24 January 2013

Productos nuevos (New Products)!!

Buonasera, ragazze! :-D

My aunt paid my sister and I today, so I went shopping for supplies for the rapidly approaching semester, and, of course, hair products! I did go over my allotted $30/month budget, but I wasn't spazzing out in the aisles and picking up everything in sight and just going crazy. I stuck to what I knew, for the most part. Soo, up first, here's my video from the magic YT sobre los:


And here are the deets below on every product in the video:

1. Shea Moisture Hold & Shine Moisture Mist

Price: $9.99
Size: 8 fl oz/237 mL
Purchased from: Target
Ingredients: Deionized Water, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Silk Protein, Essential Oil Blend, Neem Seed Oil, Algae Extract, Hyssop Extract, Sage Leaf and Field Horsetail Extract, Honeysuckle Flower and Japanese Honeysuckle Flower Extract, Vitamin E.


2. Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Price: $4.99 (it was part of the BOGO 50% deal)
Size: 12 oz/340 g
Purchased from:  Target
Ingredients: Deionized Water, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Macadamia Seed Oil, Mango Seed Butter, Avocado Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Silk Protein, Ammonium Salt, Neem Seed Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Sorbitol Esters, Pro-Vitamin B5, Caprylyl Glycol, Essential Oil Blend, Honeysuckle Flower and Japanese Honeysuckle Flower Extract, Vitamin E.


3. Herbal Essences Set Me Up Gel

Price: $3.39
Size: 6 oz/170 g
Purchased from: Target
Ingredients: Water, Laureth-23, Polyquaternium-4, Hydroxyethlcellulose, Benzyl Alcohol, Acrylates/Beheneth-25 Methacrylate Copolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance/Parfum, Acrylates Copolymer, Disodium EDTA.


4. TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner

Price: $4.48
Size: 25 fl oz/739 mL
Purchased from: Wal Mart
Ingredients: Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Avocado Oil, Aloe Leaf Extract, Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer, Fragrance, Caprylyl Glycol, Aspartic Acid, Lauroyl Lysine, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Benzyl Alcohol, Citric Acid.


5. Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi All Natural Deep Conditioner

Price: $9.47
Size: 16 fl oz/473 mL
Purchased from: Wal Mart
Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Coconut Oil, Tiare Flower, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulphate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-11, Jojoba Seed Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Chamomile Flower Oil, Melaleuca Leaf Oil (Tea Tree Leaf Oil), Sweet Almond Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Vitamin E, Aloe Leaf Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid.


6. LeKair Cholesterol Plus Strengthening and Conditioning Cream

Price: $1.89
Size: 20 oz/567 g
Purchased from: Wal Mart
Ingredients: Deionized Water, Cetearyl Alcohol and PEG-40 Castor Oil and Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Fragrance, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Cholesterol, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Tetrasodium EDTA, Vitamin E, Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Yellow #5, Red #4, Aloe Extract, Vitamin A, Vitamin D.


7. Nuance Argan Oil Glossing Conditioner

Price: $8.76
Size: 10 fl oz/296 mL
Purchased from: CVS Pharmacy
Ingredients: Water, Isododecane, Isohexadecane, Behentrimonium Methosulphate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Fragrance, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Acai Fruit Oil, Argan Kernel Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Passion Flower Seed Oil, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Algae Extract, Camellia Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Benzyl Benzoate, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone.

8. Honey
Price: $5.68
Size: 24 oz/680 g
Purchased from: Wal Mart


I'm so excited to try these! Especially the HE gel; I'm nearing the bottom of my container of Xcess and hadn't gone to the dollar store to stock up again, so I hope this will be another product to add to my styling arsenal.

Purchased any new products lately, curlies? Gone shopping through your stash of late? What did you cop? :-D

23 January 2013

In Remembrance of...What?

On the way home from my great aunt's house, I sat in the backseat of the family van, thinking and drinking in the dark silhouettes of houses flitting by. All of a sudden, tears stung my eyes as a face from my not-too-distant past flashed in front of my mind's eye. I remember him well; we met in my first political science class in the spring of 2012 - my last semester of high school. I was ecstatic because it was my first honors module at MC, and I was eager to absorb every bit of knowledge my professor had to offer.

I remember him from the first day - he actually irritated me slightly because he was so well traveled - he went to school in South Korea and had served in the U.S. Air Force - and knew a lot more than I did. He had an answer, comment or insight for nearly every question the professor posed to the class; at first, I only knew him as the guy who constantly had his hand in the air, waiting to be called on. Though we were both in the honors module, I pretty much ignored him for the first month of the semester unless it was absolutely necessary that we speak to each other.

One day in February, however, my perception of him changed. Several of my classmates and I arrived about 15 minutes early for class that morning. One of the guys there, a politician in the making, started a disagreement about transferring to certain colleges, and an argument ensued. I stayed silent, but I watched Mr. Smartypants closely. His tone, at least, was calm. When I heard his short laugh and observed him run his fingers through his onyx locks as the conversation intensified, I knew that he was irritated, if only in the slightest. Still, I was impressed. Many other guys would have lost it. Inside, I smiled. And as the professor entered the room and quelled the disagreement, I found myself more interested in getting to know this classmate of mine.

