Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cooler weather is around the corner and I'm already making plans to up my intake of warm, healthy drinks since I know I probably won't be drinking water as often.  Tea (more specifically) bamboo tea will be at the top of my list.

I realize that some of you have been placing orders of several packets of loose leaf tea at a time.  You'll be happy to know that I now carry loose leaf in a larger size (at a great price).  You're getting twice as much tea at a better value.  This new larger size is also available on the bamboo tea e-store as well.

Happy sipping!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If all of my wildest dreams were to come true, I would be rockin' the biggest, most awesomest, curly ponytail on a daily basis.  Currently my ponytail is no where near its maximum potential but I still like to play around with curly styles from time to time in preparation for the day when the ponytail of my dreams becomes a reality.

Today, I'd like to share with you the wavy ponytail that I sport occasionally. I also seem to favor the curly ponytail because sometimes my boring bun just doesn't cut it.

Whenever I do any type of textured ponytail, from wavy, to curly, or even a braid out pony, I find that my best results come when I style the entire head of hair then sweep it all into a ponytail.  This works to create a much more authentic looking style versus if I were to put my hair in a ponytail first then curl the loose hair.

So here I am using my Caruso steam curlers to create the wave pattern.  Since the look I'm going for is wavy, I wrap the hair around the curler versus wrapping the curler around the hair using this method.
 As I said before, I do the entire head so the end result can have more volume.  The results just aren't the same if I try to take short cuts versus curling all of my hair

 Finally, I remove the rollers after only a 15 minutes or so of dry time, I pull the hair back into a ponytail, and finger style for the end result. This look is super easy to pull off and takes almost no time at all.  For tighter curls, I could have opted to leave the rollers in a bit longer and/or used smaller size rollers. Best of all, using the Caruso Steam curlers helps to elevate the moisture levels in my hair.

I just can not wait for the day when my ponytail doubles in size and length....


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Once upon a time, I would scour the internet for skin care secrets of celebrities.   My intention was to uncover the magical products used to create that flawless glow.  One of the first products I learned about was called LaMer, a premium skin care line said to be used by dozens of A listers.   Within moments of learning of this brand, I already made plans to acquire this product line.  You can imagine my disappointment when I learned that at the top of La Mer's ingredient list was mineral oil and petroleum.  Later on, I learned of this other fancy product line called Natura Bisse.  I purchased one of their serums and scored some samples of their other products but, to be honest, none of what I tried really blew me away.

Then I asked myself, why not study the habits of celebrities with amazing skin and look for a few commonalities.  So I did.  And I found one major connection to beautiful skin that I just can't ignore. The secret, my friend, is water.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm famous for wanting to recreate yummy dishes that I sample at restaurants. Most recently, I've fallen in love with a spicy sushi tuna dish from a small unsuspecting sushi restaurant located in Los Angeles.   If all of my wildest dreams were to come true, I'd have sushi every day.  Unfortunately, each experience at a sushi restaurant increases my likelihood to exposure to wheat (a primary ingredient in soy sauce and imitation crab).

So I thought to myself "I've got nothing to loose," I'm going to replicate this dish at home.

I started off with some fresh cubed tuna and began cutting them up into smaller pieces.

Next I added chopped scallions and red pepper flakes for a little heat. Then comes a mix of mayo and hot chilli sauce (Sriracha) to create the spicy tuna sauce.  I add the tuna and chilli sauce directly to the tuna that way I can mix as I go along without over saturating the meat.

My most favorite finishing touch to any sushi product is the eel sauce (which thankfully doesn't contain any eel in the ingredient list).  I found a simple recipe online which included equal parts of gluten free soy sauce, sugar, and Mirin, a Japanese style cooking wine. I mix all three ingredients (in equal parts of 1 tablespoon each) in a pan on the stove.  I stir consistently until the mixture starts to bubble.  Finally, I transferred the sauce into a bowl and allowed it to cool and thicken.  The final result tasted just like eel sauce from the restaurant (except it was gluten free).   Next time I'll reduce the amount of sugar.  Although the sauce was amazing, my palate doesn't require a high level of sweetness to fully enjoy it.

