Another Foam Rollerset

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Foam Rollerset on Natural hair
I've got a million and one foam roller set ideas, and this is the first I did on freshly washed hair...and I won't do it again, lol. It just takes my natural hair forever to dry on wash day (sometimes, it's not even dry with curlformers).

This was pretty simple in terms of steps; I washed and conditioned my hair like normal, applied Giovanni direct leave-in, sealed with my oil mix, applied Jane Carter Wrap and Roll, and finished with some aloe vera gel. Then I put a roller on that section of hair. I used a total of 50 rollers. They were pretty easy to sleep in. On the second morning, I took them out and applied some olive oil to my hands and removed each roller, and separated the curls. It last for 2 days, and on the third day I put it in a bun. 

4 Ideas for an Easier Meal Prep

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Salad in a Jar
This is why I stay on Pinterest. I've never thought of this, but it would be perfect when I want to cut down on space in my bag and take my salad to work. Everything is in a nice, little jar to be shaken up and eaten later. 
Source: letslassothemoon.com

Cooking Eggs in a Muffin Pan
I love eggs for breakfast, but let's be honest, making them every day is very tedious. Cooking your eggs in a pan not only allows for you to make a bunch at once, but they can be customized by adding ham, spinach, kale, bacon, or really anything else your heart desires. (I would recommend using cupcake papers for easier clean up.)
Source: www.seedsnow.com

One Pan Meal
Of course there are one pot meals, but there are also one pan meals. Season some meat and veggies, throw it in the oven, and you've got a week's worth of dinner already prepared.
Fromt the post "What's to Eat this Week" on October 7, 2014

Freeze Smoothie Ingredients
Another reason why I stay on Pinterest, I, for some odd reason, never thought about cutting all of my fruits and veggies and putting them in the freezer. It would cut down on all the time it takes to cut them every morning. 
Source: tidymom.net

Pins of the Week | Amazing Natural Hair, Mascara, NYC, and Gold

Monday, April 27, 2015

Natural Hair: This week's pins of the week have to start off with this amazing natural hair pic. I love the curls and the fact that she still has some texture in her roots. 
Source: Pinterest

Mascara Tip: If you can't tell what's going on in this pin, she is putting mascara on the top and underside of the lashes. This helps them to look thicker and longer. Such a genius idea!
Source: Pinterest

Indoor Garden: I really want to start an indoor garden, and this is a great idea. Just take some used scallions, put them in water, and they regrow.
Source: Pinterest

NYC: I still really want to move to NYC. One day I will, one day...
Source: Pinterest

Decor Swatches: I am going to finish redoing my apartment, and I love the top and bottom swatches. I definitely want gold in my apartment.
Source: Pinterest

Fitspo: Women lift, enough said. I just love this pic!
Source: Pinterest

Salad Recipe: Great salad idea for the week. And with cantaloupe in season, it's even better!
Source: Pinterest

Lightening Natural Hair without Chemicals

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Guess what? You can lighten hair without any chemicals. I know, I know, it sounds too good to be true...and actually, it is. While you can in fact lighten hair with chemicals, it is not consistent among individuals (meaning it could work for someone else, but not you), you aren't guaranteed the color you want, and it could take awhile to see the desired results. But, it's a great alternative if you're not expecting much. I've lightened my hair with both honey and maple syrup (neither intentional).

Honey
Lightening Natural Hair without Chemicals | Honey
The most common natural method to lighten hair is with honey. I lightened my hair this way because honey was used in my leave-in, and I didn't realize it could lighten hair so drastically. Honey left my hair this odd, amber brown color. As you can see in the picture, it even looks like a dark blonde (if that makes sense). I stopped using honey because I wasn't so thrilled with the color, and I felt like it washed me out. There are a few ways to lighten hair using honey including with baking soda, lemon, and peroxide. The only thing you really need is water because water activates the peroxide in honey; for me, it was activated by adding the honey to my conditioner. I used it daily because it was my leave-in, but you should see results using it weekly as well (it could just take longer to see results).

