Monday, April 29, 2013

Giveaway // Crafts + Cupcakes Ticket

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{Image from SheenaLashay.com}

Don't forget, the Natural Care for Curls & Kinks giveaway is still open. It ends this Tuesday at midnight. Enter for a chance to win $75 worth of beauty products. Learn how HERE


Happy Monday. I hope that you all had great weekends. The weather was fabulous here in NY, finally! After you've checked out and entered the Natural Care for Curls & Kinks giveaway, here's another giveaway I'm throwing into the mix. Sheena LaShay recently started hosting intimate crafting parties at her place named Crafts & Cupcakes. They instantly were a hit and now she is doing it on a bigger scale at the lovely Shell's Brooklyn Loft  next Saturday, 5/11, from 12 noon to 4pm. As the title suggests, you nosh on yummy sweets including cupcakes from vegan and gluten free bakery, Sterling Sweets, and indulge in arts & crafts. In the past we have made body scrubs, art journal pages and used Sharpies to customized plain mugs. I've attended every one since its inception and this time when she's doing it outside of her home and in a fabulous studio, I will be out of town! Still wanting to show my support, I bought a ticket and am going to give it away to a lucky reader! So if you love arts & crafts, noshing on good food and sweets and meeting other awesome women, read below how to enter.

HOW TO ENTER

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Natural Beauty // How To: Oil Pulling



THERE'S A FEW DAYS LEFT TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY FOR A CHANCE TO WIN $75 WORTH OF BEAUTY PRODUCTS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS. CONTEST ENDS 4/29/13.

Oil pulling is an Ayurveda process that, when done daily, is said to have many health benefits and help rid the body of toxins. Some studies have shown that when swishing the oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes, it mixes with you saliva and creates an enzyme that kills bacteria found in your mouth that can affect your overall health. I mostly hear people saying they enjoy brighter/whiter teeth, pinker/healthier gums and fresher breath as a result of doing it but it is also touted as helping clear skin, reduce migraines, increase heart health among other things.  I like that this is a natural alternative to a healthier mouth and body so I finally decided this morning to give it a try and I'll be documenting my experiences with it. I should have taken a picture before I started but I will take one after I finish as my starting point. Please note that I am healthy, not pregnant and have no medical conditions. If you have medical conditions, I would consult with your doctor first before trying this.

How to Oil Pull

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stop Short Changing Yourself, You Are Deserving and Worthy :: Treat Yourself Well





If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw yesterday morning that I put this picture I took up there and then I added the text "treat yourself well". I took this picture of my light breakfast from a nearby cafe where I treat myself to a Brazilian wax once a month. As I grow older and wiser, I am fully understanding and thriving from the concept of treating yourself well. I was raised to get the things you want in your life, you have to work hard for them and that is true to some extent but it is also important to work hard to appreciate and love on yourself. In USA's society, people are raised to believe that if they dont work themselves into the ground and sacrifice their health, happiness and sanity for their jobs, children, spouses, etc. then they are selfish and unmotivated. You are not worth your salt if you don't make yourself a martyr and put yourself last. What this mentality has resulted in is a lot of rich miserable people, middle class miserable people and poor miserable people. 

You work so hard for your money, you are not a bad person if you use some of it on yourself. Money was created to be spent, rather it's for your bills, retirement, college for the kids or whatever else, eventually it's going to get spent. And if you are on the frequency of abundance (The Secret), you will never be without any because "money comes easily and frequently" so stop worrying and from time to time, do something nice for yourself. Recently, I increased my monthly cash allowance from $20 to $40. And last month I started a new ritual where I treat myself to a Brazilian wax and then breakfast afterward. Sunday nights are my home spa nights. I do my nails, toes and a bentonite clay face mask. Just these little adjustments have rejuvenated me. I'm glowing again; I feel happier, more vibrant, even prettier. I feel inspired to find ways to increase my income and not resentful and frustrated. We start to feel bad about money when we don't invest in ourselves because it creates a feeling that there is not enough. There is always enough. Enough may only be $10 a month for some right now but there is always something. I don't care if you are broke or are married with kids, you have to invest some into yourself. Investing in yourself is telling God that you believe you live in abundance. When you believe that you live abundance, God and the universe have no choice but to give you more. YOU ARE NOT A BAD PERSON IF YOU TREAT YOURSELF WELL. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fine Strands Naturals x My Hair // Overcoming Breakage and Knotting Hurdles

April 2013: Curly Fro

I have been natural for over 4 years now and my newly natural self, I'm sure, thought that I would have it down pat by now but I am still learning. The first two years of my journey, single strand knots and split ends were foreign to me; they were not even on my radar. I thought I had dodged this bullet so many other naturals got hit by. As I grew my hair to longer lengths I learned that I hadn't dodged the bullet, I was just biding my time. My hair is of medium density but the strands themselves are fine and fragile. Like I've stated in posts before, some of our practices are different than our coarser hair strand sisters. The longer our strands get the more gentle we have to be to keep our length and we have to find ways to fortify them.

