Monday, June 25, 2012

Light Pasta Dishes for Summer

"Pasta shouldn’t be reserved for the winter months. If you’re craving the carbs but not the calories this summer, these lighter pasta dishes will hit the spot."

For the full article and recipes: 6 Light Pasta Dishes for Summer.

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Sew-Ins & Lace Fronts 101 || U-Part Wig Tutorial

The u-part wig (also known as the 3/4th wig) is a form of protective styling that allows for the look of a sew-in while being much easier to install.  The unit may be sewn in along the small "u-section" OR worn as a wig via clips.  Hair that is left out of the "u-section" is then blended with the wig for a realistic look.  Other than an easier install, easy access to one's real hair is another benefit to wearing the u-part wig over a sew-in.   The unit can be removed and re-installed easily allowing for one to care for one's real hair underneath with ease.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Hair Care || Battling the Humidity

Summer is officially here and so is the humidity in certain regions of the world.  What does this mean for those who are stretching, transitioning, or natural?  Well, it could mean reversion, shrinkage, and frizz.  However, you can mitigate each of these unwanted effects by following the tips below:

1. Protective Style.  In my relaxed, transitioning, and now natural days, protective styling has been the number one weapon against summer humidity.  My go-to protective styles were and still are twists or braids because reversion, shrinkage, and frizz are minimized.

2. Work with your texture. Some ladies enjoy wearing their hair out during the summer, especially if they've spent the rest of the year in protective styles.  However, wearing the hair out can be an invitation to the unwanted effects of humidity.  One way to minimize those effects is to "work with your texture" via braidouts, twistouts, straw sets, or rod sets.  These styles are less likely to be ruined by the humidity than straighter styles (e.g., a fresh press) that are further from your actual texture.
-Tutorials on the strawset and cornrow-out
-Tips for maintaining twistouts

3. Embrace your texture.  Another way to combat humidity while wearing your hair loose is to simply "embrace your texture".  What does this mean?  It means wearing your hair in its natural state (e.g., a wash-n-go).  However, those with medium to long hair, especially those with kinks or tighter coils, should proceed with caution.  Wash-n-gos can create an environment conducive to tangles.  If you do have medium to long, Type 4 hair and would like to experiment with, read my earlier post on the Curly Girl Method on Type 4s.

4. Run from humectant-containing moisturizers.  Humectants (e.g., glycerin, propylene glycol, sorbitol) draw moisture from the air.  When applied to the hair which is then exposed to humidity, humectants will facilitate the processes of reversion, shrinkage, and frizz.  However, if your hair absolutely needs these ingredients in a moisturizer, then do not change your routine.  It is better to put healthy hair care before an anti-humidity technique any day.
-List of more humectants

5. Use a shine/smoothing serum.  If your hair fairs fine with silicones, then using a serum containing dimethicone is another method for battling the summer humidity.  Apply the serum to a fresh set of twists or braids or onto your out style (e.g., twistout or braidout).  Dimethicone will not only aid in taming any frizzies, but it will create a slight barrier against humidity.  NOTE: Because this silicone does not dissolve in water, it can lead to buildup with continued use.  Be sure to wash your hair with a shampoo containing any of the following surfactants in order to prevent this buildup: SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, ALS, or ALES (Source).

6. Wear a scarf.  Hair scarves are very much the trend this summer, and they can be useful for disguising hair that has suffered the effects of humidity.  Opt for silk or polyester (i.e., satin) scarves, which are both gentler on the hair than cotton.

For previous posts on summer hair & skin care:
Type 4 Series: Curly Girl Method & Summer Hair

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How to Barbecue Healthier

{Image Source}
Here is an excerpt from an article geared towards healthier barbecuing:

"The key is to cut down on the greasy ribs and switch to lean cuts, which have a higher protein-to-fat ratio. Try flank steak. With only 176 calories per 4-ounce serving, flank is one of the leanest cuts at the meat counter, and it offers an impressive 24 grams of protein. "

To read the FULL article: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3.

For a previous post on summer eating: Summer Time Meals

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Protective Style Lookbook || Two Loc-Inspired Styles for Twists & Braids

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

**This segment contains two styles.**

Model: Francesca

Style description: Style #1 - formal faux hawk updo.  Style #2 - french braid wrap.

Difficulty level: Style #1 - 5/5. Style #2 - 4/5.

Formal Faux Hawk Updo:

French Braid Wrap:

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The UGLY Truth Behind Health and Fitness

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

When consulting and talking with people about health and fitness, I am able to hear excuses and other reasons why people give up or do not finish their health and fitness goals.