Maple Syrup
Lightening Natural Hair without Chemicals | Maple Syrup
I lightened my hair with maple syrup when I was washing with baking soda. I used maple syrup because I didn't want my hair to lighten like I did with honey. Welp, it did, but on the positive side, I actually like the color that maple syrup leaves behind. It's a maple brown (reminds me of the color of maple syrup), and it doesn't actually color all of my hair, but leaves highlights mostly visible in the front. To lighten hair with maple syrup, mix it in water or your conditioner similar to honey, and use, at least, weekly.

Sauces and Marinades | Flavoring food without calories

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Whenever I recommend healthy eating tips to people, I always hear the same song, "but I like my food with flavor," or "baked chicken doesn't taste good." Honestly, these are cop out excuses because eating healthy can be quite delicious. Marinades and sauces are great for adding flavor to healthy food with only a few calories (just make sure you don't overdo it on the sauces). Depending on the marinade or sauce, you can add it to beef, pork, chicken, lamb, seafood, and even vegetables and grains.

Chimichurri Sauce: If you've never had Chimichurri sauce I recommend you do; it's a very refreshing and zesty sauce that's light in calories but rich in flavor. It works best on steak and chicken.
Source: bourbonandbrownsugarblog.com

Homemade BBQ Sauce: Everyone should know how to make homemade BBQ sauce. It's actually very easy, and you can put it on red meat, chicken, and even use it as dressing for a salad.
Source: www.gimmesomeoven.com

Honey Garlic Sauce: Honey an garlic is a great combination and imparts a lot of flavor. This sauce works best on fish, scrimp, and chicken.
Source: ifoodreal.com

Homemade Sriracha: For all my spice lovers, Sriracha is a Thai sauce that uses chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. You can add it wherever you like heat (meat, eggs, and even vegetables).
Source: food52.com

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce Recipe - This is another sauce you should learn how to make. Hailing from Japan, Teriyaki sauce works well with many different meats, seafood, vegetables, and even grains like rice. 
Source: www.tasteandtellblog.com

Weekly Round Up | April 20: Beef Jerky, Cracking Knuckles and Microwave Cooking

How I Use Curlformers on my Natural Hair

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Source: www.curlformers.com
The Extra Long and Extra Wide Styling Kit
 
I bought my first set of curlformers in 2011, the long barrel curl set to be exact. My first attempt at using them was horrible. I didn't really understand that my hair couldn't be soaking wet with product, so they didn't dry by the time I woke up in the morning. I tried using them again a year later (yup, it took me that long to revisit them, lol), and that experience was a lot better.

Curlformers stretch natural hair removing the kinks and curls with no heat (so long as you air dry). The first and second try will be a bit frustrating, but you will get the hang of it, which makes the install faster and easier. And, I will be honest, they aren't that easy to sleep in, but I've found that sleeping on an airplane pillow makes it a lot easier. It still isn't the best night sleep, but it's more tolerable.

I don't use curlformers as a style as much as I do to prep for a style. They're also great at stretching the roots. At night, I will do my wash routine, detangle each section, and install the curlformers. In the morning, I take the curlformers out, and two strand twist my hair. Two strand twisting has multiple purposes. First, if my hair is damp, two strand twisting will prevent my hair from reverting. Second, it helps to stretch my hair just a little bit more, and lastly, it removes the curl from my hair (remember, I use them to prep for a style, not as a style).

How I Use Curlformers for natural hair
The before and after of my curlformer install. Notice how stretched my hair is on the right side. You can see the perm rods in the left picture, I will be getting another curlformer kit soon, lol.

Whenever I am ready, I remove the two strand twists (sometimes I wear them the entire week as a protective style), and I style my hair as I see fit. My hairstyles are always great when I stretch first with curlformers.

