Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Self Care with Soultanicals Day 2: Taking a Mani Moment

ismail Alminda | 6:02 AM
Self Care with Soultanicals Day 2: Taking a Mani Moment
Manicures & deep conditioning have a lot in common. 
If you follow me on Snapchat (maneobjective), then you know my latest non-hair and gym hobby is giving myself manicures. Several months ago, I gave up trips to the nail shop because I always found myself shilling out $30-40 for mediocre nail jobs that chipped 3 days later.

I don't know about your local shops, but the ones in LA will nickel and dime you to death. $15 pedicure upsell for a subpar scrub. $5 (gel) polish removal. $5 for a design on one nail. $10 if you want gel. $7 if you sneeze while they're working.

That last one was a bit extreme, but you get my point.

A trip to the nail shop adds up fast - and factor in traffic to get there, looking for parking, and waiting to be seen - and the experience just ends up causing more stress than it's worth.

Some months ago I chanced upon a Sensationail gel polish starter kit (complete with lamp, top/base coat, primer, wipes, and polish color) on clearance at Target. I hadn't painted my own nails since I was a kid, and the only knowledge I had of using gel came from watching nail techs. Even still, my stubborn spirit wouldn't let me back down from the challenge. I did manicure after manicure, practicing and tinkering until my results got decent.

Self Care with Soultanicals Day 2: Taking a Mani Moment
A small sampling of my at-home nail salon.
I added cuticle trimmers, nail files, buffers, more colors, and even the Kiss PowerFile electronic nail file/sander/buffer - and now basically, I've got a portable nail shop in my linen closet.

What started as a movement out of spite, transformed into an act of self care - and here's how.

Manicures require patience, focus, time, and meticulous attention to the tiniest of details. While giving myself a manicure, I literally cannot focus on anything else. Both of my hands are tied up, and I'm forced to slow down. I've got to steady my hand and pay close attention to every step. Soak. Remove polish. Soak again. Trim cuticles. Clean under nails. File. Buff. Prime. Paint.
Self Care with Soultanicals Day 2: Taking a Mani Moment
Bright and summery, inspired by Afrotastic Curl Elastic.
Because manicures force me to stop multitasking and move slow, I've learned to take it all in as a moment to treat and look after myself. There's something therapeutic about taking a deep breath, steadying my hand, and coating my nail in polish. And even though I'm not a certified pro (I definitely make tons of mistakes), the results always look good enough for me to wear proudly. I've gotten lots of compliments on my nails lately, and a few inquiries on how I keep them nice all the time - considering that I work out so much.

I get the same questions about my hair - how do I keep it together when I work out as often as I do? While preserving my hair during workouts definitely plays a part, what I do to my hair before I even set foot into a gym matters more.

Weekly deep conditioning sessions has been my natural hair's saving grace.

Self Care with Soultanicals Day 2: Taking a Mani Moment
Such a treat for my curls. Pardon my left eye, I got shampoo in it while rinsing. 
Afrotastic Curl Elastic

What it is
You guys know that I'm no stranger to Afrotastic Curl Elastic. It's been a Christina's Choice winner two years in a row, and one of my absolute deep conditioning staples. It's a super fruity botanically-based deep conditioner infused with some of the best ingredients for hair and scalp care - like rosemary, burdock root, amla, aloe vera, and avocado oil. The consistency is super creamy and smooth, with great slip for easy detangling and penetration into the hair.

How I used it
With the same meticulous concentration as a manicure, I treated my tresses to a deep conditioning session with Afrotastic Curl Elastic. Smoothing and applying in small sections. Admiring each unique coil, curl and wave as I removed tangles. Sitting under my hooded dryer for 30 minutes. Rinsing gently. After rinsing, my hair was tangle-free, soft, shiny, and smooth.

Key benefits
Afrotastic Curl Elastic is one of my favorite deep conditioners, because it works exceptionally well across the multiple textures of my hair. Gentle heat helps Afrotastic penetrate my lower porosity sections, imparting them with moisture-rich oils and botanicals like olive, avocado. At the same time, aloe and jojoba protein helps to smooth and strengthen my hair from root to end while restoring elasticity, balancing the pH, and calming frizz.

Day 2's lesson in self care, courtesy of Afrotastic Curl Elastic was a colorful reminder:
  • To ease up off the gas pedal and take my time. Not everything has to be done quick, fast, and in a hurry.
  • That whether it be for a manicure, deep conditioning, or even cooking a meal - when you take the time and do it right, the end results always show it.
What's your favorite way to slow down and savor the moment? Let's chat in the comments below!

