23 and Jen

I have always been fascinated by the past. Where I come from and the history of how my family came to be. Being from a Latino descent I know from stories and history I am a mix of cultures, and I love it. It just means that I am an amazing blend of diversity and history.

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When I was little, my grandmother would tell me the story of my great-grandfather and how his father was Spaniard who fell in love with a Taino women and her native island, Puerto Rico. He stayed and raised a family there on a bit of farmland. I never knew how accurate the story was and honestly, I still don’t know all the details. But on my journey of finding out a little bit more about my melting pot of DNA, I fell a little bit more in love with myself.

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When I found 23 and me I knew it would help me piece together so many questions I had regarding my ancestry. How much of me is from where and who? I mean, who doesn’t want to know where they’re descended from? But I actually may have more questions now than before taking the test. I have 2 parents; so who is more of what? Where and when did the Spanish descendant come to Puerto Rico and is there any real truth to the stories I was told as a child?

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Taking the test was fairly easy; just spit into a test tube, seal it up, and send it in. I chose the Health and Ancestry test because I wanted to know it all. I registered my kit on the site and took a few of the questionnaires they provided – which are totally optional. I filled out a few each day to help ease my desperation while waiting for my results. When I received the results, it was honestly such a rush. Seeing this map light up all over the places that I am from just confirmed my cultural mutt theory.

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My grandmother, as much of you may know, is in the early stages of dementia. Asking her too many questions about the story that she told me as a child just isn’t possible. So 23 and Me is giving me the opportunity to fill in some of the blanks. Although I am the only one in my home to take the test so far, I think I will eventually purchase the kits for my grandmother and my children, too. 23 and me allows you to link your test with your relatives so you can see your family tree. And they find other relatives that share my ancestry that I’ve never met, never heard of, never known existed. 3rd cousins, 5th cousins – people I am distantly related to who I never would have found otherwise.

Because I can now connect with these people, I have a real chance of finding some more answers. I can find their stories and see how it blends with my own to discover a bit more where I come from. And considering how much of that world is lit with my ancestors, I can tell I have plenty of stories to find.

30-Something Mom Seeking Sexy

I never thought I’d do a boudoir photo shoot. 70 pounds ago, I thought that it was something only skinny bitches did. But I kept hearing that it was something that would boost your self esteem and that’s pretty much always good news, so I looked a little closer. And I figured it may also have a pleasant unintended outcome, too. My guy is hard to buy for anyways and if I can make him like me more, I’m in favor of that.

The Prep

I planned it so that the day before my boudoir shoot was devoted to me prepping. I was off from work. The kids were at school so I had time for me. I went to the nail salon early and had the whole place to myself. I got an acrylic set of fingernails and a gel pedicure to ensure it lasted. I even had my eyebrows waxed. I felt amazing, even before my shoot. I dyed and deep conditioned my hair. I even shaved everything below the neck.

Her instructions were pretty detailed. I was given enough time to do up to three outfit changes so I made sure the night before to lay then all out. I didn’t have three outfits that I loved so I kept to two. I mean, at that point I wasn’t even sure I was really going to go through with it. But I did.

Embracing New Experiences

When I walked into my boudoir shoot I was visibly nervous. Katie welcomed me and smiled warmly. The shoot was at her home (As a lot of boudoir shoots are) and after meeting her and seeing how kind she was, I was just glad I wasn’t going to get murdered, honestly. Prior to the shoot we had exchanged several text messages and she even sent me google document with detailed instructions on how to prepare for my shoot. So I guess I was “prepared” – even if I pulled up to the address feeling ready to puke.

But then there was Katie. It didn’t take long before I was feeling a bit more at ease. After reading reviews of other boudoir photographers, I’m convinced this is the thing they have in common: They can make you feel comfortable, even when you’re entirely prepared to be awkward and weird. We talked a few minutes about what I wanted and I showed her the outfits I’d chosen. She was very reassuring and suggested I start with the more modest outfit. She said by outfit number two, I’d have the confidence to rock it. And boy, was she was right.

She Knew Exactly What She Was Doing

She took the time to make sure all my poses were, not only flattering, but that I was comfortable with each. She showed me a few images here and there as she shot to build my confidence so the more she shot, the sexier I felt. It was the most secure I’ve ever felt about who I am, while still feeling so vulnerable at the same time.