As the next few class sessions passed, I noted that unlike 98.9% of the student population, I never once heard him utter a single curse word - highly unusual. Over the next few weeks, we got to know each other better. Our professor often spoke with us directly after class to discuss additional requisites that we had to meet. Usually, he or I would turn an assignment discussion into a question about events we'd been researching or had heard about, and the three of us would stand outside the classroom, talking intently about what happened where and when, and its ramifications on other parts of the globe. And it seemed the more we talked, the more I liked him. Our class schedules didn't coincide, so we couldn't both meet with the professor to discuss our research papers, but we occasionally talked about them with each other outside of class. Only one thing nagged at me still: was he a Christian? He dropped little hints here and there like I've noticed believers tend to do when feeling around for others. But I wanted to be more certain. Oddly enough, his name came up in conversation while talking to one of my best friends one day, and I found out that his family attended her church. I felt like I was on cloud 9 - it was like I had confirmation from God that I could like him.

This was not an infatuation-driven crush. This was true like, I was convinced. He was intelligent and had a great sense of humor. I enjoyed being able to talk about a wide range of subjects with him. I loved how awkwardly cute he was around me, because it made me feel better about being nervous around him. My knees quavered whenever that raven head of hair turned in my direction. His eyes lit up when he saw me. He was mature but still had a sweet boyishness about him. He seemed caring, polite and respectful. I felt comfortable around him; he never once said or did anything indecent. And though we never once brought it up in conversation, I believe that we shared the same faith in the same God, something of vital importance to me. It was like that part of the Hallmark movie where the guy and the girl get to know each other, and everything seems perfect. It certainly felt that way. But the cruise soon came to an end.

As the semester progressed, there was one topic of conversation that he continually brought up that made me feel uncomfortable: transfer schools. I was embarrassed to tell him my list; he had applied to Ivies, whereas I, feeling intimidated by the brand name colleges, aimed lower in my applications. He looked at me funny when the deadline question came about; transfer applications are due by 1 March; freshman applications a month or two prior, and even more for priority admittance into honors programs. There was another issue connected to this question of where I'd end up after MC: age. I knew, by piecing bits of conversation together, that he was at least 21; 24 years old at the most. Unbeknownst to him, I was 17 for most of the semester. But I never mentioned my age or my birthday, or that I was still in high school at the time. And for good reason. Every other time the aforementioned subject had come up with other classmates, they stopped talking to me. I didn't like telling people that I was younger than them; it made things awkward. So whenever he mentioned transferring, I'd go along with it - and technically, I was a transfer student. The credits I'd taken would transfer in to any 4 year university.And with as many as I had, I could technically be considered a sophomore at some institutions. So that is how I justified it. Perhaps that is where I went wrong.

We soon talked after nearly every class. I looked forward to it each week. But then came a dreadful day. I knew it would come up sooner or later, but I didn't want to think about it. It arrived, nonetheless. During the last few weeks before final exams, he asked me where I was transferring after the spring as we walked along the hallway on our way out of the humanities building. My warm smile froze. I died on the inside. Earlier that year, I was 100% positive that UMBC was the place for me. I received a scholarship and all. But after praying about it, I just didn't feel ready to go. Everybody wanted me to go away to school, and yet, I felt that there was a nagging little tug from God to stay put. I didn't want to stay home; ever since I was 12, I'd dreamed of going far away from home for university. But I couldn't just up and disobey God, either. So, I broke the news to my parents and closest friends. They were all angry, upset, confused, wanted an explanation - why wouldn't I want to go away for college? What was wrong with me? Didn't I want the true "college experience"? But I stayed solid. I refused the offer at UMBC and chose to accept the offer of admission from the Scholars program at MC. I was happy with my choice, and felt completely positive that it was what God wanted me to do. 

But how would I explain that to him? He didn't know me that well. Would he understand? Fear filled my heart as he waited for my answer, watching me intently, holding his breath. 

"Well, um, I'm actually staying here for a couple more semesters," I mumbled rapidly, violently thrusting my empty plastic water bottle into the large blue recycling bin. He stopped and - was that a wince on his face? - looked at me, seeming unsure of what I had said.

"Why would you stay here?" he inquired, looking baffled. I gathered my inner strength, ready to lose the heart of the one I'd grown to admire over the past two months. I fingered a loose thread on my backpack, trying to be momentarily distracted. I looked up, meeting those warm, dark brown eyes of his and knowing that they hungered for the truth.

"Well," I began, "I'm only 18." There's a start, I thought. I looked at him anxiously, trying to read him. He didn't seem bothered by what I'd said. In the least. Shocked, perhaps, by discovering that I was so much younger than his 22 years, but not in a bad way. I was faintly hopeful.

"But still, why would you stay? You have enough credits to transfer, don't you?" He wondered, furrowing his smooth dark brows. I cringed inwardly.

"Well, actually, I'm...um...stillinhighschoolandIdecidedtodothehonorsprogramhere," I mumbled, almost under my breath. The light in his eyes, which I'd grown so accustomed to seeing when he looked at me, dimmed. His face fell.

"Oh. Well, um, where do you want to go after that?" his now flat voice asked, without interest.

Almost in tears, my voice wavered as I said "I'm not completely sure yet; I still have a couple more years to think about it." He nodded, but we both knew what was unsaid. As he said goodbye and walked off, I let the tears stream down my cheeks as I went to my next class. I felt like I had run him off, and all because of something that I didn't say upfront. All due to the fact that my educational status was two years behind his. I was crushed. I knew right then that he'd probably never speak to me again.

