Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Curlie in 3C - Coconut Oil Review

So lately I have been trying to incorporate more natural products in my hair regimen - like stuff you'd find in a kitchen, natural oils, etc. A few years ago, a friend put me on to the benefits of using coconut oil. I liked it, but I was not using it properly. I decided to try it again, in a few different ways. I'll be reviewing Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil as a pre-poo treatment and using the LOC method.**

The Product: Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

Where You Can Get It: click picture above to link to the website where it can be ordered.

PRE-POO (this is a conditioning treatment that's done prior to shampooing the hair for added conditioning and strengthening.)
What It's Supposed To Do:  A pre-poo in general is supposed to penetrate and condition the cuticle to prepare the hair for the manipulation of a shampoo. Also, (from"’s one of the relatively few oils that are able to penetrate deep into the hair. Coconut oil is special because it has the right combination of molecular size and shape (it’s small and has straight line structure that allows it to slip into hair) and the right chemical structure (it’s derived from lauric acid which has an affinity for protein.) So while most conditioning oils (like silicones and mineral oil) just sit on top of that hair, coconut oil is literally able to work from the inside.

What It Did: I did this prior to getting my hair straightened, which is not my usual practice. I found that detangling my hair was a LOT easier, and my hair was softer than usual after it was fully blown dry.

The LOC Method (LOC stands for Liquid, Oil, and Cream, which is the order of moisturizing for maximum results.) I used this method with a chunky twist-out, using the coconut oil as my "O".


What It's Supposed To Do: As the middle of the LOC method, its supposed to lightly layer over the liquid (water) to seal in moisture and help support the cream layer for ultimate moisturizing.

What It Did: Worked wonders! See in the middle pic how shiny my hair is? And it wasn't slick and actually felt soft. I'm definitely a fan of this method using coconut oil.

P.S. I used it a skin moisturizer just out of the shower, and my skin was really soft! It lasted about 12 hours and I love the smell. It's faint and not overpowering. I love the smell of coconut when it's not too strong! 

The only other oil I've used is Olive and Grapeseed - I love those too, but for different purposes. I like to use Olive Oil as a part of my deep conditioner (more details on that later) and I like to use Grapeseed Oil as an everyday moisturizer when my hair feels dry and it's not wash day. But I've heard they all work for the LOC Method, depending on your hair type. But I really liked the coconut oil for my hair. What's your favorite oil? Which ones do you want to try?

**Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Black Girl's Think Tank - Here's a Tip

Every now and then, my family would gather together and go out to eat. There would be about 7 to 10 of us.  My uncle would insist on paying the bill, for which we are all grateful. After he paid the bill, he actually took the time out to write "tips" on the back on the receipt (i.e. "never eat yellow snow.") and my family would have a good laugh.

It was mortifying.

I do hold bias. I was a server and bartender for almost 10 years. When I was younger, the tips were a fun bonus. When I got older and was out on my own, a lot of times what I made in one night could determine whether or not my electricity bill would be paid. Or worse, my rent.

Over the years, I have had many discussions about why people do and don't choose to tip. Some feel is the company's job to pay their employees for all work done at the job. Others gauge the amount tipped on how pleased they were with the service (in this instance, I find that nine times out of ten, these people are never really happy with the service.) And some people just plain ole don't know any better - by becoming a server, I essentially taught my parents how to tip.

In my opinion, a server would have to pretty much call me a name and spit in my food for me NOT to tip, but again, I am biased. And de-bunking stereotypes is a priority to me, so I'll even do it to prove a point. I participated in a rather heated discussion on Facebook regarding this matter, and I realized that ignorance was a driving force behind the naysayers of tipping. So I found this nifty chart of who, where and how to tip.

