tips for the first time tennis player

tips for the first time tennis player

bump dayIt’s Wednesday! Around here, we call it “bump day.” Each and every Wednesday we’ll post a tip, trick, gadget, or something fun and random to get you through the rest of the week. 

By now it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when I say how much I love tennis. I’ve recommended it as a great workout, I shared my experience in my first tournament, and I even suggested it as a must-try outdoor activity. Are you getting the hint that I think you should try it? Lol!

I had never picked up a racquet until two years ago, and now I can’t put it down! Before that, I watched tennis on TV, and I understood the basic rules of the game, but it’s different when you’re actually on the court. 

I was going to make today’s post about tennis drills that you can try, but then it dawned on me: what if some of you don’t even know where to start, and just want to try a basic match with your friend? So I decided to save the drills for another day. Today, I’m going to set you up with all of the information you need to make your first experience on the tennis court a fun one!

tennis tips

book a court

First things first, make you sure you book a court time. Many parks offer free tennis courts so you may want to wander over and call dibs if one is available. If that’s not an option for you, call your local tennis/racquet club and book a court in advance. And don’t forget to bring your own tennis balls! Most clubs will not provide them for you.

dress appropriately

If you’re going to play at a club, ask what clothing requirements they have. There are still some clubs out there that require you to wear all white (yawn). Also, grab a pair of decent shoes because you will be running and you don’t want to trip or hurt yourself. Please, please, please don’t play in flip-flops. I’ve seen this done and it’s not pretty!

Now that you’ve found a court, and you’re dressed appropriately, you need to know the basic rules of play.

mind the lines

There are a few sets of lines that you need to become familiar with. Here is a basic layout of the court:

sidelines: There are two sets of lines marking the outside edges of the court. The inside lines are called singles sidelines, and are used when two people are playing against each other (called “singles play”). The outside lines are called the doubles sidelines, and are used when a total of four people are playing (two per team, called “doubles play”). Any ball that lands outside of the appropriate line, is called out.

service line and service boxes: When a player serves, the ball must land on the other side of the net, in the opposite service box. The service boxes are outlined by the service line, the centre line, the net, and the sidelines.

baseline: This is where you will stand to serve, receive serves, and generally while playing, although you can run up towards the net at anytime during play. If a ball lands past this line, it is called out. 

scoring

Tennis has a unique scoring system. Basically a player wins by 4 points, but must win by 2. Instead of counting up the points from 1 to 4, points are counted as follows: love, 15, 30, 40, win. If players are tied, it’s referred to as “15 all”, or “30 all”. If players are tied at 40 it’s called “deuce”. If the score is at deuce, the next player to win a point is said to have the “advantage,” and must win the next point to win the game. If a player has the advantage, but loses the next point, it goes back to deuce. The next person to score a point is said to have the advantage, and so on, until someones wins by 2.

tennis scoring

A series of games make up a set, and a series of sets make up a match. If you’ve ever wondered where the term “game, set, match” comes from, now you know! In order to avoid sounding like a complete rookie, always refer to your play as a tennis match vs. a tennis game.

other basic rules

  • If a ball lands outside of the lines, it is considered to be out. However, if any part of the ball touches the line, it’s considered to be in. When in doubt, be a good sport and call it in.
  • Hitting the ball before it bounces is called a “volley”. Volleys are usually easiest to hit when you’re closer to the net, such as near the service line or even slightly closer.
  • You cannot touch the net. Doing so forfeits the point to the other player.
  • If it’s your turn to serve, and the ball does not land in the correct service box, it’s called a fault. If you fault two times in a row, your opponent gets a point. If the ball lands in the correct service box, but it touches any part of the net on the way over, it’s called  a “let” and you’re able to serve again without penalty. I haven’t really explained serves here because they’re definitely the hardest part of the game, and not really necessary when you’re just beginning.  Simply hit the ball over the net to get the game started.

That’s all you really need to know for your first tennis match! However, if you would like to learn more of the basics, including court conduct, additional scoring details, and how to serve properly, check out this great guide for beginners from the United States Tennis Association.

Tennis anyone?

