On Saturday April 19, 2014 I did something that I never thought I would do, complete a Tough Mudder race. I don’t mean that I never thought I could complete a Tough Mudder, I just thought I’d never participate in one. I’ve seen the Facebook sponsored posts and photos from a few people that I know that completed it and said, “Yeah they got that.” My brother sent an email early January about the race to a few people so we can join his team. I was a bit skeptical, but I let him talk me into joining his team. Only a few people obliged and the “Brooklyn Squad” was born, with three people from Brooklyn and two from Queens lol.

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Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile, 25 obstacle race that will definitely challenge you physically, but it is more mental than anything. Tough Mudder Poconos was 11.6 miles (I wanted to cry at mile 11 lol I was so happy). I joined a gym in January and began “training.” All of the work that I did was nothing compared to what was required to complete the obstacles. With the help of God (I called on His name and prayed through a few obstacles, especially the Arctic Enema), my teammates, my family and friends, and my fellow tough mudders I earned my orange headband.

Electro Shock-to get to the finish line you had to run through electrical wires....so yes you had to purposely get electrocuted lol.

Electro Shock-to get to the finish line you had to run through electrical wires….so yes you had to purposely get electrocuted lol.

When I first signed up there were many people that were like, “You are going to run through mud?” lol. As a fashion blogger and an all around girly girl who loves floral prints, feminine dresses, high heels, and lipstick I understood where they were coming from, so it made me want to do this even more.

I crawled and waded through 500,000 gallons of mud, scaled walls of varying sizes, jumped in a dumpster filled with tons of ice and the coldest water that you could imagine (34 degrees), tested my balance walking across beams over water, used my upper body strength to climb up a rope, jumped across mud filled ditches, carried tires, crawled under barbed wire and logs, and much more. At the beginning of the race we had our send off speech by Sean Corvelle, the Tough Mudder motivator. I think after our last Hoorah we were all amped and ready to go. One thing that he said that stuck with me was that Tough Mudder was a challenge not a race. It’s about giving your best and fighting though obstacles for yourself and your loved ones.

Here are a few pics from the challenge that our spectators (family and friends) took

Start of the race with our wave.

Start of the race with our wave. I was number 3432

My brother and his friend and Laurel. We were the only girls on the team. This was after our first obstacle- Kiss of Mud

My brother and his friend and Laurel. We were the only girls on the team. This was after our first obstacle- Kiss of Mud

Glory Blades! Yes that's me climbing over a wall with a little boost from my teammate Ian

Glory Blades! Yes that’s me climbing over a wall with a little boost from my teammate Ian

My brother Lloyd and sister's boyfriend Ian hoping over the wall for glory blades. They definitely inspired me! They were just jumping over those walls like pros.

My brother Lloyd and sister’s boyfriend Ian hoping over the wall for glory blades. They definitely inspired me! They were just jumping over those walls like pros.

Here is the team’s before and after photo

We started off smiling...lol

We started off smiling… Antonio and I kept smiling lol

Here is my before and after photo

Before and After

Before and After I was FREEZING if you couldn’t tell

Yes I was a hot muddy mess. I was able to get my muddy clothes off and change into something much cleaner for the 2.5 hour drive home. When I got out of the car I could barely walk. My body had never been through such an intense physical challenge at once like Tough Mudder. I managed to gain enough strength to shower because all I wanted to do was get in the bed.

Here was my “After Tough Mudder” Routine

I needed to do a deep deep cleaning because that mud was thick! I had to give my skin the ultimate treatment. I was in and out of water and mud for hours. My skin was very, very dry.

Body
1. NIVEA Touch of Renewal Exfoliating Body Wash- I used this after I rinsed off the dust and mud. It was great for exfoliating, cleansing and moisture.
2. Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash- Restored the moisture in my skin in addition to cleansing my skin.
3. H20 Plus Sea Salt Skin Smoother-infused with natural oils and sea salt, this left my skin feeling silky smooth.
4. Boiron Arnicare Arnica Gel- I don’t remember where I got this from, but I’m glad that I had it. It provided immediate relief to my sore muscles and joints.
5. NIVEA Extended Moisture Body Lotion- After I applied the gel I used NIVEA’s extended moisture body lotion. This currently my favorite body lotion because of how moisturized my skin is after I use it. I love it because it is not thick and it is long lasting (48 hours)

