Monday, January 28, 2013

Mixology || Curling Pudding (or Twist-out Definer)

Do you want to make your own curling pudding or twist cream?  Or do you want a product that holds without the dryness or flakiness?  Here is a recipe worth trying:

Ingredients (large batch):
1 tbsp castor oil
1/4 cup shea butter
1 1/4 cup your favorite gel

Whip the shea butter with the castor oil using a hand mixer (ideal) or a fork. Then mix in the gel thoroughly.  Use to define curls or apply before twisting for a defined twist-out.

"Soul" Food Mondays || We Make Our Days

We make our days pleasant or miserable. If we insist on being miserable, irritable and nasty, more than likely the day will give us exactly what we give it. A day is too valuable to waste on misery and unhappiness. ~IYANLA VANZANT

Your perception becomes your reality.  A miserable outlook may translate into a miserable truth.  We make our days.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Healthy Recipes || Banana-less Green Smoothies

I have nothing against bananas (and actually enjoy their health benefits), but have you noticed how they are a critical ingredient in most "green smoothie" recipes?  I presume this inclusion is because blending bananas into such smoothies is a quick and easy way to sweeten or mask the taste of ... well, the green vegetables.  However, if for whatever reason, you do not want to add bananas to your green smoothies, there are banana-less recipes out there.  Here are a few:

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RECIPE #1 - Source
1 cup seedless green grapes
1 cup packed baby spinach
1/2 cup ice
1/4 cup coconut milk

RECIPE #2 - Source
 2 cups cantaloupe
1/4 avocado
1 tbsp mint leaves
1 tbsp basil leaves
splash of water
4-5 ice cubes

RECIPE #3 - Source
1 medium cucumber
1/2 Bosc pear
3-4 ice cubes

RECIPE #4 - Source
2 kiwis
1/2 cup chocolate almond milk
1/4 cup water
1 cup curly green kale
1 cup ice

For more recipes (with or without bananas), check out

Reader's Question: Moisturizing Twist Extensions

For questions, use the "Contact Me" tab OR leave a comment!

Reader's Question:
I have twist extensions... How do I keep my hair moisturised?

My Answer:

In my opinion, the best way to moisturize twists (or any other braid) extensions is to use a water-based spritz followed by sealing with an oil.  This method allows for sufficient moisture without contributing to meshing, loc-ing, or severe product buildup.  Heavier products, especially thick butters, can build up near the roots and facilitate meshing or loc-ing, especially in kinkier strands.  If you REALLY want to use them, though, I suggest staying as far away from your roots as possible and only using the butter once or twice between washes.

That being said, what are some good spritzes and oils to use?  Well, let us start with the oils.  Light and somewhat odorless oils, such as grapeseed and jojoba, are my top suggestions.  Coconut oil may be used, but be aware that your extensions will smell of the oil (and that may or may not be okay, depending on how you feel).  Olive oil is less odorous but heavy.

Now for the spritzes:  A water-based one is a good start.  A water- and glycerin-based one may be even better, depending on what your hair likes.  I list a few spritz recipes in this post.  If you would rather buy one, I suggest looking for those geared towards braids (e.g., African Pride).

Finally, the moisturizing regimen while wearing twist extensions: Spritz anywhere from daily to weekly, depending on what your hair requires.  I would not suggest going beyond a week (particularly in the later stages of the wear) because the extensions themselves may be drying.  This is especially possible if you used synthetic hair for braiding.  As for sealing, that can occur anywhere from every few days to weekly.  Sealing daily can attract dirt to the hair quicker than usual thus leading to increased frequency in washing.

I hope this answers your question!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hair Diary || First Wash-n-Go in Years!

Due to personal health reasons, I took down my jumbo twists and figured I would try Cynthiarf's daily wash-n-go regimen for kinky hair.  I will admit that I was extremely frightened (for knots and tangles) considering my length and shrinkage.  Exhibit A:

LEFT: Straight almost WSL hair (shot from July 2012). RIGHT: Shrunken, un-combed, damp hair (January 2013).  Shrinkage never ceases to amaze me.  Hair eventually shrinks to EL once dry.
To my surprise, the regimen has been working well, but it's only been a few days so far.  I have very little knotting and tangling due to her finger combing method (to remove shed hair).  It also helps that my hair was previously (and thoroughly) detangled prior to the jumbo twists (hence hardly any tangles when starting her routine).  Anyway, below are a few more photos.  I have to keep up this regimen for two more weeks before I can go back to my regular routine.  I'll certainly keep you all posted!

Slight coil definition after raking through with generous amounts of Eco Styler gel.  Otherwise, my hair doesn't really coil on it own.

