Foods For Glowing Skin

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One of the key ways I keep my skin clear is by maintaining a healthy diet.   As I’ve mentioned before, back in 2014 I suffered from severe cystic acne.  I realized that the acne was caused by the hormones I was ingesting from dairy products.  Since ditching dairy from my diet, I’ve also ditched all other animal products and by products and have adopted a vegan diet.  My skin is definitely thanking me for it.

There are certain foods that I make sure I keep in my diet because of the benefits they have for our skin.

Cooked Tomatoes

Its so funny to me how your taste buds change over the years.  When I was a child I hated tomatoes. Now, I just can’t get enough of them.  Its nothing for me to sit in front of the tv with a bowl of cherry tomatoes.  Tomatoes have Lycopene in them and help boost collagen strength.

Sweet Potatoes

Mmmm sweet potatoes!  I just had the most amazing sweet potato sushi today… so good!  Sweet potatoes are great for our skin because they are packed with compounds known as carotenoids.  These compounds help with fighting off disease and leave you with a beautiful sunkissed complexion

 

Yellow Peppers 

Yellow peppers are packed with Vitamin C.  Vitamin C is vital because it gives our skin, bones and muscles strength.  Now, I know most people think of oranges when it comes to Vitamin C, but yellow peppers have even more Vitamin C than an orange!

 

Avocado

Nom nom nom… probably one of my favorite fruits.  I literally could eat avocado all day every day. Avocado is an excellent way to hydrate the skin and prevent premature aging that is caused by exposure to UV radiation.  Avocados are rich in fat, which help protect our skin from sun damage.

 

Kale

Kale Yea!!!!  Ok… I’m corny I know!  But I really do love kale! Kale is LOADED with the best anti-aging vitamins for the skin A,C,E and K.   If you make a mask our of Kale it can reduce the visibility of scars, stretch marks, spider veins and many other skin ailments.

 

Blueberries

Blueberries are sooooo rich in antioxidants.  Blueberries may be small but they pack a mean punch, and help rid the body of free radicals that damage skin cells.  They are also rich in fiber and alleviate skin conditions triggered by inflammation.

 

Coconut Oil

I recently posted on Instagram about my obsession with coconut oil.  I use it to remove my matte lipstick, I cook with it, and of course I use it in my hair.  When it comes to diet, coconut oil has some amazing benefits.  Coconut oil contains caprylic acid.  Caprylic acid improves tummy health by destroying candida.  Candida is a type of fungus that can lead to poor digestion which leads to breakouts.

Oats

Oats are another staple in my diet.  I love using them for my morning oatmeal but also you can use them to make veggie burgers (recipe).  Oats are high in fiber, and fiber rich foods help reduce the bacteria that can cause skin issues like acne.  Oatmeal is also a high source of silicon which is known to slow the signs of aging and aid the skin in retaining elasticity.

 

Almonds

Almonds are probably my favorite nuts.  I love pairing them with dried berries and banana chips for an on the go trail mix snack.  Not only do almonds taste really good, but they are also excellent aids in skin care.   They are rich in Vitamin E which helps repair scarred cells, circulate blood flow and defend against sun damage.

Whole Wheat Bread

I don’t eat white bread anymore because of its high glycemic load.   I noticed that goods with a higher glycemic content trigger my cystic acne so I opt for alternative breads.  Currently i’m eating this Whole Wheat bread from Whole Foods but… my go to is the Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread from Trader Joes… It’s literally the best bread for avocado toast… I’ll do a recipe later!

 

Flaxseed

Even though I hate the way flax seed tastes, I still use when i’m cooking.  Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are known to erase dark spots and fill in lines like crows feet and other wrinkles

Spinach

Spinach has extremely high levels of folate, which helps the body maintain and repair DNA.  Veggies that are rich in folate can potentially reduce the likelihood of the growth of cancer cells.

There are plenty of other foods that are good for your skin but, I decided to share the foods that I eat for healthy and glowing skin.

Until next time…
@myproductaddiction

 

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How I Cope With Anxiety at Bedtime

I am one of the 40 million Americans that suffer with anxiety.  For me, I describe my anxiety as a little monster in my head that feeds me a bunch of lies and makes me overthink every little situation and make up false scenarios in my mind.  It sounds small, but anxiety can be crippling and in 2013 I was put on bed rest because of it.

