January 29, 2011

I'm Getting Deep...

Upon beginning this blog I decided that I wanted it to be both informative and insightful. I hope that the three posts thus far have fulfilled these goals. Additionally, I wanted to have a mix of “glamorous” topics as well as some deeper posts. Well, tonight is the night. I have been contemplating how I would introduce this first topic to my readers, so I might as well just get to the point.

As an African-American woman I deliberate often about diversity. My thoughts about diversity are compounded when I think of the education system. Most notably because of my knowledge that teachers’ lack of competency in teaching culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners correlates to students’ persistent achievement difficulties. The data from NCLB indicate that too many of our CLD students are still struggling. I need action!

I am currently an advanced practicum student in a school district that is “grappling” with their diversity “issues” (i.e., disproportionate in special education referral, expulsions, etc.). For the last few years they have been actively working on teacher professional development surrounding culturally responsive teaching/classroom management. Additionally, a group of administrators and support staff (e.g., school psychologist, ELL resource teacher, etc.) are currently participating in a yearlong professional development opportunity through the Department of Instruction. Is this the type of action that I am calling for?

I know that these professional development opportunities are well intentioned, contain evidence-based components, and hence are useful and effective. Ok, perhaps I am not sold on the last part. I am not certain if I believe that a large majority of the teachers and staff “get it,” or ever will. During a staff in-service on Wednesday one teacher completely showed his ignorance and small-mindedness… It was indicative of where some people are!

I ponder everyday if a grown person can learn to accept “others?” Ignorance and racism does not develop overnight. Rather, they are beliefs that a person learns from his/her environment. How does one un-learn?

<3 Michelyn

January 28, 2011

Aw Snap… More Hair Secrets Divulged!

A few days ago I shared some of my favorite curly hair products. I must admit that the post was incomplete. Ok, do not be mad at me but I did not want to earn the “Longest Post in America” award on my first day blogging, lol. I was planning to complete my “hair topic” in a few days, I promise. But, just a few hours ago I got a subsequent text from my cousin, Erica, in excitement because she bought her “first product experiment.” She opted to first try Kinky-Curly. I cannot wait to see pictures of her natural curls flowin’ while she vacations in St. Thomas! (Jealous? I am. My parents are going too!).

In addition to choosing a great styling product, I have also found these tips useful:

  1. Never towel dry curls. The towel makes your hair frizzy. I am certain there is some science to this, but I haven’t the energy to determine what it is. I just follow the guideline.
  2. Use a wide-toothed comb. Never and I mean NEVER use a brush on wet (or dry) curly hair!
  3. Moisturize. Curly hair, particularly African-American curly hair, tends to be dry and brittle. This occurs because it is difficult for the scalps natural oils to move down the hair follicle. To help prevent break-off and damage I use Morrocan Oil. I always apply the oil before applying my “curly hair recipe.” My girlfriend Travelle swears by Parnevu’s Leave-In Conditioner.
  4. A small amount of product goes a LONG way. This lesson took me awhile. I must admit that I used to follow the more = better philosophy. With curly hair and products this is not the case. I use less than a dime size portion for each of my sections.
  5. Use the “Rake and Shake” application procedure.
  6. Co-wash instead of washing. Co-washing, also known as conditioner washing, is a way to clean the hair without using shampoo. Instead, rinse your hair with water, apply conditioner, and rinse out once again!
  7. Air Dry. Ok, this is not always feasible, but my hair looks its best when I allow it to air dry.

<3 Michelyn

January 26, 2011

Runner's World

The title of this post should explain it all. The sport of running is universal- loved by many on a national and international level. My love for running arose during my freshman year at the University of Florida. While walking around campus I would always see people running for exercise. I must admit that I was slow to join the pace, but after learning about Oprah Winfrey’s first and only marathon in 1994 (she ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 4:29:20) and P.Diddy’s  (aka Puff Daddy, Diddy, Sean Combs, Dirty Money… What the hell is his name these days? ) public documentation of his training and completion of the ING New York Marathon in 2003 (he completed 26.2 miles in 4:14:54) I was determined to be like them! Be like them in the sense that I would begin running, not train for a marathon. So I laced my shoes, put one foot in front of the other, and began logging my miles. During my undergraduate career I ran in many 5K and 10K races around Central Florida. I relished in the feeling (and still do to this day) of registering for a race, and then developing a game plan to successfully complete it! I truly believe this skill has assisted me in all my endeavors in my life.