Sobbing at home, I texted my best friends, and they all assured me that I was probably just overreacting; surely, he'd talk to me at the next class. But I knew him too well. I still saw him look longingly at me when he walked in during the next session, but he didn't even say hello. The final blow came when he walked over to the professor, and murmured that he'd been accepted into Columbia. She congratulated him, and I smiled to myself; I knew that he'd get accepted there, as well as to all of the other institutions to which he applied for admission. My stomach knotted as he went to his seat and I looked at him pleadingly with my big brown eyes. Not even a smile passed his lips. I felt like crying all over again. Why wouldn't he talk to me? Why wouldn't he let me explain? I cried all the way home that day. I felt like a fraud and a liar. And I was angry.

Only the second to last week of classes gave me a small ray of hope. While our professor was setting up a documentary for us to watch, one of the other guys in the class made some remark about former President Reagan. Instantly, He Who Would Not Talk to Me snapped back with a smart aleck response. In spite of myself, I laughed out loud. I saw him turn to me in my periphery and give the smallest flicker of a smile.

Over the next few days, my best friends all agreed that he was a shallow jerk, and that I didn't owe him anything - including explanations. I wrote him a note to explain things, but I never gave it to him for fear of the unknown. As the months passed, I was first upset, then angry, and then heartbroken at the turn of events. But as I grew and matured even over such a small pass of time, I realised that I could actually see things from his point of view. I later met his other younger sister in a Bible study on campus, and found out that she was my age. That helped me to comprehend his side even more so.

I do realise now that it was likely ridiculous for me to be so forlorn over a guy that I wasn't - and most likely will never - in an exclusive relationship with. At best, we were acquaintances. But somehow, that realisation didn't lessen the hurt. Now, I realise that I was probably the one putting too much stock in our budding friendship. When I fall for someone, it is with my whole heart. It felt like my heart had been dropped, jumped on top of, stomped on, danced on, driven over, steamrolled, bulldozed, buried, dug up again, and kicked for good measure. But then again, I was the one who had given my heart away. God put it back together, but I noticed that there were a few pieces missing that he had taken with him to Amherst - the college he ended up attending.

However painful it was in the moment, I did learn something from him. And I had a model for what a godly guy should look like. Since parting ways, I have compared nearly every other guy I've met to him, and so many come up short. Guys like him aren't "a dime a dozen," to borrow the colloquialism. 

Now, if you've made it this far in my post, 1) I apologize for glazed over eyes; I tend to be long-winded; 2) why does it matter? I wondered this myself. I sat here typing this wondering what was the point? Why did he randomly come to mind? I haven't thought about him in months. Why am I randomly writing some sob story about it? I didn't know until a light bulb went off in my brain, and I ran to check the date in the spiral bound notebook I kept lecture notes in for political science last school year. It's been almost one year to the date that I first laid eyes on him. 24 January 2012 was the beginning of the spring semester for the 2011-2012 academic year. It was the fourth Tuesday of the month. Yesterday (when I originally wrote this) was 22 January 2013 - not the same date, but it was the fourth Tuesday of the month. I was flabbergasted when I saw the dates. 

The human brain is an amazing and complex feature of God's creation. I had not thought about him since the beginning of the fall semester, and that was long gone. Why would he suddenly come to mind, just out of the blue? Well, nobody knows - at least, I don't. I suppose my subconscious was at work and realized that this day was important. I'll probably never know.

No matter the lack of an answer, however, and no matter why he came to my mind in that instant, I'm forever grateful to him for the godly example of manhood he set before me without even realizing it. And whether he'll ever know it or not he will always carry a piece of my heart.

Have you ever gone through emotionally painful circumstances that you later looked back on and realized that you'd learned something from them? Did they make you stronger as a person?

21 January 2013

WnG Day 3 + My New Favorite Oil

Buon giorno, bellas!

My Wash 'n' Go is still going strong...it's day 3 now (or, the 2nd day after styling). Last night I was feeling extra lazy, so I skipped the bobby pins and put my hair into 7 or 8 fat twists (a la Tightly Curly method style from my TWA days). They pretty much stuck straight up all over my head. I didn't take any photos of it because, well - I don't want to be blackmailed later in life. Lol. I didn't want my hair too stretched, so I made sure to twist pretty loosely and not go all the way down to the ends.

This morning, I drizzled some safflower oil on my hands, smoothed it on my twists, and then untwisted, starting from the bottom. The results?

Left front. You can also see how the roots of that wonky wavy-ish section went straight a bit further back. They are straight ratchet -__-

The back

Full front view :-)

Right side - I have no idea why it looks like this. It kind of looks like most of my hair ended up on this side of my head and it doesn't know where to go. I'll know better next time.

Left side - my favorite :-D I also love that little tendril poking up in the back; it looks like a fiddlehead.


The right front. That frizz further back is driving me bonkers. That area of my head frizzes no matter what I do; it's always been like that. Meh.


I'm still loving it! Once it starts to look cray, I'll just spritz, remoisturize, and flat twist both sides and pin them together.

Maybe I'm just a crazy, but for some reason, my hair seems less tangled, more manageable and quicker to do when my hair is loose. In twists, all the shed hair wrapped around my other strands; it was a nightmare to detangle. Even taking down my twists after 2-3 days to finger detangle didn't help much. And I don't touch my hair nearly as much. Humphy. Mayhaps I'll go for another month and see how my hair does. *le sigh* Is it just me, or does it seem like once I have my hair figured out, it switches up on me? I can't be alone in this lol.


In other news, safflower oil has become one of my favorites! I did a bit of research, and found that it's a great oil for the hair. It's a lighter vegetable oil that comes from safflower seeds. There are two varieties: one with high amounts of polyunsaturated fats, which has a low smoke point and goes easily rancid. That type is used mostly in salad dressings. The kind useful for cooking (and hair) has high levels of monounsaturated fats and a high smoke point (which makes me think that it could be a good heat protectant, similar to grapeseed oil).

