Daily Archives: December 10, 2012

Curly Nikki’s Better Than Good Hair

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I pre-ordered my copy of Curly Nikki’s Better Than Good Hair!!! See!!!

betterthangoodhair_3BetterthanGoodHairrcpt1

And, I have a BIG announcement?!¬†I’m FEATURED IN IT!!! How cool is that?!?!

Have you pre-ordered your copy?!?! You know you wanna ;)!

CurlyNikkiGiveaway(Click pic for details on how to enter the giveaway and enter for your chance to win a Nook Color or iPad mini! I just did! ūüėČ

Coconut Oil Body Whip

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coconutoilingredients

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been struggling with excessively dry skin. I’m talking about the type of dry where the skin is ashy, cracked and hurts because it’s so tight! Even after slathering on body butters, lotions, oils … still dry as the Sahara, ashy and hurtful!! I know that the change to cold weather results in less humidity and dryer inside air caused by heated cars and houses.¬†However, I also know that I didn’t experience this last year and, I think that a large part of it was related to my lack of water consumption over the last two months (which I rectified 2 weeks ago).

Regardless of my water issues, I was still getting aggravated that the natural oils and butters weren’t helping the situation. It seemed to me that they just sat on top of my skin rather than penetrating to moisturize it. And even leaving water on my skin before applying the oils and butters to seal it in didn’t seem to work! It seems that the only thing that provides any lasting relief (meaning through the work day) was my Vaseline Intensive Care. But, I’ve been trying to get away from commercial products with parabens and synthetic ingredients and incorporate more natural products into my skincare. ¬†So, I have decided to try something that I love with all my heart for hair and that Wei uses religiously for his body (he calls it, “juices and berries,” and his skin is like butta!! *lol*). You guessed it!! COCONUT OIL!! (It really wasn’t too difficult to figure out, was it? *lol* ;))

The weekend before last, I scoped out organic unrefined virgin coconut oil (VCO) on sale at my local health food store. It was far cheaper than the same brand at my local Shop-rite. So, we hit up the spot this past Saturday.

coconutoilonsale$14.99 for 29 ounces!!

Yeahhhh … we got two. LOL. Next, I went to the essential oil (EO) section and as I looked for something that might mix well with the coconut oil. I have lavender, rosemary, cedarwood and thyme EO at home, but those were not scents that I relished. As I was perusing the offerings, a store clerk asked me if I needed any help. I told her that I was looking for an EO that would work well in a body oil made with coconut oil. I also told her that I like citrusy smells (I was holding tangerine EO), but I know that some EOs can be irritating to the skin. She then proceeded to recommend maychang. I’d never heard of it before, but took a whiff from a tester and loved it! I was sold and after picking up a few more things, including lunch, we paid for our goods!!

On Sunday, I pulled out my dusty mixtress cap and got to work (if you can even call it that!). First, I scooped out some coconut oil and filled up a 1/2 c. plastic container. Then, I microwaved a cup of water and dumped it into a pot into which I placed the plastic container.

coconutoil_meltingThe burner is NOT lit.

After several minutes, most of the oil melted and I poured it into a small travel bottle. I added about 4-5 drops of the Maychang EO, shook up the bottle and then repeated the process to make a full bottle of scented body oil.

coconutoil1Halfway done!

Now, the thing is, coconut oil goes hard at room temp or colder. Out of habit, Wei always throws his bottle of oil in the shower with him to melt it. But, I know that I will forget to do that and end up being mad and frustrated as heck trying to get it melt when I’m trying to get out the door for work. Well, fortunately for me, I came across this post on Saturday:¬†RevitaliseYourHealth.com – 25 Magical Things to Make with Coconut Oil¬†(Note: registration may be required). It had links to all of these great coconut oil recipes for body, hair and health!! The first was a super simple recipe was for a coconut oil “whip” that the writer made to deal with the issue of coconut oil hardening! It only contained¬†1 required ingredient (coconut oil, obviously ;)) and 2 optional ones! I was SOLD!

via Living The Nourished Life

What you need:
1 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional)
a few drops of your favorite essential oils for fragrance (optional)

What to do:
1. Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl. (You do not have to melt the coconut oil first.)
2. Mix on high speed with a wire whisk for 6-7 minutes or until whipped into a light, airy consistency.
3. Spoon the whipped coconut oil body butter into a glass jar and cover tightly. Store at room temperature, or in the refrigerator if your house is so warm it melts the oil.