When I was first diagnosed with anxiety it was in 2013 and the cause of it was the stress from a job I had.  Almost everyone in my office was popping Xanax like it was candy.  After a few years I decided it was time to stop taking Xanax and find a way to cope with my anxiety and keep it at bay.

My anxiety creeps up on me at night and keeps me from being able to sleep.  So when I find myself experiencing anxiety before bed I have several tactics I use to cope.

Prayer/Meditation

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Many times when I’m anxious before whether it be day or night  I’ll go into prayer and ask God to help sooth my anxious thoughts and keep my mind clear. I’ll also pull my bible out  for a little extra encouragement.  One of my favorite verses for anxiety is Psalm 94:19.  For those that do not pray or believe in prayer you can try guided meditations they are extremely effective and can be found on YouTube

Yoga for Anxiety

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It’s no secret that I love yoga.  One of my favorite YouTubers Yoga with Adrienne has a yoga practice for just about anything.  I like to do her quick 20 minute Yoga for Anxiety video right before bed.  The stretches and poses really help calm and soothe my mind and nerves.

Essential Oils
There several essential oils that are good for helping calm anxiety.  My favorite is lavender.  I like to add a few drops of lavender oil to boiling water and let the scent drift through my home.  I often do this while i’m doing my anxiety yoga routine.

Melatonin

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One of my really good girlfriends suggested that I try melatonin back in August.  I was having really bad anxiety and had convinced myself I was going to be fired from my job I even went so far as to come into work the next day with a box to pack up all of my stuff.  This particular anxiety incident kept me from sleeping for almost three days.  I took my friend up on her advice and got some melatonin.  Melatonin basically sends the body a signal and lets it know its time to prepare for sleep.   Now, I take it anytime my mind is racing and I know I need to sleep… it works like a charm!

Binaural Beats
The best way I can describe binaural beats is that they are sound frequencies that trigger the brain and allow it to become “entrained”.  One of my friends told me about binaural beats a few years ago when I was telling her about how bad my menstrual cramps were. I thought she was being extra, but one night I was having a hard time sleeping and I  decided to give them a try.  I found a beat on iTunes for deep sleep and put my head phones in.  I had only slept three hours when it was time to wake up but I felt as if I had a full nights rest.  You can find binaural beats on YouTube for just about anything from sleep to pure judgement.   Whenever my anxiety is going crazy at bedtime I find a good beat to listen to, pop in my headphones and sleep the night away.

Diet

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I do my best to watch what I eat and stay away from foods that can trigger anxiety.  Food is medicine so its important that we watch what we are putting into our bodies so that our bodies function the way they are intended to.  I stay away from refined sugars and do my best to stick with an organic plant based diet because I have adverse reactions (anxiety) when I eat processed foods and refined sugars.

 If you struggle with anxiety, how do you cope?  I’m always looking for new ways to help improve mine.

Until next time…
@myproductaddiction

Sealing Oils vs Moisturizing Oils

One of the things I struggled with when it came to my natural hair was retaining moisture.  It seemed like no matter what kinds of butters or oils I used, I just couldn’t seem to obtain soft and fluffy hair like the naturalistas on Instragram.

I ended up being extremely  frustrated and I decided to start over and shave it all off… again!  Just when I  went back to looking like Amber Rose,  I found out why my hair just couldn’t seem to get soft!  I was using the wrong kinds of hair oils.

When it comes to hair oils, there are sealing oils and moisturizing oils.  If you’re using only a sealing oil on your hair, then you’re simply sealing in the dryness.  If you’re using a moisturizing oil and then a sealing oil on top of it then, you’re sealing in the moisture.  I, was sealing in the dryness.

Here are the oils you can use to moisturize your hair and seal the moisture in:

Sealing Oils

Jamaican Black Castor Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Jojoba Oil

Moisturizing Oils

Avocado Oil
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil

Ever since learning the difference between sealing oils and moisturizing oils my hair has been totally different!  While I’m still not on the level of my favorite naturalistas on Instagram, my hair is definitely soft and fluffy!  What oils are you using on your hair?

Until next time…
@myproductaddiction

Leanne Grace Skin Care Review

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For those that don’t know who Jacklyn Hill is, she’s the MUVAH of makeup videos on YouTube and she’s one of my best friends (in my head).  So when Jacklyn says a product is good, chances are its probably BAE!

Months ago Jacklyn Hill mentioned Leanne Grace products on one of her monthly favorites videos.  I’m a sucker for cute packaging, so when I saw the thick base jars the products came in  was sold.  It didn’t matter what was on the inside, I just knew I wanted to try whatever it was because of how it looked.

