Giving birth to an angel.

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There are moments in our life we never forget.  Sometimes they are beautiful happy moments that we cherish and nurture by recalling them often.  Sometimes they are the darkest moments of your life, too painful to willingly recall.  Somehow they claw their way to the forefront of your mind, never to leave.  This post is about the latter.  I’ve always been OK with sharing my life, this particular moment especially.  I’m writing this because I needed an honest post like this 17 months ago.  I hope it is helpful, hopeful, or informative.

 

17 months ago…

It was the night before my 20 week ultrasound.  I was so excited to see baby again.  Normal pregnancies allow for maybe 2 or 3 ultrasounds.  We had planned to take our son, who was three and a half at the time, so he could see his baby sister.  In the middle of the night, I felt pressure.  Thinking I just needed to go to the bathroom I rolled back and forth awkwardly to get out of bed and waddled over to the bathroom.  Except it wasn’t just the urge to go, it was something else all together.  Something came out.  I’m not sure what.  My water broke.  That’s all I remember.  I screamed out my husband’s name.  I just kept saying No no no no no over and over.  I could feel my heart pounding in my throat.  This wasn’t right.  It’s not time.  Everything was normal, why is this happening?  My husband’s panic evident in his voice, looked at me “What do we do?”  This wasn’t something we were prepared for.  It wasn’t in any books, it wasn’t a part of any tour.  Nobody had warned us.  I sat there hovering over the tub, sobbing.  I couldn’t even talk.  I just watched the pinkish fluid trail towards the drain and my heart broke.  My husband had his head in his hands, tears welling up in his eyes “Oh no no no my baby, my baby.”  It is so painful to recall this moment.  The moment our hearts broke, our lives changed, and nothing was ever the same again.

Minutes later we were rushing towards the hospital.  I fell into a wheelchair, my mind spinning.  They rushed me to labor and delivery and told me to pee in a cup.  How could I?  If I pushed I would lose more water and all I could imagine was my tiny baby suffocating in my womb, the place she is supposed to be the safest.  I protested but the nurse demanded a sample.  She stood there with me while I tried and all that came out was more amniotic fluid.  My husband gripped my shoulder tight.  I sobbed harder.  I looked at her through my tears.  “I can’t. I can’t.”

I was laid on a bed and hooked up to monitors.  I heard the familiar rapid rhythm of my daughter’s heartbeat and what I felt wasn’t necessarily relief, but perhaps a flicker of hope.  She’s still with us.  Maybe there is something they can do.

I frantically started praying.  Even in my mind I was stuttering and sobbing through my prayer.  Will God understand me?  Does he just get what I’m saying?  I switched gears and talked to my baby. “We’re fighters in this family.  We don’t give up.  Please don’t give up.  Stay with me.  I can’t lose you, please don’t leave.”  I repeated this over and over in my head.

A woman was admitted to the space on the other side of the curtain.  I could hear her moaning through her labor.  The nurse excitedly motivated her.  “You’re going to have a baby, today!”  I listened to her husband trying to soothe her.  After a little while she was taken to a room to have her baby.  I smiled sadly at my husband, “This is one of the best days of their life…”  He knew what I meant.  Even in our situation there was joy all around us.  The bittersweet complexity of life.  One suffers while one experiences jubilation.  Life and death separated by a flimsy curtain.

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I was admitted into a labor and delivery room and was told I would be getting an ultrasound to figure out what is going on.  I asked the nurse for a catheter.  She looked at me like I had grown a second head.  “There’s no need for that, you can get up.”  But I didn’t want to.  I wanted to keep the amniotic fluid in.  “But it will hurt.”  I didn’t care.  That didn’t matter.  I needed to do everything I could to keep my child safe.   She reluctantly agreed.

Yes it did hurt.  But I squeezed my husband’s hand, distributing the pain between the two of us and it wasn’t so bad.  A necessary sacrifice.

There we sat.  Waiting on an ultrasound.  A few hours later the tech came in with the portable ultrasound machine.  His face was grim as he scanned all around.  The baby was fine but there was very little fluid in there.  I also had placenta previa.  He told me a doctor would be in and left quietly.  I knew what that meant.  There was no hope to be had.  It wasn’t going to be good news.

I wasn’t in any pain besides the ache in my heart.  I listened to the doctor quietly.  I felt like she was talking to me while I was riding a carnival ride.  A rush of wind in my ears making it hard to make out the words.  I realized later I couldn’t hear her because I was choking down sobs.  The prognosis wasn’t good.  I had lost my bag of waters so nothing was protecting the baby from the outside world.  She estimated I would naturally go in to labor about 72 hours in after getting an infection.  She said there was a slim chance I would stay like this, build up my waters, and have the baby prematurely.  But she didn’t want to give me false hope.  She said the slim chance was like 1%, maybe less.

My husband and I sat there.  Sucker punched by the news.  I turned to him.  Gripping his hand tight, I kept repeating that the baby would be ok.  I would stay just like this and we would have the baby early.  We’ve seen these miracles happen.  People go on to have healthy babies.  I desperately set the intention.  He wearily nodded his head and repeated back to me what I was saying.

We stayed in the hospital like this for almost three days.  That magical 72 hour mark.  I still felt fine.  The nurses in the department rotated through and I must have met every one of them.  One of them said she was praying for me to stay a long time and that the baby would be fine.  She decided she would teach me how to knit during my time there.  Her next shift she would bring me the supplies.  Each one stopped in for some hair advice and if they weren’t assigned to me they would come by on their lunch breaks to check in on me and chat.  By that third day I was so familiar with the schedule and procedures.

