Category Archives: Healthy lifestyle

“Thank God for the Bad Ol’ Days!”

​”​Like a plant that starts up in showers and sunshine and does not know which has best helped it to grow, it is difficult to say whether the hard things or the pleasant things did me the most good.​”​ ​–​Lucy Larcom

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Have you ever heard someone say “thank God for this horrible day/week/month”?

Or someone refer to Monday as their favorite day of the week?

It’s in our nature as humans to complain.

It’s normal to not be grateful when something bad happens to us.

Yet, we can change our perception and the way we go through a bad time in our lives.

It’s beneficial to change one’s perspective on bad days because they are inevitable. So your mindset is the only thing that will limit bad days.

Here is my guide to turn “bad days” into “growth days”:

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1. FIND REAL “PEACE OF MIND” 

People think being at peace means a comfortable life with no worries. However, life never calls us to be comfortable. We are never promised a life with no hardships. Everyone has struggles or moments of discomfort. It is actually in that discomfort that change, growth and greatness happens. We are pushed to take risks and go outside of our “comfort zone” in order to be great.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us –they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.” – Romans 5:3-4

People often preach that they enjoy being pushed out their comfort zone, but do they really? We are pushed outside our comfort zone often, but people usually complain about it instead of embrace it. The truth is getting pushed outside of comfort zone is not that inspirational, it’s annoying, it disturbs our definition of peace, which is a stress-free life. Living “stress-free” is an illusion. But we can live a less stressful life–and that begins with YOU.

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Francesca Reigler 

REAL PEACE OF MIND is trusting yourself, and trusting God, that everything will work out in your favor despite discomfort, despite your hardships and turmoil. When you build a better relationship with yourself and a better relationship with God, you start to take the right risks, you believe that the bad days will one day work in your favor.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown

2. EMRACE BEING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Risks are uncomfortable. Taking the right risks are those which may not bring you peace at the moment, your intuition might even be in turmoil– but the right risks will bring your heart, mind, and soul peace in the long run.

“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

It is easier to take risks when we are young. The older we get, the more comfort we desire. We live our lives chasing comfort– the perfect job, dream house, and the perfect husband or wife, not realizing that life will throw you curve balls in order for you to grow. We never stop growing, therefore we will always have new challenges and obstacles.  Growth is essential for greatness. Growth is what brings a fulfilled and purposeful life.

“Life’s challenges aren’t supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”- Bernice Johnson Reagon

3. BE FEARLESS

You can’t fear. You can’t fear death. You can’t fear love. You can’t fear hurt. You can’t fear having a bad day. Because all these things are inevitable so why fear them? Fear only hinders you from living.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Hellen Keller

The day you become fearless (not YOLO kind of fearless but nothing can stop me from being great type of fearless) is the day you start to live a full life. 

“My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” – John 10:10

4. FIGHT THE FEELING OF SELF-PITY

Loathing in self-pity, makes you miss out on the good opportunities. When we drown in self-pity we block things like love and happiness, which makes us miss them when love and happiness do come along. Trusting that God is working in your life is like finding new self- confidence and strength.

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

5. HELP OTHER PEOPLE WHEN THEY’RE HAVING A BAD DAY

How can you make someone else’s life a little better?

It often makes us feel good when we do good to others. A lot of people suggest to volunteer when you’re having a bad time. Because GIVING makes you feel good. Put your heart in it. Positivity has this ripple effect that comes back to you.

“We rise by lifting others.” – Richard Ingersoll

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SO SMILE! YOU’RE HAVING A BAD DAY!

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Embracing the bad days does not necessarily mean be happy that you’re having a bad day, it’s having the peace of mind by knowing that your struggles will bring about something great. We can’t live life playing it safe. We can’t go through life numb. We have to experience life. Enjoy both the highs of life and the lows of life. Live passionately. Be humble. Be bold. Forgive those who hurt you. Learn from your bad days. And you’ll see that it is easy to be thankful for the bad days. Enjoy every. single. moment. of every. single. day. Life is teaching us many lessons. 

“Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

My Big Three: Best Teeth Whiteners

I debated whether to name this blogpost the “Best Natural Teeth Whiteners”, but I realized that these three products have whitened my teeth better than any product out on the oral hygiene market. I’ve tried everything–whitening strips, whitening mouthwash, and whitening toothpaste. All were effective for a couple of days, but the results were not mind-blowing. It is also so expensive to keep up with all of them that I would quit after I finished with the products and go back to my regular toothpaste.

Now with all these whitening products coming out on the market and taking over every celeb’s Instagram, I thought, there has to be a natural way to whiten your teeth. There is!

After some research I stumbled upon these three natural, effective, and inexpensive whitening methods. You may have one or two in your home already!

