8 July 2012

New Products | Shea Moisture Thickening Shampoo and NYX Beauty

This is not a review, per se.

Rather just a brief commentary on some purchases. 

I have been using the Shea Moisture Organic Yucca & Baobab Thickening Shampoo since May because my Raw Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo from this line was all gone. I like  its sweet smell and soft feeling of my hair after shampooing. I am not too worried that it says for 'Fine, Thin Hair' as my own hair is not fine at all. The shampoo was recommended by my loctitian and I thought I'd take up the challenge for review and enjoy the journey. She did warn me that it does what it says as she has seen clients' hair improve over time. Cost: BDS$35

The NYX makeup products are:
  • Slim Eye pencils in Black and Gold 
  • Triple Eye shadow in White/Grey/Black
  • Cost: BDS$15 (pencils), BDS$25 (eyeshadow)
Both pencils glide on easily and do not pull on the lid or skin when applying. But maybe it is because of this quality that it comes off so easily even from simply wiping my face during the day. Needless to say, it is easy to remove with makeup remover wipes or liquid/foam wash.

I am still waiting for the occasion to try the entire triple eye shadow set. I have tried the black separately and it is gritty to the touch. I don't really like the applicator brush either, but it is not a problem; it is quite easy to replace.

Well, that's it for now :)

Rhea | Ms. Frolicious: Rockin' her fro again

Happy to bring you one of the ladies whom I think rocks one of the largest fros I have seen for some time.

Meet Rhea! A self-confessed risk taker when it comes to her hair - as you will read, Rhea has done quite a bit with her hair and is very open to talk about her highs and lows. When I first began exploring natural hair maintenance and having locs, Rhea was one of those persons who readily encouraged me to take that route. And from that we would always talk about her locs and maintenance. She has crafted a style which is all her own and is very much in awe of natural beauty. 

So, Naturaleza fam, sit back and be inspired by what this naturalista has to say!

Hi, Rhea! Tell us 3 interesting facts about yourself:
I love to sing, I love the smell of fresh bread and track and field and swimming were my first love.

You have had a pretty interesting hair story. Talk to us about that.

I have always been a naturalista at heart! I’ve done so many things with my hair, it’s ridiculous! I have always had really long thick hair. However, in my final year at University, I decided to chop off my hair which at the time was relaxed, colour treated and highlighted - to go BALD. My hair was down the middle of my back and it was layered but I think it was over-processed and it was starting to thin out. I hated it. Seeing that I was going to be moving to live and work in France, I decided that my best option was to go natural and have fun with it. I’m a risk taker so I didn’t worry too much about the change.
Back in 2007
Her first fro
In 6 months time, I had a huge curly afro and it was working for me then, but It was a challenge to manage and I decided to grow locs in August 2007. One of my brothers has locs and I always thought they were beautiful. I really did not want to have to straighten my hair with chemicals in order for it to be manageable. So, I gave locs a try! And I loved them. After three years I wanted a change and decided to go ‘frolicious’ again. I felt as if I could manage the fro this time around since there was a lot more information out there about caring for your natural hair. So in August 2010 I did another BC.

What are some of the stereotypes that you just cannot embrace when it comes to how people view having natural hair or locs?
People grow locs for all kinds of reasons. In the past, it usually meant you were a devout Rastafarian. Today, that’s not the case. Some people get scared and suspicious when you have locs. Once well maintained I think it should be equally embraced like any other hairstyle. I think we’re getting there.

Tell us a little about your hair regimen and what products you use.

So I am now really getting to understand my curly roots. I like Nature’s Gate products. I have been washing my hair with their Minty Tea Tree line since my scalp has been a bit dry. I like products that are minty. My hair gets dry fast so to lock in moisture, I mix a shea butter potion using pure shea butter, almond oil and olive oil. I did my first co-wash recently so I think I’ll be making it a habit when I want the bob look. On another note though, I don't do much twisting at all. That's reserved for vacations and days off :-)

I also mix up a good scalp toner which I find has been working really well:
  • 6 drops of cedarwood oil, 6 drops tea-tree oil, ½ oz witch hazel and ½ oz water. 
I use Tea Tree oil as I could not find any Sweet Orange oil which might be better to use in this mix. Depending on your preferences, you could also add in some Sandalwood/Rosemary oil.

