Review: TIJN Eyewear

Friday, October 11, 2019

TIJN Eyewear

Earlier this year, I needed some new frames after I wore my Warby Parkers into the ground. While I enjoy buying new frames, the experience can be pretty frustrating. I like large, quirky, hipster frames that are too big for my face, and that is hard to find. Warby Parker is my go-to, but I recently started seeing a lot of ads for a company called TIJN Eyewear. I’m always reluctant to buy frames from an unknown company, especially one that is relatively new and bombarding my Facebook and Instagram with ads, but their frames were exactly what I was looking for. So with a little hope, I bought a pair of the Maaike frames, and…well…there’s a reason I stick to Warby Parker.

The Good

First thing’s first, TIJN has a lot of fashionable, hipster frames. This is, after all, why I gravitated towards the brand. They have a lot of fun, cool eyeglasses that I couldn’t find anywhere else, and for that, I was willing to take a leap and see if the hype was really worth it. I will also say, the lenses themselves came out fine. There were no scratches or blurred spots, and for prescription lenses, this is key. Unfortunately, this is where the good ended.

The Bad

The frames are cheap. The gold was flimsy. The pink plastic was hard and brittle. It just wasn’t really a frame I could expect to last long, and even worse, they were completely un-adjustable. This is what really made the glasses disappointing. A cheap frame is one thing, I can wear it on special occasions or when I’m just sitting in my apartment, but the glasses are completely unwearable when they continually slip off my face.

The Ugly

TIJN has a non-refundable policy for prescriptions and blue light blocking lenses, so I can’t get my money back. I knew this going in, but I decided to try, nonetheless. This isn’t exactly what is so ugly about the brand. It’s actually the customer service, or lack thereof. TIJN is more concerned with making a sale than keeping you as a lifelong customer. When I sent the email asking for a refund, I got an ill-formatted stock response that didn’t even acknowledge my name. And while this isn’t unique among similar companies that randomly pop-up on social media, compared to Warby Parker, it’s just more apparent than usual. I should’ve known this was the case when I noticed them ignoring other upset customers on their posts, but I was so enamored with the frames, that I ignored it. And yes, I will acknowledge this is my fault, but it doesn’t sting any less.

Wearing TIJN Eyeglasses

Final Verdict

I’ll be honest and say these glasses are good if you don’t have prescriptions and wear them solely for fashion. They’ve got a lot of unique frames and they’re relatively inexpensive. I actually recommended them to my brother who likes to collect glasses like I like to collect hair accessories. But for those who need to see and need their frames to be both fashionable and durable, skip them. You’re better off with more well-known brands, or at least a company that offers refunds.

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

5 Breakfast Smoothies to Start Your Day

Friday, September 20, 2019

Image of a apple and berry smoothie

I love smoothies. They're a great way to start your day with some fruits and vegetables, they're quick and easy, and with a few tweaks, they can make for a complete meal. Here are my five favorite breakfast (or whenever smoothies) smoothies.

For each recipe, wash and chop the produce, if necessary, add ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Tropical Sunshine
1 mango
1 cup of pineapple
1 kiwi
1 cup of liquid (water, milk, non-dairy milk)
3oz of silken tofu, almonds, or 1 scoop of protein powder

Apple Berry
1 apple
1.5 cups of mixed berries
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup of liquid (water, milk, non-dairy milk)
3oz of silken tofu, almonds, or 1 scoop of protein powder

Green Monster
1 cup of spinach or kale (kale has a more grassy taste)
1 pear
1 banana
1 cup of liquid (water, milk, non-dairy milk)
3oz of silken tofu, almonds, or 1 scoop of protein powder

Strawberry Cheesecake
2 cups of strawberries
1 cup of coconut milk
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of almond extract
3oz of silken tofu, almonds, or 1 scoop of protein powder

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup
1 cup of banana
1/4 cup of oats
3 dates
3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBSP peanut butter
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

Review | Primal Pit Paste Stick Deodorant and Charcoal Tooth Powder

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

I received free products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced by the company.

Some time ago, I had a reaction to Dove deodorant that caused an intense itching sensation under my arms. Long story short, it led me to a natural alternative called Primal Pit Paste. I talked about this on the blog, and since then, the deodorant has become a regular in my morning routine. Because I love it so much, and it actually works (I still hold firm that many natural deodorants do not), I often recommend it to family, friends, and those trying to get away from more conventional deodorant brands.

