Sealed! DIY Whipped Butter

whippedbuttercream

It’s been almost four days since we got Bro’Ham. To say having a dog is a whole different experience doesn’t begin to describe what being a pet parent means.

I have to feed another living being. Every day. He wants affection and reassurance that he’s okay and a good dog. He follows me around. He’s left a layer of dog hair that has broken my clean freak spirit. Two tongue baths (I am still weirded out by that, but another day). And he’s brought me a real sense of peace and calm.

Bro’Ham being here means a lot of handwashing. A lot. And for some reason, terrible static electricity. I know there’s some correlation between ash and getting the shock of life, so I figure now’s a good time to make some whipped butter.

I’d made a batch before and didn’t love the consistency. The recipe added beeswax, which isn’t something I’ve used before. It felt… waxy. It took forever to liquify and was just all around not a good deal.

This time I had the bright idea to substitute coconut oil for the beeswax. The end result is exactly what I wanted: a light, whipped cream that melts and glides on my skin easily. No more welts from all the rubbing.

Whipped Butter

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces shea butter
  • 3 ounces cocoa butter
  • 4 ounces coconut oil

Measure both butters and the coconut oil into heat safe  medium-sized bowl.  Set the bowl in a pan and add enough water to come about halfway up the bowl. Heat on medium-low until melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Using a whisk attachment, blend at high speed until frothy, about 1 minute.

butter1

Refrigerate 10 minutes or until just solid.

butter2

Once solid, using beaters, mix on high speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until desired consistency. Store in airtight container.

butter4

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Nail Polish Cabinet

Nail Polish Cabinet

On my quest to reclaim my femininity, I decided to stop hiding my nail polish. See, I’m all about visual. When I see things, I use them. That’s why my books are on display (otherwise I won’t read them), my utensils are in a basket (why I have 3 pizza cutters) and my closet doors stay open (finally stopped interchanging the same five work outfits).

I happened to luck up on some wooden crates at work. When I saw them it was like they were surrounded by a heavenly glow with fairy dust falling from the ceiling. Who would throw away such useful crates?? Seriously! I scooped them up and took them home.

Two evenings later, after I stubbed my toe on said crates, the idea hit me: use the smaller crate for nail polish! All the materials were right there for the making. At some point, when I’m a nail polish junkie, I’ll have to make a larger one, but for now, it fits my collection.

Construction was very…. haphazardly done. I found an old clip art that I printed for a shirt design and used Mod Podge to create a simple decoupage backdrop. Then, I simply secured the boards that came with the crate with small tacks to insure that they wouldn’t fall. I tested the first shelf and when the bottles stayed on, I finished the remaining two shelves. All total, this project took maybe an hour to complete. I’m considering painting it, but I haven’t found a color that speaks to me yet.

I love when a piece of trash turns into a treasure. And since I ‘built’ the cabinet and put the bottles and tools on display, I’ve actually kept my nails up. No more chipped polish days!

Nail Polish Cabinet

DIY Nail Art

DIY Nail Art

I’ve probably had my nails done professionally 10 time in my entire life. Every time I get them done, I always end up with hang nails. I figure if it’s going to happen anyway, I’d rather do them myself.

Lately I’ve been interested in different types of nail art. I’m not sure where I originally saw this DIY tut, but ever since, it’s been my go to process when I want to take my nails up a level.

For the designs, you need a color laser printer. Laser. Not ink jet. I have access to one at work and decided to print a full sheet of designs that would last me for a while. Finding images was a piece of cake on Google. I think I searched for ‘retro desktop wallpapers’ and ‘fabric design patterns’. I also checked out a couple of fabric design websites. Calico Corners is pretty awesome and where I found a lot of the designs I printed.

DIY Nail Art

Supplies:

  • Nail polish (neutral color or white)
  • Alcohol
  • Cotton balls/pads
  • Color laser printed designs
  • Top coat
  • Water
  1. For the best results, measure your nails and cut out the designs. Set them aside.
  2. Pour a little alcohol in a small container.
  3. Polish nails and allow them to dry completely.
  4. Coat your dry nails with alcohol. You want them wet so the design sticks.
  5. Lay the design, printed side down, on your nail. Saturate with the alcohol cotton ball/pad.
  6. Allow the paper to dry. Peel it off carefully. Add a little water to your nail and rub off any remaining bits of paper.
  7. Apply a top coat to protect the design.

DIY Nail Art

Flaxseed Hair Gel

flaxseed hair gel

Picture this: Sally’s. Saturday morning. I just made it in the door before a straight monsoon started. I find my way to the back of the store to find the gel I had in my November Curl Box. I find every other option except for the wonderful conditioning pomade/gel/Let’s Jam twin I was quickly going through post-LocDown 2012. I pick up an industrial-sized container of olive oil gel. After paying for my products, I walk briskly back to the car (rain water was helping my hair soften up for the styling demos I was about to try).

Two days later, I’m at work going through my normal routine of checking e-mail while i make chocolate oatmeal and see:

How to Make Flaxseed Hair Gel

Are you kidding me?! Flaxseed hair gel? As in I can finally use the box of flaxseed for more than baking? Like, for real?

Then I remembered the 200-ounce jar of gel in the bathroom, unused and the receipt that was JUST recycled. Ugh.

That didn’t stop me from making the gel though. I figured the industrial stuff would still be there if I needed it in 2015, but the flaxseed had a shelf life and more than likely, the expiration date was coming pretty soon. So I started with a small amount of flax seeds and figured if I liked it, I could make more as I needed it.

