First Time Trying a CHEMICAL PEEL | Did it Burn?

Greetings Daizies,

It’s been a while since I’ve done a skincare blog post. My skincare routine has stayed the same for a few years until recently when I’ve learned more about how to step things up mainly from taking stroll through “Skincare Twitter” over the summer. By following some licensed estheticians, I’ve learned things about skincare I never thought of. The whole area skincare seemed as foreign as natural hair does right after the big chop. Knowing the ingredients, how to build a regimen, and the COST was like a whole new world for me. 

Key tips that have changed the way I think about skincare:

@LaBeautyologist’s 60-second rule and double-cleansing – The 60-second rule is rubbing the cleanser on your face for at least 60 seconds before rinsing off. And double cleansing is using an oil to cleanse your face first and then a regular cleanser. I typically used oil cleansing just to remove my makeup. But noticed that even just for day to day cleansing the environmental factors can cause so much dirt and build up. I love the clean yet moisturized feeling of knowing all of the dirt is removed from my skin each night. 

Using SPF EVERY DAY – I first heard of this when I saw a blog post saying this is what Gabrielle Union does and I was like well if that’s her secret to looking 28 at 46 then that’s what I’m gonna do. I often kept this up during the summer but plan to do this even when it’s cold outside which will be…very soon.

Chemical vs Physical Exfoliating – Earlier in the summer I got my first professional facial. The dermatologist answered my questions about the difference between chemical versus physical exfoliating. Basically, physical exfoliating is what we are most commonly exposed to as facial scrubs with the little beads in them. The feeling of scrubbing means you’re getting all of the dead skin off right? Well, apparently those are becoming less favored by the skincare community as the little beads can be too harsh for your face and cause abrasion to the skin. So that leads to the option of chemical exfoliates. The term sounded scary because I was like hmm I don’t know about putting chemicals on my face, isn’t that bad? I did some more research and learned about the two most common ingredients for chemical exfoliates called AHAs and BHAs. AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid. BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid. They are safe to use on the face and much gentler than beads found in most scrubs. Healthline lays out a few benefits of these exfoliant ingredients: 

  •  decrease inflammation, a key marker of acne, rosacea, and other skin concerns
  • decrease the appearance of large pores and surface wrinkles
  • even out your skin tone
  • improve overall skin texture
  • remove dead skin cells
  • unclog pores to prevent acne

I really wanted to step up my skincare routine, and try out this chemical peel method and went on the hunt to find a trusted brand for such experiments. I quickly learned that really good skincare products are actually quite expensive. You can’t really find products with active ingredients at the drugstore, so you’re looking at the higher end of spending. For me, I was used to spending maybe $5-7 max on a product. There were several brands recommended in these skincare threads on Twitter and online that started in the $20 range and I was like woah I’m not sure about all that for a starter product. Then I saw The Ordinary chemical peel being recommended as an effective and good product that wasn’t too expensive. Still, $14.99 was definitely the most money I’ve spent on a  skincare product but I know now that that is still a good deal for a chemical peel that’s great for tour skin. You can also get this product from Target for like $8 but I didn’t feel like going all the way to the store lol. Amazon got me with its convenience yet again. I waited for a few days to try it cuz I was scared it would burn my face and nervous about trying a new type of product. 

My main motivation for trying this chemical exfoliation method was getting rid of the dark spot/hyper-pigmentation I have under my eye from a large pimple I had over a month ago when I was in Vegas. I usually don’ t have large breakouts but THIS pimple was the biggest I’d ever had. And it did not go away for like 2 weeks. I was so mad. I tried my usual methods: peppermint oil, tea tree oil, Aztec clay mask, Noxzema, African black soap, sheet masks, all of that! And NONE of them made the pimple go away faster and now that it’s gone, NONE have made the scar lighten up at all. So hopefully using this a few times will help bring my skin in that area back to it’s normal complexion. 

Applying the Peel 

Step 1

The directions say to start on a clean face and to make sure your face is dry. I used a Neutrogena makeup wipe to clean any dirt from my face. Then I used a facial toner for more of a cleanse and hydration. I then waited a few minutes to make sure my face wasn’t damp anymore. 

Cleansing my face with Neutrogena makeup wipes
Applying toner: 365 brand from Whole Foods
Fresh face ready to try the peel!

Step 2 

I used the applicator tube thing, filled it to the top, and applied to the top of my cheeks, forehead, and chin and gently rubbed in the solution. It looks like a bunch of crushed cherries. I especially used a lot by the dark spot and carefully under my other eye where there was a  budding pimple.

Step 3

I closely watched the clock to make sure I didn’t leave it on for even a second over 10 minutes. 

I didn’t feel any burning or itching except on the right side of my face on my cheek. It was just a tad feeling of warmth that let me know something was on my face besides my skin.

Step 4 

I rinsed slowly with cool water and used the corner of a washcloth to rinse under my eyes. I followed with a light application of almond oil.

All done!

Honestly, right after using I did think my skin looked a little brighter. It was giving me the type of travel glow when you’re getting some sun and rest, except it was 1am and I was at home. I’m looking forward to seeing my overall results. I’m going to use this once a week for the next for weeks and document nay changes that I notice. But I had a great experience so far!

Xoxo,


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Come Thru Aunt Jackie! Natural Hair Product Review

Greetings Daizies,

It’s time for a natural hair product review! I get a lot of questions about what products I use for my hair or where to start when it comes to buying new products in general. The reality is, I have been using TONS of products lately because I just love trying new brands. One brand I have grown to really enjoy is Aunt Jackie’s. Since last year I have been playing around with different leave-conditioners from the lovely Aunt Jackie brand. I talked about Aunt Jackie’s Butter Creme leave-in conditioner in my pantry inventory blog post last year. For a look into what my collection was looking like at that time, you should check out that post here. At TJ Maxx a few weeks ago, I found so many of the products I had seen on Amazon but for an even cheaper price. I was excited to try a full wash day with these products and form a more well-rounded opinion on what all Aunt Jackie has to offer for my natural hair.  

