Friday, September 2, 2016

My First Aloe

Hey, guys!  Well, if you follow me on Instagram then you know I've sorta kinda been on a serious health kick.  I've always been health conscious and tried to be nutritionally aware, however, I've stepped it up a few notches, incorporating a wider variety of veggies and other nourishing notables to my daily regimen.  Which brings me to my latest indulgence - aloe.  Potently packed with a myriad of vitamins that almost run the full alphabet, including A, C and E, it also boasts skin hydrating, immune boosting as well as body detoxifying powers.  If that's not enough, it's also a competent antioxidant and antibacterial agent.  For the initiated, all this may be old news.  But for the rest of us, this ACE of a plant has an impressive resume that is hard to ignore any further.  And so I bought my first aloe vera leaf... and prepped it for consumption as well as topical use.

Built like a shark's fin with spiny sides, the aloe vera leaf (single) usually comes sealed at its base.  Not knowing how to pick one out, I just grabbed the one that felt the fattest around its mid-section and didn't look too beat up.

Next, I cut the leaf into three parts, cutting both above and below the meatiest part of my plant - the middle.

I then placed all three parts into an empty bowl with the exposed sections down so that the yellow sap of the leaf can drain out.  This yellow substance, or the latex of the plant, is layered just beneath the aloe's "rind" and contains aloin, which can act as a natural laxative and cause irritability to both the skin (if you're sensitive to latex) and stomach if ingested.  Therefore, to avoid any "issues", it's best to let as much of it drain out... especially if you plan on incorporating it into a drink or meal.  

At this point, also, you may notice a smell, which I would describe as a slightly sour green onion, if that makes any sense.  It is pretty pungent as it filled up my entire kitchen and even started to creep upstairs.  But I wouldn't go so far as to call the smell repugnant even though I have heard it referred to as "off-putting" and "foul".  So if your nostrils are super sensitive, keep the area well ventilated (i.e., open a window... or two).   

Once fully drained (I let mine sit for about an hour), you are ready to fully expose and extricate its gelatinous core.

Using a sharp knife, I cut the thorny sides and then peeled the top layer right off.  Next, I slid the knife between the remaining skin and flesh, completely freeing the diaphanous "fillet" inside.

In addition to the uncovered "meat" of the plant will also be drippings of the ooey-gooey gel, which is not tacky/sticky at all and coats its entire innards.

After gutting the leaf completely, I put the contents into a blender and whipped it a few seconds until it turned into a foamy liquid.

Finally, I put the elixir into a air-proof container and placed it in the refrigerator.  Still sporting a frothy "head", this aloe vera juice is now ready to work its medicinal magic and - from start to finish -  it didn't take much time to prepare at all!

I even managed to spare a chunk to put into my veggie/fruit-filled smoothie (which turned out totally delicious, if I do say so myself.  And I do!).  #WINNING #YUM

So there you have it!  I am thrilled to have finally tried aloe vera out; it has proven to be a subtle addition taste-wise to my power drink and I am trying it out on my skin as we speak.  Will it be for me the so-called medicinal panacea that many aloe adherents tout it as being?  Well, I don't think I'm looking for it to be.  But if it can and will boost my health in any type of way then I'm all for it.  Therefore, I look forward to reaping all of the benefits from this green-leaved gem... and can't wait to see the results from using it on my skin!  

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hair Love: Theorie Grapefruit Shampoo & Con

OK, I've got one more from the list of Theorie products I've tried and adored.  And with this one... I really hit the mother lode!  I'm going to totally do away with the verbal pomp and circumstance (you guys already know that I'm head over heels for just about everything Theorie) and get right to the nitty-gritty.  Seduced by the duo's resume, I indulged - once again - and procured a bottle of their Grapefruit Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner.  And - once again - I'm in L-O-V-E! 

Grapefruit Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner are a superhero twosome designed to fight the damaging effects of free radicals on normal to chemically-treated hair while imparting softness, moisture and incredible shine.  Armed with the antioxidant powers of grapefruit extract as well as Gingko biloba leaf extract and grapeseed oil, the rich conditioner plays the perfect foil to the gentle cleansing - but equally emollient - shampoo; working in tandem, they deftly hydrate strands without leaving them feeling or looking overwhelmed and flat.  Did I also mention that they're paraben- and sulfate-free?  Yep.  Oh, and they come equipped with pumps.  Yeah, so there's that, too...   

At the risk of sounding redundant, I have to tell you that I am deeply smitten with this shampoo/conditioner combo.  Oddly enough, despite its moniker, I didn't find either to really smell like grapefruit.  Now that's not a complaint at all, just an observation.  The fragrance, however, is quite pleasant, not at all heavy and dissipates quickly.  Since I began using the Grapefruit Revitalizing duo, I have NOT - I repeat - HAVE NOT had ONE BAD HAIR DAY!  Not one!  My hair feels nourished, soft and has brilliant shine!  Between Theorie's Grapefruit and their Argan Oil line, I prefer Grapefruit because I feel that my hair is a little lighter... that the Argan oil made my hair feel just slightly more subdued.  Both are great, but I feel that Grapefruit better suits my hair. 

