Saturday, April 21, 2012

To Market, to Market

This weekend I'm helping my husband sell the plants he has grown for our  Heirloom Vegetable Plant Sale in Denver.  This is our second year and the turnout has been great so far.  I have to admit that the past ten weeks have been full of ups and downs.  Still, we like the fact that the plants we watched grow from seed are now strong, healthy and ready for the garden.

Why buy Heirlooms?

Heirloom Tomatoes and Peppers
Normally you'll find hybrid vegetable plants at your Big Box stores like Home Depot and Walmart.  This is when you cross two plant varieties to create a completely new one (a hybrid).  Because of this, the seeds cannot be saved to plant the following season.  Heirloom vegetables offer more taste and nutritional value than those that are grown from hybrid varieties.  Also, the seeds can be saved and used to grow new plants the following season.

It's fun to hear how the plants will be added to gardens and containers.  Still, even though we have been lucky with the warmer temperatures this spring, we explain to our customers the importance of waiting until May to plant them.  This is because of the unpredictable Colorado weather.  One frosty night can stop a healthy vegetable plant in its' tracks.

We are both weary from today's activities but happy to know that there are lots of people in town who prefer to by from local growers like my Husband.  We're so excited to meet others who appreciate the value of our heirloom plants.  The plant sale will continue through Sunday.  Here are some pics from the first day.

Straight Eight Cucumbers

Heirloom Bell Peppers

Genoa Basil

 CLICK HERE  for more details on the Plant Sale

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

DIY Eco Styler Gel Custard Recipe

After many months of searching for an alternative to Eco Styler Gel, I finally resigned to the fact that it's the only gel that gives the hold and definition my curls crave.  Still, I always got the dreaded dry, crunchy feeling everytime I used it.  I usually apply a leave-in to my wet hair and seal the moisture in with an oil underneath the gel.  No matter what, I kept getting the same result.  After reading through the book, Curly Girl, by Lorraine Massey, I found out that the crunch or "cast" the gel leaves behind is actually a good thing.  This is when you know your curls have been set into place.  I found this to be true because after air drying, I'm usually able to fluff and style my hair without worrying about losing my curl definition.  The book suggests that you scrunch the hair to remove the crunch but I sometimes kept getting a dry feeling after this step.
I figured out that the combination of an oil and a mositurizer underneath the gel gave me much softer hair.  This however led to applying lots of products one by one.  By the time I reached the front sections of my hair it was dry and not as manageable.  I wanted a way to apply the products quicker so I decided to just whip them all together and came up with a nice custard consistency.  I'm realizing that this is a much easier way to apply my products and my curls love it!  

Here's the recipe I came up with

Eco Styler Gel Custard

6 oz. Argan Oil Eco Styler Gel (or fill a 12 oz container half way)
2 Tblsp. Hollywood Beauty Olive Creme Hairdress for Dry Hair*
1 Tblsp. Castor/Coconut Oil Mix**

Place ingredients in a small container.  Whip together until all ingredients are combined.   The mixture will have a pudding like consistency. 

*You can substitute another moisturizer; one that pairs well with Eco Gel
**I use a 50/50 Castor/Coconut oil mix to seal my hair.  For this recipe I just used 1 Tblsp of my pre-mixed oil.

The Application

After cleansing and conditioning, I apply my leave-in conditioner (currently Paul Mitchell's The Conditioner) to my hair while it's still wet.  Next I section my hair into four sections to keep my hair up while I'm styling.  Within each section I make small parts and apply my Eco Gel Custard.  I use a smoothing and raking motion to help give the curls definition.  I've also started sealing the hair with oil after applying the gel custard for an even softer hold but this is optional.  Then, I let it airdry for about an hour or so before I use a blow dryer on the roots.  You can also plop the hair with a T-Shirt to help with the drying time or just continue to air dry.

Final Thoughts

I'm finding that the mixture also works on my edges when I wear my hair up.  I haven't done a braid-out or twist-out with it yet but it looks like it may give good results.   I'm going to continue to play with the recipe but this version seems to work well on my hair which is a 4a/4b texture.  I've also started using it on my son's curly 3b/3c/4a hair and it is also responding well.  The only thing I noticed is that I'm getting a lot more shrinkage because my curls just love the moisture.  To get more hang time I usually just stretch it by pulling it back at night.


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