Monday, May 22, 2017

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"Clueless" Kitchen Hacks- Crushed Garlic & Cloves


I got another kitchen hack to share. Check out my freezing herbs with olive oil hack. As much as I enjoy cooking, some of the prepping takes the joy out of it. I like to keep things simple so I that can easily move on to the next steps. If you have a pilon you just might enjoy doing this hack. 

The idea for this hack came from me using an item that contained crushed garlic. Once it was finished, instead of throwing it away I re-used it. First washing it out then adding in crushed garlic & cloves. Take a look at the benefits of cloves.

Crushed Garlic & Cloves

Add garlic, cloves, seasonings, and a lil olive oil to the pilon and start mashing away. Once you get your desired texture, transfer to container. This container has 20 cube slots. Fill up the slots and in the freezer they go. Whenever I'm ready to use I just grab and go. No more stopping to peel the garlic then mash then cleaning the pilon afterwards. This hack has saved me so much time.

What are some of your kitchen hacks?


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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Product Review- Pixie Mood


I'm here to review a cruelty-free and vegan friendly accessories brand Pixie Mood. I was in need of a new handbag and wallet that was long overdue. I came across this brand while getting my daily fix on one of my favorite sites. I browsed Pixie Mood's site to see if I would be a new customer and here I am with a review. 

Nicole Large Green Print Cork

They also have this in small but I went with the large as a just in case. Once I received the package and opened it, I realized that I should have gotten the smaller size. After I assessed the "situation" by adding in my items, going with the larger bag made sense. Whew! I didn't have to return it. 

This bag can be worn 3 ways: It came with 2 straps
-strapless
-on shoulder with adjustable straps
-wristlet (my preferred way of wearing it)

I really like the inside of this bag. When I opened it, I was greeted by one of my favorite colors that gave it a nice POP. What I also like is the back of the bag. It is all black. I know that everything I wear isn't always going to match, so I appreciate the option of switching it over. 

Sophie Wallet Green Print Cork

I also purchased the matching wallet to go along with the handbag. I like this wallet except for the coin compartment. It doesn't open all the way like other coin compartments. I thought maybe it was the cards that I added in the slot so I took them out and tried again. I got the same results with it not opening all the way again. 

I started to touch the area and felt something was in the way. A portion of it is made with cork so I just assumed that's the reason the coin compartment won't open all the way. So if you're someone who carries a lot of coins, you might not like this wallet. It's really not a big deal for me but I just wanted to point that out. 


Overall, I like my new accessories. They have some really nice affordable items on their site. I told myself that when I purchase new handbags, I would purposely seek out brands that are in line with what my journey is about. Even though I'm not huge into fashion... I still wanted something cute, budget-friendly, and fits into my simple lifestyle. I found it with this brand. What I spent for these two items was under $100. 

I placed my order on a Thursday and by Wednesday of the following week, my package arrived. I was surprised at how quickly I received them. I honestly don't have a con for this review other than what I mentioned earlier with the zip coin compartment. I received my package at my expected delivery time with no issues at all. If you're looking for eco-friendly accessories, check them out. 

*These items were purchased with my own money. Opinions expressed are my own. I will only recommend products that I use and enjoy myself. *

Monday, May 15, 2017

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The Great Mother's Day Race

Race #4

I ran The Great Mother's Day Race this past weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a beautiful view, running on Siesta Key Beach. This beach is one of the top rated beaches in America and I was ecstatic to take part in it. I've ran races where parts of it included the beach, but this one was 100% running on the beach. I thought it was going to be a challenge, but it wasn't. I actually enjoyed it. 

Check out the bling!

I'll "try" to share more of my running journey as I am training for my first marathon half-marathon. This is a forever run I know I can do, I just need to get the ball rolling. Anyways, I crossed the finish line and got a wonderful workout out of it.   

Saturday, May 13, 2017

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Vegan Bruh- Sean

I embrace positive changes says this vegan bruh

How long have you been a vegan? I have been vegan since September of 2015

Was the transition easy? The transition for me was exciting because I embrace positive changes. I watched Cowspiracy and was vegan within 48 hours.

