I am the primary cook in our house. This is not a throw back to a time before feminism. When I have time, I enjoy cooking. A lot. It soothes me. There is also something very cool about taking a bunch of ingredients and turning them into something delicious.
I first heard of Blue Apron from a Facebook friend. A mutual friend of hers gave her a few weeks free from them. I happened to be on Twitter that day and Blue Apron was having a deal for a week of meals. I went ahead and purchased them. What could it hurt?
I specified to receive my box on Friday. I am off on Friday's and didn't have much to do that day. They informed me it would come at anytime between 8a-8p on that day.
When I got back from my hair appointment (*flips hair*) It was sitting in the shade near the garage. So I picked it up and brought it in.
I opened the box and was impressed by the number of cooling agents that they had in there. Even if I had been a really long time, nothing was really going to suffer.
I chose a box with two servings of each meal. There is just me and my husband. We do not need a whole lot of food. Each meal comes with all of the things needed to make the amount of food you ordered and a recipe card that has colorful pictures.
The first recipe I decided to make was the Pan-Fried Orange Shrimp with Sauteed Scallions and Bok Choy over Jasmine Rice.
I pulled everything out that the recipe required and began my prep work on all of them.
The instructions were super easy to follow and had a picture for pretty much every step.
Everything turned out delicious. I did have a boatload of dishes to wash after, but that was only because I was being fancy and instead of piling prepped items on the chopping board like I normally do, I presented it in bowls.
So, Blue Apron Pros and Cons:
Not super expensive. It is about what we would pay for groceries for a week.
Easy well written instructions.
Everything is in the kit for use.
You don't get stuck in a food rut and this will give you a jump off point to actually mess around with the recipes if you so choose.
While we would spend this on groceries for a week, there are no snacks, and no leftovers for us, because I chose the two meal plan.
My cooking ambitions come in spurts. I may not want to cook three meals a week and that is the lowest you can get.
The way everything is packaged, it seems as if there is a lot of waste. I don't put all of my veggies that I purchase at the store in plastic bags, but this box does.
You may end up with some things you absolutely do not like. I hate beets, and my second week box included beets and beet pasta. *Gag*
Would I purchase this again? It honestly depends. I have to be in a mood to cook, and these are not fast meals to prepare. On a lark, I had my husband prepare the meatball sub one. He hates cooking, but I came home from work and just kind of did a *wall slide* and wasn't moving. He started cooking as soon as I got home at 7pm, and it took until 8pm for everything to be ready. We honestly do not have that kind of time. During the week our food needs to be quick. With all of the fresh vegetables in the recipes, the food will not hold for longer than a week. By the time we got to the meatball subs, it was the end of the week and the cucumber for the salad was rotted.
If you give Blue Apron a try, let me know, I would love to know your thoughts!
I purchased two weeks worth of Blue Apron with my own doubloons. No one is sponsoring this post. Except me.
Good afternoon! After yesterday’s mini-rant, I am coming at you today with a product review.
Today’s review comes from the Etsy store Bobeam- Natural Products by Laquita. This is what she says about her shop:
Bobeam's specialty is shampoo bars made with all natural ingredients and they can be used on all hair types, including locs. The shampoo bars contain no SLS or SLES, detergents, surfactants, or sulfates. They are all-natural, 100% vegetable soap, non-comedogenic, hypo-allergenic and biodegradable. Feel free to check my ingredients on www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/
Bobeam from the Ghanaian language Twi means 'the way it was created' and it characterizes all of the shop items - they are all handmade.
The product I am reviewing is the Honey and Oats Shampoo Bar
Taken from her Etsy store
This is what her shop says about this bar:
Pamper your hair with honey and oatmeal :o) This 4oz shampoo bar is made with oatmeal and honey, and will leave your hair super soft!
It's packed with honey and smells good enough to eat!
Oatmeal - There are several DIY oatmeal hair shampoo/rinses for your hair - here’s a way to use oatmeal without the mess or trial of rinsing it out of your hair.
There are traces of tiny grains of oatmeal in the bar which gently exfoliates your scalp and rinses away clean.
Honey adds shine and is a humectant, which means it holds moisture. It is a natural antiseptic full of antioxidants. It also provides softness and shine.
It is packed with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, sulphur, iron, zinc and vitamins B1, B2, B3, which aid in hair growth.
*Shampoo bars can be used as body soaps as well*
*Shampoo bars are unscented unless specified*
Packaging: This bar came in plain cardboard colored packaging. It was also wrapped in saran wrap, which I greatly appreciated.
