Pt. I "So Fresh and So Clean!" Soap Edition

Do you remember that feeling you had as a kid when you got new school supplies?  Maybe it wasn't just me, but I loved opening a new pack of paper, using a freshly sharpened or a mechanical pencil for the first time, and writing on the first page in a notebook.  Those days were always happy days.

Just like I loved those fresh packs of paper, I love to be clean.  I don't mind working and getting grunge on my hands or whatnot, but I love the smell of being freshly clean; squeaky clean.  Don't you just love that smell of a freshly washed baby with his/her baby lotions?  Ahh, refreshing.

Because of this quirk of mine, I try to keep my eye open for new soaps or products to try.  Those with a soft scent, but actually work for the purpose intended.  I gave up traditional perfume so long ago, I really can't remember.  Everybody's body chemistry is so different.  One person wears a scent and it smells differently on another.  One person puts a perfume on in the morning and another person has to keep applying all throughout the day.  Perplexing.  [Lisa, if you're reading this, I'm wearing your natural perfume "A Rose in Time" right now and loving it!]  Anyways, sometime during my college days I absolutely fell head over heels in love with oils like sandalwood, lavender, Egyptian Musk, to name a few.

Here are my most current "So Fresh and So Clean!" Soap Edition products of choice:

Shampoo Bars:

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To date, this is my favorite Shampoo Bar (especially now that I've discovered that the Swastika in Hindi means something totally different than I originally thought).  This one bar lasted me from January until just a couple of weeks ago.  Must find more...

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My second favorite shampoo bar, but I much rather use this one as a body soap.  Great lather, but doesn't last as long for me.

Facial Bar:

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This is Lisa's (of Blossoming Tree) Lavender Castile Facial Bar.  Such a gentle, cleansing soap.  Check out her Etsy shop here.

Facial Mask:

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Just discovered it.  Tried it once and loved it!  Apparently you can do this once a week.  Tutorial forthcoming.
* Ok, granted this is not a soap, but since it fit so well with the Facial Soap, I had to throw it in.  Since I don't wear makeup I really wouldn't have anymore to add to a "Makeup Edition".
* Must see how this clay works as a hair mask later.  Just hennaed my hair today so I won't be needing this mask right now.  Gotta do my research first.

General Purpose Soap:

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This is African Black Soap.  The real deal.  The beauty lies in what it does and not how it looks.  lol  I purchase this at an African Market.  It lasts for a long time and can be used for just about everything.

I do use regular soaps as well.  I have to rotate my skin/scalp products if I want them to continue working for me.  I love hearing, "You smell so good!" and knowing that I've only used one of these soaps and an unscented lotion.  My secret is out!

This concludes Part I of the "So Fresh and So Clean!" Soap Edition series.

Getting Squeaky Clean,

Holding Myself Accountable

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What's that word that it seems that women do not like to mention?  Yeah, you guessed it.  Weight.  Whether it's too much, not enough, or in the wrong places, it seems that this is an issue that faces many women.  At work, women, regardless of their size, are either counting points, drinking shakes, or guzzling down water.  I act like I don't see or hear for fear of those glaring eyes that say, "You're too thin to even become a part of this conversation."  lol

Where's here's the truth on this issue from my perspective.  I feel like as long as you're comfortable with yourself, it's really not my business. I never really discussed weight, but have always been aware of my genetic potential.  I've basically been the same weight, although not always the same size for the last 10-15 years, give or take 5 pounds.  I even survived turning 30, which my mother said would only add another set of hips, or stomach, or thighs, or chins, or all of the above.

So what did it take to push me over the edge?  Layers of stress and 2 rounds of steroids to cure a winter upper respiratory situation.  Guess what?  My nose still drips and I'm suddenly like 15 pounds more than I've ever been in my life.  The doctor said the medicine didn't make me eat; I did.  My response to him:  Maybe not, but the medicine made me hungry 24/7 and at midnight, carrots (as he suggested) aren't my friend.  lol

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So what's my point?  Now I'm the one that's uncomfortable.  15 pounds may not sound like a lot, but nothing fits right and you know I hate to shop for clothes, and plus I don't feel myself right now.  So what am I going to do?  I'm going to be a little more proactive.  This plan of mine will start on June 1.  I had to tell you so I would hold myself accountable.  My basic plan consists of a change in food and adding a little exercise.  (Computer related activities do not count as exercise.)  Today I signed up for a free account at FitDay.  It helps to keep track of what you're doing, eating, and how you're doing on your personal goals and showing you on charts, graphs, etc.

