oasis

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OILS FOR YOUR SPRING HAIR

“What a lovely winter we’re having this spring”

Ugh!  The temperatures are still fairly low for spring, but soon we natural haired beauties will be free to rock our wash and go’s!  The pacing back and forth in beauty aisles and trying samples of pretty much everything will become a part of our “summer hair” routines.  No matter your hair texture, one thing is for sure.  You need some type of moisturizer!  Whether you want length, a poppin’ curl, or just softness, a good moisturizer is key. 

I’ve compiled some popular (and not so popular) oils to try this spring.

Carrier Oils

Avocado Oil:  Loaded with potassium, amino acids and protein, avocado oil’s moisturizing properties make hair shiny while locking in moisture into the hair cells.  High levels of antioxidants like Vitamin E absorb into the scalp and hair shafts stimulating growth and strength.

Argan Oil:  Thin and brittle hair?  Add argan oil to your daily routine.  In addition to acting as a moisturizer for the scalp and fighting dandruff,  argan oil promotes the growth of strong and healthy hair.  It also treat split ends and hair damage from chemical treatments and dye. 

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Sunflower Oil:  Sunflower oil contains high levels of  Oleic Acid (an Omega-9 acid), which is essential to stimulating natural hair growth.  It prevents hair loss and strengthens brittle hair.  Sunflower oil is also packed with potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamins A, B, C, and E.  It acts as a conditioner and smooths the hair. 

 

Essential Oils

Peppermint Oil: I love this oil for aromatherapy as well as hair care.  It rejuvenates and refresh the hair when paired with jojoba oil.  Add a drop or two to your oil treatments and feel the tingly sensation!

Rosemary Oil: If you suffer from dandruff, rosemary oil is a great way to treat it.  Although it’s known for its great aroma,  rosemary is also helpful with treating dry scalp, stimulating blood flow and growth.

Ylang Ylang Oil: I was unfamiliar with this oil, but ran across it while surfing the internet.  Popular in Europe, ylang ylang is known to be powerful and strong, so it’s probably best to mix it with other essential or carrier oils. 

3 THINGS TO KNOW THIS WEEK

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Happy Monday! (inserts side eye emoji)

This past week has been quite interesting and challenging to say the least.  And today? No better.  It got me thinking about the term "get a grip".  When you think about that term, it's so dismissive yet motivating.  We have our moments in life where we feel like it's a spiraling fall to hell.  Other moments, we're on top of the world.  It's life, right?  To "get a grip" is a bit ambiguous. It could mean: "Get over it, it's life sweetheart".  On the other hand, "You got this! Stand tall and keep it moving".  

If you're trying to "get a grip" today, here are three things I want you to know and carry with you this week:

1) Life is so fked up!  I mean it really can be.  However, these moments of difficulty build us into better and wiser individuals.  It introduces you to yourself.  There are many things I've experienced and was pleasantly surprised by how I handled it, or got over it, or rise above it.  Keep pushing. You'll grow in the end.

2) Take a shortcut or two.  By all means, don't be lazy, but don't be afraid to work smarter.  Come up with strategies, be more productive by using great resources, and get it done!  We often feel better when we feel accomplished....big or small.

3) Step outside.  Do something you've never done to build confidence.  Tap into your adventurous side and learn something new. Travel or get some fresh air. Sometimes a new scenery is what we new to recharge.

MAKING A MINDFUL SPACE

Yesterday, I landed back in the States from a quick getaway to Cabo.  I spent a couple of nights in a treehouse! Yes, a treehouse! And it was the most peaceful, minimal and relaxing weekend ever! 

It got me thinking how can we make our space more minimal and mindful while creating great energy. Here are a few ways:

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GET A SUCCULENT

Unlike house plants, succulents require little attention. They are super simple, and they can even help purify the air in your home.

DECORATE WITH A RELAXING COLOR PALETTE

Earth tones and calming color palettes are a great way to create a "zen effect" in your space.  Also, keeping simple, clean white walls and furniture will do the trick. 

ADD A "MOOD" LAMP

Dim lighting create a spa-like feel especially for your bedroom.  Lamps that create this mood usually have denser shades but will make a great addition to your decor.

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GET AN OIL DIFFUSER 

Decor is useless without a great scent in the home.  Oil diffusers not only give your home a relaxing aroma but also add moisture to the air.  Check out these aromatherapy recipes.

GET ORGANIZED

Whether your office, junk drawer, or closet, throw away anything that hadn't been touched in 6 months to a year, and re-organized what's left. 

APHRODISIACS, PT. 2: COCKTAILS

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

For part 2  of "The Aphrodisiacs", we are making a great cocktail!  Check out the Getty's video on making an aphrodisiac cocktail.