I believe anyone can consider themself a runner. Although I am not competitively fast, I do. Being a runner is a state of mind not a mile/hour pace! So with that said, I encourage each one of you to give it a try, at any age. In 2010, two of my aunts and two cousins ran their first 5K Turkey Trot! My aunt is also planning to do a Family 5K for her birthday.

All in all, I would have never guessed as an undergraduate that I would enjoy running 13 + miles for fun (I have completed 6 half marathons). Today, I can say running is fun :). I find enjoyment and fulfillment every time I return from an outdoor run.

To conclude, I would like to share my top 5 reasons for running.

1.     Healthy Living: Ok, so I must admit that I first began running for the weight loss benefits. Hey! Do not blame me. Society puts a lot of unnecessary pressures on young (and old) women to be thin. But as I have aged, I have grown wiser to the whole body benefits, specifically the cardiovascular benefits to running.

2.     Stress Reliever: Whenever I am stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed going for a run seems to relax me. I also believe this is related to reason #3.

3.     Thought Processing: Let me tell you, I have written a few papers, solved some difficult math problems, shoot I may be close to solving our nation’s problems just from running. While running my mind is able to escape, process, and solve thought provoking issues.

4.     Competition: I am a competitor at heart and running allows me to fill that void. Now that my pageant career is over, what was a girl to do? Running was my pageant replacement!

5.     Learning about your Surroundings: Running has afforded me the opportunity of “finding” new things and places in the cities in which I reside and vacation. Just today I learned that Lululemon Athletica opened a storefront on Monroe Street. Uhm, do you know how psyched I was to learn about this grand opening!?! What holiday is approaching? I love gift certificates… Perhaps someone special will gift one to me ;)

For more information about running, please visit http://www.active.com/running/

<3 Michelyn

January 24, 2011

Sound the Alarm! Curly Hair Products Seminar

Over the last two years I have been on the quest to find the “perfect” product(s) for my natural, curly hair. I must admit that the “going natural” journey has been quite tumultuous with many bumps along the way. Beginning with the BIG CHOP during the Summer of 2009 in which my father asked if something was wrong. You know the majority of black men like long hair and the sight of me with hair to my shoulders terrified my father. Then my journey took a nose-dive when I allowed a “curly hair professional” to trim my hair. Let’s just say that I have never been back to her and she is NO professional.

Although my hair is still “recovering” from my David Scissorhands catastrophe, I can say that I have FINALLY found the perfect combination of products for my hair. Over the past month, I have been stopped by numerous individuals asking me “what product do you use in your hair?,” to which I first ask them to grab a paper and pen and I explain the following:

1.     Every persons curls are different and the right product on me may not work well on you. Additionally, I remind these women that I have many curl patterns in my hair and I just try to work with what I got.
2.     Next, I review the list of products that I have used in the past including:
·      Hair Rules
3.     Lastly, I share my curly hair recipe which is an even combination of:
·      Ouidad’s Styling products 
·      I have tried both the Heat & Humidity Gel and Curl Quencher, and can not tell a difference
·      be curly by Aveda

To all my Curly-Qs and natural hair divas, thank you for giving me inspiration to allow my natural hair to flourish. I must truly thank my cousin Jessica for being the first Butler Girl to go natural. You were my inspiration! My mother at the age of (she would kill me if I divulged that information) has stopped getting relaxers.  And recently I rejoiced when I got a series of text messages from my other cousin, Erica, who has finally decided to end her dependence on that chemical process (i.e., a relaxer). She gave me the inspiration to share my wealth of knowledge about curly hair products to the world. Lastly, to all the ladies on the fence, terrified of letting go of that relaxer… DO IT!!!!

Example of my curls at their best:

P.S. Isn't my bestie and B.A.P. (Black American Princess) rocking the sequin top over her baby bump? Proof that you can still rock-it preggers. xoxo

<3 Michelyn


Hello Cyber World! I decided to jump on the blogging wagon. I so much enjoy reading other people's post, so decided I should share my thoughts on various topics- most of which will be related to fashion, shopping, entertainment, and of course some scholarly thoughts along the way.

Follow me on my journey through life <3