Put into a puff.  Shrinkage.  :o)
My edges are shot from having not re-done them while in braid extensions.  They'll fill in again.

"Soul" Food Mondays ... Er, A Day Late || Resilience As Your Best Friend

"No matter what or who has hurt you in this life, resilience must be your best friend.  Learn to rise each time you fall.  All will turn out well in the end." ~SOPHIA A. NELSON

Resilience.  An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change (Merriam-Webster).  Make it your best friend for it will be there with you through and after adversity.  It may not prevent the inevitable but it will lessen the blow, keep you sane, and make you all the stronger.  Resilience must be your best friend.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Basics to CHANGING a Hair Care Regimen || Part I

As we reach new lengths, sometimes our hair care regimens must change.  Our strands -- which may not only be longer now, but may also have changed slightly in coil/curl pattern -- may require different handling methods and products.  A change in our regimen may also be necessary when the ingredients listing on a staple product has been altered, our income has been adjusted, or the weather has varied significantly.  Whatever the reason for a change, it can be scary going from a familiar routine to a new one.  Let these quick tips be a guide and keep your fear at bay:

Look at what others with similar hair length, type, texture, AND density are doing.  It is not enough to just look at women with a similar hair type to yours.  Look for those with your length (or a length to which you aspire), texture (that is, fine, medium, or coarse strands - a measure of circumference), and density (that is, the number of strands on your head).  Use women with two to all four of these characteristics as a starting point for adjusting your routine. 

Find products with ingredients your hair loves.  This step is especially applicable if your staple product has new ingredients, is discontinued, or is now out of your budget.  Begin your search for a replacement by looking for a similar ingredients listings to your original staple product.  Look for generics - some of which may be carried at Sally's Beauty Supply (for U.S. readers) - for example, "Hair One" in place of "Wen".  Another option is to consider becoming a mixtress (that is, mixing your own product).

Use thicker, heavier products during colder weather.  Products that work just fine during the warmer months may lose their effectiveness in the colder months.  It may be necessary to incorporate or switch to heavier oils, conditioners, and butters.  They will better protect your strands and retain moisture in your hair during this time.

To be continued ...

Oldies, But Goodies

1. Protective Style Lookbook || 20+ Styles on Braids & Twists
2. Healthy Hair Feature: Ijeoma Eboh, aka KlassyKinks
3. Foods for Eye Health
4. Mixology || Natural Bubble Bath
5. Shedding Too Much Hair?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || Braided Crown Hairstyle

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

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Model: Ebony C.

Style description: Braid going around the crown. Can be done on stretched hair, twists, or box braids. 

Difficulty level: 3/5

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mixology, Skin Care || Elbow Softener

Are your elbows extra dry and hard this winter? Here is a natural homemade recipe for an elbow softener:

4 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp honey

Pour ingredients in sterilized jar, cover and shake well. Shake well before each use. Massage a little into each elbow for a few minutes. Rinse off, pat dry, and moisturize. (Use this recipe twice daily and your skin will be soft within one week. After that, use weekly.)

FOR MORE: 250 Bath Body Recipes

It Is 2013…What Are Your Health And Fitness Goals for This Year!?

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Every year more and more people make goals to get healthy and fit.  On average do you know how long that motivation and drive last?  THREE WEEKS! And to be honest most people do not make it that long!

The key to YOUR health and fitness success is staying motivated, plan ahead, and find people to help keep you on track!

Those three things are VERY important and some of the hardest things to find (and keep) to those who are just starting their health and fitness journey. 

This is a great time of year to start thinking about spring break or your summer vacations!  If you want to be bikini ready you have to start NOW! Do not make any more excuses!

Create your plan:

What is the date you want to reach your goals?

What is your goal? (How much weight do you want to lose….or you want to get fit to run a race…)

How do you plan to eat right? (Creating menus, planning out your meal times and meals)

When are you going to work out?

What are you going to do when you work out?

Now…How are you going to stay motivated?

(You can always check out my blog  :-)

BUT there are DOZENS of other health and fitness blogs out there that also aim to motivate and encourage people who need it)

And who is going to be your Fitness buddy or Fitness counselor?

A fitness buddy can be someone who is trying to get fit with you.  Or they can just be there to help keep you on track.  You can use them when you are feeling weak and wanting to give up.  This person is so important and they have to be reliable! Cannot find a buddy?  I WOULD LOVE TO BE YOUR FITNESS BUDDY! Just contact me and we can chat about your goals and I can even offer you some advice.