BIG THREE FOR WHITENING TEETH NATURALLY

  1. Coconut Oil – You may have heard of a method called “oil pulling” where you swish around coconut oil in your mouth for around 20 minutes before you brush your teeth. I tried it and it works! Coconut oil pulls all the toxins from your mouth and improves your overall oral health. Tip #1: Start from 5 minutes a day then work your way up. Tip #2: Do it at night. Tip #3: You can swish and do something around the house so the time can go by quicker. Tip#4: Do not gargle.
  2. Activated Black Charcoal – I use this on top of my toothpaste. This actually works best because of charcoal’s natural properties. It takes all the toxins from your mouth and whitens your teeth with its first use! Warning: This may get messy. Also: Make sure it is all natural. You can also mix with water to get rid of toxins in your digestive system– stomach bugs, food poisoning, etc.
  3. Pure Backing Soda – I use this on top of my toothpaste. It removes surface stains to make teeth appear whiter.

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I switch off using these three methods and products. Very easy and effective, and not burning a hole in my pocket.

Let me know of any whitening methods/products you use, I will add it to this post!

*Disclaimer: I don’t drink coffee everyday. I don’t drink red wine everyday (but I love red wine). This may or may not disrupt your whitening goals. You can think of alternatives to both; I drink coffee and red wine in moderation.*

#DIY: Learn How To Make Coconut Milk!

My mom is a “Do It Yourself” guru. She showed me how to make fresh coconut milk, and it honestly tastes better than any other watered-down coconut milk I’ve purchased in stores. It’s also cheaper!

We made a ton of coconut milk because we met a fruit vendor who was willing to give us 10 coconuts for one dollar! Thank you New York City and the power of negotiating bargains. Either way coconuts are pretty cheap, and one coconut makes a lot of milk! I documented my mom teaching me step by step with my camera, so there are a ton of pictures for an easy “how-to”! So follow the steps below and go make some yummy creamy coconut milk!!!!!

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What you need:

A coconut

Water

A blender
Drainer

A bowl

(Agave or vanilla extract if you wish to sweeten)

Container or jug to store the milk in the refrigerator (Glass container recommended for longer shelf life)

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DIY: Coconut Milk

Step 1: Take a knife and poke open the three holes in the coconut.

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Step 2: Pour out the coconut water into a glass. (Save the water for later).

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Step 3: Hit the coconut right in the middle with a hammer or meat tenderizer. It will crack open pretty easily.

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Step 4: Pieces of coconut will start to break apart. For the big chunks, slice them into smaller chunks, small enough so it can blend nicely.

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Step 5: Add the coconut pieces and the coconut water into a blender. (If you drank the coconut water like we did because we couldn’t help ourselves, you can use water to blend).

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Step 6: Blend. A puree and what is now coconut milk will form.

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Step 7: Drain out separating the pulp and the milk.

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Then you’re done! Yum yum fresh natural coconut milk!

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Step 8: (optional): For creamier milk you can blend any extra coconut pieces with the first batch of coconut milk. Repeating steps 5-7.

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Creamier coconut milk! Yum! Yum!

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Step 9: (optional): Add vanilla or other sweeter and stir for sweetness coconut milk.

Step 10: Store it in a bottle or container and refrgirate.

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Coconut Milk Uses:

-Smoothies and protein shakes. My favorite green smoothie is coconut milk, pineapple, kale and a banana. Tastes like a green piña colada!

-Baking, cooking.

-Body or face rinse: Pour over your body in the shower. It softens your skin.

-Body exfoliating scrub: Brown or organic sugar, milk, a few drops of lavender essential oil.

-Face exfoliating scrub: Brown or organic sugar, honey, coconut milk, two drops of lavender essential oil. Softens skin and gives you a nice glow.

ENJOY! 

#GoNatural: Skin Care Routine: Sharing Chemical-free Products for Your Face

Do you ever become anxious just browsing the face cleansers’ aisle at Target? Or spend time looking for the perfect face cleanser with the same desperation as teenagers who just experienced their first breakout?

Skin care can be complicated.

giphy I never suffered from acne, but I would have the occasional bad breakout (especially during that time of the month). I also noticed my face sometimes would be dry after washing with a harsh cleanser or would just look dull without makeup. I wanted that glow without makeup. The glow I thought only existed with my Instagram filter can actually be achieved in a natural way. After some research I found that most of those commercial cleansers are actually really bad for your skin, the harsh chemicals strip your face completely from its natural oils. That’s when I started implemented natural products (with less or no chemicals) on my skin and I’m seeing a huge difference. More importantly, I love how my face looks without makeup! The fewer toxins on your face the better, and it’s good to take a few days with no makeup to really let your skin breathe. So before the wrinkles hit full force, take good care of your skin!