Though safflower oil lacks vitamin E, there are some companies which produce the oil enriched with this crucial vitamin (mine is vitamin E enriched). Flavorless, this yellow-tinted oil protects and moisturises the hair strands, nourishes the follicles (when applied to the scalp), and stimulates blood circulation to stimulate hair growth. It's great in deep conditioners, moisturizers, as a sealant, prepoo, etc. Additionally, it's great for eating, too - in salads, for stir frying, and much more.

I love how silky safflower oil is; I put it on my ends and the length and roots of my hair, and it instantly made it easier to finger through my hair. It helps to soften the gel cast and adds a nice shine to my hair. It's definitely on my staples list :-D

Have you ever tried safflower oil? What are some of your favorite oils? How do you use them?

Sources: CurlyNikki.com, "7 Fabulous Natural Oils for Natural Hair" 11 May 2011.
LiveStrong.com, "Safflower Oil" n.d.
Buzzle.com, "Safflower Oil for Hair Growth" n.d.

El Cine Según a Kimmie: Das Leben der Anderen [The Lives of Others], 2006


Ciao, bellas! 

If you saw the title of this post, you might be wondering what on earth I'm talking about. Well, I've decided to start a new, occasional segment for "La Vida," appropriately titled "El Cine Según a Kimmie." ("The Cinema According to Kimmie")  I love writing reviews, whether they be for homeschool curriculum, hair products, music books, food, or movies. Now, I'm not a movie junkie, but I do enjoy the occasional film every now and then. I do tend to be slightly nit picky about what I watch, but I will note those movies which have left an impression on me. This first installment is a foreign film, originally released in Germany as Das Leben der Anderen, and shown in 2007 in the United States as The Lives of Others. Enjoy! (Side note: There is one spoiler in this review/final thoughts type thing, but only because it was needed to illustrate a point :-D)

Rating: R

Genre: Thriller, Drama


Cast: Martina Gedeck as Christa-Maria SielandUlrich Mühe as Hauptmann Gerd WieslerSebastian Koch as Georg DreymanUlrich Tukur as Oberstleutnant Anton GrubitzThomas Thieme as Minister Bruno HempfHans-Uwe Bauer as Paul HauserVolkmar Kleinert as Albert JerskaMatthias Brenner as Karl WallnerHerbert Knaup as Gregor Hessenstein


Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck


Writer: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck


Distributor: Sony Pictures


Release Date: 23 March 2006 (Germany); 9 February 2007 (United States)

(All of the aforementioned information was taken from IMDb.com.)

Plot Summary: East Berlin. 1984. The Stasi ("state security"/secret police) are keeping what appears to be perfect order in the state. Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) has an illustrious career in the government as one of the top interrogators. Because of his sharp instincts and attention to detail, he's selected to begin surveillance on one of the G.D.R.'s (German Democratic Republic's) beloved writers - Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch), and his drama-loving girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck), a prominent actress. But it is far from a routine wire tapping. Spying on Dreyman proves to be a life changing event for everybody involved - and most especially for the Watcher himself.

My Thoughts: I was introduced to this film indirectly by my Core professors. It was on a list of suggested films to watch over the break. At first I was reluctant to view it; it seemed dull, and I was even more put off by the fact that it was in German (just a personal quibble; I don't particularly like the way German lands on my ears).

I couldn't have been more wrong. This is definitely one of the best movies I've ever seen. It grappled with some heavy ideas - the question of whether people are inherently good or bad, for instance. At the start of the movie, Wiesler is the perfect East German - he holds a position in the government, meticulously notes and reports any and all  suspicious activities and speech, lectures at the university, and regularly rubs elbows with top officials. A good man, by government standards. But he soon realizes that there is more to life. He starts to come to this turning point when he happens to hear Georg play a piece on the piano entitled "Sonata for a Good Man" ("Sonate vom Guten Menschen"), a birthday gift to him from his dear friend Albert Jerska. After playing, Georg turned to Christa and uttered somberly:

"Lenin said that if he continued to listen to Beethoven's 'Apassionata,' he would not be able to finish the revolution. Can any man who has heard this [sonata] - I mean truly heard it - really be a bad person?" Wiesler seems to take this to heart. Little by little, he morphs from a heartless mechanical interrogator into a real man. The transformation was incredible to witness (I won't spoil any more of the movie by giving any examples, though :-D)


[Image Copyright 2006 Sony Pictures, Inc.]

Another aspect of this movie that I enjoyed was in how it showed the imperfections of humanity. When the Stasi and government were first introduced in the beginning for instance, they seemed to run perfectly and without flaws, no matter what happened. The further the story went, though, the more flawed and weakened the Stasi appeared, and the more power Wiesler seemed to wield over it. I thought it was intriguing how he - one insignificant man, by G.D.R. standards - could impact the lives of so many others and affect the innermost workings of the government.

Just a note about the nudity in Das Leben; it is sexually graphic, and I was shocked (to put it mildly) to see those scenes the first time I watched it (I skipped over them the second go). But, in some odd way,  the stark bareness of some of the characters is utilised to help the audience grasp the full nature of the message of this movie. That being said, you know yourself best. If you tend to be a bit prudish when it comes to sexual scenes (like I tend to be), just be prepared.

Overall, I'd highly recommend this movie to college-age audiences and older. The discussions and themes that can be drawn from it seem innumerable; it'd be a great film to watch with a group of friends and discuss after the viewing. 

