8 Best Tips for Managing Kinky Curly Hair

Photo by Tomaz Barcellos on Pexels.com

If you’ve ever transitioned from wearing chemically straightened hair to embracing your naturally curly hair, you know the emotional roller coaster that journey can create. I stopped relaxing my hair in early 2018 and while I am still learning a lot about my hair, I have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. Keep reading for the best tips I’ve learned about my kinky curly hair type, and feel free to share any tips you have below as well!

1. Use a spray bottle full of water to hydrate your hair as you style.

Even after I wash and condition, my hair still gets a little dry as I’m styling. So I spray each section of my hair with water before applying leave-in conditioner and curling gels. Even if I’m preparing my hair for a straightened style, I will spray sections of my already damp hair with water before I blow dry 😊, trust me, it works!

2. Learn what products your hair likes.

Hair products can be super expensive, but the only thing worth more than the money is your time. By learning what products work best with your hair, you will save time, energy and stress.

3. I prefer “styled” curly hair styles as opposed to wash-and-gos.

When I style my hair in a braid-out or twist out, I like that the curls are larger and more uniform compared to my curls with a wash-and-go. I also prefer how my hair looks after I unravel the braids from cornrows as opposed to your classic braid-out because the curls are styled from the root instead of further down the hair.

4. Wear your hair in a “pineapple” when you sleep at night.

This is just placing your hair as high to the top of your head as you can and wrapping that section of hair in a satin scrunchie, just like a high ponytail or bun. Since my hair is short, I do a double pineapple – a ponytail at the top of my head and a ponytail right underneath (for the rest of my hair that can’t reach that height).

5. Stop believing that curly hair should take less time to do compared to when your hair was relaxed or chemically straightened.

I honestly had this epiphany this week! Why are we okay with accepting the 2-3 hours it takes to straighten our hair, but expect our curly hair routine to only take 15 minutes? Regardless of your texture, great hair takes time and/or money.

6. You will have to maintain curly hair throughout the week.

I still haven’t figured out the frequency for this yet, but I have noticed my hair starts to look more dry through the week, depending on the curly hairstyle I picked at the beginning of the week. So to add moisture back to the hair, you will probably need to restyle with water, your styling products and style of choice throughout the week. When you have this expectation, it makes it less of a shock and chore.

7. Add gel or edge control products to the roots framing your face.

This will help your style look more polished. Sometimes you will need to spray the roots with water before applying the styling products, and don’t forget to brush the roots back with a bristle brush to rake the product into your hair better.

8. Invest in curly hair extensions.

Whenever I have a hair fail (which is usually due to laziness), I can clip in my hair extensions and it gives me an immediate confidence boost. I will say, make sure you purchase the texture that best matches your own. I actually purchased a pair of clip-in extensions that were a looser curl pattern than my natural texture by accident, and while it looks nice while my hair is still damp in a wash and go style, or from a braid out, the texture difference is very obvious. So if a company offers a sample kit where you can match your texture at home before buying, I would recommend trying that before making your purchase, because it is an investment.

Adding Vitamin E Oil to My Curly Hair Routine

Adding Vitamin E Oil to My Curly Hair Routine

I tried something new with my hair this past week. I am always looking for hair tips to help me style my curly hair, so while browsing through YouTube, I came across a few videos where the girls mentioned hair oils, specifically jojoba and vitamin E oil. I went to three different stores, but finally found Vitamin E oil at Sally Beauty Supply.

After washing and conditioning, I styled my hair in a braid out. I sectioned my hair in two parts, then sectioned those two parts in half as well, making four sections total.

In the first section, I spritzed my hair with more water from a spray bottle, then brushed through it with a detangling brush. Next, I smoothed Miss Jessie’s leave-in conditioner to that section and then added a very small drop of Vitamin E oil on top of that whole section. I braided four-five sections of hair downward, then added As I Am Curling Jelly all over each braid.

I repeated that process all over my head until each section was braided. Since the braids were positioned downward, framing my face, the strands at my roots were not styled. I added Eco Styler Gel to smooth down my roots at each section leading to the braids.