Any tips/advice for someone interested in being a vegan? Be open! Accept the truth! Don't be afraid of change. Learn to let go. Find new favorite foods and you won't even crave the things you used to think you can't release.

What's your favorite vegan recipe? My favorite vegan recipe might have to be my curry tofu over a bed of rice and peas and multi-colored carrots.

Black male vegans/vegetarians are rare but seems to be growing in popularity. Why do you think that is? I believe that is because as a whole, we are "waking up". Things on a subconscious level are triggering us to make more harmonious decisions for the existence of mankind and Earth to thrive and live on.

Vegans are sometimes known for being extreme. What's the one thing you want people to know about vegans? Vegans are very frank and forthright. Sometimes, vegans can come off too harsh turning people away from the lifestyle. I would like for people to understand that it is more times than not that vegans are so passionate and verbal about the change because it is DETRIMENTAL to the existence of humanity and we take responsibility for the lives of animals who cannot speak up for themselves. Mass genocide, greenhouse gases, war, and strife are all things we seek to alleviate.

For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love. -Pythagoras, 6th century BC.

Has it had an impact in other areas of your life? After the first month of going vegan, I felt sober for the first time in my life. Animosity, anxiety, and excess adrenaline all just went away. I was at a higher state of awareness. It free'd my mind of thoughts, feelings, and emotions that were not mine but were embedded in the flesh of the meat I was eating. It free'd my body from the ailments it carried. This freedom opened me up to regain my sense of spirituality. Since, I have been a more spiritually attuned seeker of enlightenment and peace.

Is there anything you like to add? My purpose is to create friction in the minds of others. To freely communicate with vulnerability my perspective in order to invite meaningful discussion. I am an artist that recognizes the power of music and I choose to utilize this medium to help bring enlightenment and progressive thought to others. If you would like to check out any of my work, feel free to visit my website Wildenfree and be sure to subscribe.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

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"Clueless" How To- 4 Tips To Transition To A Minimalist Lifestyle


It's been two years since I've been on the less is more journey. I have learned so much. One of them is... I was actually a minimalist, but at the time I honestly didn't know the name of this lifestyle. It's funny how I look back and I say to myself... I was already doing this. I'm still going and I've become even more mindful and intentional with this lifestyle. Of course, I need the most basic necessities but a majority of things I can seriously live without. Those things don't define me.

The tips I'm about to share are for those who are interested in doing more with less. Let's take a took at what minimalism is. *looks up the word "minimalism" in the dictionary* definition references music, art, and design. Hmmm... looks like there isn't a clear definition. But have no fear... I'm going to give it to you "clueless" style.

Minimalism is basically to live life more intentionally. Being conscious of what you're consuming. Doing this will give you the freedom to spend more time doing the things that's most important to you. Those who embrace this lifestyle will do so differently from someone else. However, the end goal is pretty much the same. The FREEDOM to do more with less.

1. Start Slow- You DO NOT need to make a radical change. If you do, you will quickly  burn yourself out and guess what? You'll be right back to zero. Remember that this is just like any other transitioning method. So call up your friend PATIENCE. Don't worry about what he, she, and they are doing. You will get there but you have to focus on you and what works for you. This is not a race to see who can do it better or faster.


2. Get Rid Of The Two's- Look around. Do you have two or more of the same things? Have you used any of them in the past 3 months? If not, then toss or donate them. For me it was cosmetics. Lipsticks to be exact. It was all mostly the same EXACT shades. I just kept buying and buying and forgetting about the ones before the new ones. So if you have a stash of two or more of the same things, start from there.


3. Food, Food, Food- Eat the same thing for breakfast (try to keep it on the healthy side) each morning. Breakfast for me is mostly smoothies. I would love to make hot breakfast each morning but I ain't got time for that. I save that for the weekends. Lunch is usually dinner from the night before. This has saved me so much time and money.

-Participate in Meatless Monday: I'm not telling you to give up your meats (I still eat them,  just not as much as I used to) but one day out of the week won't hurt. Scroll through my meatless dish category. I can almost guarantee, you'll find a recipe that will interest you. I also went plant based for a month trying all types of plant based dishes.

