Crunchy Strawberries and Creme

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of agave nectar (can be substituted with honey)
  • 5 strawberries
  • ½ a cup of granola

 

 

Prep time: 5 minutes

  • In a bowl, combine yogurt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and agave nectar. Stir with a regular silverware spoon; the texture is better.
  • Slice and add strawberries
  • Top with granola

 

Enjoy!

Crunchy Strawberries and Creme

How To: Easy Faux Loc Tutorial

faux loc tutorial

Materials Needed:

2 Skeins of yarn in color of choice

Scissors

Lighter

  1. Wash, condition and detangle hair. (I also deep conditioned with a mayo and oil mixture. If you plan on keeping them in for a long time, I suggest a deep condition.)
  2. Let hair dry and twist into medium sized two strand twists. This will serve as the foundation of your style so try to part neatly.
  3. Cut several strands of yarn a little more than double the length you want the faux loc to be.
  4. Fold the yarn strands in half and place over one of your two strand twists. Braid the yarn into your hair using the twist as a strand. Braid yarn into all two strand twists.(It will look lumpy, but we’ll cover it up, so it doesn’t matter.) Braid until you almost get to the end of the precut yarn. Leave some out for tying off later.DSC01362
  5. Tightly wrap more strands of yarn around the braid to create a faux loc. Repeat until all braids are wrapped.DSC01391[1]
  6. Knot the end tightly, but do not release the loc, otherwise it will unravel. Take your lighter and burn the end of the loc above the knot. Be careful not to go too far up otherwise you could burn your hair. Move the lighter constantly or you will burn through the yarn and the loc may come out.DSC01397
  7. Cut off the ends under the knot and burn. Wait a moment then rub the ends between your palms. Repeat until all braids are covered.

Have you tried installing your own faux locs? Tell us about your experience. We love hearing from you and thanks for reading.

And if my tutorial has confused you, this video helped me a lot and the process is a little easier than the method I used.

How To: Easy Faux Loc Tutorial

How To: Easing The Transition To Natural

curly hair

I stopped using a relaxer a little over 4 years ago and never went back (not to say I didn’t think about it occasionally). Even though, I watched countless tutorials, it always felt like managing my tight coils was a challenge. The next few tips are things I learned throughout the course of my natural hair journey. I hope they help you if you decide to take the plunge.

  • Learn how to work with hair instead of against it.

Curls are tricky to maintain, so you have to be careful whenever you manipulate your strands. Patience is definitely important. Experiment with your hair to see how it thrives. Try detangling it when its wet. If your hair doesn’t agree (excessive breakage), try detangling on dry hair. Use different shampoos and conditioners or make your own. Give your experiments time to work. Try a product for a month, see how it works for you. If you don’t like it, try another product.  My go-to products have changed many many times.

  • Try finger detangling before pulling out a comb or brush

Taking the time to delicately finger detangle your hair goes a long way in length retention. If curls are particularly tangled, using a comb or brush could be detrimental to the health of your hair. That doesn’t mean you can’t use styling tools, just be smart about it. If the comb is breaking your hair off, try a little finger detangling. It takes longer but your hair will love you for it.

  • Wash and style hair when you don’t feel rushed

This goes back to needing patience and its hard to be patient with your hair if you have too many worries on the brain. Try saving wash day for when you’re off and have plenty of time to give your hair the right kind of attention.

  • Find a go-to style

Curly hair is versatile, but the more you manipulate it, the easier it is for damage to set in. Protective styling is very important. Find a style you wouldn’t mind wearing for weeks at a time to give your hair a break every now and then. Remember to still moisturize and nourish your hair even when it is in a protective style. My favorites are two strand twists, flat twists and faux locs. (Check out my easy faux loc tutorial for inspiration)

  • Trim hair as needed

This does not mean, trim your hair every month or even every few months, like most stylists seem to think. Listen to your hair. If your hair is hard to detangle overall, it may be time to get a trim. Save lots of money by learning to trim your hair yourself. Most of the time though, I only need to trim off split ends and one strand knots as they occur.

  • Wear heat protectant when heat styling

This will help prevent heat damage. Also try using your heat styling tools on their lowest settings first. You may be able to achieve great results without the high heat.

  • Use products that don’t cause build-up

Less is more. In many hair tutorials, the woman would use tons of conditioner, gel, etc, but if your scalp is prone to itchiness and buildup, all that goop is only going to make it worse. Start off using a little product and you can always add more later.

