Thursday, July 31, 2014

Not just for Colored Girls….How I maintain my hair

(c) P.Lynne Designs
I am trying a new type of post. Well new to me.  I will tell you right now, I am going through a journey, with my hair.  The reason, and I am not sure if my Caucasian sisters out there are going through the same, but when you are a colored sister, not just African Americans, you take issue with your hair.  (Oops, run-on, sorry).
Let me explain…
When I was a little girl, I had this long, thick, kinky hair.  If you were to straighten it (a process of taking heat to hair and making it manageable to style), it would have probably be half way down to my butt.  My mom, on Saturday nights, would fix my hair that way, and I loved it. So my mom help me with my hair, until I was a teen.  When I was a teen, I experimented a lot, and I had eczema, which made my go from that length to just above my shoulders.  So thus started the damaging process of my hair. 
Me in first grade
Fast forward to my twenties….I had Jeri Curls.   Some of you know what I am talking about.  It takes some doing with Jeri curls. You spray for days, and then sleep on it.   I have messed up more pillow cases that way, and then came Wave Nuevo.  I do not even want to talk about it.   It was just that painful.   Finally came what Chris Rock calls, “The Creamy Crack”.  Yep, I started relaxing my hair.  Well relax I did, and relaxed, and relaxed some more.   The last relaxer I had, which was 2010, took out some of my hair.  So I decided to go natural, but I instead decided to braid and twist my hair.  I have not relaxed it at all since 2011.
So, now it has been almost three years, and I am loving the twists, but I need to rest it a little.   The wonderful thing about African braiders are they can have 3-4 people work on you at the same time, but the worst thing about them is, THEY DO NOT WASH YOUR HAIR IF THEY CAN HELP IT.  At least if you go to an African American beautician (which is NOT the same), they will wash your hair before taking the twists out and re-twisting it.  African American beauticians will also tell you if they think it is time to give it a rest, but African braiders do not. (I guess they want that money more than anything, I don’t know)
On to washing….(warning-affiliate link ahead)
I will tell you right now, I am lazy.   It has been a month since I washed (please say eww, because I am), mainly because I hate the shampoo that I got for braids and twists only.  Look, I am going to break it down to you, and I am telling myself this too, you need to wash your hair, period.  The scalp is skin, and skin needs hydration to thrive.  So last week, I broke open the piggy bank, and bought a product line called Carol’sDaughter Black Vanilla.  I have the shampoo, conditioner, smoothie (more on that in a moment), and leave-in conditioner, and used it for the first time last night.  I can tell the difference already.   I am not an expert, but to me, leave the stuff formulated for braids and twists in the store (except the sheen).  Use your regular shampoo and that’s it. 
Have a regular shower routine.  FYI-I know it is harder on mothers to do this, but if you can have your spouse or partner take the baby for a while, or do it late at night when baby/child is sleeping, you will thank yourself in the morning.  Light a candle or two, and get in.
Image from Carol's Daughter
Caution:  Codes ahead.   I took the CDS, and worked up a good lather.  This stuff smells amazing.  Make sure you get all the way to the ends, even if they are extensions.  Treat your extension as part of your hair.  Rinse well, getting all of the shampoo out.  Repeat, if needed.  Next, take the conditioner, and do the same, BUT, let it sit for 3-5 mins.  You want this stuff to condition your scalp, and to condition the hair.  Rinse, again getting the conditioner out. Take the smoothie, and go from root to tip, making sure you detangle along the way.  Do not pull hard.  According to YouTubber Naptural85 AKA Whitney , you can detangle with your fingers, instead of using a comb. It sure help me.  After that, rinse the smoothie out.
Once you towel dried your hair (I washed my body after the routine, a plus), take the hair oil (which, I did not have, but will get) and from root to tip, according to Whitney, not the bottle instructions, put it on, but do not rinse.   Last, spray in your leave-in conditioner.  Do not rinse it out either.   One tip from Whitney, and I suggest it too, especially after failing to do it until I was applying the smoothie, if you have long hair  or like mine, twisted, divide into sections, so it can be an easy process.    
Smoothie
Let hair air-dry in sections (I did, three big twists for me to sleep in).  The next day, take out the big twists, and style.  Oh, one thing I forget to mention as well.  After spraying in the leave in conditioner, you can do your roller sets, your twist-outs, or any style you want to start out with in the morning, and then style it when you get ready for the day.  I basically use the braid/twist sheen for mine. 
Do it for weekly routine.  If your wash too much, you can stripe your hair of the natural oils it produces, and that it not good either.  If you need to shorten your routine, just shampoo, conditioner, and leave in conditioner will do.