On the evening of that third day I laid in bed with a gas pain that wouldn’t go away.  I complained to my husband who rubbed my belly a little but fatigued from lack of sleep and an abundance of worry he fell into a deep sleep on the couch next to me.  I listened to his light snoring, meditating on it. Trying to focus on the pain and minimize it.  The pain became rhythmic and stronger.  I couldn’t help but let out moans and breathe through the pain.  I worried I would wake my husband.  Poor guy was so worried about me, I wanted him to rest.  But something about the way it hurt and the way I was moaning sounded so much like the woman who was admitted while I was being triaged.  I think I’m in labor I thought to myself.  My heart sank.  I tried to for a second concentrate on the pain, willing it to just be gas pain.  But it was pretty obvious that I was in labor.  I pushed the call button and a nurse came running in.  My husband woke up and came to my side.  I kept telling the nurse it just felt like gas pain.  She gave me something for the pain and told me that if it was labor pain I would still feel the pain but if it was gas the pain would go away.  I waited…as the next wave ripped through my lower half I began to cry.  No.  It was labor.  This is it.  She turned up the monitor and my daughters heartbeat filled the room.  I listened.  This was it.  I’d never hear that heartbeat again.  Something broke inside of me.  My husband stroked my hair and held my hand as I breathed through the labor.  He kissed my forehead and told me to breathe.  The nurses ran around setting up for the birth.  Before I knew it, I felt like I had to push.  The nurses nodded at me and said “Whenever you’re ready.”  Really.  Because I’m not.  I’m not ready for this.  I wasn’t prepared for this.  This isn’t how this was supposed to go down.  I lay my head back and cried.  I cried to God and anybody that would listen.  I no longer felt the pain ripping through my lower half.  I felt an ache in my throat.  Like a giant frog in my throat.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I listened to my husband’s soothing voice.  And then with no pain killers or analgesics I pushed out my baby girl.  The room fell silent.  Her heartbeat was gone.

They cleaned her up and wrapped her in the standard pink and blue striped blanket.  They handed her to me.  There I held my beautiful little girl, my husbands hand on her head.  I held her as she slipped away from us.  This cruel initiation into a club we never wanted to be in.  We cried together.  Both wracked with pain and grief.  They asked us if we wanted a picture and we declined.  As much as I knew I would never forget her, I didn’t want to remember these details.  I wanted to remember her my way.  We stared at her for so long.  She had my grandfather’s nose, my husband’s hands and feet.  She was really tall.  Her skin was so fair and she had a tuft of dark brown hair.  She had a slight smile on her face and oh God was she beautiful.  Just 21 weeks into my pregnancy and she looked so much like her big brother, like one of us.  I didn’t want to let go.  I held her to my skin just wishing that my breath could fill her lungs, that the electricity from my heartbeat would make hers beat again.  My doctor came in and sat next to me.  She touched the blanket affectionately and stood silent as I grieved.

They took her to the nursery and supplied us with some ham and cheese sandwiches.  I looked at my sandwich and tears welled up in my eyes.  I had stayed away from cured meats to protect her.  Somehow it seemed ironic to be eating it now.  I felt like a failure.  I felt empty.  My doctor came to check on me again.  She sat down next to me and held my hand tightly.  We cried together.  She reassured me it wasn’t my fault and that some things are out of their control.  I nodded but still felt like I failed my family.

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There are moments in our life we never forget.  This was one of mine.  It’s been 17 months and I’m still figuring it out.  The sadness never leaves you.  It’s inside everything you do.  I had a miscarriage before this and for me that was easier to get past.  The genetics didn’t line up, something was wrong and it was an early miscarriage.  There was a reason and explanation for what happened.  But this…no reason, no explanation.  My child was ripped from me for no apparent reason.  I flip flopped between anger and hurt and acceptance.  I had moments of strength and moments where I couldn’t bear the pain.  I cried like I’ve never cried in my life.  Nothing could soothe me.  My husband would hold me and rock me like a child.  He’d pat my head and just let me break in his strong arms.  I don’t know how he knew to do this, but he just let me break.  He didn’t try to make me stop crying, he didn’t try to fix it.  He just let the pain swell and steadied himself.  Like the rock I would hold onto during a flood.  We took turns falling apart and sometimes we fell apart together.  But we consistently had each other and that is what got me through.

One hard part of this was when it came time to tell people what had happened.  Not because it was difficult to talk about.  I’m an open book.  But the response I was getting.  One person texted us relating their miscarriages to what we went through.  Another person asked if there was anything I could have done differently.  Yet another told me I’d be pregnant again in no time.  On one hand I understand that most don’t know what to say in this situation, but on the other it hurt worse to hear this stuff.  There is no consoling this kind of grief.  As humans we have an inherent need to fix things or to say the right thing.  I’d say in this case it’s better to just listen and not say anything.

