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Monday, November 30, 2015

Protective Styling with TGIN: Fall Hair



This is for all the lazy naturals out there like myself.  If even the thought of installing a Protective Style makes you tired then this short term protective style is right up your alley.  I've been doing crown braids using cheap braid hair for some time now.  It's the easiest style to install and spruce up a low ponytail.  Below are the steps to achieve the style and links to purchase the products.
TGIN has sponsored this blog post.

TOOLS:

I purchased Kanekalon Braid Hair from Sally Beauty Supply Store for super cheap.  Like $2.59 cheap!!  The darker hair I used (found here) is the color 1B and the bright magenta color I used was also purchased at Sally Beauty but doesn't appear to be sold online.  I took a small fraction of the Magenta hair and combined it with all of the darker hair.  I tied a large rubber band in the middle of the hair and braided each end of the hair.

PROTECTING YOUR HAIR:

Under your Protective Styles it's super important to keep your own hair moisturized... Even if it is short term.  Prior to installing your style, I would recommend Washing and Deep Conditioning.  My personal favorite for Deep Conditioning is the TGIN Honey Miracle Mask.  If you haven't tried it yet, you really need to because I am 100% sure you will love it. This Deep Conditioner provides an incredible amount of slip PLUS gives your hair ALL the moisture.  Once you're done washing and begin prepping your hair for styling, make sure you not only use a great moisturizer but you also SEAL that moisture in with an oil.  For this style, I used the TGIN Buttercream Daily Moisturizer and the TGIN Hair and Body Serum to seal in that moisture.  The reason I used this Daily Moisturizer is because it also has amazing slip, it's lightweight and adds the perfect amount of moisture for this Protective Style.  Be careful not to make this ponytail too tight since you will be leaving it in for a little while.  You don't want that tension on your edges.



DIRECTIONS:

Brush your hair into a low ponytail and create a tiny bun.  You can either use a black elastic band to secure your ponytail or braid your hair and pin.  If your hair is too long to do either without it looking 'jacked' then part your hair down the middle and do two french braids or twists going back and pin the hair milkmaid style.  Next take the faux hair mixture by the rubber band secured in the middle, extend the rubber band and wrap the band around your low ponytail bun.  If you did a braid instead of a ponytail bun then just pin the faux hair in the center using a bobby pin.  Speaking of bobby pins, you will need quite a bit from here!  Where to go from here should be pretty obvious.  Take a braid from one side and wrap it completely around your head then pin away to secure.  Do the same with the braid on the other side.  Once you're done pinning, the style is complete!

Reading the directions above while watching the short YouTube Tutorial may help you understand better how this all comes together.  You can either click the link here to watch or press play below.



Sunday, November 22, 2015

MCS Goes Vegan: Update


Two weeks ago today, I began a journey to transition to Vegan.  Although, the idea was to "transition", I knew that I was going hard core.  So for the first 5 days, I was completely vegan with no slide backs.  Then my first downfall came when I stopped by Wegmans and passed their Deli.  I literally could smell the cold cuts which triggered an insane mental battle questioning whether one meal would 'really' ruin my journey.  I'm sharing this with you because I want to be entirely honest about this journey with you!  Yes, the days before I felt strong and determined but I also had not gone out to anywhere that had temptation.  So, I grabbed that sandwich from Wegmans and ate it... ALL!  Then I reasoned with myself that since I had 'ruined' the day with the sandwich, I might as well eat the leftover Popeyes in the fridge (my family is not transitioning with me).  That day was not the best day for me. At first I felt defeated and weak but then I realized and 'remembered' that this was a journey.  I needed to learn from these downfalls so that I could do better next time.  You see, when I was at Wegmans it was hours past my lunch time and I had no 'good' snacks to hold me over.  I was already in a very vulnerable state with no idea when I would be eating anything.  This was the lesson.  Prepare better.

I don't want to just share the downfalls because I've done quite well on many other days.  The Thug Kitchen Book (see previous post here) has helped me make some delicious meals and as always, Google has been a good friend.  I'm still not interested in making salads with 7 different greens or Acai Bowls that require cutting up 10 different fruits.  They're all appealing to me, but keeping things very basic has been super satisfying so far.  Breakfast is usually a Smoothie with Almond or Coconut Milk, a Banana, Spinach/Kale/or a Scoop of Amazing Grass.  Morning Snack is usually a half a bagel with Vegan Butter or Vanilla Almond Butter.  Lunch example would be Vegetable Fried Rice (Vegan Style) or a huge plate of raw cut up seasoned fruits/veggies .  Dinner is Vegan Chili with Tofu or Black Beans with Sauteed Kale.  Obviously these are just examples and I'm not literally eating these meals every single day.  Prior to going Vegan, this basic style of eating is actually how I ate anyways... very simple yet satisfying meals.