Waiter/waitress:15% of bill (excl. tax) for adequate service; 20% for very good service; no less than 10% for poor service
Headwaiter/captain:often gets a cut of table server's tip; so tip your server extra to reward captain, or tip captain separately
Sommelier, or wine steward:15% of cost of the bottle
Bartender:15% to 20% of the tab, with a minimum of 50 cents per soft drink, $1 per alcoholic drink
Coatroom attendant:$1 per coat
Parking valet or garage attendant:$2 to bring your car to you
Washroom attendant:50 cents to $1

Taxi driver:Varies depending on locality. Assume 15% will be enough; an extra $1 to $2 for help with bags.
Food delivery person:*10% of the bill (excl. tax), at least $1 for bills up to $10. Should tip 15%-20% for a difficult delivery.
Grocery loader:Check with store policy if tips are accepted. If so, $1 for bringing bags to car; $1.50 to $3 if you have more than 3 bags.
Barber:15% to 20%, minimum $1, for a haircut. For other services (shampoo, shave or manicure) tip $1 to $2 to service provider.
Hairdresser:15% to 20%. (It is now acceptable to tip owner, unless he or she says otherwise.)
Shampoo person:$2
Spa service (e.g., massage):15% to 20%. If service is provided by owner, no tip.
Staff at coffee/food retailers with tip jars:No tip required. It's completely optional.
Handyman:No tip
Gas attendant:No tip
* Mike Lynn, associate professor of consumer behavior at the Cornell Hotel School suggests tipping pizza delivery folk a minimum of $2 per pizza. His reasoning: Food delivery can be dangerous if delivering to crime-ridden neighborhoods or driving in bad weather, etc. The Web site suggests the following: 15% for normal service, with a $2 minimum; 20% for excellent service; 10% or less for poor service; at least 10% for orders of $50 or more. Don't assume a delivery charge, if there is one, goes to the pizza deliverer. Ask the person who takes your order.

Skycap at airport:$1 per bag if you check-in curbside; $2 per bag if skycap takes bags to check-in counter.
Hotel doorman:$1 per bag for help with luggage; $1 per person for hailing a cab
Hotel bellhop:$1 per bag for bringing luggage to your room (but a $2 minimum if you have just one bag)
Hotel housekeeper:$2 to $5* per night
Hotel concierge:$5 for getting you tickets or reservations ($10-plus if they're hard to get). No tip required when you ask for directions.
Cruise:Varies. Ask cruise line about customary gratuities.
Source: Emily Post Institute
* Additional source:

Here are a few other interesting articles I found regarding the practice of tipping...did you know that the results of a recent poll show that most people tip out of social obligation, and not because of good service? Check these out:

the real reason people tip -

After all this research, my opinion still stands. I do still judge people who refuse to tip. And I always will. When it comes to basic societal practices here in the US, poop or get off the pot. :-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Black Girl's Think Tank - Stable Dating

A few years back, I was complaining to my friend Donna about my sad dating life and how much I HATED dating. She then explained her method of dating to me. Although I am just now getting the hang of it, it opened my eyes like the first time you realize all the cool things your phone can do a year after you've had it.

She likened dating to a horse stable: all the stalls may or may not be filled, just as long as there is more than one horse in it (cuz there's no point in having a stable for just one horse, right?) It seemed simple, very chic and cosmopolitan...empowering even. I remember turning this concept over in my head, wondering if I could pull something like this off. I'm the romantic, emotional know, love at first sight and all that other stuff. I was afraid that dating like this would have my emotions all over the place. Or best case scenario, I'd be kissing a lot of frogs with no prince. As much I have loathed dating in the past, I decided to try it anyway.

It totally worked! No wonder I had always hated dating - I was doing it all wrong! So I think I've figured out what the problem was. You have to be able to see dating for what it's supposed to be. Metaphor Time: We sometimes look at dating as Husband Auditioning instead Trying on Clothes. It's silly to think you have to buy everything you try on, whether it fits or not. So why wouldn't that be the case for a partner? Every time I dated someone, I immediately tried to determine whether or not they were good husband material, or if they were The One. I put all my eggs in one basket. So when the basket finally fell and all my eggs broke, I was devastated. (I know I'm going IN with the metaphors, but stay with me!)

Now back to the stable. Having multiple horses in my stable ensured that I wouldn't be dating out of necessity, desperation, or worst of all, loneliness. If one wasn't available, there were others to hang out with or talk to, get to know. I never gave too much time or energy to just one. It kept my emotions balanced and in check. Plus, if you go so far as to think of them racing (for your love, of course) one horse will always be in the lead, and eventually win the race...and your heart (ok, end of metaphors.)

