April 20, 2012

Why Special Dreams Farm is so Special

Special Dreams Farm is a non-profit org dedicated to providing meaningful work to adults with developmental disabilities. At work today, we took a field trip to the farms to get a better sense of the set up along with how everything operates. We were able to meet the core founders and some of the regular farmers who come to the farm daily and participate in regular farm chores. Larry, the president of Special Dreams Farm (SDF), along with a few other board members were kind enough to give us a tour of the place and a peek into all of their current projects. The farm is full of opportunities for their farmers, a team of disabled adults, who may not have had similar experiences elsewhere. The public is already well aware of the support needed for young children coping with disabilities, but there is very little governmental and public support of disabled adults. It seems like we forget -- children grow up! 

In the state of Michigan, disabled people are allowed to stay enrolled in school up until they turn 26. Soon, the cut off will be even younger and disabled adults will be rejected from school systems at the age of 21. This gives disabled adults very little options, especially as their parents age and become less able to attend to their disabled children's needs. SDF provides a pleasant alternative to the extremely limited programs and employment options for developmentally disabled adults. Instead of having to sit in a monitored room for long hours doing monotonous work, disabled adults can acquire special skills needed to operate a farm. The farmers at SDF learn to use farm tools, cater to the gardens, build and paint practical structures like fences and picnic tables and take care of the farm animals. SDF also provides cooking and sewing classes where farmers can break from their hard work to enjoy home-made meals and work together to design beautiful quilt work. Farmers enhance their fine and gross motor skills while building lasting friendships, pride and confidence at the same time. Here are just some of my favorite aspects of the farm, but the list goes on!

1. They have chickens.


2. They have rabbits as big as my cat.


3. Their farmers love the meaningful work they do.

4. They recycle.


5. They know their elements of creative design.


6. They use cute wall paper.


7. They bake delicious treats and care to share.

8. They've preserved their trust in humanity.


9. They've got good organizational skills.


10. No matter how special your needs, you will always be given the love, attention, and care needed to grow as a plant, veggie, animal or human being. 


April 18, 2012

An Evening of Tribute

The Black Student Union held its anual (ish) celebratory dinner on Sunday. I think we were all a little unsure of how it would turn out, but it turned out great. Everything was beautiful -- the room, the food, the ice sculpture, the live jazz music, the balcony, and the people! Oh, and the goody bags were especially lovely, of course (conceptualized and assembled by my friend Liz and I).

A high-tech photo booth with video recording capabilities was set up -- so we all had fun with that, as you can see. We had two guest speakers, one a U of Michigan graduating senior with some encouraging words. The other, a Michigan alumni. One of the BSU members, Michelle, amazed the audience with her cover of "Come Away With Me" by Nora Jones -- never knew she could sing!

So here's a collection of some shots to mark the memory. It pretty much felt like the formal closing of junior year for me. Three years of college down...one to go. Exciting and scary at the same time. When people ask if I have any ideas of what I'll do when I leave, I still haven't come up with one solid answer -- because there's so many. Going into advertising, PR, blogging, or design. Possibly going to grad school for possibly marketing and management or maybe jewelry design. Opening my own craft store. Maybe opening up a hair salon, or launching a new cosmetic line. Unisex make-up? Maybe.

Photography: TX Photography

April 5, 2012

Hair Update: length check

(Looking like princess beauty after cram studying
for hours late at night with no make up on. NO SHAME.)
An Inch of New Growth! 

I was supposed to do this a few days ago, but I forgot! Which means I am less anxious and more patient about my hair growing. Limiting how many times you let yourself measure your hair (once every 2 months in my case) is actually turning out to be a good way to forget about growing and just enjoy having short hair. But even with that being said, it has grown and it's fun and encouraging to see the actual growth by measuring. Some parts of my hair seem to be growing quicker than other parts, which is weird I guess, but fine with me. Overall, it's gained about an inch, averaging to the normal half an inch a month, with some areas growing a little bit faster.

                        From this :
                                                 To this!

Some measurements: 
Crown: 6 inches (some slightly longer)
Sides: about 5 inches 
Back: about 5 and a half inches

If I keep it up, I'll be at 7" in a couple months as long as I watch out for breakage. So far, I've noticed a lot more shedding than breakage. I've been trying to avoid detangling in the shower which I also think helps prevent shedding. There's not much you can do to make your hair grow faster, but there's plenty you can do to prevent your length from breaking off -- which is my goal. My hair has never gained this much length so quickly in my life...so I must be doing something right!