10 tips for getting bikini ready for Memorial Day Weekend

10 tips for getting bikini ready for Memorial Day Weekend

I love Memorial Day weekend! It is the unofficial start of summer, and the short-shorts and bikinis are out in full force. I'm always super gung ho to get really fit during the last month before Memorial Day weekend, and this year is no different. Since I know that I'm not the only one, I am sharing my tips and tricks for getting bikini ready for Memorial Day weekend!
  1. Combine Cardio with Weights: This is one of the fastest ways to lose fat and increase muscle (and no weights won't make you bulky). Each day, devote 20 minutes to cardio and 10 minutes to lifting, and you will start seeing results in only a few short days.
  2. Track what you eat: Last week, I posted about the app My FitnessPal. Not only does it track your calories, but will also calculate your calories based on how much weight you want to lose (or gain). If you don't want to get the app, write down everything you eat in a journal. Tracking what you eat will keep you more accountable.
  3. Workout for at least 30 minutes: I am learning a lot studying for my personal trainer certification, and one thing that has stuck with me is that it takes, at least, 20 minutes for the body to start burning fat. Adding in the extra 10 minutes will help you burn more fat each day.
  4. Eat carbs: Another thing I learned studying for my personal trainer certification is that you need carbs. Like really, don't remove carbs from your diet. They provide energy, and they are necessary for the body to function. Your body will even break down muscle into carbs (in a process called gluconeogenesis), which isn't good. Now, I'm not saying eat potato chips, but some complex carbs will go a long way (like brown rice or sweet potatoes).
  5. Stretch: People forget about stretching, but it's necessary to prevent injury. You don't want a setback this month, so make sure you stretch after each workout.
  6. Make your workouts fun: Burn out happens to even the most elite athletes, so add a fun element to your workout, twice a week. A dance class or a hike is perfect. You want to get a workout in, but you don't want it to feel like a workout.
  7. Have a cheat Meal: Generally people have a cheat day, which can actually derail your progress if you go all out. Instead, allow yourself 3 cheat meals a week. Use it for a happy hour with coworkers, brunch with friends, or a date. You won't feel as guilty, and it's easier to get back on track.
  8. Set Goals: The overall goal is to look bikini ready for Memorial Day weekend, but it's important to set smaller goals during this time as well. Try to do 100 push-ups one day. Or spend a week getting your mile run under 10 minutes. The smaller goals will keep you motivated.
  9. Reward yourself: Rewarding yourself will also keep you motivated. You don't want your rewards to be food related, but try something like purchasing that new pair of shoes you've been eying. Or going on a mini-vacation.
  10. Keep Going: After Memorial Day is done and you've had your fun in the sun, keep going. Continue to workout and eat healthy. This way you'll look good regardless of the day, time, or season!

Easy DIY Hair Refresher

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Easy DIY Hair Refresher
A braid out, I used the my easy DIY hair refresher with Giovanni Direct Leave-In and aloe vera juice

There are a lot of hair refreshers on the market, and honestly, I think they aren't really needed because it's so easy to make your own. Just take your favorite moisturizer and put some in a spray bottle. Add water or aloe vera juice, shake, and voila! An easy DIY hair refresher.

I love using Giovanni Direct Leave-In or Kinky Curly Knot Today. You can use any leave-in and even conditioner. You can customize your hair refresher by adding essential oils, and if your hair is super dry, add some honey or maple syrup (it really works, trust me, it may lighten hair though).

Style Obession | Tulle Skirt

Monday, April 13, 2015

I've been obsessed with tulle skirts for the last couple of months, prompting me to purchase one from Boohoo. They're so feminine and look perfect for a date. I've been going in overload pinning them on Pinterest, and I am getting a ton of outfit ideas.

This tulle skirt is similar to the one I purchased on Boohoo, except mine is black. This is a cute, casual way to wear one.
Fashion Obsession | Tulle Skirt

Full and fabulous. I love this skirt. Looks like a modern day princess.
Fashion Obsession | Tulle Skirt

I have only been able to find tulle skirts in neutral colors, but I would love one in a royal purple like this one.
Fashion Obsession | Tulle Skirt

Dainty and sweet. I would definitely wear this outfit on a date!
Fashion Obsession | Tulle Skirt

This outfit is perfect! A crop top and a tulle skirt! And it shows the perfect amount of skin. Classy, feminine, and sexy all in one.
Fashion Obsession | Tulle Skirt

Weekly Round Up | April 13: Mug Cakes, Fitness Bloggers, and Indulgent Pasta

Budget Makeup Storage Ideas | The Budget Decorator

Over 100 exercises to incorporate in your workout

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I have a pretty extensive exercise list, and it helps in creating interesting, variety workouts that keep me from plateauing. I think it's a list worth sharing. The list includes exercises from calisthenics, plyometrics, body-weight, dumbbells, and dance.