I’ll share some of my favorite natural skin care products:

 1. Jojoba Oil

IMG_3758 Jojoba oil is my bedtime buddy. I use jojoba oil as a cleanser/ makeup remover. Jojoba oil is the most similar to the natural oil that our body produces. It does not clog pores but opens them up and gently cleanses them. I use a dime size amount of oil all over my face and rub in circular motions (I spend more time on my eyes if I have mascara and eyeliner and all that good stuff). Then I rinse with warm water (more hot than cold, but not hot enough to burn my pretty face off). Then I dab my face dry with a clean washcloth. It’s important to use separate washcloths for your face to avoids breakouts!

2. Chamomile oil/olive oil combo (also pictured above)

This is another badass makeup remover! I use it when I have lots and lots of makeup because it melts everything away quicker, however I spend more time washing the oil off my face. You might have heard of this routine as “Oil cleansing”. People are skeptical when using oil to clean there face, but the oil pulls all the junk off your face without making it dry. I have semi-oily skin but this method actually makes my face less oily as the day goes by.

DO NOT USE COCONUT OIL, IT CLOGS PORES.

A great alternative to oil cleansing is a gentle cream cleanser that won’t strip your face of its natural oils and won’t dry out your face. I usually pack Neutrogena’s new natural line; I use their cream cleanser/makeup remover as my cleanser while I’m on the go traveling or put it in my bag to remove my day makeup before the gym. It has a ton of natural oils and removes all my makeup off without drying out my skin. (FYI: I tried the entire line and the cream cleanser/makeup remover was the only product that worked for me).

3. Witch Hazel

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After oil cleansing, I use an alcohol- free witch hazel with rose water and aloe as a toner. It removes any extra dirt, closes my pores and leaves my face feeling clean and refreshed. I go alcohol-free because alcohol dries out my skin a lot. The next step is a small drop of jojoba oil as my night serum. When I wake up the next day my face does not need to be cleansed again, I just wash it with warm water, use the witch hazel toner again to close my pores and use a SPF moisturizer. IMG_3760

4. SPF Moisturizer

I’ve sworn by Aveeno SPF 15 face moisturizer since 2005. I wear it all year round. I just use one pump each time and the bottle lasts me a long time. For the sun-blazing summer days I use a SPF 30 lightweight moisturizer called Healthy Defense by Neutrogena. SPF is so important for skin health!!!

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For Deep Cleansing:

4. Indian Healing Clay

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You can mix it with organic activated charcoal, apple cider vinegar, or simply water to make a deep cleansing mask. It clears blackheads, acne, and blemishes, basically magic in a jar.

Other recommendations

I asked my friends on social media for their favorite natural skincare products and I wanted to share a few responses.

Oil cleansing: Other suggested oils were Sesame oil, Almond oil, Grape seed oil, Pure Organic Argan oil.  

African Black Soap: Great for face and body. Helps treat acne.

Apple Cider vinegar: Helps treat acne.

Coconut-based activated charcoal: For facemasks, as a teeth cleanser, to wash your fruits and veggies, there are a hundred and one ways to use activated charcoal.

Coconut Oil: For you skin, hair, food, and teeth, there are a billion and one ways to use coconut oil. I use coconut oil for a technique called “oil pulling”. I swish coconut oil in my mouth for about 10-20 minutes before I brush my teeth to whiten teeth and improve oral health. This is part of my bedtime routine.

Aluminum-free deodorant: Warning I’ve tried many different deodorants, not all work, but Lavilin (pictured below) seems to work the best and has gotten great reviews online. The only thing is that you will have to reapply a few times during the day to keep the funk at bay. Still, it does a great job keeping you fresh!

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I think it’s important to invest on the health of your skin. There are many natural products out there. Spend time browsing Whole Foods beauty aisle. (Then go to Amazon for a cheaper price). Your skin deserves it. You deserve it!

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For your entertainment, here are pictures of me with the Aztec healing clay mask, it cleans out my face completely without drying it… nature’s magic! ✨ IMG_3821 IMG_3823 Feel free to share more of your favorite natural skin products with me. I will keep updating this post!

#CurlyHairTalk: Washing Curly Hair: Co-washing, Clarifying, & Conditioning

For washing your curly locks conditioner is your best friend, harsh chemical-filled shampoos are the enemy. The best way to show a little TLC (tender, love and care) to your curls is by co-washing during the week, and washing with a sulfate-free shampoo and using deep conditioning treatment once a week.