If you would like to see me do more of these types of posts, let me know in the comments section.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Follow-up to It’s the most wonderful time of the year….One more tip from About.com

(c) Zavala
I love when a plan comes together, and I know when I have done something right. Two weeks ago, I wrote about 10 ways to get ready for back to school. I appreciate all the wonderful comments and re-tweets from all of you, words cannot say enough.  Now, this is, at least I hope, a short follow-up to the post. 
I am a regular subscriber to About.com.  In case you are not familiar with About.com, it is a how-to reference guide to everything from crafts to getting into wine-making, to specific diseases* to how to start your first novel.  I live this guide.  Since I am bombarded with so many emails (as well as switching email accounts last October), I only get the one daily guide.  One of today’s topics was how to get school supplies for free, and I was intrigued by it.  You can read the entire article HERE, but for now, I will mention the highlights.
-          First of all, I do agree with the article about how much of an annual burden to get school supplies.  I want to know whatever happened to getting just your basic pen, pencils, notebook (spiral and 3-ring), markers (if you are older), ruler, eraser, and paper bag (brown).  Does it really matter if the lunch bag have to be a character or have cool colors?  According to Target and other stores, yes.  According to your kids, yes, but according to you and the teachers, no.  A pencil is a pencil and a ruler is a ruler, so, if you are short on finance, there are ways to get the basis without breaking the bank.
-          Look for deals.  They are all over the place.  Depending on what is needed, I start with free.  Free is always best, and according to the article, the best place to start is with your child’s school.  Often times, the school will purchase extra supplies for the students.  If no luck, ask the district.  They may have a program where people can donate school supplies.  Some programs have a list where you can sign up for, while others are on a first come, first serve.  If all else fails, look for help with school supplies though communities, church groups, and if you are a military family, there is also help there.
Most important, I give you this little tip:  If you cannot afford, get help.  There should be no reason for your child to do without.  It may not be the latest and greatest pencil on the market and the lunch bag maybe two years old, but your child has one.  Please do not get what you cannot afford.  This is why programs are created for, to help, not hurt.  It is the ignorance of people, who do not understand the full nature of your situation, and that is the real problem.  Do not let it fold you, and make you a bitter person.  You are better than that and this is temporary.


*Disclaimer-please, please, please, do not self-diagnose. Consult your doctor before reading any medical guides on the internet, which are meant for information ONLY. Your results may not be typical from what is the norm FOR THAT DISEASE, and you may not have what the guide suggest.  Your doctor or nurse practitioner is your best advocate.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The best things in life can be free….But you have to work for it.

