4 Year Braidlock/Interlock Anniversary-Yeah It’s Late…real late

Hey guys! Popping in to share my 4 year braidlock anniversary and yeah, it’s real late. My braidlocks turned 4 years old on August 23, 2012. Y’all did get a bit of a preview of what they look like in July. I’ve mentioned it before that my hair growth is on the slower side of normal so there has not been a lot of change or growth since then.

You might be wondering why have in the title  braidlocks/interlocks. Well, I used braids to start the locking process and I interlock to maintain. I want that to be clear to anyone who might be reading and thinking about using this method to DIY  their own set of locs.

As far as any routine changes, not really. I’m interlocking the roots every other month at the start of the New Moon. And there happens to be one today…a Solar eclipse as a matter of fact.  I make sure that I finish before the Full Moon which is two weeks later.
That way I have plenty of time allow for entire day(s) interruptions or if I just don’t feel like being bothered 1 or more days.

It is one of the down sides of having a large number of locs…the maintenance time. But I don’t like the scalpy look and my hair is fine and thin so a small number of locs does not look good on me. That was my pet peeve when my hair was loose. I really did not like the overall look of my twists. And I had 190-200 of them on my head.

I don’t think that I wrote about it but last year I experimented with a 4 and 6 month interval between interlocking sessions. While I absolutely loved the long breaks especially the 6 month break, I did not like the additional amount of time I had to devote to retightening.  Also I was having trouble with my hair at the root staying in and with the correct loc.

I’m still washing weekly using raw African Black Soap and my herbal ACV for my scalp. I apply my herb infused coconut oil to my damp locs. I may or may not have mentioned it before, I completely air dry my locs. Meaning after rinsing, I do not use a towel or anything to get the water out of my locs. I let them dry on their own. I’ve found that my locs feel so much better after they are dry and still feel soft and moisturized the next day. And I’m still spritzing the locs pretty much everyday with water and a couple of drops of my favorite essential oils.

I’m still loving this journey and wish I had done this 8 years ago. Then I’d be  coming to you with my 8th braidlock anniversary instead of my 4th year anniversary! I’ll get there for sure and for those that are just starting out on your journey, you will get there too!

Ok, here’s a few pics I took at the beginning of last month. 

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Internet Update

Internets = srs.biz. Parody motivator.

Internets = srs.biz. Parody motivator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey, what’s been going on?! Just wanted to pop in to update y’all on my internet situation. I spoke about it here.

Sooo, I decided to keep my home internet for personal reasons…for now.  Let me clarify that if I had decided to cut the cord, it would not mean I would be without internet access. Oh, no!  Only under severe circumstances would I go completely without. Man, I hope that does not make me sound like an internet information junkie. 😉

I wanted to test out the internet on my new phone. I have been using it for all my browsing except for,typing long replies in forums, YouTube video watching, and listening to podcasts.  The last two items use mega amounts of data so I use the wi-fi feature on the phone to download videos and podcasts.  I’ll  go into further detail when I do a review on the phone later.

Surprisingly, it’s not that bad to surf the web on. Even though it’s a pretty small screen, there’s a cool feature on it that zooms in and resizes the page to fit the screen according to the print size. Of course, I discovered this by accident. lol

It is quite nice to know that if the need arises, I can cut the cord and still pretty much have internet access at home or wherever.

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Gettin’ Outta Debt pt 9- Paying off “The Death Pledge” aka The Mortgage or any Large Loan

“Death Pledge”.

Sounds scary right? Well have no fear, this is not a scene from “The God-Father,  but that really is what the term “mortgage” means.  However, I like to apply that term to all debt.

Most people back in the day worked until they died and still may not have paid the loan off hence the name “Death Pledge”. With a name like that and from the looks of the guy in the pic above, a mortgage or any large debt is something I did not and do not want to have anymore. And if I had to get it, let it be as small as possible and more importantly get that *&$**  off my back ASAP!!!

In the final post of this series, I will show you using my mortgage figures, just how beneficial it is to you to pay off “The Death Pledge” as soon as you can. This info can be applied to any large loan. Yeah I know,  the financial experts tell you to invest that money in the stock market or whatever is the hottest investment going around and that the market historically returns X %. But what they don’t like to tell you is that paying off your debt is a guaranteed return on your money. You know that old saying “A bird in hand is better than 2 in the bush.”? Yeah, it’s just like that.

