May 28

The Darkness to Light Challenge

Posted In Soul Work

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If you’re in the Toronto area, Friday, May 29, 2015 is the all-night challenge to defeat mental illness, hosted by Darkness to Light, part of CAMH (the Canadian Association for Mental Health). The idea is to stay up all night with friends or family to help raise funds for mental health care as well as — maybe more important — awareness.

 

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If interested, you can start by registering or donating at http://give.camh.ca.

One in 5 Canadians is effected by mental illness.  The money raised will go towards CAMH’s expert care and treatment. This includes addiction services, outreach programs, mood/anxiety support services, children’s programs, etc.

I recently vlogged about an experience I had, in which my daughter witnessed someone take their life in a public place. It was one of the most heart-wrenching and confusing things either of us have had to deal with.  My daughter is recovering well, emotionally, and does not seem traumatized by the experience. Yet, she will never forget the image. I removed the video though out of respect for her.

It’s important to speak openly about mental illness. You may not suffer from it yourself, but — inevitably — you will encounter someone who does. These people need support in order to ensure that we as a society are healthy as a whole.

If you choose to participate in the Darkness to Light/D2L Challenge. Click the link above and don’t forget to take a selfie at dawn, tagging it with #D2L #SunriseSelfie.

I hope to see many more initiatives like this in the near future, and will be a supporter of CAMH indefinitely.


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May 25

Should I Oil My Locs?

Posted In Hair

“Should I oil my locs?” is a tricky question. On the one hand, it can impart shine to dry/dull-looking locs. On the other hand, if not used correctly, it can lead to even more dryness and, in some cases, build up.

First things first… Regardless of how you choose to use oil on your locs, it should be a light oil (such as avocado, jojoba, coconut or olive) that can be easily absorbed into the hair and skin.

From personal experience, oiling the length of my locs with avocado oil a couple of times a week worked great for me… until 2 years into my loc journey. At which point, I started to notice the — no pun intended — dreaded lint build up some people get on the very back row.

What was actually happening is that my now fully locked hair was carrying an excessive amount of oil, which lint from my coat and sweater collar clung to during the winter months.

I now choose to colour over these locs rather than go through the arduous process of having a professional attempt to pick it out without damage.

 

dandelionfieldMood:  #Unbothered

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to use oil is on the scalp to combat the dryness many people of colour suffer from. If extra shine is desired, regular hot oil treatments are a great way to promote the health of one’s locs in general.

Everyone’s locs are different, so consider this solely a tale of caution. But when choosing to use oil on your locs, make sure it’s a light oil and use it sparingly. Cleansing your hair with a high-quality shampoo that won’t strip it (sulfate-free) will also do wonders for you.


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May 25

What is a Wash and Go?

Posted In Hair

A “wash and go” or, as they’re called at Curl Bar Beauty Salon, “wash and hydration” is the process of CLEANSING, HYDRATING, and DEFINING one’s curls/coils.

Curl-friendly salons like Curl Bar use high-quality shampoo and conditioners such as those in the Deva Curl line to impart as much moisture as possible during cleansing and conditioning. These products are infused with botanical ingredients (such as rosemary and lemongrass extract) and are free of sulfates and parabens – cheap fillers found in many drugstore products.

After this, leave-in conditioner is applied to maintain the moisture underneath the styling product. The styling product (a light, alcohol-free gel) is then caringly applied to define every curl/coil. Kinky-Curly Curling Custard and Earthtone Naturals Curl Enhancing Gelly are known to give great results.

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The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

Many with curly and coily hair inquire about the wash and hydration service that Curl Bar offers.  They cannot believe the transformation that curls can undergo without the use of chemicals. It’s all in the products and the technique.

Book your appointment at Curl Bar to learn how to hydrate and define your curls today!

Call 416-777-2875 or book online.