(c) ismag.com
I am on a mission….a quest.  The question I wanted answered was, what can I get for free?  Don’t ask why I wanted to know that.  I always wanted to know that ever since I was a little girl.
Take the statement, “Nothing in life is free”.   WELLLLL, I wondered about that for a moment, and the first answer I can come up with is “air”.  Air is free.  We need it to live.  This world is fully oxygenated with the fuel that allows our lungs to receive, and the cells to thrive throughout our bodies.  Without it, we would die.  Can you image if God decided one day to just cut this glorious elixir off from us?  Can you say “good ridings”, with no one to deliver your eulogy?
OK, enough is enough of doom and gloom, which is a subject for me to ponder in my blog, My Ambiance Life.
Caution:  Live links ahead:  Potential affiliate Links
I am talking about products we use, the services we want, entertainment.  Take Disney for instance.  I am talking about the $1,000+ vacation, not the movies.  Even though I am a huge Disney Fan (clipping on the heels of an “addict”), even I realize that for me to go to Disney, I must save to get there, unless I find out that I am that very distance relative of his, and seeing that I am African American, and he was Caucasian American, the chances are slim to none, LOL.  So, I have to do like everyone else and pay, but there are things to do that will make life just a little bit easier on the wallet, and you do not have to wash the resort dishes to do it.  I talk about it in several articles on my blog, Traveling to the Mouse’s House.
Last night, I saw several articles on the All You Magazine website under “coupons and deals”.  I tested several articles, such as “Freebie Guide: On Your Birthday”, “Freebie Guide: Groceries” (someone pinned this, which started me on this quest), and “Freebie Guide: Eat Free at these Restaurants”. I signed up for several, which took about a couple of hours (OK, 4, but I was floating in and out of several applications on my computer).  Many of these offers, I had previously signed up for on a previous email address that I no longer owned (excuse me, no longer friends with the provider-Time Warner Cable), so to make things easier, in case the provider, AT&T and I are no longer friends as well, I placed the accounts under my Gmail account.  (Tip: get one, it’s free).  I suggest that you sign-up with only the ones in your area or that you frequently go (like grandma’s).  If sign-up for offers that you go once a year to, You could find your mailbox full, and you provider might not like you (which at this point I am taking a risk), but I have a solution to that (putting it on vacation mode then use a mail server like Outlook to still collect your mail).
Some of the offers require that you activate the account once you receive an email.  All of the accounts send you a welcome letter indicting that all is well with the world, and that you are now a member of their club.  If you mentioned your birthday while filling out the application, you may get on a treat on your birthday.  For example, my birthday was Monday, July 21, and so far this week, I enjoyed a free meal from BD Mongolian Barbeque, received offers of free dessert, free bagel and cream cheese, free coffee, and a host of other offers in the past, such as a free burger. 

Reward cards do the same thing, and I must add this disclaimer:  If you have a special diet (vegan, gluten-free, all natural, etc…), these offers are for you too.  Just sign-up and you may have to ask the wait staff if the offer covers your special diet.  For anything free, you have to know where to look, research and ask.  You do not have to be 55 and older to find a good deal.  I realize that most of the offers in this post are for eating places, but what if you do not eat out.  There are deals for you too, again, just research.   Ask where you regularly shop, receive service, and live to see if any deals are available.  It does hurt to ask.  To remix Forrest Gump’s famous line, “coupons and deals are like a bunch of chocolates, you never know what ones you are going to get”.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Most wonderful time of the year… 10 ways to get ready for Back to School.


Picture this:  There is a song in an often repeated Staples’ commercial.  You would know it when you see it.  The scene is that of a young boy and girl, and they are walking as slow as can be.  They are sad, not good for a commercial.   Wait, it gets better.
Meanwhile, in the other aisle, you will find dad just dance away, ride on the back of carts, clicking his heels, and singing praises to that song, which is sung by Bing Crosby called, “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.”  I see Americans nodding their heads already.  All of a sudden, you hear the announcer chime in…”They’re going back…. It’s back to school time at Staples”!!!!  “Over 6000 supplies at the guaranteed prices”, and he explains on and on.