Then comes the most amazing part, the pepper.  The original recipe calls for the pepper to be breaded with tempura and fried.  I opted not to bread and fry my version of this copy cat recipe. Instead, I simply sautee my pepper on the stove.  The first time I created this dish, I used jalapeno peppers.   I found that the jalapenos were a bit too small and made the dish more of an appetizer rather than a meal. This time I used some jumbo sized (mild) peppers which I enjoyed eating immensely.  For those of you who are squirming at the thought of eating a whole pepper, you can rest easy knowing that the heat is reduced greatly (almost eliminated) when the peppers are cooked.  

The last step in the process is dizzling a little eel sauce and voila!  So freakin' good!  I can't wait to experiment with some of my favorite sushi dishes and see how that turns out. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ya'll didn't think I forgot, did you?  When I first introduced these fabulous little hair cuff accessories, I made mention of a future giveaway.  Well, the day has finally arrived.  You now have the opportunity to snatch one of these gems for yourself.

The rules of the game are quite simple.  By following the blog and sending an email to [email protected] using "Hair Cuff" somewhere in the title, you are entered to win.  Once I randomly select the winner, I'll send a reply message asking if he/she prefers their cuff in silver or gold ( I also have a pearl colored one as an option if that's your thing).

I'll select the winner when the contest ends on September 30, 2012.   Good luck girlies!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Great things can be created when one is inspired. For this reason, I try to bring in little flashes of inspiration to my day whenever possible.  So, would you join in this moment with me as I become inspired....






Thursday, September 13, 2012

This post is very near and dear to my heart because it marks the ending of an era and the beginning of a new one.  I'm about to share a list of nine products that I likely won't be repurchasing.  It would be easy enough if I could honestly say that these are products who didn't meet my expectations but sadly this isn't the case.  As a matter of fact, many have been my beloved staples for years.  I can't believe I'm actually saying goodbye to them.

I gotta shake it off and keep moving forward.  Honestly, I'm glad that all of this is happening because I've moved on to bigger and better.  Is this how it feels when you breakup with someone you love?.....I don't want to drag this on any longer so let's get on with it.  Here's a list of my fave products I will may no longer use again (in no particular order).

Coppola Keratin Complex

With Coppola Keratin Complex, I felt like I finally found the elusive third aspect of the healthy hair trinity.  For those of you who have no idea of what I'm talking about, let me explain.  I believe healthy hair has three main characteristics, strength, moisture, elasticity.  The hardest to obtain (in my opinion) is elasticity or the ability to bend and stretch during manipulation without suffering breakage.  Coppola Keratin seemed to give that to me. Then I noticed that things changed.  Kinda like the guy who showers you with compliments and gifts at the beginning of a relationship then barely notices that you are in the room as time passes.  It was so good for us in the beginning but things just aren't the same anymore. I miss the excitement of the early days. Since I'm not getting what I need, I've decided that it's time for me to move on.

Biolage Daily Leave In

For years I've been treating my hair to Biolage leave in during my roller setting session. It's the only leave-in that I keep going back to time after time.  But ever since Miss NIX08 put me on to tea rinses and spritzes, I suddenly found myself taking on someone new.  My current leave-in for the past several weeks has been a simple mix of bamboo tea and acid water.  Just last week a popped open a capsule of Marshmallow root powder and mixed it with my tea just for kicks and giggles.  I must say that I'm enjoying every bit of it.  This two ingredient leave-in rivals the results I achieved with Biolage, so I decided that someone has to go.  I'm excited about the benefits of using an all natural silica product as a leave-in.  Perhaps I may receive some strengthening benefits in the long run.  Either way, I love what the bamboo tea is doing for my hair and I'm not looking back.

Silicon Mix

I heard something about the end of the world happening soon so I began my preparedness plan by stockpiling on unusually large sizes of my favorite products.  Silicon Mix was one of them.  I clearly wasn't in my right state of mind when I made this decision, because if I was, I would have gone for the Silicon Mix protein de Perla or (better yet) a gallon size of Keracare Humecto.  Silicon Mix is cool and all but it still doesn't compare to the others.  I feel like one of those people who abused their Costco card only to realize that they actually have to eat a gallon of mayonnaise before it expires.  So for now, I'm mixing it with my other conditioners while longing for the day when the bucket of Humecto arrives on my front doorstep.

Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre-poo

It pains me to have to type up these words right now.  Burt's Bees pre-poo has always been so good to me.  A thick, nourishing pre-poo treatment is exactly what my hair likes.  But lately things haven't been the same.  I'm not sure why but I haven't repurchased in a while. Once upon a time, I would go through tube after tube of this stuff.  Perhaps it has something to do with me having thicker hair and requiring more product than I did in the past. Actually, now that I think about it, the distance started to happen when I shifted my regimen to deep condition prior to my wash.  This eliminated the need for pre-poo.  So it wasn't the product who changed, it was me. I still have 1/3 of a tube left. Maybe I'll schedule a weekend rendezvous  with Burt Avocado pre-poo and see if there are any sparks left between us.

Avlon Fiberguard Sustenance

When I read the description of this product online I knew it had to be mine. Sustenance boasts of having a "revolutionary conditioning complex that  penetrates deep within the hair also contains ceramides (high on the ingredient list) while having a low pH of only 4.5.  I wanted Sustenance to be a part of my weekly routine so badly.  But unfortunately, it came on a little too strong.  Kinda like meeting someone online because of their amazing profile but 5 minutes after you meet him, he's already trying to kiss on your neck.  Sustenance left my hair feeling stiff  and that feeling lasted several washes for me (which isn't a bad thing but it's not my preference)  Unfortunately, I've got a ton of this stuff left so I'm going to give it one last try on relaxer day (between the relaxer rinse and when I neutralize). To be honest, I'm probably to blame for the results.  I tried to use it weekly as a conditioning treatment when it's meant to be an after relaxer strengthener.  Sustenance has a million positive reviews online.   Maybe instead of forcing a long-term relationship with sustenance, I just keep it as a side piece for whenever I'm in the mood for the occasional intense "experience."

Hair One Cleansing Conditioner

There's a special place in my heart for Hair One.  It's because of Hair One's cleansing conditioner goodness that I made my Youtube debut.  I just loved the way it made my hair feel week after week.  That is...until my hair got a taste of WEN Honey fig.  It was like my cleansing conditioner game was taken to a whole notha level.  I haven't looked back since and I have several mostly full bottles of Hair One to prove it.

Aveda Damage Remedy Conditioner

What I love most about this conditioner is how it strengthens without being overly obvious.  Kinda like the guy who's so smooth and has beaucoup swagger without even trying.  I'm infatuated with everything about this conditioner and I thought it would be my crush forever that is until someone else showed up.  The new conditioner is so amazing that it will receive it's own post (within the next week) so I'll keep it a secret for now.

Kerastase Nutri-Thermique

Have any of you ladies ever experienced love at first sight? Well, I have...Kerastase Nutri-Thermique conditioner fits the definition of love at first sight. After my first usage, I fell deeply, madly in love. A love that I thought would last forever.  Unfortunately, I'm a fickle young lady who has been wooed by someone else.  This new conditioner is the same that I referred to in the previous paragraph. My new "boo-thang" is so bomb that it has me second guessing all of my long-term loves.  I'm sprung!

Aveda Damage Remedy Moisturizer

Have you every broken up with someone who treated you amazing well and loved you with all of their heart?  Worst of all, you're breaking up with them even though you still feel so strongly about them.  Well this is what's happening with me and Damage Remedy moisturizer.  For years I went without moisturizer and only relied on Gleau.  Then one day, I found this light, nourishing moisturizer and I was hooked.  I take it with me when I travel. I reapply throughout the day. I spent time with it every day.

 Then one day, out of the blue, I decided it was time for us to part.

The reason why I made this decision is because I don't want to settle.  Damage Remedy Moisturizer is like the perfect guy who wants to get married and have kids. Your friends and family think you are crazy for breaking up with him.  Unfortunately, you have dreams of moving to New York to live out your dreams of performing on Broadway. If you marry him, you may be giving up on your dreams.  So I had to decide. Two weeks ago, I decided that I would no longer buy the Aveda Moisturizer so I would be forced to formulate the moisturizer of my dreams. This moisturizer will soon become the second addition to the Gleau Hair Care line.  As I threw away the empty tube of Aveda, I new that something amazing would be created.  I made a couple of batches and brought into existence a formula with so much potential that it brought tears to my eyes. My hair is now moisturized way beyond the way it felt with Aveda.  Two weeks ago I was crying tears of sorrow, now I'm experiencing immense joy.  I am beyond excited about the product that will evolve from my decision.