Will you be trying tennis this summer?

ree

 

 

 


scrapbook: stand up paddle boarding

scrapbook: stand up paddle boarding

If you’ve never tried stand up paddle boarding (SUP), I highly recommend it. After living in Barbados for a few years, last week Ree and I finally made it out with two of our girlfriends to give SUP a go. It’s an absolute must-try summer activity. We had so much fun and are incredibly grateful to Paddle Barbados for the amazing day! No matter what beach you visit this summer, you must get out there and SUP.

Stand up paddle boarding

If you’re planning to use a company to arrange SUP, you’ll get a brief introduction and instruction before you head out on the water. However, if you’re lucky enough to have your own board and just want to give it a try, here’s a great guide for beginners.

Our fabulous instructor!

Our fabulous instructor!

Although the weather started off a bit iffy (we had to wait twenty minutes for the down pour to pass over), it turned out to be a beautiful day. It was a little overcast at times, but that was perfect because it meant cooler temperatures and no sun burn! 

stand up paddle boarding

Here we are!stand up paddle boarding

stand up paddle boarding

stand up paddle boarding

And don’t let it fool you, SUP can be quite the workout! Here we are racing=)

stand up paddle boarding

After that race and to celebrate one of our girlfriend’s birthdays, we all shared a bottle of Champagne! A fabulous way to end the day!

stand up paddle boarding

So grab your friends and make a day of it. You won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried stand up paddle boarding before? What have you tried for the first time this summer?

bre

 


barbados rum punch

barbados rum punch

It’s Wednesday! Around here, we call it “bump day.” Each and every Wednesday we’ll post a tip, trick, gadget, or something fun and random to get you through the rest of the week. 

How’s your summer going? Is it alright? I hope your answer is a resounding “YES!”  Since you’ve been experiencing the weather that Bre and I are lucky enough to enjoy year-round, I thought it would be fun to share with you a drink that we also enjoy year-round.

Our tiny island doesn’t produce much, thanks to a soil that’s made of limestone and coral. But one thing we do grow a lot of is sugar cane. It’s a huge part of the Bajan culture and steeped in tradition. Every year there’s even a celebration, called Crop Over, which celebrates the traditional end of harvesting season. Any reason for a party!

Crop Over celebration in Barbados

Crop Over celebrations in Barbados

Sugar cane can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. I’ve had it raw, where you chew on the cane to release the sweet cane juice. In fact, there are guys that actually sell the raw cane on the side of the roads during harvesting season! Or, you can find fresh cane sugar and molasses in the local stores. But here on the island, the most popular way to enjoy it is rum.

Thanks to the abundance of sugar cane, rum is everywhere. It’s super cheap (even the good stuff!) and it flows freely. There are even songs about it! One of the earliest songs about rum is the little diddy about making rum punch. It goes something like this:

Recipe

Isn’t that a handy way of remembering a cocktail recipe? I whip up this libation anytime I have out of town guests, and they always love it. If you’re ever in Barbados, the first thing you need to try is a rum punch. And if you can’t make it to our island anytime soon, here’s the recipe so you can enjoy our national drink in your own backyard.

Barbados rum punch

barbados rum punch
Serves 1
A classic rum punch recipe from the island of Barbados
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice
  2. 2 ounces of simple syrup
  3. 3 ounces of rum
  4. 4 ounces of water or passionfruit juice
  5. 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  6. garnish with freshly grated nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Fill a glass with ice.
  2. Add the lime juice, simple syrup, rum, and water or passionfruit juice to the glass.
  3. Add a few dashes of Angostura Bitters and stir.
  4. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
  5. Relax and enjoy a taste of the Caribbean!
Notes
  1. White or dark rum will work with this recipe. For a truly Bajan experience, use a rum from Barbados such as Mount Gay.
  2. You can find Angostura Bitters at any liquor store or grocery store.
bump & run http://bumpandrunchat.com/

The great thing about this recipe is that it easily doubles or quadruples so you can make up a pitcher to enjoy with your guests. 

Cheers!

Rum Punch_3

Have you ever been to Barbados?