I won’t even get in to the folks who called it a miscarriage as if it was somehow less that way.  “Oh yea, so and so had a miscarriage but they had two healthy babies after that.”  No a miscarriage sucks pretty huge and a preterm birth is terrible too.  Each is a unique situation that can’t be compared.  I gave birth to my daughter.  I held her, saw her face.  She has a name.  We came home with a death certificate.  Is it less because she was so young?  Do grieving parents who lost their 16 year old somehow win this?  If I entertained all the questions that popped in to my head I’d be the cynical mess I know I’m not.  Instead, I choose to educate people.  When I see them struggling for words, I immediately say “You don’t have to say anything, it’s OK.  It’s a terrible situation, and that’s that.” or when they try to encourage me with a future birth I remind them that none of it is certain.  I accept this grief as a part of my life.  That it makes anyone else uncomfortable is none of my business.  I own this grief.  When it becomes overwhelming, I let it swallow me up and I experience it.  Then I release it and think fondly of my daughter.  She’s my angel baby.  We can’t see her, but we can feel her presence.  She is with me always.  When people ask how many children I have, I pause.  That is such a painful question.  What do I say?  If I say one then am I disregarding my daughter?  If I say two and one has passed, will people perceive me as an attention seeker?  But that’s the truth isn’t it.  How many kids do you have?  I have two.  One that runs and one that flies.

There are so many intricacies to being a bereaved parent.  It’s an unnatural pain.  No one in this world can relate.  Not even other bereaved parents.  Each situation is so unique that each person who goes through it has their very own pain.  Even between my husband and I, we grieve differently.  I don’t know his pain and he doesn’t know mine.  We are there for each other and understand the importance of allowing the pain to be present.  He watched his daughter enter the world and slip away, a visual I’m sure haunts him. He watched his wife, usually strong and confident, fall apart and suffer through a birth that didn’t end the way it was supposed to.  He had to grieve and keep it together for me and our son.  These are his pains.  I felt the tiny kicks and hiccups.  I went through a pregnancy and felt each contraction as I pushed her little body out.  I came home recovering from a delivery.  My milk came in and I had no baby to feed.  I sobbed to myself as I pumped the milk into the bathroom sink to relieve the pain from it building up in my breast.  How can we relate to one another?  Our experiences are unique.  I respect his process as he respects mine.  We listen, we stick around, and we get through it together.

Each person is different, and I think the important thing is to respect the grief.  Some people cry there eyes out locked in a room and that’s ok.  Some people socialize and try to move past it filling their days with normal activities.  Anything goes.  It’s all OK.  I went and got my nails done.  I had them put a bow on my ring finger to remember my little girl.  While getting them done I looked over at the pedicure stations and there was a mother and daughter getting pedicures.  I stared at them longingly.  Perhaps I creeped them out.  I blinked hard to push back my tears.  And as soon as I was done I ran to my car and sobbed into the steering wheel.  I wasn’t ready for the reminders.  Shortly after I went through the starbuck’s drive through and the barista asks me how I’m doing.  One of those questions we ask people without wanting the honest answer.  Just say you’re fine and move along.  Don’t complicate this simple social interaction.

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Overtime I’ve lost friends because they just don’t know how to process who I’ve become.  It’s a strange thing.  You assume your closest friends will always be there for you especially during your hard times.  But it seemed our grief was inconvenient.  If we talked about our daughter they get visibly uncomfortable.  Soon we weren’t invited to things.  I wanted to be hurt about it, but I felt numb.  People in my life I least expected to be there, rose to the occasion and became an important part of my support system.  People that had been in my life forever, faded into the background becoming a vestigial piece of the person I used to be.  The person who hadn’t suffered a loss like this.  The loss has made me more understanding and infinitely more compassionate.  I am grateful of everything.  The problem with this was that frivolous conversations ceased to interest me.  I defended the defenseless and because of my stronger sense of gratitude I had different things to say when these friends complained about petty issues.  I wasn’t the carefree kid I used to be.  I was a grieving mother with a story to tell.

If you’ve been through a pre term birth, or are facing circumstances that will lead you down this path, please know you aren’t alone.  It is surprisingly common, which doesn’t make it any easier, but at the very least please know you are not a failure.  Nobody talks about this.  Especially in the Indian Community.  It’s taboo.  I think it’s seen as a sign of weakness.  To which I would throw up my middle finger and scream bullshit.  Why are we so ashamed?  Why are we not more loving towards people who go through this.  I’ve heard people from my community talk about others this way.  “Oh did you hear so and so lost their baby, so sad, poor girl.” Says the auntie with the old spinster daughter, just barely hiding her glee.  It makes me sick.  I was terrified and confused when I went through it.  Since then so many people have told me they went through it or know someone who did.  There are support groups out there.  The group ‘Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep’ really helped me.  Talking to other mothers who had been through it helped me to clear away the confusion and celebrate my daughter.

I liken this experience to riding out a storm.  A storm so powerful it uproots trees and leaves debris in it’s wake.  You look around and see remnants of this storm, reminding you of the fear and difficulty it brought to your life.  We rebuild and wait for the clouds to part.  We wait for that rainbow.  There’s no telling how long it will take for that beautiful vision.  On the one year anniversary of Sahaara’s passing we visited the park where we scattered her ashes.  It had been sort of a gloomy day, the clouds threatening a storm.  As we walked towards the river access, the clouds began to part.  We looked up to see not one but two rainbows.  A flock of birds flew around and I noticed a beautiful sunset.  The sunset was symbolic of our daughter.  We kept catching the sunset on days we were really missing her.  It became an association and seemed very appropriate on her birthday.  To one side was a beautiful glowing sunset and on the other side the moon had risen and the sky was darkening.  I thought of that woman on the other side of the curtain…birth and death…separated by a flimsy curtain.  The day was so perfect.  When you have a baby after losing one they call it your rainbow baby.  The double rainbow made me think of that.  A few weeks later a positive pregnancy test parted the clouds and a rainbow broke through the grief.  Christmas morning I woke my husband up with the news.  I am currently 20 weeks and anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby girl.  Sahaara’s presence is so much stronger; watching over her baby sister.    If we hadn’t lost Sahaara, we wouldn’t be having this baby.  If we hadn’t gone through all that, this wouldn’t be considered a high risk pregnancy.  It’s been heavily monitored and protected by a gaggle of doctors.  They’ve been able to intervene on things that wouldn’t have been tested for in a regular checkup.  So many times we wondered why.  It took us this long to find our answer.  We leaned on our faith and spirituality to make sense of it.  After patiently waiting for the storm to pass, the clouds have parted and our rainbow is upon us.