For easy access, here are the products mentioned in this post: 

  • Coco Wash Coconut Milk Conditioning Cleanser
  • Knot on My Watch Instant Detangling Therapy 
  • Oh so Clean! Moisturizing & Softening Shampoo
  • Coco Wash Coconut Milk Conditioning Cleanser
  • Quench Moisture Intensive Leave-In Conditioner 
  • Curl la la Defining Curl Custard

To check out these products or more from this brand check out their website: here

Knot on My Watch Instant Detangling Therapy 

This was actually the first product I bought made specifically for detangling. I usually detangle with a mix of conditioner, water, and coconut oil. For a DIY method, I think that is still a great option! Normally detangling takes at least an hour but with this product, I was done with each section of my hair in less than 30 minutes! 

To detangle I sectioned my hair in fourths and went through one small section first with my fingers and then with a wide-toothed comb to make sure I really got through the knots. This product had a smooth consistency that wasn’t too sticky for a detangler. I was able to move through my hair quickly and with ease. 

Moving on to shampoo…

Oh so Clean! Moisturizing & Softening Shampoo

Now I typically don’t feel any type of way about a shampoo. I usually, just feel good about a shampoo if it cleaned my scalp and didn’t have any harmful ingredients in it. However, THIS shampoo didn’t feel like any other shampoo I’ve used in the past. It was very creamy and silky and I was almost double-checking to make sure this was actually shampoo and not a light conditioner. I really liked this aspect because it definitely had more of a moisturizing effect than the usual shampoos. It went through my hair just as smooth as the detangling therapy product. 

I think this would be a great shampoo for people with hair that struggles with moisture retention or hair that is prone to breakage.

Coco Wash Coconut Milk Conditioning Cleanser

The following week when it was a co-wash only wash day, I used the Coco Wash Coconut Milk Conditioning Cleanser. For those new to natural hair routines and wondering why I didn’t just use this directly after shampooing in my wash day before, natural hair often thrives with few shampoos as to not strip the hair strands of its natural oils. Therefore during the course of a month, I alternate between shampoo + conditioner, and a co-wash only regimen followed by deep conditioning every week. 

Natural hair quick vocab:

Co-wash – Washing hair with the use of a conditioner instead of shampoo

Deep conditioning – Using a conditioner or deep treatment masque and leaving on hair for 15-45 minutes at a time. For an intensive treatment, covering hair with a plastic cap and adding heat can help the treatment be even more effective. 

The co-wash product itself felt a little like the moisturizing shampoo but with more oils for the conditioning effect. I liked it. I think it’s great if you specifically want a co-wash product but I would still be fine using a regular conditioner for a co-wash. 

Curl la la Defining Curl Custard

I’ve done a couple of twist outs using the curl custard. I think it serves as a great moisturizer. One thing I think that could be better about this product is the holding effect. It doesn’t really hold the twist pattern as tight as I would like. But I would buy it again as a styling product. It reminded me of a thick styling milk. Also, the pretty purple color is a plus. Not too often you see purple hair product right?

What’s the Verdict?

I really enjoyed these products! The shampoo stood out to me, so I would definitely purchase it again. The detangler really seemed to change the game. And I have consistently enjoyed their leave-in conditioners. I’m a little indifferent with the co-wash cleanser and the curl custard is a nice product but I would probably try another product before buying again. All in all, the products I liked I REALLY liked. 

Excited to try any of the products mentioned above? 

As always,


30 Day Clean Eating Challenge | A Family Affair

Greetings Daizies,

We all want to live our very best lives out here in the midst of taking things day by day. Part of that journey includes taking care of thE one body you have and what you put into it. If you’re out on the internet you’ve probably seen some variations of healthy eating challenges. Keto, liquid based diets, gluten free diet, no red met etc are all examples of diets many people are trying. I know a thing or two about cutting out certain foods for the best. You don’t know how hard it’s been not eating onions or tomatoes sheesh! So about a month ago, I was surprised to find out that several of my family members were going on a no meat, sugar, or bread challenge and I followed their journey throughout all of July. The participants included my mom, uncle, and grandma and later my sister and I joined in our own way.

Here’s what they each had to say about their journeys:

Mom, Znover

Q: What were things you hoped to experience from this healthy eating challenge?

Just a renewal in my body. We get used to eating a certain way and I wanted to experience a change. After the challenge, I tried bringing back things I normally ate and when I ate a small poundcake it tasted like a pound of sugar and I just couldn’t do it. Even my favorites, Saltine crackers, tasted like a bucket of salt. I now have a change in what I enjoy and what tastes good to me and it’s definitely for the better.

Q: What were your eating habits prior to the challenge

I was eating cookies. Pretty much junk food. 

Q: How did it make you feel?

Well with that you know because you think you’re eating what you want, you think it’s good. But until you do something like the 30-day challenge, you notice a positive difference.

Q: What was the biggest challenge during the first week?

Because your body is so used to having what it wants, the hardest part was overlooking the sweets and cookies, cakes, and pies that are so easy to pop in your mouth. Also, reading the labels was a challenge because I was so used to just eating whatever I wanted regardless of what was in it. But I made it through and I’m so grateful.

Q: What were your results from the challenge?

I’m not as tired, not as sluggish. I’ve kept my weight down and incorporated more exercising. I even have less headaches. I still read the labels and try to limit sugars. I feel really good!

Q: Advice for someone wanting to do a health challenge?

I think it’s a great idea to talk to your doctor to see if it’s best for you and to also get some advice. My doctor said what I was doing was a great idea but to make sure I incorporated some protein. I did this a lot through eating fish. You have to make sure you actually want to do this. You have to have a made-up mind and say “this is what I want to do.” 

MY HEALTHY LIFESTYLE STILL BEING MAINTAINED AFTER THE 
30 DAY CHALLENGE
Italian Turkey Brats..Barley & 
Brussels Sprouts..Yum..Yum..Goodt!! Lol!!
I GUESS AS YOU GET MORE MATURE(LOL!!) U EAT THINGS YOU WOULD HAVE NEVER WHEN WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER… THEM AVOCADOS ARE BOMB!!!
HAHAHAAA!!! 