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THE ROUTINE: WASHING MY CURLY HAIR 

~ Curly hair flourishes when moisturized. Cleansing conditioners is one of my staple products. I co-wash during the week, around every two-three days, sometimes everyday. Co-wash as often as you like but keep in mind that your hair is the most fragile when it’s wet. Allow your hair time to dry completely before washing again. P.S. there is also a such thing as over-conditioning, so if you’re co-washing everyday and your hair starts to feel spongy or even mushy, you’re overdoing it.

~ I use a No-Poo Shampoo (conditioning shampoo) as my weekly wash to cleanse a bit more. However this is NOT the same thing as co-washing. If it says shampoo it’s a shampoo, so it’s a little harsher on your curly hair.

~ Because I added a cleansing no-poo shampoo to my regimen I only clarify about once a month (sometimes I clarify every 3 weeks depends on how my hair feels). Product buildup can weigh down curls and make them lose definition.

My routine works for me. It’s is important to have a routine that works for you and your hair type. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you have the right products for your personal curly hair routine.

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 Here are some of the products I use:

I. MY FAVORITE CO-WASHING PRODUCTS

1. As I Am Naturally Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner 

I love the smell. I love how my hair feels after: soft and tangle-free. It’s also a pretty big jar for around $8. Available at Target, CVS, Duane Reade, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and most beauty supply stores. Ingredients include coconut oil and castor oil. 

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2. EO Conditioner:

Yes this is a regular all-natural conditioner that has no silicone, thus it is alright to use as a co-wash. This product was introduced to me by another curly hair chick. Available at Walgreens, Whole Foods, and Amazon.com. Ingredients include coconut oil, quinoa protein, olive oil, essential oil blend, rosemary oil, fruit oil, aloe, vitamin E, etc.

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Co-Washing Tips

Tip #1: Smother your hair in the co-wash product. Seriously, be generous. I do around two hand scoops on my hair. Then massage your scalp with your fingertips. The best way is downward to not disrupt your curls too much

Tip #2: Some brands will put co-wash on their label but they are not actually a cleansing conditioner. Look at the labels and ingredients carefully to make sure.

Tip #3: Yes you can use regular conditioners to co-wash but make sure the conditioner you use to co-wash is silicone-free. Look at the labels!! Many of these ingredients are easy to identify, look for ingredients ending in -cone. Many silicones are synthetic (not natural) additives to make the hair “soft”. Therefore, these silicones are not water-solubleand require regular shampooing to wash out. If you co-wash with any regular conditioner, the end result can be yucky build-up on your hair and scalp.

A good conditioner you can use to co-wash is Tresemme Naturals Conditioner.300

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II. MY GO-TO NO-POO SHAMPOO

I use a no-poo shampoo once a week, it cleanses more and is stronger than most co-washing products. It doesn’t sud up like a co-wash but it is better at removing product build up. Unlike co-washing I use a light Shea Moisture conditioner after the no-poo shampoo.

1. Hair Rules No-Poo Shampoo Available at the Hair Rules Salons, Ricky’s NYC, or online.

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III. FAVORITE WAYS TO CLARIFY MY MANE 

1. Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo w/ Shea Butter & Apple Cider Vinegar (adding any deep conditioning treatment is a must after clarifying)

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More Clarifying Methods… 

-Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse: 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, 2 cups of water. I usually do this after I wash my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo, I do the pour the rinse over my hair, massage my scalp, then rinse under the water briefly then apply my deep conditioner.

-Baking Soda: Instead of shampoo, I’ve heard baking soda is good to clarify buildup on the scalp. 

-Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps 18-in-1 Cleanser in Peppermint (all natural ingredients)

-Tea Tree Oil Shampoo from Trader Joe’s

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IV. MY FAVORITE DEEP CONDITIONERS & MASQUES

1. Dominican Magic Nourishing Deep Fortifying Conditioner (has coconut oil, jojoba oil and avocado oil). This leaves your hair incredibly soft.

2. Deva Curl Heaven In Hair – I use this usually after Dominican Magic to add much needed moisture to my hair, but doesn’t leave my hair as soft as I like if I use it by itself.

3. Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Treatment Masque – I LOVE this line of Shea Moisture products! The masque has shea butter, Jamaican black castor oil and peppermint (it also has coconut oil and avocado oil). I use this with the shampoo Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil shampoo.

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Next up…. my favorite styling products 💆. Look out for that post!

**Always check out the blog for more products. Any new cleansing, treatment or styling products I try (and love) I will post on the blog in the future!** 

#CurlyHairTalk: How to Style Your Curly Hair in the Winter ❄️

What Does Winter Do to Your Hair?

-Winter weather is harsh on your hair. The cold air dries it out from its natural oils.

-It also dries out your scalp; you suffer from itchy dry scalp more in the winter.

-Dry hair = more split ends.

-Shedding: Cold air dries hair out from all its moisture, so your hair breaks easily and you tend to shed more.