Rhea with locs
Share with us some of the things you like about wearing your hair the way you do.

I love my hair texture. My parents are Guyanese mixed with Black and East Indian, so I got some interesting curly roots. I love working with my hair because it allows me to be creative. The front and middle are long and almost dead straight, the sides are tightly coiled and the back is wavy-curly. I just have a natural bob cut going on. People always ask me if I cut it that way but I have not. 

And one other thing I enjoy doing is tying my head. I think I got that from Suzie - my momma. Give me scarf, or a piece of cloth and you’ve made my day!

Do you have any favorite hairstyles?
I love to wear my hair in any updo.Whether it’s a Mohawk look, a chignon, a cinnamon bun, or tie-up. I love having my hair out, too and freeeeee! I love a wicked afro!

Do you also take a natural approach into other areas of your life?
;-) At least I try to! When I am very busy I go on shakes and fruit or light snacks. I love to cook veggies, fish and chicken. I mostly steam, bake and stir-fry. 

Mohawk tie-up in 2012
I love lamb, too, but I don’t eat it as often. I use grapeseed oil when frying (I like this much more than olive oil). Every morning I drink a glass of lemon water. But my breakfast tends to vary most days with goodies ranging from saltfish and plantain with tea OR oats, a banana and some tea. I also use Pure Castille soap which I find is a great multi-purpose cleanser. I am a performing artist. One day this is all I will be doing so I have got to be in good shape to take on the demands of this lifestyle.

And, finally. Share some words of advice!
Do you. Always do you! Going natural is a challenge worth embracing!

Finally thoughts:
Thanks so much, Rhea!! 
Rhea gave quite an interesting tip for her scalp toner. Why not give it a try! Do you have any mixes of your own which work wonders on your hair, scalp or skin?

1 July 2012

Coral and Honey | What a match

Do you like bright summer colors?
Would you rock this outfit?

Check out more of my outfits on Polyvore!

Coral and Honey | What a match

26 June 2012

Two-Fer Tuesdays | Link Love ~ The Handmade Collective

Today's post takes the form a Link Love. 

I came across these creations on Tumblr via The Handmade Collective. The Collective describes itself as "...a collective of artisans who have come together to create a directory of [our] creations... ."

This particular design is from Ioni's Creations. 
There is so much more to see on her Etsy shop HERE.

Jewelry by Eclectic Creations.
If you have never ever checked out this lady's creations, you should.
I follow Mingz Eclecticcreations on Twitter @Mingz22 and Pinterest.
You can also see her designs HERE.

All images were taken from The Handmade Collective on Tumblr and are not meant to support any one designer over another. This post is meant simply to showcase the talent to be found in our disapora. 

25 June 2012

Art inspiration | What are you?

So many adjectives. Which ones are you?

Natural Hair Talk | Should you use a heat protectant?

Whether or not to use a heat protectant, frequency of use and it's effects on
our hair are questions that have framed this topic for some time now.
Crystal Nnenne Azu, Founder of Ishimma, sheds some light in this guest blog.


While not everyone uses heat in hair styling, it is certainly a common practice to do so. Often, a forgotten tool to support the use of heat on the hair and prevent heat damage is a heat protectant! 

Should You Use a Heat Protectant? 
Much like most topics in hair care, there is some debate around the question of whether heat, or thermal, protectants are necessary for hair before applying heat. To explain, a heat protectant product (usually a spray) acts to coat the hair with a fine layer that protects the hair from subsequent heat coming from styling tools or other sources. A heat protectant is important because it diminishes the degree of heat that reaches the cortex of the hair and decreases the degradation and damage to the internal hair structure. Basically, it's a line of defense for your hair against heat! If you've ever trimmed off heat damaged hair, then you're familiar with the aftermath of hair that has experienced too much heat over time. Who really wants to lose their natural curl pattern? 