Uncle, Peter

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Q: How did this challenge start for you?

It started as a challenge with my team at work. We wanted to do some sort of challenge. So I said, “how about no meat, no sugar, and no bread challenge”. Did a video and a fun thing for people to guess who would stick to the challenge and how much weight each person would lose. 

Q: What were the things you hoped to experience from this healthy eating challenge?

For one, I wanted to see better health results as far as my cholesterol levels. And also if I could stick with someone for 30 days then I could pretty much do anything. So it was a discipline thing for me. And doing it with others made it fun, especially since I’m competitive.

Q: What things did you do to help you be successful at this challenge?

One I knew I was starting this journey I immediately went shopping. I bought food for at home and at work so I could avoid cravings. I mentally prepared myself for this so I could stay determined, When I went out to eat I would get side dishes and still enjoyed myself.


Q: What did you learn?

The amount of weight you carry most likely has more to do with what you consume than what you do. Years ago when I was heavy in the gym, doing a lot of kickboxing, I never really lost weight. My weight often fluctuated. I knew that needed to change. With this, I did no working out and in 30 days I lost 22 pounds.


Q: What was your favorite meal?

I ate a lot of eggs in many different ways!

Q: Advice for someone wanting to do a health challenge?

It’s a lot more fun doing this challenge with a group of friends. Find some buddies and make it fun!


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Day #29 – Breakfast
Jalapeno&Cheddar Grits w/ 2 boiled eggs. Drink – OJ

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Day #27 – Mixed Greens & Grilled Salmon
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Day #30 – Final Day
Lunch – Smoked mustard and collard greens topped with freshly cut onion and jalapeno with side of cubed yams!


Grandma, Almeeta

Q: How did you find out about this challenge? 

I found out through my daughter, Znover. She was telling me about what she was doing. And then I saw Peter talking about what he was doing. So I said “oh I’ll try that too”. Doing things like this, just like with exercise, seem to be easier if you’re doing it with someone. And I’m glad that I did this. 

Q: What did you hope to feel after this challenge and did that happen for you?

I got out of this challenge everything that I was expecting to receive. I experienced what I hoped to experience and that was a healthy feeling – not tired, or run down. I lost about 10 pounds. That’s how I was feeling before I went on this journey. It was really good for me. I ate mostly fish and salads. I enjoyed it then and I’m enjoying it still. I feel healthier, lighter, and I have more challenges

Q: Were there any challenges in the first few days?

I had a craving to eat meat like a hamburger or steak. And especially on the third day I really wanted a Wendy’s Frosty. But I got through it by putting my mind on something else and reminding myself to stick to what I said I would do.

Q: What did you learn?

I was on this journey when I was younger where I would read the labels. It doesn’t take all of the heavy foods to be full or to enjoy your meal. I learned that I can actually go without meat. I could eat baked chicken or boiled chicken and it tastes just as good as fried. 

Q: Advice for people want to do it?

Be sure that you get advice from your physician to see if your body is healthy enough to go through it. Once that is taken care of, put your mind to it and stick to it. Do it for yourself. Don’t give up!

Late Lunch!
Sardines with a shrimp SAUCE, bowl or pared and peaches!

My Journey with No Red Meat Challenge


I didn’t want to post about my journey because posting it meant I would have people to hold me accountable lol. But I became inspired by my family to try something like this and see how it goes. I wasn’t moved to do a complete no meat, sugar, and bread type of diet at all but I have always wanted to try cutting out red meat for an extended period of time because this is one of the dietary tips I have seen to help reduce stomach inflammation which is one of the chronic issues I deal with. Red meat already was something I limited once I found out it could be a contributor to digestive issues, so really my intake of it came with my obsession of tri-tip steak sandwiches, burgers, burritos and hot dogs. Basically eating out and having that sharp craving for something salty is when I really reached for red meat.

I am 2 weeks in and I am so proud of myself! There have been several times where I’ve wanted to order something and had to stop myself. The main thing is taking the extra step to find a different option when I’m just trying to eat something convenient. It was hard in New York when there was a Philly cheesesteak restaurant right in front of us and we were starving. I wanted to try it so bad but I actually just got a chicken cheesesteak instead. I noticed a lot of things I like come in chicken or turkey form. Now I feel like I am in cruise control with this challenge. I haven’t noticed a huge difference with my health but mentally I don’t crave it like I used to.

Thanks for reading Daizies.

As always take it step by step

and

My First Time in New York! Curlfest, Culture & More

Greetings Daizies,

It’s hard to believe that after traveling to 16 countries and dozens of cities, up until last week I had NEVER been to New York City, let alone anywhere on the East Coast. It was kind of one of those things on my “list” but like not really top of mind. Like when someone mentions a movie you’ve never seen that apparently everyone has so you put it on your “list”. Well I knew I would eventually get to NYC but got more excited with opportunities to travel outside of the U.S. than exploring the cities right here in my country.

This all changed when I was scrolling through Instagram and came across the Curlfest festival announcement for it’s 6th annual event celebrating natural hair. I remember seeing the photos last year of black women with all forms of hair having a good time and I said I would be there next year. So next year came and I said welp this is finally my time to go to New York! I made a weekend of it and met up with one of my great friends from college. We were both really excited for Curlfest on Saturday and the Rollerset skate party on Sunday.

Planning and Preparation

I planned for this trip a lot differently than for other trips which ultimately meant… having more of a go with the flow approach. Honestly, the trip came up during the week I got back from an 8 day Vegas trip for a work conference and I had just 3 days in between to debrief and get on the plane again. I didn’t do the usual research of watching many YouTube videos and reading blogs and spending time to develop an extensive itinerary. I ended up making sort of a last minute list of things I wanted to see and my friend put together an itinerary of things I could do and see while in town. That helped a lot! People I talked to said 4 days in New York wasn’t enough but I didn’t let that get to me. I knew there were probably dozens of activities and things to do but didn’t want this trip to be about trying to digest all of NYC at once. I came in knowing there’s a sea of things to do and I would be happy just doing and seeing a few things each day. So that’s exactly what I did.

