Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Herb Garden

Lavender Flowers in our herb garden
This morning the hubby and I got up to harvest a few herbs from our garden.  Almost everything in it is edible except for a few flower bushes and ground covers.  The soil is dark and rich and most of the plants come back each year which gives us lots of herbs all summer long.  Herbs can really take off once in the ground but we also have some planted in containers.  

Fresh cut lavender ready for drying

Our lavender bushes were the main concern today because the flowers can lose essential oils as the heat sets in later in the afternoon.  We have to cut them in the morning so that they'll be at their best for later use.  Afterwards, we hang them to dry in a cool, dark place and then use the flowers and buds in crafts like lavender sachets or Lavender Vanilla Sugar. 

Potted rosemary
I try to use most of the herbs fresh when I cook during the summer and whatever is left in the fall, we cut and dry for the winter months.  My husband also uses some of the herbs to make his own fruit & herb flavored vinegars which we currently sell in our Etsy store.

Fresh cut chives
This week we're planning on cooking steaks for the first time on our new grill so the chives we cut today will go great with baked potatoes.  I'm also looking forward to using the mint in drinks this weekend or to top a creamy dessert.

CHECK OUT our Etsy store, MimisCraftPantry for Dave's Herb Flavored Vinegars.

I use this in chicken dishes
and my homemade cornbread dressing

I love that it grows continuously
throughout the summer
Potted thyme
Adds flavor to soups and sauces

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sale This Week at!

I just found out that the already reasonable shopping on is going to be even better this week with their 4th of July Sale.  Some things are still "Buy 1 Get Free," even though it says Saturday and Sunday only.  I've been browsing through the Synthetic Lace wigs on sale and there is a lot to choose from.  Other items include jewelry, cosmetics, skincare and hair products.  I got the heads up from one of my favorite YouTubers Dezi1016 in a video where she is talking about some of the things that are for sale.  There's even a clearance section.  Check it out!

Click here to see Dezi1016's video

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Denver Natural Hair Meet-Up: The Re-Cap

Me and Sabrina Perkins of
I'm winding down and letting my feet rest after all of the days' activities.  There were plenty of things to do today before the meet-up downtown but we managed to pull it off.  The great thing about all of this is that Sabrina (of and I have lots of ideas for the next event.  Getting ready for tonight was like opening up a whole new world of possibilities.  We met lots of great contacts and found support from places we didn't know were there. 

The Rio Grande Mexican Grille served up some excellent strawberry margaritas and mexican dishes.   Thanks to the friendly staff who were also very accomodating, we had an enjoyable evening.  A big thanks to everyone who came out to our first event.  It was really great to get a chance to speak with everyone and share our tips and experiences.

Rio Grande Mexican Grille
in Downtown Denver

Hair talk and good food

Me with Shanae Smith and Ayanna Blueford
Loved talking with you ladies


Goodie bags with free samples
Thanks to all of the businesses that offered items for our gift bags including:  
Kinky Curly
Sephora Shops at Cherry Creek Mall and Northlands

Giveaway Prizes
(Carol's Daughter & Ojon Samples) More Than Curly Salon in Aurora (Ouidad Samples)

We look forward to doing it all again in the future so be sure to email either Sabrina or myself if you would like to receive info on upcoming events.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Godrej Nupur Henna Review

I've been using henna for the past year and a half now and can say that I have tried a few different types.  I use it to blend my greys with the rest of my dark hair and keep my scalp issues at bay.  Previously, I ordered it online but now purchase it locally from an Indian Grocery store.  Recently I picked up a new brand from Ananda Bazaar in Aurora, that I heard others rave about in the hair forums.  It's called Godrej Nupur and is actually a mixture that includes brahmi (promotes hair growth), shikakai (cleanses hair and scalp), amla (darkens hair and prevents scalp infection) and bhringraj (conditions).  Finding all of these in one package is quite a deal.  I figured at $1.49 (USD) per package, the Nupur henna was definitely worth a try.

I added green tea and juice from
half a lemon
One package of Godrej Nupur henna holds 60 grams so I used two packages for my hair which is past shoulder length and very thick.  I kept my mix pretty simple and just added green tea and juice from half a lemon.  I added enough water to make it into a yogurt like consistency and let it sit for a few hours.  Before applying it to my hair, I added a little more water so that it was creamy enough to work with.  One thing I noticed is that the texture of the henna is a lot smoother than some of the others I have worked with (i.e. Reshma and Jamila).  This made it very easy to apply.  The color took very well and did a good job of staining my greys that were starting to peek through. 

Added plain water until the
henna was a yogurt like
I have used the product twice since purchasing it and can definitely say that my hair appears to be darker which is more to my liking (I found out last year that my adding honey to my henna applications caused it to lighten my hair a little).  I was looking for a darker result so the Nupur henna works for me.  Even so, my hair still looks a deep burgundy color when I'm outside.  For this reason I'm currently looking to do the 2 step process where you apply henna and then indigo to go completely black.  Overall though, I enjoy using the Godrej Nupur and will make sure to keep it stocked in my ever growing henna stash. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Denver's Natural Hair Meet-Up is Almost Here!

I can't believe that the Denver Natural Hair Meet-up is finally coming up this Saturday, June 25th.  Naturals, transitioners and anyone considering going natural are all welcome to join us for what will be a "Girl's Night Out" style gathering.  We'll talk hair and swap stories while enjoying some great food.  We'll each be paying for our own eats but hopefully we can pick-up a sponsor for future events.