Its such a smart and fun way to date, that I am convinced this is the way it's supposed to be done. I used to hate dating because I just knew that I would either end up happily boo'd up or being rejected and hurt. Mostly the latter. There was never a middle. Now its all evenly balanced...I hardly notice when one falls off, cuz I didn't unhealthily attach myself to them, and I'm still dating the others too. It's great.

So in honor of Valentine's Day, I want to fully endorse Stable Dating (pun intended.) Thanks Donna for teaching me how to date!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Soul Survivor - For The Sake of the Call

For the sake...of the call...
I am laying down my all.
No turning back.
Move straight ahead.
I'm on the right track...
And it's all for the sake of the call.

- The Call, Anointed

I will begin this post by admitting that I am an emotional person (doubly emotional for about 5 to 7 days every month.) I have days where things get to me, and until I am able to calm myself and think it through, those things wreak havoc on my mood and overall perspective on my life.

Today, I had a moment where I second-guessed my calling. My purpose. That thing I've known I was put on earth to do since I could speak. And it made me very sad. Because the hypothetical alternatives weren't cutting it.

Raise your hand if you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what you have been "called" to do - your purpose on this earth, what you are "supposed" to be doing, etc.

If you raised your hand, then you know how extremely important it is NOT to second guess that. For any reason. Not for the haters. Not for the naysayers. Not even for the well-intending parent or friend. No one knows whats best for you better than you...understanding this means trusting yourself. Remember that your vote trumps all others when it comes to your life.

Your calling may or may not be your occupation. Your calling may or may not be your passion. Your calling could be a combination of these things, or none of them. Only you know for sure. Things throughout your life will continuously be added to and subtracted from your calling, but nothing will eliminate it if you truly believe in it.

In the midst of your journey (or in my case, today) you may need a word of encouragement. Find it. If you need some space from it, take it. If you are spiritual, pray on it - from my understanding, God is great with Callings. ;-)

But don't, whatever you do, please DON'T give up. Remember that moment when you identified your calling for what it was, because there was literally nothing else on this earth that you could do and feel fulfilled.

This post is for you and for me.

If you didn't raise your hand, don't delay. Seek out that calling. You have work to do!

And when your calling comes in, don't send it to voicemail. Answer it - you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Foodie Call - QUICHE!

Things That Are Great About Quiche:

1. It's cheap to make
2. It's plentiful
3. There's a quiche for everyone (except people who don't eat eggs)
4. It looks gourmet, but is very easy to make.
5. It has a fancy-sounding name so that when you tell people you made it, they are instantly impressed.
6. It is delicious!

I make them all the time, and I often switch up the ingredients based on what I have in my kitchen already. The one I'm giving the recipe is a simple one.

Sausage and Spinach Quiche

This recipe makes two quiche pies. Luckily the pie crusts come in pairs!

One roll of uncooked sausage (I use Bob Evans Sweet Maple Pork Sausage)
2 cups of fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup of shredded cheese
5 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp half and half
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp oregano (optional)
2 tsp basil (optional)
1 package of frozen pie crusts (they come 2 in a pack)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap sausage into a skillet, and cook on medium heat. breaking it apart into crumbles as it cooks. Once the sausage is browned, strain and set aside. Whisk the eggs, yolks and seasonings in a medium bowl with the half and half until well blended. Layer the ingredients in the uncooked pie shells in this order: sausage, spinach, cheese. Pour egg mixture into pie crusts over layered ingredients. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean with no eggy liquid on it. If the cheese starts to burn, cover it with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Let cool for 15 minutes to set, then slice and enjoy!

My food styling sucks, but below is the finished product:

Easy, delicious, and it only cost me about $12 to make two! That leaves me enough room in the budget for some tasty mimosas or Bloody Marys'! What are your favorite quiche ingredients? What ingredients would you be willing to try?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Curlie in 3C - Smelly Hair Products

I cannot stand a stinky hair product.