My point is not about the commercial itself, which by the way has been playing since 1996. (Yikes Staples, get a new commercial) Last month, they just got out of school, and Sunday I saw my first ads for back to school sales.   Staples, OfficeMax, even Walgreens and thrift stores, they all have them, and it is not too early to get started.
So do you want to know how not to be so overwhelmed this time of the year?   There are 10 ways to achieve a successful preparation to the start of the new school year (5 for parents, 5 for students), and you will be able to still enjoy your vacation:
For Parents
-          On the last day of school, start taking inventory of the basic school supplies your child has used throughout the year, which they can start with in August (September in some school systems).  This even works if your child starts Kindergarten (yes, crayons are school supplies).  Check the condition of the used product.  In the case of 3-ring notebooks, if child has a complaint, tell them to decorate it so it will look like a brand, new notebook.
-          Start saving.  Put aside a little bit of money each week for supplies and other school fees, which you think your child may need.  Instruct your child to do the same.  Either place in a jar or open up a bank account with just those funds, which can be converted into something else down the road, like a special treat for the child.
-          It does not matter if you get the Sunday paper, or subscribe to an online newsletter, start checking deals, NOW, this is not a drill.  Do not buy all at once.  In fact, do not buy for now.  You are JUST CHECKING.  If they are smart, these stores will run these same ads again closer to the time your child goes back to school, and here is why you do not want to buy now.   Many schools have a list of supplies needed for your child to have a successful start to the school year.  I know many of these schools will send these lists to the local store to place on display, but not all will do it.  Sometimes, they will send that list home with your child, which is a good time to again, check the bags on the last day and get ALL the important papers out, put them in a school folder so they won’t get lost.
-          You are in vacation mode, but that does not mean you cannot teach your child something.  If you go to Disney, Epcot has plenty of spots for a child to learn without it pushing it on them.  Visit World Showcase at Epcot for a little geography, ride the Living on the Land ride at Epcot to learn the future of growing plants, ride Mission Space (height requirements) to learn about space.  Test Track teaches you how they test cars before they are shipped to the dealerships.  Move over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a mini course on how to draw the Disney way.  If you travel to Europe, there are many ways you can do the same.  Travel this country, and there are tons of places to stop at between your home and Grandma’s (unless she lives around the corner).
-          Have fun, enjoy your children, and do not sweat the small stuff.  It does not matter if your child goes to public, private school, or is home-schooled.  School will be there, but it helps to prepare while having fun.
For Students
·         You have amazing parents who care for you, and want the best for you.  Do not be surprised if they want to hunt for school supplies early.
·          Summer vacation does not mean you have to stop learning.  Get into a reading program at the library, volunteer if you are old enough, or go to summer camp, which can be more fun than learning.  Do anything to help you stimulate your mind and body, but make it fun.
·         You can reuse your school supplies from the previous year, by revamping your notebooks and other supplies.  You do not always have to buy new.  In fact, I encourage it.  Going to a thrift store also helps cut costs.  You can decorate to suit your personality, but one word of caution: make it so that your parents and new teachers would be proud of you.  Who knows, you may spark a new career or hobby, which sometimes can bring in a little cash or a life-long dream.
·         Teens, I mentioned volunteering earlier.  When you volunteer, you are not only helping others, but you are helping yourself as well, by learning how this world works.  You do not have to go to Honduras to build houses to volunteer, although that is a noble cause if that is what you want to do.  If you see litter, pick it up. If someone needs help with their groceries, do it.  Help in the food pantry and brighten someone’s day.  You do not have stop when school starts back either.  This is a year-round project if you let it.  In fact, some private schools insist that you volunteer.  The best news is some scholarships to the best colleges will consider you over another person if you mention volunteering on the application.  Even employers are taking notice.  Do anything that will help you to get further in life instead of always hanging out with your friends.  Who knows, you may help your friends as well.  

·         Have fun with your parents.  They are the only ones you have, no matter how they are.  They love and care about you, and although they may embarrass you sometimes, they are good people.  I appreciate mine more now than when I was your age.  Yes, my parents got on my nerves when I was a teen, but picture this:  one day, when you are thirty, have a tons of bills, and only have one steak in the fridge, you will indeed appreciate those meals of mom’s, the advice from daddy, and all of those back to school deals.   Life was simply back then.

