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!

It's Been Two Week Since I Started the Curly Girl Method

Monday, July 15, 2019

Picture of curly-kinky hair

In my last post, I wrote about how I needed a change from my (long and exhausting) regimen. That Saturday, I started the Curly Girl Method and have been following it consistently since. Even though it's been a learning experience, I haven't had too much frustration (yet *knock on wood*), and reconnecting with my natural hair texture has been both refreshing and enlightening. Here is what I've learned so far.

My Hair Loves Moisture: Yes, I knew this before I started doing the curly girl method, but my hair really loves to be wet more than once a week. Cowashing in between washes has been very beneficial for my hair, and I've noticed that I've had less tangles and breakage because of it. I also haven't had much dandruff washing more often.

I Don't Need to Moisturize and Seal Daily: Because my hair is getting fully saturated multiple times a week, I don't need to moisturize and seal daily. This is great because it means I don't have to spend as much time on my hair every day.

Wash N Go's Can Work with the Right Technique and Product: I used to think I couldn't do wash n go's, but I've learned this isn't the case. I just wasn't using the right technique and product. Before, when I would do a wash n go, I wouldn't apply the gel up to the roots, which is important to ensure the roots don't tangle and mesh together. I also need a product with a decent amount of hold, meaning that I cannot use curling cremes.

Less Tangles and Shedding: I mentioned this above, but I have less tangles and shedding than before, which means less breakage. I am hoping to surpass my most recent plateau. Fingers crossed.

I Need to Learn Curly Hairstyles: It's amazing how inept I am at styling my hair like this. I am so used to stretching my hair, but when it comes to my own curly hair, I am just confused. I've been watching YouTube videos, so hopefully I can learn something soon.

If you want more updates on my journey doing the Curly Girl Method, check out my Instagram!

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

I’ve Been Natural for 10 Years and I’m Ready for a Change!

Friday, June 28, 2019

New regimen in progress header image

My 10-year hair anniversary is somewhere around the middle of July. I can’t believe I’ve been natural for this long. The journey has had its ups and downs, but throughout it all I’ve always learned to embrace and love my hair. But the last year and a half has been a struggle with hair care, and my overall beauty care, in general.

Being sick has stolen my energy. My usual weekend mani-pedis, monthly waxes, and 5-hour long wash days are just no longer an option for me. My self-care routine has turned into sleeping and making sure I take my medications. This has made me realized how bloated my hair regimen has become, and I’ve wondered if this process is even necessary for healthy hair.

And so, I’ve decided to try something rather radical for me: to strip down my regimen to (mostly) bare bones and see what happens. I’ll be adopting more guidelines from the Curly Girl Method. Washing with a gentle shampoo, cowashing in the middle of the week, no-heat, no silicones, and keeping my regimen as simple as possible. The goal is to reduce the amount of time I spend on my hair, and hopefully reduce the stress of caring for it.

I’ll say it now and admit that I’m a bit nervous. My wash and go’s aren’t as successful as I would like due to the different textures, curls, and shrinkage; but I am going to, at least, try it for a whole month.
This weekend, I will trim all my damaged, split ends; wash my hair really well with a sulfate shampoo to get rid of all the build-up and residue on my hair, deep condition, rinse, apply a leave-in conditioner, and gel. From then on, my regimen will be as follows:

Day 1: Hair Bonder, Wash, Deep Condition, Tea Rinse, Leave-In Conditioner, Gel
Day 2: Leave-In Conditioner, Gel (as needed)
Day 3: Leave-In Conditioner, Gel (as needed)
Day 4: Co-wash, Tea Rinse, Leave-In Conditioner, Gel (as needed)
Day 5: Leave-In Conditioner, Gel (as needed)
Day 6: Leave-In Conditioner, Gel (as needed)
Day 7: Co-wash, Tea Rinse, Leave-In Conditioner, Gel (as needed)
Day 8: Leave-In Conditioner, Gel (as needed)
Day 9: Leave-In Conditioner, Gel (as needed)
Day 10: Hair Bonder, Wash, Deep Condition, Tea Rinse, Leave-In Conditioner, Gel (repeat the entire process)

I will adjust this as needed, but it is rather simple, and I am keeping certain elements of my old regimen, like my hair bonder and my tea rinses. I will also be moisturizing my scalp as needed with a mix of rose water, glycerin, and tea tree oil. Oh! And no more oil…yeah, I am not sure how it’s going to work, but I am hoping I won’t need it to seal in moisture as much since I am wetting my hair more often. Again, I am a bit nervous, but I am ready for a big change. And who knows, I might find that this method is so much better for me than my current one.