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Apr 27

She Wants to Lock Her Hair

Posted In Hair, Locs

Someone very special to me makes a guest appearance in this hair update video…


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Mar 04

Mental Health Awareness – A Week of Giveaways

Posted In Soul Work

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Today is day 4 of a week long #giveaway, hosted by Love the Undoing Jewelery in order to spread mental health awareness.
Mental health awareness has always been something close to my heart. Like many youths, I suffered from #depression and #anxiety on and off. I didn’t really have anyone to talk to who understood or acknowledged my condition. When I became an adult, I sought (cognitive) therapy because I did not want my daughter to be effected by my inability to cope at times.
I came to terms with my condition, met many people who suffer from the same, and now sport a semi colon next to my ear to symbolize that I embrace EVERY part of me and that my condition isn’t something that warrants shame.

Support is a very important factor in dealing with depression especially. I have unintentionally encouraged many friends throughout my life to be grateful for the lives they have, which often include supportive family and a childhood free of neglect or abuse. I have nothing but #love for my blood family but I’ve come to learn that #family is really what you make it. Friends, significant others, therapists, neighbours, even coworkers… ANYONE who shows you true love and support is family.

 

If you’re on Instagram, please help me spread the word by sharing your own experiences with mental health and tagging your posts with #stopthestigma and #lovieswilllisten. One person will be chosen at random by the end of each day to win beautiful @lovetheundoing jewelry (valued at over $25).


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Jan 22

Pass It On: Put the Glass Down

Posted In Pass It On

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A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or hall full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired, “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

Remember to put the glass down.


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Jan 18

Is Vitamin Water Zero Good for You?

Posted In Healthy Living

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The other day, I was at Subway and decided to upgrade to a combo. Usually, I don’t do this because I don’t drink fountain drinks or juice and hate paying almost 2 dollars for bottled water I can get for 10 cents in a bin at the grocery store.

I eyed the bottled drinks and ended up reaching for a vitamin water, which I had always wanted to try. I had always assumed that vitamin water was similar to Gatorade and was sweetened with sugar, aspartame, or sucralose as well as artificial flavours. What I chose was Vitamin Zero in XOXOX (Pomegranate-Berry). This vitamin water was naturally sweetened with fruit juice and a little stevia was added to it for extra sweetness. It  -smelled and tasted pretty good. The only thing I can compare it to is heavily watered down juice… as in what it would taste like if you added 1 to 2 tablespoons of juice to a bottle of water. Just being honest. No complaints though.

Upon researching whether vitamin water was bad for your health, I found that some of the other flavours are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, which would definitely make them something you wouldn’t want to use a substitute for water or consume in large quantities.

With the low amount of stevia, a natural sweetener, even I consider Vitamin Water Zero to be a treat and wouldn’t make it a part of my regular routine. Herbal tea or water — with nothing added to sweeten it — is usually best.

The vitamins that Vitamin Water touts is 100% of your daily requirement of vitamin C and about 40% of your daily requirement of B vitamins, which you can get almost anywhere, not making it a good vitamin supplement.

If you’re ever in a pinch though or feel like trying something different, it won’t give you a sugar rush or expand your waist line. I say, give it a go!


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Jan 18

Tribute to Beauty: VoudouFairy

Posted In Beauty, Locs

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This lovely model and clothing designer is London born but now lives in Sydney, Australia. Her gorgeous locs, unique tribal tattoos, and cute figure are one of the things that caught my attention. Not to mention her face is doll-like gorgeous!  Everything about her is whimsical, eccentric, and absolutely captivating!

 

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To check out her awesome clothing and accessories, check out Manaka Handmade.  I’m partial to the thread earrings she makes for gauges/stretched ear lobes.

You can also check out her instagram here.


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Jan 18

My First Hot Yoga Class

Posted In Fitness

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Bikram yoga is a 90-minute yoga class consisting of 26 poses performed in a room ideally heated to at least 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s said to increase mental clarity, tone muscles, improve flexibility and posture… basically all the things traditional yoga is touted for doing, except more challenging. The heat is also believed by some to release toxins/impurities.

I arrived at my first class dressed appropriately in my cropped yoga pants and tank top and with my yoga mat, bath towel, and water bottle. You need a bath towel (as I learned later) to prevent you from slipping on your yoga mat when sweat drips on it.  I tied my locs back with a scarf. I give myself props for preparing well and blending in quite nicely.