While you may hear advice from your friends telling you that a thermal protector is not necessary, take it from us, protecting your curls and tresses is a must! For those with curlier hair who may need more heat to get their hair straightened, you'll want to keep your hair as safe from damage as possible! We think of it like this: You could reach into the oven with your bare hands to get the hot pan of food and risk getting burned...or you could put on an oven mitt and keep your hands safe! 

So, should you use a heat protectant? We believe, yes, you should. It is certainly much better for your hair than not having one. You'll find that your hair won’t lose its natural curl, reversion to your un-straightened hair after your heated style is faster, your hair is less likely to split end break due to damage, as well as other benefits. 

Now, next question - 

What Type of Heat Protectant Should You Get? 
As we explained in our hair guide, some heat protectants are water-based, but with the high heat of a styling tool, that water will evaporate and leave less protection for your hair strand! Heat protectants that are silicone-based are great for protecting the hair and you can find many good ones in your beauty supply store for under ten dollars! Even better, look for heat protectants that contain some good oil, which will help in conditioning and further protecting your hair. Examples of good oils in heat protectant products are grapeseed oil and olive oil, so look out for those! There is buzz that those oils alone would be sufficient as heat protectants because of their high smoke points (the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke after heating), but currently, their ability to be enough protection is not a conclusive theory. We'll be on the lookout for any updates in the science! 

So, in short, heat protectants are incredibly helpful for the hair in minimizing heat damage and we do recommend their use! Kick heat damage to the curb! 

Check out more helpful tips through our Free Online Resource - "How to Grow Beautiful Hair: The Ultimate Guide

- The Team at Ishimma.com

Ishimma™ was founded to address the concern of attaining affordable, quality, natural products that provide adequate moisture to hair and encourage healthy growth. After thorough research uncovering that women’s top complaints with their hair related to persistent dryness, Ishimma™ formulated products to counteract this problem. These products are made from organic and natural ingredients and are designed to bring the maximum benefit to hair. Our focus is on bringing you the products that help you develop and maintain beautifully healthy hair and promoting hair education.

21 June 2012

Checking In

Hi, everyone. I have been gone for a little while.
Please pardon my absence. Things are quite hectic at work as we prepare for summer and vacation. It's been meeting deadlines and making sure I have completed everything required of me. Plus, I am moving to a new home at the end of June and traveling the very next day. So I have been handling quite a bit. Also, Stuart has traveled to Greece for the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) conference so I have been holding the parenting forte down. Doing a good job, if I do say so myself!


I hope everyone is well, staying on top of things even in the midst of challenges.
But, enjoying the precious moments of this life.
Treasure them!
Treasure the people in your life!



14 June 2012

Raw Vegan Diet : Explained | PART 2

***Guest Blog by Registered Dietitian, Kareen***
In this second and final part of our discussion on eating raw vegan, Kareen breaks it down so you can better understand what a raw food diet really entails and how she has adapted it to suit her preferences. She caps this discussion off by supplying us with one of her fave recipes. Thank you so much Kareen!  Kareen is a regular contributor to the blog as she has written extensively for our Health Naturally! Series. To read up on PART 1 of this current series, please see 'Why Raw Vegan.'


What is a raw whole-food plant-based diet?
Also known as a raw vegan diet, here are some of its guiding principles: 
  • Foods are not heated above 118oF (47.7oC). So you’re not forced to eat only cold food; it can be warmed!
  • Foods heated above 118oF are believed to have lost nutritional value and therefore are not as potent.
  • Food can be frozen depending on the raw foodist to whom you are speaking. This is an area of debate because the viability of frozen enzymes is compromised. I enjoy frozen fruits and vegetables so it's not an area of concern for me.
  • Foods typically eaten are fruits; vegetables; soaked nuts and seeds; sprouted grains and legumes.
Why Raw Food?
  • Increased intake of digestive enzymes, helps promote optimal digestion. Digestive enzymes are destroyed when heated above 115oF.
  • Greater intake of unprocessed foods leads to better health, increased energy and sustainable weight management. 
  • Reduced intake of processed foods decreases exposure to excitotoxins
Types of Raw Diets
There are raw diets that include meat. I won't discuss that here but I will say meat is especially unsafe raw so it's a practice to either eliminate or significantly reduce.