When I made my Leanne Grace purchase I got the Lemon Buttercream Body Lotion, the Sweet Cream Body Butter, the Peppermint Body Butter and the Face & Body Polish.

I immediately fell in love with the Lemon Buttercream Lotion ($18) and took it to work before I could even snap a pic of it.

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I have to admit it took a minute for me to fall in love with the Face & Body Polish ($27).  The walnut shells make the scrub extremely coarse.  I definitly DO NOT reccomend that you use this product if you have sensitive skin.  Due to the coarseness of the product, I avoided using it on my face and mainly used it on my feet, knees and elbows.  My elbows

 

 

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Leanne Grace Blissful Body Butters ($28)

The body butters are a little slice of heaven.  They are thick, but not so thick that its hard to rub in.  My favorite would have to be the Peppermint Body Butter ($28).  I love the way it feels on my skin after I’ve used my favorite Peppermint Oil Soap and love to use it at night right before bed,  the peppermint scent is really soothing.   The Sweet Cream Body Butter is delightful too.  I find that I like to use it most when its morning, the scent leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.  If you’re a fan of Shea butter, these body butters will definitely hydrate and nourish your skin… especially during the upcoming winter months.

Leanne Grace recently introduced their Beauty Boosters and I’m really excited to try them out… but only when my budget allows!

If you get a chance to try out the Leanne Grace Blissful Body Butters, let me know what you think!

Until Next Time…
@myproductaddiction

From Big Chop… to Bundles!

A few weeks ago  I was sitting in the mirror in shock about my hair growth.  It has seriously been quite a journey.   In 14 months I went from bald to bundles… don’t shade my hair growth! *flips hair*

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 Sidenote: why is having natural hair so freaking hard?  I mean once you get routine down its not so hard, but the trial and error you have to go through to learn what works and what doesn’t work is like the pits!

I’ve learned several things during my natural journey:

What works for one person may not and probably will not work for you

Learn your hair type, this avoids disappointment when you think you’re going to end up with Tracee Ellis Ross curls but you end up looking like Samuel L. Jackson

Use your best judgement when it comes to product recomendations… If a person doesn’t have the same hair type as you… chances are the product isn’t going to give the results you desire.  I had to learn the hard way when I spent like $200 on Carol’s Daughter products because Lipstick N Curls was using it… Yea she and I DO NOT have the same hair type.  I quickly took the products back and got a refund!

Be prepared to spend a lot of money, I think I spent over a bazillion dollars  on products before I figured out exactly what works best for me… and now that I know, I’m sticking to it!

Don’t trust YouTube reviews.  Listen, too many times I believed the hype about a product because all of my favorite YouTubers said it was BOMB…  they be lying!!! Cuz that Black Castor Oil & Flax Seed Eco Styler Gel was WHACK! Had me out here looking like I had Q-Tips in my hair!

But seriously going from relaxed to natural is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done.   In the beginning it was easy…  I was bald, not much work was involved.  I brushed my hair, made sure Nicole from PRMP Beauty Studio slayed my brows and put on a cute lippie and kept it moving.

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Big Chop 2015, PRMP Beauty slayed my brows didn’t they?

 

Once I started growing my hair out in 2016, it was a totally different story!  Life got hard, I didn’t know what I was doing and everything people told me to try was an epic fail.  It wasn’t until I learned my hair type on Naturally Curly that things started changing for me.   Maybe I’m just dramatic, but if my hair isn’t right…. then I’m not right!

Here are a few of the products that work best for me and my 4c natural hair:

For Bantu Knots and Twist Outs:  Paul Mitchell Foaming PomadeFoaming Pomade.PNG

 

To Wash and Condition My Hair:  Hask Charcoal Shampoo and Conditioner*Wash Day.PNG

 

For Hydration:  Every Strand Moisture Masque mixed with any kind of moisturizing hair oil *Every Strand.PNG

 

For Daily Twist Outs:  I love using this Brazilian Curly Cocktail Cream from Mielle Organics*Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 12.08.13 AM

 

Now that I have a set of products that work really well for me, I’m almost afraid to try anything new.   What products are you guys using on your natural coils?  I’d love hear about them!

