Every Naturalista’s Must Haves!

If you are currently going through or have gone through the natural transition, you’ve probably become addicted to the following: YouTube and product shopping! Having gone through my initial transition 5 years ago, it has been a true learning experience. I began my transition with the keratin treatment and gradually cut the straight parts of my hair (3 inches every 8 weeks) until it was all back to my natural state finally last year. While my decision to go natural was a medical one (the relaxer was too harsh and caused very bad scarring to my scalp in addition to my hair thinning), I have truly enjoyed my journey. It has made me feel more comfortable in embracing myself as a woman and has definitely made life easier in a lot of ways! I’ve never been knowledgeable in how to manage my hair. Even when I had a relaxer, I could not even use a curling iron much less learn how to roller set! The only tool I mastered was the flat iron. By no means have I become a hair guru with my natural curls, however, I find natural hair to be more forgiving. No matter the hairstyle that you are trying to achieve, the following will definitely help you pull a very stylish look:

  • Oils: one of the most important ingredients that all hair especially natural curls need is oils! Olive, argan, avocado, shea – any of these oils are very helpful to your hair but my must have oil is coconut oil! It is non greasy and helps with scalp health, shine, and nourishment for your curls.
  • Hair ties: these should be purchased by the hundreds! For some reason, no matter how many you think you have, you can never seem to find one when you are really in need. So buy them in high quantity and keep a few in your most frequented places: in your personal drawer at work, in the glove compartment in the car, and definitely in your purse.
  • Hair pins: just like the ties, hair pins are a must. Curls tend to be unruly therefore a few pins are always needed to help secure them and help you keep your polished look intact.
  • Hair gel/ custard/ jelly: in the spirit of keeping flyaways tamed, these different types of products will definitely be lifesaving. Remember, a little goes a long way.
  • Spray bottles: use them to mix your favorite LOC method (liquid, oil, conditioner), or simply to have water easily accessible while doing your hairstyle, spray bottles are important. I also suggest having a travel size which you can carry with you when travelling to keep your hair looking fresh!

When it comes to your journey in the natural hair process, no two stories are alike. Some of us have been very fortunate to quickly learn how to effectively manage the transition while some of us may continually be conducting research on YouTube on the best methods to address various natural hair dilemmas. Here’s my suggestion: don’t worry so much about achieving a professional status within the first few months of transitioning. The first years will be tough as you will be dealing with various textures of hair unless you did a big chop. Plus if you chose to transition, you will have to pay closer attention to maintaining your hair healthy. However, a full year into being fully natural I’ve come to heavily rely on some of my favorite YouTube channels such as Moknowshair, MahoganyCurls, and Naptural85. These ladies share short videos on hairstyles, various processes for natural hair and most importantly do some product reviews which can help you make a decision when considering a new line.

I hope these tips will help you conquer your transition and no matter what, don’t give up!

Reese

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Five Refreshing Ways to Enjoy Your Water This Summer

It is 85 degrees at 9am, the sun is beating you every time you head outdoors, and summer is here! It’s almost impossible to stay cool, and thus you find yourself reaching for that water bottle throughout the day. While most of us tolerate drinking water, let’s face it: water is bland and after a few glasses, unless you just ran a marathon and are absolutely parched, you are starting to wish that there was a little more pizzazz in that bottle. I’m sharing 5 of my favorite ways to enjoy water and get some extra nutrients:

  • Citrus infused: add a slice of orange, lime, and grapefruit to your water and instantly have a citrus flavored water to give your taste buds variety but also to help boost your immunity with some extra vitamin C.
  • Cucumber and Mint: add a few slices of cucumber and some fresh mint leaves and not only will you have a refreshing water mix, but the mint will also help with your digestion.
  • Berry infused: if you want to add a little sweetness without reaching the sugar, chop some strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries and add them to your water. Be sure to watch for the berry seeds when sipping your water.
  • Lettuce infused: one of the water infusions that I grew up drinking, you simply add hot water on some lettuce leaves (romaine or iceberg depending on your preference). This mixture will require some advance preparation as you will need to let the water cool in the refrigerator.
  • Pineapple infused: another favorite growing up, this infusion helps you find a use for the pineapple peels prior to tossing them. Add them in a pitcher and fill it with water and let it sit for a while. Be sure to always thoroughly wash the pineapple (as you should with all of the ingredients) prior to cutting it.

