Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Motivation for those who are Stressed and Pressured

This morning after my workout I was going to read one of the excerpts from my typical devotional, Proverbs 31 Women. For some reason, the excerpt was not in my inbox as usual so I reached for my YouVersion Bible App. The verse of the day was Psalms 119:143 (NLT), which says "As the pressures and stresses bear down on me, I find joy in your commands".  

After reading this verse, all I could say was "Wow". If any of you are beginning something new or at the start of a new journey, you understand how pressures and stresses can build up fairly quickly. For me, pressures and stresses come as I complete this fifth and final year of coursework in my doctoral program. For you, it may be the start of a new job and the new pressures to perform. For someone else, it could be the start of a new school year and the stresses to top their results from their previous school year. Perhaps someone has pressures in their household to do and be a better role model for their family. Pressures and stresses are something we can all relate to! 

But this verse right here reminded me to look at these pressures and stresses as an opportunity, rather than a burden!  Instead of thinking, "I have to...", I can  try thinking "I have the opportunity to..." 

  • For example, I might have said "I have to allocate sooooo many hours to working on my dissertation". Instead, I can say " I have the opportunity to have a flexible schedule, where I can set aside time for working on my dissertation." 

  • I might have said "I have to complete all this paperwork for my internship process. Uuugggghhh!" Instead, I can say, " I have the opportunity to have made this far to EVEN be able to apply to internship!" 

I could go on and on with examples, but do you get what I am saying!?!?! Try to look at your stresses/pressures as an opportunity rather than a task. When you are able to look at these things as an opportunity, you are able to see that these pressures/stresses are truly gifts that God entrusted you and only you with. When you look at something as a gift, you should experience joy right!?!?! I'm just saying!!!!!

So I challenge you today and going forward to remind yourself to look at your stresses/pressures as an opportunity, or a gift from God, and find joy in having that opportunity, or that gift, from God!!! 
Besides God has already equipped you with everything you need to conquer the stresses/pressures so go forth and conquer!

Until next time,
Be Faith-filled, fearless, and fabulous,
Kurky Ken

Sunday, August 23, 2015


I wanted to show how my hair was growing since I cut it in April. Check out the post here to see how it looked when I first cut my hair.

Hair Update:
Since "THE" cut, my hair has been growing out thicker than ever. It literally is stacked full of body, which may also be attributed to the layers I cut in my hair. I think the cut helped to give my hair a healthy beginning. Not to mention, I have been protective styling ALOT lately with braids and marley twists. And even when my hair is tucked away, I moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! 

But I am loving the grow out process....

Goals for Both Hair and This Thing Called Life:
So as I enter my fifth and final year of course work, I want to really ensure that I take time to take care of my hair--- as well as myself. Often times, when the school year hits, self-care falls to the weigh side, but not this school year! Nope! I'm devoted to taking better care of myself by doing the following:

1. Prayer and Meditation
2. Journaling in my Prayer Journal 
3. Exercise at least 4 days per week 
4. Eating Healthy (Incorporating more fruits and veggies on a daily basis via smoothies)
5. Taking care of my hair and skin 
6. Spending time regularly with family and friends
7. And the list goes on...

I currently feel like I'm on the right track when it comes to self-care, and I want to stay that way. Last year, I spent a lot of time stressed and depressed trying to jump through doctoral hoops! My self-esteem was waning, and my self-care was at an all time low. But I took a lot of lessons from last year, and one lesson was to maintain self-care, pouring into yourself so you can pour into others. With dissertation, internship applications, and my final year of coursework, I have to execute it! No excuses! Taking care of myself will overflow into other areas of my life like work, school, and relationships, whether directly or indirectly! So to all my readers who are returning back to school, in some shape, form, or fashion (whether student, teacher, or both---like me), have a blessed school year and take care of yourself (and your hair;-)

Until next time...
Be faith-filled, fearless, and fabulous,
Kurly Ken, the doctoral candidate

Friday, August 21, 2015

My natural face regimen that helped my acne...

Skin care has always been something that has been priority for me, mainly due to the fact that I suffered with acne for many years. In my adolescent and college years, my skin was plagued by acne, including cystic pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and terrible hyper pigmentation on my forehead and cheek areas. In addition, I had extremely oily skin, which added an additional element to my acne.

My Personal Story
I spent the majority of my teen and early adulthood trying to find a solution for my acne. When I tell you I tried everything, honey----I literally tried everything! Proactive, Clean and Clear, Neutrogena, St. Ives, Mary Kay, and the list goes on of products I experimented with. These products may have worked initially but did not keep my skin clear consistently. I still struggled with cystic acne and hyper pigmentation, primarily on my forehead.

I continued to struggle, and some of my family members took notice of the issue. My sister took me to purchase my first professional line of makeup, which was Fashion Fair. Makeup was only a temporary solution, often making my skin worse by creating an oil slick face as a breeding ground for cystic pimples. In my senior year of high school, my mother took me to dermatologist. While my skin cleared up quite a bit, this process was very costly (shout out to my mom for a sacrifice though), and eventually, the medication and upkeep of dermatologist appointments was too much.