Day 1

I took it really easy after arriving from Newark airport around 6am. A nap was much needed! I had the BEST food of my trip that day, a carribbean restaurant located by Utica Ave subway stop. All of my food choices were discovered by a “best food near me” search on Google Maps. This time it led me to Ali’s Roti shop. I didn’t know what to order but I heard the woman ahead of me order chicken roti so I guess what? I got chicken roti too lol. This is the one of few times I enjoyed trying a new dish at random. I am very picky when it comes to food sometimes. But this right here? This right here was EVERYTHING! Y’all it was so good that I didn’t even take a picture. But for what it’s worth I’m just gonna insert a general image of what chicken roti looks like.

Nonetheless, within my first hour out and about, I had actual conversations with people around me. I know that may sound odd but like it’s not common in the PNW for people to just have random conversations with people walking on the block. Like I could go the entire week without having anyone to talk to in the neighborhood or riding the bus. People stay to themselves way more out West. But in Brooklyn I found it so interesting how I could meet people in any place and spark up a conversation. Just after walking out of the Caribbean restaurant, a woman was dancing to some instruments a group of guys were playing and we both laughed. We talked for several blocks until she helped me get to the next place I was going. Simple interaction but representative of the overall vibe I got while in New York. People were a lot more open to talking to those around them. I found this out on the subway, stores, and just walking around. There was never a day where I didn’t meet someone new!

The highlight of my first day was seeing the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset. I learned quickly that the city is huge and going from one place to another sounds like it’ll be quick but could take from 20-45 minutes honestly. But nonetheless, I made it in perfect time to take in the city at a beautiful time of the evening. It’s still quite active even as it gets darker. I was already loving the hustle and bustle of the city.

Looking out into the city

After seeing Times Square so much throughout my life, being there in person felt like I had been there before. I think it’s one of the most popular settings for tv shows and movies. Like I have seen it so much that it was exactly as I expected. I liked it alot though! Working in brand, I couldn’t help but take in the advertising styles and make my own analysis of if the campaigns were impactful. It was interesting to see which brands were able to get a spot on the famous billboards. And I wondered how the companies selected which of their shows or products ton highlight. It was a marketers playground there.

Day 2

Spotted: DaibyDai at The Met steps

With my first full day, I explored the Metropolitan Museum of Art, other wise known as the Met. All the Gossip Girl fans know about the iconic Met steps. It’s definitely a hang out spot for the teens these days. The museum is HUGE! Reminds me of the British Museum in terms of size. Just one wing could take well over an hour. I loved all of the art and learning about different cultures. There was an extensive Polynesian and Oceanian section which I hadn’t seen before in museums.

A mini stroll through Central Park

Central Park and the Met are right next to each other so you could see both in one trip which is what I did before exploring the museum. It was a day full of walking and from that day forward I wore my gym shoes instead of my sandals.

Curlfest

Curlfest radiated with such positive and exciting energy from the thousands of beautiful black women coming together to celebrate natural hair. It was totally my type of party and I loved just being around US and meeting new people. The festival is in its 6th year now and I can definitely see it growing even more. There was an agenda for the event with an area for panels and speakers. I intended to go check it out but once I got into the festival grounds there was just so much that kept me entertained. I was inspired by the array of black-owned businesses as vendors around the perimeter of the park. There is just so much creativity in our community. I learned once you see a shirt you like, just get it, cuz waiting to see if you want it will result in it being gone lol! I did get some cool shirts and a pair of Egyptian queen earrings. 

We got a slew of samples from various natural hair brands like Creme of Nature, Palmers, and a new brand for me called Kiss. I really like the deep leave-in conditioner samples from Kiss. Takes about 6 sample packers to adequately coat my hair but I’m interested in buying a full-sized product. There was an option to purchase discounted hair products from popular brands and there was a hefty line for the Deva Curl sample bag but my friend and I decided to ditch the long line and explore other booths. There was a brand called the Natural Club with tons of people waiting to buy products and I was curious as to what all the hype was about. They were selling 3 packets of deep conditioners for $20! And that was considered a deal. I have never seen anything that expensive but I’m intrigued because it had tons of people waiting in the heat for it. 

Each brand usually had a cute little photo booth for people to take pictures with. A great way to get brand visibility from user-generated content. I liked learning about the newer brands as well and seeing what their unique traits were. Oh and the music was popping! The main stage was where a lot went down. From afro-beats to hip hop, to the black classic of swag surfing. It was no wonder time flew by and after a few hours, I looked at my phone and it was almost 7pm! I really just had fun enjoying the company and joy of the event. 

Good times, good vibes

The following day was the Curlfest skate party at Prospect Park. A lot easier commute than Randall’s Island of course. The music was so good I probably danced more than skated. Creme of Nature gave out free hair color. I grabbed blonde but will probably just wait until I need a touch up of my highlights to use it. There was double dutch, photo booths, and a general dancing area. It takes a lot of work to dance on skates but I did it for the most part! Also, I made it to New York City just one week after the heatwave, and I am really glad I did because the weather was pretty tolerable but any hotter would’ve sent me.

Curlfest Rollerset party

The Rest of My Trip

The rest of the trip flew by after Curlfest. My final tourist attraction was visiting the Empire State Building. It’s $42 to visit the 86th-floor observatory. The museum leading up to the observatory is actually cool. There are visuals and artwork describing how it was made and how iconic the building has been since then. I was in awe to find out that the tallest building in the world was built in 13 months! It seems like it takes 13 months for a pothole to get fixed and that’s in 2019! I took my time taking in the city from the vantage point and took some great pictures.

Way way way up!
Views

It was a short and sweet trip to New York City. I know I’m just scratching the surface of all the city has to offer but I enjoyed even the surface. I look forward to exploring the Bronx and Harlem next time I go! But what a fun weekend I had.