So, do not go hog wild over this week’s back to school deals.  They will be back.   But in the meantime, watch this oldie but goodie video from 1996…. 



Monday, June 9, 2014

Trader Joe's: 18 Secrets - Coupons and Deals - SavingsMania

(c) Trader Joe's
I love Trader Joe's.
I cannot say that I shop there every day because of the distance from my
house, but when I go, it is like walking into that quirky little mart, where
unique items await me.   If you want
organic, it’s there.  If you do not feel
like dealing with a big store, you can still get what you need and do not stop
anywhere else.
From what I thought I knew about Trader Joes, is nothing
near what they say in secret.  I mean, I
knew that they do not have a middle man when dealing with products, and yes,
that means that national brands do not have a place here.  This means savings.
I pulled this list from Savings Mania, and when I read it, I
was surprised with the findings, which means I love Trader Joes even more.
Trader Joe's: 18 Secrets -Coupons and Deals - SavingsMania

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Coupons for Sunday June 8, 2014


It has been a while since I posted a coupon posts.   If you are looking for deals, this is the right place.  Click on the links below, and they will take you straight to the coupons.



Toner Cartridges:  Visit Goodshop to find out about toner cartridges

Friday, June 6, 2014

Discounts for Seniors (age 55 and up)

OK, I must admit this in public (after all, my sanity will thank me later in about 5 years), but I will be 50 this year.  Yep, if you were born in 1964, you will be 50 at some point this year.  I had a few classmates brag about it this year.  That does not mean that we are old.   As a friend of mine calls it, we are “a little seasoned”, but not to the point of needing discounts just yet.
This post is for my parents and a few other “Seasoned” people.  
What does it mean to be 50?
I am not sure yet, because as of this post, I am 49 years, 10 months old (11 months on June 21), and I am milking every bit of being 49 years, 10 months old.  I belong to a small church with an even “smaller” young adult ministry, so I am part of that group (it supposed to go to age 40-"snicker"), AARP keeps knocking at my door, but I am not answering, and I have seen ONLY a few grey strands in a sea of black hair (which does not mean much since I had one of them since I was 8 years old).  I am not wearing dentures, a hearing aide, or dealing with a walker.  By the way, these were all the characteristics I thought 50 would be when I was 10.  In fact, I cried when I heard about it from a friend of mine, who was also 10.   I thought I was going to die at this age.  I did not know you could also die at age 10.
So where was I?
Oh yes, the discounts for seniors.  I received this list in my email today.  It is by Mary Keyer, and she compiled a list of eating establishments, as well as stores and other places that have discounts for seniors.   A lot of these places are nationally known chains, but in my opinion, you can ask any local establishments about senior discounts too.  The key here is that you have to ask about them, BEFORE you check out and pay for the item or service.  This includes the national chains.
Mary also explain that this document may not be for you, but for a family member or friend.   So if you or a person you know want to know about rather a business offers senior discounts or not, this is a perfect jumping off point to find out.    To get to the document, please click here, and happy saving. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Happy national free Donut Day-Saving Mania

Here are the FREE donut
offers for June 6!
Dunkin' Donuts- On June 6th, participating Dunkin Donuts locations are offering up a FREE doughnut with the purchase of any beverage. Go HERE to find a location near you.
Krispy Kreme- Head on over to the Krispy Kreme Facebook page and click on “Get Offer” to score a FREE doughnuton June 6th. Just be sure to show this offer on your smartphone.
LaMar's- Partnering with The Salvation Army, LaMar’s Donuts is giving away one FREE doughnut to each customer on June 6th! Head on over to the LaMar’s Facebook page for more information.  Go here for a list of locations.
Tim Horton's- If you have a Tim Hortons nearby, they are offering up a FREE doughnut with any purchase on June 6th – no coupon required! Checkout their Facebook page for more details. Click here to find a location near you