*On the bright side, there’s little to no humidity in the winter, so your curly hair can still be great.*

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Solution: The L.O.C. method helps keep your hair moisturized during the harsh winter weather. I found this method on naturallycurly.com and I’ve been doing it all winter on my curly hair and I can say that it actually works!

L = Leave-in Conditioner

O = Oil

C = Cream

You can do this method after washing your hair or when refreshing your dry hair make sure you spray it with water to damp your hair a bit.

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Step 1: Apply leave-in conditioner. My favorite leave-ins are Kinky Curly Knot Today or Jane Carter’s revitalizing leave-in conditioner. Jane Carter’s leave-in is also great for refreshing curls. The spray leave-in’s are also good if you fine hair, it won’t weigh your hair down.

Step 2: Apply a thin layer of a sealing oil. Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, work well because they actually penetrate the shaft of the hair and not sit on top coating the hair. Coconut is my favorite. I apply a bit of Jamaican black castor oil to seal my ends.

Step 3: Apply a moisturizing cream. Creams work best in the winter because they moisturize curls best. Cantu products are my favorite because they smell amazing, provide good hold and moisture, and define my curls well.

Step 4: It’s optional to apply another styling product. But steps 1 -3 do the trick for me.

Feel free to play with this method. I go very light on the leave-in and oil for my hair and skip step 4 completely. But some hair types may need all 4 steps.

.Did You Know? You can also use a similar method on your skin?! The best way to keep soft skin in the winter for me: 1. Apply coconut oil on my body before applying my lotion. 2. Apply jojoba oil on my face before applying my face moisturizer.

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Other Winter Healthy Hair Tips

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-It’s recommended to do protective styles in the winter to prevent breakage in the winter, such as braids, twists, up do’s that have your ends protected from rubbing against clothes or anything that can cause breakage.

– Don’t go outside with wet hair. Make sure your hair is at least 90% dry.

-Stylish hats, hoodies, the hood of your coat, scarves around the head, always have something to cover your head when the temperature is too cold.

-Wash your hair in the evening to give your hair enough time to dry.

– When home: silk scarf or silk bonnet. Best way to seal moisture while you sleep: silk pillowcases!

-At the end of the day, curly hair needs moisture !!! Here are some tips from Essence Magazine that where helpful for me: “The Worst Ways to Moisturize Transitioning Hair”.

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SO NOW THE ONLY THING THAT SHOULD STRESS YOU OUT IN THE WINTER, IS LOOKING AT YOUR WEATHER APP EVERY MORNING. ☀️

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#CurlyHairTalk The Deception of Dominican Hair Salons (in regards to natural curly hair).

9a4df01329ab108b30d577d3079ff055[I want to start off this blogpost by saying that my mother’s side of the family is from the Dominican Republic and this article is in no way meant to slander that amazing country/culture of mine. I am no expert. This is sharing my personal experiences.]

Along my self-love journey wanting a healthier mind, body, and soul, I also wanted healthier hair. Growing up all I knew were Dominican hair salons, and I mean they should know how to take care of hair like mine right? Not necessarily.

I recently went to Hair Rules Salon in NYC, which specializes in ALL hair textures, to get a haircut. I also went to ask all my curly hair questions and learn more about how to best wash and take care of my curly hair. They cleared up a lot of misconceptions. I’m here to enlighten and demystify!

1. When they say…“Tu tiene pelo malo.” (You have bad hair.)

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NO SUCH THING. LOVE YOUR HAIR AND ALL ITS GLORY. #FLAWLESS

In reality, there is no such thing as having “bad” hair.

So why are Dominicans so obsessed with straight hair? Since the era (1930-1961) of the dictator Rafael Trujillo, a dictator that was obsessed with purifying the Dominican race by killing Haitians and darker-skinned Dominicans, beauty in the Dominican Republic for a long time was pale skin and straight hair.

Dominican people come in many shades, ethnic backgrounds, and to get to the point hair textures. Some salons treat all these textures the same. Rollers, blow dry, straight hair, done. BIG MISTAKE.

The first thing you should know is not all textures are the same BUT they should be given the same kind of love and treatment to be healthy.

No hay pelo malo!

2. Cutting curly hair while it’s wet.

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Most of my life I’ve gotten my haircut with freshly washed, wet hair. Imagine my surprise when I learned that a dry cut is the way to go for curly hair. Hair Rules salon in NYC blow dries your hair straight (with a comb attachment) before cutting your hair to be able to see all your damaged ends. If you get a haircut with wet curly hair, some of your hair will start to dry and curl during the cut! Cutting your hair while it’s dry and straight avoids unevenness and further breakage.

3. Washing your hair once a week.

Wash it everyday if you want to! Well “co-wash” it everyday.

