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

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.

Brazilian Blowout Exposed!

BBBefore and After

I keep seeing these Groupons flying around for Brazilian Blowout.  Some of my clients and friends have participated in these and when they describe their experience to me, it sounds nothing like Brazilian Blowout.  I want to shed some light on what Brazilian Blowout is all about and what it’s like.  I’ve even got a real live testimonial and pictures of a recent client.  Know exactly what you are paying for and what to expect.  There are actually salons out there who say they’re doing Brazilian Blowout, but it’s some other product!!

First things first.

Brazilian vs. Keratin

The Brazilian Blowout is the original smoothing treatment and the best on the market.  It improves the condition of the hair and each subsequent treatment leaves the hair healthier than before.  It uses a Brazilian Super Nutrient Complex, rich with Acai, and a proprietary polymer system.  These amino acids coat the hair and smooth the cuticle, leaving the hair shiny, soft, and incredibly healthy!  It can be used to lock in color or just cut frizz.  It is NOT a relaxer and will not get rid of your curls, just the frizz.  It cuts down blow dry time and flat iron time.  There is no down time, so you can wash your hair right away, you can clip it up or tuck it behind your ears.  You can do your color right before the blowout or two weeks after.  I’d recommend doing it before to lock in color.

Keratin Smoothing depends on the product you use, but for the most part it’s long protein chains similar to the keratin that hair is made up of.  This is sealed on to the hair and the result is smoother, stronger hair.  Each subsequent time the hair will be stronger, but like anytime you use products with protein the hair doesn’t feel as soft.  After the treatment is put in you must leave it unwashed and straight for 3 days.  You shouldn’t clip it up or tuck it behind your ears.

With both systems the curl is not relaxed, rather the frizz is eliminated.  To have lasting results, use the corresponding shampoo and conditioner.  It’s best to not wait until the treatment is completely out of your hair to do the next one.

Both treatments can be fairly expensive, so make sure you’re getting it from someone you trust.  If you’re considering getting a groupon, take the trip to the salon that is offering it and ask to look at the bottles of treatment.  There are many salons that use the words “Brazilian Blowout” and “Keratin Treatment” interchangeably.  Don’t fall victim.

In my opinion, Keratin smoothing should be done if you’ve got really damaged hair.  And it shouldn’t be done back to back, over and over again.  I honestly think keratin should be added to the hair in the form of products like leave in treatments or shampoos/conditioners.  I don’t prefer Keratin Smoothing.

Aftercare Tips and Tricks

At J. Tailor Salon, we specialize in Brazilian Blowout.  I am certified and guarantee my work, provided you follow my instructions.  I am extremely meticulous about the procedure and do not cut any corners.  This is the only way I can be sure that your results will last.  There is a shampoo and conditioner that  I include with the treatment that will also help to make results last.  If you get your Brazilian Blowout done somewhere, please make sure they are completely instructing you on the after-care.  If your stylist tells you that it’s ok to use any shampoo and conditioner as long as it’s sulfate free, don’t listen!  Yes it’s better to use a sulfate-free shampoo/conditioner, but after you’ve gotten a Brazilian Blowout done, use the AntiFrizz Shampoo and Conditioner that is recommended for it.  It has the same amino acids in it as the solution so it will help the results last much longer.  If done properly the Blowout should last about 12 weeks.  There is a gradual fade from the hair so you won’t have a line where the new growth is like you would with a relaxer.  Make sure you get your next blow out before it is completely gone from your hair.  I know the mentality is to try to stretch as long as you can, but you want to build on the last treatment, this way it will get healthier and healthier each time.

Formaldehyde

I am going to be completely honest, yes, there is formaldehyde released when performing the blowout.  If you’re pregnant or nursing, don’t get one done.  They don’t have research, for good reason, on the effects on pregnant and nursing women.  Not many volunteers for that study!  However what they’ve found in their lab tests is that boiling broccoli releases more formaldehyde than the blowout.  The way I see it is that there is more harm around me on a daily basis, the food I eat, the microwave, second hand smoke, etc.  A while back when Brazilian Blowout came on to the market and became the best smoothing treatment around, there was some bad press that was leaked.  You will always have the skeptics and haters when a product is doing this well.  After using it and performing this on my clients, I can tell you from my experience that it doesn’t make me sick like a keratin treatment does.  When I do keratin treatments I get headaches and feel nauseous.  It also makes me lethargic and I’m pretty much out the rest of the day.  I don’t get that when I do blowouts.  I’m not here to convince you that it’s ok, I’m only telling you the facts and sharing my experience.