I air dried my hair in the braids for a day, and then unraveled them the following day. My hair looked so shiny and glossy, I loved it! However, I did not like how my hair at the roots started to puff up after two days. I would recommend adding water and Eco styler gel to the hair that starts to frizz when you style your hair in the mornings. Another tip I have is cornrowing your hair. I noticed when I cornrow my hair, the hair at the roots are uniform with the rest of my hair and I’m not left with different textures in the hairstyle (A revelation from my husband, actually! Thanks, babe!) I highly recommend trying to braid your hair as close to the scalp as you can so your braid out style will last longer.

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Unboxing and First Impression

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Unboxing and First Impression

It has been a long time waiting, but the moment has finally arrived. I have finally added Chanel Coco Mademoiselle to my collection. My husband spoiled me for my birthday this year, and that was among one of the gifts he gave me. I’ve been shopping around for a new perfume for a while now, and after watching a few YouTube perfume review videos, I knew I wanted Coco Mademoiselle.

I actually hadn’t heard of this perfume before until I was watching Toni Sevdalis’ YouTube channel and she was saying how she really liked the scent. I went to my local Macy’s and headed straight to the Chanel counter to ask to test it. I’ve been keeping that tester strip in my agenda since December 2020. Well, the wait is over and I can say that I am really in love with this scent.

My husband ordered it straight from the Chanel website, so when I opened it, the packaging had that luxurious feel that designer houses do oh-so-well. As I unwrapped the black and white box, breaking the seal of the black matte sticker, I was elated to hold the eau de Parfum package.

The package comes sealed in a plastic wrapping, and then the actual box has a minimalist design of white background, gold trim around the top and bottom, and black sans serif font.

The perfume bottle itself is very aesthetically pleasing with a rose colored liquid, pink and gold label, all contained in glass. The slim, frosted glass top adds even more to the luxurious design.

First Impression

The first time I wore this perfume, I was very pleased with how it smelled. If I could use three words to describe the scent, I would say: floral, powdery and elegant. I know the term powdery sounds a bit odd, but it’s a good thing, it smells very fresh and clean.

I feel that this fragrance smells like something a woman would wear when she’s doing really well in her career, or something you would wear to a formal event, like a wedding or a gala.

This perfume is definitely more refined than any other perfume I’ve worn before. It is very pleasant. This fragrance is also very potent-in a good way. When you spray this perfume, the scent will last you all day.

According to the Coco Mademoiselle listing on Sephora, this perfume is part of the floral fragrance family. The key notes are orange, patchouli and Turkish rose. The warm floral scent also has accents of Grasse jasmine, May rose and vetiver.

Would I recommend this perfume?

Yes, I would. This could easily be a special event perfume or an every day perfume. Once you spray this fragrance, it gives you an immediate energy boost and makes you feel a little bit more put together. I highly recommend this perfume, especially if you love floral scents and are looking for a more elegant fragrance.

Beach Totes for Spring/Summer 2021

Beach Totes for Spring/Summer 2021

We might still be in spring, but summer vacation plans are already ramping up. I’ve noticed a trend in 2021 spring/summer outfits, and that is pairing your look with a cream-colored tote bag.

A lot of companies are designing medium-to-large sized totes in canvas, straw, rattan and more. With natural textures and light colors, these bags are great options for carrying to the beach or out on the town during the day. Links for all bags are below.

What do you think of the beach tote trend?

1- Hello Weekend tote

2- Elizabeth and James tote

3- Beach Please tote

4- Mark & Graham tote

5- Colorful tassel tote

My 5 Favorite Mascaras of All Time

My 5 Favorite Mascaras of All Time

There is no denying that mascara is a makeup bag essential. Whether your goal is to lengthen, darken or thicken your lashes, there are so many great mascaras available to help you achieve your desired look. I’ve tried several mascaras over the years, and today I’m sharing my top five favorites in no particular order. Keep reading below for my favorites and save this post to your Pinterest board so you can reference it later!