Getting on to the class itself… the poses weren’t too hard per se. I remember many of the traditional poses (half moon, cobra, eagle, bow, etc.)  from the yoga classes at one of my old gyms.  But the heat — extended heat — made it almost unbearable at times! Half way through class, I heard buzzing in my ears and experienced the familiar dimness that comes on with a fainting spell. I laid down for about 5 minutes while class continued. After which, I was pretty much all right to continue on. At another point, I felt a really deep piercing headache. I don’t know if it came from the heat, dehydration, or a combination of both.

When I finally finished class, I was happy that after YEARS of wanting to try hot yoga at an actual studio, I had finally done it! Check one off my bucket list! I rested laying down for a bit to kinda relax my body and take it all in.

When I finally got to the change room, I noticed that only one woman was there showering, in an open shower. The other two women had left. It felt kinda gross to follow their lead and head home without showering, but I didn’t really feel comfortable showering there. I at least washed my face and put on a fresh pair of clothes and undies. Even though I live 3 minutes from the studio and shower beforehand, I have to rinse off the traces of sweat/toxins in order to feel okay/fresh next time.

All in all, I left the class feeling refreshed and not lacking in energy at all. Throughout the rest of the day and night, however, I experienced a little bit of queasiness on and off, which  I guess comes from overexertion, dehydration, or maybe even detoxing.

I can definitely see myself going to as many classes as possible, as it was a great experience! Next time, I’ll drink more water before I go and take my own coconut water to help rehydrate afterwards.

I noticed I still have a month to try kickboxing classes that I prepaid for via Groupon so I may try one class in the near future to at least get my money’s worth. Stay tuned!

 


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Dec 18

How to Use Essential Oils

Posted In Healthy Living

Lavender herb and essential oil

Essentials oils can be added to your beauty products, used for aromatherapy or consumed. Different oils have different effects on the mood and body. I sometimes add mint or lavender to my hair spritzes (made of mostly water and a touch of conditioner) for a fresh clean scent.

The downtown salon I work for burns lemongrass to create a calming atmosphere.

I add several drops of lemon essential oil to my hot water to drink. Like fresh lemon, it helps cleanse/alkalize the body.

Finally, I was recommended nutmeg oil when I was transitioning to a vegan diet to help minimize my headaches. As an old wive’s tale goes, you simply place a few drops behind your ears or on your temple area. Unfortunately, this did not work for me.

There are, however, dozens of essential oils on the market than can be easily found at your local health store. Here are some others and what they’re used for:

Bergamot – treats nervousness, insomnia, acne, eczema, psoriasis

Camphor – treats congestion, muscular pain

Cinnamon – treats chills, fatigue, flatulence, infections

Clary Sage – treats hot flushes and PMS

Eucalyptus – treats congestion, bronchitis and other respiratory afflictions

Frankincense – reduces tension and promotes skin regeneration

Lavender – treats inflammation, congestion, cough, muscular pain, headache, nervousness, and insomnia

Lemon – antiseptic/antibacterials, reduces oiliness of skin

Lemon grass – tonic, analgesic, treats anxiety

Patchouli – reduces oiliness of skin, acts as a perfume

Peppermint – treats headaches, muscular pain, and indigestion

Rosemary – treats muscular pain, congestion, and poor blood circulation

Tea tree oil – treats acne, lice, gingivitis, and other minor infections

Thyme – treats infections and sore throat, expectorant (brings up phlegm)

Ylang Ylang – skin tonic, relaxant, aphrodisiac

 

Essential oils do not dissolve in water. They stay on the surface of the water.

Due to being highly concentrated (which can irritate the skin with direct contact), it is recommended you mix them with a base oil (eg. avocado oil, grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, or wheat germ oil). It is also recommended that you speak to a doctor before using essential oils to treat a condition, as it may interact with prescription medication or a previous condition.

If you’d like to incorporate essential oils into your beauty regimen, start by adding your favourite to your current body lotion or conditioner. Happy mixing!

 


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