First impression: No scent (On her site it tells you that unless it is stated, everything is unscented), which, I am not sure how I feel about this. I love pretty smells, but I understand the draw for people that are allergic to such things. I really like how this bar looks. It is layered with a solid layer, then an opaque layer.
First use: When I use solid shampoos (only kind I pretty much use now), I break off a piece and using a downward motion, I rub the shampoo on my hair. I would say this bar has a medium lather. I also used it instead of my normal body wash.
First use thoughts: My hair felt clean, and didn’t feel stripped. It cleared my hair of any buildup I had (and I had a lot; thanks a lot Cantu Shea Butter! *coughs*), and my hair felt good afterwards. It doesn’t really add any additional moisture to my hair, but retains what I have. My body felt good as well. My body (as well as my hair) dries out really easily, and this didn’t strip any moisture and make me feel as if I have scleroderma like some washes do.
Continued use thoughts: I like this shampoo, I like it so much, I threw out the bottle of stuff that I purchased a while ago (Skala I think it’s called). This works much better for me. Sometimes when I am rinsing my hair, shampoo gets in my mouth. With the Skala when it got in my mouth, it was this nasty chemical taste. Horrid. I don’t get that with this shampoo bar. Yay!
One thing I would want to see with this bar is maybe some sort of scent. That is just me though, I know there are people out there that would appreciate the fact that this has no scent to it.
Other than that, this is a good product. It lasts a long time, a little bit goes a long way, and it is good for both your body and hair.
One of my natural hair idols is Chary Jay. She has a channel on YouTube that I subscribe to. She did a product review on several things on Kyah Alexandria’s line, but this bar stuck out the most to me. She said something along the lines of “it made my hair feel like it had lotion in it.” I am always looking for a product (shampoo especially) to put moisture back into my hair, so I scooped this up along with a leave in conditioner (to be reviewed at a later date).
What the packaging says: Kyah Alexandria Shampoo & Shower Bar- Coconut Paradise with Shea butter for all hair types. Full size All Natural.
Ingredients: Glycerin, Di (deionized) water, Coconut Oil, Sorbitol, Sodium Palmitate, Sodium Stearate, Soybean Oil, Almond Oil, Safflower Oil, Jojoba Oil, Aloe Vera Gel, Shea Butter, Coconut Milk, Vitamin E, Olive Oil, Honey, Tea Tree Oil, Fragrance.
When I watched the initial review of this product, Chary Jay was able to break the bar with her hands. When I received mine in the mail, there was a note in there, stating that because it is getting hotter out, they have added an additional ingredient (jojoba oil I think) to make it more solid, so that it does not melt in the mail. So I had to use scissors to cut a piece off.
It' wasn’t difficult at all.
The Smell: I really enjoyed the smell of this product. You get the coconut smell, which isn’t overpowering at all, and then you get a sweet floral undertone. I held out the chunk I had cut off for my husband to sniff and to get his opinion on it. His response? “It smells sort of like a coconut candy.” The smell was really pleasing
Initial Tryout: I scrubbed my hair with the product, it doesn’t create a massive lather, and that is okay for me. I washed my hair and rinsed it out and paused for a moment before dumping conditioner on my hair. I felt my hair. It felt incredibly moisturized. It does feel like there is some sort of lotion on your hair. it is amazing. I love it.
Further Testing: With further testing I realized that it is easier to slice the bar using the scissors with a knife like motion instead of sawing. Also, while my hair luxuriates in the feel of this shampoo, the shampoo combined with conditioner, combined with the rest of my product line up equates product buildup rather quickly. I can use it about 2 or three times before I need to reach for a clarifying shampoo.
Bottom Line: I really liked how this shampoo made my hair feel. It was soft and manageable. I can’t wait to see how the rest of this product line feels!
Where you can purchase: http://mynaturalcare.com/index.html
My hair grows weird.
I am sure everyone says this; that their hair does not grow evenly. I am one of those people. For some reason, the hair at the base of my head, near my neck grows the fastest. It is also the hair that doesn't really have much of a curl pattern. It is incredibly loose. It is also the hair that is shoulder length. The rest of my hair grows fairly evenly, It is all equal to each other, with the exception of that back part. Take a look at your hair. How does your hair grow?
I purchased some new conditioner this week. I was out of 'Hello Hydration' and it hasn't been working all that great for me for the past couple of months anyway. This time around I purchased Tresemme moisture rich for dry or damaged hair. I don't want to give my opinion on it just yet; I have only used it once. I will be back with a review on that later.
After a brief hiatus (in which at one point my husband had to come home for lunch from work because I was crying so hard he couldn’t understand what I was saying, because I was SURE I got a D in my math class, and I couldn’t take that class anymore, and it turns out I got a C and cam move on.) I am back with a product review for you.