I don't care how great the product is, if I have to hold my breath until the next wash day, it's a no go for me. I'm pretty easy - I pretty much like all things fruity and floral as far hair products go...I don't even mind a tiny bit of minty goodness (i.e. Miss Jessie's Curly Buttercreme and all of Dr. Miracle's Curl Care line.) But there are some hair product scents that are just unbearable to me! I've even had to wash my hair twice in one day because of a bad call on a smelly product. 

Of course, it's all objective. There have been plenty of times where I will turn my nose up at a product's scent only to have one of my girlfriends look at me like I have two heads, exclaiming "You don't like it?!?! Girl, I LOVE the way this smells!" Below are my Top 5 Most Wonderful Smelling Curly Products. They are all styling aids, because its rare that my hair hangs on to the scent of the conditioner - especially since I always follow with a styling product. 

My Top 5 Most Wonderful Smelling Hair Products

1. ANYTHING made by Karen's Body Beautiful. She creates all of her products in multiple scents so you get to choose. The scents are heavenly - Luscious Pear, Egyptian Musk, Coco Lime, Coconut and Fig, just to name a few. It's a no-brainer. 

2. Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie. This stuff smells like a fresh fruit salad with coconut and marshmallows, and it's not terribly overpowering. When my hair is freshly styled with it, I almost always receive a compliment on the smell. 

3. Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls. Ironlically enough, the product brags about being a "fabric softener for the hair", and my friends and I often joke about how it smells like Suavitel. Well I like Suavitel. The smell is powerful, but since I like it, I don't mind at all! It dies down as your hair dries anyway, but it doesn't totally go away. 

4. Elasta QP's Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer. I just received a full size of this product in my December CurlBox and I love it. It smells exactly like the name. The mango is prominent, but mellow. It smells delicious enough to eat. 

5. I Love My Fro Orange Vanilla Shea Butter Whip. I received a sample of this product at an event I attended. As soon as I opened the container, I wanted to grab a spoon. It smells like orange vanilla cake icing! My hair is usually not a fan of shea butter in certain forms (3C Problems) but I had to work it into a hair cocktail of some sort so I could use it! 

Those are my favorite smell good, natural gal products. What are some of yours? Have you tried any of the ones I listed? If so, do you agree? 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Black Girl's Think Tank - My Life According to Pinterest

I am addicted to Pinterest.

I have access to Pinterest on my tablet, computer, and mobile device. I truly believe there is no problem in this world that Pinterest can't solve.

Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but Pinterest is and can be so many things! And whats strange is that when someone asks me exactly what it is...I can't explain it. An online cork board? A scrapbook of sorts? Bookmarks for websites categorized more specifically with pictures?

All I know is that Pinterest pops into my mind several times a day, no matter what the subject. I can plan weekly menus, romantic getaways, house design, lesson plans, new hairstyles, a whole new wardrobe and style reinvention, reference a funny or inspirational quote, find things to knit, paint, create, sew, carve; stock a wet bar, and pretty much make ANYTHING you could buy from a store for half the cost.

Here's a list of what I've used Pinterest for so far:

- countless recipes...I actually plan weekly menus with my Recipes board.
- made my own green and natural home cleaning solutions
- made my own hair conditioner with items from my kitchen
-  knitted two scarves, a hat and a head warmer from patterns found on my Knitting board.
-  made green and natural pest repellant (totally put the kabash on a fruit fly infestation)
- made my own air freshener!
- got detailed lesson plan ideas
- gotten a few hairstyles to try (one was cute, the other a bust)
- made my own dried fruit snacks.
- gave myself an at-home Shellac manicure
- used a great DIY tip to dry said manicure in 3 minutes!
- made my own microwave popcorn
- discovered a number of great websites with great tips on everything from saving money to putting outfits together!

It is extremely easy to navigate and use, and you can download a "Pin It" button right into your browser menu. So if you're cruising websites and come across something you want to pin, you just go to the menu your Bookmarks are in and click Pin It. Plus you will spend hours just repinning all the great things that other people have pinned - they've done the searching for you! Not only is it a great resource, it has now become a great marketing tool as well, joining the ranks of Twitter and Facebook. If you haven't gotten hip to it yet, or think that it may be a bit overwhelming for you, do yourself a favor: get over it and get over to Pinterest! If you're already there, what are your favorite boards? What life-changing thing did you gain from it?