L’Oreal Voluminous

This is the best bargain mascara, in my opinion. For just under $10 (sometimes $6 on sale on Amazon) , this formula helps your lashes look defined and dark.

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise

This is the newer and enhanced formula to the original Voluminous mascara, and I’m a fan. It coats your lashes very well, helping them to appear thicker.

L’Oreal Double Extend

This is a two-step mascara. One side acts as a primer, coating your lashes in a white solution, and the other side adds the length and volume in the form of a black top coat. This is one of my favorite mascaras because while it does take a little bit longer to apply, it really adds the definition to your lashes.

Too Faced Better Than Sex

I know the name is pretty cheeky, but the mascara is actually pretty good! It adds volume and length to the lashes. This brand is on the pricier side, but if you’re looking for a more luxurious mascara experience, I’d recommend this one!

Sephora Lashcraft Defining

This mascara has a nice formula, adding length and definition to the lashes. It’s a nice one coat mascara, but two coats really make your lashes seem fuller.

A few notes: I have not tried the waterproof versions of these mascaras because I prefer non-waterproof mascaras. I would rather the formula comes off easy when it’s time to wash my face. Secondly, I usually purchase mascaras in the darkest color available, usually a color called blackest black. This is the shade I prefer, but if you want a softer look, opt for a mascara in a black brown shade.

Have you tried any of these mascaras? What are your thoughts? What are some of your mascara recommendations?

Everywhere We Ate in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Everywhere We Ate in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Travel plans are starting to look more like a possibility this summer and after a mostly shut-in 2020, I know so many people are excited to explore new areas safely again. My husband and I actually had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for our friends’ wedding in January 2021, and it was such a wonderful experience. From the beautiful elopement ceremony, to the natural beauty of Costa Rica, to the excursions, it was a trip we will remember forever. As a millennial traveler, one thing I always ask for recommendations on when exploring a new place is where to eat!

Below, I’ve listed all the restaurants we ate at during our week-long stay in the Tamarindo and Playa Langosta, Costa Rica area. I give all the credit for the restaurant selections to our friends who planned the trip for their wedding. They are excellent planners and picked all of the establishments we ate at. All of the food was good, but some were straight up culinary marvels. We did go during the COVID-19 pandemic, but everyone wore masks and followed CDC social distancing guidelines. All restaurants and venues followed the same protocols, so we truly felt safe. As always, travel at your own risk and only if you feel safe enough to do so. But without further ado, let’s get into the list of restaurants, shall we?

1- El Barco Restaurant at Hotel Capitan Suizo

Our first day in Costa Rica was your typical arrival day. Arrive in your new location, go through Customs, find transportation into the city, and check into your hotel. We stayed in a beautiful private villa overlooking the ocean and explored the property. After enjoying some fresh, local mango and wine, we freshened up for dinner and headed out to El Barco Restaurant at Hotel Capitan Suizo. The atmosphere of this restaurant at night is simply stunning. Guests enjoy a dinner under the stars while enjoying the ambience of string lights, the private pool and hotel bar. We had a party of six and everyone enjoyed their meal. My beverage of the night was a caipirinha, which I had for the first time. The star of the drink is lime, and it is so refreshing. I opted for a pasta dish in red sauce. It was surprisingly sweet, yet savory. I loved it.

2- Langosta Beach Club

The next day, we drove to the public beach to soak up some sun and sand. After a few hours of chatting, playing in the waves and reading a bit, we all worked up an appetite and were ready for lunch. Our villa came with a temporary pass to the Langosta Beach Club and let me tell you, the casual atmosphere of beautiful people lounging around the pool mixed with locals and tourists enjoying cocktails and hearty fare right on the beach, you can’t beat it. I was so hungry, so I actually opted for a mushroom and Swiss burger with fries. I also had a pineapple mojito. Both were delicious!

3- Little Lucha

Later that night, we dined at Little Lucha, an authentic Mexican street style taco restaurant. When you walk into the restaurant, you can’t help but smile. With colorful framed art of luchadores and a Volkswagen bus that’s been transformed into high top seating, it’s a really fun and quaint atmosphere. There are so many combinations and flavor profiles you can create from the beef, chicken, barbacoa, pork or seafood tacos. And arguably, that is part of the fun! This meal was also one of the more reasonably priced on the trip, so that was also really nice.