What does all of this mean for you, my faithful readers?  Well, it means that you can get prepared to see lots of healthy, easy dishes with wonderful photos (I hope).  I'm already planning for some aesthetically pleasing, healthy meals.  Stay tuned and wish me well!

Ok, please allow me one more cartoon.  I couldn't resist.  :-)

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Happy Healthy Lifestyle,

Natty Butter

My hair maintenance goal:  To use as few products as possible, as natural as possible, to get to desired effects.

I will admit that I'm always on the prowl for the best, natural products to help my hair remain healthy and become more manageable.  I still have tubs of unused raw shea butter that I will mix, whip, and apply in due time, but there comes a point when you have to realize that it's okay to support others who have a talent for something that you can do, but you choose to let someone else carry that torch.  And I've found that to be true with Dominique's Natty Butter.

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I've seen Dominique's hair videos using her own product and I was impressed and tempted to purchase, but when I realized that she also made a lemongrass/lavender scented Natty Butter I had to click the "Buy Now" button.  Hands down, lemongrass is one of my most favorite essential oils.  And who can resist the calming effects of lavender?

I will admit that I haven't maximized the fullest potential of this product yet.  Okay, I just got it in the mail today.  But I'm so anxious to see how my hair will enjoy it with a full dose.  Blocking off my weekend as I type....

Check out one of Dominique's hair tutorials on banding your hair:

To purchase Natty Butter or learn more about it, visit her blog "Living the Natty Lifestyle."

To learn more about Dominique and view her tutorials and other natural haircare/lifestyle posts, visit her blog "All Things O'Natural."

Happy Wednesday,

*Verde Hoja* Cotton Capelet

Again, I decided to use the beautiful leaf green cotton yarn that I received in a swap from CT.  The yarns she sent were my first experience using mercerized cotton.  It's a really nice yarn.  I started this capelet in one doctor's office last week, nearly finished it in another's (always have a craft project in the doctor's office).  I enjoyed working on this capelet.  Both this one and the purple one will be listed in my shop soon.

Happy Crafting,

New Do Take 2

So I wore those twists for about a week, despite the urge to rock a twist out.  I personally don't anyone who has my hair type who takes the time to twist it and untwists it immediately.  Gotta stretch the style.  So last night, despite all of the humidity and rainy season that has hailed upon us, I decided to rock a twist out.  This style can be somewhat unpredictable due to weather conditions and the nature of my hair, so I took some pics for you today.

Glasses on...

Glasses off...
 Wanna see my hair texture up close and personal?  Well, here it is...

Ubber thick and oh so cottony!  Great spring-back action and the length is always deceiving to the naked eye.
And, did I mention I wore my all-time favorite shirt style to work today?  The caftan.  Some people call it a tunic.  It's been my favorite style shirt for so long.  Yeah, I was the kid in college wearing dashiki tops and caftans, just because.  :-)

Bought in the U.S.  Made in India.  You know how we do here in the U.S.  Everything is from somewhere else.  lol
Happy Tuesday,

Tru Life - The Teaser

My cousin, Robin, has been an aspiring screenwriter/producer for as long as I can remember.  Now, she's one step closer to fulfilling her dream.  Here's a clip of her first film, "Tru Life Story".

Teaser for the short film "Tru Life Story". Produced by Cumba Media and Anthony Davis. 
Written and Directed by R. Shanea Williams. Starring Alexis Rajah. 


Food Obsessed

Found a new food blog today.  A healthy food blog with absolutely yummy photos......

Go check it out.  You know you want to!
Happy Healthy Eating,

In the Words of Art Linkletter...

So I thought I was going back to work on Monday, but that didn't work out.  I did finally go back on Thursday and this is what happened:

Remember when I left for Spring Break, I looked like this:

But when I returned, I had taken all those afro twists out and twisted my natural hair; thereby looking like this:

Maybe it was because they hadn't seen me in a while.

Maybe it was the flowing broomstick skirt:

Or perhaps the twists:

But I chuckled when a girl who looks just like me said, "Ms. H, are you from Africa?"
Last summer some Jamaicans asked me where I was from, thinking I originated from outside the U.S. and then that same weekend a man in a store backtracked and asked me if I was from Barbados. ????  Um, do I need to trace my roots?  lol

When I returned to work today, another girl dropped a note by my class.  This is what it said:

In the words of Art Linkletter, "Kids say the darndest things!"