I seem to be stuck around BSB (below shoulder blades). If I get slightly past it, I experience breakage and knotting and have to cut back to BSB or slightly above it. So I took to doing some research to figure out what else I could be doing to have my hair knotting and tangling less so I can retain more length and get over this hurdle because I want to be at MBL by the end of this year and I think I have a good shot at it if I tweak some things in my regimen.

Regular protein conditioning
Once I went natural, I kind of abandoned protein conditioning. I thought it was more necessary when I was relaxed because my hair was chemically processed. But I am learning that fine hair thrives from protein conditioners too. I love Aubrey Organics GPB conditioner because it's a balance of protein and moisture in one and my hair really likes it. I am going to make it a point to use this every other wash (don't want to overload my hair with too much protein) and monitor my results.

Shortening the time in between washes
Lately I've been very lazy with washing my hair, like only washing it once a month lazy. While this works for many naturals,  I think this may be doing more harm than good in my case. Fine hair gets weighed down and accumulates build up more easily so after 2 weeks, I have build up but I have to keep up with moisturizing or my hair will dry out, and it builds up more with me applying more product to keep it moisturized. I think my hair can't go so long in between washes. I think, looking back, my hair thrived best when I washed it every 1-2 weeks so I am going to go back to this. I may even try co-washing again since there are now cleansing co-wash products on the market now.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Stylenomics // How to Clean and Care for Your Bras



I'm excited to announce, Stylenomics, a new feature talking about the nuts and bolts of grooming,  styling for your body by taking a trend or item of clothing and tailoring it to your style and body type and how to care for your garments and accessories. So let's get into it.

To kick off this new feature are four quick and easy tips on how to clean and care for your bras.

Tip #1: DO NOT PUT BRAS IN THE WASHER OR DRYER
They are are the quick and fast death to them. Bras, especially those of better quality, are made with more delicate fabrics that can't handle the rough agitation that results from them or the detergents normally used for clothing. All these factors encourage the fabric to fray and weaken and can result in bras losing their shape.

Tip #2: Hand wash your bras
Washing them too often can weaken and kill them faster too. How often  to wash can depend on what climate you live in. If you are in a humid location, you may want to wash your bras after every 1-2 wears. If you are in a drier location, washing every 3-4 wears may suffice. Many resources recommend that you wash your sports bras after every wear.

How to Wash Them
Use a gentle soap or baby shampoo in your sink, tub or a plastic tub with cool water. Depending on what colors are in your collection, you may want to wash them one by one to ensure there is no transfer of dye from the darker ones to your lighter color bras. If that is the case, wash the lighter color bras first and the darker ones last. I like to let them soak for a few minutes and then gently rinse them off with cool water and let air dry. You can lay them on a flat surface to dry or hang them dry. Either way fasten the back and reshape the cup, nipples out, so that they dry in the correct form.

*** While I am a proponent for hand washing them, you can wash them in the washer. I still think you kill them faster that way but should you opt out of hand washing them it's still  important that you put them in the washer on the gentle cycle and use a gentle cleanser. For more tips on how to wash bras in the washer, check out this article I found on the Huffinton Post. ***

Tip #3: Rotate your bras
I think every woman should strive for, at the very least, 3-4 bras in her collection to rotate out. Rotating bras gives the elastic in them a chance to recover so they will continually regain their shape and elasticity and will, in turn, last longer. If they are worn too much consecutively, the elastic will stretch out faster and loosen which will result in having to replace your bras more frequently.

Tip #4: Store them in a dry, cool location
This is pretty much a given. Most women store their bras in the top draw of a dresser. I've heard some that hang them on pants hangers in the closet. Always treat them like how you treat your clothing, you always want to store them in a clean, dry and cool environment.