Catch up with the entire 7 Days of Self Care with Soultanicals series here!

from The Mane Objective http://ift.tt/2thZDb8

Monday, June 26, 2017

Self Care with Soultanicals Day 1: De-Cluttering My Home Office Space

ismail Alminda | 6:00 AM
Soultanicals Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox
I never knew a bottle of clay could teach me so much.
Hi, my name is Christina - and I'm a hot mess.

Because my brain is literally Chrome with 82 tabs open, I've developed some really bad habits in the name of multitasking and, "oh s#!* let me do this" - and it kinda sorta drives me crazy.

It definitely drives Samuel crazy. But that's another story for another time.

The end result of my Chrome-browser-ready-to-crash brain is that I've always got 52 things "in process" around the house - mini photo studio in the living room, meal prep halfway done in the kitchen, bathroom that's a clusterfudge of products because I'm doing my hair, and of course - my desk is basecamp.

On any given day, you could look at my desk and wonder - how do you think straight here? How do you get anything done? How Sway? In addition to blogging and photography, I work my real life full-time job from home - so my desk is pretty important.

At least, it's supposed to be.

I reached a literal breaking point with the corner of my office that's dedicated to my bread and butter - and something needed to change. I'm not a neat freak by any means - but I have a threshold for clutter that I always seem to come within an inch of reaching. Then it get stressful - and stress is no bueno.

Inspired by Soultanicals Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox, I decided that it was time to "detoxify" my workspace from clutter, distractions, stressors, and pretty much anything that prevented my flow of clarity and creativity.

I also decided that I needed to at least "enhance" my workspace with a few pops of color to make it feel less sterile and generic. It's not quite time for a full-on remodel, but I definitely used the spirit of Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox to help me make the most of what I already had around the house.

Here's the "before" picture of my desk:

De-Cluttering My Home Office Space with Soultanicals Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox
Missing: sparkling water cans, a Hydroflask, empy coffee mug, 3 vitamin bottles and Bailey's toy.
Now mind you, this is on a good day. On countless other days, there's empty water bottles, vitamin jars, more hair products, and sometimes even a pair of shoes. Yes, I'm incredibly guilty of treating my workspace like just another surface to drop stuff on - while somehow still managing to get work done.

On the left, that brown bin is full of old Bed Bath & Beyond coupons, unopened bills (because everything has an app these days), dry erase markers, and at least 2 books. The metal organizer on the top shelf suffered the same fate. Both pieces became a place to just stick stuff.

Don't even get me started on the landline phone that I don't use unless my iPhone is about to die, or I can't find it. And the cords everywhere. I can say with absolute honesty that only a handful of items in my workspace actually served a purpose, or contributed positively to my work.

Seeking more open space and a bit of color, here's the "after" picture of my desk:

De-Cluttering My Home Office Space with Soultanicals Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox
Open space helps me think clearly and minimizes distractions.
I CAN BREATHE! It's crazy what you can do with a little ingenuity and a few things lying around the house. The first thing I did was find batteries for my wireless keyboard and mouse, to cut down on the cord clutter.

To punch up the color and accentuate the area with "my" style, I removed the black computer mat and replaced it with a turquoise and bamboo runner that I had originally purchased for my dining room table. Long story short, the runner doesn't match the chairs, and the poor thing ended up in a cabinet somewhere. I pulled it out, folded it in half, and now it fits perfectly.

Because I clearly have a thing for turquoise, I brought another unused item out from hiding - my three-wick candle from Bath & Body Works in the fragrance Iced Vanilla Woods (it's one of my favorites). I also pulled the pink metal basket from my storage closet, and decided to put it to use as my "electronics bin" - holding my iPad, keyboard case, and charging cords for all my electronic doodads.

Next to the pink basket is the diffuser I bought several months ago from Home Goods after I got Bailey (we are definitely #TeamHouseCantSmellLikeDog). Typically the diffuser sits in a corner somewhere, but I was inspired by the earthiness and essential oil goodness of Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox to bring it onto my desk.

De-Cluttering My Home Office Space with Soultanicals Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox
High capacity, multi-color LED, auto shutoff + more. Grab yours here.
Next to my "I just want to drink wine & pet my dog" sign (from the Pets Boutique in Annapolis, Maryland), it's my favorite part of the desk mini remodel. Before I start my work day, I turn the diffuser on to get my signature blend going. I use a few drops each of these essential oils:
This particular combo gives me energy, clarity, and inspiration with a hint of tranquility and balance.I run it for an hour or so, then shut it off and allow the fragrance to spread throughout the house. 