4-NOI Bistro

Breakfast options? I thought you’d never ask. The day of the wedding ceremony, we ate at NOI Bistro. Located right in the middle of downtown Tamarindo, Noi is a charming eatery where you can find locals, expats and tourists enjoying a long or short meal, nonetheless satisfying. We were welcomed by the sweetest management team and truly enjoyed every second there. I ordered beans, poached eggs and salsa over a small tortilla with sweet potatoes, plantain chip and a side of avocado. The breakfast was fresh and tasty, but the coffee was phenomenal. They make their coffee in-house, and when served over ice, the ice seems to have creamer in it already. It was so sweet and cold, and gives you just the jolt of caffeine you need. I asked if their coffee was available for purchase and it was! So I ordered a bag of ground coffee beans to take home.

5-El Chiringuito

The next day, we had a morning excursion of zip lining and UTV riding in the rainforest. I am actually not that big of a fan of zip lining, but I did it for my friends! It was scary and fun at the same time. The guided UTV tour is an excellent way to see parts of Costa Rica that you normally wouldn’t see in the built up areas of town. After the excursion, we all were famished. We headed over to El Chiringuito for lunch. The beachfront establishment seems like a popular spot for surfers and beach goers, but don’t let the relaxed vibe fool you. The food here is so good! Crazy good! If I had to rate it, I’d say this was the best meal we had on the trip. We had ceviche and calamari as starters, and both dishes were so fresh and full of flavor. My main dish was the caramelized chicken wings with soy, which I’m crying that I didn’t take a picture of because it was just as beautiful as it was tasty. My husband had the grilled octopus kebabs over polenta and he said it was very good.

6-Pangas

Our last full day of Tamarindo was spent shopping in town and winding down at the pool. It felt great to soak up those last few hours of Costa Rican sun while floating in the cool blue water. We couldn’t leave without one more memorable meal together, so we all got freshened up and drove to our last reservation as the sky faded into nightfall. We arrived at Pangas Beach Club in a more secluded area of Tamarindo. The atmosphere had everything we love: String lights, sand, candlelit tables and of course, food with flair. The food was good. We ordered a good bit of seafood around the table, including the mixed seafood platter, grilled lobster and lobster risotto. I closed out the night with a caipirinha.

Tips for Planning a Mother/Daughter Trip in 2021

Tips for Planning a Mother/Daughter Trip in 2021

Mother’s Day is coming up soon, and while there are so many gift possibilities, one idea is to plan a mother and daughter trip. While traveling in 2021 should still be taken with caution, it is not completely out of the question. With the right research, you could plan a fabulous trip that you and your mother will be talking about for years to come!

{The beach is always a lovely place to visit}

1- Figure out a Location

Where would you like to go? Do you want to be in warm weather on the beach or in the cool weather overlooking the mountains?

{This photo was taken during a trip I took with my mom to Myrtle Beach, SC in November 2020}

2- When to go

After you’ve narrowed down where you want to go, pick a date for your trip. It doesn’t have to be during May if that doesn’t work for both of your schedules. Pick a timeline that works best for both of your schedules and book your trip!

3- Where to Stay

Lodging is one of the more important details of your vacation. Would you like to stay in a historic hotel, a modern air b&b, a resort or somewhere else? Once you’ve navigated where you’d like to stay, go ahead and reserve your room! I would highly recommend purchasing travel insurance or some sort of hotel room protection plan just in case you need to cancel or reschedule your trip for later.

{Got the rental car and ready to go!}

4- Transportation

Depending on how far away your destination is from where you live, you will need to either purchase your flights, book a rental car or make other necessary travel arrangements. Again, I would recommend purchasing travel insurance with your transportation method. The extra cost is well-worth the security of knowing you will be reimbursed or credited if plans change.