If you remember (or just read) my original post, you'll see that I picked up the deodorant in a jar. As much as I praise this deodorant, the fact that it's in a jar tends to turn people off. But no worries! Primal Pit Paste also comes in a stick. All you have to do is place it on your skin for five seconds to warm it up, and then you can use it like you would any other stick deodorant. It's that simple!

The deodorant comes in many different scents. I am quite partial to Jasmine, but there is also Coconut Lime, Lavender, Lemonade, Mellow Matcha, Orange Vanilla, Rockin' Rose, Seaside, Wild Woods, and Unscented. They also have a baking-soda free version for those with extra sensitive skin.

Since I did my original review, Primal Pit Paste has really expanded beyond deodorants, and they now have bug repellent, tooth whitener, lip balm and much more. Now, if you've used typical tooth whitener, you, like me, may be really sensitive to hydrogen peroxide, the main ingredient in conventional tooth whitener. It does a great job at whitening teeth, but it can also make teeth really sensitive, which is exactly what happens when I use it. In fact, it can take a whole month before my mouth feels like normal (and in the interim, I am grimacing whenever I eat or drink hot or cold foods and beverages). Because of this sensitivity, I've read a lot about natural ways to whiten teeth, such as oil pulling and activated charcoal. So, seeing that Primal Pit Paste had Charcoal Tooth Powder, I totally had to try it.

According to the directions, you use the Charcoal Tooth Powder three times a week, and then move to once a week for maintenance. Because I am an avid coffee drinker, I decided to use it for two weeks to really help remove the stains. The end result? I'll be honest and say I personally didn't notice anything, but I did get compliments on my smile from two people last week and my mom noticed a whiter smile. Often times we are our own worst critics, so I will chalk that up as a win. I may need to use it longer to see results myself, but the fact that others notice does make me smile.

While I have been an avid and long time fan of their deodorant, I am happy to see that Primal Pit Paste is expanding and putting the same effort into delivering natural products that work beyond expectations.

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

Can Anyone Grow Long Hair?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Can Anyone Grow Hair header

Whenever I make a post about growing long hair, there’s always the inevitable comment about genetics. I don’t respond to these comments anymore because they always take up more energy than I care to devote, and if someone is committed to believing that genetics is standing in the way of long hair, then so be it. The problem with their comment, and truthfully, much of my own statements and blog posts, is that the answer is complicated. Very complicated.

Can Anyone Grow Long Hair?

The short answer is yes, but it depends on your definition of long. Can anyone grow hair that is bra-strap length, or around 12-14 inches. Yes. Can anyone grow hair that is down to their knees? No. On average, hair grows around ½ inch a month, 6 inches a year. This is an average and based on a study that had poor methodology (few participants, no controls), so take it with a grain of salt, but for most people, they can expect to grow between 4-8 inches of hair a year, and retain, at least, half of that with good care.

So, what does this mean? Well, it means the average person can expect to reach 12-14 inches of hair within 1.5 to 3 years. “I disagree, it’s about genetics.” *Sigh* Yes, and here is where the simplified genetics comment is interjected. Yes, genetics does play a role in how long your hair will be (as well as speed of growth, density, thickness, porosity, and texture), but genetics also plays a role in how you should take care of your hair. And just like genetics can create thousands of possibilities, so too are there thousands of ways to take care of one’s hair. So, whenever someone pops up with this statement and follows with “I’ve done everything and my hair hasn’t grown that long,” the reality is they haven’t done everything because everything is infinite.

If There’s Infinite Ways to Care for Hair, How Do I Find the Right One?

And here is where the quagmire lies. With infinite possible regimens, and only so much time on Earth, and even less patience, if someone doesn’t see growth, they’ll usually just give up and say, “it’s genetics.”

Hair growth, or should I say length retention since that’s really what we’re talking about, requires hair to be moisturized and strong (moisture-protein balance), and requires keeping breakage and damage at a minimum. And this means different things to different people. For one person, it could be braids for a month. For another person, it could be low buns and the greenhouse method. For a different person, it’s wash n’ go every third day. And those are just three examples. Now, let’s add in other factors like products/ ingredients (some people respond well to shea butter, others don’t), time (some people have a lot of time to devote to their hair, others very little), and money (some people have a lot of money for trial and error, others have the money for hair stylists to figure it out, and some don’t for either).