I guess people see and hear all kinds of motivation…but for some people that is not enough! They thought if they ran and ate right for a few weeks then…*TAH DAH* that body that those Victoria secret models rock will magically appear under their clothes. Well I have news for them…and for anyone else who needs a little tough love to help you with your health and fitness goals…

Reaching your goals is going to be HARD! No your results will not show up overnight. It is going to take days…weeks…and even MONTHS for you to finally start to see the effects of your hard work!

For most people, it takes almost a year for them to reach their goal or surpass it. This is including a possible relapse in eating right…skipping workouts for a few weeks at a time (due to crazy work schedules or other crazy life situations)…or having to get re-motivated with the goals that are set. For some people it will not take that long…but just as an average I would shoot for a solid year until you can sit down and say “YES! I have for sure reached my health and fitness goals”.

Getting healthy and fit is a lifestyle change! It is not a hobby or something you can do on the weekends. You have to commit 110% to your goals. That is eating right 7 days a week and sticking to the workouts you schedule for yourself.

Yes it will take some work, dedication, and tons of sweat. But looking and feeling like you want is worth all the hours you put into eating right and working out. It is a great idea to have motivational things to keep you going, but you will also need something to keep you going on those tough days that you do feel like you want to give up.

So the ugly truth…it will be hard….the road will be long…and yes some days you will want to make up a million excuses as to why you can’t work out or why you should have that piece of cheesecake. But, if you keep making these excuses and putting off your workouts you will not get the health and fitness goals that you set for yourself! No magic powder or pill…no fancy “I saw it on TV” machine or device…no obscene “this celebrity diet” ….or any other get slim quick trick will work! You have to put in the work and you have to have confidence that you are working hard. The results will be there if you work at it!

So my tough love lesson to you….STOP making the excuses…STOP letting people influence you away from your goals….MAKE time for your workouts….MAKE time for YOURSELF! That is the most important. Your health and fitness goals are a health and fitness journey for YOU and not for anyone else!

I hope this post did not scare anyone away from wanting to get healthier and more fit…but I like to put it all out on the table and be honest and upfront! I do not want to mislead anyone to think that getting fit is going to be easy because it is not always easy! Even for someone like me! I do have my down days but I also have found ways to get back motivated and dedicated to my health and fitness goals.

If you would like more health and fitness tips please feel free to check out my health and fitness blog at For daily health and fitness topic follow me on Instagram @ ms4composure.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sew-Ins & Lace Fronts 101 || Bob Sew-in Tutorial

Sew-ins, when done and worn properly, can be used as a method for protective styling.  They can be worn for 2-3 months at a time, allowing the hair underneath to grow and retain length.  Some veterans wear them for longer, but I encourage newbies to begin with 2-3 month intervals.  Your hair underneath must still be cleansed, conditioned, and moisturized and must not be ignored during this period.

To begin your sew-in, cornrow your own hair as flat and close to your scalp as possible.  However, refrain from making the cornrows too tight because this can lead to hair loss.  After creating your cornrows, commence to sew your hair extensions row by row into your cornrows.  Below is a well-executed video tutorial, by Lizlizlive, on self-installing a beautiful bob sew-in:

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Protective Style Lookbook || Two Versions of Overbraided Twists

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

This segment contains two styles.  Style #1: overbraided twists.  Style #2: overbraided twists with pompadour.

Model: Loo (Me)

Style description: Style #1 - overbraided twists. Style #2 - overbraided twists with pompadour.

Difficulty level: Style #1 - 2/5. Style #2 - 3/5.

HOW TO For OVERBRAIDED TWISTS only:  Start off with twists or braids.  Braid them into one big french braid from the crown down to the back of your head.  (Use the over-braiding method instead of the under-braiding method.  Here is a video tutorial: overbraid.)  After braiding, tuck the tail under your french braid and near the nape.  Use a few bobby pins to secure.  Voila!  NOTE: To creat the hump in the front like in the photo, start off braiding loosely at the crown.  Also, note that this style can also be done on loose hair.

HOW TO For OVERBRAIDED TWISTS with POMPADOUR:  Start off with twists or braids.  Undo a few twists/braids in the front middle section of the hair.  This will create a twistout/braidout bang.  Using bobby pins, pin the bang down towards the crown of the head.  Now take your remaining twists/braids and braid them into one big french braid from the crown down to the back of your head.  (Use the over-braiding method instead of the under-braiding method.  Here is a video tutorial: overbraid.)  After braiding, tuck the tail under your french braid and near the nape.  Use a few bobby pins to secure.  Voila!  NOTE: This style can also be done on loose hair.

Back in 2010.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Are You Feeling Stressed?

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Are you feeling stressed? Bummed out all the time because of all the crazy things going on in your life? Are you feeling like some days are getting crazier and harder to handle? Well I may have a suggestion that may help you start to handle some of the stress that has been accumulating in your life.