{We filled the back seat with shopping bags! Successful shopping trip.}

5- Activities

Use a couple of search platforms to write down what you’d like to do on this trip. Would you like to go shopping, wine tasting, take a historic walking tour, etc.? I like to browse Pinterest, the specific city’s website, Thrillist, and YouTube to get ideas of what I might like to do in the destination I’m traveling to.

{Sushi <3}

6- Food

After doing so many fun activities, you’ll need to refuel with some delicious meals. Do you plan to cook your own meals on the trip or will you be dining out? If dining out, research some of the restaurants you’d like to check out. If cooking, try creating a meal plan so you know what groceries to buy once you arrive in town.

7- Photo and Video Documentation

On this trip, promise me one thing: that you’ll take lots and lots of photos! Whether you prefer taking pictures with your smartphone or DSLR, or taking video clips, make sure you document as many moments as possible. And if you want to take your preparation to the next level, I’d recommend looking up pose ideas on Pinterest. That way, if you come by a really pretty location, you will have a variety of unique poses for you and your mom to have on standby. Even if you’re not big on posting photos to social media, having these fun photos will be great for your photo albums!

8- Budget

Now that you have all the details of your trip, don’t forget to set a budget! This will help you narrow down what to expect to spend during the trip. It would be a good idea to build a buffer into your budget for extra costs on the trip. Don’t forget to plan for paying gratuity at restaurants and other locations where services are provided.

9- Look up Restrictions in the Area

Last but not least, make sure to look up health and safety restrictions in the location you plan to travel to. Lots of locations still recommend patrons wear face coverings, there might be capacity limits at certain businesses, and some amenities might be closed due to safety precautions. Either way, knowing beforehand will set an idea of what to expect so there aren’t any shocks once you arrive.

Happy (and safe) traveling!

April 2021 Favorites

April 2021 Favorites

I tried a few new products this month and am sharing a few of my favorite items below.

SheaMoisture Deep Conditioning Mask – I have been using this deep conditioning treatment on my hair once a week and I love how it makes my curls feel! I deep condition under a hooded dryer for 15 minutes and then rinse out in the shower. I plan to continue these weekly treatments because my hair really looks so nice and moisturized afterwards.

No. 7 undereye cream – Okay this roll and glow eye cream, I can’t fully recommend yet because I’ve only used it on and off for about a week and to be honest, I haven’t seen any major results yet. I have, however, noticed a placebo effect. Because I want to use this product to reduce dark circles under my eyes, I end up going through my whole skincare routine way more often than I usually do. I cleanse, tone, moisturize and use the undereye treatment, as oppose to just using a makeup wipe and that’s it 😩 (I know, so bad!). But this eye treatment has a creamy unscented formula, and three small metal rollerballs that have a cooling effect once you roll it under your eyes. It’s so much fun to use, and because I look forward to this step in my skincare routine, it motivates me to do all the steps you’re supposed to do first.

Black Girl Magic Wines – My cousin recommended this wine company to me and I was so excited to try it because I love their marketing and they had a lot of positive reviews. I was shopping at Target and picked up two bottles from this company, one bottle of rose and the red blend. Out of the two, the rose was my favorite; I loved the crisp, refreshing taste.

Satin hair scarves – I ordered these satin-like hair scarves from Amazon and I honestly love them. They came in four different colors and I like that I can switch them out depending on which pajamas I wear. They are also great for protecting my hair from further damage while I sleep.

Dial soap – We were visiting my parents over a weekend and this was the soap in the guest bathroom. Lately, my morning routine has been very quick, just 30 minutes. So I skipped moisturizing one day because I was in a rush to clock in before starting work and by lunch time, I noticed my skin actually felt pretty moisturized. I went to the bathroom to check out the soap label and it said that there are added moisturizers to the bar. I was so surprised because I have very dry skin and this product really did make my skin feel nourished. I still recommend putting on lotion after showering, but if you are in a rush like I was, this soap will help you cut corners in your morning routine without regrets.

What products have you been loving lately?