What’s your favorite Caribbean cocktail?

ree

 


five outdoor activities you should try this summer

five outdoor activities you should try this summer

bump dayIt’s Wednesday! Around here, we call it “bump day.” Each and every Wednesday we’ll post a tip, trick, gadget, or something fun and random to get you through the rest of the week.  

Can you believe it’s already July? Where is the time going? Winter seems to last forever and summer seems to fly by. Crazy! While it may seem like it’s whizzing by, there are still two months of summer left, which is plenty of time to get out there and enjoy the season. And what better way to remember this summer than by trying out something new? I challenge you to make this a summer you’ll never forget by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone!

Living in the Caribbean is like having summer 365 days of the year, but there are certain activities that I miss from my days of living in North America. Camping immediately comes to mind, as does riding my bike on trails, and canoeing on a still-water lake. None of these are really viable in Barbados, but living on an island and being surrounded by gorgeous turqoise water does offer up some new options that I would never have tried in the past.

So how do you choose what to try? With so many amazing options out there, it can be a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry, I’m here to help! I’ve put together a little list of outdoor activities that you should try before the sun sets on the summer of 2014. All you have to do is pick one (or two, or three,) and have fun!

SUP (stand up paddle boarding)

A cross between surfing and kayaking, this sport has become extremely popular over the past few years. It offers up a great workout to your upper body and abs, and you don’t need to buy any new equipment! Most introductory classes will provide the board and paddle as part of the lesson. Just put on your bathing suit, slather on that sunscreen, and get paddling! For some added motivation, check out this list of the world’s best SUP spots

Bre and I actually have this at the top of our to-do list this summer, so stay tuned and you’ll likely see a recap of our own adventures in SUP!

tip: If you’re really adventurous, combine SUP with yoga. Many of the places that offer SUP, will provide this option as well. And don’t worry, they usually anchor the board so you don’t float away while your focusing on your pose. I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone that’s new to yoga. However, if you’re already a yogi, this is a fantastic way to combine your love of yoga with the serenity of the water.

kayaking

I went kayaking in Alaska and it was amazing!

I went kayaking in Alaska and it was amazing!

If paddling on a board isn’t your thing, why not try it in a kayak? You still get the benefits of a great upper body workout in a slightly more stable vessel. I’ve kayaked a few times and it’s pretty easy to get the hang of. You can choose to go it alone, but why not grab a friend and get a boat for two? My husband and I did this while visiting Alaska one summer and it was the highlight of our trip! It’s adventurous, peaceful, and it provides you with an opportunity to spot wildlife that you would never see while standing on shore.

tip: Like stand-up paddle boarding, you don’t need to buy any new equipment. Check your local listings for kayak/canoe outfitters that offer up day rentals. Most will even include life jackets as part of the rental price (a MUST for any boater,) and day trip packages with, or without, a guide.

snorkeling 

I hate to admit it, but I avoided snorkeling for years. Every time we went on a vacation where it was offered, I secretly wished I had the courage to try it out. It was very intimidating to me. I’m not a strong swimmer, and the idea of breathing through a tube didn’t seem like that much fun. Once I moved to the Caribbean, it seemed silly to let my fear of the unknown keep me from experiencing the beauty that the Caribbean Sea has to offer. So I bought a snorkel set and tried it out. And it was awesome!

It can take a bit of getting used to, so you may want try it in a pool first until you’re comfortable with it. The cool thing about snorkeling is that you don’t need a boat. Most of the times I’ve gone into the water from shore. If you don’t live in an area where you can snorkel, go ahead and add this activity to your overall bucket list. The next time you’re on a holiday where it’s available, try it out, and check it off your list! In fact, plan your next holiday around it! Go here to check out the world’s best places to snorkel.

tip: If you have a small head/face, look for a snorkel set designed for women. The face masks are more narrow and will fit better. You don’t want any gaps between the mask and your face. Also, ensure your hair is slicked back off your face before putting your mask on. This will also ensure a tighter seal.

tennis

I'm lucky enough to play here every week!

I’m lucky enough to play here every week!