As for products, the Curly Girl Method has a few simple rules: no shampoo, no silicones, no heat, no sulfates, no combs or brushes, and no alcohol. Of course, I’m not going to follow some of these rules. I already know that I need to wash to remove dandruff, but I will reduce how often. Second, I know I need to detangle with more than fingers, so I’ll be bringing back my handy-dandy denman brush to help detangle and clump curls. I am fine with letting go of everything else, even my silicones, which I’ve been using for years.

So, let’s see how this goes *fingers crossed.*

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

My Doctor Told Me to Take a Yoga Class? Which One Should I Take?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Yoga photo
Photo Credit: DVS Photography

When I teach yoga, one of the most frustrating things is when a new student comes in and tells me their doctor recommended they take yoga. While yoga is a great way to recover from any injury or improve mobility, not all yoga classes are created equal. While yoga is often stereotyped as slow and easy, some classes require a lot of physicality, and jumping right into one of those classes, especially if you’re a beginner, can be dangerous.

Before taking any yoga class, read the description of the class online or call the studio to ensure it’s appropriate for you. If you’re still unsure, here are some classes that are usually okay for those with injuries.

Hatha Yoga: Hatha yoga classes give you a good introduction into the most basic yoga poses; you will move from one pose to the next, holding a pose for, on average, a minute, giving your muscles time to settle in each pose.

Restorative Yoga: If you’re injured, a restorative yoga class is perfect for you. You will likely use a lot of props to support you in each pose, and most classes won’t have you on your feet for too long.

Yin Yoga: One of my favorite types of yoga, yin yoga focuses on myofascial release. Extremely slow paced, you’ll hold seated and supine poses for 3-5 minutes.

Most Beginner Classes: In most cases, beginner classes are fine for those with injuries. The classes will be slow enough and you will hold poses for longer. But there are some exceptions…

Which Classes Shouldn’t You Take

Ashtanga and Rocket Yoga: While I absolutely love ashtanga and rocket yoga, I would not recommend them for those who are injured. Both classes are fast-paced and require a lot of strength and flexibility. While those familiar with yoga are able to make necessary accommodations, if you’re new, you may struggle and feel obligated to keep up.

Hot Yoga: If you’re recovering from an injury, I would recommend staying away from any hot yoga class (including Bikram). Hot yoga classes allow the muscles to lengthen more than they normally would, which is great when you’re healthy, but with an injury could give you a false sense of safety to push more than you normally would.

And just a few more tips: make sure you tell the yoga teacher at the start of class about your injury or limitations, speak up if you are uncomfortable or in pain, and never feel the need to keep up with the class. The golden rule is that, even with an injury, you should always leave a yoga class feeling better.

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

Bantu-Knots, Braids, Culformers: Which Dries Hair Faster?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Bantu-Knots, Braids, Culformers: Which Dries Hair Faster header image

It's almost June! And with that comes another attempt at managing my hair in this humidity. I usually just two-strand twist and bun, but I want to try some new styles this year. If I sound like a broken record, it's because I've been on this journey for the past year and a half. I've also been regularly blow drying my hair this long too, and while I've found a way to avoid heat damage and breakage, I'm pretty much over how bloated my wash day has become.

As it stands right now, my wash day involves an hour long pre-poo, wash, condition, deep condition with heat, and tea rinse. If I want to shorten it, I nix the condition and just deep condition in the shower. But even when I'm on my game and getting through everything pretty quickly, it's still two and a half hours, and this is without the 45 minutes to an hour long blow dry. So I'm testing out ways to air dry my hair as quickly as possible with the most stretch. So far, I've narrowed it down to three techniques: two-strand twist Bantu-knot/ cornrow combo, braids, or curlformers.

