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Natural Hair Anniversary

Well, it’s actually been a whole year since my natural hair journey began. And what a journey it’s been.

The first day I got my hair twisted, I left the hair salon feeling awful. My expectation was set based on all the Pinterest photos that I had seen of natural black hair. I knew nothing about natural hair, and thought that my hair would magically look like those seasoned twists. Well my twists looked like twigs. Thin, skinny, no puff. I had a lot to learn.

What I learned 

1. I learned that the hair categories (4b, 4c, etc.) are helpful, but they don’t define your hair.

2. I learned that hair is a big part of who you are, and although we don’t like to admit that hair defines us, it can if you let it. I went through a short period of feeling very unattractive. I let my hair define who I was. Thankfully I snapped out of it, and began to heal emotionally.

2. I found someone on YouTube that had similar hair to mine, and learned from her. I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. I just refined her techniques to work for my hair and lifestyle.

3. Once you find the products that work for you, establish a routine for washing, conditioning, twisting, twist outs, night regimen, length of twist out, protective style before wash again. The consistent regimen allows the hair to be trained. In about a month, my twists were beginning to puff, and hang properly.

4. I figured out how to maintain a twist out by twisting the twists into big twists at night. A major milestone for maintaining a daily twist out.  I now keep my twist outs for 2 weeks.

It’s been a journey, but I got it now.

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The Perfect Grad Gift

Looking for something to get the Graduate this year? Here are some great gifts for grads for 2015.

If your favorite grad is heading off to Europe, or doing a cross-country road trip before joining the workforce get them a travel accessory that will enhance all of their vacation photos while staying bulk free. Get the Olloclip, a clip-on lens that lets you take more detailed photos with your iPhone.

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For those who can’t shell out for a computer, look for quality headphones. They’re ideal for jamming on the way to work or class and while studying in loud dorms.

headphones

 

While board games may seem a little old-fashioned, they can be a perfect way to make friends on a rainy day. Go for classics like Monopoly or Sorry.

boardgames

Well, Hello

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted a blog on this site! I have been blogging, but I have a new passion.

Essential oils have taken over my life so to speak. I’ve been using them to care for me and my family’s physical and emotional health since December. They are amazing. I have kept a journal of the conditions that have treated with essential oils. We are no longer using over-the-counter medications. Essential oils are a natural solution to wellness.

  • I no longer have heartburn and acid reflux every night (DigestZen)
  • Headaches/Migraines are gone within 20 minutes (Past Tense blend of 9 oils)
  • I have lost 7lbs since March (No special diet or exercise, just taking essential oil supplements)
  • Colds are gone within 3-4 days, no cough after (Melaleuca)
  • Stretch marks (my son from weight lifting) are disappearing (Lavender and sandalwood)Ess oils
  • Carpel Tunnel. . . gone!
  • No more menopause symptoms (ClarySage)
  • Spousal snoring gone (Frankincense, it’s amazing!)
  • Allergies and watery eyes gone (Eucalyptus)
  • Mosquito bites, gone in 12 hours (Lavender)
  • Cold sores – most people can feel when one is developing. We put on Melaleuca and it never develops!
  • Tickle in the throat, Melaleuca on the throat and it’s gone in a few seconds.
  • . . .not to mention the emotional side of the oils

This has been an amazing journey, and a new ministry for me.

Visit my other site to find out more about essential oils, and how they can work in your life.

Ice Cream – Heaven in a quart

“I’m sure they’ll be ice cream in heaven, and it’ll taste 100% times better, but while I’m still here on earth, I won’t deny thyself!”