A Testimonial

I recently performed a blowout on a client and wanted to share pictures and her experience with you.  I want to make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for.  My personal take, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t do it!!  The hair is silky soft, so shiny, and very easy to manage.  This particular client, took some convincing, but I could just tell that everything she was complaining about would be solved with this magical treatment!

Here is the before:

BeforeBefore

Model has naturally curly frizzy hair with damage from previous chemical services and mechanical damages from flat ironing frequently.  Hair frizzes easily and has a large amount of volume.

This is her hair combed out and wet before application of the Brazilian Blowout Solution.

Before application

After we blow dried and flat ironed, we rinsed the hair and conditioned it with the Brazilian Blowout Acai Deep Conditioning Masque.  This is the final step in the blow out.   My clients hair is frizzy even when wet on a normal day.  After the blowout it was smooth!  You can see the difference already!

After Application

The picture below is after the rinse when we blow dried with just fingers.  It only took 5 minutes to get the hair completely dry.  Had she done this before the blowout, her hair would have been a giant afro.  As you can see you don’t lose the curl, just the frizz.  I finger dried her hair to show even when messily blow dried it is still manageable.  Had I used a round brush she wouldn’t have even needed to flat iron.

Blow dried with fingers.

It took less than 15 minutes to flat iron her hair.  I took large sections and quickly ran the flat iron through.  Here are the results:

After Brazilian BlowoutAfter Brazilian Blowout

Here is what my model had to say about the experience:

“I was skeptical in the beginning to put my hair through yet another chemical treatment. My hair was wiry, frizzy, coarse and damaged. I had fly aways on top of my fly always. My hair is extremely dense and on a normal basis, it took me 30 minutes to blow dry my hair and almost another 45 minutes to flat iron it. Who has that kind of time?!?
Shreeda asked that I try the Brazilian blowout to see if I could tame my hair.
When she began working on my hair I could immediately feel how her hands were just slipping through my hair.  There was no burning or harsh chemical smells.  When she was done flat ironing my hair, it literally felt like silk. It was extremely light and airy.
Then as per the instructions, Shreeda was supposed to wash the product out. This I thought for sure was going to undo all of her hard work and I would be right back to looking like a chia pet. As with my last experience with getting my hair treated with keratin, my hair would go right back to being huge and rough when I was done blow drying it. Not this time. I used my phone timer and it took Shreeda just under five minutes to blow dry my hair using only her fingers. The first word out of my mouth was wow! My hair did not have the wiry, frizzy look to it. It hadn’t grown three times it’s normal size! I would have walked out of the salon doing nothing more.
But just for curiosity’s sake, Shreeda went ahead and flat ironed my hair to see how long it would take. She was able to take larger chunks of hair then I normally would have when I  straightened my hair and it took just under 14 minutes to do! I am so happy I did this treatment. Not only does the product make my hair smell amazing, it feels great and light and manageable. I feel like I finally have time to do my hair instead of throwing it up in an ugly bun all the time.”

My Own Experience

I can speak from personal experience as well.  I just did the blowout on myself and I’ve never been able to just blow dry my hair and go.  I have no choice but to curling iron it.  And on top of that I can never just curl it, I have to smooth the roots with a bioionic flat iron and use a ton of products to eliminate frizz.  After the blowout, I was able to blow dry my hair, which took me less than 5 minutes and just smooth my ends with a flat iron and I was done.  It literally took me 7 minutes to do my hair.  And it looks polished and beautiful.  That is a huge difference from the normal 45 minutes it would take me.   My hair hasn’t been this shiny and healthy in a long time.  I urge my clients to come talk to me about it to see if it’s a good fit.  This product is amazing and it will change your life!

If you don’t want to get the whole blowout, you can try out the treatment with a Blowout Express or Blowout Mini.  We also offer the Split End Repairing Treatment.