In my first week, I decided to make the decision to be Vegan 5 days out of the week.  Maybe it was the cravings, maybe I just wanted to set a more attainable goal for me right now.  Going hardcore wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but I sensed that I would give up soon if I didn't slow down a bit.  The best part is that this journey is personal, it's mine.  I started this journey towards a better lifestyle for the benefit of ME.  Since making the decision to slow down, things have been much smoother.  I may kick things into full gear again in the near future but for now, this is the plan.

Just wanted to check-in and let you guys know how I was doing.  I'm not perfect and I'm not aiming to showcase perfection but rather a REAL journey.  The ins and outs... ups and downs.  As always, if you have any helpful tips feel free to share below in the comments.  XOXOMCS
Monday, November 16, 2015

The Non-Traditional Holiday Dinner


The Holidays are upon us (Idk why I love saying the word 'upon' LOL) and it's time we start thinking about dinner.  Truthfully, any time is good enough to start thinking about eating.  I can't remember a year where I didn't tire myself making a Holiday dinner.  We even start cooking days in advance which means we are tired for days while cooking up all this food.  And, for what?  To barely eat a plate because we're so tired.  It's a crazy cycle that we put ourselves through every single year.  We really don't have to.  So many restaurants + markets have provided us with options to order all or just a portion of our dinner and guess what?  That's exactly what I'm doing this year!



We haven't done Turkey in so long.  It's just not a meat that I prefer to eat... not over a juicy Ham at least!  But, this year we are purchasing our Turkey from Popeyes!  Yes, Popeyes... hear me out.  So they've apparently been doing this for years.  I'm late to the party.  For a cute $39.99-$41.99, you too can get yourself a Cajun seasoned and infused Turkey.  It comes pre-cooked but frozen so you do have to thaw (for 2 days approximately) and heat up (for 3-4 hours approximately).  Listen, I can already anticipate all the life I am going to get from this deliciousness.  I will be sure to let you know how the family likes this added twist.

Now I don't plan on being a complete lazy bum. I do plan on making some sides that you just can't trust others with... Baked Macaroni + Cheese, Collard Greens and Potato Salad.  For the rest, I plan on taking myself right on over to Whole Foods.  Oh you didn't know about their extensive Thanksgiving Menu.  Well let me put you on!



Above is just a small portion of what Whole Foods actually offers during the Holiday Season.  For their full offerings, click HERE.  Before you say anything about the pricing, consider the time and energy you are saving by not having to cook these items yourself.  Don't forget the grocery shopping, the clearing out of the refrigerator to make room and the hours in the kitchen just on "prep" work.  Take my word for it... IT'S WORTH IT!  I will be sure to post pictures of our family dinner on Instagram but don't wait until you see those photos on Thanksgiving and it's too late.

Are there any Traditions this Holiday Season that you plan on putting your own twist on?!  Share below.

*Thank you Whole Foods Ashburn for your efforts in this Post*
Sunday, November 8, 2015

MyCandiShoppe goes Vegan



Hello! If you're here it's probably to find out more about my journey to go Vegan.  Thank you for stopping by the Shoppe and hopefully you'll decide to stay for good.  Yes, I've decided to "go Vegan".  I'm not doing a challenge nor do I want to make the change for just a month.  Literally, I want to convert to become a dietary Vegan.  It's not for everyone and some may wonder why and what's the point so I will share MY reasons with you.

For the past few years I have been packing on weight like nobody's business.  It has reached a point where I am no longer comfortable even attending certain events.  Anxiety builds up when I know that I can't get away with wearing leggings or sweats somewhere.  A lot of you may not understand or comprehend how a girl who is so "out there" on Social Media can feel this way but it's the truth.  I'm not sitting around eating Burger King everyday wondering why I'm not a size 2.  I've always considered myself to be quite a healthy eater.  In fact, that has been my reason for not changing my diet for so long.  Year after year I've told myself that my diet is great already so there's no need to change that.  Well obviously that is NOT the case or else I would not have gained so much weight. (Yes, I've been to the doctor and have had multiple things checked including my thyroid)  I have three children so people think I'm crazy when I share my desire to lose weight but truthfully I've gained 30+ pounds in just the last 3 years.  At that point my youngest child was already 2 years old so my weight gain has nothing to do with birthing children.  I've been a small person all my life at just 5"2.  After the birth of each child, I would literally leave the hospital at a cute 115-120 pounds.  LITERALLY.  The weight gain has everything to do with my lifestyle.  I may "think" that what I'm consuming is just fine but the facts say that ain't so.