It’s no secret that I love tennis. It has amazing health benefits and it’s so much fun! While you can play it all year round by hitting up an indoor facility, it’s way nicer to play outside. Don’t worry if you’ve never played before, or if you think you’re not coordinated enough. I am seriously one of the least coordinated people I know, and even I can manage to hit the ball. Borrow a racquet, buy a few tennis balls, and go hit the court!

tip: If you have a toddler or small child, bring them along and ask them to pick up the balls around the court when you’re taking a break or done playing. It’s amazing how much the little ones love being the ball boy/girl. 

beach volleyball

an action shot of my husband enjoying his favorite sport!

An action shot of my husband enjoying his favorite sport!

A summer time classic! My husband loves to play volleyball, and he never misses a chance to combine his favorite sport with a day at the beach. And with so many beaches providing nets these days, it’s never been easier to grab a group of friends and make a day of it. Fill up those coolers, grab a volleyball, and go! No special shoes or clothing required. Volleyballs are quite inexpensive and available everywhere. I’ve even seen them for sale at convenience stores. As an added bonus, running in the sand provides a great workout for your legs. Friends+sun+beach+workout = awesome!

tip: Beach volleyball is typically played with 2 players per team, but you can easily play with 6 per team, like indoor volleyball, if you have a larger group.

If I haven’t yet convinced you to try one of these activities, check out Designer Whey’s Ambassador Search Contest. Part of the prize includes a volleyball session with Kerri Walsh Jennings (the queen of beach volleyball!) and other adventures with their current ambassadors. When you’re on their page be sure to click on the ambassadors section. I guarantee they’ll inspire you to try one, if not all, of the activities listed above!

Get out there and enjoy summer folks! Before you know it, the leaves will be falling and you’ll be ordering a pumpkin spiced latte! 

Would you try one of these activities?

Do you have any other summer sports to suggest? We’d love to hear about your list!

ree


green tea health benefits + matcha green tea powder review

green tea health benefits + matcha green tea powder review

This post was created in collaboration with Kiss Me Organics. All opinions are my own.

Please note that we are not dietitians or nutritionists. The posts we create are based on our own personal experiences and, therefore, should not be taken as medical advice. Please talk with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. 

I’m pretty consistent when it comes to my morning time routine. Workout, clean up, school run, breakfast and vitamins…then start the day. The only thing that changes typically is what I’m eating for breakfast, which depends on how much time and/or energy I have in the morning. However, two months ago I turned the big 3-5 and since then I’ve been researching the vitamins I take and wondering what else I should be focusing on now that I’m officially in my mid-thirties. Anti-aging supplements, of course, came immediately to mind, but so too did the importance of adding more antioxidants to my diet. 

“Antioxidants are the nutritional equivalent of man’s best friend – they are loyal protectors and nurturers of our cells, repelling disease, and promoting good health. They are believed to protect cells from free radicals and harmful oxygen molecules thought to damage cells that result in cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. And they may be the underlying reason why we age” (source).

Although I eat blueberries several times throughout the week, it just didn’t seem like enough. So when Kiss Me Organics, the makers of Organic Matcha, approached me to try out their green tea powder, I jumped at the opportunity!

Organic Matcha

I knew green tea was loaded with antioxidants and had tons of health benefits, but before I even received the green tea powder in the mail, I quickly scoured the Internet for a more specific breakdown of its potential benefits. Here’s what I found. Green tea (source):

  1. Contains various bioactive compounds that can improve health,
  2. Has compounds that improve brain function and make you smarter,
  3. Increases fat burning and improves physical performance, 
  4. May lower your risk of various types of cancer,
  5. May protect your brain in old age, lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,
  6. Can kill bacteria, which improves dental health and lowers your risk of infection,
  7. May lower your risk of type II diabetes,
  8. May reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease,
  9. Can help you lose weight and lower your risk of becoming obese,
  10. May help you live longer!

Wow! I knew green tea was great, but this is phenomenal!

so why organic matcha?

Although I do love green tea, drinking it everyday is difficult for me. It’s not quite as delicious or comforting as my morning cup of coffee. I find it even harder to drink green tea, or any dark, rich flavored tea for that matter, in the summer. Organic Matcha gives me all the benefits of green tea, but in a powder form. Which means (just like protein powders), I can add it to almost anything – smoothies, lattes, baking, even dinner recipes! 