Here is a before and after of one of my clients that did the Split End Repairing Treatment.

BeforeAfter SplitEnd Treatment

xoxo

Shreeda

***

I’m going to go over the steps, so that if you’ve gotten something called a blowout in the past, you can see if it really was or not.

First, the hair is washed with an Anti-Residue shampoo.  Usually I wash the hair several times to make sure it is squeaky clean.

Second I apply the treatment all over.

Third I blow dry the hair smooth and then flat iron.  I even use the Brazilian Blowout iron!  The ironing is the most important part because the heat form the iron is what activates the product.  There is no harsh smell and fumes that will give you a headache or make your eyes burn.  The product smells great, like Acai berries!

Fourth, I rinse out the product.  I know!  After all that hard work, we just wash it right out!

Fifth, I deep condition with the Brazilian Blowout Masque.

Sixth, I style the hair with a few products and PRESTO!

Favorite Things – Beauty Edition – with J. Tailor Salon

A post of mine featured on my friend’s page!

Glamour Playground

Hello beauties!! It’s Shreeda with J. Tailor Salon! I wanted to share with you some of my favorite products and tools at the moment.  Remember you can get most of these products through us and if you mention this post you get 20% off!!

Makeup

Perfect skin is coveted by all and part of that look is a ‘glow’ from within. How do you get that?! I’ve just discovered Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette and I’m in LOVE. It’s velvety and really looks like you’re lit from within. Right now at Sephora you can get a gift palette with three of their highlighters, one of which is a limited edition. They’re full size and a great deal!

Hourglass Ambient Palette

Full lips look great, but most plumping glosses feel like an allergic reaction. Buxom makes a great plumping gloss that smells like vanilla and has a minty cool feeling and taste. It’s called Buxom…

View original post 246 more words

Excuse my absence!

Hey everyone, I’m so sorry I haven’t been around and blogging like normal.  It’s been a busy few months and I’ve been too exhausted to write let alone cook something.  We are moving to a different state!  So in a few days I will be Texas bound and you can imagine it’ll be a busy month ahead.  I am also opening a salon with my husband!  Lots of things on my plate!

 

I hope you guys are well.  Look forward to some regular posts and amazing meals that I’ll be cooking with my mother.  Also look forward to some video tutorials!

 

Take care!

 

P.S. Here is some of my recent work.

 

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Hair and Makeup by Shreeda of J. Tailor Salon.

 

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Color and Cut by Shreeda of J. Tailor Salon.

 

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Hair by Shreeda of J. Tailor Salon.

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Hair and Makeup by Shreeda of J. Tailor Salon.

Bad Hair Day No More!

As a stylist, I see all kinds of hair in my chair!  It still amazes me that people spend good money to get their hair colored or styled a certain way and then skimp on good products.  WHY?!!!  It frustrates me to no end when my clients complain to me about how awful their hair is, but then continue to use terrible products on their hair.  It’s like washing your ‘dry clean only’ clothes in the washing machine and then complaining that your clothes are dull and ugly.

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Go from this

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to this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I took a breath and realized the problem.  Client education.  There is none happening and that’s why people think it’s totally fine to use Pantene or Dove on their hair.  Here is what I tell all my clients:

 

Over the counter products or drug store products have A LOT of fillers in them.  They are about 10% real product and 90% WATER.  Stop wasting your money.  There is wax in them that coats your hair and creates buildup.  Salon products are about 90% product and 10% water so you don’t have to use very much of it and it does not have fillers in it.  You could say it’s like OTC drugs and prescription drugs.

If you went to the doctor and the doctor said “You have cancer and you need chemo.” you wouldn’t tell the doctor, “that’s OK, I’ll just take some Advil.”

So just like that, listen to your stylist.  They are prescribing something for your hair problems.  

If you aren’t familiar with the idea of buildup, the most noticeable sign is when you wash your hair and it still feels dirty or takes a long time to dry.  Also, please stop using dandruff shampoos when all you really have is a dry scalp.  Dandruff is a fungus and needs to be treated with the right kind of shampoo.  If you have a dry scalp and use a dandruff shampoo you will end up drying out your scalp even more.  