Two-Strand Twist Bantu-Knot/ Cornrow Combo: It's a mouth full, but it's really quite simple. It just involves making 12-16 two-strand twists, wrapping them in Bantu-knots, and in the morning, undoing the knots, and making two cornrows with the twists. Having my hair in this many Bantu-knots actually allows them to dry pretty quickly (which is strange since Bantu-knots are known to take awhile to dry), but this style also helps stretch the roots. My hair is a little damp in the morning, so the two cornrows help to create a sleek, professional hairstyle, while allowing my hair to continue drying in a stretched state.

Braids: Braids are pretty self-explanatory. All I do is make 12-16 braids and let them air dry. With braids, there's no two-step process, making it overall less time, and braids are perfect to pin up so that I can do a head wrap. But the one downfall is that braids can take awhile to take down, making the style better for the weekend.

Curlformers: Ah, curlformers. I have a love-hate relationship with curlformers. They get the best stretch, they allow my hair to dry overnight, and I've gotten to a point where I can install them in 30 minutes. But I hate sleeping in them. It's doable, but it's uncomfortable, and if I'm really tired and I just want to get to bed as soon as possible, curlformers are almost always the worst option. I will be getting a set of waveformers soon, and maybe they're much easier to sleep in, but I'm not counting on it. Despite the sleep issue, curlformers still provide the best stretch and dry the fastest out of the three options.

So, as I said, curlformers dries my hair fastest and with the most stretch, but I've been doing the two-strand twist combo more often. Why? I sleep easier. The Bantu-knots aren't tight, so they bend pretty easily while I'm laying on a pillow. And unlike the braids, I can easily and quickly style my hair during the week day. All in all, they're a win-win. Here's to hoping I can spend the next 3 months without the blow dryer. Fingers crossed.

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

5 Alcohol-Free Hairsprays for Natural and Curly Hair

Monday, May 13, 2019

5 Alcohol-Free Hairsprays header image

Here we are again. Another spring moving into summer, and I have to contend with humidity. I've been testing out curling mousses, and I've started to gain an interest in hairsprays.

The most obvious issue is that hair spray contains alcohol and alcohol denat., which can be very drying for natural hair. Luckily, hair spray formulations have come a long way, and many brands are removing the alcohol to make them healthier for more textured hair types.

There's a lot of alcohol-free hairsprays on the market, but I found five that could easily work for curly hair. Oh, and one more thing to note, alcohol is added to hairspray for a reason, specifically to help the product dry as quickly as possible. Without that, there is potential to cause frizz, so it might be better to use hairspray to set the hairstyle, as opposed to spraying it on the finished style.

5 Alcohol-Free Hairsprays for Natural and Curly Hair


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

Gluten-Free Test Kitchen: General Tso’s Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Picture of gluten-free vegetable fried rice

Earlier this year, I found out I had celiac disease, and while the diagnosis was shocking, it did provide some answers to the difficulties I was having over the past few months. Thankfully, being diagnosed in 2019 means that I have a plethora of alternatives to the usual bread and pasta that was often seen in my diet. Unfortunately, Chinese take-out is rather hard to find at the grocery store, and I have gone to the kitchen to figure out how to get my fix.

My first gluten-free Chinese takeout experiment? My favorite of favorites General Tso’s Chicken and vegetable fried rice.

General Tso’s chicken has a special place in my heart. I wasn’t familiar with it until I got to college when Jenny, my roommate/ now friend, and I would order delivery. General Tso’s is both spicy and sweet, and super crispy. I adapted the recipe from Tasty, and I swapped out the flour for gluten-free flour (I got the King Arthur brand) and the soy sauce for liquid amino acids. The result was completely indistinguishable from my usual takeout.

Picture of gluten-free general tso's

I also made vegetable fried rice. This was a lot easier and faster than General Tso’s. If you made fried rice before, it’s the exact same, just using liquid amino acids instead of soy sauce. But sometimes, my vegetable fried rice can come out a little too salty. So, instead of eyeballing the recipe, I adapted a chicken fried rice recipe from Seonkyoung Longest, and I got perfectly delicious, perfectly seasoned fried rice.

Overall, the meal was very enjoyable, and my mom liked it too (she doesn’t always like what I cook)! While this celiac diagnosis is frustrating, I still can cook my favorite foods at home.