Don't forget to check out the giveaway going on HERE for a chance to win approx $75 worth of eco beauty products.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hair Care Books // Natural Care for Curls & Kinks by Todra Payne + GIVEAWAY



GIVEAWAY ALERT! LEARN HOW TO WIN APPROX $75 WORTH OF ECO BEAUTY PRODUCTS AT THE END OF THIS POST. After you read the review, be sure to read at the bottom for more details.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fine Strands, Medium to Low Density Naturals Checking In

     Many associate afro texture hair with being Chary Jay thick and with lots of body but there are some of us, myself included, that don't have big and thick hair. Our hair strands are very delicate and tangle and break easily. Our density is medium to low/thin. Sometimes our hair care practices and strategies are a little different especially if we want to achieve long lengths and our styling techniques are a little different to achieve a fuller look. Over my four plus years of being natural with fine strands and medium density, I've learned that I have to be very deliberate and gentle with it. I'm still learning as I go but the longer my hair gets, the more I'm realizing fine hair naturals (with medium to low density) have different needs sometimes. I am going to be delving in on this area because there are a lot of us out there that want longer and healthier hair but don't know what different steps we may have to take to get there than our thick hair sisters. Below I share some fine hair naturals on Youtube sharing what works for them. You do not have to use the products they use but pay attention to their techniques and methods. You may be able to incorporate some of them into your routine.

Black Hair Chronicles
She has been a long time favorite of mine for a few years now. I enjoy her channel and relate to a lot of her hair experiences. In the video below, she shares a cute retro-inspired hairstyle that super quick and easy to recreate.


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SpicyEve on finger detangling fine, low density natural hair
I've tried finger detangling before and it was a HAM. I know now it was because the technique I was using (on oiled, dry hair), while it was great for someone with thicker hair strands, it wasn't great for my fine strands. After watching discovering this SpicyEve video, shared below, and the technique she used, I'm going to try it again because her hair looks strikingly similar to mine, small coils all over.





Friday, April 12, 2013

Rich Grls // The Budgetnista 30-Day Money Challenge



Happy Friday! April is financial literacy month and Tiffany Aliche of The Budgetnista created a 30-day challenge in celebration. I joined because I love money and learning ways to save it, share it, grow it and spend it wisely. You can follow my progress along the challenge on my Instagram page. It's not too late for anyone interested to join in on it. The tasks are simple, effective and inspire you to have a positive mindset about money. You can share your task results on Instagram and tag @thebudgetnista and #bmoneychallenge or leave comments under each assignment on her blog, www.thebudgetnista.com/blog. I like IG best because you have easier access to all your answers to the assignments and can review them all in one place on your page.

More money posts to come. I want our bank accounts to look as good as our hair, face and bodies do and for us all to be able to afford the lifestyles that we want for ourselves. AGrlCanMAC inspires wealth. Let's stop admiring the wealthy and BE the wealthy.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's Not Shrinkage, It's Hair Jump! Chicoro Celebrates the Super Powers of Afro Texture Hair

I love Chicoro's hair, her willingness to share proper natural hair care information among everyone and her positive outlook on caring for afro texture hair. I love that in this short video clip she did, see below, she chooses to remix how we think of "shrinkage" and inspires us to think of it as hair jump and be in awe of  this super power our hair has. Will you adopt the term hair jump? I know I will, it just sounds more fun than shrinkage. Subscribe to her channel if you aren't already and check out her book, Grow It!. I read it when I was newly natural and it positively influenced my hair care practices as my hair continued to grow to longer lengths. You can see my review of Grow It! HERE.



Please note, the site has a new sponsor. My Heavenly Closet is an online accessories boutique feeding only one occasion and obsession, looking good. If you love accessories like I do, they've got the "good good" in handbags, wallets and scarves and are ready to supply any kind of stylista's closet with fun and quality items to mix and match in their wardrobe.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

My Hair // Marley Twists



A co-worker is having a 90's theme brunch this weekend and last week yours truly was "requested" to be Janet Jackson circa Poetic Justice. I didn't want box braids so I opted for long Marley twists instead. My wonderful friend, Yaa, was kind enough to do my hair for me last Friday (thanks girl!). In appreciation of her generosity, I came to her place with wine, [Whole Foods 365] frozen cheese pizza and snacks in tow and we had a good time talking and figuring out what to wear for the Curl Box Ouidad event coming up this Thursday while twisting.



What I love about the Marley twists is that they aren't heavy like long box braids normally are. It was an adventure getting used to them but I think I am better in the swing of it now. I've been combing Youtube for hairstyle ideas because with all this hair, I need inspiration. I like them, just take some getting used to. A new, temporary look was in order. I plan to keep them in for a month so I am going to have fun styling them different ways. I will be sharing the different styles that I come up with or try out on Instagram and do a summary of them all once my month is up.


I ended up using 4 1/2 packs of Marley Braid hair from Freetress Equal. I bought the hair at a local beauty supply store (If you live in NYC, I got it from Beauty 35 in Manhattan. It's located on the corner of 35th and 8th) for $5/pack. Since my parts were large, it took about 2 hours or so to complete.


Are you doing anything different to your hair this month to change it up or give your hair a rest?

