Monday, October 29, 2012

Braids and protective styles

Is it just me or it's great to give your hair a break from the elements in the fall/winter months?! So if like me you like wearing braids for that reason or even just to mix it up; contact me. I have good prices and I can do multiple styles if you live in the Montreal area. Here are some of my latest clients:

Contact me at for an appointment. Let me know in advance and I can even style your hair on a week day. See you soon

Friday, October 26, 2012

Banana baby food Homemade Deep conditioner

It is just me or I've been using a lot of food on my hair lately? I just figure, I've stopped using the chemical relaxers, I might as well try to use as less chemicals on my hair as possible! I still use store bought products but I'm experimenting with what nature has to offer right now and it's great. It's inexpensive and fun. So for about 1$ I came up with this little recipe that's sure to:

1- Make my hair softer: Bananas are rich in potassium and Vitamin C which help soften and hydrate the hair
2- Give my hair bounce and shine: thanks to the olive and coconut oil
3- Help my hair grow: The sulfur and zinc contained in garlic stimulates hair growth

Banana Deep-conditioner

1 bottle of banana baby food
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon of "garlicky" olive oil --> Crush 2 garlic clovers and let them sit in the heated olive oil for 2-3 days. Sift out the garlic pieces and only keep the olive oils for the mask. You can keep the oil in the fridge for 10 days [Source]
Mix all of the ingredients together and apply the mask on clean (washed hair). Place a plastic cap on your head and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Rinse abundantly. Then use regular conditioner.

***Important***: Garlic is counter-indicated for people that are on anticoagulant drugs such as aspirin. Also, do not add the garlic to the recipe if you have soars or cuts on your head as it will "burn". The overwhelming garlic smell dissipates after a few hours

If you try any of the recipes, please let me know what the results are for you :)

Dinner and Kizomba dance classes

It is just me or Kizomba is the latest crave after salsa lessons being the trend for a while. But now an afro dance movement is on the rise in downtown Montreal. It's sensual and rhythmic and oh so fun to watch. I went out with my sisters to celebrate the promotion of one of them so we went to Essence Resto Bar. We got there around 9:30 just before the kitchen closed. We had time to order but I feel the service was not as attentive. We ordered a bottle of wine and I took a medium rare steak. The wine was good but the steak was not the best I'd ever had. It was a little chewy, not much but I guess it was a bit overcooked for my taste. The service was okay at best but the ambiance was very cozy and girly... I like it like that. Anyways, there is not much to say about Essence as a restaurant! Everything was pretty much OKAY, nothing knocked it out of the park for me!!!

But then, at around 11, you can transition into the lounge area and the Essence turns into a nice little club. There's even a Kizomba dance tutorial given for the people that are there at that time. I was there in time to witness it. I didn't participate but I gladly watched as the volunteers learned the basic steps of the dance. The dance partners are intertwined in a dance resembling salsa, zouk, tango but at the same time this dance is like no other. It was 3 times based tempo and there's just something about it! I like it. If you're not shy and you like to bust a move; it might be what you've been looking for as an activity to do with the hubby. Or even if you're single and looking to meet new people and put yourself out-there. Bring a friend it's gonna be a fun night ;)
Also afterwards, they play a nice mix of dancehall, old school hip hop and Kizomba. The entrance to the club is 15$ and we went on a Friday. We didn't pay since we were already inside. Here's the link to the restaurant's website:

Essence Restaurant Bar Lounge on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Homemade fruit face mask and juice recipe

Is it just me or sometimes the face needs a little pick me up... In the same period that I was doing the organic garden in our backyard I was introduced to juicing. So here's a simple juice recipe that tastes great and instead of throwing away the pulp, you can use it as a natural facemask/scrub. I left it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing. The results: tingly freshness + extra smooth skin.

I use fruits and veggies in my juices to maximize the benefits without compromising the taste so this is my recipe for "Yellow juice". All you have to do is put all of the ingredients in the juicer and enjoy.

Yellow juice
2 apples
1 orange
1 pineapple
1 peach
1/2 celery

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Homemade deep conditioner recipes

Is it just me or the elements sometimes have your hair feeling dry and brittle? These recipes will be sure to restore moisture and shine to your hair. You should try doing them at least once a month.

Avocado based or Mayo based
- 1/2 Avocado (ripe) or 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or another oil of your choice, I use sweet almond oil)
- 1 tablespoon honey

1- Place all the ingredients in the blender until you get a paste-like consistency
2- After shampoo and conditioner, apply the deep-conditioner from roots to ends of all your hair
3- Put on a plastic cap and let it rest for at least an hour
4- Rinse abundantly with warm water and use leave-in treatment

5 natural (curly) hair essential products

Is it just me or being a natural comes with some prerequisites. First off, you have to learn a new linguo: twa, bantu knots, twistouts, prepoo, cowash. It gets really confusing real fast. Also, there's these rules to follow and stuff that they tell you you must have in order to have the beautiful, long, curly hair you've always wanted to have. Since I've been natural for a few months now I'm going to let you newby naturalistas in on my Top 5 curly hair essentials:
#1 Water spritzer bottle
This tool is great since our naturally curly hair is dryer and needs lots of hydration. It's also practical to have when you're styling your hair to spray a little bit of water before sealing with your leave-in conditioner or styling product. I have personally did a variant of this by mixing 1/4 of vegetable glycerin, 1/4 aloe vera gel, 1/2 water and a few drops of mint leaf oil.