Until Next Time…
@myproductaddiction

*Indicates a product that was purchased on Naturallycurlly.com

No MAC Lipstick Challenge…

 If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been posting the various lipstick shades I’ve been wearing.  I started this because I noticed that when women ask me what shade of lipstick I’m wearing they always ask if its MAC.   I’ll wear a deep blue red and someone will say “Oh is that Ruby Woo?” or I’ll wear a dark purple and they’ll ask “Is that Cyber?”.  When did MAC become the end all be all of makeup?  I remember one of my friends was complaining about how her makeup looked in pictures… so I asked her if the product she used had a specific ingredient in it.  Her response: “It’s MAC” but she said it in the most pretentious way and as if MAC was the holy grail of makeup and wouldn’t dare have any ingredient in it other than unicorns, glitter, and bouginess.

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  Typically when I wear lipstick or any other kind of makeup for that matter its not from MAC.  Not that I don’t like MAC, but most of their lipstick shades aren’t matte enough for me, and its no secret that I live for a good liquid matte lippie.  So, I decided to showcase brands of lipstick that I love, that aren’t MAC.  This challenge is also a way for me to wear all of the lipstick in my collection without repeating…  a challenge I graciously accepted from of my followers!

So make sure you’re following me on Instagram so that you can learn about your future favorite lipstick shades and see what else I’m up to.

Until next time…
@myproductaddiction

Travel Tip: Consider Low-Cost Airlines

GOing to Iceland.

One of the ways I was able to save money on our airfare when my mom and I traveled to Iceland, was booking our travel with a low-cost airline.  I use low-cost airlines frequently to book domestic travel, thats how I get to Atlanta every few months for under $100.  Although I’ve used low-cost airlines for domestic travel, I never thought about utilizing them for international travel until did my research for the Iceland trip.

The total cost of our trip (flight and apartment rental) was less than $2000.  The cost was largely due to me choosing to book our travel accommodations using the low-cost airline WOW Airlines.

WOW could be considered the Spirit Airlines of Europe, just with less foolishness and a better reputation.   Like many low-cost airlines, to keep costs down they don’t offer WiFi on flights and you have to pay for your beverages and snacks on the plane.  I honestly didn’t care about any of that because it was a 5 hour overnight  flight and we were asleep before the plane even took off.  As far as snacks go, I bring my own snacks when I travel anyway because I’m frugal and airports are haters when it comes to vegan food!

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Boarding to Head Back to DC, Bye Iceland!

 

Another thing that WOW Airlines does is charge for seats and checked bags ($50).  If your luggage is overweight they charge you for each kilogram your bag is over the weight limit.  My mother (insert eye roll here) had to pay an extra $160 because she over packed… severely!  But that’s a whole other story!!!  Anywho… even after I pre-paid for our checked bags and seats our plane tickets came to $500 a piece (not including overage fees).

I loved my experience with WOW Airlines and recently I booked a trip with them to Amsterdam for next year! Total cost for two tickets: $398

There are many other low-cost airlines to consider when traveling:

Southwest Airlines*
Frontier Airlines*
Sun Country Airlines
Virgin America*
Allegiant Airlines
JetBlue*
Oh yea…and Spirit Airlines** (insert eye roll here)

A complete list of low-cost airlines can be found here

*Indicates an airline that I have used personally and recommend. **Indicates an airline that tried their whole entire life with me and are lucky I didn’t rename the company Jennifer Airlines but that’s a whole different story.

The next time you want to take a trip, save your coins an checkout low-cost airlines first.  They have yet to let me down!

Tarte Maracuja Oil

While packing up and cleaning my bathroom last week, I stumbled across a bottle of the Tarte Maracuja Oil.  I remember being so excited about trying this oil because so many YouTubers raved about it and I liked the way the package looked.  I could tell that I had used a bit of the product but I couldn’t remember why I stopped using it.

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I decided to give the product another whirl, and after using it for a week I quickly realized why I stopped using it.  Tarte promises that the Maracuja Oil won’t clog pores and is weightless and hypoallergenic.  Well… the lie detector test determined that was a lie!  The Tarte Maracuja oil is HIGHLY comedogenic which means that it blocks pores and can cause black heads or acne.  In just one week my chin was ridden with about 10 blackheads.

If your skin is oily I definitely do not recommend the Tarte Maracuja Oil for daily use.  I do however, recommend it to use as a remedy re-hydrate your skin after over exfoliating or if it becomes abnormally dry.