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Mixtress Chronicles // Sugar Wax Hair Remover



The Mixtress Chronicles are back! Today I'm sharing how to I made my own sugar wax for hair removal. The weather's finally starting to warm up and pretty soon it will be time to show the gams more. I am making the move from using an epilator to remove the hair on my legs and underarm area to waxing them. I figured that I am fully capable of waxing them on my own so I started researching the processes and waxes for at home use. Like many mass produced, commercial beauty products in stores across the country, there were a lot of preservatives in them and ingredients that I don't know what they are or that I didn't like. I always wondered if I could make my own wax and the universe brought the answer to my wandering mind.

Recently Fran of Hey Fran Hey created an awesome video sharing how to make your own sugar wax. She recommended using a candy thermometer and since I didn't have one and this was my first time trying it out, I found this basic recipe on eHow that didn't call for one. I put my own touch to it by adding 1 tablespoon of honey and 4-5 drops of Lavender essential oil. If I had had tea tree oil on hand, I would have added that to the mixture too (for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties).

Sugar Wax Recipe (adapted from eHow.com)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Brazilian Waxing // My First Experience + Serenity Beauty Spa Review

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Back in 2011, I said I was going to start Brazilian waxing. For financial reasons, I decided not to start just then. My major financial priority at the time was paying off my consumer debt that I had amassed in college and life post college. Waxing [in my book] is a luxury so I couldn't justify the monthly expense when that money could go toward paying off my debt faster. Fast forward to 2013, I am in a better place financially so last month I finally took the plunge.


The Spa Experience 

Based off of great review after great review that I read on Yelp, I went to Serenity Beauty Spa in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Almost everyone praised the esthetician, Irina, in the reviews and she didn't disappoint. She was very professional, skilled and fast. Since I told her it was my first time, she would periodically ask me if I was ok and assured me that the experience would be less and less painful as I continued getting it done (and become desensitized to it). The whole process didn't take more than 15 minutes. The spa itself is small but had a clean, modern industrial feel and decor to it. I'm very big on the energy that I get from people and places and this place had good and calm energy, so when I picked up on that upon walking in, I had a good feeling about the experience I would have. The room where I got waxed was very clean, neat, well lit and looked to be sanitized.  The staff was very nice and professional. I learned that they don't tax you for the service if you pay cash so when I go this month, I will make sure I take out cash to pay. The service was $45 (NOT including tax) and then I tipped about $10, a little over 20%, because Irina was very good and I appreciated her skill and professionalism. $55 for a Brazilian including your tip in that is not too shabby if you ask me. Other places I researched costed around $55 and went up from there, not including tip, so I think I made out.


Enough about the spa, did it HURT?!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Diva Cup Review UPDATES // Three Years Later



Three years ago I did a review on the Diva Cup menstrual cup singing its praises and three years later..... I still love it! Before the Diva Cup, I used tampons but they leaked so I always had to wear a pad still, I had to rock some serious "armor" once a month. That armor is now a thing of the past for me. I have also observed that since using the cup over these 3 years past, my flow is definitely lighter and is down to 4 days instead of 5. Day 5 is suuuuuper light so that's why I'm relunctant to give it any kind of shine. Pre Diva days, day 5 was a viable, full fledged day. Now not really. So on "day 5" I use a light pantyliner just in case there is any "residual" and that's that. Too much information? Come on, we're all girls here!

Check out my original post I did about the Diva Cup HERE. I did a very detailed review and a lot of readers commented and shared great tips.You can purchase this cup at Walmart, Whole Foods, local health food stores and online stores like Amazon.

Learn more at www.DivaCup.com

Stay naturally fly

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Monday, April 1, 2013

4C Flyness // 4C Naturals on Youtube You Should Know About

These four channels shared below are some beautiful ladies that are on Youtube holding it down for the 4C naturals.  They are inspiring and they freely share styling and maintenance techniques that work for them that you can try.

Jouelzy
This pretty lady has a fabulous head of hair and is not shy about sharing hair styling tutorials, products and techniques that work well for her as well as encouraging 4C naturals to accept what this type can and can't do and working with it to make you look your best.




LatifaTumi
I didn't know of this fly lady until recently and she shares some great information on what works for her hair texture.




MsTanish1
She's been a favorite of mine for years now and I've literally watched her hair grow to very long lengths over the years through her videos. She has attributed her length retention success to leaving it alone and finding creative ways to wear protective styles that decrease manipulation and keep her ends tucked away.




Chery818
I've had the pleasure of meeting this young lady in real life. She has wonderful energy and her videos do her hair no justice, it's just gorgeous. She has a boat load of hair and have developed some great techniques for getting her hair to thrive and retain length.



4C ladies, you have representation out there and if you feel like there needs to be more, consider doing videos. Just like you were once looking inspiration, there are others out there looking and maybe you can be of help to them.

Stay naturally fly.

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