Side note: During my personal viewings of this film, I had a moment of realisation. At the beginning of last semester, my Core professors passed out a pre-course exam, and one of the questions was "What are the humanities?" My answer was the generic answer that dictionary.com might have provided. Watching this movie, however, made me realise that the humanities are the study of the lives of others - those who do and do not share our cultural and racial similarities, religion or life philosophy,  music, poetry, prose, etc. It felt like a light bulb had finally turned on in my brain. At last, I saw how and why my Core professors connected everything the way that they did, why we studied the topics we did, and why they were important. Hopefully, I'll continue to keep this in mind when we start the second semester in 8 days :-D




[Image Copyright 2006 Sony Pictures, Inc.]

What are some thought-provoking movies that you enjoy watching?

20 January 2013

Revisiting the Wash 'n' Go

After 2 months of constantly keeping my hair in two strand twists, I decided to give my hair a break and try a signature CG style wash 'n' go with gel this weekend. Here's what I did:

  • Pre-detangled/pre-pooed with coconut oil on dry hair. I used my fingers to remove some of the shed hairs from my twists. It left my hair feeling soft and moisturised.
  •  Tried to DC with the samples of the Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque I received from Glam Natural Life. Alas, its fragrance was much too strong. My scalp turned red, started itching, swelling, and aching. *sniffles*
  • Cleansed scalp and hair with Yes to Cucumbers Color Protection Shampoo.
  • Conditioned and finger detangled with TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner
  • Plopped for 10 minutes.
  • Applied nickel sized amount of the Curls Curl Creme Brule to each section; sealed with safflower oil.
  • Applied Xcess Sport Hold Styling Gel to each section.
I'm happy to note that the finger detangling went MUCH better than it usually does! I went through each section like I do with the Denman - start at the ends, and move knots down. I got rid of much of my shed hair, plus I could easily comb through my hair from roots to ends after I finished a section. And the bonus? I wasn't in the shower for nearly 2.5 hours. Anywho, here's some shots I took of my hair in various states yesterday and today:

The back/right side of my wet head a few minutes after I finished applying all my products.

The back

Left side

Right side








After diffusing for a good 10-15 minutes and several hours of air drying, the back of my head/left side looked pretty good, methinks.


Left side


Front

This looks ridiculous, I know. But I can't yet pineapple, and didn't have a satin scarf. So I just flipped my hair upside down, bobby pinned different sections, and went to sleep. Here's the back view.

The front

This AM's results from pinning my hair up overnight. The back, of course...

Left side




 
The front. It was worth looking like a 
fool to get these results. 
Please excuse my eyeballs, btdubs. Lol.



I'm loving my results so far! Oh, and here are my "empties" (products that I've finished) for the last 2 weeks! :-D

Darcy's Botanicals Vanilla Delight Daily Leave in Conditioner
TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Condtioner
Yes to Cucumbers Color Protection Conditioner
Spa Haus Salon Conditioner

What "oldie" styles have you revisited lately?

18 January 2013

Kimmie's Cocina: Easy Black Bean Dip + "Homemade" Tortilla Chips

Need a yummy, healthy snack that doesn't cost a fortune and is quick to make? Here are two great ones I found on the magic YouTube. I had to bring something to a get together with my friends, but I was low on funds. A Google search brought me to these easy, delicious recipes. Tweak to your liking :-D

Black Bean Dip

Ingredients (Original recipe)

1 can (15-16 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup salsa
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Here's the video, chicas :-)

Isn't it easy? We didn't have any cilantro or lime juice, nor was there enough salsa in our jar leftover to have the proper amount. So I increased the cumin to a full teaspoon to add more flavor. Then, I poured our 1/8 cup of salsa in, and finished off the rest of the needed amount of salsa with mushroom pasta sauce for the flavor (it had the same type of tomato base with similar spices) and hots for texture and a weensy bit of kick.

I blended it for about a minute, had my brother taste it (he has a keen sense of taste for spices and whatnot) to get a second opinion, and loved it!

Nothing dovetails a great black bean dip better than tortilla chips. But I couldn't run to the store to buy a bag. So off to Google I went, and on the magic YT popped up this super simple recipe for making "homemade" tortilla chips:


Now they technically aren't homemade, but it's close, right? Lol. I used flour tortillas (the Pinata brand, but any kind will do) because we don't use the corn variety, and I drizzled some EVOO on them before baking in lieu of vegetable oil. She doesn't mention how long to put them in the oven (which is why her video has so many dislikes methinks ), but just check on them every couple of minutes until they look crispy and golden brown (13-14 minutes for me without the oven being fully preheated).

Bon appetit! Let me know if you try these and if you liked them :-D


P.S. Besides being yummy, both of these recipes are vegetarian and vegan friendly, and full of protein :-)

P.P.S. Here are some photos of how mine turned out.

Eh...left mine in a bit too long :-/ 13-14 minutes would've been good.

That to die for bean dip...the hots gave it a nice kick.

Better together - nom nom nom nom :-D 

What are some of your favorite recipes to make? Dish the deets (no pun intended)!

17 January 2013

Update + Shout outs

I feel like every other time I post, it's an apology and excuse for why I haven't posted in a while *le sigh* It feels like I've been away from my blog for forever! :-( Here's a few things that have happened since I last posted:

1. My autumn semester went...eh...womp. No further details.

2. I'm still going strong on CG! And loving it :-D

3. I'm still enjoying the GF Pure Clean condish :-)

4. I've decided to keep my YT channel and post videos there and on here #doingtheeabsolutemost.

5. I stopped baggying nightly because (get ready) we ran out of plastic bags and I have no plastic conditioning caps *hangs head in shame* I tried sleeping on a Ziploc bag for a couple nights, but my head is ginormous so I'd get dry patches.