Organic Matcha

a few fun facts

Unlike most green teas, Matcha is a fine-ground, powdered, high quality green tea that actually contains the entire leaf. 

Green tea’s dominant antioxidant is EGCG, and this is what’s linked with so many health perks. Interestingly, for the brewable teas, EGCG quantities range from 25 mg per serving to 86 mg per serving depending on the brand of tea (source). Matcha’s EGCG is at least three times greater than this amount (source).

Did you know that, by weight, matcha contains several dozen times more antioxidants than blueberrieswolfberriespomegranatesorange juicespinach, or even dark chocolate (source)?

More specifically, Organic Matcha provides the following benefits: 

Benefits of Green Tea

I’m really happy that Organic Matcha gives me the flexibility to include it in my diet the way I want. In the past month since I’ve started using Organic Matcha, I’ve mostly been putting into my morning smoothie. It’s so easy! I’m thrilled to know I’ve added such amazing health and nutritional benefits to my regime without having to do very much at all.

bonuses

For a limited time, Kiss Me Organics is offering a BUY ONE GET ONE 50% OFF on Amazon! So hurry before the sale ends!

They’ve also put together a fantastic recipe guide ebook that they email to you after purchase. It has fifty plus simple recipes that makes incorporating this supplement into yours and your family’s lives that much easier. Since I’m such a morning person, here are a couple of my morning favorites.

powerhouse breakfast smoothie
Serves 2
The perfect smoothie to get your day started off right!
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 mango
  2. 1 banana
  3. 1 cup of frozen broccoli
  4. 1/2 cup of strawberries
  5. 1/2 cup of pineapple juice
  6. 2 teaspoons of Organic Matcha
  7. 1 cup of ice
  8. 1/2 to 1 cup of cold water
Instructions
  1. Place 1/2 cup of the water and all other ingredients into a blender.
  2. Blend for about 30 seconds, adding more water if desired.
  3. Pour into two glasses, share (or keep them both for yourself), and enjoy!
Adapted from Kiss Me Organics
Adapted from Kiss Me Organics
bump & run http://bumpandrunchat.com/

 

organic green tea latte
A smooth and creamy organic green tea latte perfect for every morning!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon of Organic Matcha green tea powder
  2. 1/3 cup of hot water, not boiling
  3. 2 teaspoons of agave nectar or organic honey
  4. 8 ounces of warmed almond milk, heated but not boiling
Instructions
  1. Whisk together powder and water until the powder has dissolved completely.
  2. Add sweetener and stir together well.
  3. Add the milk and stir together well.
  4. For a frothier drink, pulse in a blender or use a frothing wand.
Notes
  1. For an iced latte: prepare recipe to step 3, then add 1/2 cup of ice and mix well in a blender. Pour over ice.
Adapted from Kiss Me Organics
Adapted from Kiss Me Organics
bump & run http://bumpandrunchat.com/
 bre

 

 

This post was created in collaboration with Kiss Me Organics. All opinions are my own.

Please note that we are not dietitians or nutritionists. The posts we create are based on our own personal experiences, and, therefore, should not be taken as medical advice. Please talk with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. 


looking for a great workout? give tennis a try!

looking for a great workout? give tennis a try!

bump day

It’s Wednesday! Around here, we call it “bump day.” Each and every Wednesday we’ll post a tip, trick, gadget, or something fun and random to get you through the rest of the week. 

Summer is one of the best times of the year. Wouldn’t you agree? Ok, it’s not as awesome as Fall, but it’s a close second. It’s definitely one of my favourite times of the year, but not for the reasons you would think.

While most people are recovering from winter and heading outside for fresh air and sunshine, I’m plopped in front of the TV. Summer in the Caribbean is incredibly humid and often rainy (cue hurricanes), and sometimes all you can do is sit in front of the fan and try not to move. Luckily for me, summer is a great time of the year for sports! This year is extra special with the World Cup, but each year summer brings some of the finest sports programming. Golf has the US and British Open. The Tour de France starts in July, and while I’m not too into cycling, I love watching the beautiful European countryside go by. And of course, there’s Wimbeldon, which has now entered its second week.