Another great thing about getting rid of debt is, the less debt you’re carrying, like the guy in the pic above,  the better off you are in case of an unexpected change in your financial status like a job loss or any other reason that comes between you and your paycheck.

WARNING: This post has boring figures in it and is a tad long but it will save you big money in the future!!!

If you are in the position and have the desire to pay off the mortgage, make sure whatever extra you are sending is clearly marked “For Principal Only” in the memo section if you are paying by check. It’s even better if you write out a separate check from your regular payment. If you are paying online, look for the section marked “Additional Principal” or something like that and input the extra amount you are paying. Also check the balance with the bank after you’ve made each and every extra payment.

Why am I telling you this? If you don’t do this, the bank is not going to automatically assume that you want to pay down your debt at a faster rate and will apply that extra towards future payments. Now you may think well that’s ok, it’s paying down the debt. In a way you are correct. But only slightly correct. Why is that?  The amount of interest especially on a mortgage or any loan for that matter, is on the front end of the loan. This is why you have been making payments for 20 years and still owe just as much as the original price of the house even though it’s 20 years later. What you’ve been paying all that time is mostly interest and very little towards the principal. This is magnified on a 30 or more year loan. Take a look at your amortization table and you’ll see what I mean. If you don’t have one there are calculators with amortization tables on the Internet. I believe at one time the mortgage company was required to give these out but in recent years if you wanted one you have to ask for it. I think too, since they don’t have to do it anymore, some mortgage holders charge for the table. Once you take a look at yours for your loan, you’ll see why they don’t want to provide you with one.

The faster you pay down the principal the less money they make in interest.

On a mortgage, the interest is calculated on the remaining principal balance. The larger the balance, the larger the interest portion of the payment will be. That means less money going toward paying down the principal. Remember, principal is just a short cut word for the original amount borrowed or original sales price. Here’s an example from the amortization table on my retired mortgage.

  • On the $48,175 beginning balance on the loan the 1st payment due on August 1st, of $413.06. $250.91 of that payment is going towards interest, the remaining $162.15 goes toward paying down the principal. Principal balance now is $48,012.85.
  • The interest charged on the next payment is figured on the balance of $48,012.85. Now if you make extra payments and for the sake of ease, that total payment is $1,239.18 ($413.06 x 3) but you don’t specify the extra $826.12 is for “principal only”, what they are going to do is apply that amount to your next two payments after the current payment and tell you your due date is November 1st. What this means is you will have paid $499.29 ($250.07 & $249.22 respectively) in interest and only $326.83 ($162.99 & 163.84) pay down of principal. Principal balance $47,686.02. Notice how little the pay down of the principal decreased but you’ve made a $1,239.18 payment.
  • By specifying “for principal only” application of that $826.12 extra payment, the new principal balance that interest is calculated on is $47,185.73. That does not seem like a lot from $47,686.02, a difference of $500.29. But here’s the kicker. $988.27 is applied to principal pay down and only the $250.91 is paid in interest.
  • By not doing this the bank makes $661.44 off of you on this one transaction. Multiply that over the life of the loan and it becomes apparent how profitable it is for folks to remain in debt and not apply extra payments properly.

I refinanced to a 15 yr mortgage from a 30 year mortgage.  On a 30 year mortgage, the pay down of principal is at a slower rate thereby more interest is paid out. The interest paid will be higher the longer the term is on the loan.

The fantastic thing about this, on a fixed rate 30 yr mortgage, by paying $25-$50 extra each month, the payoff  can be reduced by as much as 5 years. One extra mortgage payment either as 1 payment or divided up throughout the year can reduce the payoff down to 18 years. This saves tremendous amounts of interest.

Please don’t pay for anyone to set you up on a “bi-weekly payment plan” or any of that other mess. There is almost always a fee involved, many times a setup fee plus a monthly fee and you are locked into those terms. Take that fee and apply it to your principal yourself. And if for some reason you don’t have the extra you are still in compliance with the terms of the loan by making your regular payment and you can resume your pay off plan when circumstances allow.

When you get down and feel like quitting, just think about the day when you don’t have to make that payment anymore. I can tell ya, it sure feels good.

I hope this helps.

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My First Basketweave Ponytail!

Hey guys! I’m poppin’ in real quick to show y’all my first basket-weave style. What, two styles in a months time…I know right?

Don’t get it twisted as I can assure you this is not the start to any sort of styling trend. 🙂 Though as my locs are getting longer, I’ll be more apt to try some of the simple styles that are just too time consuming to do when one’s locs are shorter and you need a million and one pins to keep everything in place, which I hate. 