As you would imagine, making the decision to possibly separate from products I know and love is extremely difficult. But I know how important it is to keep moving forward.  This is a good thing....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I heard it said many times that in order to get where we want to be, we should learn from those who have gotten there.  Well today, I'm really excited to share with you someone who has taken her hair journey beyond brastrap, mid-back and now is making her way to hip length.  Miss "HairRoots" has been so gracious in sharing her regimen, her successes and what she learned along the way with us.  Let's pay close attention so we can gather up the glimpses of wisdom that contributed to her beautiful head of hair.

Tell us a little about your hair? 
My hair tyepe is 3C (from what I'm told), I'm not really sure.  I am relaxed and I recently started stretching between my relaxers because my ends were getting very thin.  My last stretch was from March 10, 2012 to August 26, 2012 (24 weeks). I did this to regain the thickness I lost from relaxing too often (every 8 weeks). I still have a long way to go, my hair is not as thick as I want it to be, especially my ends. So I started a new stretch this time my goal is 28 weeks.  Another thing I started doing is texlaxing by adding oils.  Both of these techniques have helped improve the health of my hair.

What is your current length?  How long did it take to get there?
I am currently hip length. I can't exactly pinpoint how long it took me to get here because I have been growing it out for what seems like forever and I didn't know it was considered a journey.  Thinking back to bra strap length, I would say it was about 10 years ago and that includes a lot of trims along the way.

How often do you touch up, which relaxer do you use?
I use design essentials (time release). I have been using this relaxer for over 20 years. I love it because the time release allows me to apply the product into my hair longer without the worry of over processing. I recently started adding oil to my perm in order to texlax my hair. I'm doing this to promote length and thickness.

(26 weeks post ready for her touch-up)
Share a little of your daily and nightly regimen.
I start off my regimen at night, planning for the upcoming day.  
Night Regimen: I moisturize and seal my hair. I part my hair into 4 sections and apply my moisture cream and sealing oil.  Then I braid each section and cover with a satin scarf and bonnet.  
Morning Regimen: I take off my scarf and put a small amount of oil on my fingertips while I unbraid to prevent frizz as I finger comb my braid out.
Weekly Regimen: Deep condition/co-wash once a week with a steamer or heating cap. I use a clarifying shampoo at the beginning of each month to get rid of any build-up.  I keep it as simple as possible.

(sectioned into 4 parts similar to her nightly routine before moisturizing, sealing and braiding)

Tell us more about your weekly wash day routine?
Weekly, I wash my hair with a moisturizing conditioner. Next I use ORS replenishing, Giovanni deep moisture, or Macadamia natural oil masque as a deep conditioner and I sit under either a hooded drier or steamer for an hour.  Once a month I clarify and follow with a deep conditioning treatment.

How often do you wear your hair out versus protective styling?
I wear a braidout 100% of the time until I reach 18 weeks post and the remaining 6 weeks I wear protective styles. Mainly buns.

Do you use heat? If so, how often?
I never use heat. The only source of heat I use is a steamer or hooded drier. The last time I used heat was about 10 years ago, I have not used a blow drier or flat iron since.

What is your secret to retention, How do you maintain moisture and manage breakage?
I noticed that since I stopped using heat, there was much less breakage, it seemed [that heat usage] put an extra strain on my hair. I also keep my hairstyling to a bare minimum (low manipulation) and I only detangle my hair 1-2 times a week. As far as moisture, I moisturize, seal and wrap my hair (with scarf) every night no matter how tired I may be.

Do you do anything internally to promote healthy hair?
I take vitamins daily, these include "hair, skin and nails" vitamins and garlic supplements to reduce shedding.