I did the shoot for me. But showing my better half the results? Well, let’s just say he was pleased, to say the least. And even better, he was proud, mostly. He tells me I’m beautiful all the time but in these images, I finally saw it, too. He was proud to see that I saw it. All my hard work; raising two babies, weight loss and just everything that a working mom life entails. I still saw a sexy, strong, powerful woman in those pictures and honestly, I can’t wait to do it again.

So thank you a million times, Katie; for an amazing experience. I can’t wait for our next collaboration. Check out her website and Instagram to see all her amazing work.

 

 

 

 

A Week Using Deva Curl

OK, I want to start off by saying this is not a paid sponsorship I will always be trying new things because that is what I do. I want to start doing new things for my self and getting this mane under control was one of them.

So after seeing tons of ads on Instagram for Deva Curl I posted asking my friends what was the big deal. I got amazing feedback from a few girls and they were all amazing. So I decided what the heck let me go check it out. After looking through the Deva Curl website I came upon the curl quiz. So the curl quiz is a few basic questions about what kinda of curl do you have? what kind of curl do you want? hair type and scalp type? pretty basic. At the end of the quiz, it shows you a list of your recommended products.

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I’m not going to lie at first the prices turned me off. So I started to look for alternatives but they were all priced the same and some had alcohol as one of the main ingredients. I don’t know a lot about anything but my hair is already dry I can’t put alcohol in it. So I dragged my 14 yr old son to a land no teenage boy wants to go with his momma ULTA. I was pretty surprised by the size of the display but I was excited to get this hair under control. I didn’t spend as much money as I thought because they have gift sets that are roughly the same size as the regular bottles so I ended up saving about $20.

The next day I took pictures of my dry damaged hair with no product in it and I wanted to cry. I really never noticed how bad my hair was because I never gave it a second to breathe I was just slathering on product on top of product until I had these hard curls. The pictures below will make you ill and I apologize to all my curly headed girls I know I was wrong I will never let my hair get this bad again.

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eeekkkk.

Well, I washed my hair on day one and I have to say I was surprised that the shampoo had no lather. I know it says no later on the bottle but I thought a little something but nope nada. The reason for no lather because it doesn’t have any Sulfate, Paraben or Silicone. The smell was light not strong like most shampoo’s and the same goes for the conditioner. I purchased 2 styling products because they were apart of the recommendation. On the first day, I tried the styling cream and it was the only thing on my hair. I was so nervous all day at work I kept touching my hair and the humidity was insane so by the end of the day my curls were intact but my volume was at 100. On day 2 I tried the Ultra Defining gel and I have to say so far it is my favorite.

By day 3, 4 and 5 I had it down pact I kept to the same routine alternating between styling creme and defining gel. By day 6 I decided to get a little crazy I used a little of both my styling products. I was headed to a theme park with my kids so I wanted to make sure through all the rides my hair was intact. Let us just say it held up by 10 pm my hair still looked great. So today is day 7!  I washed my hair and just let it air dry naturally and did not use any product and this is the picture below.

 

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Insane ?? You can see such a difference just a few days did to my hair. I honestly can not believe it even the way my hair feels. I am actually getting some real curl back.

What’s changed for me besides my amazing hair? I have not used a comb or a brush in 7 days. During washing and conditioning, I’ve stuck to using just finger combing my hair and its been enough. Also, my hair isn’t falling out as much when I finger comb it I think I was literally ripping my own hair out with the brush I know so bad. The acne on my forehead and the sides of my cheek are also clearing up. I don’t have those gross and greasy products running down my face when I sweat,  or rubbing off on my pillow and getting on my face at night. Which is something I never even thought was even a possibility?

Still more to do though. I think a lot of us have heard of the Deva Cut, it’s like this precise cut for curly headed girls curl by curl. Well, I really think I want to try it and see how the cut helps with my curl journey.  I wish when I did my curl quiz it would have offered me some of the deep and leave in conditioners they have. I will be trying those as well, I kept to my suggested list which I regretted after I saw all the amazing reviews on all their other products.

All in all, it may be pricer then what I have paid in the past for shampoo and conditioner. But I did the math for myself and it is really not much of a difference. An extra maybe $10.00 a month added to a routine the significantly change how my hair looks in mere days. I still have a long way to get my curl completely back so keep following my Curl Journey to see what I try next.