I got a braid in the front that’s off to the side and secured with a bobby pin and the loose locs at the end of the basket-weave secured with a ouchless band.



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My First Braidout Updo

Hey everyone! I hope that this finds you all well.

I wanted to do a braidout on my locs the next morning but I had to go out. I knew I was going to be gone for a while and wanted the braids to stay in for more than 12 hours. The braids would have been in for 24 hours or more if I had thought to put them in earlier before going out that morning. Since there really was no rhyme, reason or method to the braiding, it did not look good enough for me to step out of the house like that.




See what I mean? Call me vain but this was not cuttin’ it. 😉 Now I probably had about 12-13 braids in. I spritzed each hunk with a bit of water before braiding, securing the ends with ouchless bands. Then I just pinned them however I thought looked good. Here’s the finished product.


Not to shabby and I could certainly live with that better than before though for some reason the expression on my face does not reflect it.  Well, I did just come from seeing my aunt for the last time as all this was in preparation for her funeral the next day.

Here’s the resulting braidout the next morning. I was not able to get a pic right after I took the braids down so this is 15 hours or so later. It was hot & humid all day with a bit of rain so of course the curls dropped some and with the small number of braids, the curls were a little loose from the start.



I really loved the result. I’m so glad that my locs are much longer than the last time I did a braidout because this time it only took about 20 minutes to do the braids. If my locs had been spritzed prior, it probably would have taken even less time. The only thing I may do different the next time is add one or two more braids on the left side so that the updo will be a bit more balanced and the curls a bit tighter.




Trying Something New

Hey guys! I know it’s been awhile since my last post. Been a little busy trying to be me. lol

I’m sittin’ at the library trying out a new internet situation. What do I mean by that…I know that’s what y’all are sayin’ ?! Well, I’m seriously thinking about getting rid of my internet service and using the public library free wi-fi hotspot instead. Right now I’m typing this post on my Blackberry Playbook tablet while downloading YouTube videos to my phone. It’s a bit different typing on a tablet but not too bad. I’m using the WordPress app for the Playbook. Besides, I don’t call what I do typing by any stretch. It’s more like a hunt-n-peck with a little bit of speed…not accuracy. lol I’ve got to test whether I can upload videos to my YouTube channel but that’ll be another day.

I’m not one to complain and it’s smokin’ hot ouside but I’m gonna call somebody because it’s freezing in here at the libray. Last seek when I came in here I could only stay for about an hour because my teeth were chattering. Today, I have on a sweat jacket and I’m just as cold as I was last week. And I’m not the only one here dressed like it’s early winter.I know that public places probably need some air conditioning but damn, it’s almost August and folks got jackets on…in the South!!! Granted commercial accounts pay a lower rate for electricity than you and I, but to me this is such a waste of money and doubly so with local governments budgets strained to the max.

Oh I also have recently (in the last 3 months) cut the cord by getting rid of my land-line phone. I decided to go with a prepaid phone from Straight Talk. I guess that means I’ll be doing a couple of reviews in the future.


Happy 2nd Annual Loc Appreciation Day!!!


Just dropping in real quick to note that today is  the 2nd annual Loc Appreciation Day. Here’s hoping that all of us who wear locs and those that appreciate locs are having a wonderful day.

It’s hot so here are a couple of pics of what’s going to be my summer style. My first real ponytail!! Whohoo!!

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Gettin’ Outta Debt pt 8- My Turbocharged Debt Snowball

Hi everyone! I’m back  after a bit of a hiatus to re-post an old post from my “How I Got Out of Debt” series from 2009 and to celebrate (albeit 3 weeks late) 6 years of Debt Freedom. YAY!!!  I still sometimes can’t believe it.

Wipe our Debt

Wipe our Debt (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

In the last post, I showed how to get out of debt years faster, without having to get a second job but using the  same money that you are already paying out. In this post I will show you how I was able to save even more money by turbocharging my debt repayment plan.

In a lot of ways I’m a very patient person, but in this case the Aries archetypal (which I have a fair amount of in my chart) impatience came out in full force.  Now I can’t show the actual payment amount since that varied as I mentioned before, because my paycheck was not the same each time. So, what I will be showing is the balance, the payoff date, and the savings vs following the status quo payment plan. Then at the end, I’ll show the savings from my turbocharged debt snowball vs the debt snowball I showed in part 7. Remember, the start date was July 2001 and I was in the process of building the emergency fund while starting the debt snowball. My payoff order shown is how the debts are listed in part 7 and the numbers are going to be slightly off because of the payoff dates but not by much.