I'm so happy I took the time out to care more about the space I work in. I didn't think de-cluttering my desk was an important step in self care, but it is. Since the de-clutter and mini remodel, I've been on a roll - my day is more organized, I think and act with more clarity, and I'm able to sit down and focus on each task. Organizing my desk has even inspired me to get better with organizing my time.

Soultanicals Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox
Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox is gonna be clutch for summer.
Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox

What it is
The Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox by Soultanicals is an aloe-based bentonite clay blend that's sophisticated, earthy, and packs a curl detoxifying punch. It contains burdock root, sea kelp, nettle,  blackstrap molasses, hemp seed, essential oils, and more. The blend is super smooth and almost feels like a conditioner, consistency-wise.

How I used it
I used Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox in place of shampoo and co-wash. I rinsed my hair to begin the process of removing product build-up, then went right into generously applying the Curl Detox throughout my hair and directly onto my scalp. After my hair was thoroughly coated, I began to lightly finger detangle and massage the clay into my scalp.

Per the instructions, I covered my hair with a plastic cap and used my Hot Head Thermal Cap for better penetration of ingredients. The bottle says to leave it on for 30-60 minutes, but I definitely left that jawn on for almost 3 hours (I was busy, lol). No harm no foul - after I rinsed, my hair looked and felt AMAZING. My scalp, even better. I went right in to deep conditioning after and that was it - a two-step wash day.

Key benefits
You guys know I have scalp psoriasis, and anything that can help alleviate the itching and flaking while not zapping moisture from my strands gets a gold star from me. Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox worked like a charm for lifting and removing debris from my scalp and hair , and it also gave me a serious frizz-fighting, curl enhancing boost, thanks to the bentonite. It had enough slip to detangle, and left my hair super soft. I'd swap this bad boy for my mud rinse any day.

Soultanicals Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox
Zero frizz. All the curl clumpage. YASSSSSS.
All in all, through Soultanicals Master Hair Cleanse Curl Detox, I learned two valuable lessons:
  • As an act of self care, it's important to take the time to cleanse and detoxify personal space
  • Sometimes, it's not about getting new stuff. Just take what you already have, and work with it to make things better.
I hope you all enjoyed my reflections on self care day 1 of 7 with Soultanicals. Stay tuned for day 2 tomorrow!

How do you reinvent your personal space at home? Let's chat in the comments below!

Catch up with the entire 7 Days of Self Care with Soultanicals series here!

from The Mane Objective http://ift.tt/2tMnL2N

This is The Most Powerful Technique for Beating Procrastination.

ismail Alminda | 5:12 AM
On Father's Day, I paid my dad a visit.  During my visit, I shared some ideas on how he could make improvements to his store.  As we discussed possible scenarios, I noticed a blank expression on his face.  Eventually, he informed me that he'd been having difficulty executing the things that he needed to do because of a lack of focus.

I knew exactly where he was coming from because I constantly battle with procrastination.  Having been on a personal development journey for years, I've learned countless strategies for overcoming procrastination and getting things done.

But only one method has truly worked.  This technique not only helps you overcome procrastination, it transforms you into a superhuman capable of accomplishing almost anything.
Days after I gave my dad advice, we spoke once again.  He thanked me profusely for my advice and told me how much of a difference it made in such a short period of time.  I bet you're wondering what I told him that completely improved his quality of life.

It's simple. I just explained the process of meditation and convinced him of the benefits he'd experience if he did it for just a few minutes a day.

No other technique to overcome procrastination is as powerful as meditation.  Trust me.

Picture an image of a person standing in front of a huge boulder.  The boulder represents the obstacle that gets in the way of us getting things done.  Traditional advice on overcoming procrastination helps us to climb that boulder to get to the other side.

But with meditation, the boulder is completely removed. Therefore there is nothing stopping us from doing what we need to do.  Let's be real, 99% of procrastination is caused by our own thoughts.  We're anxious & scared about completing a task so we avoid it. We avoid doing what we should because we've created a negative perception of the activity.  Our mind is hard at work trying to convince us of why we shouldn't do it.  That's why meditation is so crucial because it silences the negative thoughts.  Or, at the very least, we become much less reactive.

Another (lesser known) cause of procrastination is that we don't have enough focus to fully complete the task.  Half completed work is procrastination at its finest.

Meditation removes all of the things that get in the way between you and your goal.  When your mind is trained, it doesn't constantly create useless distractions.  Whatever you decide to do, you just do it.  There's nothing really stopping you.  When I meditated consistently, I was pretty unstoppable.  The benefits are too many to list, but let's just say that I felt like I had super powers.