 (High school...don't judge a sista)

When I headed off to college, my skin reverted to its old acne ways of fine bumps and excessive hyper pigmentation, which is what the picture depicts below. Now, some may look at these pictures and say, "Your face doesn't look that bad!" But, those that grew up with me saw my struggle. Honestly, I got rid of a lot of the pictures when I was younger due to how horrible my skin looked; I couldn't bare to look at my acne. These is are the few pieces of evidence that still remains. 

(college years)

In my adult years, I still struggled with acne and would worsen at the sign of any stress. It wasn't until my mid twenties that I stumbled across information regarding natural remedies for curing acne. Youtube, forums, and blogs on natural ways to treat and reduce acne totally changed my life. I would literally wake up in the morning and research all day. I came up with a routine that reduced my skin issues significantly. So I will discuss the products I use and I will explain their benefits to the skin.

My All Natural Face Regimen

1. I love the oil cleansing method. Although I use a modified version of the oil cleansing method, I have seen so many benefits, which include a reduction in the oil production of my skin, fading of my acne scars, and an overall glow. In the morning, I oil cleanse by washing my face with coconut oil and warm water. I literally rub coconut oil all over my face in circular upward motions. Then I take warm water and massage it into my skin! This feels like absolute heaven!!!! After that, I wipe my eyes off with a white towel and allow the rest of my face to drip.
2. I take a cotton square and  tone using Thayer's Lavender Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera.
3. I moisturize my face with Aloe Vera gel and an oil mixture (jojoba oil, almond oil, tea tree oil, and grapeseed oil).
4. I apply my makeup!

**My night time routine is pretty much just like my morning routine with the exception of 1 step. **
1. I wash my face daily with African Black Soap. I've been using black soap for five years and this was one of the first things I used to help my skin. I still use black soap now to ensure the removal of all of make up and dirt from the day.
2. I oil cleanse using coconut oil just like my morning routine.
3. I tone with Thayer's Lavender Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera.
4. I moisturize with Aloe Vera gel and my oil mixture.

Twice a week I exfoliate with a water and baking soda paste. I have even created and applied a coconut oil and baking soda paste to my damp face as an exfoliant. Both mixtures work well for me, but I will say that the coconut/baking soda mixture leaves my skin both exfoliated and glowing. Now, two to three times per week, I wash my face with raw, unfiltered honey. The honey face wash is AMAZINGGGGG! My skin glows, and I feel like a bronze goddess afterwards. Check out Heyfranhey's video on the honey facial:

So what's so good about this regimen!?! Child, let me tell ya-----Everything! There is nothing better than being able to use products in their purest, all natural form!!! My natural based face regimen has been THE saving grace for THIS FACE! So let me break down what these products can do for your face.
  • Coconut Oil: It's a antimicrobial agent, rich in vitamin E. It allows for proper functioning of the sebum glands and clears blockage, which is super beneficial for my oil skin. No oil on oil crime here! Oil actually brings balance to my skin!!! It's also an anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation from acne. 
  • Thayer's Lavender Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera: This is 100% witch hazel that acts a a gentle, soothing toner. No alcohol at all! Lavender is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It can help reduce swelling, redness, and irritation. 
  • Aloe Vera Gel: It helps as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, scar reducing, and cell growth stimulator. 
  • Jojoba Oil: This oil mimics the sebum on your skin, and moisturizes the skins without clogging pores. It also reduces the appearance of pores, wrinkles, and stretch marks.
  • Tea Tree Oil: It's antibacterial properties help with oil regulation  and decrease the severity of breakouts. 
  • Sweet Almond Oil: This oil can help reduce dark circles, spots, wrinkles, and fine lines. 
  • Grapeseed Oil: It's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties treat and prevent breakouts. 
  • African Black Soap: In it's purest form, black soap typically consist of cocoa pod, roasted plantain skins, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, palm oil, and natural sodium, Some recipes include cocoa butter, shea butter, lavender oil, and other oils. This soap can help your skin "purge" impurities. Sometimes it seems like your skin is getting worse before it get's better, but if you are patient, it help remove those impurities and prevent bacterial growth, decreasing acne. It can also be used for eczema and other skin ailments as well.  
  • Baking Soda: Used with a substantial amount of liquid, baking soda can act as a powerful exfoliant. Be sure to use water or some other liquid like substance when working with baking soda. It's abrasive properties can scratch your skin and cause micro-cuts. 
  • Honey: This ultra moisturizer/ humectant can help skin retain moisture and elasticity. Antibacterial and antifungal properties help decrease the appearances of scares and increase healing and tissue regeneration.
I cannnnnnnnnot tell you the difference these products have made in my skin. My skin has come a long, long, long way. Now, I follow this skin care regimen in conjunction with drinking 8-10 glasses of water and eating a well rounded pollo-pescetarian diet (about 85-90% of the time). So if you are struggling with acne of any form, try out a few of these natural based products or at least do some research to consider what all natural products may work best for your skin.

Please leave a comment below if you have any natural products or a routine that works for reducing acne or any skin related issues... 

Until next time...
Be faith-filled, fearless, and fabulous,
Kurly Ken