I’m gonna warn you now that there will be a lot of repeating of certain phrases and it’s a long post.  But that’s how we learn right? By repetition.  🙂

Let’s begin.

I started with Visa:

  • Balance-$2,371.53 @ 12% APR. Paid this debt off on 1/23/02, total amount paid: $2,461.29.  If you recall from the previous post, under the status quo payment plan the financial industry was hoping that I would follow because the monthly payment is soooo low, I would have paid a total of $3,250. By turbo-debt snowballing  I did not have to pay them $788.71. Now I consider myself a generous person, but not that generous, especially to some banker who’s making more than what I’m making.  $789 dollars would have paid my homeowners insurance for this year (2012).

Next in line was Household Finance:

  • Balance-$1,000 @ 9.9% APR. Paid off this debt on 3/15/02, with the total amount paid of : $1,035.38. Under the status quo plan I would have paid: $1,333.  By turbo charging my debt snowball, I did not have to pay them $297.62.  That’s a bit more than what I paid for my Blackberry Playbook Tablet and a case for it which I’ll be doing a review on later.

The next debt I mowed down was the Car Loan:

  • Balance-$3,571.39 @ 7.9% APR.  Paid off this debt on 8/1/02, with the total amount paid of: $3,726.36.  Under the status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $3,920. By doing this I did not have to shell out an extra $193.64.  That’s almost all my utilities for a month at this time.

Next and done with glee, Capital One and definitely taken out of my wallet:

  • Balance-$984.43 @ 9.9% APR. Paid off this debt on 11/8/02, with the total amount paid of: $1,055.92. Under the status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $1,292. By turbo-debt snowballing I did not have to pay them $236.08.  That’s another month’s utilities or groceries etc.

Next, with the excitement level increasing, Bank of America:

  • Balance-$4,588 @ 9.52% APR.  Paid off this debt on 4/11/03, with the total amount paid of :$5,007.69.  Under the status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $5,253.  By turbo-debt snowballing I did not have to pay them $ 245. Don’t know about y’all but I can sure think of plenty of other things to do with $245 than to give it to some bank unless it’s a deposit into my savings account. 😉

Next on the chopping block, the Perkins Loan:

  • Balance-$2,027.15 @ 5% APR. Paid off this debt on 5/21/03 with the total amount paid of: $2,128.95. Under the status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $2,320. By turbo-debt snowballing I did not have to pay them $191.05.  Starting to add up isn’t it?

Next, Direct Student Loans and where it started to become fun:

  • Balance-$5,786.44 @ 4.22 % APR. Paid off this sucker on 8/29/03 with the total amount paid of: $6,064.23. Under the status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $7,352.80. By turbo-debt snowballing, I did not have to pay them $1,288.57. That’s $1,288.57 that I did not have to earn to put in someone else’s pocket!

Last but not least the mortgage, where I was laughing like Renfro with each payment:

  • Balance-$48,175 @ 6.25% APR. Paid off this monstrosity on 6/2/06 with the total amount  paid of $54,436.34.  Under the loan shark, oops I mean status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $74,763.86.  By really turbo-debt snowballing this one, I did not have to pay them $20,327.52.   This is just a bit below what my yearly take home pay was during my journey to debt freedom.

My total savings or what I like to refer to as money I did not have to come up with by following the loan shark’s (oops I did it again) status quo financial industry plan, $23,568.19!!  Now that ain’t chump change and if it is to you, you can drop me a line so I can send you my PayPal info for a gift in that amount. I promise you I’ll put it to good use. 🙂

Recall from part 7  by utilizing just the normal debt snowball, the savings was $16,235 which is not chump change either.  However by focusing and redirecting a huge portion of any extra funds I had to juice up the debt snowball, I saved another $7,333. Nothing to sneeze at there either. Not to mention the fact that you have to earn way more that $7,333  for the privilege of paying that. 

Well by now, I hope that I have clearly laid out the case for you see just how costly it is to you and how insanely profitable for the finance industry to remain in debt. That’s why I kept repeating “By debt snowballing, I did not have to pay…”  Sorry, but you can never remain above water by continually paying out interest. Where we tend to fail is that we are more concerned about what the payment per month is, instead of focusing on how much in total it is going to cost.  Another crucial point we forget is the fact that you are going to have to come up with that payment(S) each and every month for a very long time. Also the hours you have to work to make the money to just make the payments. I can say this because that was me before I got the message from that cosmic 2 by 4  upside my head for the umpteenth time.