1. Low Fat, aka 80/10/10
This type of raw diet was brought to popularity by Douglas Graham, MD in his book "The 80/10/10 Diet" http://foodnsport.com/shop/books/the-80-10-10-diet.php. He proposes a fruit, vegetable, nut and seed intake in a ratio of 80% carbohydrate, 10% protein, 10% fat of our daily caloric intake.

Proponents of this way of eating find themselves eating a significant amount of fruit for energy throughout the day. For example, 30 bananas or entire watermelons are eaten in a sitting. Vegetable intake is strongly encouraged for adequate mineral intake. Nuts are limited to pine nuts and overt fats are eaten sparingly. Concentrated fats such as coconut or olive oils are avoided.

2. Gourmet Raw
This type of raw diet was the one that first caught my eye. You can make raw pizza? Pasta? Desserts? The pictures were beautiful and the food even more delicious.

In Gourmet Raw there are no ratios to follow. Overt fats are part of many meals such as coconut oil, walnut pate, cashew cheesecake crust or almond milk. Gourmet raw foodists use the dehydrator a lot to mimic familar foods like pizza crusts, bread, crackers and chips. All other aspects remain the same: lots of fruits and vegetables.

Where Do I Fall In?
Because I am not strict with low fat, I fall into the Gourmet category. Like most gourmet raw foodists, most of my meals are low fat although I love avocados and eat one at almost every meal. On the weekends or special occassions, I like to splurge with a higher healthy fat meal or even raw sweets. My body has responded well to this pattern so for now, I'm sticking with it. I also appreciate the endless possibilities with creating new dishes and don't want to be limited.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not 100% raw. I am blessed to have a husband who enjoys cooking and makes excellent vegan meals and I eat them :)

I don't fit into a neat square and most of us don't. When starting a new plan, eating or otherwise, it's important to evaluate what will work for you and what won't. Don't feel like you have to stick with someone else's ideas. Instead use them as a launching pad to discover your best path. 

Food Preparation
In general, food prep is easy as fruits and vegetables are naturally ready-to-eat! Soaking, sprouting and dehydrating require more planning. Otherwise, most meals involve washing, cutting and occassionally blending or using a food processor. Yes, it does take more time but my health is worth the effort.

What Do I Normally Eat?
I eat a lot of fruit, salad with yummy dressings and include juices and green smoothies. I don't get bored because every meal is a different combination. I rarely eat the exact same meal twice.

Here's a view of what I typically eat in a day.

On a parting note, I would like to share my favorite go-to recipe! 
Walnut Taco Meat 

This recipe is revised from The Rawtarian. But the original recipe can be found HERE

1 cup walnuts, soaked for at least one hour
10 sundried tomatoes, soaked for at least one hour
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper flakes - you can also use crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne or chili powder to add heat but start with a little and add to taste
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until the tomatoes, walnuts and garlic are incorporated into each other. Do not process until smooth. You want a semi-crumbly texture.

2. Enjoy with tortilla chips, sliced zucchini or cucumber, mini bell peppers. The possibilites are endless and delicious!

If you are interested in a raw whole-food plant-based diet or have any questions related to nutrition or weight management, please visit me on my Facebook Page 

Thank you Tasha for hosting this series on diet!

- Kareen, RD

Final Note
If you should have any questions whatsoever, please leave your comments in the box below. Kareen will be more than happy to respond to any queries or observations that you might have. Kareen's other social links:
Twitter: @i_amEatingRight 
Google Plus: Kareen EatingRight