Face
1. Simple Foaming Cleanser- I use this cleanser at night because it is gentle and does not leave my skin feeling dry.
2. Mary Kay Satin Lips Lip Mask- This is my favorite lip scrub. After the race my lips were dry! The sun, wind, water, and mud left me looking like Tyrone Biggums, well that’s what my sister said lol. I mad sure that my lips were kissable again with this scrub.
3. Ambi Even and Clear Daily Moisturizer- My favorite moisturizer at the moment. It is light weight and very moisturizing. Great for combination skin.
4. NIVEA Lip Butter- This lip balm left my lips very soft and smooth

Hair

1. Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo
2. Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner
3. Shea Moisture Detangler
4. Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner
5. Karen’s Body Beautiful Leave-in Conditioner
6. Personal mix of oils: Coconut, grape seed, avocado, extra virgin olive oil

Here are some of the products that I used:

 I also soaked in Epsom salt all weekend because my body was incredibly sore. I never felt so much pain in my ankles before in my life. And my brother laughed at me when I told him the back of my knees even hurt. Yes I was in that much pain. I thought I was in decent shape, but next year will definitely be better. This experience ignited something in me that makes me want to get more active. So our next feat will be a 5k, I’m not sure if it will be timed or not time, but I’m just getting started.

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I’m happy that I can call myself a Tough Mudder! This was a great experience.

Disclosure: With the exception of the NIVEA products, Arnicare Gel, H2O Plus Sea Salt, all products were purchased by me with my own money. The products mentioned above were provided in a gift bag from various pr firms.

 

When it comes to finding or buying products for my hair I am definitely not a product junkie. Once I find something I like I stick with it until I feel it is time to move on. I read TONS of reviews and only use products that are highly recommended by people that I trust. If you have been following my blog for a while, you know how I feel about my hair.

My hair has been through many phases throughout my life. There has only been two times in my life that my hair was severely damaged. That was in 8th grade and my junior year of college. Since the last episode when I was 20 I made sure to make my hair a priority.

It was never about team relaxed or team natural, it was about team healthy hair because you can be natural and have severely damaged hair as well.

When I got the opportunity to review Pantene’s new line for Truly Relaxed hair I was super excited. I’ve used their products previously when it focused on relaxed AND natural hair but I wanted to see what the difference would be since now they have products specifically for my hair is relaxed.

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I was sent the following products:
Light Weight Shampoo
Designed to gently cleanse relaxed African-American hair to protect each strand against breakage without weighing it down so you can grow healthy-looking hair.
Moisturizing Conditioner
Enriched with coconut and jojoba oils to leave relaxed hair soft, tamed, and strong against future damage.
Oil Crème Moisturizer
Defends against damage, help prevent dryness, and leaves hair shining.

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My thoughts

I really like these products. I need a few more uses to probably love them, but I really like my results. I was a little skeptical about the lightweight shampoo, because I generally use a moisturizing shampoo (they do carry an intense moisturizing shampoo) but everything turned out great because the shampoo was not harsh and my hair didn’t feel hard after the initial use. The oil crème moisturizer seemed a bit heavy when I placed some on my finger tips, but once it was spread evenly throughout my hair it turned out to be very light weight. I try not use too many products that will weigh my hair down and have it looking flat. I use the moisturizer mainly on the “rough edges” meaning the nape of my neck and around my hairline. My hair tends to be the driest in those areas. I apply a very little at night and by the morning my hair is very soft. The conditioner left my hair very soft as well and I could see a difference from the condition of my hair a few weeks prior.

What I loved most about the products was that my hair was shiny for approximately 3-4 days without me adding any oils including sheen. Usually I am applying oil sheen 1-2 days after I wash my hair, but this was not the case. My hair was very soft, bouncy, and it had great shine. What more could you ask for!

I would definitely recommend using these products.

Truly Relaxed and Truly Natural – Two collections From Pantene for healthier hair* no matter what your style.
*Vs. non-conditioning shampoo

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Pantene via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pantene.

At the Shecky’s Girl’s Night Out event, I received  MAVEN  New Humidity Shield and recently tried it. One thing that I love about this product is that it is specifically made for women of color with both relaxed and natural hair. Here is a product description:

MAVEN (source)- Heals and repairs skin cells to promote a healthy scalp and aid in the growth of well nourished, healthy hair. MAVEN Humidity Shield seals cuticle to resis humidity to keep style smoother and straiighter untl next shampoo. Works wll to slkien Natural or Relaxed styles. It can be used on we or dry hair.