Love this list? Check out my Exercise List page, it includes the exercises here, and will be continually updated with new exercises!

Cardio

Full-Body
  • Jump Rope
  • Running
  • Skating
  • Jumping Jacks
  • High Knees
  • Burpees
  • Heismans
Arms
  • Clap push ups
  • Jump side-to-side push ups
  • Jump in and out push ups
  • Punches
  • Arm circles
Legs and Butt
  • Squats
  • Squat with leg raise
  • Wide leg squats
  • Sumo squats
  • Lunge
  • Walking lunges
  • Diagonal Lunge
  • Side-to-side squats
  • Uneven squats
  • Plie squats
  • Closed leg squats
  • One-legged squat
  • Squat jumps
  • Plie squat jumps
  • Side-to-side squat jumps
  • In-out squat jumps
  • 180 squat jumps
  • 360 squat jumps
  • Wide leg squat jumps
  • Sumo squat jumps
  • Lunge jump
  • Box jumps
  • Long jumps
  • Skaters
  • Front kick
  • Side kick
  • Round kick
  • Back kick
  • Side-to-side hops
  • One-legged hops
Abs
  • Standing Ab twists
  • Ab twist hops
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Tricep kick ups
  • In and out plank jumps
  • Side-to-side plank hops
  • Plank jacks

Strength

Shoulders
  • Shoulder press
  • Front shoulder press
  • Arnold press
  • Side lateral raise
  • Front raise
  • Bent over lateral raise
  • Behind the neck press
  • Punches with dumbbell
  • Pull apart
  • Internal rotation
  • External rotation
Biceps
  • Bicep curl
  • Reverse curl
  • Concentrated curl
  • Hammer curl
  • Wide grip curl
  • Close grip curl
  • Overhead curl
Triceps
  • Tricep kickbacks
  • Tricep dips
  • Tricep push ups
  • Overhead tricep extension
  • Lying down tricep extension
Chest
  • Bench press
  • Push ups
  • Side-to-side push ups
  • Walking push-ups
  • Uneven push-ups
  • Wide hand push-ups
  • Close hand push-ups
  • Renegade row
  • Y Raise
  • Dumbbell fly
  • Arm pull over
Legs and Butt
  • Squats
  • Squat with leg raise
  • Wide leg squats
  • Sumo squats
  • Lunge
  • Walking lunges
  • Diagonal Lunge
  • Side-to-side squats
  • Uneven squats
  • Closed leg squats
  • One-legged squat
  • Plie squats
  • Plie squats on tip toes
  • Plie with closed legs
  • Plie with closed legs on tip topes
  • Lunge on tip toes
  • Deadlift
  • Standing kickbacks
  • Standing diagonal kickback
  • Donkey kicks
  • Glute kickbacks
  • Diagonal glute kickbacks
  • Fire hydrants
Abs
  • Crunches
  • Double crunches
  • Side crunches
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Plank
  • Side plank
  • One-legged plank
  • One-arm plank
  • Star plank
  • Supermans
  • Swimmers
  • V-ups
  • Wiggles
  • Russian twists
  • Standing twists
  • Shimmy twists
  • Hip bumps
  • Hip lifts
  • Hip drops
  • Hip circles
  • Rib slides
  • Rib circles
Back
  • Back flys
  • Bent over row
  • Bent over lateral row
  • Upright row
  • Lateral pulldown
  • Seated row
*There are tons of variations and many of the exercises target other muscles.

Navigating the Natural Hair World

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

From then to now. I've learned how to care for my hair.

In only a few short months, I will have been natural for 6 years. The experience has been wonderful to say the least, but I remember when I cut off my hair. With a fresh fade, I was thrust into the natural hair world forced to navigate all of the regimens, DIY products and curl puddings. It was overwhelming, to say the least.

I remember when I began research on going natural. I thought I was doing a lot of extensive research, but really I was only scratching the surface. I perused some pictures, looked at basic regimens, and learned about a few different product lines. When I cut my hair off a couple weeks later, I realized that the research I did wasn't even basic. Of course I have to clean my hair. Of course I have to style my hair. These were necessities. I didn't know about protective styles or anything beyond a braid out. So once all of my relaxed hair fell to the ground, I was in for a real wake-up call.