Let that fear of wetting your hair go! I wanted healthy hair and I wanted to be able to wash my hair everyday so I can work out everyday. Dominican mothers would yell don’t wash your hair everyday! But you can co-wash your hair everyday.

Curly hair gals, conditioner is your best friend. The two to three washes that salons give you with sulfate shampoo is horrible for curly hair texture types. Hair Rules gave me some tips to washing curly hair.

-Was once a week with a sulfate-free shampoo.

-Co-wash during the week as much as you want to refresh your scalp and curls.

-Clarify once a month for build up.

It’s all up to you and what you feel your hair requires. If you’re co-washing and clarifying, there is never a need for sulfate shampoo.

 Free yourself!

ABOUT CO-WASHING:
Co-Washing is short for “Conditioner Washing” or Cleansing with a Cleansing Cream. Most Conditioners have cleansing agents in the ingredients that clean hair just enough without over drying. Co-Washing is a step done in replacement of Shampoo. It can be done on occasions or by alternating your wash days using Shampoo one day and using a cream cleanser or Conditioner to cleanse the next time and so on. Every head of hair is different, so do what works best for your own hair. If you like to Co-Wash frequently make sure you are also keeping a healthy ph balance by clarifying as well.

ABOUT CLARIFYING:
Clarifying is deep cleaning your hair to remove product residue and build-up from products being used over time. Clarifying is meant to be done occasionally because it’s Deep Cleaning so it’s not meant for frequent use or your hair may suffer dryness. You can eve do this naturally with baking soda or Apple Cider Vinegar or Dr. Bronner’s 18 in one cleanser. Or simple use a shampoo that suds up, but still look for one that is sulfate free.

4. When they tell you DON’T leave your hair curly all the time!

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…BUT CURLY HAIR IS MORE FUN.

Why not?!

They tell you it’s healthy to go to the salon weekly, and it’s only healthy for their pocket$$ really. You can’t walk into a Dominican hair salon and ask for them to style your hair curly because most Dominican salons will recommend your hair straight. Stop the curly kinky hate. Dominican hair stylists will do whatever it takes to get it straight: relaxer, texturized, more heat.

Heat damage is a bitch, trust me I know. I’m currently recovering from altered curl pattern and straight ends.

Most of the heat damage come from the typical roller set then blow dry combo. SURPRISE.

5. Under the dryer for 45 minutes, then blow dry, then maybe styling with a straightener or curling rod. YIKES!

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1 HOUR AND 30 MINUTES UNDER A DRYER: THIS IS MY LIFE AND I’VE CHOSEN TO ACCEPT IT.

That’s too much heat for your hair to take in one day.

Not all hair needs that. Not all hair should be treated the same. I do rollers mostly now but that’s it. If you have really really really kinky curly hair don’t do rollers because it causes breakage. Most Dominican salons, care more about the end result. You have to love your natural hair and know what is the best way to straighten it for your particular texture. Get to know your hair. I wanted answers and that led me to book an appointment with a salon that specializes in all kinds of hair.

I left Hair Rules salon with my natural curly hair styled.

I recommend to free yourself from these salons and learn to do your own hair or go to a curly hair salon. If you must go to a Dominican salon: RESEARCH and bring your own healthier products for them to use.

6. Styling Curly Hair

Avoid styling products with alcohol like cheap mousse and gels. That dries out your hair. There are a lot of gels and custards now that are alcohol-free with good hold that you can use. Styling curly hair for wash and go’s really depends on your hair. Learn what type of hair you have (1a-4c) AND what kind of porosity your hair has. This determines the best styling products for your hair. I have 3b hair styling milks and creams work best for me and light gels. Some heavy products weigh down my hair too much. Depends what kind of look I’m going for. The best part is playing with different products as you get to know your true hair potential!

Porosity Hair Test

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I’ll post more as I embark on my healthy hair journey. Also some of my favorite products!!!!!

In the meantime here are some more HEALTHY HAIR tips for my curly hair gals:

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GIRL, WE GOT THIS!

-Always apply a leave-in-conditioner for extra moisture.

-Always section your hair when applying products for better distribution.

– Vitamins are okay but remember to eat healthy foods for healthy skin and healthy hair.

-For define curls rake the product in your hair with your fingers, raking means detangling with your fingers as you’re applying the product.

-Follow natural hair girls on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, the motivation and advice helps!

-To avoid curl clumping after putting in your styling product.put your towel in your face and shake your head from side to side to release curls. Part your hair how you want it then don’t touch it until it’s dry.

-When your hair is 90 percent dry, use a blowdryer with it’s regular nozzle to elongate curls if you wish to do so.

-Learn about the benefits of oils like jojoba oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil, coconut oil.