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xoxo,

Shreeda

What is Balayage?

Balayage

I can’t believe I haven’t written this post sooner.  I get asked this constantly.  And I’ve heard a hundred different ways to pronounce it!

Balayage is a french word meaning to sweep or to paint. Simply put, it is a technique not an effect.  The resulting effect from this technique is dramatically different than traditional foil highlights. Balayage creates a sun-kissed natural looking hair color with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. The main idea being less is more.

Balayage is great for someone looking to update their look without committing to increased maintenance.  Foil highlights can tend to have more separation in pieces and usually create a growth line.  Now keep in mind foil is a tool and can be used during a balayage service to keep highlighted pieces from mashing together.  So when I say traditional foil highlights I mean the particular method where hair is weaved into a foil and painted with lightener. (Please don’t call it bleach!)

Balayage

This picture shows the technique and the effect.  Notice how the highlight has a soft line so as it grows it will look better and better.  The before picture…looks like a DIY ombre!

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Here is a beautiful example of Balayage technique used to achieve an ombre.

Now let me show you the difference between ombre, sombre, color melt.  Each style has a different effect but all are done with balayage technique.

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The ombre transitions from dark to light and is pretty dramatic.  The sombre of “soft ombre” has a dark to light gradient but much more subtle.  Color melting melts together two colors using balayage technique.

Balayage is an advanced skill, so make sure if you choose to go this route that your stylist knows what they’re doing.  This can go horribly wrong if the stylist isn’t familiar with creating a soft transition or if they aren’t educated on sectioning techniques.  Most importantly they need to understand toning.  What’s toning you say?!  Well that’s a topic for a whole new blog post.  Stay tuned for the answer to that.  Post your questions in the comments below.  What’s your favorite look?

xoxo,

Shreeda

Are you washing your hair the right way?

Shampoo hair the right way

Shampooing seems like such a simple thing.  It’s just washing hair right?  So why does it confound us so much?  I am going to lay out the dos and don’ts of hair washing.

How often?

This is so variable.  It all comes down to hair type and lifestyle.  If you’re working out hard everyday and sweating a ton, I’d say you need to wash your hair more often.  If you have curly hair, I would say wash your hair less often.  Moisture being the main thing here.  The more you wash, the more natural moisture you won’t be able to accumulate.  If your hair turns into a grease-pit the very next day, you may be using the wrong products.  In the time I’ve been doing hair, I’d say very few people actually have an oily scalp problem and it’s more of a horrible product problem.

How is it done?

As a rule, I tell my clients to wash their scalp and condition their ends.  Start at your scalp with the shampoo, make sure you emulsify completely in your hands before you start massaging.  This will help disperse the shampoo easily.  Massage with your finger tips and try to be gentle.  The more rough you are at this point, the harder your hair will be to manage.  Being rough during shampooing will rough up the cuticle layer and make hair frizzy and unmanageable.  So gentle massaging and take the suds to the ends of the hair and gently wash.  You don’t need to waste product on the ends.  They just don’t need to be cleansed the way your scalp does.  Rinse.  Now when you apply conditioner, apply it to the ends of your hair and work through.  For some clients, I tell them they don’t really need to bother conditioning the scalp.  Unless your scalp is extremely dry, your natural moisture and oils will do the work.  But if you feel incomplete, take what is left on your hands and bring it to your scalp. Rinse.

When should you deep condition?

Only very damaged and dry hair needs to be on a deep treatment regimen.  If you fall into that category, and let your stylist guide you, then use a nourishing and strengthening deep treatment.  Your stylist will probably be banging your door down with a treatment if your hair falls into this category.  I have clients who tell me they really need a deep treatment and their hair is so damaged, but the perception is different.  By damaged hair, I mean it’s brittle, and the ends disintegrate at a touch.  Generally a deep treatment every 3-4 shampoos is a good idea, but not necessary for healthy hair.  I always recommend a leave in treatment for my clients.  It’s the best thing you can do for your hair, no matter the type.  There are plenty out there but I really love Aquage Moisture Mist, Pureology Color Fanatic, Redken Antisnap, and Moroccan Oil Treatment.  Use it after every shampoo and you’ll be maintaining your hair and keeping it healthy.  If you get your hair color treated, then absolutely you need a leave in.  Not only will it keep hair from getting dry, but it will help your color stay fresh.

No poo? poo poo?

The whole “no poo” movement has left the country divided.  Here’s where I stand on it.  Ok if you have curly hair, absolutely not if you have fine or limp hair.  If you don’t know what this is all about, it’s basically using a conditioner to clean in between full on shampoos.  Pureology makes some good cleansing conditioners.  These no poo varieties can build up on hair if you over do it and I honestly think it’s best for very curly hair.  The kind that you don’t blow out but leave curly.  I have curly/wavy/frizzy hair naturally.  I have yet to love the no poo thing because it builds up on my hair type and makes my scalp uncomfortable.  To sum it up, if it works for you, do it.  But if your stylist is griping about build up or your hair always feels dirty even after a shampoo…rethink.  And please stay away from Wen.  I have seen and read about some truly horrible results.