20 Minute Spring Makeup With Gray Eyeliner and Bronzer

20 Minute Spring Makeup With Gray Eyeliner and Bronzer

Hello beautiful people! Spring is the perfect time to try new things, and makeup is no exception. I was reading the March 2021 issue of Health Magazine when I came across cover star Rosario Dawson’s feature article. Rosario is stunning already, but her cover look was absolutely breathtaking. Shanell Sorrells is the credited makeup artist for Rosario’s look, and I must say I was really inspired to recreate the beauty for myself!

I loved the gray eyeliner as opposed to my usual black, the bronzer instead of my go-to blush and nude pink lips instead of gloss. It was just a nice change to my everyday makeup, but in a subtle way. The gray eyeliner is still dark, but softens the eye in a flattering style. The bronzer brings warmth to the cheeks and the lipstick adds a nice pop of color. I ended up layering lip liner and two different lipsticks to get a bolder hue and also added a deep brown shadow to the crease to add more dimension.

On my first try, I just played with products I already owned and it took me 20 minutes to complete. You’ll be surprised to know that the gray eyeliner is not eyeliner at all, but eyeshadow! I used Mac’s fix plus on an angled brush and coated it with a gray shadow before adding it to the eyes. I was very pleased with the result. 😊 The products I used are below.

What are your thoughts on wearing gray eyeliner and bronzer this spring?

Products I used:

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, Original

-Magnet, Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics palette (discontinued), similar shades here and here

-Commando, Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics palette (discontinued), similar here

Kano, The Warrior by Juvia’s Place palette

Ahosi, The Warrior by Juvia’s Place palette

Mac Cosmetics Fix+

Mac Cosmetics Studio Fix Fluid SPF15 in NC44

Maybelline Fit Me concealer in 30, Honey

Mac Cosmetics Mineralize Skinfinish Natural powder in Medium Deep

Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Banana

Mac Cosmetics Bronzing Powder in Refined Golden

Fenty Beauty Full Frontal Mini Mascara in Cuz I’m Black

Eternal Mauve, Colour Riche L’Oreal Paris lipliner

-Kiss Kiss Bang Bang lipstick by Marc Jacobs, similar here

Mocha lipstick by MAC Cosmetics

Visiting Hollywood Studios and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Visiting Hollywood Studios and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

My husband and I recently visited Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL for a weekend getaway. The primary goal was to explore Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, and I can honestly say it was worth the visit! Everything from the rides, to the food, shopping and general atmosphere felt so immersive.

First thing, the arrival.

After you enter Hollywood Studios, you walk about 10 minutes into the park and that’s when the whole Star Wars experience begins. The textured rock-like walls, vendors and life-size Millennium Falcon make visitors feel like they are walking through Tatooine. We were seriously in awe.

We rode Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and both attractions were fun! We loved being in the pilot’s seat of the Millennium Falcon, trying to evade enemies. And Rise of the Resistance, I won’t give any spoilers, but that ride is very cool! Let’s just say you get a first-hand look at the dark side versus the light side.

All of the shops were very cool as well, but we especially enjoyed browsing around Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. There were just so many interesting trinkets, clothes and art pieces in the shop.

This Disney trip was different from our previous trips due to the necessary safety precautions. The park was much less crowded due to capacity limits, so as a result, wait times were much shorter. We wore face masks the whole time and only took them off briefly to eat or drink. The park staff was so diligent about cleaning areas thoroughly and often. There were hand sanitizer stations at every attraction, and there were six-foot social distancing markers on the ground everywhere throughout the park. I say all this to say we felt very safe there.

We were at the parks early, so we didn’t stay for lunch. We did, however, make room for some blue milk! I know it sounds gross, especially for someone who doesn’t like the taste of milk (me), but the “milk” is actually coconut milk! And the drink tastes more like a frozen treat you would get on vacation at a tropical island. It’s delicious and you should definitely try it.

As we sipped on our blue milk, we walked around the remaining shops and attractions before hitting other areas of the theme park, including the Tower of Terror and Aerosmith’s Rock’n Roller Coaster. We closed out the day by visiting Disney Springs and later, City Walk for dinner.