It is that time of year!

I know that I personally know a lot of people who are stressed out with work…with school…with life in general!

There are not only physical benefits to working out! Working out has been proven to have positive emotional effects as well. Yes you may be stressed because you have a lot on your plate or your day is jammed packed with activities already. But the truth is that you need to de-clutter your life and start putting your time management skills to work! Implementing a workout is only 4% of your day!!! That means the other 96% you can spend sleeping…cooking…working…or being busy with all the other things you have going on. If you actively use that 4% of your time in a positive way I can assure you that your overall mood can be drastically improved and those busy hectic days will start to seem less and less stressful!

Looking at the Mayo Clinic ...

Exercise can help diminish your anxiety or depression! This is done by:

  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects

According to the Association of Applied Sports Psychology (AASP) ...

Here are some PROVEN facts about the positive psychological benefits of exercise:

  • Improved mood
  • Reduced stress as well as an improved ability to cope with stress
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Pride in physical accomplishments
  • Increased satisfaction with oneself
  • Improved body image
  • Increased feelings of energy
  • Improved in confidence in your physical abilities
  • Decreased symptoms associated with depression

It is so important to try to find the correct balance in our lives to help make the days go more smoothly. If you are a happy healthy person, it is suggested that you will be able to get the most out of your days! If you are happy you will see most things in a positive light and if you are healthy you will be able to be active and get more out of your days.

It is suggested to work out about 3 times a week (and if you can find the time you are more than welcome to work out more than 3 times a day!) If you are able to keep up a routine for a long period of time, this will make it easier for you to keep your health and fitness routines and they will become a part of your daily schedule on a long term basis. And you do not have to run 10 miles a day nor do some intense aerobics class for it to be called “exercise”. You can do a wide range of things that will get your heart beat up and gets your blood flowing! You can swim, ride a bike, jog, play sports, brisk walks, or anything that gets you up and moving for about 30 minutes!

So why not try to improve your mood and your health! Try to incorporate a health and fitness routine into your day and see if it is beneficial to you in the end.

This is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to stop by my site for more health and fitness tips!

Mixology || Soothing Summer Body Spray

Are you a fan of body sprays but not a fan of the chemicals?  Do you want to mix your own natural version?  Well here is a recipe for a soothing summer body spray:

1 tablespoon witch hazel
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon cucumber extract
1 cup water

For a refreshing cool feeling, make an after shower spray by combining all the ingredients. Place in a pump spray bottle.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Free Consultation and 3-Month Hair Care Plan

All who are natural, relaxed/texlaxed, or transitioning are welcome to join.

Are you having setback after setback?  Are you struggling to reach your hair goals?  Are you having difficulty determining the right hair care regimen for you?

Well, I may have a solution for you.

I have been on each side of the triangle (relaxed, transitioning, and natural now for some years) and would like to use what I have experienced and learned to help others reach their goals.  Of course, this blog was designed to be an avenue for sharing some of that information, but I would like to have one-on-one interaction with you to help you even more.  That being said, I am offering the following services for free (that's right, FREE) to four committed women:

* A healthy hair care regimen tailored for your hair
* Product recommendations tailored for your hair
* A personalized PDF booklet containing length retention tips and other relevant info from the blog
* Three Skype OR phone sessions to discuss the status of your hair care journey
* Hair care resources (e.g., videos and articles from hair care gurus) tailored for you
* Discount codes or access to product sales if available or relevant to your needs

This program will last for 3 months and the idea is that at the end of the program, you will have a better understanding of your hair and be closer to reaching your goals.

Now the question is how do you become one of those four women?  Well, I need you to leave a comment below AND use the Contact Me form, if you are interested.  In the comment section below, describe why you should be one of those five women.  In the Contact Me form, just type "HHB Consultation" in the Subject line and include a short message.  I will then reply to your message with further details, which will include a request for your hair type, photos of your hair, etc.  The four women will be chosen on June 22, 2012.

Giveaway || $150 Worth Of BeeMine Products

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Protective Style Lookbook || Flat Twist with "Twist Rings"

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Model: CharyJay

Style description: Side flat twists into twist rings.  (Can be done on short hair as well.)

Difficulty level: 4/5

Beginner's Guide: video tutorial on flat twisting; video tutorial on this style (also included below)

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Food Substitutions

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Everyone has that one favorite recipe that their mom or grandma created. Naturally that recipe is jam packed with some unhealthy things but it is your favorite dish and you cannot resist making that dish to help ease those homesick feelings.

Today…you are in luck!