While these concoctions cannot fully remedy the heat situation, they will at least help you keep cool during the summer months while also helping you make hydration fun! These options are especially fun for small children as they can be picky.

Enjoy!

Reese

Summer Fashion Favorites

Summer is in full mode and if you live in a southern state like I do, you are now dealing with 85 degrees at 9am! Being from the Caribbean, it is naturally my favorite season and over the years, I’ve gotten the list of summer must have fashion items down to a science! While we all know that in the summer, the main idea is to have a closet that is “heat ready”, some of the items on the list below might surprise some of you!
– Sunglasses: especially if you are constantly outdoors, you will soon realize that a pair of sunglasses will no longer serve as a fashion statement but rather is a necessity. They will help shield your eyes from the bright rays of the sun and facilitate vision when walking towards it.
– SPF lotion: no, it’s not only for beach days! If you are going to be outdoors, you definitely will want to protect your skin. One should always be using SPF lotion throughout the year but in the summer time, we tend to be outdoors a little more as we travel and vacation, so be sure to put on the extra protection.
– Hair tie: if your hair reaches your neck, then you definitely will need a hair tie. You can quickly remove the hair from your face, neck and back when the heat starts to really strike midday. And if you are like me and your hair is sensitive to humidity, then you already know that leaving your house without a hair tie (year round lol) is a no no. I try to keep one in every purse along with some hair pins but if you find this to be too tedious, try keeping a couple in your glove compartment in your car or in a drawer at your desk in the office for easy access.
– Shorts: probably the biggest indicator for the warm months (if you live outside of Florida), shorts are a definite must for the summer. My suggestion to facilitate your summer wardrobe is to have the following three colors: neutral, denim, dark and you will be all set! To make sure that you have even more of a variety in your wardrobe options, be sure to select three different styles and length.
– Tank tops: can’t have shorts without the summer tanks! Lighter colors while they may be easier to get soiled, they help keep your temperature cooler. They are probably the easiest investment for the season (aside from flip flops) as there will be constant deals throughout the summer at retailers such as Old Navy, Target, Forever XXI to name a few.
– Comfortable flats: we tend to walk a lot more in the summer as most of us tend to go on vacation and travel. A pair of comfortable flats will come in handy. Be sure to select a neutral color so that you might match them with most of your wardrobe.
Overall, the idea is to be sure that you are comfortable as summer usually equals vacation for most of us. You want to be adequately prepared to face the heat and comfortable to explore any new destinations that you might decide to discover this summer!
Enjoy!