Well, there you have it!  I have completely bought in and completely sold out for Grapefruit!  I'm not letting anything else touch my tresses and will not deviate from this haircare line.  It is no exaggeration when I tell you that Theorie has some of the best products I've ever tried!  My search is O-VA, my curiosity sated!  I don't have to and will not look any further; I've found THE one(s).  And it feels soooo good! #WINNING!

Theorie Grapefruit Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner are available at yourtheorie(.)com and retail for $26 each (13.5 fl. oz.) or $36 each (28.6 fl. oz.).

Friday, July 1, 2016

Hair Love: Theorie Heat Shield

OK, guys, I think I may be on the verge of becoming slightly obsessed.  Ever since trying out some of Theorie's products via a trial pack, I've been wanting to try more, more, MORE!  Yes, it's been quite an awakening for me.  I have taken the proverbial "red pill" and discovered a whole new world of hair products that not only work extremely well, but also deliver on everything that they promise... and more!  Theorie is the truth, Ruth!  I'm just sayin'... 

So, without further chit-chat, let me introduce you to my latest find, the latest addition to my ever-growing Theorie collection.  It's their Heat Shield Thermal Spray... and it is FAB-U-LOUS!

Heat Shield Thermal Spray is a styling dynamo from luxury hair brand Theorie.  Formulated to guard hair against possible damage from heat styling tools, it also claims to calm frizz, enhance moisture and shine, prevent color fading, nourish and strengthen strands as well as provide long-lasting style... even in the face of humidity.  Bold assertions, indeed.  And guess what?  Enriched with Gingko Biloba extract and silk amino acids, this spray delivers on every one!  Its simple nozzle disperses a lightweight mist of citrus-smelling goodness that enhances the hair in every way promised.  I even went out in sauna-like, heavy humidity and my hair was not altered in the least - not one strand!  This stuff is AWE-SOME!  I'm just sayin'...

So there you have it!  I am deeply in amore with this spray, guys.  I've been using it in lieu of my CHI Iron Guard and my hair feels and looks like spun silk.  Not that the CHI spray wasn't doing me right - it was.  I just found a new love that's lighter, "sticky-less" (not a complaint, just an observation) and leaves my hair shinier, I think.  And it smells heavenly to boot!  Nothing heavy, just an unobtrusive, ethereal scent that quietly dissipates after a day or so.  Oh, and the bottle is HUGE!  Bigger than a handful, longer than a hand's length, you get a good bang for your buck with this one.  I LUV IT!  It is the bee's knees, okay?  And I can't wait to explore more items from Theorie's haircare roster.  I'm just sayin'! 

Theorie Heat Shield Thermal Spray is available at folica(.)com and yourtheorie(.)com and retails for $26/6 fl. oz.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Theorie of Everything

OK, so you guys know how I was searching for a new flat iron and, after a few tries, finally fell in love with a digital dynamo called Quantum by beauty brand Theorie, right?  Well, so enamored am I with my new hair tool that I began perusing some more of their products online - most of which have no less than five stars, by the way!  Super impressed by their products' ever-growing list of accolades, I decided to put my proverbial toe back in the water... AGAIN!  Yes, yes, y'all... I am trying out more hair products.  (Don't roll your eyes or give me that look - I know, I know!)  Anywho, for the initiated, you know the drill: cats, curiosity... MEOW!  So, without further ado, let me get to my first roundup.  It's a trial-sized assortment of goodies curated from their Argan Oil line called the Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Collection - Discovery Edition.  

Tucked away in a faux cowhide pouch, the Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Collection - Discovery Edition contains five pickings from their line of products infused with a symphony of nutrient-rich oils, including frankincense, grapeseed and the headlining Moroccan Argan oil.   

The Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Shampoo and Conditioner boasts a one-two punch of hydrating power while imparting a brilliant shine to dull tresses.  Housed in dark amber bottles with twist off tops that deceivingly look like pumps, this paraben- and sulfate-free duo works hard at restoring hair to its highest degree of health and lustre all while leaving strands with a silk-like finish.  Oh, and it smells of sweet citrus to boot!

The Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Hair Mask comes in an ample packet and is formulated to address severely damaged, unresponsive hair.  From root to tip, it provides a shield of hydration to thirsty strands, helping to guard it against breakage and rehab it to its ultimate state of vibrancy.

Rounding out the hair products in this sample collection if the Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Hair Serum, a luxurious elixir formulated to amp up the moisture as well as protect from the rigors of heat styling and boost shine.  It, too, has a juicy citrus smell and comes in a frosted amber bottle equipped with a dropper top to help control the dispensing of the serum.