Don’t forget to take it step by step and…

Celebrating 4 Years of DaibyDai!

Greetings Daizies,

Last night as I finished rubbing frankincense oil around my temples and scalp, I was thinking about writing my next blog post and what the subject should be. Today as I login to the drafting page, I get this little notification from WordPress saying “Happy Anniversary with WordPress!” Exactly 4 years ago DaibyDai was born and I wanted to pause and take some time to celebrated my blog’s birthday.

Thinking back to four years ago, I had just finished my freshman year of college and was preparing to go on my first study abroad trip which would also be my first time outside of the country. It was a time where I was relieved to finish such a challenging year of college yet excited to really be doing something I had set out to do, which was study abroad. Part of our course assignments was to write a blog post after each company visit we went to in London (the program was about Hi-Tech in the UK). So really I started it for homework reasons, but it was also about 3 months after my big chop and I started becoming more interested in learning everything there was to know about growing long healthy natural hair and thought it would be cool to document my experience.

I got really into it and began sharing my blog with more and more people. I still find it amazing how there’s people all over the world reading my blog posts. I started touching on other topics like health/wellness, mindfulness, skincare, and lifestyle. I continue learning and figuring out life as I go and I have found it very therapeutic to write it out here. It became something really personal to me and something I’m proud of. My thoughts and outlook on life at the time all summed up into a blog post. And sometimes there were people out there having the same thoughts I had or who felt excited to try a new product or visit a new place or start solo traveling because of the experiences I shared. And that’s one of the coolest experiences about having a blog. Even if what you write doesn’t reach thousands and thousands of people, if it helped just one person, it feels rewarding.

No matter how many new ideas and ventures I have I always find my way back to writing. DaibyDai is where I got the confidence to put out any of my creative ideas. If I had the courage to start a blog, I have the courage to do anything. I feel like I’ve grown as a writer and as a creator. It took time to develop the theme, the Daizies concept, the colors, the content, the whole brand, all of that is my creativity coming to work.

I know there have been times when I plan and set goals to blog three times a week and go really hard at promoting the site and there are times where my priorities shift. It seems like in this day and age we are often pressured to monetize our hobbies and turn it into a stream of revenue. And over the past 4 years I’ve had bursts of energy where this was the goal. I have had to find a balance with my entrepreneurial goals and having something for myself without the burning pressure to make it take off. Whether I reach my entrepreneurship goals with DaibyDai or any of the other ideas I’ve gone on to create (FroandTravel, Curl Calendar, Dai of Social, I want to focus on how I’m feeling when I’m creating. I feel good when I enjoy writing and getting my ideas into the world on my own terms and that’s what I’ll continue to do.

When I say “step by step, DaibyDai” it’s not just a tagline but it’s a positive affirmation I live by. In times of uncertainty, stress, or anxiety I bring it back to just taking things day by day. Just one step at a time. DaibyDai is my baby. It’s so much of the things I enjoy most, hair and amazing travels, and stories of learnings and ways I’ve experienced growth over the years. It’s a canvas of growth in my early twenties now that I think about it. From 19 to 23 years old is a unique piece of my life and there’s so much greatness ahead. I have a great way to look back on things I’ve written and find encouragement, wisdom, and excitement for the future based on experiences and lessons I’ve gained throughout these 4 years. Cheers to many more years of DaibyDai!

Lastly, I want to say thank you to my readers, my loyal DAIZIES that have been with me since day 1 and the ones that have joined the field through the years. Your support really means a lot to me. Sometimes I post something and pretend it doesn’t exist and when someone brings it up and say they enjoyed it, I feel my eyes get wide and it makes me excited. So for sure it makes a difference and I appreciate you!

A huge thanks to my Daizies!

Happy Birthday to DaibyDai!

As always,

I Did a Wash & Go on My 4C Hair – First One in a WHILE

Now to be honest, I didn’t intentionally plan to do a wash and go. I had got a late start on my wash day and it was finally wrapping up around 2 am. I knew there was no way a twist or braid out would be dry by the time I woke up for brunch the next day. So I said hey let’s try out a wash and go.

I could probably count on my hands the number of times I’d done a wash and go. The first time I heard of it I was like “who would want to go out with wet hair?” Then when I actually tried it I was like “ who would want to go out with shrunken hair?” I mean the best part of my natural hair journey was the growth HELLO. As I head into my 5th year of natural hair, I revisited the wash and go method I had tried ever so often.

Here’s what I used:

After deep conditioning with TGIN Honey Miracle Mask, I used two products that I think work incredible together – Jane Carter Solution Conditioning Cream followed by TGIN Twist and Define Cream. I really love how the conditioning cream has a whipped consistency that thoroughly moisturizes my hair and define my curl pattern as it looks when it’s soaking wet. It also smells amazing! The twist and define cream locks in the texture of my hair.

I sectioned my hair into four large braids and hoped for the best!

The next morning, I did something else I hadn’t done in a while, I used a styling gel. Now once I’ve tried a certain type of product and it didn’t work, I most likely won’t try it again for a while. I gave gel a try a few times but didn’t like how it made my hair feel sticky and appear to have a white residue. However, I was drawn to try the Shea Moisture Red Palm Oil Styling Gelee because the red palm oil has not failed me yet! The Red Palm Oil Elongating Pudding is still among my top 5 favorite natural hair products! The red palm oil and cocoa butter line contains an ingredient called flaxseed gel which is known to elongate natural hair and works especially well for 4c hair.

After unbraiding my hair, I gently distributed a small amount of gel in section by using the clumping method. I do the clumping method by rubbing the gel between my palms and taking a section of hair and lightly squeezing it as if there were a glass ball between my hands. I could see how the sections with the gel hung a little bit longer than the sections without, so the “elongating” aspect of the product really showed. I followed with coconut oil to seal in the moisture.

All smiles over here

I loved the look! At first it took a minute to get used to the style because of how short I thought my hair appeared but I liked the way the length framed my face. I tried something different and ended up loving my hair even with it’s shrinkage.