Basically, spending 10-20 minutes each morning focusing on my breathing allowed me to operate in a heightened state of focus throughout the day.  It took a week or two of consistent practice to see the results. But once, they came, it was completely worth it.  After the convo with my dad, I jumped back into my meditation routine.  Within a couple of days, I was back to my old self again.  I've gotten so much done that I've been putting off forever.  All I had to do was spend a little time working on my level of attention.

One thing I notice about myself when I meditate regularly is that I suddenly become the best version of myself. Suddenly, I focus on clearing and decluttering my environment, I start working out again, and I focus on my high priority activities. The difference is like night and day.

Just remember that the source of procrastination is internal.  Unless we work on quieting the inner fears, we'll remain in the same place. I know this isn't your typical procrastination advice but, believe me, it works way better than any other advice because it addresses the root of the problem. If you'd like to read more on the wonders of quiet mind meditation, check out this article.

from BELLEMOCHA.com http://ift.tt/2tbLLif

Sunday, June 25, 2017

New Series: 7 Days of Self Care with Soultanicals

ismail Alminda | 6:00 AM
New Series: 7 Days of Self Care with Soultanicals
Curls by me. Photo by The Flatlay Photog
As one month draws to a close and we sit on the cusp of another, I feel the need to publicly acknowledge a feeling that I'd harbored for the better part of June - I'm running low.

But not just the kind of low that a good night's sleep and a strong coffee the next morning can cure. It's the kind of low that craves a vacation, but is met with the reality that I've got ish to do and real-world responsibilities.

What's a girl to do?

In a radical move of self appreciation and restoration, I committed 7 days to performing at least one act of self care daily.

When's the last time you took a moment for yourself, and committed that moment unapologetically to your well-being?

I partnered with Soultanicals to help tell my story and take you along the journey, and I hope y'all don't mind. I couldn't think of a better brand to share in this mission with me - Ayo Ogun-McCants created Soultanicals to be an immersive adventure in self-love. If you don't know by now, Soultanicals is one of my favorite and most cherished brands to support (aka spend my money on) and collaborate with. Check my receipts here. Ayo's products are thoughtfully crafted by hand, and contain a selection of nature's best ingredients designed specifically for natural hair.

Throughout the next 7 days, I'll be sharing a specially curated selection of Soultanicals goodies, how I used them, and how they inspired an act of self care.

New Series: 7 Days of Self Care with Soultanicals
Self care is not selfish. You can't pour from an empty vessel.
If you're in the same boat as me - desperately seeking a recharge without the ability to just uproot and throw up the deuces thanks to responsibilities like job, family, and finances, etc. - I invite you to come along with me.

Feel free to replicate these acts of self care, or even explore what self care means for you specifically. That's the beauty of self care - there's no right or wrong way to do it. Whatever you choose, I hope that you're inspired to take some time out today (and every day) to recharge your batteries - because you're worth it.

And you deserve it.

7 Days of Self Care with Soultanicals officially launches tomorrow (June 26th). Make sure we're connected via Instagram and Facebook so you don't miss a thing. And don't forget to check back daily - this is a series you won't want to miss.

Follow Soultanicals on Instagram here!

How do you practice self care in the wake of mounting responsibilities? Let's chat in the comments below!

from The Mane Objective http://ift.tt/2s5eCVy

Friday, June 23, 2017

How To Get Perfectly Defined Curls WITHOUT Shingling or a Denman Brush

ismail Alminda | 7:18 PM
Perfectly Defined Curls WITHOUT Shingling or a Denman Brush Tutorial
Are you ready for definition that's out of this world?!
Have you ever looked at someone's hair pics on Instagram and thought, "man, they have a similar curl pattern to mine!" - but something was just a wee bit different? Almost like - somehow they hacked better curl definition, or they know some lil' secret you don't?  Or maybe you're like me and just wondered how in the heck some of these folks got their hair to clump so perfectly, and spiral at the ends.

Especially if you have multi-textured hair like I do.