-Meal Prep: I spend the weekends chopping, dicing, slicing, and mashing for the week. Again it saves me time so I can focus on other things that are important to me. A major benefit I noticed doing this is I'm not wasting food like I used to. I still have ways to go but the amount of waste has gone down.

-Try storing your cut veggies in a glass container (mason jar) so that way you can grab and go with it. I've noticed that they last a little longer this way. As for fruits, I prefer to freeze them once I see that they are starting to go bad.

Psst... Do me a favor. Open your refrigerator, take a look at expired condiments and that container that's way in the back that you forgot about and Throw. It. Out.

Farmer's Market Haul

4. Minimize Your Wardrobe- CONFESSION: I hate shopping for clothes. Going through the racks, trying them on, should I get it in this color, what size. Whew! I'm exhausted. I enjoy food shopping more. Am I weird for that? So, if you're wondering why you don't see outfit of the day type posts... now you know.

For those who are into fashion you can create a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of essential items that don't go out of style. Pieces that you can wear over and over again.

This sounds exactly like something I was doing way before I even heard of it. I wear what I like. I could care less if it's in season or not. If you're interested you can take a look into creating one. I've seen a few challenges floating around like Project 333 and a few others. Just research and find what works for you.

Me: taking a serious look at what gotta go

I just recently did my semi-annual decluttering. That time of the year when I look at what stays and what goes. During that time, I also look at the things in my want list. Will it be a yay or a nah? 

I'm going to be honest, there wasn't a lot that I had to get rid of. Yassssss!!! I've been pretty consistent. I did end up having to get 2 new sports bras. I also bought a pair of running walking shoes from Plato's Closet. The cost was only $10 and they were in like new condition. Plato's Closet was also having a sidewalk sale where a majority of the items were only $1. Yes! A dollar. I was able to score 3 like new items.


Last but not least, I picked up a few essential (eco-friendly yoga mat and kettlebell) at home workout equipments from Marshall's (under $35 for both). I've said this time and time again, you DO NOT need a gym membership to get the results you want. I've never had a gym membership and I think I never will. A few basic poses, running, and walking is my kind of workout. 

Me: knowing I didn't have to throw away, buy, or spend much

More Clueless Tips:

For my naturalistas looking for a simplified natural hair regimen, check out how I simplified mines.

I recently watched a documentary called Minimalism by The Minimalists on Netflix. If you're curious and want to know more, check it out.

There are many levels to this lifestyle. From finances to tiny houses to zero waste. I already know there are a few levels I will never be able to accomplish 100%. I would love to but I gotta be realistic with my own situation. I take what I can and leave the rest. I refuse to overwhelm myself because "this" part of minimalism is the cool thing to do now. NOPE!

Being a minimalist is not about being a perfectionist. Those minimalist who don't have a lil clutter in their life can't be trusted. Yeah, I said it. Don't go snitching on me though. How dare they be so perfect with this lifestyle?

Join me and my guests for #CluelessLiving. A chat about keeping it simple. We'd love to have you join us. Good luck on your journey! 





Monday, May 8, 2017

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"Clueless" How To- 3 Easy To Make Salad Dressings


I'm forever playing around in the kitchen. Sometimes, it's a hit other times YUCK! I do this because I just like knowing what I'm eating. I just hate how some food items have the longest ingredients listed when I know for sure there really isn't a need for that.  Anyways, I have two dressings that I make and use all the time. I shared them here. I still enjoy them but I just wanted to try something new.


INGREDIENTS: Whisk all ingredients in a bowl
-Sesame Oil
-Soyaki
-Apple Sauce
-Apple Cider Vinegar


I used the dressing for a quinoa salad. It is very similar to this salad that I made. I just added in two new ingredients to it. Those ingredients were green beans and green tomatoes. I was expecting to be disappointed. I've tried sesame dressing before (can't remember where) and I didn't like it. But... I ended up really liking the one I made. There was a very nice balance to it. 


grow my own basil. This is the only herb that is good to me right now. The others are being disrespectful for no reason.

