Tell me about yourself!

My name is Keli Smith and I’m a married
mommy of three.  Born and raised in
the northern suburbs of Chicago, I am a professional model, co-owner of an
online boutique, and a newbie beauty blogger.
Were you a slow transitioner or a Big
Chopper & why? What was your journey like?

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Well… My master plan was to slowly
transition, but at about 4 months in, hubby wasn’t feeling the whole “puffy
roots with sleek ends” look.  He
convinced me to speed the process along and “just cut it already”.  Since he’s a barber, he did my big chop
for me! 
Had you always embraced your texture?
Absolutely not!  I’ve had a relaxer since I was about 8 and my hair is very
thick and course.  I grew up with
my mom telling me that my hair felt like hay, so I was self-conscious about my
new growth and relaxed it with a quickness every 4 weeks.  My oldest sister went natural a couple
years before me, and when she tried talking me into it, I got upset because I
was afraid my curls wouldn’t be as beautiful as hers due to the coarseness of
my own hair.  It took seeing others
with hair like mine, rocking their curls, for me to believe that my curls could
be beautiful too.
How did family and friends react to your
decision to go natural? What was your response to them? 
Thankfully, my friends and family were
accepting of my decision to go natural. 
There were jokes thrown here and there, and hubby called me “Ice Cube”
for a while because of my TWA, but everyone seemed to be more inquisitive than
they were judgmental.  Day by day,
each woman in my family is deciding to transition to natural!
Describe your hair (fine or
coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
I have a LOT of hair… thick, coarse
hair!  The curl pattern from the
nape of my neck to my crown is tight spirals about the diameter of a McDonald’s
straw.  The front of my head is
full of looser curls, almost waves.
What’s your current hair routine?
How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
I wash and deep condition every week and
stretch my hair with the banding technique until 95% dry.  I moisturize then set in 7 chunky flat
twists allow to dry overnight.  In
the AM I untwist, fluff, and GO!
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you
get hairstyle inspiration?
My favorite hairstyles are the flat
twistout, and a high ponytail which my husband appropriately calls “sideshow”,
from Sideshow Bob of the Simpsons. 
Who is your curl crush?
Are you kidding?  There are waaaay too many beautiful curlies out there for me
to pick just one!
How do you maintain your hair at
night?
My nighttime maintenance depends on the
style I’m wearing/plan to wear the next day.  For the most part, my hair is out in a flat twistout, so I
moisturize and re-twist every other night as needed.  I wear my satin bonnet at night, and also sleep on a satin
pillowcase just in case I “forget” to put on my bonnet.  I have a tendency to be lazy at night,
but 3 kids will do that to you.
How do you maintain healthy length?
See, what had happened was… My hair goals
have changed from achieving and maintaining length, to simply enjoying my
healthy hair.  When I was focused
on growth, I rocked a lot of protective styles with my fave being small twists
pinned in an updo.  I achieved BSL
hair, but wasn’t enjoying it because I always kept it “put away” for fear of
breakage. 
Maintaining long natural hair is no walk in
the park, but why put so much time and effort into something if you can’t enjoy
it?  I woke up one day and decided
to start having fun with my hair like I did when I was a new natural.  I recently cut about 10 inches off just
for kicks and giggles and I love it! 
Now, enjoying my hair does not mean that I’m reckless with the care I
provide it, but it does mean that I wear it out more, and I don’t get so hung
up on strictly adhering to my routine. 
I go with the flow and give my hair what it needs, when it needs it.
What’s the best thing about being curly?
So cliché, but I love the versatility!  I can do any and everything that I want
to my hair.  Straighten it,
wash-n-go it (although we probably won’t be trying that again), curl it, cut it
short, grow it long, bun it, twist it up, braid it, pin it… the possibilities
are endless!
Where can folks find you on the web?
You can find
me on Twitter and Instagram @keliise, my blog Mommy’s Makeup Bag at www.mommysmakeupbag.com, and my e-boutique Sugar & Spikes at www.sugarandspikesboutique.com