The first few months were easy...although, it was stinky. I made my own shampoo from a mix of castile soap, olive oil, and neem oil. And if you know anything about neem oil, it stinks a lot. But I put up with it because it has a lot of great qualities for the hair and scalp, including healing eczema and softening hair. I only used shea butter as a leave-in, and it worked well. And styling was a breeze.

During this time, since I didn't have that much hair, I did a lot of research on natural hair. I would peruse sites like Black Girl Long Hair, Curly Nikki, and Naturally Curly. I began to make a list of anything that was worth writing down for when my hair was longer; I wanted to be prepared.

You can see the product in my hair. As you can see, I threw out the notion that less is more.

During my second year natural, I finally had enough hair to begin to style and test products, but at the time, I didn't know that I was subjected to information overload. I remember I spent an entire Saturday looking at DIY leave-in videos on YouTube. By the time I shut down my laptop, I didn't know what to do. Which oil was better? Olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil? Was glycerin good to use in the winter? And should I use products with silicones? I tried everything...all at once, which in hindsight wasn't the best idea. I mixed together olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, shea butter, glycerin, and some conditioner and used it to moisturize my hair. And I used a lot. After all, these vloggers and bloggers told me that natural hair was dry and to use a lot of product.

The fluffy fro. I didn't know what other hairstyles worked for me.

I also was learning how to style my hair. At the time, I was only wearing my hair in a fluffy fro. I would watch braid out and twist out videos every night, following the directions to a tee. I went to bed hoping my hair would look perfect, but when I undid my twists in the morning, I was disappointed. It looked nothing like the style I saw the night before. I hadn't learned that my hair was an individual, and the same techniques that work for one person, wouldn't work on me. So eventually, I believed that my current style was the only style that I could have. The fluffy fro would be the style that defined me.

There were moments when I was almost sure I could never be the natural with a blog. Nothing worked for me, and my hair was, well, boring. Regardless of what I tried, my hair just wouldn't morph into that gorgeous style that I drooled over in the pictures or in the video. I was the fluffy fro girl.

I started to get. This was a twist out that actually made me happy.

By the time the summer rolled around, I had a few weddings to go to, and I wanted my hair to look great. I didn't want the fluffy fro. I began to try something different. Taking what I learned from all the videos, I began to tailor each of the steps to work for me...and what do you know, it worked. Twist outs, braid outs, and bantu knot outs were being recreated just for me. I also began to streamline my products. I was realizing that I didn't need a cornucopia of oils and products just to moisturize my hair, and I surely didn't need globular amounts of product for a small section of hair. And most importantly, I didn't need the smell of neem oil to waft around me.

At a wedding, this twist out was a success (though the humidity deflated it a bit)

As I entered my third year natural, my regimen began to drastically evolve. I began to understand my hair as an individual, not a recreation of my favorite YouTuber or blogger. I began watching videos and reading blog posts differently. The information I was receiving were like puzzle pieces; I had to pick through all of the advice, information, tutorials, and videos and find what worked for me and put it together. Slowly, I began to really learn about my hair. Before, I was trying to fit my hair into my perceived box of natural, when instead, my products and techniques should fit my hair, not the other way around. And I was natural regardless of my regimen, not because of it.

I look back on those years bittersweetly. It's an experience that changed my life. There was so much to learn and look forward to. But I don't miss the frustration and confusion. And I surely don't miss the anxiety of what my hair could be, I now know. And, I did become that girl with the blog.

Short on Time? Try a 5 Minute Workout

As the saying goes, a short workout is better than no workout. I've been there; either I woke up really late or have a lot of errands to run, but I still don't want to miss my workout. When this happens, I just get a quick workout in, no more than 5 minutes. It can be anything - cardio, yoga, weights - but as long as I get it in, I know that I made every attempt to workout for the day.

Find yourself strapped for time? Try these workouts below. And when you actually have time to get a full workout in, they can be combined for a great, full-body 20 minute workout.