-Learn the best way to straighten your hair. There are different ways that are healthy and no you don’t have to throw away your straightener. I saw women with 4c hair come out with amazing full straight hair looking like Beyonce but not damaging or chemically-altering their hair. Yes it can be done.

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WORK!

Why You SHOULD Make Your Goals Visual: My 5 Tips on Vision Boarding.

Vision boarding may seem like a task to some (too complicated, too time consuming, too artsy) but I’m here to tell you it is definitely worth your time! It’s something that has become very valuable to me over the past three years. And the whole process is relaxing, creative, and fun (we can all use a little fun creativity in our lives)!

The best part is, that it can actually help you achieve your goals, instead of forgetting all about them come April.

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So why should you make a vision board?

Because Oprah makes vision boards.

Duh!

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No but seriously, I first heard about vision boards through Oprah. Since then I’ve heard many life coaches, therapists and psychologists say it helps to do a vision board at the start of every year, but why?

Because..

– It helps you focus on your life and your future.

-It gets you back in touch with who you are and what you desire.

– It inspires you. It makes you believe in yourself. You’re taking charge of your life by outlining what you want.

– It’s a daily reminder. Every morning I wake up and see my vision board, and if I have a free second during the day I can actually put energy into one of my goals.

Manifestation: “What you think about, you bring about.” You are speaking things into existence and recognizing your own truth.

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5 TIPS FOR CREATING A VISION BOARD

(I like to call it: My Inspiration Board)

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1. Before you start setting your goals for the new year, reflect on your past year, then set resolutions based on growth and becoming a better you. Any mistakes you’ve made or things you want to make sure you change? What do you want to improve? How do you want to improve? Reevaluate your life and the direction you want it to go. Know what you want, what you need and what you deserve. If you don’t know what you want to gain out of life, you better work on knowing. Life is too short to not live with purpose. When you know what you want, you get it faster.

2. Next write out your goals. Write down what you want (and in some cases how you want to achieve it). You can make deadlines. Set numbers. Be as specific as possible. If you want a car, what kind of car do you want? What model? Four-door, two-door? Think visual when writing your goals down.

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*I set my goals in categories. “Love goals”, “Health goals”, “Career goals”, “Personal goals”, “Travel goals”, etc. Add as many categories as you want, it helps you organize your thoughts. Even if it’s not a goal for this year but you can work on it this year include it. (I included a house on mine, but I’m not currently on the market for one.)*

3. Time to get creative. BRING OUT THE MARKERS, SCISSORS AND STICK GLUE. Collect old magazines (You can throw a “vision board party” and have friends bring magazines too!) cut out phrases, words, pictures. Use the markers to write goals you want to put on the board, or to write out inspirational quotes you love.

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Men: you don’t have to go overboard designing this thing. I hope the glitter in the picture doesn’t scare you away!

Examples: A kangaroo can represent a trip to Australia, pictures of healthy foods and a yoga pose if you want healthier lifestyle.

*If you want to put specific things like your dream car on your vision board, google the image and print it out.*

*I also included pictures of my family and famous women I aspire to be like!*

4. Design the board. I bought a big cork board from Target for $9 and fabric and ribbon for less than $3. But you don’t have to go all out creative like me. Some people use a poster board or use their blank wall and tack photos togther. (Be as creative as you want to be!)

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Here’s my vision board!!! Large plain cork board, green fabric , gold ribbon for the border, tacks, construction paper, markers, a lot of photos, postcards, quotes, lists, and old magazine pictures.

*I used a cork board and tacks for most of my goals because if goals change throughout the year or I want to add more later I can easily make those changes.*

5. Make the vision board visible and in your face. Hang it in a place where you’ll be able to see it everyday. You want to be able to see it and be inspired by it as much as possible. Take a picture of your vision board put it as your phone lock screen background or as your wallpaper on your computer.

Your vision board will be an awesome representation of YOU. Enjoy it! Make 2015 a great year!

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Delighted to Support Desmond Tutu’s Forgiveness Challenge

I’ve been on both sides of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the best thing that has ever happened to me when it came to peace of mind and healing. It’s hard to forgive because we might not get the response we want, but it is something we control. It is so worth it! Learn more about Desmond Tutu’s Global #Forgiveness Challenge.

The WordPress.com Blog

We’re humbled to bring you this interview with Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho Tutu about their new Global Forgiveness Challenge as well as HumanJourney.com, a platform for transformational ideas that Archbishop Tutu is co-founding with book and media creator Doug Abrams. WordPress.com is delighted to be a partner in this initiative.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu are trying to change the world with the Forgiveness Challenge. Get involved! Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu are trying to change the world with the Forgiveness Challenge. Get involved!

What is the Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge?