Now, part of the reason why we no longer have plastic bags in the house is because the county I live in (MoCo) has a tax on plastic bags now - 5 cents per bag. It might seem like an insignificant amount, but after buying a cartload of groceries every 2 weeks, it starts to add up. So we just have reusable bags to go shopping with now (it looks ultra tacky in the mall -___-). Sigh. So, I have to find a place that sells plastic conditioning caps. Humph. Any suggestions, curlies? All the ones I've seen in Target and Wal Mart have that foil-type stuff and me no likey. Mayhaps it's time for me to stop being a cheapskate and buy a satin DCing cap? Ugh...who knows?

Anywho...
I have a video (sorry for it being so long, btdubs :-/) telling y'all all about what I'm planning for this year. Lots of new and exciting things!
video
 In addition to what's mentioned in this video, I'm going to be adding a new contributing author to La Vida - one of my bestest buddies! She's not natural (I can hear the gasps and fainting now), but she has long (almost waist length) texturized hair. Her hair is healthy and burgeoning, and I feel that it'd be beneficial to show that you can have beautiful hair no matter what. She's also big into health and fitness, so there'll be some recipes, fitness tips, etc. to come as well.

Additionally, I've decided to change up my regimen. The way things were just weren't cutting it for me. I timed myself in the shower during my last wash session, and from poo to the last rinse, I was standing in there for almost 2.5 hours! #Ain'tnobodygottimefodat...especially with the semester quickly approaching! Like, really? Humph. I've been obsessed with the magic YT of late, so I checked out videos by Heyfranhey (highly recommend her, btdubs) and MahoganyCurls, and I think that I might know what my new regimen might be. I'm still trying to get my thoughts together on it, though, so I won't give out the deets just yet.

I'm also thinking of exclusively WnGing, but the upkeep..blech. My hair has a weird porosity; if I did it between 7-11 am, it might be 90% dry by the time I hit the sack. It's so irritating. Thus why I've been sticking to twists for so long. But, I've been noticing that with my curls, staying in twists can become a nightmare. My curls get unbelievably tangled after being twisted for 6 days. It's not even funny how messy it can be. So, I wanted to see if my hair just wants to be freed instead. I'll report back once I see how that goes.

And finally...detangling has been getting on my dangnabbit last darned nerves! Don't get me wrong - I love my Denman, I truly do. But standing in the shower for that long trying to get out every single stinking tangle is driving me insane! I detest finger detangling and wide tooth combs, but I might be revisiting them again. I just do NOT have the time and energy to stand in there for so long. I'll let y'all know how this goes, too. Be prepared for some tears and rants. Lol.
 The D3 that I hate to love, and the wide tooth comb that I love to hate. How to find a balance?


Oooh! And I found a YTer who does the TightlyCurly method - AuCurls Naturelle. Check her out; she's doing a series on the TC method, and it is by far the best and most thorough I've seen on the magic YT to date. It's really difficult to find good quality videos on this method, and since I started my natural journey doing TC, it's near and dear to my heart. I was ecstatic to see channel! She has gorgeous curls and such a sweet spirit; I highly recommend her :-)

I think that's about it on my end...what's been up with y'all? Que hay de nuevo?

P.S. Before I forget, I also wanted to shout out Shelly of GlamNaturalLife! I won a giveaway on her blog a week or so ago, and I received a package of sample goodies on Monday. I'll be doing a video on it soon!

P.P.S. I also have to do an update on my OBOT and weight loss/health journey. Ahh! So much to do!

P.P.P.S. And I have a movie review to post, as well as reviews for the books I'm currently reading. Deets later :-)


06 January 2013

Product Review: Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Fortifying Conditioner + POTW

I did a video on the magic YT (there's a story behind that name, btdubs :-P ) about this product, but I've decided that YouTube land isn't for me. I like being a subbie only :-) So, I'm redoing the video just for the blog :-D


video

Here are the ingredients, as promised:

Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Distearoylethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate, Octyldodecanol, Zea Mays Starch/Corn Starch, Parfum/Fragrance, Pyrus Malus Extract/Apple Fruit Extract, Camelina Sativa Oil/Camelina Sativa Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil/Apricot Kernel Oil, Glycine Soja Oil/Soybean Oil, Tocopherol [Vitamin E], Caprylyl Glycol, Benzoic Acid, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCI, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Citric Acid, Saccharum Officinarum Extract/Sugar Cane Extract/Extrait de Canne a Sucre, Citrus Medica Limonium Peel Extract/Lemon Extract, Camellia Sinensis Extract/Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Malpighia Punicifolia/Acerola Fruit Extract.