To view a clip of Art Linkletter's show, watch the video below.  So entertaining!

Happy Friday,

Looking Forward

I was reading the newspaper and stumbled across an article about our local Farmer's Market.  As an official "sleepyhead" I must have a good reason to crawl out early in the morning on a Saturday.  It's my only sleep-in day.  Hopefully the local market will accept my application and allow me to participate in this season from May to October.  I love Etsy, but Etsy doesn't sell itself.  I'd love to have another opportunity outside of Etsy to sell my wares.  Crossing my fingers that this opportunity is it.

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Happy Crafting,

Swimming Along...

Yesterday I finished up this aqua dead eye fish hat.  Now he can swim to London, to his new home.  :-D

Happy Mother's Day!

Speaking of mothers, my two friends from Peru are traveling back home next month for a visit.  I really want to send both of their mothers something handmade.  One friend requested a scarf for her mom, her hubby didn't specify, and so I thought I might as well make two scarves since it will be winter there.  Any suggestions?  Something quick and beautiful, please.

p.s.  I go back to work tomorrow.

Happy Crafting,

May Length Check

As you know, I've been participating in the 2011 Hair Challenge sponsored by the Moptop Maven.  Life got a little hectic and I took the easy way out and decided to get afro twists put into my hair so I could manage better during that time.  Over the Easter vacation, I took those twists out and noticed my hair needed a lot of TLC and a trim.  Remember the last time I got a trim?  Yeah, it was more like a cut and I was near to tears.  This time I rectified the situation a bit by pretreating my own hair before letting anyone else touch it AND by requesting a shampoo and blow dry BEFORE getting the trim.  At least if a lot of my hair got whacked off, I wouldn't be wondering if a mistake had been made due to the crinkles in my hair. 

I noticed a lot of hair wasn't falling all around me on the floor (to my surprise) and when I looked in the mirror, I was totally shocked!  So apparently my hair did grow since January.  It wasn't a farce. 

Now what have I learned?  It's okay to get professional help periodically, and blow drying before trimming works for me.  (I don't even own a blow dryer.)  I also learned that taking care of your hair while in twists or braids is really important. 

January 2011 Length Check

May 2011 Length Check

Now, I think I'll do some two strand twists.

* Please excuse these camera phone pics.

Easter Lilies in Bloom

While at my parents' house for Easter dinner, I discovered my mom had a new plant that was just about to bloom.  I couldn't wait to photograph it before it was too late.  Finally I was able to capture this beautiful plant.  To date, these are my favorite floral photos from my stash.

Behind the Scenes:
This is a potted plant in front of a black piece of linen cloth, sitting on the couch underneath a window with good light.  Also a bit of a manipulation of the window blinds.  I've definitely learned something new with this shoot.

Happy Spring,

The Great Noro Reveal

Thank you all for my well wishes.  I am doing lots of napping and in between, some crafting.  Finally blocked this scarf I've been working on, and I love it!  I had my doubts about Noro yarn because it seemed so rough at first purchase.  Maybe it was the year-long wait that softened it up, maybe the more I touched it the more I got used to the texture, or maybe it was in the blocking process.  All I know is that I love this scarf and this one's mine!  (For real this time.)

What I did was used a basic knitted dishcloth pattern -one that starts from the corner up.  I just never decreased.  To keep it closed, I added snaps and when I find the perfect button, I'll tack it on the outside for adornment.  So, no button holes on this one.

You like?

ETA:  Basic Knitted Dishcloth Pattern
Happy Crafting,

Life as I Know It - Weekly Update #2

  1. I took all of the afro twists out. 
  3. I spent some time in the hospital.  On the road to recovery now.

    Fruit Basket given to me from my church.
  5. I rested, rested, rested. 
  6. Celebrated my dad's 64th birthday.
  7. Finished knitting a triangular scarf with the Noro yarn.  Yeah, this one's for me.  :-) [Real pics later.]
  8. Swallowed small round pills.  As a non-pill swallower, this was a major feat!
  9. My cousin graduated from college.  I couldn't go being that I was in recovery mode, but I was proud and happy for her in my absence.  We'll have to plan a girl's day a little later.
  10. I was inducted into an international honor society for women in education.
  11. Worked on my own version of a crocheted brimmed cap.
  12. Did I mention I rested?
* Glad to see some new followers.  Welcome! :-)