I had my coconut oil, my vitamin E capsules and my EO! So, I pulled out my woefully unused electric hand mixer and got to work. I threw in the cup of coconut oil, the oil from five 400 EU vitamin E capsules, and about a 1/4 c. of shea butter … just because. I set the time on my microwave for 7 minutes and whipped the ingredients on medium to high. The oil and shea butter blended quickly and easily and the 7 minutes flew by. Once I was done with that, I added about 6-7 drops of the maychang EO and blended for another 30 seconds to a minute.

coconutoilwhip

Next, I had to find a glass jar in which to store my lovely whip! All I had was plastic containers! But then, I thought of a source!! I asked Wei to open the fridge and found two small old jars, one filled with pesto (8 oz.) and the other with minced garlic (4.5 oz) that could be discarded. We washed them out with soap, water and then a little white vinegar to kill the smell. I opted to use the bigger pesto container … one, because it was big enough to hold all of the whip; two: because it didn’t smell like garlic *LOL*.

So, now I’m going to admit that I fibbed a little earlier when I said that I hadn’t done ANY Christmas shopping. You see, as I was making the whip, I had a ¬§¬§¬§Brain Blast¬§¬§¬§!!

What a great homemade gift for my 12 direct employees!!! It’s practical, useful, personal, creative and smells good!! But, I needed more small glass jars … and not repurposed ones!! LOL! So, I posted the first pic on IG and asked for ideas on where I could find them! I got lots of great suggestions and decided to go with small mason jars from Walmart or Ace Hardware. I found four packs of 8 ounce mason jars at Walmart for less than $4 each. But, the jars and tops were wide, so I decided to hit Ace to see if their jars were a little smaller in diameter. Well, I found 4 ounce jars in a 12 pack for $8.49 instead! PERFECT!! So, I got those for the gift body whips and plan on returning all but one of the 8 oz. jar 4-packs (I’ll keep one box for my own personal use ;)).

masonjars24 oz. jars on either side; 8 oz. jar  in the middle

Finally, I got another really cute idea from a young lady on IG and I have some other “additives” for the mixes. But, I don’t want to give it all away! So, you’ll learn the end results of my little DIY Christmas gift project when I finish it! Or, if you just can’t wait, you can read the comments on the IG post¬†here¬†and figure it out ;).¬†But first things first, I need to pick up some more coconut oil!! I learned that I might be able to get a better deal at Trader Joe’s, so I may go there or order it on Amazon! Hmmm, any other suggestions (This would be a good addition to I Found It Cheaper, right?).

Now, wish me luck that now that I’m drinking enough water, my new coconut oil and whip will work to keep my skin moisturized and supple!!

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Do you use coconut oil on your body? Have any advice to maximize the benefits and/or a great recipe to share?

Bunning Challenge Week 4: Going Straight

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braidedpony

Hair

Okay … so, let me put this out there right out front. I cheated. I did NOT wear a bun 5-6 days last week. Yes, I know. Shame on me *sheepish grin*. But, in my defense, because my hair was straight, it didn’t get all matted at the neck and tangled like it does when it’s curly! And, despite the fact that it RAINED off and on ALL week, my straight hair held up amazingly well!! I also didn’t completely abandon the challenge ;).

So, let me figure this out. I pre-pooed and washed my hair on Sunday to set it into two braids. I wore a braided bun on Monday for work.

Monday
photo 3-5

On Monday night, I¬†flat-ironed¬†and placed my hair in a single mid-height bun for bedtime. This resulted in a “beach waves” look that I wore to work the next day.

Tuesday
beachwaves

On Tuesday night, I set my hair in two buns when I got home, a high one and a low one, to provide more waves. So, I wore my hair out again the next day.

Wednesday
beachwaves_day2 

On Wednesday and Thursday night, went back to the single bun after work. I didn’t take a decent pic of my hair Thursday. But Friday morning began with loose beach waves that I promptly placed into a twisted ponytail for the work day.

Friday
straighthair_fri
twistedponycollage

I wore the same twisted ponytail to run errands on Saturday as it was still nasty and wet out. When we got home, I placed the pony into braid that I bunned and wore to bed. On Sunday, needed to head back out to for more errands and decided to re-set the braided ponytail and loop it into a bun. Good thing, because it was REALLY raining Sunday!! Ughhhh!!

Sunday
braidedponycollage

I really liked the braided looped pony, so very well may be wearing that today as I’m not washing my hair again until this weekend. Gotta get two weeks out of the straight hair at least ;).

So … you’re probably wondering what products I used on my hair while it was straight, right? Well, y’all know I have a ton of stuff sitting around. No? You didn’t know that? Well, let me show you.

PJStash1_Dec2012 This isn’t even all of it. Time for a meet-up and product swap! #dontjudgeme

Anywho, so because I have all of this, I’m not really consistent in what I use. The pic in the upper right hand corner is what sits on my sink though, so I tend to grab whatever’s handy and catches my eye from there. My hair started to feel rough on Tuesday night, so I grabbed one of my new faves:

SM_rawshea_reconstructive_elixir

OMGosh!!! ¬†This Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Reconstructive Elixir¬†is like liquid gold for my curly or straight hair!! Maybe it’s the argan oil?!?!