After watching fifty-leven YouTube tutorials and countless insta-vids, I realized that most of these folks out here are either shingling, using a Denman Brush, or are finger coiling to achieve curl uniformity, definition, and that perfect little spiral at the ends.
It was...disappointing, to say the least. I don't have time (or the patience) for shingling and finger coils, and I tried to make the Denman work on several different occasions and got the same two results - too much hair pulled out, and bushy roots because the brush moved all the product to my ends. 
Perfectly Defined Curls WITHOUT Shingling or a Denman Brush Tutorial
I never had super spiraled ends all over until this method.
I'm happy to report that with my updated curl defining method, I'm leaving all of that behind. I've been working this method since March - yes, March! Check the receipt here. I've had plenty of time to experiment with different product combinations, and let me tell you - the results are absolutely amazing every single time. 
 If you've been looking to improve definition, minimize frizz, and create a more uniform curl (as much as you can) - I've got something for ya. Put away the Denman Brush, and crack your knuckles in relief - because there will be none of that shingling and finger coiling around here.

And it's all thanks to the Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush!

This 9 row brush with widely spaced flexi-bristles was designed by none other than fellow LA girl and celebrity stylist Felicia Leatherwood. I've been wanting one forever, and finally got my hands on one earlier this year. Now that I've got it, I'll never let it go. And the video below reveals why.

What You'll Need
How to Define Your Curls

Step 1
Split hair into workable sections, clipping away hair that's not in the section you're currently working on. 

Step 2
Working in small sections, apply curl definer of choice from root to ends. Be sure there is adequate product coverage throughout the entire section, especially at the roots. This is how you prevent puffy roots, folks! 

Alternate between raking and smoothing the curl definer through the section for even distribution.

Step 3
Detangle the section gently with the Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush (if necessary), starting from the ends. Hair should be coated in curl definer and fully detangled before moving to step 4.

Step 4
Starting from the mid-shaft of the hair, pull the section of hair taut and place the brush through the section, bristles facing away from your face. Make sure that the hair is as close as possible to the base of the brush bristles. 

Starting from the mid-shaft alleviates a common issue with brush styling - puffy roots. It leaves the product at the root of the hair untouched. 

Perfectly Defined Curls WITHOUT Shingling or a Denman Brush Tutorial
A closeup on the definition! Curls on curls on curls.
Step 5
In a motion similar to 'bumping' hair with a flat iron, begin moving the brush down the bottom half of the hair, turning it completely inward as you go down. The hair should pass along the flat backside of the brush in the process - almost curling around the brush itself. Complete this motion all the way through the end of the hair.

Scrunch the ends gently if necessary.

The turning of the brush combined with passing the hair along the back side of the brush creates enhanced definition and a smoother curl. The spacing of the bristles prevents the brush from too heavily redistributing product through the hair, minimizing frizz.

Step 6
If needed, gently finger rake within the section to further separate curls with minimal frizz.

Step 7
Repeat steps 2-6 until done.

At this point, you can air dry, diffuse, hooded dryer it up - it's your choice. I'm an air dry type of gal, so that's what I do 99.98% of the time. 

Fair warning - this method does produce legit more shrinkage than the Rake & Shake. I'll gladly take my shrinkage, because the curl definition is off the chain.

Perfectly Defined Curls WITHOUT Shingling or a Denman Brush Tutorial
3rd day curls still poppin'!
Will you be giving this method a try? Let me know in the comments below!

from The Mane Objective http://ift.tt/2s5I4WT

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Lookbook // The Flirty Dress.

ismail Alminda | 11:12 AM
I'm way overdue for a wardrobe update.  Summer's here and it's getting unbearably hot.  The hotter it gets, the less I focus on looking cute.  Comfort seems to trump style whenever temperatures rise.   I've been in search of a happy middle ground between style & comfort and I've finally found it.
The flirty summer dress is the answer that I've been looking for.  They're are so easy and laid back.  You can dress down the look with a pair of white sneakers and a crossbody bag.  What I love most about this type of dress is the flirty length combined with the cute sleeves that balance the look.
Want a more polished look that can transition from day to night?  Opt for a dress with full-length sleeves.  
I'm on a mission to acquire several of these dresses that I can live in for the duration of summer. They're feminine, care-free, and save a ton time when getting ready in morning.  In my opinion, you can't go wrong with acquiring a few flirty dresses as your perfect summer essential.

from BELLEMOCHA.com http://ift.tt/2rGYwxl

Sunday, June 18, 2017

7 Ways To Embrace The Length Of Your Natural Hair At Any Stage!

ismail Alminda | 7:30 AM

I was at an event one day when I saw another natural whose hair was absolutely gorgeous. She was rocking a TWA with a white headband. “I love your hair,” I said. “Girl, I like yours too, but your hair is longer than mine!” At that moment, I didn’t know what to say. I thought […]

The post 7 Ways To Embrace The Length Of Your Natural Hair At Any Stage! appeared first on Black Hair Information.

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