As you can see, you really can’t say if genetics, particularly your hair’s inability to grow to a certain length, is preventing your hair from reaching 12-14 inches in length.

But What if I Use Rice Water (Chebe Powder, Castor Oil, or any other grow long hair quick product or ingredient)?

Let’s go back to the beginning of this post where I clarified “it depends on your definition of long.” When I say anyone can grow long hair, I mean anyone can grow 12-14 inches of hair with the right care for them. Not anyone can grow 40 inches of hair by using [insert ingredient de jour]. Once you start getting to around the waist, your moving more from the genetics of how your hair responds to care to the genetics of hair length. View super long hair length (hip length and beyond) like being a professional athlete. Yes, anyone can develop and hone their skills, but there are a select few who can excel naturally.

My issue with how rice water, Chebe powder, and the like is that they are portrayed as panaceas to hair care. I see this all the time on social media when someone asks a hair question. Hair breaking? Rice water. Dry hair? Coconut oil. Short hair? Chebe powder. The answers to these questions are actually more complicated than a single solution, and providing a solution when you don’t even know someone’s regimen isn’t actually helpful anyways.
But Wait, There Are Pictures of Women with Long Hair Using Chebe Powder. Isn’t That Proof Enough?

The short answer is no, and the long answer is no. Take for example the Chebe powder video. It’s a single video of one woman having Chebe powder applied to her hair. The narrator says that the women say the Chebe powder grows hair, but that’s not strong enough evidence to know for a fact that it grows hair (and no, those same 3 photos that go around aren’t either). Now, please understand, I am not saying she is lying or trying to mislead people. What I am saying is that this narrative isn’t strong enough to determine if Chebe powder is the reason for long hair or something else (I personally think it’s a mixture of genetics and the way they wear their hair). A single video and a few photos does not prove that Chebe powder is the all-powerful hair grower, especially when there are YouTubers who use it and don’t have the same results.

To know if Chebe powder really was responsible for growing super long hair, there would need to be a scientific study. There would need to be, at least, 30 participants (and even that is a bit too small of a sample size), a control group, an outlined way to care for hair (and remember what I said above about the infinite ways to care for hair), and it would have to be repeated successfully many times to ensure Chebe powder is responsible for hair growth. As you can see, it would get complicated fast. (If you want to know what makes a good study, beyond hair growth, Chebe powder, etc., this is a really good article to read.)

And before I step off this soapbox, please understand I am not saying that Chebe powder offers no benefit, or that you shouldn’t include it in a well-rounded regimen, what I am saying is that chebe powder (rice water, next “miracle” product) ALONE will not grow your hair to super long lengths. That is genetics. (And to be honest, it probably won’t even grow your hair 12-14 inches if that’s all you’re using.)

So, What Does This All Mean?

I’m going to be honest and say I’ve had the privilege to care for my hair and grow it to this length, and being in the natural hair game for over 10 years, I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers, vloggers, and influencers with similar or longer hair lengths have too. It’s not easy, nor quick, and little things can really give you an advantage (time, money, location, school or work culture, looser textures). Genetics definitely plays a role in growing hair, but genetics to how your hair responds to care is more important. So, before you tell someone just going natural or struggling to grow an inch of hair with no regimen, please consider holding off on telling them it’s just genetics…unless, of course, they’re trying to grow their hair to the floor with Chebe powder.

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

24 Black-Owned Satin-Lined Bonnet Companies

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Image of 24 Black Owned Satin Lined Bonnet Companies

Unless you’re completely new to natural hair, you know the importance of wearing a satin-lined bonnet or scarf to bed (or sleeping on a satin-lined pillow if you hate sleeping with something on your head). They help hair retain moisture, compared to cotton which wicks moisture from the hair, as well as keep hair from tangling and knotting when asleep.

A common sentiment I see is to purchase silk instead of satin. This is misinformed because satin just refers to the name of the weave, and silk is type of raw material produced by silkworms used to make fabric. Satin can be made from many different types of fabrics, such as silk, polyester, nylon, and wool.

And while you can buy a satin-lined bonnet or scarf from any retail store, those are generally poor quality and won’t last but a few years. I personally like to buy ones from smaller companies because they are better quality, thicker, and last a lot longer.

(If it's not clear from the timing of this post and the current conversation surrounding bonnets, I'm basically using my platform to promote black-owned bonnet companies. If you want a more comprehensive list or you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out this article from Shoppe Black to which I had the pleasure of contributing.)

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!