Not too shabby ingredients-wise, methinks. Update: I tried this condish as a detangler today in the shower on my back sections. It worked well, but I needed a LOT to do it. I'll try it on a looser section next week.
On the bright side, this product does rinse very clean and leaves almost no residue. It actually rinses more clean than VO5, so a new staple cowash has been born :-D


Ooh! Since I only do my hair on a weekly basis and I don't really moisturize in between wash days, I've decided to add a Products of the Week (POTW) feature every weekend so that y'all can see what I'm using. Here's this week's video :-)


video

I ended up using all three conditioners to detangle my hair. I had my hair divided into 12 twists, so I used TRESemme Naturals on my first four twists, Garnier on the next four, and Yes to Cucumbers on the last set of four. It worked out pretty well, I believe. Since I didn't use TN for my entire head, I still have a tiny bit left...quite an aggravating amount that's staring back at me at this moment lol. Quick note: Remember how I mentioned the fragrance that the Garnier Pure Clean condish has? Well, it wasn't nearly as strong when I was in the shower detangling. It smelled mostly like an apple-ish type fragrance; I could hardly smell the fragrance. I'm thinking that the concentration of fragrance might be less in this formula than in the other types of Garnier conditioners. Whatever the case may be, I'm really liking this! It's already mixed up in an empty Nature's Gate conditioner bottle with aloe vera juice and vinegar, ready for my next cowash :-D

I also gave the Taliah Waajid PMB another shot, and I'm glad that I did. One curly on CN mentioned that she used it on damp hair. So I plopped for about 30 minutes, and then spritzed each twist 6 times with the PMB. My hair was barely damp, and it worked much better this go! It still doesn't have that slip that I want that the Oyin Juices & Berries has, but it's better than it was the last time.

That's about it for today, chicas!

When is your wash day, curlies? Do you like quickie regimens, or do you like to give your hair a slower, more delectable treat? What were your POTW?


04 January 2013

Inspiration

I was reading a page in A Young Woman's Call to Prayer yesterday morning as I did the prayer part of my devotions.

I had already read a chapter in my Bible, and even though I'd prayed beforehand, I just wasn't "feeling" anything - you know that goosebumpy chill that runs through you when God does something absolutely amazing? Well, it wasn't coming fast enough for my American attention span (lol). I almost quit my reading halfway through, but I pushed through it. I was growing discouraged, though - why wasn't God revealing anything to me (never mind the fact that I hadn't spent any serious amount of time with Him in months; I just wanted my "God fix" smh)?

As I was reading Elizabeth George's book, picking up where I left off, I instantly became encouraged. She was referencing different passages in which God's people prayed in different postures (these are all from the book, btdubs):

Falling on their faces (Numbers 16:22)
Standing (I Samuel 1:12-14)
Kneeling with hands spread (I Kings 8:54)
Fasting and laid on the ground (II Samuel 12:16)

I kept reading down the list until my eyes fell on an unfamiliar passage: Ezra 10:1. My eyebrows furrowed furiously. Ezra? Was that a typo? Where is that located? Major or minor prophet? Before or after Psalms? Is that even a legitimate book?! Did the Protestant church fathers add it as part of the canon? All these questions instantly ran through my head. I'm a PK (preacher's/pastor's kid), and we can be somewhat *cough*arrogant*cough* when it comes to Biblical facts, and in my little self-righteous mind, I decided at that moment that Elizabeth George was wrong - there was no Ezra! Unless I was going crazy and somebody cut the book out from my copy of God's Word (yes, Mrs. George is the crazy one whilst I have these perfectly sane thoughts running through my head...). I went to the Table of Contents to double check, and voila! Ezra magically appeared - before Psalms, as it turns out. I stood greatly humbled and corrected.

So, I flipped to the 10th chapter of this seemingly obscure book and found the first verse. Now, I've listened to enough Adventures in Odyssey episodes to know that you're not just supposed to read the verse listed; you read the one right before and the one directly after so that you aren't taking the verse completely out of context. The verse right before 10:1 was a man talking about how righteous the Lord was, and 10:1 itself was about how Ezra prayed (weeping and bowing down before the house of God). It was the verse right after it that caught my attention. It begins:

2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, "We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this. 3 Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. 4 Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it."
(Ezra 10:2-4, New King James Version)

 It hit me like nothing ever has before. To think that I came to this realization simply by keeping a verse in context in an historical book (Paul was right - all Scripture is useful for teaching)! I nearly wept. The parts I put in bold stood out to me especially. This is how I rewrote that first phrase on the opposite page to apply to me (a technique I learned doing a Beth Moore study):

"I have trespassed against my God, and turned away from Him and His ways; yet now there is hope in spite of all this."

Oh, how my heart and soul ached to see and hear those words. There is hope. There is hope! For ME. After all I had done, said and thought, there was still hope. After dreading fellowship with other believers, dropping out of the children's ministry, going deeper into depression, being lazy, ignoring God, treating my family like crap - there was still hope! Even after doubting my faith - there. was. still. hope. I'm taking it to heart, believing, speaking it over my life, and claiming it.

"...let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these..."
For myself, I took this to mean that I am making a covenant with my God to put those sins, heartaches, lies...everything behind me. I am rededicating my life to Christ.

Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it."
It is my responsibility to nurture my relationship with Christ! No excuses - it's up to me to spend time with Him, talk with Him, and include Him in my daily decisions and everyday life. The "we are also with you" I interpreted to be the loving family and friends around me. They are there praying, encouraging, rebuking, uplifting, correcting, and guiding me - and cheering me on all the way, even as I must do for them. That last little sentence is like an energy boost. I have to have the guts, and just go out there and DO it already.

God is just amazing. He never fails to fulfill His promises. I asked to see new truths that I hadn't seen before, and He faithfully revealed them to me. It was confirmation that I'm back on the right path. And even if I don't constantly stay on that spiritual high that I so often seek, I will know that God and my brothers and sisters in Christ are there to help me keep on keeping on.