Loving my new highlights

So will I try a wash and go again? I’m open to it! It was fun playing with my hair in it’s most natural state and I loved the way it turned out.

What have been your wash and go experiences?

As always take it step by step and

My Heart is in Havana| My Blissful Trip to Cuba

Hi Daizies,

You know there’s that one trip that totally changes your outlook on life? Have you ever heard that seeing the world can really broaden your perspective on your life and the world and what you think is important? It sounds all deep and stuff but this past trip to Cuba did just that. By the end of my trip I experienced life in a way that I never had before.

The Culture

I was in Havana, Cuba for 6 days total and felt like this trip allowed me to experience the true culture of the locals the absolute most. The thing that made the trip so special were the people and the genuine friendliness that I encountered every single day I was there. The people there are very warm and have a close knit community. They have a strong community that I felt apart of because of how nice they were to me as well.

Being Black

Most importantly, I was in a society where my identity of being black and a woman didn’t dictate how I navigated through the country or at all. I pretty much was under the impression that no matter where you go in the world, the black people or darker skinned people of that nation experience some sort of discrimination. I thought that the afro-Cubans and the white-Cubans would be differentiated somehow, just from coming from America, this just seemed like it would be a thing. But day 2, I noticed…there didn’t seem to be any racism. Granted, this is just my experience being there for 6 days and I can’t possibly know the ins and outs of every afro-Cuban’s experience but to ME I noticed a striking difference from the racism I encounter with every day in the States whether it be from the 24/7 news cycle of violence or microaggressions experienced. Walking through Old Havana and the central parts of town, I saw the lighter skinned and white Cubans and the afro-Cubans ALL hanging out together. The kids were all playing in mixed groups. The schoolgirls weren’t in close knit groups based on skin tone or anything. Everyone seemed comfortable with each other and referred to one another as CUBAN. Not Afro-Cuban or White-Cuban or anything. The culture wasn’t really based on the separation by what people looked like on the outside. It wasn’t an “erasure” or ignoring of the fact that some people derived from Africa or that slavery existed, but I didn’t feel or witness the same lingering effects of institutional and structural racism that exists in America and in so many places in the world. I had never seen any of this in my life before. Of course I was so curious as to HOW this was. I learned so much more about Cuba and race in the Afro Cuban Culture tour that I’ll touch on later in this post. But it was nice to just walk around with people looking like they’ve never seen a black person before. I often got mistaken for being Cuban and many people spoke Spanish to me. I looked like the people there and felt like it too.

Being a Woman

I have never felt so safe in my life. I felt more safe in Cuba than I do living in America. I have never seen a society where there was so much respect and kindness towards women. In the United States it’s “normal” to look straight ahead when you see men on the sidewalks and walk swiftly to your next destination. It’s “normal” to not even look in the direction of men trying greeting you even in broad daylight but ESPECIALLY at night. It’s “normal” to bring an extra jacket to cover anything that may be revealing. It’s “normal” to miss out on anything that happens after sunset when solo traveling because you don’t know who’s gonna be acting crazy. So much of my life and travel is dictated to doing certain things in hopes of being safe, because of being woman. When I first stepped off the plane and was at the airport, I noticed that a lot of the female workers had really cute short and tight skirts. I was like okay werk, maybe it’s just an airport thing. But when I got into the city, I saw that the short and really tight skirts was a whole style and lots of young women and girls were wearing it. I immediately thought ” how do the men treat them?” Where I’m from, wearing anything that’s deemed sexy could warrant a lot of harassment and just men being so creepy. But throughout my whole time, I never saw or heard any men harassing women wearing the short skirts or wearing whatever. No one thought they had the right to talk to them any kind of way because of how they’re dressed. Simple, but shocking to me because this is how it should be and it actually exists in Cuba. I actually had pleasant conversations with men who greeted me in the city. They asked simple questions like “Is it your first time in Cuba?”, “How many days are you in Havana?”, “Do you like it here?”, or “Are you looking for something?”. It was never that uncomfortable invasive talk you can sometimes run into when you give a guy just a few seconds of your time. Never tried to ask for my number of if I was single. Never tried to touch me inappropriately. Never followed me. Never tried to prolong the conversation to get something from me. Just brief small talk if I chose to have it. Ending with a handshake in most cases. There was a level of respect here that didn’t seem to matter that I was a woman. I was just a person. I was a person exploring Cuba and even the compliments were sincere and simple and not as a way to be weird. It was such a relief. And I was really happy for the women there that they could be free and safe.

I love traveling and have been to many countries but this was the first time I felt free of carrying the intersections of being black and a woman with me. I didn’t have to wonder if someone had preconceived notions about me because of my skin color, and I didn’t have to speed past any man in sight. The thing that separated me from others was my personality. When people talked to me it was to get to know me. Even being American wasn’t an issue there, which is surprising considering all the things America did during the Revolution. People asked where in America I was from and thought it was cool. That was it. No judgement or stereotypes needed to be fought based on my interactions with others. I was just me. It was groundbreaking because now I know it’s possible. I know it’s possible for a group of people to live in harmony and not have violence and systematic laws that disadvantage black people. I know it’s possible for men to respect the choices of women and to not feel they have the right to take from women.

Being Off the Grid

I was solo traveling for majority of my 6 days in Cuba and so I came prepared with a FULL itinerary printed and everything with addresses of what to do and where to go. I am a GPS girl and was like omg this will be interesting trying to get from place to place with 0 wifi. But I actually didn’t even use my itinerary as much as I thought. I had already booked the Afro-Cuban tour with Airbnb before arriving and knew I wanted to go to the beach and do a dance class. But other than that, I literary took it day by day. I could walk out to the Old Havana and the day would just go from there. I didn’t need to follow a plan, I followed a vibe.