Protein? Moisture? What does my hair need?

So the best I can do with this is ‘go ask your stylist’.  I really wish there was an easy answer for this, but it really varies.  I have to touch and feel and even smell my clients’ hair to assess what they need.  Just so you understand the thought process, hair needs a balance of protein and moisture.  Your stylist would factor in environment, lifestyle, your actual hair type, and what treatments you do regularly to your hair.  I’m in Houston, so during summer I have to switch all my clients to a different product pairing because the moisture in the air really makes a difference.  This applies to drier climates as well.  The lack of moisture in the air can contribute to dry brittle hair.  The pH of your hair and the water you use to wash your hair makes a difference too.  If I have clients who have really hard water or constantly complain that their highlights “went brassy”, there is a set of products for that.  So long story short, ask your stylist.  But understand that it isn’t as simple as ‘my hair feels oily, I need something for oily hair’.  You may end up exacerbating the problem because you’ll dry your scalp out and have it creating even more oil to compensate, when the problem was actually you needed a moisturizing shampoo/conditioner.

Is salon product really all it’s cracked up to be?

In short. Yes.  Absolutely.  I’m saying this from experience.  Not because I’m a salon snob.  Truly, if Pantene and Dove were really that amazing, we’d be using it in the salon.  Promise.  I can feel the drug store stuff in my clients’ hair before they tell me they’re using it.  I can smell it.  I can tell when colors don’t process properly, that there is something gross coating the hair.  If drug store stuff is all you can afford, fine, but let me tell you…it all works out the same.  Salon product is concentrated and works.  This means you use less each time.  You get the same size bottle but you use less product.  Drug store product has cheaper fillers that build up on the hair.  So maybe the first time you use it, it’s lovely, but then over time you’ll notice your hair taking longer to dry or it still feels dirty and greasy.  That’s build up.  Your stylist will be able to scrape it off with her shear or razor.  I always do that to show my clients the disgusting film that’s standing between them and that amazing hair they keep praying for.  I’m not trying to shame the people who use drug store product or can’t afford salon product.  There are affordable salon brands like Redken.  What I’m saying is, the solution is there.  If you’ve been having issues, switch your product.  From personal experience, I had to use Dove when I forgot my stuff and my hair immediately was dull and limp and felt greasy.  Same thing with Garnier, Herbal Essence, Tresseme, Vidal Sassoon.  I mean, it was instant and so gross.  So if you have the means, get the salon product.  And from a salon please.  The stuff you find discounted at Amazon, Target or Walmart is unethical and not guaranteed.  If your hair falls out from using that, there is no one you’ll be able to sue or blame.

Leave questions below.  Please be kind.  If you don’t agree, that’s fine.  But you’re wasting your time leaving an ugly comment.

The truth about trims

Bad-Hair-Day

 

So you told your stylist you want to grow your hair out.  And they told you to get a trim every 6-8 weeks?!  Are they bonkers?

The short answer…no!

Trims keep the ends of your hair healthy.  Once the ends start to split and fray it’s dunzo.  Nothing will permanently fix split ends.  There are short term remedies like Brazilian Blowout Split End Remedy or products from Pureology and Redken that help treat splits.  However to truly “fix” split ends you need to cut those bad boys off.

What happens if you don’t get that regular trim?  Basically your ends will be disintegrating at the same rate that your hair is growing and it will seem like your hair stops growing at a certain length.  Or your hair ends up really wispy on the ends.  Reminiscent of rat tails.

I tell my clients to trim hair every 6-8 weeks if they want to grow or if they have long hair.  Short hair clients I ask to come back 3-6 weeks.  This is about the time it takes for a short haircut to lose it’s shape.  Hair grows at different rates so a haircut will eventually lose it’s shape.  On average, hair grows about 1/2 inch per month, give or take some depending on health.

So if you’re wanting to grow your hair, get regular trims and use good products to promote scalp and hair health.

xoxo
Shreeda

How a brush will fix your clogged drain

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I fell of the face of my blog.  I apologize.  So many of you have written to encourage me to write more.  I truly appreciate it.  So here I am.  I’ve had a crazy 2014 and I will write about it when I’m ready.  For now I want to shower you with hair tips.  I am going to try to post one each day.  But forgive me if I don’t.  I have plenty of things that distract me from what I should be doing!  Here we go with my first hair tip….

Prevent clogging up your drain by brushing your hair before you get in the shower.

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My husband says it makes his teeth itch when he sees the baby Sasquatch that is left behind after I shampoo my hair.  He has a HUGE problem with hair that is not attached to a head.  Ironic since I’m a hairstylist and have random people’s hair collecting in my bra and shoes.  I also get hair splinters!

You’ll lose about a 100 strands a day, normally.  Maybe more if you tie your hair up constantly.  Not only from breakage, but it accumulates in there especially if you aren’t thoroughly brushing your hair each day or letting your hair down from time to time.  A great brush to use is a boar bristle brush.  It smooths down the hair cuticle and leaves hair shiny and healthy.  Don’t go nuts though, too much brushing isn’t good either.

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And make sure you clean your brush.  Don’t be nasty.  Dirty brush = dirty hair

I typically always use a boar bristle brush for my blow outs.  These type of brushes also feel amazing on the scalp and stimulate blood flow which helps with growth.  It makes a huge difference in the appearance of the hair.

I also need to mention…don’t brush your hair when it’s wet.  Detangle with a wide tooth comb, but don’t attack it with a paddle brush.