INGREDIENTS: Add all the ingredients in a blender until you get desired texture
-Fresh Basil
-Garlic
-Olive Oil
-Four Cheese Italian Mix
-Red Wine
-Salt and Pepper


I know this post was suppose to be about salad dressings. But I like to play around and see what I can come up with. Yes, you can also cook with this dressing. I used it as a marinade. That cod fish was YUM!


INGREDIENTS: Whisk ingredients in a bowl
-Dijon Mustard 
-Vegan Mayo
-Honey
-Red Wine Vinegar
-Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper

For this, I added to a turkey wrap I made. My greedy self forgot to take pics. 

I also made a grapefruit dressing that wasn't too bad either. I just need to play around more to get the right taste. Anyways, these dressings were super easy to make and  made my taste buds happy. The best part is that I know what's in it and didn't have to google the ingredients. 


Saturday, May 6, 2017

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Green Light- Roe

Being toxic-free makes so much sense to present me says this eco-sista

How long have you been eco-friendly? That's such an interesting question! At this point in life, it feels like "forever" or "always" but I think that's because being toxic-free makes so much sense to present-me! HaHa, if I do some reflection on it, I've incorporated eco-friendly products into my home and into my decisions since 2006, 11 years.

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? Self-transformation, community and gut. Before I went natural, I took a cold hard look at what was going on in my products in a way I'd never done before. A study had come out how relaxer contributed to early puberty in young women and there were boards of women who were transitioning who had to go eco with their products out of pure health necessity. A year after, I joined an intentional living community call the "Simple Living House", really just a bunch of inquisitive young people who were asking questions about everything. Including our relationship with the planet.

We would read and talk about recycling, really benign type stuff at first but then after we completed out Environmental Science classes and after I finished the majority of my international development studies, a lot of things were coming into focus. If DDT affected birds, whey didn't it occur to us that it could affect humans too? If pesticides killed bug, wouldn't it have an affect on our immune systems over a lifetime? If fast agricultural cultivation and artificial fertilizers eroded farmland in years that had taken centuries to build, what would happen to our top soil and food systems if international agencies recommended these methods to every developing country?

While in school, there were no conclusive studies on any of these things and there's still scant research out there for public access. However, turning them over in dialogue with others tuned my intuition that something was amiss. A sinking feeling either society was backward or we were and I had a feeling it was more the latter. I started steering clear of non eco-friendly products from college onward. 

What do you like about it? You know what I've gained? Connection to my ancestors. Honestly, anything "eco-friendly" is really just what our grandparents's parents knew but our parents forgot. You can put it in a bottle and market it but the truth is items like all purpose cleaners are often just a combination of water, vinegar, essential oils, and what...lemon? Another benefit I like of using clean products are being headache-free when I'm cleaning the shower (no harsh chemicals I'm inhaling). In college, I used to be a housekeeper at hotels in National Parks so it gives me peace of mind that I can recognize the ingredients. 

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? Some would say cost but I'd say effectiveness. Cost shocks us because production companies have an invested interest in leveraging chemical compositions to avoid ingredients with a short shelf life. They sell it to us, women in particular, and even if what they use begins to concerns their market, they'll mislabel it "natural" and we'll have a tendency to go for it. The truth is the cost is hidden. You'll pay for it twice in your health and eco-system.

But when you choose an eco-friendly product over its contemporary sometimes it just doesn't work as swiftly. Elbow grease? Ha! Some you need an elbow hammer to cut grime or cut through dirt or add moisture to something. And that kinda sucks but I'm not sure it can be different. It would be dope if it was. I'd love that.

Also, capitalism is so slick. Greenwashing is serious, I can't tell you how many things I've picked up and read "natural"  when you can't pronounce anything on the labels and the company didn't factor in the packaging they used, which is un-recyclable or used plastic in the first place. An example: current natural hair products. When I went natural in college, there were dozens of message boards (because it was before being natural was a movement and celebrated in magazines or on social media) with black women who strictly committed to putting things on their hair they could recognize. Nowadays, it seems like that fervor's gone, if not completely silenced. I pick up natural, eco-friendly hair products and I'm not sure if it's just me or what I'm holding is actually what I think it is: a container full of complex chemicals to me... Has our concern for ourselves gone?


Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Yeah! E and I are minimalists so there's a dovetail with our lifestyle here. Instead of jumping into stressing about chemicals, identify where in your life you'd like to be toxin free. Your kitchen? Your bathroom? Your makeup? Your hair? Or even your clothing? Then ask yourself, "what products do you need? To steward the earth and yourself, it's not about replacing everything you have with a "natural" alternative. It's about having the right tools and support an area that's important to you. Less is more, when it comes to ingredients and items to use. If you have a few of your favorite items from companies you've learned you can trust this takes away any sticker shock that happens when you're comparing a toxic full brand. You own less, will need to replace it less, and you won't have to pay it back with your health bill, so the price is a great value of what you're getting.

**Also, the most eco-friendly thing you can do for yourself and the planet is to throw away less! <3

Going green can be complex. This discourages a lot of people. There's really no "right" way it's basically trying to do something than nothing at all. I sometimes feel like a green hypocrite. Do you feel that way sometimes? I do, especially when I have to make a decision against my values because I'm hurried, impatient, or have no other options. Like, UGH! Sometimes, I'll buy the haircare product where I can't pronounce the ingredients because everyone on the natural hair Instagrams says it's a miracle worker and I don't have time to research the ingredient. What I would like is a world where it's much easier to live aligned with what's deeply important to you. And that's where your "own" way comes in. Something is better than nothing, you can give yourself grace, and buying products that are good for you, shifting the system and creating way for the next generation.

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? Oh my god, do you think it is! Thank you! I'm a hair twirler (I am twirling as we speak) so I feel like I struggle with it breaking but going natural was the best thing I've ever done for my psyche. I went natural 11 years ago. I keep it short because I can't get it to grow but I've come to a deep peace with that. The shape fits my face, I think.

Is there anything you like to add? You can find me and Erin on Instagram sharing our unapologetic living.


Friday, May 5, 2017

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#CluelessTravels Chat Recap



The #CluelessTravels chat took place May 3. This chat was all about traveling. I knew I couldn't have done this chat by myself, below are those that joined in to share their travel experience. Where are you traveling to?

@KeishaAdinkra- Keisha, loves sharing her travel tips for smooth travel

@ButlerJournal- Jason, blogs about his travels, debt, and side hustles.  

@TerryMcFly- Terry, a freelance journalist and FLY guy traveling the world 

@MinorityNomad- Erick, on a mission to be the first African-American to visit every country in the world

My goal with the series of chat is to inspire those looking to make positive lifestyle choices. Whether it's with finance, fitness, healthy eating, minimalism, and more. I'm still learning as I go along and these are what helped me achieve some success. Stay "Clueless" with me via Twitter for more info on the next one. Chat later! Check out the other recaps.




Monday, May 1, 2017

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Product Review- Gardein (Chick'N Sliders)


So, I've been on a plant based high lately. You can read about my experience here. Garden+Protein=Gardein. Gardein is a brand that is pretty popular in the plant based/healthy eating community. They make meat free versions of animal products. I've tried a few of their products and wanted to review a most recent line from the brand. I like being introduced to new foods to see if I like them or not. Will it be a yay or nay?


Contains 4 sliders and whole wheat buns. I put them in the oven for about 15 minutes. While that was cooking I got sriracha sauce and vegan mayo to mix together for sriracha mayo. Once the sliders were done I start the layering process adding in the condiments. 


After I took one bite, I was like salt bae adding in a whole bunch of seasonings. Once I was done seasoning, I continued with what I was doing. Yum! Now I can enjoy the sliders. 

Overall, I like this product after I added my seasonings. The lack of seasoning was my only problem with this product. It was bland on my first bite. I'm all about flavor. If you're looking to reduce your meat eating consumption, give Gardein a try. Trust me, they have meat free versions of just about every animal product out there.  


Saturday, April 29, 2017

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Green Light- Gina

I can save money, accumulate less clutter, and be grateful says this eco-sista

How long have you been eco-friendly? I've been eco-friendly since 2012. I would say that was a year of transformation for me because I not only started wearing my hair natural again, but I adopted a plant-based diet as well. 