And as for the fifth and lone body product of bunch, the Argan Oil Ultra Luxe Body Cleanser is as much an indulgence for the skin as it for the senses.  Imbued with the same scent signature to the Argan line, this gentle but thorough wash leaves skin feeling generously soft, supple and well moisturized.  It contains all natural ingredients and is free of harsh agents such as sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates.

So there you have it - my first go 'round with some of Theorie's products!  I figured I would whet my appetite with this convenient sampling and then take it from there.  *sigh*  I know, guys... the girl can't help it, though.  I like trying new stuff.  Especially hair stuff, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how these goodies fare on me.  And when I've tried them out, I'll be sure to be back and give you the full skinny!

Oh, and P.S. - Do you know that after I mourned the slow demise of my beloved HAI flat iron and after being told by the online retailer I originally bought it from that it was discontinued that they now have it RESTOCKED and are SELLING IT (albeit for a couple dollars more than priced previously)?!  See, it just goes to show you that you really have to be careful who you speak to because not all customer reps are well informed.  OK, maybe the rep made an honest mistake, but she was pretty adamant when she told me.  I was shocked to see it on their site recently!  But no matter; everything worked out in my favor because I found an iron I'm totally enamored with and - dare I say - is on par if not better than my HAI.  Oh, well.  All's well that ends well!  #WINNING!

The Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Collection - Discovery Edition is available at yourtheorie(.)com and retails for $28.

**UPDATE: 6/30 -  Well, you can color me impressed, y'all!  Not only did the shampoo and conditioner deliver on its promises of hydration and shine, but the serum came through as well.  I was scared that the latter would leave my hair feeling heavy because of its oil content (truth be told, my hair doesn't really like oils), but the serum served as the perfect complement to the 'poo and con.  I really like the combo; altogether, it didn't really wear my hair down until my natural scalp/hair oils started to kick in around day five, leaving me with a strong desire to wash my hair a day or so earlier than my normal seven-day schedule.  My hair looked good, though.  I haven't tried the Hair Mask yet because I don't feel my hair needs it right now, nor the Body Cleanser, but look forward to using them both.  All in all, I am loving these products and can't wait to try some more from this brand!       

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hair Trials: Theorie Quantum

It took Goldilocks three tries of porridge before she found her spoonful of "just right".  After failing to find a fitting flat iron to replace my ailing one on the first two tries, my optimism for finding one at all had quickly grown anemic.  In my last post, it was apparent that I was already weary of the process; I started to question my standards - even my sanity!  But I trudged on... and, behold!  Just like the aforementioned fairytale heroine, three ended up being my magic number as well.  Yes, I have finally procured my "just right" and I am so happy!  So, without further ado, let me tell you all about it.  It's the Quantum Flat Iron from Theorie... and I absolutely LOVE it!


Quantum is the latest collection of high-performance styling tools from prestigious hair care brand Theorie.  From shampoos and conditioners to blow dryers and curling irons, Theorie has an illustrious stable of innovative products that deftly marry technology with luxury, and this fabulous beauty is no exception.  The Quantum Flat Iron is a 1" stunner that boasts quick and safe heat styling via its ceramic infused titanium plates.  In addition to its "stay cool" hard body and chrome-like trim, it has a rotating, heat-resistant woven cord, comes with its own canvas travel pouch, and has two color options: white or black.  I opted for the latter.

Its slate gray plates are super smooth and fall completely flush when pressed together, allowing for constant contact with strands while straightening and easy, snag-free styling.

In addition to all the other bells and whistles, this flat iron has a digital touch screen and actually chimes when the iron has reached the desired heat (which goes up to 450 degrees F) as well as locks afterwards in order to keep from inadvertently adjusting the temperature during use.  Pretty cool, huh?  Quantum also has an auto shut-off mode that engages after 60 minutes of inactivity.  Yep.  This flat iron puts the "c" in cool...

And just how did it perform on my hair?  OH. EM. GEE.  My hair was so soft, so shiny, so curl-tastic - I LOVED IT!!  See, this is exactly what I was talking about!  I'm not cuckoo after all!  This is exactly what I was looking for: an iron to give my hair the ultimate shine and Quantum did precisely that!  I am so over the moon with this iron, y'all!  Like, for real!  Oh, and did I mention that it comes with a LIFETIME WARRANTY?  Um, no, that wasn't a typo.  Lifetime, y'all!  Who does that?  I mean, really - who?  I've never even heard of such a thing as far as any type of appliance goes, hair or otherwise.  Wowzers...

So there you have it!  The third time was the absolute charm for me and I'm so glad that the search is OVAH!  I have a brand new "beloved", y'all!  Theorie's Quantum Flat Iron has earned a special place in my heart (and on my head!) and has exceeded all my expectations.  I have finally found my "just right".  #WINNING!

Theorie Quantum Flat Iron is available at folica(.)com and yourtheorie(.)com, and retails for around $225.  (However, folica usually has site-wide sales, so keep your eyes peeled and at the ready if you're at all interested!)