Give this tip a try and let me know how it goes for you!

Have a beautiful day!

xoxo

Shreeda

A Different Option for Fall Hair Color.

It’s fall and everything is pumpkin spiced. Given. Another given in the fashion world? It’s time to change the flavor of your hair too! But just because we associate fall with one flavor doesn’t mean your hair has to be. Here are some options depending on your skin tone and pre existing hair color to keep you trendy for the season without looking like a boring old pumpkin. Each look can be customized and therein lies the brilliance. No one else will have it. And because we’re not going for a specific color, but more a technique, you can make it work for you and pull it off with grace.  The typical reaction is to lighten for summer and darken for fall.  As a stylist, I can tell you that nothing terrifies me more than the client who comes in wanting to be blonde for summer and brunette for fall. It’s doable, but somewhere during the winter, it’s possible the clock is going to strike midnight on your hair and even a miracle won’t save it. Don’t over-process, color responsibly.

 

 

Flaxen Blonde

As fall settles in, the platinum and cool blonde A-listers we saw this spring/summer are going just a tad darker. These beauties have transitioned to a wheat blonde that still has a springy lightness, but is updated with deeper roots and gold tones spread throughout. Think warm and honey. I recommend this look for ladies and men with fair complexions or overall light coloring.

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49th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards - Arrivals

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Bronde

Summer is over, yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be sun-kissed. At least your hair can reflect the effects of a vacation while your skin slowly reminds you there’s no bikinis in sight. Bronde is a different take on the natural highlighted look and a perfect way to add a bit of drama to your tried and true brown this fall. I suggest keeping the highlights off the very top of the head, scatter some slices of gold or beige around the face, eyes, cheekbones, and neckline. This technique brightens up the frame around the face creating the illusion of bronze skin. So go bronde, and keep those summer months alive! This is a great option for medium to olive skinned people.

 

 

 

 

70th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

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Copper

How can you think of fall and not think of copper? A beautiful natural version of orange, it’s the color of fall. It’s bolder than strawberry blonde and more subtle than red. It’s vibrant and still understated. A cozy glow from the fireplace. A deep copper is the poster child of fall. If you have blue or green eyes, this is the shade for you. Quite simple to do if you’re already a blonde.

 

Emma-Stone

 

 

Sombré

Nothing pleases me more than different versions of ombre. It is a beautiful trend when done properly. I’m not talking about the DIY brassy ombres I’ve been seeing. I’m talking about a true blended masterpiece. The dramatic ombré has been replaced with something more subtle. Sombré, get it? Ombre, Sombre, Bombre..whatever you want to call it, subtle is the name of the game here. No high contrast, high maintenance roots. This is all about lowlights rolling through the middle layers and working into the roots to break up regrowth lines. Out of all of these, I predict this to be the biggest trend this season. This is versatile, suitable for any coloring.

 

Kerry Washington

Tine Fey

Lily Aldridge

 

Rich Chocolate

Getting the perfect deep, rich brown for fall is all about finding the right mix. I always love to add a bit of red and copper to my browns to make them dimensional and luscious. It’s like hot cocoa and chestnuts roasting over an open fire. Dark hues work on all complexions, just tweak the undertone or vary the level a bit to avoid looking like a member of the Adams Family. Blue and Brown eyed babes, get ready for your eyes to POP! Whatever shade you choose, make sure you lock in shine, it will be what sets your hair apart from the other brunettes.   A good blowout with Ahnesti Utiliti Styling Gel will give you luster and hold.

 

Amal Alamuddin

Kim Kardashian

Selena Gomez

 

Where ever you fall on the spectrum, you have plenty of options.  I hope this was helpful!  Happy Fall!

 

xoxo

Juice it up!

**I wanted to get this up quickly for those that were asking me to post about this.  I will add pictures soon.**

 

Several of my friends started juicing and although curious about it, I never really felt like jumping on board.  It seemed tedious and to be honest, I just didn’t know where to start.  I didn’t have a juice extractor so I didn’t really want to make the investment if I wasn’t planning on sticking to it.

I am going to be completely honest in this blog, in hopes that it will help you.  I will share exactly what I did, what I went through, and tips and tricks.  Juicing is not easy.  If you’re planning to do this because you want to lose weight, great!  But if you think this is your easy ticket to weight loss, think again.  It is work, it is hard, and it really takes mental effort to get through a juicing program.  Let me start at the beginning of my journey.

I can’t remember exactly what I was doing, but somehow I heard about the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  I watched it and was instantly converted.  It wasn’t so much the weight loss part of it, but the health benefits.  I was stunned that this man was able to “cure” his  autoimmune disorder.  I suffer from allergies and they are incredibly annoying.  I wasn’t feeling energetic and youthful and I really wanted to do something about it.  I also wanted to drop the weight, but I wanted to be healthy about it.  Working out and eating well wasn’t giving me what I wanted.  I felt like all my efforts were being wasted on something that wasn’t working for me.  So I decided to do it.

Prepare yourself.

Don’t just dive into this juicing thing.  It really isn’t easy and chances are you will starve and feel so uncomfortable right away that you’ll cheat.  I eased myself into it.  First I had a juice for breakfast and then a light lunch and light dinner.  I had a juice for snack too.  Then I had a juice for breakfast and lunch and had a light dinner.  I did this for almost a week.  Then I stumbled upon the Jason Vale 7 lbs in 7 days app.  It is $6.99 on iTunes and worth every penny.  The app has videos and audio to help you through it, recipes, alerts, and a very helpful shopping list.  I immediately went out and bought everything I needed for the first 3 days.  It’s a lot of produce, so start with a few days.