Until next time,


April 2, 2012


  Some changes I've made to my regimen since my growth journey

When I first got my hair cut my hair routine was way easier. With an inch or two of hair, all you have to do is literally wake up, spritz with moisture, and then go. I could wash it every morning and within a few hours of Summer weather it would be dry. With my new length, I've noticed some shifts in my hair routine. It's not as easy as it used to be, and it will probably become more and more work as it gets longer and longer. Here are the major aspects of my hair regimen that I find myself doing now more than I ever used to.

one: Sectioning 
Photo Credit: thankgodimnatural.wordpress.com
I find it extremely helpful to part my hair in sections when styling or washing my hair. This just makes tackling a head of crazy curls and tangles a lot easier. I also shed a lot less hair when detangling if I detangle smaller sections at a time. With one inch hair, I couldn't really part my hair even if I tried. Whether I'm applying curlers or braiding for overnight styling, if I didn't part my hair into at least four sections, it would be daunting. I also section my hair in the shower when I am shampooing and conditioning. This helps prevent my hair from excessive tangles and allows me to shampoo each section at a time. Shampooing smaller sections makes it easier to clean my scalp which is where product buildup happens. It's important to keep a clean scalp to promote new hair growth and shampooing sectioned hair gets your scalp clean efficiently. 

two: Dry Shampooing
Photo credit: forgreenarchitect.com
I don't mean the powder stuff. What I mean is shampooing my hair outside of the shower before I turn the water on. Instead of drenching my hair with shower water and shampooing while the water's running, I often use a spray bottle to saturate my hair with water instead. This just saves a lot of water and heat because all I have to do with my hair in the shower is rinse the shampoo out and apply conditioner. The conditioner can then sit in your hair while your scrubbing or doing your shower thing. It also doesn't take as long for me to rinse out conditioner, because I don't mind if a little conditioner remains in my hair. Before applying shampoo, I sometimes wet my hair with a mixture of apple cider vinegar (good stuff), water, and a few drops of rose oil to dilute the vinegar smell, which helps loosen dirt particles and product buildup, getting my hair extra clean without over-drying. Vinegar also helps add shine.

three: Manipulation
Photo credti: art.com
Now that I've gained some length, I have more freedom to experiment with different styles. I find my hair at its softest and shiniest when I twist it in braids (usually two strand twists) and let it dry over night. I think the twists help lock in moisture as it dries. It also helps clump my curls as to avoid frizz. I rarely do a simple wash-and-go anymore. Air drying takes forever and my curls shrink up so tight that way - I end up with a lot more frizz, dryness, and tangles. It may be that I haven't found the right wash-and-go product for me yet, or it may be that I just don't like how a wash and go looks with my short length. Maybe after a few years of growth, I'll manipulate less, but twists are miraculous for tangle prevention and when my curls are a bit stretched from overnight styling, my hair becomes a lot more manageable. I will definitely be keeping this up as my hair continues to grow.

three: Being Cost Effective
Photo credit: kaboodle.com

This is basically paying attention to what's in the bottles and what's on the price tag. I used to think my hair needed some special miracle product because regular shampoos and conditioners "were not for my hair texture." Now I pay less attention to what textures products are marketed for and more attention to what ingredients are actually in the bottles and how much they cost. Of course, I love trying new things, but the reality is you don't always need to spend the money to get the results and many products that claim to do wonders actually have a slew of not-so-great things for your hair in them. I found a shampoo I really love from Trader Joe's called nourish spa. The ingredients are impressive (a long list of organic oils, fruit and plant extracts, no sulfates) and so is the cost. Both the conditioner and shampoo are around $3.00 a bottle and they are sold in regular sized bottles. I don't mind paying a little more for styling products because those are what stay in my hair the longest, but I try to finish one bottle before buying more.

four: Less Styling Products
Photo credit: healixonline.com
You might think that more hair would translate to more product. Maybe for styling products (gels, curl creams...) this is true while I'm actually applying, but overall, I find myself taking a more minimalist approach to product usage since my hair has grown. Longer hair is more of a pain to wash (from sectioning) and a pain to dry (air drying takes forever and blowdrying makes my hair dry and frizzy). I try and wash it just once a week to save time and moisture. This means that whatever products I add to my hair will be coating my strands for a whole week and that can add up fast. I try not to reapply any product during the week unless my hair feels particularly dry. This way, I go through bottles much more slowly and it gives my hair and scalp some room to breath. With less product, shampooing becomes easier, too.

five: Silk Scarf
Photo credit: allposters.co.uk
I hear a lot of "wearing silk scarves to bed is not sexy," which, ok yeah, is true. But I'd rather be looking crazy while I'm asleep in bed than walking around looking crazy with breakage and frizz during the day. When my hair was shorter, I didn't worry about it at night and it only took a few spritz of water and some product to bounce back the curls in the morning. With longer hair comes some serious bed head, and I've found covering my hair at night helps reduce frizz and allows styles to last longer. In my eyes, the less staying up until however late at night twisting my hair, the better. It also helps lock in moisture and secure your ends so both your hair and its natural oils stay on your head and not on your pillow!

six: Accessories 
Photo credit: polyvore.com
Even though longer hair is more work, longer hair can also be more fun. I find myself using more accessories like flowers, scarves, and bands on days when I don't feel like wearing it completely out. When my hair was an inch long, I never liked how accessories looked because I felt like I didn't have enough hair. Whereas now, I think I can pull off certain looks I couldn't pull off before. I also have more room to style with. Even though I'm usually pretty lazy with experimenting with new styles, I could if I wanted to. Bands are also nice to turn to on three-day and four-day hair, when my hair starts getting defiant. I can just rock a puff or a flower and be done.