Wheels Up w/ Plane Ticket Layaway

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Up until last year, I always wanted to travel out of the country but I never thought I could actually afford it.  I would hear my co-workers talk about their extravagant trips and I always thought they must have some kind of trust fund or something.  Well, that’s totally not the case.  Traveling can be expensive, but we live in an era where there is a coupon or hack for just about everything…  including travel!

 

Plane Ticket Layaway

Yes, you read that right!  You can actually put your plane ticket on layaway.    Airfordable offers affordable payment plans for plane tickets.  I tried it out last year when I traveled to Sydney, Australia and it worked like a charm.

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Sydney 2016

The process for putting a plane ticket on a layaway plan is super simple and stress free.

After I created an account on Airfordable’s website, I used their calculator to determine the cost of my payment plan.  The calculator showed me the required deposit, the layaway fee and what my monthly payments would be if my request was approved.

Here is an example of the payment plan calculator:

Calculator

 

Payment Plan

 

Once I knew what the total cost would be, I researched flights to Sydney from DC and took a screenshot of my desired itinerary and uploaded it to the Airfordable website. They gave me an option of selecting a bi-weekly payment plan and a monthly payment plan, I chose monthly.  I then paid my initial deposit of $366.  The deposit  included a service fee which ranges between 10%-20% of the ticket cost.

Shortly after making my initial deposit, I received an e-mail from the Airfordable Team asking a few questions about my trip:

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  I quickly replied to their e-mail and the next day, I received an e-mail confirming that my request to use Airfordable was approved, and they provided me with my payment schedule.

Airfordable

The approval process for Airfordable doesn’t involve a credit check, but they have to ensure that they are able to accommodate your desired date of travel.  If they are able to accommodate, then your request will be approved.

I made 5 monthly payments of $219.65 and a few hours after my making my last payment, I received my electronic plane ticket.

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One month after making my final payment, I was off to Sydney!!!

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View of the Sydney Opera House from the Botanical Gardens

Airfordable’s customer service was absolutely awesome.  The representative I initially worked with even gave me his personal cell phone number in case I had any questions or required additional assistance.  There was an issue with the airline I booked with originally, and Airfordable caught it.  They contacted me immediately and they were able to book a new flight for me at no additional cost! The best part about this was that my trip was extended by three days!

Additional Information

Airfordable will allow up to 10 travelers on one payment plan

The cost of a plane ticket must be greater than $200

You can have up to 5 payment plans at one time (5 different trips)

You can use any airline website for your itinerary with the exception of Spirit Airlines (#theshade)

They do not offer payment plans for one way trips

Additional information can be found on the FAQ portion of their website, and of course you can ask me!

If you decide to try Airfordable, use my referral link and be sure to let me know how your experience is!

Febreze One

Febreze One

I’m always on the hunt for a new product to use to scent my home. There’s nothing like coming home from a long day and opening the door and being greeted by the scent of lavender or toasted marshmallows.

I love candles, infusing essential oil combinations in boiling water and air fresheners.  The thing with air fresheners that always concerns me are the heavy perfumes they contain.  My mom suffers from severe allergies so when she comes to visit I have to be extremely careful with the scents i’m using so that I don’t trigger them.  Unfortunately, there are very few air fresheners that don’t contain harsh perfumes or chemicals, which is why I usually opt to use essential oils.

Recently I tried out the new Febreze One air fresheners.  Febreze One is the latest addition to the long list of Febreze products.  Unlike many air fresheners, Febreze One is free of harsh perfumes, dyes or aerosols.

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I tried the Bamboo and the Mandarin scents.  I’d have to say the Mandarin was my favorite, I loved how light the scent was and how it gave my fabrics and my home a scent boost.  Not only did I use it in my home, but I also used in my car and at work.

If you’re an animal lover, Febreze One is safe around most household pets but does pose danger to birds because their small lungs may not be able to handle breathing in fragrance.  It’s suggested that you move your feathered loved one into another room until after the affected area has been properly ventilated.  Febreze One is also safe around children, but I would still keep it out of your little ones reach.

Overall, I think Febreze One will be a staple in my home.  Especially for the days that my mom comes to visit and I want my home to have a nice clean scent without having to worry about her allergies.

You can purchase Febreze One for $6 at Wal-Mart, Target and your local grocery stores.   Try it out, and let me know what you think!

Note:  I received this product free for testing purposes.  All opinions are solely my own and were not influenced by any other parties.  While Febreze One does contain less toxic chemicals, they are still present.  So, if you are working toward leading a less toxic lifestyle you may want to steer clear of it.