Don’t get too excited when you see Salon products in Target or Wal Mart.  This is called “diversion”.  It’s terrible.  They have done studies on these products and found things like sewage water, Purell, and other random things in it.  What people do is buy those products either wholesale or on discount and then mix up other things in it to increase the quantity   They have bottles that look just like name brand bottles, and they fill them all up.  So there is no guarantee that what you bought is actually the name brand product.  That’s why there’s companies like “Salon Only Sales” that make sure these name brand products stay in salons only.  They only sell to salons and not individuals.

So with all that being said, I urge you to go and talk to your stylist about the best products for your hair.  You can find me at http://www.facebook.com/karmicbeauty to ask any beauty related questions.  I can offer some suggestions on what to use for your hair issues.  Don’t forget to ‘like’ my page!

Liver and Onions with Paulo Coehlo!

I recently had some liver and onions, and ENJOYED IT.  My mother in law makes a really tasty version of liver and my husband recently made it.  This has been a journey for me.  I never thought I’d even encounter liver let alone try it.  But when I met Jayesh, I realized very quickly that he is not a picky eater and he LOVES good food.  So I decided to just put my concerns aside and eat whatever he presented to me.  When I first tried liver, it was a bit chalky and the texture threw me off, but I’m an open minded person and figured it must be an acquired taste.  I gave it several tries.  The spices that my mother in law puts on it are really good, so I concentrated on those flavors rather than the mineral flavor.  Somewhere down that road I stopped tasting the liver taste and actually enjoyed it.  

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I think it was when I took a second helping that Jayesh noticed I was really enjoying the meal.  It surprised me, because typically I’m battling through each bite and trying to find what I like about it.  This time I just liked it and kept going.  I hadn’t even realized it.  

We both started talking about why I even bothered with the liver if I didn’t enjoy it the first time.  I just wanted to share that with Jayesh.  I never wanted him to feel like he couldn’t do something or enjoy something because I didn’t.  I did it for love.  Not for anything in return, but simply for Jayesh’s benefit.  

Not too long after this, a good friend of mine approached me with an excerpt from a Paulo Coehlo novel.  She presented me with some questions and told me to take a look.  I did.  I wanted to share my response and the excerpt with you, because the idea is worth sharing. 

Love is a powerful force.  It allows us to experience things we never would have, it gives us strength, builds us up.  At the same time it can be destructive and disappointing.  Love can change your mind, open your mind, and get you to like liver!  How do we tap into this power and really benefit from it?  Below you’ll find the link to the excerpt, my friend’s questions, and my response.  I’d really like to open this discussion up and hear what you guys have to say about it.  

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/131290117/Paulo-Coelho-on-Love-Manuscript-Found-in-Accra-Excerpt-3#.UVSG3zcYmgu

 

Questions:

a) What do you think about this in general?
b) Too ideal? Is love so mythical/magical? Isn’t reality so much more practical?
c) People do things for love and we try to make the other person happy. Are actions used to ‘seduce’, then, illegitimate? Where do you draw the line between being loving (ie doing loving things for someone) and using love to get things (ie be loved back)?
d) Do you think Paulo Coelho over-values love? Is he making to big of deal of what it means in life to an individual?

 

My response:

In general, I agree with this 100%. A while back I started reading books written by Dr. Brian Weiss. They are about past life regression and hypnosis used to retrieve our soul’s experiences. One of the books really opened my eyes. I happened to finish reading it a while before meeting my husband. This book is called ‘Messages from the Masters’. You should read it, it’s enlightening and really opens your mind up to this concept that love is the strongest and most important force in our lives. After reading this book I allowed myself to just love, in it’s truest form. That is, love without expectation. This doesn’t just go for romantic relationships but relationships with friends as well. People in general. I started to not expect anything from anyone and just did things because I wanted to, because I cared. I found that I could really care for people. At first it was difficult because not everyone is as kind and giving and it takes time to break that habit of expecting something in return. But I powered through and realized that I found joy in making others happy, and doing things for others. Soon I found myself surrounded by positivity and it seemed to be contagious. People in my life were kind to me because I was kind to them. So my relationships became stronger and better. Of course I still encounter negative people, and people who are just so cynical that they question my motives or wonder why I’m being so nice to them. But those people have a ways to go on their journey and I can’t judge them because I was once in their position. I find that I don’t have resentment, anger, jealousy, all the negative emotions associated with unmet expectations. When I met Jayesh, I was able to completely fall in love because that’s what my heart was feeling, not because I was expecting something in return. At that point, to me it seemed that whether he loved me right away or the same amount didn’t matter. I was open and loving and 4 weeks after meeting he asked me to marry him because he said he’d never experienced such an unconditional love from someone. I never pressured him to fulfill any voids because I didn’t have any. I was content, because I had spent all that time before meeting him allowing myself to be full of love. It changed me as a person. To this day our love is strong because we don’t have resentment. I think 10 years ago if I had seen a friend of mine get flowers from her boyfriend I would have gotten jealous. Asked myself ‘why is my boyfriend not doing that for me, there must be something wrong with him or me’ But this is toxic thinking and represents what is most wrong about relationships these days. The expectation. I don’t ever expect anything from my husband, I just love him and show him that I care, because I want him to feel loved. But I don’t expect that if I do something for him that he should do that for me in return. This has made it easy for him to show his love in his own way. He isn’t pressured, he’s allowed to open his heart and express love the way he knows how to.
I don’t think it’s idealistic, this idea of unconditional love. I think the world we live in doesn’t allow for trust and faith. Which are the two things it takes to love like this. I trusted my husband with my heart and I had faith that sooner or later he would love me back. There’s two kinds of people in this world. It can be seen most when meeting a stranger. There’s the kind of person, who, upon meeting a stranger, will be skeptical and not let the person in right away. They may keep their distance and be a bit rude until this person has given them a reason to be kind to them. Then there’s the kind of person who embraces everyone and is kind and trusting right away until the other person gives him or her a reason to not trust him or her. I think the latter find it easier to love the way Paulo Coelho is describing. The people who have those trust issues and cannot embrace people right away, give people the benefit of the doubt, those people I find have the hardest time sustaining a relationship because their hearts are closed.
Love being mythical or magical, I think that’s an interesting choice of words. Magic is an illusion, it is not what it appears to be. Myth is something that exists only in our imaginations or is fictitious. So I don’t believe that to be true of love. I think love and the power of love is very real. Most of this passage talks about having faith and even when things seem dim to know that the possibility of love and returned love is there. We just have to keep loving and being positive. It’s the same message as telling someone to remain positive even when the chips are down. To know that God has a bigger plan for us. Everything is meant to be, it is unfolding as it should, etc. What is practical or not is up to the individual. When you say reality is practical, what is your reality? Some would say it is practical to just openly love one another and spread that positivity. It is wasted energy to be negative and dwell on things, or to formulate and scheme. I think it takes less effort and energy to just love one another than it does to be negative. This is difficult because not everyone is on the same page and most will take advantage of someone who gives so openly. It then becomes important for the open person to discriminate between good people and toxic people.
Your question about doing things for someone is a good one. I think it’s important to consider motive and intention. Of course we try to seduce our partners, to get their attention. But I think it’s more important to understand why we do things. Did you just cook your boyfriend a big meal and rub his feet because you want to convince him that he should marry you, or did you do it because you know how much he enjoys that particular meal and you know he’s had a long day and would like him to relax? Did you say ‘I love you’ first because you wanted to hear it back, or did you say it because that’s how you feel and you need the other person to know how much you care for them? I think it’s fairly easy to analyze our actions. Are we doing something because we expected something in return or did we do it to simply elicit joy in the other person?
I think Paulo Coelho is right on the money with this excerpt. It only sounds like a big deal when you have been so far removed from the concept that it starts to sound idealistic and unrealistic. Love has so many forms, it isn’t only romantic. This particular excerpt answers a woman’s question about love always passing her by, however it can be interpreted to fit the love we have for our family, friends, and the love we should have for one another without the stipulation of having a relationship. 
When I hear the word love I don’t think of romance, lovers, boyfriends, or hearts and chocolate. The word love has been commercialized and changed to mean something I don’t believe it means. If we think of our feelings on a spectrum love being on one end and hate being on the other, then love simply means the absence of hate. It is the absence of negativity, hate, pessimism, etc. So with that being said, I think it is crucial and necessary for people to learn to feel this way, because it could very well save our lives.