The Forgiveness Challenge is a free 30-day online program developed to help people learn the practical steps to forgiveness so they can live with greater love and joy in their life.

How does the Forgiveness Challenge work?

Each day, participants receive an email from us that directs them to a new post on the website that presents an important insight into forgiveness and that offers them…

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“Live, Laugh, Love” is just a corny wall sticker. But here are Some Realistic Ways to Be More Positive.

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“Jess you are such a dreamer, it’s so annoying….”

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There’s a myth about people that are “optimistic”.

No, I am not happy all the time.

Yes, I do feel overwhelmed and cry at times.

Yes, no matter how much life may suck, I am an extremely positive person.

There is so much resistant to just letting yourself be happy because we always want more. I get it; I’m an ambitious person. I am just as goal-oriented as the next 20-something year old, but the key to becoming successful is by thinking optimistically.

Do you think Steve Jobs was thinking like a realist or an optimist when he created Apple? Optimists achieve great things because of their attitude. The more I started thinking positive and kind towards myself, the more I truly believed I was enough, the more the universe returned that same energy and set up to help me accomplish my goals.

Maybe for my generation it’s cool to be a bit negative–to critique others, to bad mouth or to put others down. Maybe this makes us feel better. But if you pay close attention, life really doesn’t suck.

 For the Realists, 5 “Realistic” Ways to Be More Positive:

1. Make An Inspiration Music Playlist.

Or simply listen to happy music–this can be any song that brings out good thoughts. Refer to my previous post to see my personal “good-feeling” playlist.

2. Make a Small Effort to Look Nice Everyday.

I’ve never been one to dress up. As a former athlete, I’m a huge advocate for sweatpants anywhere, anytime. But your appearance can improve your day-to-day life. I never knew how much fashion impacted the confidence in people until I starting working in fashion! As a men’s fashion advisor and sometimes personal stylist, I thought my job was filled with selfish, egocentric, shallow, freaks. Yeah and some people in the fashion world are like that, (luckily not anyone I work with, LOVE YOU GUYS.) It was during my training that I realized I was helping people gain more knowledge on how to present themselves; I was building their confidence.

First day of orientation the fashion advisors watched a scene from the movie The Devil Wears Prada. The main character, who is a recent college graduate and serious journalist, cares more about the content of her work ethic than her clothing–I was a nerd in college, I can relate (again sweatpants everyday, all day). However, when she’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown because she is busting her ass but not pleasing her boss, she decides to get a makeover. A new look, new clothes, and wa-la she is feeling more confident about her position! With a pep in her step, and a better attitude at work, she ends up impressing her boss and most importantly herself!

Before, I would get up for work and leave make up and getting all done-up for when I got there. Now If I have the time I wake up 10 minutes earlier than usual, just to spend extra time on my hair and makeup. A minor change like this can make you more likely to engage in conversation with the hottie at Starbucks 😉 or have a good day overall.

3. Set Short-Term Goals. On your Phone.

Like any 20-something, I’ve got big goals. Huge, daunting goals that make me feel so unbelievably overwhelmed that sometimes it’s hard to even start. To ease my mind, I’ve started writing everything down on my phone. From my late night “I’m lonely” thoughts, to “pick up dry cleaning tomorrow!” I even set alarms and cute reminders for myself  “Meeting at 5pm, smile your day is almost done!” Taking things one step at a time, one day at a time and accomplishing mini goals really boosts your confidence and make your giant dreams feel more attainable.

4. Stay Busy.

I came across a quote from Joyce Meyer, “When we fill our thoughts with the right things, the wrong ones have no room to enter.” As much as I hate the fast busy pace of New York City, we live to work not work to live, but a busy life is indeed a happy life. And forgive me for the add-on but following inspirational people on twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even LinkedIn, is SO worth it! Some of the most depressing times of my life have been when I simply didn’t have enough to do—it breeds boredom and negativity. Staying busy will make you realize that you simply don’t have time to worry about your supposed “weight gain” or that stupid ex boyfriend who keeps texting you.

5. Forgive Yourself and Forgive Others.

As a selfish generation we tend to be too sensitive. Taking everything personally and not stopping to think how our actions may affect other people. Forgive any guilt you may feel. Forgive yourself for hurting people or any wrong doing you have done, and give yourself a fresh start. Also forgive those who hurt you. Let it go. Whatever you do, do not hold on to bitterness. Go on your own truth-seeking journey. Have the courage to accept yourself and your flaws. You are imperfect but you are worthy of love and belonging. Never blame yourself for a break up or change yourself for the sake of making something work. You know what kind of person you want to be, so be that person. Have a vision of what kind of life you want to live. Be the best version of you.

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“Jess you are such a dreamer, it’s so annoying, but I like being around you because you give me hope for my dreams too.”