Sabrina of the blog, Seriously Natural, has done a great job talkin' the event up to local stylists who we hope will also be in attendance.  She has even gathered samples of hair goodies from companies like Kinky Curly and Carol's Daughter!  I'm excited too because this will be the first hair meet-up I've been to.  Hope to see you there!

Don't Forget to R.S.V.P.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Heat Damage Again. . .Really?

If you watch my channel, mitchellzee, on YouTube, then you probably already know about the heat damage I have in the front section of my hair.  When I do a wash n' go, I just braid that part up to give it enough texture to blend it with the rest of my hair.  My hair just seems to be really fine in front so even after using 3 different types of heat protection every time I flat iron, I still end up with straight pieces. 

My hair after washing and deep conditioning
No curls; just a mess
So, I was pretty upset when I found even more heat damage after the last time I wore it straight for Easter.  I knew it wasn't the initial press but a touch-up later in the week that did it. 

My rules for avoiding heat damage are as follows:

1.  Always cleanse the hair thouroughly prior to using heat
2.  Do a moisturizing deep conditioning treatment before and after the use of heat
3.  Always use heat protectant
4.  No more heat styling the rest of the time (i.e. styling by wrapping, roller setting, bantu knots and braids instead of using the flat iron again)

The first time I gave myself heat damage I broke rules #1 and #3.  I thought that I could get away with using heat after a braidout left my hair nice and soft.  I thought, "Wouldn't it be cool if I could just straighten it now without the blowdrying?"  Well, yes and no.  You can use braids to stretch your hair prior to straightening as long as you don't use any oils which can cause damage when you apply direct heat.  I used a mixture of castor, coconut and olive oils to do the braidout so when I applied the heat....sizzzle!  Also, I didn't even bother with heat protectant and ended up with a piece in front that not only did not revert back, but was straight like relaxed hair.  I eventually cut it off which is why I now have bangs.  This was 3 months after I did the big chop.

This time, however, was a huge dissapointment because I KNEW better!  I broke my own rule #4; no more heat the rest of the time I wear it straight.  I moisturized my hair and sealed it with coconut oil everyday so I knew for sure this had something to do with the new damage I noticed.  Not only that, I oiled my scalp with Wild Growth Oil and it ended up coating my strands from root to tip.  I could have used my Caruso Rollers, to style my hair but was pressed for time and pulled out the flat iron again.  After shampooing and deep conditioning, my poor hair was a hot mess!  I didn't have curls just a shrunken puff ball (see picture above).  The damage looked like it was pretty serious and I was really scared that I wouldn't see my curls again.

Find out how I got my curls back in my next post "Recovering from Heat Damage"

Recovering from Heat Damage

After my most recent bout with heat damage, I wasn't too sure how to go about getting my curls back.  I wore my hair straight for Easter Sunday but decided to use the flat iron again later in the week after using oils in my hair.  My curls did not revert back like they normally did when I wore my hair straight and I was afraid that the damage was permanent.  Was I upset?  You damn skippy I was!  I couldn't believe that I let this happen again.  Not only that, I just chopped off 1/2" of damage at the start of the year which gave me curls galore.  Now I was right back where I started and worse.

What did I do you ask?  Well, I did what I always do when I need answers, I went to the internet.  I was pretty certain that what I was experiencing was permanent heat damage but I was really hoping that someone out there had a magic remedy.  I stumbled onto a YouTube video that I remembered watching by Taren916, where she used the Aphogee 2 step Protein Treatment to help repair her heat damage.  She showed a before shot where her hair was limp and not so curly and another after the treatment when her hair had more texture. 

After watching that, I went to the hair forums and read articles for more info on how the protein treatment worked.  Basically, heat can cause significant damage to the cuticle layer of the hair strand.  This is the protective outer layer (imagine tiny shingles that overlap one another).  Once these cuticles are damaged, the hair is vulnerable and more prone to dryness and breakage.  The protein in the Aphogee treatment helps to fill in the gaps where the hair strand is missing these important little pieces. 
So, the very next day, I shot over to Sally's and made a B-line for the Aphogee products.  I still wasn't too sure if this was all I needed so I grabbed a silicone based conditioner (the GVP version of Paul Mitchell's The Detangler) and said a prayer.  After the application and rinsing it all out, I was very surprised to see curls where there was once very non-descript strands.  The treatment actually worked, but the curls were still looser than before (as you can see from the photo).  My hair was still much thicker at the roots.  Afterwards, I decided to go back to an old regimen I employed when I used to use semi-permanent color on my natural hair. 

Damaged hair regimen:
  • Deep condition 2x per week- 1x with moisture; 1x with protein
  • Stay away from
  • Protective styles to avoid further damage
  • My curls 4 weeks after the treatment.
    Using braids to protect hair from too
    much manipulation
  • Silicone based conditioner for detangling and co-washing
I added the silicone conditioner because the primary reason for using silicone in hair products is so that it can help mask damage incurred by heat styling, hair color and chemical treatments.   Thankfully, my hair is back to being nice and curly but is just a bit more stretched than before with a few lazy curls here and there.  Some people use heat for this effect but that was never my intention.  Needless to say, me and my curls are stepping away from the heat for a good, long while.


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