Ice cream has always been one of my favorite deserts. I guess I would go as far as calling it a pastime because there are so many memories connected to this incredibly creamy, frozen delight. I definitely inherited this trait from my dad.  I actually remember acquiring a taste for it. We were living in Weston, Connecticut at the time. There was a little ice cream stand along the side of the road in Wilton, CT called Heibeck’s. It was only open during the summer back then, which made it even more desirable. It’s still there today. It is here that I acquired a taste for ice cream.

heibeck-s-stand

A little Ice Cream History
Ice cream has long been called the Great American Dessert. Although no specific date of origin or inventor has been credited with the discovery of ice cream, it’s origin reaches back to 200 BC. The discovery of iced drinks, and fruit flavored snow during the Roman Empire, was just the beginning. The traditional ice cream recipe evolved during the 16th century in Europe, and included a blend of milk, cream, butter and eggs.

Ice cream came to America in the 1700’s, and was considered an exotic dessert enjoyed by the elite. It didn’t become popular to the masses until the discovery of the insulated ice house in the late 1800’s. Ice cream production increased because of technological innovations, including steam power, mechanical refrigeration, the homogenizer, electric power and motors, packing machines, new freezing processes and equipment, and vehicles for delivery. (International Dairy Foods Assoc.)

Today total frozen dairy annual production in the United States is more than 1.6 billion gallons, and I’m a true supporter!

Making Ice Cream
So I continue to be a supporter of the ice cream industry, but today, because my husband purchased me an ice cream maker for Christmas, I make my own. I held off buying an ice cream maker for the obvious reasons. . . I already have enough junk in my trunk, but maybe I would be encouraged to make some healthy ice cream, gelato, and sorbet, right? Well, that hasn’t happened yet, but it’s not over until the “fat” lady sings (I’m not singing yet).

Breville

I use a Breville Ice Cream Maker. This fully automatic ice cream maker blends frozen desserts, from sorbet to ice cream to gelato, in your choice of consistency, from soft-serve style to hard pack, in less than an hour. It takes about 45 minutes for me to make ice cream from start to finish! The machine also keeps the ice cream cool if you’re not ready to eat it yet, and your guests are still polishing off your homemade BBQ dinner.

Since I got the ice cream maker, I have tried a few recipes using different ingredients. I have settled on a fairly simple recipe for the base of the ice cream. Although many ice cream recipes call for egg yolk, I didn’t like using eggs. Eggs bind the ice cream, and make it a chewy consistency. You also have to cook the base, and let it cool (too much time). Many recipes call for milk. Milk has too much water in it, making the ice cream icy as it sits in the freezer. So here is my recipe; not rocket science, but it makes a creamy, wonderfully consistent base.  This recipe base can be used for any ice cream maker.

Ice Cream Base Recipe
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk 14oz
2 cups Half and Half (or whipping cream)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (or real vanilla bean)
Directions: Electric Mix extract with sweetened condensed milk. Add in Half and Half. Mix well with hand mixer. Add into Ice cream machine. Chill in air tight container for a few hours. Makes 1 Quart.

Using this base, I’m able to make flavored ice creams by adding the flavor of a specific ice cream to the sweetened condensed milk. Following are several other ice cream recipes showing how this is done.

Chocolate Ice Cream
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk 14oz
2 cups Half and Half (or whipping cream)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 Cup Hershey’s Coco Powder Special Dark
Directions: Electric Mix Coco well with condensed milk. Add in extract, and Half and Half. Mix well. Add into Ice cream machine. Chill in air tight container for a few hours. Makes 1 Quart.

Coffee Ice Cream
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk 14oz
2 cups Half and Half (or whipping cream)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp coffee extract
6 Tbsp. Instant Coffee (I use decaf)
Directions: Electric Mix Instant Coffee well with condensed milk. Add in extract, and Half and Half. Mix well. Add into Ice cream machine. Chill in air tight container for a few hours. Makes 1 Quart.

So there you have it. I’ll end with a few tips. Happy makin’. More ice cream recipe ideas on my Pinterest.