After a little (well A LOT) of research, I've decided to do something different than my normal.  Going Vegan isn't something that came to me overnight.  In fact, I've been thinking about it since last year but always put it off because I couldn't give up steak, or I couldn't give up cheese.  Recently, I was listening to a Periscope from Mattieologie and she said something that truly hit home... "I love a size 24 waist more than I love cheese".  And, it was that simple!  Somehow that one line put it all in perspective for me.  If I truly want to be happy with my weight and body image then I need to love that more than I love any of these foods that are keeping me from reaching those goals.

So far I've spent a ridiculous amount on stocking my cabinets and fridge.  One thing I keep reading and hearing is that preparation is key to the success of going Vegan. There really weren't too many items that I would not normally shop for but a few condiments like butter, mayo and coffee creamer that needed vegan substitutes.  My kids said they would like to try being Vegan as well so I purchased some cookbooks to keep things interesting.  If it were up to me, I could eat very basic meals and be SO satisfied and happy.  For kids, this isn't going to cut it so I purchased two highly recommended cookbooks from Amazon, Eat Like You Give a F*ck by Thug Kitchen and But I Could Never go Vegan by Kristy Turner.  I'm hoping to get the whole family on board but if they choose to still eat meat products, that's okay too.

The overall goal is to gain better eating habits and enter into a healthier lifestyle altogether all while losing weight hopefully.  During this time I appreciate all advice and recommendations if you are Vegan or have tried being Vegan in the past.  I am not here for the doubters and naysayers. Do you.  I'll post an update sometime this week... Until then DEUCES!
XOXOMCS
Friday, November 6, 2015

How I Take it Off || Nighttime Skincare



Long story short, I have sensitive, acne prone skin that tends to be super oily.  It took me quite some time to figure out what works and what didn't work that I nearly gave up and threw in the towel.  Lucky enough for me, there are so many great Blogs out there dedicated to getting your skin snatched.  The one thing I can't do is switch up skincare products all willy nilly.  Nope, my face won't have it and I will start looking like a 14 year old girl that just hit puberty.  Finding the balance for my sensitive, acne prone, oily skin is sometimes painful but the products below have definitely helped in the process!


I've been using these face wipes for years now.  They're the first step in taking my face off every night.  Using the wipes before my actual cleanser saves me a ton of money.  Why?  Because I'm not having to use more Cleanser or wash my face 2-3 times to get all the makeup off.  Believe me, the wipes help out in so many ways.  And, if you find some amazing wipes like these that actually do more than just take your makeup off then you're truly winning.


First things first, you need to go run and grab this Cleanser NOW!  Danielle from StylenBeautyDoc posted a picture of these bad boys on Instagram and raved over them.  So naturally, I ran out immediately (I literally ran out 10 minutes after her Instagram post LOL) to my nearest Walgreens and picked not one but TWO jars up.  Yep, that's how much I trust certain Blogs and Bloggers.  These Daily Resurfacing Pads are the perfect option for very light exfoliation every day.  One side is more rough than the other side but it's nothing crazy.  For those of us that use a Clarisonic but can't use it daily, this a great option to use in between your Clarisonic days.  Ugh, I can't tell you how much I am loving this product.  Two thumbs up!


This Mask is a newbie to the crew.  Back in September NUDE sent me some products for review and this was one of them.  Due to my difficult skin, I always have to take at least a month when reviewing new skincare products before I can give a definitive review.  Thankfully this Mask passed the test of being sensitive enough to not break me out but strong enough to show results!  If you have oily skin, this Mask is a must-have in your arsenal.  Not only does it draw out all the impurities in your skin but it leaves your face GLOWING chile.  If you have an event to attend... Holiday Party, Family Thanksgiving, hell if you want to be snatched when your Husband comes home from work... Throw this mask on THAT DAY.  It is NOT a daily mask and shouldn't be used more than twice a week so be careful not to become addicted to it's results.  Real Talk.


I've been using this as a toner after I wash my face.  It's heavy duty enough to remove any stubborn remaining makeup but sensitive enough to use around the eyes to remove that mascara that seems to be holding on for dear life.  Micellar Water became all the craze sometime last year and seems to still be going pretty hard as more and more brands are coming out with their own version.  I can't say there is anything "spectacular" about this product but it works great for me.  Listen, if it doesn't break me out, is inexpensive and serves a decent purpose then I'M GOOD.  There are products that I am a bit more picky about but those are usually my core products that I spend some coin on, not a $5 bottle of Cleansing Water from Target, OK!


