Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Tips for Natural Black Hair

Summer! It's that time of year again. I don't know about you, but I really enjoy the warmer weather. To me, summer is a time of hanging out in the backyard with my family, going to the park, the beach and generally enjoying the summer fun. The heat, sweating and salt water/chlorine can really dry your hair out. While I usually wear my natural hair in a curly shake and go, I noticed that I must keep my hair moisturized as much as possible during the hot summer months.

Here are some tips that I personally use to keep my curly natural hair in shape:


Water is your best friend. Drink lots of it to keep your entire body hydrated. You'll need it on those hot summer days. After washing your hair, saturate it with your favorite conditioner. It can be any conditioner, as long as it works for your hair. I let it sit on my head for about fifteen minutes, with or without a plastic cap. Then I rinse it lightly, being sure to leave some of the conditioner behind. The leftover conditioner coats my hair and offers some protection from the summer sun. I allow my hair to air dry and find that it is soft to the touch.

Mayonnaise isn't just for bread and tuna salad. Mayonnaise can be an excellent conditioner for your hair because of the eggs and the oil that it contains. If your natural black hair is dry and brittle, mayo may be the solution you need. It's an inexpensive, effective conditioner. Try this recipe: Mash ½ very ripe avocado and mix it with a small jar (approx 1 cup) of real mayonnaise. Apply to the hair and pop on a plastic cap. Leave the mixture on for about 30 minutes (or longer), then rinse out thoroughly. This will leave your hair very soft and moisturized.

Use Protective Styles

As I wrote above, I usually rock a curly afro most of the time. The problem is, I often find that this style dries my hair out the fastest. So what's a natural doll to do? Read on.

Get rough and stuff with your Afro Puffs. I think that Afro puffs can be a protective style if you thoroughly moisturize the ends. Form your puffs, mist lightly with water and rub just a bit of 100% pure aloe vera gel on those ends. I've found that it's easier to moisturize the ends in a puff than the ends in a shake and go.

Braids or cornrows. Braids don't always mean sitting in a salon for three or four hours while someone pulls at your head. If that's your style, go for it, but I just can't sit that long! Try braiding your own hair in three or four braids and pinning them up. I can't cornrow to save my life, but for those who have that skill, I've seen some beautiful styles. Both styles will suit you well for pool and beach swimming and look stylish too!

Twist and Shout. While my daughter's natural hair isn't as thick as mine, the hair still requires the same kind of attention. I like to put her hair in two-strand twists as soon as I finish with washing and conditioning. Twists are cute, bouncy and can be migrated into a lovely twist-out style. On top of it, they are easy to do and quick to complete. Use aloe gel or other water based cream for the twists.

Cover Me. When walking the boardwalk, hanging out in the backyard or taking a walk in the heat, wear a hat. Not only will the hat keep you cool, but it will also protect your hair from the hot sun. The sun heats your hair just like a hair dryer does, and can dry it out just as fast. Wear a cute hat to keep the sun away.

I hope these tips help you keep that natural hair protected during the hot summer months. Enjoy and have fun in the sun!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sports Psychology Myths Busted

The 1920's saw the emergence of psychology as a significant winning strategy in sports. According to history, Germany is said to have developed the first sports psychology laboratory in Berlin. Russia is said to have dived into it a few years later. Overall, these two nations have actually produced some excellent athletes back then and even in recent times.

But it is the North Americans that took it to the next level. Coleman Griffith, the first American sports psychologist, played a prominent role in setting up the first lab in the United States. No one can anymore refute the fact that sports psychology works wonders. If you still do, his landmark book, 'The Psychology of coaching' should help you realize that it is not a myth. Psychology in sports actually works.

As with anything that is hugely successful, myths and misinformation are never far off, Unsurprisingly, some quacks in these field and many people have developed some myths surrounding psychology in the area of sports.

But here are some common (and ridiculous) myths that I would like to expose:

1) Sports psychology works best with only with top-level athletes; this is not entirely true. The highly skilled athletes can gain more from it because they have fully developed the physical skills and abilities. However, sports psychology can work for any athlete at any level. In any case, novices have to learn the basic techniques - and actually learn how to play.

2) Sports psychology can replace basic training; this couldn't be any further from the truth. You would be out of your mind if you thought you could get outstanding results by just feeling positive, or a mere 'can do' attitude. A few lucky breaks are all one can muster, and then the losing streak checks in. One must still practice and develop the techniques and skills of the sport.

3) The mental set up is the difference between athletes of the same skill level: not nearly as much. At the top level of any sport, the mental game might seem to be the determinant, but not entirely. It is usually a balanced combination of the technical abilities, the skills, and the mental set up that creates outstanding sportsmen.

4) It is only for the enlightened sportsmen: tell it to the birds! Sports psychology will work for any individual engaging in any of the various sports.

While these are just a few myths and misinformation going round, there may be others that need to be dispelled.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Being Certain That You Are Buying Organic Foods

You're not alone if you're interested in eating healthier foods, but not sure how to start. It can be intimidating to listen to someone spout out words like organic. Then you hear people talking about how certain foods aren't really organic and become even more intimidated. If you're interested in eating healthier, going organic is a good start and may be easier than you think.

Fortunately, there are standards in place to define organic. A variety of agencies certify whether foods are organic. Two of the most important are the USDA and QAI. In order for producers to receive organic certification, they must comply with the certifying body's specifications. This assures that you are getting exactly what you expect to get when you buy a product that is labeled as an organic food.

You might think that any company could just slap a sticker on its product or print a label, but there would be stiff legal consequences to doing so as soon as it's discovered. It is more likely for an individual store or produce salesperson to wrongly claim something is organic than a large food producer. One of the ways you can protect yourself is to shop at reputable stores and local, small stores with ownership you trust. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the grocer. This can be particularly useful in ascertaining the trustworthiness of small, locally owned grocery stores.

If you're having trouble a finding reliable source to purchase locally, you can avail yourself of a wide variety of online organic food options. It is highly recommended that you stick to small, specialty organic food stores. Buying organic fruit and vegetables from large store chains can be a confusing process. In many cases, you may be able to purchase your requirements directly from the manufacturers. If you have some particular products you like, the manufacturer sites are good places to start. Even when they don't sell direct, they typically have links to the retailers who sell their products.

Of course, if you have a good, food specialty store or a good health foods store near you, the freshest food can usually be bought locally. However, you should not ignore supermarkets in your search for organic food. More and more large supermarket chains are beginning to carry organic food lines. Often, these supermarkets offer much more affordable options. You should pay particularly close attention to the organic certifications of the foods you buy in these supermarkets. If they are certified organic, you can be reasonably sure that they are, when you buy organic foods from a supermarket.

The information given above is just a general set of recommendations to be reasonably sure you're buying healthy, organic foods. If you want to purchase with more certainty, you can always take extra research measures such as finding manufacturer reviews and learning all of the certification standards. Either way, you're taking positive steps towards better health when you begin to replace parts of your diet with organic foods. When you buy organic foods, you're buying more natural foods. You'll probably feel better just knowing that you are buying healthier foods and taking steps to control your own health.