The 5 Minute Workout | FroBunni

The 5 Minute Workout | FroBunni

The 5 Minute Workout | FroBunni

The 5 Minute Workout | FroBunni

5 Fitness and Health Apps to Have on Your Phone

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Stop, Breathe, Think app
I've only and this app for a few days, but I love it! A meditation app, it focuses on different themes to meditate on like "Mindful Breathing," "Gratitude," and "Kindness." All of the mediations are under 10 minutes, and there is also a self-medication mode. The app is free and includes in-app purchases. 

Pinterest app
My obsession with Pinterest should be apparent by now, but because I have this app, I have gotten rid of a lot of my recipe and workout apps. Almost anything I wan tot be inspired by is at my fingertips, from workouts, to home decor, to cityscapes, to even resume tips. The app is free. 

MyFitness Pal app
I go off and on for using MyFitness Pal, but it really is great for tracking what you're eating and how much exercise you're getting. I use when I want to be really strict with my diet and stay within my caloric limit. The app is free.

Sleep Pillow app
Offering soothing sounds like the crackle of a fireplace or the splashing of a creek, it helps me fall asleep quickly. And with over 50 different sounds, there's a sound for whatever mood I am in. The app is free, but offers an upgrade for a fee.

IntervalTimer app
As you know HIIT and Tabata workouts are my butter and bread when it comes to fitness, so an interval timer is necessary. This app allows me to create and save my intervals for workouts, and even better, their recent upgrade allows for complex intervals. The app is free, but offers an upgrade for a fee.

Fruit and Meat Recipes for Dinner

I don't eat carbs for dinner. I could give some fancy, fitness-y answer, but really it's because carbs make me sluggish if I'm not really doing anything. So I usually eat something like chicken and broccoli or a salad(cliche, I know). But recently (courtesy of my healthy snacks post), I discovered that meat and fruit pair so well together. I've been looking for a few recipes to try and came across these. They look so good and are perfect for trying something new for dinner.

Source: www.wholeliving.com

Source: www.myrecipes.com

Source: leitesculinaria.com

Source: www.realsimple.com

Source: www.realsimple.com

Source: www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com

Weekly Round Up | April 6: Fitness, Home Decor, Beauty, and Strawberry Drinks

HIIT Yoga Workout

HIIT Yoga Workout

Short on time, but want a yoga routine and cardio workout? Try this great HIIT Yoga workout! I did it twice last week, and not only does it leave me sweaty and breathless, I still get some great yoga poses in. Try it this week!

Getting the Perfect Manicure | A Review for Sally Hansen's Dries Instantly 30 Second Top Coat

Source: www.sallyhansen.com

Take two for getting the perfect manicure. After my post last week, I washed the dishes and ended up smudging my manicure (-_-). Despite waiting 20 minutes, by the time I started washing dishes, they still weren't dry enough to withstand any level of abuse. I knew I needed a quick drying top coat so that I wouldn't have to wait the entire day for my manicure to dry. So on Friday, I headed to Ulta to see what I could find.

When I got to Sally's I went to the makeup aisle and finally got some NYX Simply Vamp Lip Cream in She Devil and Bewitching, but that's a post for another day, lol (but get ready for my first lipstick swatch post). After that, I walked over to the nail aisle and looked around for some quick-dry top coat. Since I've used Sally Hansen products before, specifically the hair removal products and the Miracle Gel Top Coat with great results, I decided to go with their Dries Instantly 30 Second Top Coat.

Later on in the day, I decided to make another attempt at a manicure. I am noticing that I am getting better at painting my nails, especially the right side (thus proving that practice makes perfect). I used the Dries Instantly 30 Second Top Coat as a bottom coat, applied the nail polish, then the Miracle Gel Top Coat, and finished with the Dries Instantly 30 Second Top Coat. I sat still for about 10 minutes to let my nails dry. While I didn't wash any dishes, I did fiddle with the clasp on my shoes and to my surprise, my manicure was still intact. Then I washed my face, and my manicure was still good. It's been over 24 hours now, and my manicure still looks like it was done 5 minutes ago. I am very happy with this quick-dry top coat, and soon my manicures will look like a professional did it. Hooray!