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

UPDATE: It's Been Awhile. Where Have I Been?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Image that says bye gluten

At the beginning of the year, after a three month hiatus, I finally came out to say that I was having a health crisis. Since then, I've gone through a lot of testing, and I finally have an answer...in addition to Crohn's disease, I have Celiac disease (or Coeliac disease for my readers in the UK).

For those who aren't familiar with Celiac disease, it is an autoimmune disorder where the digestion of gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, can damage the small intestine, which prevents nutrient absorption. The only treatment is a strict lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet.

It's been over a month since I got the official diagnosis, and it's still an adjustment. While there's a lot that I apparently can't eat, like bread, some have come as a shock, like soy sauce. But while cooking at home hasn't been so bad, eating out has been a struggle. My usual choices, like fried calamari, buffalo wings, ramen, and bolognese, are no longer options. And I have to communicate to my server that my food cannot come in contact with any wheat or flour.

But with all the changes, the pain has been slowly going away, and I'm starting to get back to my normal routine, like eating healthy, working out, and teaching yoga. And because Celiac disease affects digestion and nutrient absorption, which affects many other parts of the body, I may see some other benefits like more energy, less acne breakouts, and an improved mood.

All in all, while I'm a little apprehensive, the future is starting to look bright again.

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

Review: The Aquis Hair Towel is a Game Changer

Friday, February 8, 2019

Picture of a person holding the Aquis hair towel

2019. A new year, and of course, new hair goals. This year, I want to cut down on my heat use, specifically blow drying. Now, there is nothing wrong with blow drying my hair, and it's been a great way to prevent hygral fatigue since my hair can take up to two days to dry. But, at the same time, blow drying takes an extra hour of an already long wash day.

Last year, I tried various methods to air dry, which included blow drying a wash n' go with disastrous results (friendly reminder to myself that wash n' go's are a no go for me). I also tried regularly sleeping in curlformers, but I failed at committing to this weekly. There were a few times I gave up completely believing that blow drying was the only way to ensure my hair would dry in a timely manner. During all of this, I kept seeing ads for a hair towel on Facebook and Instagram. It promised that the towel would dry hair faster and more completely. I was skeptical; after all, I already had a microfiber towel, and it didn't do the best job at drying my hair. Plus, I thought my cotton t-shirt did a perfectly okay job. But eventually, my curiosity caught up with me.

I bought the Aquis towel the last week of 2018. I expected it to take a week to arrive, but it only took a few days. Unfortunately, I was at my mom's, and I wasn't able to use the towel until a few weeks later.

The first time I used the Aquis towel, I blow dried my hair. Surprisingly, the towel wicked more water from my hair than a cotton t-shirt, and I was able to cut down on drying time by half. I was impressed, but I still wasn't sure if the towel would do the same with air drying. A few weeks later, I washed my hair and just didn't feel like blow drying, so I put the towel to the test...and it worked! I did my whole wash process, wrapped the towel around my head for 30 minutes, moisturized and sealed, and made eight braids. In the morning, my hair wasn't completely dry, but it was about 70-80% dry (a cotton t-shirt would only leave it at about 50%). And by the end of that day, my hair was completely dry. It worked as promised!

I only have one critique, which is the shape of the towel. It's 19" x 52" (this is the long length), and I wish they had a square size. My hair does poke out a bit if I wrap the towel around my head, as opposed to turban-style. Of course, this is a very small issue, and it doesn't take away from its performance. And, while this isn't an issue for me, the price does range from $30-45, which may be on the high end for some people.

So, what's the final verdict? The towel is amazing! I totally recommend it if you want your hair to dry faster, or are trying to find ways to avoid heat.

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

It's Been Awhile. Where Have I Been?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

By now, I'm sure you noticed I didn't post much last year. Often times when this happens, it's an indication that the blogger doesn't want to continue blogging, but that is not the case for me. Unfortunately, last year was difficult. I've talked about living with Crohn's disease before, and last year, I started to have an active flare. It has been frustrating to say the least. I've been in constant pain that has gotten progressively worse, and I've had to stop doing things I love such as working out, teaching yoga, and even blogging.

Thankfully, there is an end in sight. I hope to get treatment in the next few months, and with that, I'll be able to get back to my normal schedule. I have a lot of really exciting plans for this blog, and I don't intend to stop anytime soon. In the meantime, if you want more frequent updates, you can find me on Facebook or Instagram.

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