02 January 2013

Time, Time, Tickety Time...+ Got Carrots? + Finals Rehash

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm addicted to what my friends and I call "the magic YouTube (YT)." I'm subscribed to more than 50 channels, and I watch almost all of the updates - they vary from world events to the latest Twist 'n' Curl tutorial to homeschool curriculum reviews.

I haven't always had such varied interests on the magic YT. At first, I only came to this wonderland of media for footage of one of my favorite comedians (Tim Hawkins) and the occasional music video. Then, my sister introduced me to the brilliant minds behind BlimeyCow. Once I joined the CN forums, I was turned on to Naptural85, KimmayTube, SimplYounique, iknowlee, FusionofCultures, UsNaturalGirls, nappturality, Spiraled Halo, Waterlily716, Summyr1988, CurlyWavyDiane, BeautifulBrwnBabyDol, Katie Douglass, teaundra, MelsharyA, bishonenrancher, HairCrush, HomeSpaGoddess, MahoganyCurls, MahoganyKnots, peepla7, QuickEasyHairStyles, CuteGirlsHairStyles, TRESemme and more. I checked out Naptural85's second channel, DearNaptural85, and thus my vlogging obsession began, and I was soon subbed to BritPopPrincess, BritPopLife, gflowers02, brittser03, TheNiveNulls, BrittsBreakdown, Jamie Pmelb...

Then I remembered that YT had fitness gurus, as well! WellnessRocksGym, LiveStrongWoman, StudioEast, Blogilates and StudioPilates. I got into Kpop (#don'tjudgeme) and became a subbie of 2NE1, Tae Yang, Se7en, etc. Informal Korean lessons (TenchiJK2), political incorrectness (iamOTHER), homeschool curriculum (HomeSchlMomof3), being a Christian (Tenchijk), life overseas (AbatarTeacher), life advice (DhatAznJ), current events (AlJazeeraEnglish), and countless other channels fill up my subscription tab.

Outside of these genres stands one of my favorite groups of YTers: the life-ers. They do vlogs, album covers, do recipes, computer graphics, introduce you to their SOs and/or friends, create their own music, short films, poetry or art, do parodies, give advice, and do lots of tags. I'm just getting to know this niche among the millions of YTers, but I enjoy them just the same...and oftentimes even moreso because of the variety that they bring to the proverbial table. 

Of this group, StillNotDavid is probably my favorite. More often that not, his videos leave me on the floor gasping for air. I love his sense of humor. His latest update, though (from more than a week ago) was really thought-provoking. It's a short film that he wrote and directed, and I think it's worth watching. Peep the vid (and head over to YT to sub to his channel if you like this :-D )!


What think you?

In other news, I mentioned yesterday that I like to put regular conditioners and masques in my carrot DC. I know some of you were probably like "What the what? Carrots?" Yes, my dear curly friend, carrots. Occasionally, ideas for mixes just pop into my head, and I can't seem to restrain myself from trying them. A few weeks ago, I got the bright idea to try making a DC with carrots. I usually use avocados, but I thought that pureeing carrots would give the same results. So, I Googled it, and came across this recipe on BlackHairPlanet.com:

Ingredients:
•3 carrots
•1 overripe banana
•Honey
•Mayonnaise
•Peppermint
•Water
•Blender
•Container with lid
•Towel
Step
1)Steam or boil 3 washed and chopped carrots in 1 cup of water until tender. Fifteen minutes may be long enough to soften the carrots. If you have the green carrot leaves, we will use them in this recipe as well. You do not have to cook this part of the carrot for the hair conditioner.

Step
2 )
Pour the carrot and water into a blender, and blend until almost smooth. Add fresh or dried peppermint to the blender and blend.

Step
3 )
Add the banana and blend until smooth and creamy. The banana and carrot composition will give the hair conditioner a lot of body.

Step
4 )
Next, add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1/2 cup of mayonnaise to the blender. Blend all ingredients together, making a smooth and creamy hair conditioner.

Step
5)Spoon the mixture into a jar with a lid, and store in the refrigerator until your next shampoo.

Step
6)Add a generous amount after shampooing, making sure to massage the hair conditioner in well. Wrap with a towel and leave in for 15 minutes to 2 hours. Rinse and towel dry.

Now, y'all know me...I tweak everything pretty much. My scalp detests peppermint, so I left that out. And we didn't have real mayonnaise at the time, so I just used conditioner in place of the mayo. I also substituted molasses for honey since we were out of that, as well. I followed all of the other directions pretty much to a "T." It went on smoothly, as you can see:





video


Post rinsing...my hair felt uber soft, but oh, all the pieces of carrots in my twists!


video


And, my results after detangling. I do have to mention that removing pieces of carrot seems much easier than removing avocado chunks. My Denman just seems to pick up carrots much more easily.Now, I did have carrot pieces in my twists, but it wasn't too noticeable, methinks.

video



Ooh! I had some other random pictures and a video from studying for finals at Vicente's house. They're hecka (it sounds weird, I know) late, but better late than never, right? :-)

This was fuel for the weekend...I drank 4 cups of this magical coffee! Andrei taught me how to make cafe "the Southern way." It was frothy y muy delicioso :-D


The ingredients used. He added 1 heaping spoonful of instant coffee, and 2 spoonfuls (minimum 2, maximum 5, optimum 3.5) of sugar to mine. In the background is a pan of penne that Vicente cooked and Stephen's legs lol.


video
This video was one that I took during one of our study breaks on the second day. In it, you'll see (and hear) Julia, Vicente, Noelle, Andrei, Stephen, Matt, Lola, and moi. The obnoxious laughter close to the mic and female Kermit voice are also mine -______-