Dealing with produce.

If you tend to be lazy, this is going to be a challenge.  I started on a Saturday, so Friday night I went shopping.  My first stop was Whole Foods.  For the most part I got organic produce, yogurt, etc.  I also bought my supplements here.  For the other things like banana or apples, I decided to get it from Krogers because I needed 35 apples and I wasn’t going to buy organic apples and be left homeless.  Lucky for me Kroger had a 3 for $0.99 sale on Golden Delicious apples.  The cashier will look at you funny when you buy this many apples.  Mine even said “Man, you guys eat a lot of apples!”  I laughed, but thought to myself, I better stick to these three days or I am going to be eating a lot of apples…

I would clean all the produce right when I got it.  I fill the sink with water and vinegar and soak the fruits and veggies for about 10-20 minutes.  Then I rinse, dry, and put them away.  I tried to display everything in my fridge or countertops.  Produce is so beautiful and when it’s arranged in a beautiful way, not crammed in a drawer or bag.  I was compelled to eat it because it was so pretty!  Some of the things like the carrots I would peel and cut and put in baggies.  Tedious work like that, I got out of the way.  I basically made it so that I could reach in the fridge, grab what I needed, and stick it in the juicer.

Create your routine.

Think about what your routine is.  Don’t let work be an excuse not to do this.  This is where the effort comes in to play.  I have a toddler that demands my attention.  My day is filled with activities, errands, and play time.  I realized my only time to make these juices were in the morning right before my son got up.  The week I started this 7 day plan my son started school, so I had to factor in getting ready, getting him ready, and being done with everything by 8 AM so I could leave to take him to school.  Crazy right?  If I can do it, so can you!  I set my alarm for 6:15 and got ready.  I pulled out what I needed to make my first three juices.  I made them, put them in travel cups, and stuck them in the fridge.  I went about the rest of my routine.  If I was running errands that day, I would take my juices in a lunch cooler and sip all day long.  The app notifies you when it’s time for a juice, basically every three hours, but I just listened to my body.  I didn’t drink every single juice all the time, some of them I skipped because I was still full.  Bottom line, plan out your day.  It gets easier once you get used to your new routine.

What juicer to get.

I started out juicing on a regular centrifugal juicer.  Nothing heavy duty.  But with these juices needing apples, and needing to juice several times a day, I needed something that could take the beating.  I also wanted one that wouldn’t heat up the juice in the process because you lose nutrients that way.  I settled on the Breville Elite.  Amazing machine.  The chute is big enough to put a whole apple in.  This drastically cuts down the prep work.  I am able to just put whole things in, minimal cutting or peeling.  Plus it’s fun.

What it feels like.

The first day I had crazy amounts of energy.  I felt good, I was excited.  Towards the evening I started to feel hungry.  Make sure you have a support system or a way to stay motivated.  Without that it is really easy to cheat.  It is worth it if you stick it out.  My husband is a gem of a man.  He would hug me and tell me he was proud of me, and remind me of my goals.  He wouldn’t ever say no you can’t eat this or that.  He would tell me ‘You could eat that, but what’s the point of all this if you’re going to modify the program?’  And just like that I would find my spirit and keep on juicing.

The second day was HORRIBLE.  I had a migraine, I was nauseous.  It was the worst.  I was at work and had finished two clients when all of a sudden I just couldn’t think past what I was feeling.  This feeling will make you want to quit.  It is one of the worst feelings I’ve experienced.  That feeling is the toxins leaving your body.  Drink water and it will pass.  Again, I ran home to my husband and listened to his words of motivation.  He has been my rock during this.  I wanted to gain control of my body again, I wanted to be healthy, I want to fit back into my bikinis!  He reminded me of the benefits and again I was back at it.

Day 3 is better, but the juices started tasting too sweet.  I added Chat Masala to a few of my juices to make it more palatable.  Chat masala also helps alleviate any gas issues you might have.  Once I hit day four I was on a roll.

I would step on the scale every morning and notice the steady drop.  It lifted me up in the morning.  Knowing that it was working.  I could see my face was different, I felt amazing, and all my clothes were fitting the way they should.  My belly was gone and I was starting to see my abs again.

Here I am on day 7, 15 lbs lighter, and feeling great.  My skin is glowing, and my waist is small again.  I went from looking unhealthy and bloated to looking fit.  It’s not just the weight, you lose the toxins and so your body isn’t inflamed anymore.  My body is now alkaline and functioning at it’s best.  I can’t tell you enough how amazing this feels.  Worth every grueling minute of it.

I plan to continue juicing for parts of my day.  Like a juice for breakfast to start my day, followed by light meals.  Of course, I will indulge every now and then, but plan to detox from time to time just to maintain what I feel now.

So what’s the plan?  How did I do this?  I will list the recipes and what I did for the 7 days, but I urge you to get the app and use it to guide you.  It will put it all right at your fingertips.  Not to mention, some of the audio is exactly what you need to hear at times.  Jason Vale is a great inspiration and his bubbly personality and enthusiastic attitude keep you going when you feel like you can’t.

Good luck if you decide to try this.  It changed my life and I hope it has the same positive effects on yours.  If you have ANY health concerns please PLEASE consult your doctor before starting any juice program.  This is my personal experience and I am a healthy 31 year old with no health concerns.