Key Ingredients-Conditioning Enzymes

  1. Pomegranate
  2. Flax Seed
  3. Abyssinian Oils

The Humidity Shield does the following:

  • Shields Against Humidity & Reversion
  • Smoother & Straighter Styles Last Longer
  • Buffers against Heat Styling
  • I actually jsut recently found this product when I was looking for my leave in conditioner and was excited because the summer’s humidity is brutal. I have used it for a few days and what I love about this product is that it keeps my hair soft and conditioned. It does prevent hair frizz and it is very light weight. It is not oily or greasy and it will not clog your pores.  It acts as a great leave-in conditioner and helps prevent breakage. It is also really inexpensive. It retails for about $6. To purchase click here

    Other Products by MAVEN Beauty

    • MAVEN Hydra Moist Shampoo
    • MAVEN Rebalancing Conditioner
    • MAVEN Mineral Relaxers
    • MAVEN Nourish Mist Leave-In Conditioner
    • MAVEN Condtioning Cream Gel
    • MAVEN Therma Shine Holding Spray

    Last night, I had the opportunity to visit  Phyto Universe in celebration of Bastille Day, which is a national french holiday that commemorates the storming of Bastille on July 14, 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution (little history lesson.)

    Phyto Universe (source) is the latest invention from Mr. Patrick Ales, the creator or renowned botanical hair care products, Phyto and PhytoSpecific. His life long mission is to treat the hair and scalp with the utmost care and respect and create a destination where consumers and stylists alike can immerse themselves in the “universe” that is PHYTO: plants. Nature reigns at Phyto Universe. Shrouded in an oasis of live botanicals, Phyto Universe invites you into a serene, tranquil environment.

    When I arrived with my friend Kim, we were greeted by Jenna, then had a glass of wine and hors d’oeuvres and looked around the studio at the various products. We were then escorted to the back for our french, skin care, and hair care lessons.

    Our first lesson was conducted by Alliance Francaise and we learned many terms dealing with hair, skin, and perfume. I took French for four years (5th-8th grade) and I had no idea what the instructor was saying!  We learned words like mask(un masque), hydration (l’hydratation), shine(de brillance) and a host of others.

    We then had a lesson on skin care given by Catherine Raubiet, the Lierac National Training director. She gave us excellent tips and statistics. Here is a recap of what I learned:

    • European women, specifically French women, start getting facials around the age of 14.
    • In France, facials are not luxury, they are necessities.
    • European women are not as busy as American women, so they spend more time taking care of themselves (not talking about makeup, but skin and body care)
    • French women do not partake in abrasive procedures that can potentially damage the skin.

    She also gave us a few skin care tips:

    1. Prevention is the key. We must start taking care of our skin early. We should not wait until we are in our 20s to use  moisturizer, we must start as teenagers. (It is never too late to start)
    2. Use light makeup to enhance beauty, not hide it. The United States, sells way too many makeup products to cover up problems with the skin instead of treating it.
    3. Keep it gentle. Minimize lasers and chemical peels. With early prevention, these methods are not needed.
    4. Develop and stick with a skin care routine. First, remove the makeup, then cleanse, tone, use a serum, moisturize and then apply sun screen.
    5. Exfoliate. Depending on your skin type, you should exfoliate once or twice per week.
    6. Take care of your body. Cellulite products are the most popular products being sold in the United States.  98% of women world wide have cellulite and 2% men. 30% of what happens to our body (how fast we age, cellulite etc.) is based on genetics, 70% is up to us, so take care of yourself.

    We also received a lesson in hair care by celebrity stylist and salon owner Julien Farel (who said I had great hair :-) ) Here is what I learned from him:

    1. Your hair changes and so the products you use must change also. You should not use the same products for a long period of time because they won’t have the same effect on your hair after a while.
    2. *Important for summer hair care*Before getting in the pool, or going to the beach, wet your hair and add some type of leave in conditioner or pre-shampooing treatment. The conditioner or pre-treatment will prevent damage from chlorine and also salt water.
    3. Use various products to target various problems with your hair. You should use products that focus on preventing frizziness, that promote shiny hair, adds volume, etc. What ever your target area is for your hair, use a specific product for that area.

    The night ended the small conversations with other bloggers and of course a gift bag.

    The bag consisted of

    • Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Mask for suppleness and shine. It regenerates your hair and your hair regains softness and elasticity.
    • Lierac Paris Diopti Demaq- Gentle Eye Makeup Remover. It is a crystal-gel that removes makeup from eyelids and lases with leaving an oily film. Vitamin B5 and keratin derivatives help prevent the loss of lashes and restore their strength, suppleness and thickness.
    • Caron  Paris Fleur de Rocaille  eau de toilette natural spray.

    It was a great event, very informative and a great place to network. Other bloggers and media professionals that were there, Kim from Makeup By Kim Porter, Misha from The Fab Chick, Shaunequa from Temple of Glam, Wanda from The Black Dress Traveler, Felicia from This That Beauty, and Tracey Ferguson and Judene Walden of JONES Magazine.