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? Perhaps I was always eco-friendly on some level. I was taught not to waste food and to conserve energy and water. However, in addition to that, I would say that I actually went eco-friendly when I lived in Mozambique, Africa for two years in 2012. When I saw neighborhood children digging in my trash in the backyard in order to reuse my plastic bags and bottles and even my bags of dried beans that I had discarded due to imperfections or discoloration, I became more conscious of how much stuff I bought, accumulated, and wasted. It became apparent to me how essential it is to buy things that I absolutely need instead of shopping impulsively. 

What do you like about it? Being eco-friendly to me means that I can save money, accumulate less clutter, and be grateful for all the basic necessities I already have. I love that being eco-friendly also helps the animals and the environment as a whole because there isn't as much toxic waste in the ocean and on the land and in the air. In addition, when more people adopt a plant-based diet, less water, and food is needed in order to feed livestock, which are often exploited for their meat, eggs, and milk. Further, I love the fact that I'm eating healthy as a vegan and that I'm not contributing to the torturing of animals.

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? I think the biggest obstacle for me when it comes to maintaining an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, is getting out of my comfort zone and learning about more ways I can help the planet as a whole.

I'm still learning and becoming more cognizant of eco-friendly ways of doing things such as growing my own food. I would love to grow my own food, but I keep making excuses such as, "I don't know how to grow food", "I don't have the space", or even, "I don't have the time to water the plants". However, I think when I'm ready to put my mind to it, I will grow my own food. In the meantime, I support local farmers by going to the farmer's market to buy my produce, which also helps sustain them as they provide fresh, organic produce for the community.

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Avoid being too hard on yourself if you're not able to change your habits overnight. You can start being more green by unplugging appliances when they're not being used or take a 7 minute shower on low pressure instead of a 10 minute shower.

Also, practice being mindful of the things you buy. I always ask myself, "Do I actually need this new outfit, or do I already have something like this at home?" Along the same lines, it's helped me to save money when I buy vegan-friendly second-hand items or things I absolutely need.

Additionally, recycling and reusing items can really help the environment because manufacturing companies don't have to continue producing as many products, which can lead to more accumulation and waste. When going to the market, I use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags.

Lastly, it's pivotal to continue educating yourself about the different ways you can adopt healthy and sustainable practices for the planet.

Going green can be complex. This discourages a lot of people. There's really no "right" way it's basically trying to do something than nothing at all. I sometimes feel like a green hypocrite. Do you feel that way sometimes? Living in Africa made me realize that there are some people who go green out of necessity because they don't have a lot of money and their very survival is contingent upon their conserving energy, money, reusing bottles, growing their own food, and buying used clothing.

Because I have this awareness, I sometimes feel like what I'm doing isn't good enough in terms of being green and I feel sad about that sometimes. At the same time, I try not to be too hard on myself. I allow myself to grow and learn about more ways in which I can help the environment and spread awareness. 

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? I returned natural in 2012. It took me a few years to adjust from having my hair chemically relaxed to learning how to wash, moisturize, and style my tightly coiled hair. I spent hundreds of dollars trying to find the "perfect" deep conditioner, shampoo, hair gel, and moisturizer for my hair, only to find out that my hair simply loves natural, chemical-free products.

I've finally found a hair regimen that my hair loves and as a result, it has become thicker and has retained length in the past few months since I've adopted my new routine. My hair loves bentonite clay as a hair cleanser and shea butter and oil as a moisturizer.

My vegan, minimalist, and chemical free hair regimen is not only good for my body, but for the environment as well. It puts a smile on my face to know that my hair and body loves natural, cruelty-free products.

Is there anything you like to add? It's an honor to be featured on CluelessCurl. I'm grateful for the opportunity! I'm currently sharing my health and wellness journey on my YouTube channel where I provide plant-based recipes, health tips, and motivational messages. Feel free to find me on the social media platforms below.

Naturally Gina
YouTube
Instagram
FaceBook
Twitter