If you follow us on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll know that I love tennis. I even recapped my experience about my first tennis tournament a few months ago. But even before I played and became familiar with the intricacies of the sport (forehand grips, creating topspin, etc.,), I thoroughly enjoyed watching the major matches. It’s not just a game played by ladies who lunch at country clubs. The game has changed over the years and today it’s a sport comprised of elite athletes. Have you ever watched women’s tennis? Women like Serena Williams, Maria Kirilenko, and Samantha Stosur aren’t just tennis players. They are strong, muscular, powerful athletes!

(source)

(l to r Serena Williams, Maria Kirilenko, and Samantha Stosur) (source)

While these ladies may spend a ton of time in the gym to increase their hitting power and explosiveness off the baseline, playing tennis has incredible health benefits that you can benefit from as well, even if you’ve never played before! The very basics of the game, like running to the ball and hitting it back over the net to your opponent, provide an amazing interval cardio workout. And it doesn’t even matter if you can’t serve, or the ball goes wide. Who cares? Your body doesn’t know the difference! 

I play 3 hours of tennis every week and that’s really the only cardio I do. I put way more effort into running down a ball than I ever would on a treadmill. And I absolutely love it. There isn’t a single cardio machine at the gym that I could love as much as I love tennis. Although I am Canadian and I tend to apologize to my opponent a lot, it brings out my competitive side, which we all need from time to time. Hmmm…maybe I’m not so competitive after all! ;)

And it’s not just the cardio that you can benefit from. The United States Tennis Association (USTA), has 34 reasons why you should consider playing tennis regularly! I’ve listed a few below, but you can check out the entire list here.

5 Reasons to Play Tennis

incredible interval training

Tennis provides a great high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. Short, intense bursts of activity followed by a period of rest or minimal recovery allow you to burn more fat and increase your metabolism more effectively than a workout completed at a sustained pace. 

effective cross training

If you play any other sport, an hour or two of tennis is a great way to spend your cross-training days. It offers up cardio, endurance, flexibility, and mental training all in a fast-paced, fun sport!

improves balance

Balance is essential in tennis. Controlling your body and your swing while you’re sprinting towards the ball is not easy! Without balance, a player is not able to hit effective shots.

burns lots of calories

Thanks to the HIIT provided, you burn a ton of calories. I wear my heart rate monitor when I play, and I burn anywhere from 300-500 calories in an hour.

a lifetime of play

Like golf, tennis is a sport that you can play for the rest of your life. You can easily control your pace, and while you may not run down as many balls when you’re in your 70′s, your technique just gets better over time. It’s also a sport that your entire family can play. I’ve recently convinced my husband to take up the sport so we’ll have something to enjoy together in our retirement years (other than golf, of course).

So get out there and give it a try! I think you’ll love it!

Do you play tennis? Do you watch Wimbeldon?

ree

  


how to become a master french braider

how to become a master french braider

A couple weeks ago I did a how-to post on one of my favorite braids – pretty side braid into a bun. After, I received several requests from friends for a tutorial on mastering the French braid. I’ve been braiding for so long that I didn’t even think that perhaps we should start from the beginning. As with anything, braiding takes practice, yet once you’ve got it down the possibilities are endless! But first things first, let’s master the French braid, shall we?

step 1: no more braiding to the side

Over the years as I’ve watched friends braid their own hair, I’ve noticed that many actually braid their hair to the side so they can see what they’re doing in the mirror. If this is your method of braiding, the first step in becoming a master French braider, I’m sorry to say, is to stop doing this. Simple, right? Well, you’ll get used to it soon enough! If not, and you usually braid with your hands completely behind your head, then skip to step three.

Become a Master French Braider

step 2: master the braid behind your head

Braiding with your hands completely behind your head, rather than to the side, is oddly different. Your hands move differently. Try it. Start with a braid in the back, then move it to the side. You’ll notice you have to adjust your hands. It’s hard to describe, but you’ll know what I mean when you try it. Anyway, the next step is to master braiding your hair behind your head (how-to braid tutorial). That’s it. Just braid. Nothing fancy, no adding hair, just braid. 