It was fantastic! Seriously. It does get a little messy, but, seriously, if you’re reading my blog, more than likely you don’t mind getting dirty. I highly suggest soaking the seeds and using a piece of cheesecloth or other small-holed fabric for squeezing out the gel if you’re impatient like me. Or it could be that I was so fascinated by the gelling experience that I let it boil too long….

Flaxseed Hair Gel

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • Water, enough to cover the seeds

Place the flax seeds in a bowl. Cover with water and let them soak for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight. I put mine in the water before I left for work in the morning and made the recipe when I got home.

After soaking in the water, the seeds will start to form the gel naturally. Add the seeds and gel to a small pan with just enough water to cover everything.

flaxseed hair gel

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring gently, until a thin, foamy gel starts to form. As soon as the seeds remain suspended in the gel and don’t sink to the bottom of the pot remove from the heat immediately and pour through the cheesecloth or a strainer. (Here’s a video of me trying to get as much gel from the seeds as humanly possible.) Immediately rinse the pot or it will be a beast to clean later.

At this point, you can add any ingredients you want to the gel. Stir to combine all the ingredients. It should be the texture of egg whites. Pour into a resealable container. Any extra gel you don’t use can be stored in the refrigerator.

Whipped Shea Butter with Coconut Oil and Vitamin E

I’ve had this shea butter for years, probably since 2008. I bought it because everyone touted how great it is for skin and hair and I figured I didn’t have anything to lose, right?

Wrong. I seriously didn’t know what to expect, but I really didn’t expect hard rocks of yellowness. I got past that though and decided to try it on my hair. Major fail. It could have been that I used too much, but my hair felt greasy and heavy, two things I hate. So I tried it on my skin. Epic bomb. By 10 a.m. I looked like I’d rolled around in chalk.

I was complaining about the shea butter to someone and they suggested I try mixing it with something else. I LOVE coconut oil and use it for everything. So it only made sense to me to mix the shea butter with the coconut oil. The end result was great. My skin feels soft and smooth and I don’t look like Ashy Lola.

Check out the video (it’s my first one!) to see how it’s made.

Rosemary & Sage Hair Tea

Rosemary Sage Hair Tea

The day before my birthday I finished taking down all my locs. It was a seven-day, 50+ hour journey, but well worth it.

Until I washed my hair.

The tugging and pulling from delocking (like how I made up that word?) left me with EXTREMELY thin hair. I don’t know why I didn’t expect that, but I really didn’t expect it. I wanted to cry, but I womaned up and realized that I made a choice and with proper care, my hair would be fine. It was simply time to figure out a regimen that would help me grow the full head of hair I remembered from the pre-loc natural era.

I started researching natural remedies that I could use to help my hair out. I began taking biotin supplements thanks to a post from Jessica on Bows & Sequins. While I can’t say I notice a difference in my hair, my nails are in much better shape. I’m going to assume great things are happening on my head too.

I also read about hair teas. Rosemary and sage are used to promote hair growth. According to Camp Wander, rosemary cleanses, strengthens and nourishes hair follicles and encourages growth.  It will also make my pesky hairline grays less noticeable. Coco & Creme says sage helps stimulate hair growth and also has antibacterial properties. My scalp needs all the help it can get.

I didn’t have either essential oil on hand, but I DID have the herbs and decided to make the hair tea. Instead of using it as a rinse, I put it in a spray bottle to mist my hair when styling my now teeny-weeny afro (TWA). So far, I absolutely love how it makes my hair feel and the scent reminds me of Thanksgiving.

Rosemary & Sage Hair Tea

  • 1 bunch rosemary (about 4 or 5 full sprigs)
  • 1 bunch sage (about 4 or 5 full stalks)
  • 20 ounces distilled or filtered water

1. Combine the water and herbs in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil about 10 minutes.

2. Remove the tea from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Once cooled, pour into a jar or spray bottle. You can store extra in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

After using it daily, along with my Curls hair products, here’s now my hair looks today. Ignore the stubborn, thick, straight gray hair that refuses to curl.

Rosemary Sage Hair Tea (3)

Perryn’s Naturals

Perryn NaturalI decided to write about a product that I instantly loved. While at one of the local festivals, I came across a vendor selling handmade soap. She was extremely nice and patient while I waffled between scents while The Hero impatiently waited for me to either buy something or keep perusing stands.

While the initial reason I even stopped at Perryn’s Naturals was because I love handmade soaps, the scents are what kept me hanging around. Perry had my favorite, lavender, which was a definite plus. Then I started smelling others and loved the orange and cherry almond varieties as well. She sold sample sizes of both, so I snagged one of each.

On top of being really great, the price wasn’t ridiculous. My full bar of lavender soap was only $5 (comparable to the Shea Moisture bar I buy from Target, yet almost twice the size of Shea Moisture). The orange and cherry almond sample bars were $.50 and $1 respectively.

I used the cherry almond bar almost immediately. The scent was just the right scent to linger on my skin after the shower, but not annoyingly so. I also didn’t suffer from ashiness like I do with other bar soaps. Granted we have cement for water, but it wasn’t nearly as bad using my new soap. The downside is that it was too strong for my face. Other than that, loved it.

Want to try a bar yourself to see what I’m talking about? Go to Perryn’s Naturals and see for yourself.