Have you experienced setbacks along the way?
Before the birth of my second child I had issues with flimsy ends and constant breakage because I was relaxing and applying dyes and excess amounts of heat.  With my second pregnancy, I did a year long stretch continuously braiding my hair hair into 2 french braids. After getting a relaxer, I began monitoring my growth and doing braidouts with a leave in conditioner and olive oil, my regimen was much simpler, however I began relaxing again every 8-10 weeks.  As my hair began to grow longer, I wanted to focus on the thickness. Now I stretch no less than 24 weeks and this process has shown major improvement to my thickness.

A wealthy stranger offers you $1 million dollars to help her create healthy hair like yours, how do you do it?
Most importantly, I would need to eliminate all flat irons, curlers, and blow dryers.  Health is also very important, they would need to instill daily vitamins and water.  Protective styles would be ideal to minimize breakage, so don't try to be extra cute during the retention of length phase.  I would also need to make sure they deep condition weekly, moisturize and seal daily. Not to mention trimming dead ends after relaxing.

You're stranded on a desert island and can only have 3 hair related items with you, what do you choose and why? 
My three staples that I could not go without are clean water, argan moisturizing conditioner and Jamaican castor oil all to combine for daily/nightly moisturizing concontion. I also use these for co-washing and sealing my hair.

 Looking at your entire regimen, your products, ect, what do you think are the most powerful contributors to your results and why?
No one product has been a sole contributor to my growth because I am somewhat of a product junkie.  Plus I believe the most important factor was the reduction of heat.  However I do have to give a major props to my relaxer Design Essentials.  I must say as well that I use and do not abuse my relaxer.  I have learned how to take advantage of it's function.  I think the major issue I had was my abuse of the product. I now give my hair breaks between relaxers so it can breathe.

What advice do you have for women on their journey who what to create results like you?
Be patient, set your goals and stick to them. Don't give up.

**Nadege's notes:**

Relaxer Stretching
I'm so freaking excited to have a nearly hip length relaxed head on the blog.  I've taken some notes on her reggie that I'd like to share with you all.  First off, did you notice how long she stretches?  Right now I go about 4 months and I know that if I were able to get to six months, my thickness and length retention would be on a whole 'notha level!  I've gotta try to see if I can extend my stretch to five months at least.  Maybe one day, I can enter the big leagues and successfully stretch for six months at a time.

Low Manipulation
Do you remember my post on hair lessons we can learn from naturals?  One practice that I think is super beneficial is the daily twistout.  HairRoots' daily braidouts are very similar to the twistout.  It's very low manipulation and low maintenance.  No combs are involved when we braid(twist) out.  We pretty much leave our hair alone.  Low manipulation is a critical component of retention and HairRoots knows this.

In my last post on daily habits that promote healthy hair, I mentioned taking vitamins as one of the actions.   "Why would someone with nearly hip length hair need to take a hair, skin and nails supplement?"  The better question to ask is "if a woman with hip length hair thinks it's important to supplement her diet, why don't I?"

Deep Conditioning
One thing that captured me was how long HairRoots sat under the dryer to deep condition.  I thought to myself, "I sit under the dryer for at least an hour when I rollerset, why would I invest at least the same amount of time under the dryer when I deep condition?" So I'm making the commitment to allow for more deep conditioning time whenever I use heat.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One thing I'm learning while on my fitness journey is how much consistency plays a role in the results I will create. The more frequently I exercise, the more amazing my results will be. If I exercise less frequently, my results will show it. I realize now that individuals who achieve remarkable results in any area of their lives,  are taking consistent daily actions that produce the desired outcome. 

Atheletes, musical artists, actors, etc who have become great at what they do, are likely taking deliberate action on a daily basis.  I once mentioned Jerry Sienfield's system called "don't break the chain."  This method involves doing something daily (in his case it was performing stand-up).  Every day he took action, he would draw a big red X on his calendar. Soon a chain of red Xs formed.  As the chain grew longer, Jerry's goal was to continue his daily action streak, making sure that he did not break the chain. 

Then I began to wonder if there were daily actions I could take, with regards to my hair care, that could help promote even healthier hair.  The first thought that came to mind was of a youtube video I watched recently.  If I recall correctly, the video was a makeup tutorial, but at the very end, when the woman took down her hair to complete the look, she quickly mentioned, "every day, I give myself a scalp massage to create healthy hair."  Then I was like "I can do that too!" 