Tell us about your hair journey. We love hearing from you. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Photo credit: Maria Schaefer Photography viaFoter.com / CC BY-ND

How To: Easing The Transition To Natural

The Workout Zone: Making Fitness a Habit

By Awalfitness

Yesterday was my three-year anniversary as a personal trainer. Yay! Thirteen-year-old Ashley would be so proud! That poor girl hated gym class, with all the wheezing, failed attempts at climbing that stupid rope, and the whole getting picked last for dodgeball. She grew up to be a skinny-fat chick with spaghetti arms and a squishy midsection. She dreamed of having rock hard abs and being able to do a push-up. Take a look at her now:

awal1

So how do you go from being a gym class zero to someone who actually enjoys working out? Let’s see:

 

  1. Find your motivation. Maybe you want to look good on the beach.  Maybe you want to run a mile. Maybe you want to bring down your high blood pressure. Maybe you want to catch the eye of the hot guy at work. There’s something you want that exercise can give you. Write it down and look at it daily.
  2. Find a gym close to you. Especially in the beginning, you will find any and every excuse to skip gym day. You’re tired. Work was awful, so you have to go home and decompress. Work was great, so you have to go out and celebrate. Don’t let “it’s just too far away” be one of your excuses. There are so many gyms out there these days. I’m sure you can find one that’s either a five minute drive or ten-minute walk from your house. You might even find two.
  3. Try everything. And by everything I mean lots of things. I don’t have to strap myself upside down and do inverted sit-ups to know they are not for me. But I have surely tried my hand at yoga, kickboxing, aerobic dance, running, crossfit, pilates, lean barre and even aquatic aerobics. Why? I get bored easily, just like you. And I don’t want to be one of those people who says exercise is boring. Next you’re going to tell me sex is boring. You just have to try new things! Then you find something that really excites you. Going to the gym is no longer about waiting for the numbers on the scale to move. It’s about perfecting your squat, dance routine, dive, or roundhouse kick. Find what you love, and it will keep you coming back for more.
  4. Do something social. Humans are wired to interact with others. We feed off of each other’s energy. Find a buddy to go to spin class with you. If you are like me and can’t always get your friends motivated to move, make friends in spin class. Have conversations after class with the instructor. He or she will show you proper form to make the most of the movement. Ask the girl in the locker room where she shops for her leggings. You might make a friend and update your fitness wardrobe. Connect. Those connections, those tpeople that you know are waiting for you to come to class will get you out of bed, even on the crappiest of mornings.
  5. Just keep trying. Exercise is always going to be essential to your life. Keep finding reasons to stick with it. Remember what motivated you to work out in the first place. Even if your reasons have evolved, you have to keep that initial drive in the forefront. There are days that I just really don’t feel like working out. But I remember the thirteen-year-old in P.E., and I have to push for her.

 

So I just told you how to get motivated to work out. Share with us why you don’t work out. We’re interested to know. Thanks!

 

The Workout Zone: Making Fitness a Habit

Good Health: Major Benefits of Doing What You Love

By AwalFitness

There’s an old saying: do what you love, and the money will follow. I say: do you what you love, and your health will follow. Am I saying that the right job will keep you illness-free? No. As I type, I’m in the process of dealing with a nasty chest cold. But it’s the first bad bug I’ve had in about five months – a new record for me! And I have yet to call out of work for it. Yay!

 

If you knew me during my med tech days, you would be itching to high five me right now. You would recall all the times I called out in a year for a chest cold, the flu, allergies, sinus infections – all the foes of the upper respiratory system. I have had asthma since birth, so I’ve never been a stranger to a tight chest and clogged sinuses. But ten years of working in Blood Services were filled with the crappiest health of my life. A major part of it was being in such an enclosed space with bodily material all day. Fun stuff. But I really believe a big part of it was stress and overall unfulfillment. I am a people person who thrives on communicating with others. Even in my years working in the lab, I would find myself spending minutes – maybe too many – chatting with coworkers about all life’s little intricacies.  But my people skills were not advancing me in my career in any way. At the end of almost every work day, I would leave feeling as if I had not done enough. And the busier the work day, the more unaccomplished I felt.