I bought the Cantu Shea Butter from the weird hair place around the corner from my house. It is ran by a family. I once went in there asking if they had the crackle polishes. The woman told me no, and asked me why I would want that, as it is ugly and unkempt! I just kind of goggled at her and left. Their nail polish looks old and scary for the most part, so I guess it is a good thing they didn’t have it.
Anyway, I heard of Cantu ever since I had gone natural. I always wanted to try it, but I never really saw it when I was out and about. It wasn’t something that I sought out either. However, when I was buying flower hair accessories in the local hair shop, I saw the leave in conditioning repair cream for $4.99 and decided to pick it up.
The front of the product says the following:
stops and mends hair breakage
leaves hair soft, shiny, and manageable
formulated for severely damaged, dry, or coarse hair
Here is the first issue I have with the product; The grammar on the front of the product. There are no capital letters in the previous statements, no periods, however, we have commas. Just looking at the statements drive me batty. Meh.
The product gives you three sets of directions based on what you wanted to do with it. You could use it for daily styling, a leave in treatment, or for frizz free hair. I used it as a daily treatment for the better part of a month
As you can see, I used about half of the jar. The first thing you notice when you open up the Cantu leave in conditioner is the smell. Oh man! It smells like fruit punch. I had Jeff do a sniff test, and he enjoyed the smell too. It is a water based leave in conditioner, so it is kind of runny. I liked the fact that it seemed to revive my hair. It made it moist so that I could style it however I chose. A lot of times in the morning, I would put this on my hair and add a little of my Belle Butters and go. When I did two strand twists at night, I would slather this on, and add Belle Butters on top of it, twist my hair and cover it. In the morning it would still be slightly damp and pliable, so I would put it in a poof and go.
After a little bit, I noticed a slight problem. You see, when I do a twist out, just using Belle Butters, My twist outs can last about a week. They get bigger and bigger, and they are fully moisturized. With the Cantu stuff, It would get bigger, but my hair was incredibly dry after two days. The ends of my hair would look crispy and frizzy. It was not cute. When my hair would get like that, nothing could revive it. I would have to co-wash and start over again.
So yes, I don’t think Cantu Shea Butter leave in conditioning repair cream is right for me. It took styles that normally last up to 5-7 days, and made them last only 2-3. It made my hair feel dried out and crispy. I wouldn’t recommend this product.
Have you tried anything by Cantu? What were your results?
Editors note: While this review is all of my own and my beliefs about the product, Pooka was nice enough to send me a sample of their product.
So, when my sample of Pooka Pure and Simple came in the mail, the mailman actually delivered it to my door. Our mailman is kind of lazy and will cram any package he can into the mailbox, so he doesn't have to get out of his truck, so this was a surprise.
Turns out, it wasn't because he was being nice. We have three cars. Two are kept in the garage. One is on the outside of the garage. We live in a cul de sac, and don't have the room to park that other car out on the side or anything. So that it is easy for Jeff to get out of the driveway, we park the other car at the tail end of the driveway. The bumper juts out into the cul de sac just a touch. Well, it sort of interfered with the mailman getting by and he wanted to know why it was parked like that. I explained it to him and just looked at me like i was stupid. Lazy Mailman.
Anyway, he handed me my package, and the first thing I noticed was the package had a scent. The package itself smelled.. wonderful. It was floral and uplifting and I just wanted to sit there and sniff my package. I opened it up and there were fake flower petals in it, which were delivering the scent. The actual box sat on the ledge near the door for a couple of weeks, so the air was scented. I loved it! I found that the Pooka Girls had sent me this:
She always calls her children her “Pookalitas”
(We still haven’t figured out why or what it meant but it was definitely a term of endearment!)
When thinking of a name for the company, that was the first thing that came to mind. Pookalitas was a little too long for the labels, so we just shortened it a bit and came up with....POOKA!
Tasha of Belle Butters was kind enough to send me a couple of samples. The first one was her Matcha Green Tea Shea butter. The second was a concoction she was trying out. It is a mixture of unrefined shea butter, evoo (extra virgin olive oil), evco (extra virgin coconut oil), jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and cucumber fragrance.
The first one I tried was the Matcha Green Tea Shea Butter. I opened the container and touched it, and was pleasantly surprised... it was fluffy! Tasha whips her Shea Butters, so you get this light and fluffy consistency. Its not thick and heavy at all. I loved it!