Ingredients: 

For the lavender crystals: •¼ cup dried culinary lavender •½ cup sugar

For the cocktail: •juice of 1 lemon •1 teaspoon rose syrup •2 ounces lemon juice •2 ounces simple syrup ice •sparkling water •2 ounces vodka

APHRODISIACS, PT. 1: HEALTHY FOODS

It's the month of love, and Valentine's Day is in 2 days.  This 2-part series will cover aphrodisiacs in food and cocktails. Studies have shown that certain foods, recipes and spices boost libido, and what better time to list them than now. 

If you're celebrating, here are 7 healthy aphrodisiac foods you should try with your significant other!

FIGS

Figs are the oldest aphrodisiac and has been known to increase fertility. Filled with amino acid, figs are a sexual stimulant and increase stamina.  

STRAWBERRIES 

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Strawberries are the more popular aphrodisiacs.  They are loaded with vitamin C, which is important for the production of sex hormones and chemical neurotransmitters in the brain to increase libido. 

BANANAS

Bananas are high in Vitamin B6 and aid in serotonin secretion, which leads to feelings of euphoria an satisfaction.  Also, bananas contain bromelain enzyme — believed to increase a man’s sex drive — as well as high levels of potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin B2 for high energy levels. 

CHOCOLATE

An add-on for strawberries and bananas, chocolate is an aphrodisiac that's a great complement for the two.  Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a stimulant that elicits excitement and a sense of well-being. 

AVOCADOS

Avocados have high levels of folic acid, vitamin B9 (provides the body with more energy) and vitamin B6 which help increase testosterone production.

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HONEY 

My favorite...."liquid gold"! Honey contains boron and nitric oxide.  Boron helps regulate hormone levels and nitric oxide (which helps increase blood flow during arousal). Nitric oxide helps open up blood vessels involved in creating erections and clitoral engorgement.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:  Watermelon, Vanilla, Coffee, Oysters and Ginger

EFFECTIVE MEAL PLANNING

I have to admit, I have a hard time ditching take out to cook for the week.  As a part of my transition to a minimal lifestyle, eating out so often is coming to an end.  It's best for my diet and my wallet. 

In this post, I'm sharing a few tips that has helped me become successful this past week.

FRIDAY'S RESEARCH

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Pinterest is my best friend and favorite social media app (shhh don't tell Instagram).  You can find any recipe, for any diet, from anywhere in the world!  On Fridays, I find recipes I would like to prepare for the next week.  When searching for a recipe, it's about personal preference. 

My preferences? 

  • I'm a pescatarian, so obviously, most of my recipes will involve seafood. 
  • Low caloric and can be prepared in under 30 minutes. 
  • I look for recipes with ingredients where I can re-use in at least 2 other recipes.   I do this to avoid having random spices and oils in my pantry that will go unused for months. 
  • It has to be freezable. 

SATURDAY PREP

I use a weekly calendar to list what I'm cooking for the week using a basic strategy that revolves around my work schedule.  I have a full time career, so when I get home after fighting crowded trains and buses in NYC, I have no energy to cook a 30-minute meal!  Therefore, I usually cook the longer meals at the beginning of the week (Sunday or Monday evenings).  Twenty-minute meals are usually on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, and the quickest meals on Thursday.  I treat myself on Friday.  And Saturday, I have a "wild card" meal.  The wild card meal is something that wasn't in the plan or a meal that takes longer than 30 minutes to prepare.

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COOKING & JAZZ SUNDAY

I love to cook!  Sunday is the day that I'm usually well rested and can spend an afternoon cooking dinner for the day as well as lunch for Monday.  To set good vibes in my apartment, I turn on jazz music, and go to work! 

Want to try it? Here's a free editable meal planner and grocery list!

3 THINGS THERAPY TAUGHT ME

 
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In early 2017, I was defeated by the pressures of being a woman, the fast-paced life of a city dweller, love woes, and being an entrepreneur.  I broke down and did it....I went to therapy.  I found a great therapist near my job in midtown Manhattan, and I would sneak over on Wednesdays during lunch.  This place became my weekly oasis!

After a month, I got more comfortable and more honest with myself. My weekly visits were cut down to twice a month by my therapist. It ended in December because the government f**ked with my healthcare, but thankfully, it was a good time to end.

I progressed so much. I didn't realize it until my last session.  We were discussing a love and career situation most of my time there, and that situation ended in November.  My therapist said, "Do you realize when you came to me a year ago, your reaction [to this situation] would be much different?" which is code for "you would've been a depressive mess".    I really thought about how I've grown. Hmmmm.....