 

Now the opposite is true. As a full time trainer, my job is to talk to people all day, figure out what their fitness goals are, and work with them to achieve them. In addition, when I’m not working at the gym, I’m working out at the gym with some of the top trainers in the city. So I get to do what I love and what I do well all day. Winning! There have been days in which I had back-to-back clients lined up for hours, then went home feeling super accomplished. Every time I train someone, I’m instrumental in changing a person’s life for the better. A decade of testing and processing blood for sick people was great, but I never saw the people I was saving. I rarely heard thank you. Plus, I am surrounded by happy people who not only love their job, but also work out constantly. We are all on an endorphin high together! The gratitude, camaraderie, and overall enjoyment I get from doing my job is really improving my mental and physical health. Good work = good life.

 

Do you love what you do? Comment and share your success story. We would love to hear it!

Good Health: Major Benefits of Doing What You Love

10 Quirky Ways To Save Money

MoneyWith tax season at hand, everyone is looking for ways to keep a little extra money in their pockets. Here are some great ways to get more cash and make it last:

  • Tax breaks are a good way to bring in extra cash and there are a lot of them if you’re able to provide the right paperwork.  Need uniforms for work? They could be a tax write off. The same goes for donating clothes to good will and moving expenses. It may be too late to cash in on some of these this year, but start saving important tax documents now and you could see a lot more money next year. Want more tax breaks? Check out this site.

Avacado

  • Learning to make beauty products can be very inexpensive and gives you a lot of creative freedom. You could tailor your products to work best for your particular skin and hair needs and best of all, you know exactly what went into them. No more long ingredients list of odd chemicals you’ve never heard of. Don’t know where to start? Here are some great DIY hair recipes.

 

  • Maybe you don’t feel like always making your own products. You could also try stretching the ones you have. Add a little water to your shampoo when it starts to get low. It will still provide plenty of suds, and could save you lots of money over time. I also add cheap olive oil to my lotion, but if you prefer to go oil free, you could try using water instead, being careful not to make it too runny. This works best with products that are thick.

 

  • Another great way to make some extra cash is by throwing “donation” parties. Maybe you’re trying to save up for a house or a car. Enlist friends to help by throwing a party and charging a small fee at the door. For refreshments, you could choose a meal that’s cheap to make in bulk, like spaghetti or pizza. Kool-Aid and water could be the main drinks. Spice it up by making your own punch mixture. You could also ask your friends to bring cheap snacks like chips and popcorn.  Invite enough people and the party will more than pay for itself.

 

  • For those with kids, at Christmas time and birthdays, check out discount stores.  Mix expensive gifts with “stocking stuffers” to fill up under the tree. Five Below is a great place for finding good cheap gifts. In the past, I have snagged headphones, a remote controlled car, and art supply kits, each for $5 or less.

 

  • You could take number 5 to the next level by shopping  at discount stores all year round. There are many great retailers that sell discounted name brand clothes, shoes and bags, like Burlington Coat Factory, Marshalls, and Ross. I have found many great deals on names like Betsy Johnson, Marc New York, and Calvin Klein. Dress in style without the hefty price tag.

 

  • Carpool to work with friends. You’re both heading to the same place and as a courtesy, you could offer them a little something toward gas so they don’t feel abused.

 

  • Maybe you don’t know anyone with a car or you want to save on gas money, try taking a bus or train to work. It could cut down on expenses if you buy a monthly pass. I take the subway home from work for $2 a trip and bypass all of the annoying rush hour traffic. Not a fan of crowds? Zone out with a music playlist or good book and the ride will be over before you know it.

 

  • Learn how to make and fix your own clothes.  In the past, when I’ve gotten a rip or tear, I threw the garment away, but one day I decided to get a cheap sewing kit from RiteAid. It has helped add to the life of my work uniforms and favorite items I  can’t part with. Last winter I also crocheted my own hat and scarf that everyone has complimented me on. You could learn a new skill with possible earning potential if you have the talent.

 

  • If you feel uncomfortable asking friends and family for money, try asking them for odd jobs instead. An agreement could be made beforehand for the fee of service and both parties could save money.  This could work for moving, babysitting, yard and housework. Charge less than a professional as an enticement, but still leave with a nice bit of extra cash.

 

Have any more ideas I didn’t list? Tell us about them. We love receiving feedback. Thanks for reading!

CD

Photo credit: free pictures of money via Foter.com /CC BY

Photo credit: chadmiller via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

10 Quirky Ways To Save Money