The first couple times I used it, I just used to moisturize my hair after my shower. It was amazing. It moisturized my hair so thoroughly that I didn't have to use any for two days. My hair craves moisture so that was awesome. Tasha sent me a letter with the butters, stating that a lot of people use it to twist their hair. Thinking about this the whole time and staring at the jar, I decided to attempt a twist out using her product. I co-washed my hair using Herbal Essences Hello Hydration.
|Totally cute right?|
|COILS UPON COILS!!!|
Authors Note: Free Your Mane was kind enough to give product for me to sample.
Free Your Mane. The story of this company warmed my heart. In 2003, Israel because the proud adoptive father of two African American sons. Well, He tells the story better than I do. From his website:
In 2003 I became the proud adoptive father of African American twins. One of the trickiest and most important responsibilities for me was grooming, and I was eager to meet that challenge with love and care. As someone with coarse, curly hair, I have shopped in the 'ethnic hair' section of the beauty supply since I was a teenager. On the hunt for the elusive solution to my own hair issues, I became very familiar with those products.
Surprisingly, most of the same products that I'd tried as a teenager in the 1980s were still on the shelves, and with the same old formulations. They are composed primarily of cheap fillers, low quality ingredients such as petrolatum and mineral oil — basically the waste from the petroleum manufacturing industry.
The other options were the all-natural 'kitchen' remedies responding to the nascent green market.
I tried them all. The mineral oil based products were somewhat effective, but ultimately too greasy, outdated and unhealthy. The natural products were ineffective and overly fragranced.
Working in fashion and advertising for the past twenty-five years has kept me current on the amazing breakthroughs in chemistry which have benefited the beauty industry. It became clear none of these advances had made it to the African American hair care market.
My frustration echoed the frustration of countless others. Every African-American woman I spoke to had shelves full of disappointing products - there was a powerful need to be met.
This was the birth of Nola Industries, Inc.
After three years of intensive research, development and testing, I am thrilled to announce the arrival of free your mane, a revolution in black hair care. The free your mane product line has been developed for adult women of color whose needs, until now, have been summarily ignored by the beauty industry.
All free your mane products blend the best of nature and science. We fuse the finest natural ingredients with cutting edge technology for a modern, stylish and very lightly fragranced product. We ban mineral oil, petrolatum, sulfate, phthalates and parabens from our entire line.
As the guardian of my children's future, I was driven to create a product that is eco-conscious and sustainable, while promoting social responsibility. With this inspiration, I created "SE%EN," the nonprofit division of Nola Industries, Inc.
The people at hair rules were uber kind enough to send me product samples to review. I chose the Hair Rules nourishment leave-in conditioner and the Hair Rules kinky curling cream.
I like the fact that the product is light smelling. It’s packaged in small convenient bottles that I can pack in my purse if needs be. The designs on them are too cute for words. I mean, C’mon!
So, I had a bit of a problem with the directions on these. I am used to applying leave-in conditioner out of the shower. Let me type out the instructions on both of these bottles and see if you can make sense of it:
Leave-in Conditioner: Apply a nickel size dollop to damp hair and leave in. Add more based on thickness and length of hair. Apply Kinky Curling Cream, Curly Whip, or Wavy Mousse and dry naturally, or blow dry using a diffuser. Follow with Hydrating Finishing Cream.
Then, the Kinky Curling Cream: Use in the shower! Apply to soaking wet hair. Saturate hair with product in sections, while smoothing and stretching with fingers or a wide-tooth comb. Do not rinse! Lightly re-wet hair, what you see is what you’ll get. Air dry or set wet curls under a hood dryer. Follow with Hydrating Finishing Cream.
Does anyone see where I got confused? Am I to apply the leave in conditioner in the shower and then follow up with the Kinky Curling Cream? That is what I did. Directions be damned.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been dealing a lot with shrinkage in my hair. I am happy to say that this product helped out A LOT with that. It made it look like I had a full head of hair again, and not some teeny weenie afro. I was able to rock my puff at Anderson Apple Orchard today!
I know, I look too cute for words… I just got that top from Old Navy too! My eyebrows need plucked desperately though.
The one major problem with this product that I have is that it takes forever for my hair to dry. I got out the shower at 11:38 this morning. It is now 10:12pm and I still have a slightly damp patch. That is my only main concern.
Bottom line: Hair Rules is a great product that helps with the stretching of the hair. If you can see, even though my hair is stretched, it did not take away the definition of my curls. The instructions are a bit confusing, but the way I used them worked out for me. It defines and shines though unless you blow dry, please be aware your hair may take a long time to dry especially if it is thick.
Author's Note: Tropical Traditions was kind enough to provide me with a sample of their product.