Unless you are paying cash or the bill off in full at the end of the statement period, the total price paid is always going to more than the original price using credit. That’s compound interest working against you as loans today are not simple interest loans anymore. What that basically means to you is that they are getting their interest money upfront. That’s why you will make hundreds and in the case of a mortgage or large student loans (thousands) of dollars in payments but your payoff balance is damn near the same as when you first took out the loan. If you have to borrow, and only if you have to, the key is to pay that crap off as fast as you can. The faster you do it, the less it costs you and the more money you have for other things later. Better yet, you can decide on how your money is gonna work instead of your bills deciding what you work you have to do.

I was in already in debt when I bought my home in 2000 so it took me 6 long years with many life happens things happening that cost big dollars and set me back. You know, the 1 step forward, 5 steps back life happens kind of stuff. Finally on June 2, 2006, I was debt free. If your debts are larger and your income is not that big, it is naturally gonna take longer. Remember what I said at the beginning of the this series, that getting out of debt is a lot like locking your hair, going natural or even dieting. It take loads of hard work, patience, determination and thick skin. You gotta get to the point where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of paying out all this money for stuff you don’t even remember what you spent it on and many times have nothing to show for it. However the result is so, so worth it. And it never goes out of style.

We all want nice stuff and to look good but when life happens in your household, those designers, car makers, fill in the blank aren’t going to give a rats behind about your situation. And please stop worrying about what BayBay & ’em are going to say or think. I’ve learned that folks are gonna talk about you no matter what you do. These same folks ain’t gonna have a dime to help you out when you really need it and they are still gonna talk about you. Most of the time they are worse off than you and want to keep you in that crab barrel along with them because you woke up to the fact that we’ve been played and have been for a very long time. On some level they realize it too, hence the put down remarks.

So there you have it. The debt snowball, get the heck out of debt, don’t have to pay nobody any money to do and a real person who’s done it, who’s showed ya how to do it, plan. I know everyone’s circumstances are different but if you have the income, it can be done and it may take years as I’ve shown.

Stay tuned for part 9 of this series where I will talk about the death pledge aka “The Mortgage”.

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How I Use (Coconut) Oil on My Locs

Hey guys! I hope this post finds everyone well.

Violeta over at Oceangrins did an update post on her “itchy” situation. 😉 There, a question was asked by Naturalocs on the use of coconut oil and water on locs. She said that coconut oil was softening her skin but not her locs and she asked was there a certain way to use it. I thought that this might help others so I decided to answer here in a post.

I’ll start by saying I have fine/thin hair. Now I’ve been using coconut oil on my then loose natural hair for a little bit before locking. I liked it but it was not softening my hair in the way I would have liked. I started locking about year after this point  so I stopped using coconut oil and all oils for that matter until my locs were further along into the locking process. A year or so later I decided to revisit coconut oil on my locs.

Coconut Oil squircle

Coconut Oil squircle (Photo credit: Ennor)

To be honest, I’m not sure what made me start applying coconut oil to wet hair.  I liked it but still not exactly what I was looking for. When I was using it on my loose hair, I applied it onto dry hair. That worked OK but that was it…just OK.

Then after I locked, either by design or by accident (probably the latter) I applied it on my damp locs. I know this might sound crazy but what I mean by damp hair is …just washed hair. I wait until my locs have stopped dripping water but before they are slightly damp. Kinda like when you wash jeans and take them out of the washer right after it’s stopped. They are not dripping but they are wetter than a lightweight t-shirt would be that was washed in the same load. I don’t towel dry my locs or dry with anything. Applying a nice amount, I go through my locs, making sure I get the top and bottom of the locs.   That’s the only time I apply coconut oil until wash day rolls around a week later. During the week, if my locs are feeling a bit dry, I’ll spritz with water only. This softens my locs right back up.

This is I was looking for! Now, why have I gone thru all that description? Because I did not get quite the same result when I started with dry locs dampened by spritzing with water. Looking at the post noted below, I see why I’ve changed how I was using coconut oil on my locs and remember this routine was before I came up with my herbal coconut oil concoction.  I’ll do a post later sharing my concoction.

So try using coconut oil on your hair/locs on wash day, and don’t wait until your hair is completely dry. If that does not work, it might be that you hair does not like coconut oil.  My hair does not like olive oil.

Hope that helps. 🙂

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