Day 1:

Waking: Hot water with  kick (lemon, fennel, mint, etc)

8:00 am: Super Juice

11:00 am: Super Juice

2:00 pm: Super Chute Juice

5:00 pm: Turbo Express

8:00 pm: Lemon-Ginger Zinger

9:00 pm: Hot n Spicy

Day 2:

Waking: Hot water with  kick (lemon, fennel, mint, etc)

8:00 am: Super Juice

11:00 am: Super Juice

2:00 pm: Super Chute Juice

5:00 pm: Turbo Express

8:00 pm: Turbo Express

9:00 pm: Hot n Spicy

Day 3:

Waking: Hot water with  kick (lemon, fennel, mint, etc)

8:00 am: Lemon-Ginger Zinger

11:00 am: Super Juice

2:00 pm: Passion 4 Juice Master

5:00 pm: Turbo Express

8:00 pm: Turbo Express

9:00 pm: Hot n Spicy

Day 4:

Waking: Hot water with  kick (lemon, fennel, mint, etc)

8:00 am: Super Juice

11:00 am: Super Juice

2:00 pm: Super Detox Juice

5:00 pm: Turbo Express

8:00 pm: Turbo Express

9:00 pm: Hot n Spicy

Day 5:

Waking: Hot water with  kick (lemon, fennel, mint, etc)

8:00 am: Super Chute Juice

11:00 am: Super Chute Juice

2:00 pm: Super Detox Juice

5:00 pm: Super Juice

8:00 pm: Super Juice

9:00 pm: Hot n Spicy

Day 6:

Waking: Hot water with  kick (lemon, fennel, mint, etc)

8:00 am: Passion 4 Juice Master

11:00 am: Passion 4 Juice Master

2:00 pm: Pure Green Super Juice

5:00 pm: Boost Juice

8:00 pm: Boost Juice

9:00 pm: Hot n Spicy

Day 7:

Waking: Hot water with  kick (lemon, fennel, mint, etc)

8:00 am: Super Juice

11:00 am: Super Juice

2:00 pm: Passion 4 Juice Master

5:00 pm: Sherbet Lemonade

8:00 pm: Boost Juice

9:00 pm: Hot n Spicy

Recipes

Boost Juice

2 Apples

1/2 cup Alfalfa sprouts

1/2 cup Watercress

1/2 cup Parsley

1/2 cup Kale

1/2 cup Broccoli

1/2 Pineapple

1 shot wheatgrass

1/4 cup ice

Drop apple into chute, pack in all the leafy greens, kale, broccoli, and finish with second apple.  The tighter you pack, the more juice you will get from the greens.  Push through pineapple.  Mix in wheatgrass, pour over ice. (Use wheatgrass powder instead of actual wheatgrass.)

Lemon-Ginger Zinger

2 Carrots

2 Apples

1″ Ginger root

1″ Lemon

1/4 cup ice

Juice everything and pour over ice.

Passion 4 Juice Master

1 Apple

1/4 Pineapple

1/4 Banana

3/4 cup Bio-Live Yogurt

1 tsp. Spirulina

Juice apple and pineapple.  Pour juice into blender along with banana, yogurt, and spirulina.  Blend until smooth.

Pure Green Super Juice

2 stalks Celery

1/2 Cucumber

1/2 cup Baby Spinach Leaves

1 shot wheatgrass

1/4 Orange

1/4 cup ice

Juice celery, cucumber, spinach.  Add wheatgrass and pour over ice.  After each mouthful of juice, take a bite of orange. (Don’t chug this juice, it tastes like the butthole of a celery, but take a sip, swish it in your mouth, and then swallow.  This juice is PACKED with nutrients that the enzymes in your mouth break down much better.)

Sherbet Lemonade

2 Apples

1/3 lemon

1/4 cup ice

Put in chute: apple, lemon, apple, like a apple lemon sandwich.  Juice and pour over ice.

Super Chute Juice

2 Apples

1″ Carrot

1/2 Stalk Celery

3/4 cup Mixed Green Leaves

1″ Cucumber

1/2″ Broccoli

1/4 cup Alfalfa sprouts

1/2″ Red Beet

1/2″ Zucchini

1″ Lemon

1/2″ Ginger Root

1/4 Cup ice

Put one apple in the chute, followed by the other ingredients, then the second apple.  Juice and pour over ice.

Super Detox Juice

2 Apples

1/4 Cucumber

1 stalk Celery

1/2 cup Baby Spinach Leaves

1 tsp Superfood (or a bunch of mixed leaves)

1/4 cup ice

Juice everything and pour over ice, unless you use Superfood supplement, blend it with the juice.

Super Juice

2 Apples

1/4 Pineapple

1/4 Cucumber

1/2 Lime

1/4 Avocado

1 shot Wheatgrass

1 tsp Spirulina

1 capsule Friendly Bacteria

1/4 cup ice

Peel the lime, leave the pith on.  Juice apple, pineappe, cucumber, and lime.  Pour juice into blender, scoop in avocado flesh, wheatgrass, spirulina, ice, and powder from friendly bacteria capsule.  Blend until smooth.

Turbo Express

2 Apples

1/2 cup Baby Spinach Leaves

1/2 stalk Celery

1″ Cucumber

1/4 Lime

1/3 Pineapple

1/4 Avocado

1/4 cup ice

Peel the lime, leave the pith on.  Put one apple in the chute.  Tightly pack spinach, celery, cucumber, and lime, and finish with the other apple.  Push through and then juice the pineapple.Scoop avocado flesh into blender with ice, and extracted juice.  Blend until smooth.