A fitness counselor is someone to help you with your meals and workouts.  This can be a personal trainer, a friend who is a fitness junkie…or ME!

I am currently taking new clients and my prices are VERY reasonable.  I offer great packages that can fit into anyone’s budget.  I never want price to be an issue when it comes to health and fitness.  I even offer trades (currently I advertise on some websites/blogs in exchange for workouts and fitness advice! I am willing to bargain so YOU can start reaching your goals!) 

Don’t belong to a fitness gym? NO PROBLEM!

There are DOZENS of at-home exercise you can do to help you reach your goals!
Even if you are on a tight budget there are ways to still purchase healthy food and maintain a healthy diet.  It does take some planning but YOU CAN DO IT! ANYONE CAN!

The time to start is NOW! Not tomorrow…not next week…not next month…but TODAY!

The only person holding you back from your health and fitness goals is YOU!

What are you afraid of!  Yes it will be hard at times…and yes you will slip up and make some mistakes but that is OK!  We are all human and we all make mistakes.

2013 is YOUR year! So let’s start NOW on the new…healthier….MORE fit YOU!

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

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hair Diary || Messy Jumbo Twists for January

Flat-ironed and in jumbo twists.  I didn't have my usual products so I had to make do with what was available.  On hiatus for the next couple of weeks.  Until next time, ladies!

Box Braid Takedown:
-Took down box braids
-Finger detangled each section (previously lubricated)
-Followed up with a wide-tooth comb
-Put hair in several big plaits
-Washed with Creme of Nature conditioning shampoo
-Conditioned with VO5 Strengthening Conditioner (hydrolyzed collagen)
-Detangled (wide tooth comb) hair while soaked with conditioner
-Re-plaited then rinsed out 95% of the conditioner
-Sealed damp hair with Pura Naturals Cupuacu Butter
-Air dried hair in big plaits

Oldies, But Goodies

1. Protective Style Lookbook || Grecian Goddess Bun
2. Sew-Ins & Lace Fronts 101 || Bob Sew-in Tutorial
3. Loc Maintenance || Washing and 2-Headed Dragons
4. Healthy Styles for Transitioning or Stretching Relaxers
5. Fitness Fashion 101

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Plans for My Hair, Body, and Soul || Part III

Now it's time to share my "Soul Plans" for the New Year ...


Practice daily gratitude.  Years ago, I did a daily gratitude journal and then fell off of it for a few years.  Recently, I went back to gratitude journaling and plan to stick with it throughout 2013.  The biggest benefit of writing down the things you are grateful for each day is that you learn to be thankful for what you have in life.  You also change your perspective to a more positive and open the door to more good things or blessings.  I think this quote (from the "Simple Abundance" journal) says it best: 
"[Gratitude] turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today; and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~ MELODY BEATTIE

Remove negativity at first sight.  I have a tendency to see the good in everything and stick around even when it becomes detrimental to my soul.  However, I've been practicing running at the first sight of negativity in order to protect my soul.  This is not a black-and-white decision but requires discernment and wisdom.  This year I will heed my discernment and increase my wisdom.

Leave the past behind.  As an over-thinker it is easy for me to analyze a situation to death.  However, now when I start to think about something that cannot be changed, I cast it down immediately before it turns into dwelling.

Enjoy the present, or carpe diem ("seize the day").  Tomorrow is not promised, but today ... there is much we can do about today.  I plan to spend as much time with family as possible and to enjoy each day a little more.  I want to travel as soon as I can this year rather than put it off until the "perfect" time.

Beautify the outside to elevate the inside.  When it comes to my outer appearance, I tend to be ... hmm ... lazy unless I'm going to an event.  I am not a makeup and high heels person.  I could care less if my twists are super frizzy.  However, I honestly believe that because I couldn't give two #$%^ what I look like on my way to the lab or to school, it impacts how I feel on the inside - sluggish and "meh".  This year, I want to put a little more effort in my outer appearance.  Maybe daily mascara and eyeliner and replacing the routine gray hoodie for one of my nice sweaters.  Self-manicures have already made a re-appearance.

And this wraps up my plans for the New Year.  I hope you all are enjoying 2013 so far!

Nutritious Bartending || Watermelon Mojito and More

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"A whole day of eating right can go down in the swirl of cocktail -- with crazy-high calories and weakened willpower. So we've put a few drinks on a diet, starting with the Cuban mojito. Instead of using sugar, use a wooden pestle or a big spoon to gently crush cubes of watermelon with fresh mint leaves. Add rum and sparkling water for a sweet mojito with half the usual calories."

If you are looking for more cocktails with fewer calories and more nutrients, check out this slideshow:


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