Scalp Massages
So then I broke out my trusty kitchen timers to help keep me accountable.  I use these nifty things as a part of my time management system.  They help me from spending too much time on an activity. The timers also keep me from spending too little time on something as well.  For example, when I do scalp massages, I tend to massage half-heartedly for a few minutes then move on to something else.  So in order to make the maximum impact on my actions, I've been doing this new thing where I set my timer for 15 minutes (or more) then proceed to massage until the alarm rings. 

Nail Rubbing
Another action I'm inspired to do daily is to rub my nails.  As you know, I wrote a post long ago about this unique scalp stimulation method.  Even though I wrote on this topic years ago, I still get emails and comments on a regular basis from those who have tried it consistently and achieved desirable results. I want this to be a daily habit for me again so I'm going to pair my nail rubbing with my scalp massages and see how it goes. 
 Moisture & Seal
Then, of course, there's  the whole idea of moisture replenishment on a daily basis.  I'm writing extensively on this topic in my upcoming hair care guide of creating and maintain moisture levels.  Basically, the hair need daily moisture or else bad things happen.  Women who co-wash daily usually experience wonderful results.  Since I'm not in the position to take on in my regimen, I've got to do the next best thing which is to moisturize and seal daily with an amazing oil.  There was a point in time when I moisturized every so often and there were times when I moisturized and sealed daily.  The difference in my hair in scenario #2 (daily moisture) was obvious. Another difference occured when I used my trusty timer to extend the moisture application session.  During the extended version, I took the time to part my hair in smaller sections rather than applying moisturizer to the most visible parts of my hair.  If this had always been a consistent habit for me, maybe I wouldn't be dealing with the small areas of damage that I now have.  In any case, I have now set the courese to create a new reality and I'm anxiously anticipating the the wonderful results that will come of this. 
My other daily healthy hair action is taking nutritional supplements or juicing, etc.  Anything that will supply my body with the nutrition needed to support the development of healthy hair.  So far I've been pretty consistent and I can't wait to elevate this experience by drinking some high antioxident green tea or bamboo tea on a daily basis. The tea will help meet both my hydration and nutritional needs. 
All these actions when combined and performed daily will support the creating of fabulous hair.  I'm in love with the idea of being a person of strong daily habits.  Long ago, I would look at someone with great skin and say to myself, "why does she need to apply a mask 3x a week she has great skin?" or "why does she have to work out everyday, her body is perfect?"  That's when I realized that these people probably have enjoy these great attributes  because of what they do to get it.   How about you? What are the daily habits that are a must for you?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

It's been nearly a month since I wrote this post marking the rebirth of my fitness journey.  With the help of instagram, I've been receiving almost daily doses of motivation that inspire me to craft my ideal silhouette.   I admit, that I don't work out daily but I have been consistently moving and challenging my body at least 3-4 times a week.

(running the stairs for cardio)

 A while back I wrote a post titled "Yesterday, you said tomorrow."  In it, I talked about the concept of "future me" and how I sometimes rely on a fictitious version of myself who will magically do the things that I'm not willing to do today.  I'm the same person tomorrow that I am today.  Unless I do something today to create a shift, tomorrow will look exactly the same.  In actuality,  if I don't take an action to change things, my future results will be worse because nothing left alone stays the same.  Atrophy is real... it's real!

(running up a skateboard ramp in a full roller set :)

Today, my body doesn't look exactly the same as it did three weeks ago, that's because I made the decision back then to do something different.  Three weeks from now, my body will be different than it is today.  I'll be grateful to "present me" for choosing to consistently say "yes" to getting my body in motion.

 (step ups on a park bench)

Here's where it gets interesting.  I've gone through bursts of motivation in the past and worked out for a few weeks, or months, then stopped.  So this time I'm thinking about how I'll create longevity and sustainability in my habits.  In the past, I've worked out with one purpose in mind.  To tighten up.  And once I get there, I stop doing what I did to get there.  That's why I really love the comment that Girl_Ingogneto left in my first post about having fitness goals rather than appearance related goals.  

With this strategy in mind, I can always be inspired to elevate my fitness levels no matter what my body looks like.  Honestly, that's what exactly I want.  I would like to make fitness a new way of life. Correction.....I AM making fitness a new way of life.

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