Here are three things therapy taught me:

IT'S OKAY TO "TELL YOUR BUSINESS".   Of course, I'm talking about a therapist.  They are impartial to your life and gain nothing from telling you the absolute truth.  Assuming you have a therapist you connect well with, your session should revolve around identifying root issues, corrective action plan, and growth. 

"YOU EFFED UP!"....ACCOUNTABILITY IS NOT THE ENEMY.  It is actually the very best friend you'll have because growth comes from holding yourself accountable.  The confrontation with yourself is a necessary evil to prepare for what God/the Universe has for you.  It's extremely important to be completely honest with yourself in this process because it shows your willingness to put your ego aside for the greater good. 

ACCEPTANCE IS KING.  I had an extremely hard time with this one.  I probably spent 85% of my time in therapy trying to reprogram my mind in this area.  I'm a perfectionist and genuine in my words and actions. When I'm in situations where I'm being "slapped in the face", I would take it extremely personal.  Why wasn't I good enough? What's going to happen next? All of these questions I eventually came to answer with two simple words:   

Fuck it.

It is what it is. And the beauty in acceptance is, the world won't end.  Life is going to get better if you take control of your life and decide to change your circumstances.  

If you are contemplating therapy for any reason, I encourage you to go.  You'll be surprised at what you learn..... and unlearn.  Your peace of mind depends on it. 

Peace & Blessings

SOUPS FOR THE SOUL (RAMEN EDITION)

I have to say, ramen noodles came a long way from my college days in the dorm.  We had three options to eat ramen: chicken, shrimp or beef.  And it had to be eaten out of a cup or pot. The end.  For some reason, I didn't think to get gourmet with it.  Go figure!

Now that I'm older, I have a new appreciation for ramen noodles and soup. These cold, winter months equal a crockpot and great soups.  Besides, they're perfect for freezing for a later date which is good for a solo dweller like myself.  Here are a couple of great ramen noodle soup recipes to try this weekend.

GINGER GARLIC NOODLE SOUP WITH BOK CHOY

Dietary: Vegetarian/Vegan | Total Time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:  1 tbsp olive oil | 3 shallot diced | 1 bunch of green onions chopped (dividing green & white parts) | 4 cloves garlic minced | 2 tbsp fresh minced ginger | 5-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water | 2-3 whole star anise | 2 tbsp soy sauce | 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms | 6 oz ramen noodles | 1-2 heads of bok choy | sesame seeds | red pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS: Check out the video! 

SHIITAKE & KALE RAMEN NOODLES

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup loosely packed sliced flat leafed kale
  • 1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 3/4 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 packet ramen noodles
  • Optional: sriracha for topping

DIRECTIONS:
In a high sided skillet set over medium high heat add olive oil. Once the oil is hot add green onions, kale and mushrooms. Saute until they just start to soften.

Add in ginger, salt, pepper and chili garlic sauce. Quickly stir to combine and pour in vegetable stock.

Bring the mixture to a boil and add in ramen noodles. Break up noodles and once they are cooked remove from the heat, pour into a big bowl, drizzle with optional sriracha (Is sriracha every really optional?)

SIMPLIFYING LIFE IN A WEEKEND

Let's face it, we live for Fridays!  And once we've made it, the weekend becomes a 48-hour rush to "get it all done" by Monday.  This weekend, I decided to do 15% of business related tasks and focus mostly on converting to minimalist lifestyle. 

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There's research on how clutter affect our mood and mental wellness.  Although I'm not a messy person, there are a few items in my apartment that serve no purpose other than collecting dust.  In addition to cleaning, just taking a moment to do nothing is also a must do!

I came up with a few ways to simplify life this weekend:

CLEANSING.  Our homes are our sanctuaries, and it should feel like one.  I had to ask myself, "how much do I really need?"  I went with the golden rule of clutter (I made that up)....If you haven't touched it in 6-12 months, then it's probably useless.  I've been blessed to have a Brooklyn apartment with space, so I plan to make the most of it by replacing unused items in the donation bin, and organize properly.  P.S.  I'm putting my green thumb to use....stay tuned. 

MISSING OUT.  I don't mean stay inside the entire weekend away.  I mean I'm putting the phone down and missing out on the digital world.  I plan to reconnect with real people and have real face-to-face conversations!  I miss the 90s, because that was the primary way of communicating.  It was a way to form authentic relationships while chatting it up with friends you haven't seen in at least a day lol. 

GET SOME LOVING (FOR EVERYONE).  Self love is one that you cannot put a price tag on....unless you hit the spa!  Get a facial, a massage or just take a moment to practice a little self love how you see fit.  For some, self-love isn't just being in solitude, but sometimes, it's snuggling, walking the dog, or whatever it means for you.  Self-love is about doing what makes you genuinely happy while being on a mental vacation. 