#2 Vegetable and essential oils
They are your go to guys for moisture and growth strategies. My personal favorites are:
- Coconut oil: It deeply penetrates the body of the hair to make it shiny and resilient. It can be used as a prepoo (treatment to do before you shampoo your hair) as shampoo strips the hair from its natural oils. It can also be used for DIY deep-conditioners. I'll post a recipe in the next entry.
- Sweet almond oil: It nourishes the hair and prevents dandruff
- Mint leaf oil: It promotes hair growth and has a nice smell
#3 Satin cap/ scarf/ pillow case
Curly hair has extravagant taste and therefore you should not sleep with cotton pillow cases or head scarves!!! I kid, the actual reason why you should prefer satin to cotton is because the cotton will absorb the moisture from the hair and we've already established curly hair craves it. When I first eard this I ran to a hair supply store to get these and realized they sold the satin caps for 5$ so I went to the dollar store and bought a satin shower cap. After I scissored out the plastic interior lining, it became a good old satin cap that I had payed a fraction of the price for!!! I love DIY projects and saving money!
#4 Wide-tooth comb (or pick)

This tool is perfect for detangling your hair in a gentle enough way that you don't pull out all of your hair. I picked this type because it has a handle which I find practical but there are different types out there. Find out what works for you. It is not the priority since detangling your hair with your fingers is simple and efficient. It's also better for avoiding breakage.

#5 Sulfate-free shampoo
Harsh chemicals like these make the hair dry and brittle so avoid them. There are plenty of curly friendly lines out there were you can find a great shampoo that won't be too harsh on your hair.

Gardening tips and Tomato Jam recipe

Is it just me or things from the past are simply the best. This summer I got reintroduced to my mom's favorite hobby; gardening. Don't get me wrong, I've always thought that gardening was reserved for old people and killers that need places to hide dead bodies but I actually really enjoyed it. It also goes along with my resolution from earlier in the year to eat better and to watch out for processed food so when my boyfriend proposed to me that we make our own garden I was ecstatic. Only problem was, we both had little experience in gardening except watching our mothers do it. We remembered the basics but we needed back-up. Thankfully, his mother came to the rescue and helped us after the beginning of the process. We had gone to our local garden center and bought plants of tomatoes of different variety, peppers, hot peppers,cucumbers, herbs and plenty of seeds of different kinds (carrots, onions, corn, etc).

We carefully planted the different plants and seeds in rows as orderly as we could and watered. She was pleased with what we'd done so far but gave us great advice on regular maintenance, to help us get the max from our little haven. And that we did, all summer we had, tomatoes and cucumbers galore and were able to make great salads throughout.

A few pointers though if you're going to try the organic garden experience yourself:
1- Make sure to read up on the subject, our placement of the different plants was not optimal. We put the tomato plants in the front end but after only a couple of weeks not only were they very tall and blocking sunlight for the plants behind them but it also got very large; getting tangled in the other plants through the leaves. There are great garden starter apps on Iphone like Mon Potager and the likes but a good book probably would have been the more complete and best option.
2- Have a specific maintenance regimen that you can stick to; having a garden can be demanding in the sense that different veggies grow in different paces and you might have to replant during the summer for some species. You also need to take out the weeds that grow around because they suck out water that the plants should be getting. You should do this at least once a week. Last but not least you need to water at least once a day, before or after sunlight in order to not steam/fry your garden. Investing in some sprinklers and timers can be a good idea. That's what we did.
3- Enjoy, the time spent seeing the progress in your garden, spending time with your significant other, doing a free workout and reaping your crop.

Talking about the crop, when we dismantled the garden for the winter, there were many carrots as they're ready at the end of the summer, which is great cause we like to eat salads in the summer but soups in the fall/winter. Also, a lot of tomatoes were left but most of them still green from not getting enough sunlight and warmth. A great trick to get them mature indoors that my boyfriend learned from his granny is to put them in newspapers and in turn in a paper-bag, in a cool, dark place. A few days later they are ready for consumption.

That being said, we were left with a LOT of tomatoes and there's only so many salads you can eat so I remembered what my mom used to do in those situations; TOMATO JAM!!! :D
By now, you're probably thinking WTH??? But ear me out. You firstly have to remember that tomatoes are fruit, not vegetables. This jam is actually as sugary and tasty as any other and it was one of my favorite things growing up. As my family wasn't rich, my mom always had all these simple tricks to turn a nickel into a dime so here's how the recipe goes:

Tomato jam
3 cups of tomatoes (cut in quarters)
1 cup of sugar ( I mix it half brown- half white)
3/4 cup of water

In a pot put the water and sugar. You boil the sugar in order to dissolve it. Once the sugary water is boiling add the tomatoes and stir. Let it simmer on medium for 45 minutes and stir every once in a a while. You can strain to remove the skin and seeds. I blended it but didn't like the results as it made the jam turn orange instead of red. Next time I won't. Place the jam in sterilized jars. So there you have it!