30 August 2014

The Gap Year Grind | Volume 1

It has been almost two full weeks since my gap year officially started, and so far I’m enjoying myself. I have applied for an internship at a media agency [yay for CV writing #nothankstohighschool] and I am yet to hear from them. But I’m not stressing. At first I was, because I was like “huhuhu when will I hear from them?!/1 Because I was ready to get this gap year going.  Sometime during last week I was feeling discouraged because I wasn’t shifting gears from summer break to gap year fast enough. Real quick, I want to revisit the goals that I made for myself.

  • Do at least two internships – these haven’t kicked off yet..so..nah
  • Get healthy [workout  & eat right] – yeaaaaaaa.. lets get real for 1.394829 seconds. I really need to work harder on this one! Working out is currently not a word in my dictionary.
  • Get involved with music [violin, piano, flute] – Mother dearest and I are already on the hunt for a new violin/flute. Once I have one of those, I can brush up with the help of the bae Youtube
  • Improve photography skills – I’m definitely getting more adventurous with mother dearest’s iPad camera. Check out some of my instagram snaps!
  • Be consistent in everything [walk with Jesus, taking care of mum] –  this has been  easy because God has been giving me the strength and the desire daily to wake up early and spend time in His Word. My heart is SO full yo. Taking care of mother dearest basically means making her a yummy breakfast and dinner and making her countless mugs of Rooibos tea . I  love spending time with my mom! Maybe a little too much. #shesthebest
  • Be adventurous! - this is  the vaguest goal ever.
But the best part of this ENTIRE week has been volunteering at the New Life Home. Man, I’m blessed daily by the little bundles of joy that come as children there. The ladies and gentlemen that work there are so caring and work so hard every single second of a LONG day. It’s really hard taking care of children let me tell you straight up. I’ve learnt SO much just this week, and especially appreciate the hard work of every single mother yo. Raising children [with your husband or by yourself] is hard work! And so tiring.

 Man. It’s been a humbling opportunity. The children are GROWING on me. Getting attached to every single of them has become my day job. I pray for every single one of them to find a good home with parents that really love them and can take care of them. Little baby John has my heart, it’s ridiculous. He’s the quietest baby and he’s SO observant. All he wants to do is eat, sleep and look around. Ugh he’s the best. And we have the same haircut!
All in all, these past two weeks have been great! I’m so excited for what God has in store for me this year

The Child of God who maintains the habit of reading and reflective study will find new insights in what appears to be the peeling back of layer upon layer of scriptural complexity. In reality, it is us who are being peeled back and laid bare by the ever present truths of His Word.
                                                                                            - Steve Troxel

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26 August 2014

The Natural Hair Newbie's Guide to Maintenance

Let’s face it. Being a natural hair newbie isn’t easy. The first two years of my natural hair journey were spent either in braids, or looking like a legit mess. I honestly didn’t know what my hair was even about, how to take care of it or how to listen to it. But after 4(ish) years, and literally a year of FINALLY understanding what my hair wants and love, I’m happy to say that looking like a straight up mess is no longer what my life is about. Can I get a what what?

This post is a guide for all you natural hair newbies that are equally as confused as I was when I first started this journey. And even though there is so much content on the Internet about taking care of natural hair, most of them feature products that can only be found in the Western hemisphere. So all of us living in Africa just roll our eyes and then begin to cry because now what do we use??!/11?

Let us start with the essentials shall we?

These would include but are not limited to:

·        Conditioner
·         Leave – In Conditioner [this works magic let me tell you!]
·         Afro-comb / wide-tooth comb
·         Spritz bottle
·         Glycerin [ only if you have low porosity hair, check this post out]
·         Essential Oils [olive, coconut, eucalyptus, almond]
·         A silk scarf or bonnet
·        Any kind of “holding” gel [for curl definition]

 All of these essentials can either be found at the supermarket [Nakumatt],  or at any beauty supply store in town.

I’ve read some articles on the internet that say “oh no, don’t use shampoo it’s too drying whatnot blahblahblah”, but living in Kenya, hair gets dirty because of all the dust. So shampoo is a must. You want to have your favorite conditioner [mine is Himalaya Herbals Protein Conditioner] just to restore some softness, shine and bounce. Leave- In conditioner can be used in a spritz bottle mixed with water, glycerin [check out why here] and any essential oil. Leave- In conditioner mixed with glycerin keeps your hair oh-so soft, while the water keeps your hair moisturized and the essential oil locks all that goodness in! It’s basically magic.

This is how it all goes down. You’ve just washed your hair with your favorite shampoo and conditioned with that awesome conditioner that promises softness and shine [yazzzz!]. You can then dry your hair with a t-shirt, not a towel, because regular towels are abrasive on wet, curly hair and can create frizz and aint nobody gaht time for frizz! [check out this awesome post] Once you’ve dried your hair, you can then spritz all that goodness that is contained in your spritz bottle onto your beautiful coils and then begin to detangle. This is where your afro-comb and/or wide-tooth comb comes to the rescue.

Remember to detangle in sections, either braiding/ twisting each section as you go. When detangling, ALWAYS start from the tip of your hair to the root so that you’re not wrestling with your hair. Curly hair is delicate so you want to treat it as such.

Once every single strand on your head is a happy camper, and your bicep muscles are hurting slightly from having to raise your arms to detangle , you can either roll out with an afro [perhaps accessorized] and eventually embrace the power of shrinkage, or if it’s the evening, prep it for the next day’s style.

I usually flat twist my hair to the side [I have the sides and the back shaved] and let it dry over night. Using a blow-dryer on low setting can accelerate the drying time! For curl definition, I use Jabu Stone Natural Hair Care Beeswax. It’s actually for locks but it works. Most of the time, the oils in my spritz bottle and how tight I braid the flat twist are enough for some bangin’ curl definition. The key for some serious curl definition is to let your hair completely dry!

this is how I roll out!
If you're prepping for the next day's hairstyle, be sure to sleep with a silk scarf [wrapped tight enough so that it doesn't fall off during the night] or a silk bonnet! It reduces friction between your hair strand and your pillow.

Also, check out this awesome video/tutorial thing on achieving a successful flat-twist!

So that’s it. Watch out for a future post on easy-peasy yet fabulous hairstyles! 

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Photo Credit: Korban Photography

18 August 2014

Why I Decided to Take a Gap Year

So today actually marks the first official day of my gap year! I've been so excited to start this year and to see where God leads me.

After graduating, everyone (literally everyone) asks you what your plans are. I literally answered this question a billion times this summer from every single family member. Taking a gap year really wasn't that big of a decision for me. 

3 August 2014

Currently | Vol. 2

Super quick post because this summer has been crazy and internet struggles are super real on this side of the continent! Can't wait to be posting more about my fast-approaching gap year! I hope you, dear reader, are doing well.

Making / nothing at the moment
Reading / In His Presence: Devotions of Biblical Encouragement and Truth by Steve Troxel
Wanting / my gap year to begin!
Looking / forward to some pretty awesome experiences during my gap year
Wasting / time doing nothing. Sometimes its nice
Wishing / internet struggles were non-existent in Ghana
Enjoying / spending time with my siblings!
Liking / some sort of freedom that I finally have in Ghana!
Wondering /what my gap year holds
Loving / Ghanaian food
Hoping / for a super awesome gap year
Marveling / at God's timing
Needing / wifi
Wearing / shorts and a loose top. Its too hot to wear anything else
Bookmarking / nothing at the moment
Giggling / at sibling shenanigans
Feeling / content

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Maira Gall