HOME REMEDIES FOR COLD/FLU SEASON

Cold and flu season is upon us, but we don't have to suffer from it.  Remember when your grandmother whipped up her concoction of the "cold buster" from all natural ingredients.....and it was cheap! Here are a few remedies for your next sick day:

THE SOOTHING TEA (cold & sore throat)

  • 1 tbsp honey 
  • 1 ½  teaspoon
  • 1 cup of water
  • a dash of cinnamon 

 

DIY COUGH SYRUP

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  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons water 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake well. Leave at room temperature for a few days or place in the refrigerator for longer storage. Shake well before using. NOTE: The spices will not dissolve in the liquid. The syrup should not be thick and remain watery.

 

DECONGESTANT SHOWER DROPS

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 10 drops (each) of Eucalyptus Oil and Peppermint Oil
  • 5 drops (each) of Rosemary Oil and Lavender Oil
  • Water

Gradually add water to baking soda until just wet enough to stick together and form a very thick paste.  Add in all essential oils and mix well to incorporate throughout.  Place in mold of choice (recommend using a small mold 1" - 2" in diameter). Air dry overnight.  Remove from mold and store in air tight container. Drop one in bottom of shower as needed to melt and allow essential oils to permeate and relief congestion.

 

IMMUNE BOOSTING TEA

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  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon chips, or a couple of cinnamon sticks 
  • 4 teaspoons dried thyme 
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • Sweetener of choice  

Add water to saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add herbs.  Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain tea into a jar (for storage). Serve hot and sweeten with a small amount of honey or sweetener of choice. Store extra tea in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 

SOUND THERAPY: "THE SULTRY PLAYLIST"

It's no secret that we listen to our favorite tunes based on our mood.  If we need a pick me up, then we break the upbeats.  If we need to feel confidence, then Beyonce lol jk. 

Here are 5 tracks for a relaxing evening:

 

BEN STEVENSON - AIN'T NO BETTER

SABRINA CLAUDIO (FEAT. 6LACK) - BELONG TO YOU (REMIX)

SONDER - TOO FAST

MAC AYRES - LONELY 

BANKS - FUCK EM ONLY WE KNOW

MILES DAVIS - I FALL IN LOVE TOO EASILY 

CHRISTIAN SCOTT aTUNDE ADJUAH - AvengHer 

ESSENTIAL OIL BLENDS TO BEAT WINTER BLUES

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Old man winter is here, and he's bringing down the mood.  For those of you who live in very cold climates like myself, January and February are notorious for "winter blues".  It may be the constant cold, the gloomy days, or the inability to be out in nature, but whatever it is, the feeling is very real.  

I recently bought a oil diffuser/humidifier and essential oil set.  It's been absolutely amazing in lifting my mood!  Here are a few oil blends to try this winter:

BE HAPPY

2 drops lavender | 2 drops wild orange | 2 drops helichrysum

THE RE-ENERGIZER

2 drops of peppermint | 3 drops of grapefruit oil | 1 drop of spearmint oil

A STRESS FREE DAY

3 drops of frankincense | 3 drops of lavender

MENTAL CLEANSING FOR BEDTIME

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Happy New Year!  Starting fresh has always been the theme when we're fortunate to see another year, and 2018 in no different.  We make resolutions and plans to improve ourselves in all aspects, and a few weeks in, we crash.  Somewhere between the excitement of attending your first yoga class ever and realizing your slip up with going over budget for the week, you realize.....the thrill is gone.  

But why? We tend to function off the adrenaline when are engaged in something new. Our minds are cleared, we're rested after a holiday vacations, and energy levels are at its peak.  To keep that momentum, having a frequent mental cleanse is necessary.  

Here's a mental cleanse you can try before going to bed. Try it 1-2 times a week (or make it a bedtime ritual).  

A BATH OR SHOWER MEDITATION

When you take a bath or shower, use a scent in your scrub, soap, or oils with lavender essential oil.  While bathing, imagine the day washing away and going down the drain.  Use your sense of smell and touch to indulge in a moment of zen.  

JOURNAL FOR 15 MINUTES

Try to write every thought and idea (especially negative) in your mind.  Don't lift your pen off the paper if you can.  Your words don't have to make sense or flow together.  The idea is get the bad thoughts out to make space for positive energy.  When you're done, date it and take a look at it when the month closes.  How did your thoughts change? Negative to positive or vice versa? 

MEDITATE FOR 5 MINUTES

Grab some headphones, light some incenses or oil diffuser, and listen to a guided meditation.  Binaural beats and soothing instrumental sounds are good as well.  Ultimately, listen to any sound that relaxes you.  Afterwards, sit in silence for a few minutes.