Reese

Overcoming a Negative Work Environment

With the various shifts happening in the professional world throughout major companies, more and more adults are facing a lot of tension in the workplace which has been increasing the level of stress amongst working adults. From fear of losing employment to dealing with hostile coworkers to working for a supervisor who does not appreciate you, today’s adults have a lot more challenges in the workplace and at times may feel like the negativity of the environment might get the best of them. Having been in a similar situation recently, I know that such an experience can not only add a lot of stress to your life but will also affect the following: sleep, appetite, and self-esteem!
In my excruciating experience, I went through many effects of stress that many would not think were possible. You are overcome by a sense of fear that truly is unsettling and simply will literally keep you up at night and paralyze you to the point that you could spend all day focusing on these factors. Your relationship with food will fluctuate from binge eating to losing all appetite and having to remind yourself that food is essential to living. Finally, along with these two effects, you will lose interest in doing most of the mundane activities in your daily life such as household chores and eventually you may end up in a depression and questioning your purpose in life.
In the middle of all of these emotions, as the saying goes – “life goes on…”, and as much as you are aware of that fact, it’s almost impossible for you to shake the feeling as walking into work every day become a constant reminder and an internal battle to try to motivate yourself to stay active and positive. It is hard to achieve amidst all the stress but it is very important that you keep your morale up and avoid falling deeper into depression. While I’m not an expert in any way, the following helped me overcome this hard time in my professional life:
– Keep yourself entertained: throughout the day, I always kept my earbuds on (well one because you still want to be able to hear your phone or colleagues when you’re being addressed) and had some kind of entertainment going on. I made music video playlists on YouTube, had various comedy stations and music genre stations on Pandora which I’d alternate depending on the one that best suited my mood for the day.
– Attract positivity: surround yourself with positive people, find some time to reflect and find peace. If you are religious, pray like you have never before! If not, find the most amount of activities that put a smile on your face and do them! The key is to keep yourself positively entertain to chase away the feelings of depression.
– Keep busy: go to the movies, spend some time with friends and family to uplift your mood. If you are an avid reader, take a trip to your nearest bookstore and purchase a couple of good books. If you’re into cooking, painting, crafts: find some time to dedicate to that passion.
– Market yourself: if you haven’t done so, revamp your resume and build your professional brand on the appropriate social media professional platforms such as LinkedIn. Be sure to be grammatically correct and use proper punctuations in your resume and letters of interest and send them out to positions you may be interested in and also to head hunters. You’ll never know what could have been unless you try!
– Rediscover yourself: search for that fire that you have continually repressed due to obligations or reality and explore it! Whether it’s a longtime dream to learn to sew or you’ve always wanted to start your own fitness program, just focus on that dream of yours and work as hard as you’ve ever worked to turn it into reality!
Overall, the goal is for you to keep yourself busy and surrounded with as much positivity through your professional ordeal. In the end, it will help you come out as the victor no matter what the final outcome in your workplace. You will learn so much about your strength and about yourself. Being positive will help you serve as your best cheerleader when it seems like no one is appreciating your intellectual value and will help you rediscover this person that slowly was starting to wither due to the oppression you’ve been subject to in your workplace.
Keep a positive spirit, and as they say “this too shall pass…”, just be sure to hold on tight and never let anything or anyone take your smile away from you.
Reese

Easy Tuna Salad

Are you having a hectic week but are looking for a healthy and quick food option that will also keep you full? Tuna not only is a healthy source of protein but it also contains high levels of B vitamins and omega-3. In addition to being quick, filling, and healthy, tuna is a very versatile ingredient and can be mixed with a wide variety of ingredients and help complete any meal. I’m sharing below my favorite tuna salad recipe. It’s easy to make, does not require heat and is ready to eat in less than 15 minutes!

Ingredients:
– 1 can of your favorite tuna
– 1 Tablespoon of Greek yogurt
– 1 ½ Tablespoon of relish
– Diced onions
– Mustard
– Hot sauce
– Seasoning salt
– Garlic powder
– Ground pepper (black or white)

Open the can of tuna, drain the liquid and pour into a bowl. Add your seasoning salt, garlic powder, ground pepper, mustard and hot sauce. Add your diced onions (you may grate the onion if you rather only have the flavor and not the crunch and bite of the raw onion. Add the relish and the Greek yogurt in last place. You may add more of any of the ingredients to taste and finally refrigerate for best taste.

My favorite pairings with this salad are toast or crackers. For an appetizer for your summer party, simply spread a small dollop of the tuna salad onto your favorite crackers and decorate with either slices of green olives, sprig of dill or curly parsley. Your guests are sure to enjoy this delicious treat!

For some further readings on the benefits of tuna, you may enjoy the following links:
http://www.symptomfind.com/nutrition-supplements/health-benefits-of-tuna/
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-tuna-5596.html

I hope this quick recipe will help you find a new way to enjoy tuna. Please remember that while it is one of the healthiest foods, high consumption of tuna can be harmful and always speak to your doctor about any changes you may consider making in your diet.

Enjoy!

Reese