This Moisturizer right here is BAE.  Like can I make you your favorite dinner, massage your feet, clean the house and take care of the kids while you relax and watch tv all night, BAE.  For the longest, I wouldn't wear Moisturizers because it only added yet another layer of product on top of my already oily skin.  Then I found some Bloggers who really put it all in perspective for me and since then my goal has always been to have a moisturizer that isn't thick, absorbs quickly and doesn't add to my oiliness.  Well, this Moisturizer here hits on all of those points.  Two small pumps (YES, it comes with a pump as if sent from the baby Jesus Himself) is all it takes and it literally absorbs within seconds so you better work real quick.  Sephora's VIB Sale starts next week and this product is definitely on my list to purchase!

I keep my Skincare Regimens super simple, especially at night.  Finding products that allows me to do that is extremely important.  If I need 10 or more products to get the job done then the job is not going to get done.  The only two products that I am always on the hunt for and have yet to find staples for are an eye cream and a serum.  If you guys have any recommendations, please let me know below.  Stay tuned because I plan to share ALL my beauty secrets + staples this month on the Blog.  I'm trying to get us all right before the Holidays so you can't afford not to be subscribed.  

XOXOMCS
Tuesday, November 3, 2015

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Big Chopped



1.  Your Curl Pattern Doesn't Mean as Much as You Think

I first Big Chopped to Brush Cut because I really have very little patience for any transition process.  At first, the plan was to grow my cut out immediately but then I fell in love with having no hair.  So I would grow my hair out 2-3 inches then chop it all off again.  Well, one thing I quickly realized was that my Curl Pattern would literally grow back differently each time!  When I first Big Chopped, the hair grew in very coarse and very frizzy.  The second time, the hair had a looser and smoother curl pattern.  This definitely wasn't something anyone had ever discussed in all the research I did prior to Big Chopped so I was all kinds of confused.  I just learned to rock with it and appreciate whatever Curl Pattern grew in!

2.  The Initial Confidence You Gain May Waiver Throughout Your Journey

Everyone talks about how freeing it is to Big Chop.  Truthfully, it is the most liberating thing I've ever done in my life.  You couldn't tell me a damn thing when I Big Chopped.  Little did I know that I would struggle with my Confidence months later.  The phase is commonly known as the 'Awkward Grow Out Stage' and I knew it would come but I thought it only had to do with Styling.  Your hair gets to a length where it's not a TWA but it's sometimes not long enough to do hardly any other styles.  No one really shared how during this stage you may also regret Big Chopping or not feel as Confident about your cut as you once did.  I ended up shaping my rounded fro into a Tapered Cut which eventually came with it's own battles!

3.  Your Favorite Blogger May Not be Giving YOU The Best Advice

When I first became addicted to YouTube I was following all the Bloggers that had the "pretty" and "perfect" curls... especially the ones with super long hair! LOL.  I swore once I Big Chopped that I would have some 3A-3B Curls. Nope.  I was all sorts of lost once I Big Chopped because I had taken advice from the wrong Bloggers.  It became my mission to find Bloggers and Naturalistas who had Curls that looked more like my own.  Finding kinks that resemble your own truly do help when you first Big Chop because it can save you quite a bit of time trying to figure out what products work best for you!!

4.  Hair Grows at a Different Rate for Each Person

Everyone talks up the 'retention' aspect of hair growth A LOT.  Not too many really share that some women just have hair that grows MUCH faster than others.  I found it's much easier to measure and see this when a woman dyes her hair or else people will always argue that it's more about retention.  While the average is 1/2 inch per month... Some women can grow an inch or much more!  Many Naturalistas think their hair is breaking off or not flourishing in comparison to others while the bottom line could just be that your hair is growing slower than those you're comparing yourself to!

5. The Tapered Cut is CUTE but There Are Drawbacks

When I reached my 'Awkward Growth Stage', immediately I thought doing a Tapered Cut would be the perfect solution.  There were so many pictures on Instagram of Tapered Cuts and I was sucked right on in.  Well, what I didn't know was that the grow out phase of the Tapered Cut would be worse than the grow out phase of your initial Big Chop.  For some reason the top of my head grew soooo much faster than the sides and back so I had to keep cutting the top in order to look normal.  I also felt like I had even less styling options with the Tapered Cut due to the different lengths on my head.  I may Big Chop again in the future but I will NEVER do a Tapered Cut on a TWA ever again.

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