1st Vegan Thanksgiving

The time came for me to live the vegan life during America’s most gluttonous holiday…Thanksgiving. Surprisingly it was my best one yet. I did not over eat and had more than enough options. My biggest fear was not being able to take part in the turkey festivities. I knew I would have to get a turkey substitute and was thinking tofurky. My mom is pescetarian and bought one two years ago but this year we tried something different. My favorite vegan restaurant, Veggie Heaven, was selling turkey dinners. We ordered the deluxe dinner for two. It included turkey, mashed potatoes, rice, soup, and salad.  The food was amazing and they have two locations in NJ: Montclair and Teaneck. 

 
Even though I was ordering a dinner I wanted to make some of my faves. I made mac n cheese: Ronzoni elbow macaroni, Daiya shredded mozzarella, Earth Balance

 
 Lettuce-less Salad: black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers. 
  
Slutty Brownies: layer of chocolate chip cookie, layer of Oreos, layer of of brownie

  
Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler: pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, almond milk, flour, sugar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, pecans

  
Yes! I prepared quite a bit for myself but family members were more than supportive of my lifestyle and did their best to accommodate my diet. One of my cousins researched veganism to prepare a meal I could eat. Another cousin makes vegetarian swedish meatballs which are delish but contains eggs so she made a separate batch for me. 

 
My aunt tried a new drink she wanted to share with the family but it contained milk. As a result she tested the drink with non dairy milk so I could be included. It was my best Thanksgiving because the food was great but the family was more important. It was great seeing all of the support even though my diet deviated from the norm. The day was all about family and I remembered how much I love mine. I am sure most of us will be eating leftovers for a while sooo…. 

 

Virgin Vegan Hair

I have been gone for a while, but I’m back. I’m back to share the good news with everyone. I am 1/4 or more through my hair transition. A few articles ago I expressed a desire to transition to natural hair. Now what is natural hair and why don’t I have it? Natural hair is hair that has not been chemically processed by perm, relaxer, Keratin treatment, Japanese straigthening etc. My hair was first
chemically relaxed at the age of nine. Now I know that sounds a bit young but it was not uncommon for young black girls in America. Actually it was a surprisingly liberating experience. Contrary to what many naturals may say about chemical relaxers, it put a huge smiles on my face. Imagine two hours at the salon and a totally new type of hair. One that flowed, was shiney, and most importantly free of barrettes. It symbolized young black girls getting older and having a more mature look. Now I am not saying chemically relaxing hair is the end and be all of life but its opens doors to self expression. When my hair was relaxed I had those super cute flat twists in the front, ponytails, buns etc. When my hair was natural very few people were aware of natural hair care and cute styles. Young girls often wore braids or barrettes. There is nothing wrong with these styles, but with the hair tucked away so often it leaves little room for exploration. Moms were skilled with styles that lasted so hair care didn’t become a chore and young black girls who didn’t have long curly hair (and even them too) kept their hair almost hidden out of convenience.   

she’s too cute
 
 
Liberation of the present and future! Can’t wait to rock that fro
 Over the past few weeks I have learned differently. With the natural hair movement and the social media presence of naturals across the globe, there is no shortage of information. Black women with natural hair have more options than to hide their hair in braids or barrettes. We are wearing our natural hair proudly in styles our mothers could not have imagined 20+ years ago. With this wealth of knowledge I am more than excited about my hair journey. I am heading into my 3rd month of transitioning. Many relaxed women transition for about a year. That statistic puts me at about 1/4 way through. I may choose to BIG CHOP (cut the remainder of the relaxed ends off) sooner or later. I have been taking photos to capture my journey as the natural hair grows in.  

Around this time I would be itching for a salon visit to straighten the new growth.
    
 As for a hair care regimen: I wash my hair with shampoo and conditioner once a week. I co-wash(only using conditioner) in between the week. I use the LOC method to moisturize my hair: liquid (leave in conditioner), oil (olive oil), cream (raw shea butter). I also
mostly
wear protective styles (styles that keep the ends of the hair tucked away: braids, twists, buns). The reasoning behind this type of styling is that I spend most of my time at home. When I am out my hair is usually out lol. One my concerns when going natural was finding products that were not tested on animals. The sad truth is that a lot of formerly black owned hair companies were gobbled up my Proctor and Gamble and as a result…test on animals. The positive truth is that within the natural hair movement there are women who only use products that can we placed on skin, hair, and consumed. People are using Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Olive Oil, Flaxseed gel, and many other home concoctions for hair care.
Products 

Shampoo: Designer Touch Conditioning Shampoo (probably not vegan but I bought a professional size months ago)

Conditioner: Designer Touch Dandruff Free (probably not vegan but there is a lot left p.s. I do not have dandruff)
Co-Wash Conditioner: Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle (cruelty-free)
LOC Method Products
Liquid: Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioner (final product not tested) 
 Oil: Olive oil 

 Cream: Raw Shea Butter  

 A relaxers takes about 6-8 weeks to grow out before a touch-up is needed. This would mean that I am about one month outside of my relaxer. I am only at the beginning of journey but more than excited. I am ready embark on a new life that showcases the beauty of my natural hair. Most importantly, I am waiting for that feeling I had the day I received my first relaxers. I wanna flash my natural hair and feel liberated. I will no longer be a prisoner to relaxers and touch-ups. I can travel the world without a 6-8 week time constraint, work out to my heart’s desire, and inspire young girls of all ages and races to embrace their inner and outer beauty.  

 
Months 3-5 are known to be the most difficult because the natural and relaxed hair are quite distinct and are close in length. Wish me luck!