I looked up more. I greeted people. I listened to recommendations. I journaled. I was really REALLY present in the moment. I didn’t get bored without the internet and had the chance to see what it felt like before being “always on” was normal to me. When back at my Airbnb, I would watch whatever was on tv for a little bit. There was a station with American movies and I even saw one episode of Game of Thrones. In the tour, I learned that there’s often one person in the neighborhood with a USB drive that downloads all the newest things happening on the internet. Then for like 1CUC an hour you can rent the USB to download all the seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, Game of Thrones, or whatever shows you like and have your piece of the internet. They make it work!

Living in a Socialist Society

From what I saw and learned, everyone has everything they need. I knew the basics of socialism and the word communism always seemed to come with a negative connotation in school but actually being in a country where it’s the way things are seemed like a whole new world. Throughout my whole 6 days in Cuba I didn’t see a single homeless person. In basically every major city I’ve been to and even where I live, I could walk past dozens of destitute homeless people with no where to go. In Cuba everyone has a home and there are shelters available for anyone that needs them. They have such an advanced healthcare system and can go to the doctor or hospital without having to worry about how to pay for it. You can go to school and study for free. There isn’t this inequality of the rich and poor. Everyone has everything they need. And because of this, I felt like people didn’t feel the need to take or steal from each other. There’s no need to. People seemed to share with each other more. Without having to stress about material things and striving to have more and more things, people showed their love and enjoyment of being with each other.

Cuba does have limited resources but it was more of the things that seem common in other places that are used way more than necessary. Like we waste A LOT of things and take more than we need because it’s available. It’s a lot of overconsumption now that I’ve seen a different way of living. Also the way homes are set up, there are lots of homes with multigenerational families. So there’s always someone to talk to, so really it’s easy to not have social media because you can be entertained with those in front of you. Although having my own apartment is a major staple in adulthood in the U.S., I actually thought it would be a fun experience to live close to my family if I lived in Cuba.

Things I Did

Day 1

The first day I arrived in Cuba, I took it easy and enjoyed a nice refreshing nap before going out to a bar with my cousin. I stayed in the casa particular right above the La California restaurant. Here I got to know a lot of the waitresses and waiters, and got great recommendations on places to go in Havana. The bar was called La Esencia in the Vedado neighborhood. We got there around 11pm and it started to get more active around midnight. It seemed like a place where mostly locals went and it was still popping even on a Tuesday.

Day 2

My first full day in Cuba, I went to the Old Havana area and marked the Museo de Revolucion as my main landmark. Surprisingly, this was the last place I visited even as I passed it over and over. With a 1 hour bike tour for 10CUC’s, I was able to see the major places to see that I had on my list. My 2 years of Spanish have served me well in Spanish speaking countries. My tour guide was explaining what we were passing a little bit about the history and I could pretty much comprehend. It was also helpful to know Spanish just for general interactions with people and to get to know people. The landmarks I remember seeing were:

  • El Capitolio
  • La Plaza Vieja
  • La Catedral de la Virgen María de la Concepción Inmaculada de La Habana (had to look this one up)
  • Some wall mural everyone was taking pictures of
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  • A cruise ship
  • An important garden

I don’t remember all of the specific names to the translations but I knew what I was looking at lol. But after the tour I ran into a traditional dancing performance near El Capitolio. I loved being able to see what traditional dancing looked like and the performers dressed in 60s clothing.

For food, I was walking back from the Capitol towards the Museo de la Revolucion area and a restaurant hosts led me to the restaurant and explained what was on the menu. For 8CUC I got the largest serving ever and it was my favorite meal of the trip. Too bad I didn’t take a picture of the outside of the restaurant so I could actually refer people to it. Anyways, the food in Cuba was better than I expected. I came across tons of blogs saying the food was bland and suggesting to bring your own spices. HOWEVER, it was some of my favorite food cuisines and the seasoning was just fine. I don’t like spicy food at all so that lack thereof was no problem. Food in Cuba ranged from a low low price of 1.40 CUC for a filling meal to 23CUC. Also the exchange rate is basically 1 USD = 1CUC, so Cuba isn’t a place where you can expect to buy things for cheap overall. For the lower priced meals try to find restaurants inside of neighborhoods. And when you get to the city center and more populated areas, you’ll find the 20-23CUC priced meals. Also try to eat as much as you can because there aren’t supplies for takeaway boxes. I get full so fast, so I had to leave so much food behind that I would normally take to go.

Day 3

Near the Malecon I got a great view of the city line and it was perfect for a photo opp. There were some statues and things to read as it related to the castle that was nearby but not where we could walk directly to. Going back to research exactly what it was, I found that it’s called the Morro Castle.

The rest of the time from here I was solo traveling. I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering in Old Habana and ran into a local guy who took me on the ferry to visit the Christ of Havana statue in Casablanca. The ferry was about 7 minutes and 1CUC each way. The Christ statue mimicked the Christ the Reedemer statue in Sao Paolo, Brazil. This was something I didn’t even find when looking up top things to do in Havana but it was so cool to see and to take a ferry. I actually think it was my first ferry ride too! It was a little trek up the hill, so I definitely got a good leg work out.

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Day 4

I knew I wanted to take a Rumba class prior to coming to Cuba. I had looked up a couple schools before arriving and had one written down that I was certain I would take a class from. But I ended up walking past another school in the Old Havana area and a friend I made said La Casa del Son was the best one. I ended up making a reservation a day before, since they were pretty busy. For 18CUC I learned the basics of Rumba with a personal dance teacher. I thought it would be pretty easy but there were some specific form details that my instructor was coaching me to do. So it ended up being quite a workout just from trying hard to have the right form. I had a lot of fun learning and dancing. The form of Rumba I was learning came from the Guanabacoa region which is where I visited in the Afro-Cuban tour the following day.

I got a chance to visit the beach, and got help finding the tour bus that goes to la playa. The Malecon in Havana isn’t one where you can swim, so the nearest beach was about 25 minutes away. I got on the tourbus that left from Central Park and bought a 5CUC roundtrip ticket. This beach was called San Marisol and was a lot closer than other beaches people had mentioned to me. The water was a perfect temperature and I had fun swimming and relaxing.