Ingredients: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea butter) oil*, Argan oil, Vegetable Squalene, carrot oil, macadamia nut oil, Isopropyl Myristate, avocado oil, castor oil, Sebacic acid, sea kelp extract, essential oil blend, Lonicera Caprifolium (honeysuckle) flower and Lonicera Japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) flower extract and Tocopherol (vitamin E). *Denotes certified organic ingredients.

I “discovered” ūüėČ this the Tuesday following Superstorm Sandy when I hung out at the house of friends who had power!! So, the female friend is natural and a PJ like me and we’re always talking hair and products. She was away, and while the cat’s away, the mouse will play!! When I went into the bathroom for a quick potty break, I saw it sitting on the shelf and remembered her telling me how good it is! Well, I spritzed a little of this on my hair and felt it soften immediately. But, that evening and the next day? It felt even better! So, I knew that I had to find some and picked it up a couple of weeks ago. Well, after I straightened my hair, I decided to use it again when my hair felt hard. Then I read on the bottle,¬†“Recommended for use following heat styling to seal cuticle.” Shoot! Wish I read that Monday night! So, I applied it to my hair before bunning on¬†Tuesday night and woke up to soft, lustrous hair on Wednesday. Yes!! It was as good as I remembered!! (Note: As it could be easy to over-apply, I spritz it into my palm and then smooth it down my hair.)

The other two things that I used pretty consistently were Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter (CD HHB)¬†and Sof n’Free Nothing But Mold and Hold Wax¬†to moisturize, smooth and hold my edges. Although the CD HHB has water as the first ingredient, when I apply it and tie down my edges, it doesn’t make my hair revert. I don’t know if that will be the case for everyone. But, I’ve used this on my straight hair for years and it’s always worked for me. I started using the Mold and Hold Wax on my edges earlier this year and it also works very well for me. It’s very thick and heavy, but not wet, so a little goes a long way. It also doesn’t flake on me or leave my hair hard, caky or sticky if I apply with a light-hand. Since it has dimethicone, it does require a shampoo to remove. But, a sulfate-free shampoo with coco betaine, like DevaCare No Poo, will suffice.

So, that’s about it on the hair front! It’s enough, right???

Operation “Get Right”

In health and fitness news, I’ve lost about 3.5 pounds in 2 weeks. I slacked and only did C25K two days last week, Wednesday and Saturday. On Saturday, I did do Lauren Brook’s 12 minute Full Body Blast Kettlebell workout before hopping on the treadmill. On both days, I placed my straightened hair in a bun and wore a Dri-Sweat Fit Cap.

drifitcap

The wide band worked well to absorb the sweat on my face and keep it from reaching my hairline while the mesh cap allowed my head/scalp to breathe, so that it wasn’t sweaty! I was very pleased that I was able to preserve my straight hair without the need to apply heat again. With the dri-sweat fit cap and my terry-lined shower cap keeping my hair dry, all I had to do was just apply a little product at night and tie my hair down with a satin scarf for bedtime and repeat in the morning and I was good to go.

Although I didn’t exercise as many days as I should have last week, I ate well all work week and made certain that I took my supplements every day. I had more starchy carbs over the weekend than I should have, but they were healthy ones and not really junk, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. I even had Chinese on Saturday night and Sunday for lunch. But, I “healthed” it up by having steamed broccoli and shrimp on brown rice with a drizzle of 1 packet of soy sauce and 2 packets of duck.

broccoliandrice#nomnom

On Saturday, I picked up some healthy snacks at my local health market. Got these Back to Nature Sweet Potato and Cinnamon crackers that are only 130 calories, 3.5 grams of fat (0 sat.), and 2 grams of fiber for 20 crackers (mmm mmm good!)!! I also picked up some Blue Diamond Wheat & Gluten free Nut-Thins with Flax Seeds with the same amount of calories, fat and fiber for 13 crackers. I LOVE getting a satisfying amount of food for a small amount of calories!!!

In regard to the upcoming week, I need to get back on track with C25K. I have to do day 3 of week 2 and all 3 days of week 3 this week. No biggie except that I have two long days in Trenton. That’s the same thing that happened last week and a 2 hour commute each way always drains me of the energy to workout when I get home.¬†But, I need to push through it as 30 minutes isn’t going to kill me. In fact, what I need to do is get on the treadmill instead of the computer in the morning and #JustDoIt!!¬†I also have a holiday lunch on Friday, so I’m going to try to be strong and order a healthy salad (dressing on the side) and/or a lean cut of meat with veggies!

Alright, this post has been SUPER LONG!! Guess that’s what happens when I’m recapping a whole week … and that’s not even all of it ;)! I’m saving something for another post later today!!

Lata Luvs!!
‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

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So, let’s try this again! What’s up ladies?!? How’s the bunning challenge going for you guys??
What about Christmas shopping? Started? Finished? I haven’t done ANY! I am not a fan. *lol*