  • Store ice cream in an air tight safe container. Ice cream lasts 1-2 weeks
  • Lay plastic wrap over newly made ice cream before sealing
  • Store in the back of the freezer to avoid melting when door opens and closes
  • Avoid using ingredients with alot of water, ice cream will get icy

New Beginnings

2015

I’m trying to get back on track with my blog. So much going on at the start of the new year. The holidays were wonderful as always spending time with family and friends.

I usually stay away from New Year’s resolutions, but I do try to make some specific goals to at least strive for during the year. Maybe if I write them down, and share them, you all will keep me accountable!

  • Grow my Graphic Design business – I’m now a member of BNI (Prosperity Partners). If you belong to a BNI chapter, shout it out at me!
  • Begin new ministry – I’m beginning a new ministry in Essential Oils. Visit my new website The Oily Girl to learn more about Essential Oils
  • Grow Essential Oil Blog
  • Study 3 books of the bible (maybe an online bible study)
  • Clean out closets and storage areas – It’s so time to rid myself of old items, especially since the kids are on their way out.
  • Achieve significant natural hair growth by May (one year anniversary)

Whew. . . I think that’s enough for now. I have other things I would like to achieve, but writing them down might be a little overwhelming.

Have you written down your goals for 2015? Share them, it might keep you accountable.

Downton Abbey is back!

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The last season episode of “Downton Abbey” always makes my stomach churn, and leaves my soul with a sense of emptiness. Oh how I miss those British accents, the spectacular scenery of the Downton mansion, and the peculiar ways that Downton is run and managed by its dedicated servants.

Every Sunday evening I sit in front of my large screen TV mesmerized, completely sucked back into the 19th century. At 10pm when the music plays at the end of the episode, I blink several times, slowly letting my eyes wander outside of the television view, and I breathe a sigh of disappointment that another episode is completed in the countdown.

“Downton Abbey” returns for Season 5 on Sunday, January 4th, 9pm ET. The year is 1924. Hello “Roaring Twenties!”

What a fabulous decade. A decade of great dramatic social and political change, which I’m sure will be very evident in this year’s “Downton Abbey” episodes. The “new” woman of the 20th century was called a “flapper”. Although most 20th century woman did not participate in the new found social ways of bobbing the hair, wearing short skirts, and publicly smoking and drinking, many of them gained significant freedoms.

The 19th Amendment allowed woman in the United States to vote in 1920. Jazz became the main genre of the music industry in the 20’s, bringing along with it the freedom to dance: the Charleston, the cake walk, the black bottom, the flea hop. White collar jobs became more available to women as economic growth swept the nation. New machines and technologies allowed more conveniences to woman in the home, and the sexual revolution took off with the increased availability of birth control.

Don’t forget to catch up on Season 4 episodes this week. In my British accent, “The Roaring 20’s” will make a great splash in Downton this season, looking forward to Sunday’s opening theme promptly at 9pm!”

Frankincense

frankincense

Ahhh Christmas. Its the time of year for giving, and a significant tradition that we as Christians hold dear to our hearts each year as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

The Wise men traveled a great distance from the East to bring gifts to the Baby Jesus. This Christ child must have been pretty important. We don’t know much about the wise men, we’re not even sure how many there were. Jesus was well over a year by the time they arrived.

Matthew 2:11 NIV
[11] On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Why bring such precious and valuable gifts to a baby? The wise men thought they were going to see a King, so they brought gifts of royalty, they did not know the savior of mankind would be a child. “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32).

One of the precious gifts they bought from afar was Frankincense. It is considered the holy oil. The gift of frankincense given to the Christ Child symbolized His holiness. His willingness to freely and wholly give Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins.

Frankincense is the gum or resin from the Boswellia tree. It was a very expensive substance because it was collected in remote parts of Arabia, North Africa, and India. Today Frankincense essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin. Frankincense has a lemony, musky odor, and is used to help arthritis, asthma, depression, memory, inflammation, and skin disorders. Some studies suggest Frankincense may have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

Click the link to find out more about how I use Frankincense essential oil or visit my website.