I am going to share some ideas to help make some of your unhealthy recipes a little bit healthier. The reality is that everyone has their favorite dish that they like to make. But if you are able to make it a little bit healthier than it is ok for you to incorporate it into your weekly meal menu. Using healthy substitutes will allow you to greatly cut out the extra fat, sugar, sodium, and overall calorie count of your favorite meals. The trick is to make it a few times so you can figure out all the things you can substitute and still have the meal taste just as good!

Thanks to the Mayo Clinic, they have provided an easy to read chart for you to use (and also easy to copy and paste into a word document so you can print it off and post it in your kitchen!) {WEBSITE:}

Your guide to ingredient substitutions for healthy recipes
If your recipe calls for this ingredient:
Try substituting this ingredient:
Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, smoked turkey or lean prosciutto (Italian ham)
Bread, white
Whole-grain bread
Bread crumbs, dry
Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal
Butter, margarine, shortening or oil in baked goods
Applesauce or prune puree for half of the called-for butter, shortening or oil; butter spreads or shortenings specially formulated for baking that don't have trans fats
Note: To avoid dense, soggy or flat baked goods, don't substitute oil for butter or shortening. Also don't substitute diet, whipped or tub-style margarine for regular margarine.
Butter, margarine, shortening or oil to prevent sticking
Cooking spray or nonstick pans
Fat-free half-and-half, evaporated skim milk
Cream cheese, full fat
Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel, or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth
Two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg
Flour, all-purpose (plain)
Whole-wheat flour for half of the called-for all-purpose flour in baked goods
Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour is less dense and works well in softer products like cakes and muffins.
Fruit canned in heavy syrup
Fruit canned in its own juices or in water, or fresh fruit
Ground beef
Extra-lean or lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast (make sure no poultry skin has been added to the product)
Lettuce, iceberg
Arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach or watercress
Reduced-calorie mayonnaise-type salad dressing or reduced-calorie, reduced-fat mayonnaise
Meat as the main ingredient
Three times as many vegetables as the meat on pizzas or in casseroles, soups and stews
Milk, evaporated
Evaporated skim milk
Milk, whole
Reduced-fat or fat-free milk
Oil-based marinades
Wine, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice or fat-free broth
Pasta, enriched (white)
Whole-wheat pasta
Rice, white
Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur or pearl barley
Salad dressing
Fat-free or reduced-calorie dressing or flavored vinegars
Seasoning salt, such as garlic salt, celery salt or onion salt
Herb-only seasonings, such as garlic powder, celery seed or onion flakes, or use finely chopped herbs or garlic, celery or onions
Soups, creamed
Fat-free milk-based soups, mashed potato flakes, or pureed carrots, potatoes or tofu for thickening agents
Soups, sauces, dressings, crackers, or canned meat, fish or vegetables
Low-sodium or reduced-sodium versions
Sour cream, full fat
Fat-free or low-fat sour cream, plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt
Soy sauce
Sweet-and-sour sauce, hot mustard sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
In most baked goods you can reduce the amount of sugar by one-half; intensify sweetness by adding vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon
Pureed fruit, such as applesauce, or low-calorie, sugar-free syrup
Table salt
Herbs, spices, citrus juices (lemon, lime, orange), rice vinegar, salt-free seasoning mixes or herb blends
Yogurt, fruit-flavored
Plain yogurt with fresh fruit slices

Here are some other options that were not listed above:

USE: Mini Chocolate Chips
DO NOT use: Chocolate Chip Chunks!
{Image Source}

Having the little chocolate chips means that you will still get the sweet chocolate taste with every bite, BUT with not as much chocolate in the overall dish. This will help cut out calories and you can also try to use fine dark chocolate as a substitute to help cut back the calorie count as well.

USE: Reduced-Fat Cheese
DO NOT use: Regular cheese
{Image Source}

Also make sure the cheese is low in sodium as well! This will help you cut calorie and cholesterol that is in the original recipe.

Be sure to look at your recipes before you get in the kitchen and you are ready to cook! The worst feeling is to have all but ONE ingredient that you need to cook a meal. Like stated before, substituting some of the above items with your favorite recipe will allow you to enjoy it but with less calories and it will make it a healthier option for you as well.

This is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness; please feel free to stop by my site for more health and fitness tips!

3in6: Starting Month #6!

For the challenge guidelines, see this post.

The 3in6 Challenge is in its last month! Wow, this challenge went by so fast.  Last month, I wore small twists for two weeks at a time.  I also kept up with my internal regimen.  This month I'll rock small twists again for two weeks at time.  I feel like my hair has retained some decent length, but I haven't measured it yet.  That'll be at the end of the challenge.

How will you style your hair this final month?  What have you gained from the challenge so far?

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