Day 5: Afro-Cuban Tour

I found out about the Afro Cuban Culture tour from a travel group on Facebook. The tour is organized by Beyond Roots Cuba and the experience can be booked on Airbnb. I had never read such profound and amazing reviews of anything ever and booked right away since the slots were sold out for so many days in advance. And it really was everything I hoped for. There were 14 people, all American. Ten of us were Black American and the rest were white. It was great to ask the questions I had in my head to someone who lived in Cuba and could give background to the things I had noticed. It was also great to be around other Black Americans and have that shared experience together. In the intro, the creator of the Afro Cuban culture tour explained that she wanted to create this to give tourists an opportunity to learn about the African roots that influence Cuban culture and especially to dispel any myths that the Afro-Cuban religions were scary. We spent a lot of time focusing on the three major Afro Cuban religions because they played and continue to play a critical role in the culture and especially during slavery. Adrianna, our guide, said that when she first started this tour she always got questions about her black experience as a professor and she did not understand what this meant or why it was being asked. Coming from the United States, this would be a question I’d ask as well, and she was able to learn more about why that was asked and how different race relations were in the U.S. She said she hadn’t really felt racism her whole life in Cuba. Even being female, she said the rule at the university was to have faculty made up of 50% male and 50% female and that it was apart of the law.

It was interesting to hear that Adrianna thought all Americans were white and didn’t know there were black people in the States until Obama opened up travel to Cuba in 2016. Since then African Americans have been seen as a reference point for Cubans in accepting their natural hair and African features. She said they saw that most Americans coming were black and they were coming natural. They then saw that they can wear their hair natural and still be pretty and beautiful. It’s harder to maintain natural hair there because there aren’t a lot of products or resources for the upkeep of black hair. Adrianna said she uses products for white people. So many people straighten their hair because it’s easier but it’s starting to change now since tourism and contact with black Americans. I love seeing our positive influence on other cultures. While the natural hair is something that’s still recent, it’s great that it has positively impacted other parts of the diaspora.

I did find out that while there didn’t appear to be strong racism in Cuba colorism does exist. It is common for people to want to identify is mestizo or mulatto or have long straight hair. But with the younger generation, this is starting to change and more people feel comfortable with their natural features.

I also learned that the people there appreciate and are grateful for the Revolution. It allowed black and poor people to get an education, have good health, and own their homes. Things like water and all utilities are very very cheap. The rich people are the ones who hated it and many fled to Miami.

I loved learning about the religions. We visited an Afro Cuban museum in Guanabacoa and learned all about the Orishas and the origins of the Santeria religion. Santeria is basically a mix between Catholicism and the Yoruba religion deriving from Nigeria. The Orishas were once people and so they have human flaws, emotions and characteristics. According to Beyond Roots, Santeria is based on the belief and worship of a group of Orishas or saints who become beings who represent and symbolize not only the forces of nature but also rituals, activities, passions, and feelings of human beings.

I haven’t heard anything about persecution or discrimination because of religion there either. The way the Santeria religion is set up, there are multiple Orishas anyway, so having a different God to pray to isn’t a negative connotation. You can practice any religion and pray to multiple Orishas or gods in different ways. The religions are personalized to you. Like if you decide to get initiated, your reading and suggested actions are customized to you. Most people get a bracelet, but one man was told he shouldn’t wear it cuz it was a blockage of things he needs to receive. This is just one example of how it’s not super ritualistic and by customs.

I also participated in a cleansing ceremony and received a reading from the babalawo priest. For me, it wasn’t like a shockingly accurate experience. More like common sense things you should follow in life such as having goals for yourself and learning about who you are. I appreciate being apart of the experience though.

Later in the day I ended up going to Casa de la Musica and there was an event going on with a band from Mexico performing. The nightlife is from around 11pm-3am, and around the 2 am I felt myself getting a little sleepy. But the party didn’t end! There was salsa dancing everywhere, people danced with each other and made friends with those around them. The band performing was pretty cool, I have no idea who it was but I guess they were a big deal.

Day 6

I ended up meeting a Cuban family close to my casa particular and spent the whole afternoon with them learning more Rumba dancing, watching tv, and playing with the baby. Days like that are a prime example of being in Cuba. Meeting nice and friendly people and going off and just having a good time. I was going to go to the museum but it was not an important thing to have a schedule there.

Day 7

Before heading to the airport, I rushed to finally see the Museum of the Revolution and it was so worthwhile. It summarized everything I had experienced, with historical documents and visuals of Cuba’s history. I have so much I want to learn more about. Like why was the U.S. supporting the regime when the regime was all about not having equality for the rich and poor? I learned about the U.S. playing a major role in cutting Cuba off from exports around the world and Russia stepping in to buy their sugar exports instead. I saw actual visual photos of how people lived before the Revolution. Many people were struggling to survive and in terrible living conditions. I saw how after the Revolution, Fidel Castro made immediate efforts to eliminate illiteracy, allow renters to own their homes, and have adequate and free healthcare for all. I learned a lot and took many pictures of the displays to read later since I had to hurry back and leave to the airport. But there’s a lot I’m interested in learning more about. It’s so beautiful that even after having a severed relationship with the U.S. for decades, Cubans treated Americans with warmth and friendliness. The past didn’t dictate how they treated those coming to Cuba now.

Havana oh nah nah

Cuba is a country I would definitely visit again in the near future. I can say it was my favorite trip so far. The experience of just feeling like I could be myself and be safe and feel like I belonged is what made it so special. I lived my daily intentions and self care out loud. I have everything I need and more. I don’t have to always be working and always producing. Ir’s okay to rest and be content. There doesn’t need to be this pressure to produce more, to have more, to do this and that to have more money and things, a bigger house or anything. It is okay. None of that matters and I knew that but being in Cuba…I felt that. I had no Internet and had to bring my own toilet paper to most places but I felt safe and secure. And I think being safe and having what you need and deserve as being a human on this earth is worth more than any material thing you can by. Having love from your family and friends and caring about your community is what matters. I loved seeing this and will always take this with me. I’m so full with love from this experience.

Literally and as always,