Become a Master French Braider

Arms high, hands behind your head, and no mirror.

You can do this while watching TV, before you go to bed each night, while waiting at the doctor’s office…where ever. But you really want to get used to braiding with your arms high in the air, hands behind your head, and no mirror. Do not move on to step three until you are able to do this easily and quickly. And once you do, you’re nearly there! 

step 3: begin French braiding

Now, you’re ready to French braid. By definition, a French braid is a braid that begins near the crown of the head, ends near the nape of the neck, and gradually adds hair to each section along the way. In this step, I want you to get used to adding hair to each section. Don’t worry about it being perfect for now, just practice adding hair each time you cross a section of the braid.

Become a Master French Braider

The result is simple and clean. You can use a mirror to help you in the front so you know where along the hairline to grab hair from, but eventually you will be able to do this without a mirror. Why? Because your hands become your eyes. As you become more familiar with the braid and your own hair, you’ll be able to feel exactly how and where the hair should go. Practice this step over and over again until you can do it easily. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Don’t move on to the final step until this step becomes second nature. Actually, sleeping in a French braid helps protect the hair from tangles and breakage, so do this before bed each night and within a week or two you’ll be a pro!Become a Master French Braider

 step 4: now let’s work on technique!

Yay! You’re now ready to get creative and work on your technique. And now you’re ready for a mirror;) 

  • hairspray helps

Use it liberally! It adds texture to your hair and makes it much easier to grip. Don’t be shy, spray the heck out of your hair! And then let dry.

Hairspray

  • create a youthful look

The smaller the pieces of hair gathered for the braid are, the more cross sections you create, and the tighter the braid. Also, begin the braid close to the crown of the head (i.e. as close to your forehead as possible), together these two techniques create a more youthful look. 

Become a Master Braider

  •  alternate where you gather hair from

You don’t always have to grab loose hair from your hairline. By alternating grabbing hair from further in and then from the hairline, you can control the angle of the braid.

Become Master French Braider

  • how to get rid of the end of braid bump

I’ve found it can be quite hard to get rid of the loose hair or bump of hair that forms at the end of the French braid (right where the regular braid begins). No matter how tight I pull the hair to create a cleaner look, it seems to always loosen within a few minutes. See the before picture below. 

Become a Master French Braider

To get rid of that and make a more secure finish (like the after picture above), follow these steps.

Become a Master French Braider

  1. Once you reach near the end and have only two more sections of hair left to complete the French braid…
  2. Take one section of hair from underneath and on the opposite side of the braid. In the middle illustration above, I took hair from the right side (instead of the left), crossed it under the center braid and added it to the left side of the center braid.
  3. Take the final section of hair from underneath and the opposite side of the braid. Again, in the last illustration above, I took hair from the left, crossed it under the center braid, and added it the right side of the center braid. 
  4. These last two sections of hair will come from each opposite side and cross underneath the center braid. This technique is similar to a reverse French braid or Dutch braid (another tutorial for another day).
  5. Continue braiding.

 No more bump!

  •  braided bangs

A great way to transition from a traditional French braid to the pretty side braid is to practice with a small section of hair on top of your head. Create a part in your hair from whichever side you prefer and take a small section of hair from the hairline, along where your bangs would fall. As a beginner, try pulling the rest of your hair back in a ponytail to separate the sections. It will help you focus on the front and gathering the right loose hair for the braid. Then begin braiding away from your part.

The beauty of this braid is that you only make a few cross sections, meaning the braid is very short. You can do this over and over again until you get it right, and you’ve still only spent about 5 minutes on your hair! 

Become a Master French Braider

It’s a simple, but delicate hairstyle that looks good for all occasions – date night with your significant other, Sunday brunch with girlfriends, or a family barbecue. Where ever, whenever, it’s so pretty! Oh, and this is also a great hairstyle if you have really short hair and aren’t able to do a full French braid! 

Congratulations, you’re now a master French braider! Now, I can’t wait to share with you my other favorite tutorials! 

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