a major trim, and by the time I came out of mini twists, I’d recovered a lot of my length. It really is a style that lets me focus on giving my hair extra TLC before and after, and in between I can just get up and go, and enjoy all the hard work I invested in being natural.

Let me know what you think about mini twists, whether you do them yourself or pay a professional. If you liked this post, take a second to “like” this post. Share with your friends, subscribe to The Pursuit, and follow me on my other platforms in the sidebar.


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Thank You

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Recently, WordPress notified me that I had reached 50 followers on this blog, alone. It’s a modest milestone, but a milestone that I felt should be celebrated nonetheless. Because that number represents months of personal growth and some really wonderful people in this corner of the blogosphere.

So, thank you to everyone who took the time to read, like, comment, share, and follow. A special thanks to all the supportive women who have made this community so welcoming. And a very special thanks to the women featured in the image above, who have engaged, encouraged, and inspired me in their own ways to keep going.

Please check out their blogs and other platforms, where you’ll find great content on self-love, inspiration, health, beauty and, of course, natural hair!

I’ve gifted these five ladies a full color background and a full black and white illustrated portrait as a show of my appreciation. And I’m definitely going to do something like this again in future, because the Pursuit of Natural has been hard work and a learning experience, but ultimately a blessing.

 

Thanks for rockin with me. If you liked this post, please take a second to “like” this post! Share with your friends, and follow me on my other platforms. Links in the sidebar.