Karen's Essentials

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I asked what would you guys like to see in upcoming Blog Posts and today I am going to share one of the suggestions; my favorite Bloggers and Vloggers. This list is not exhaustive but I wanted to share the sites that I most frequently visit.



https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=the+chat+with+priscilla+shirer – Priscilla Shirer online talk show

https://first5.org -Frist 5 App Bible Study Amazing

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/chrystal-evans-hurst/id875159294?mt=2 Chrystal Evans Hurst Podcast

https://www.youtube.com/user/kimcashtate Kim Cash Tate Bible Teacher/author



http://www.questfortheperfectcurl.com   https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=quest+for+the+perfect+curl+channel -Great reviews, knowledgeable regarding ingredients, she has a black-owned business list on her site of products that she has actually used and reviewed, https://www.instagram.com/dupeblack/  her Instagram account features black-owned makeup brands.

http://www.curlynikki.com- Perfect for new naturals, product reviews, in-depth articles regarding all aspect of natural hair

https://www.youtube.com/user/Naptural85 – product reviews, hair tutorials, love love

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mynaturalsistas -3 sisters sharing  their natural hair journey with tutorials and reviews

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rachel+cpr -great reviews, licensed stylist love her energy


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6WmxS41UvGq58BcmvkOlVA – woman over 40 that is relatable, makeup tutorials and reviews, funny great content

https://www.youtube.com/user/lisaeldridgedotcom -professional makeup artist also over 40 makeup hacks and techniques

https://www.youtube.com/user/NaturallyCurlyQ -makeup and hair reviews and tutorials love her reviews

https://www.youtube.com/user/gossmakeupartist -professional makeup artist, great reviews, skin care, tutorials on “real women” often with mature skin

https://www.youtube.com/user/ckey001 – she is over 40 great skin, great reviews on makeup and tutorials occasional natural hair videos

https://www.youtube.com/user/kristingehm -over 40 great reviews, tutorials for mature women

Food (Vegan)

https://www.healthywholealive.com  -great blog for recipes, guides to transition to a vegan diet, great articles, and content

https://www.youtube.com/user/SweetPotatoSoul -Awesome videos, step by step prep, I have tried many recipes and they were fabulous (she has a book coming out next month)

https://www.youtube.com/user/Rawkaholics  -she journals how she lost 100 pounds on a high carb plant based diet, recipes, she also has a guide and books


https://www.youtube.com/user/AtHomeWithNikki -organization, decorating, cooking, cleaning,

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMYJPnrSnbRPuPyO49HeCZA -decorating, thrifting, home organization

https://www.youtube.com/user/HomeOrganizing -home organization



https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1CHQyZ5-MTJzuSCvSVw_qg -Business for Women Entrepreneurs, (she has a podcast and blog)

http://www.nicolewalters.tv -women entrepreneurs

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=at+work+with+nikki– woman over 40 entrepreneur

Just for Giggles

https://www.youtube.com/user/spicyeve – funny socially conscience, natural hair literally makes you laugh out loud

https://www.instagram.com/kevonstage/ – follow him on Instagram for your daily laugh

https://www.youtube.com/user/jkmcclure– cute family with twin girls (and a new baby)

Soap Making


https://www.youtube.com/user/soapqueentv -my favorite



http://anothersunday.me Alex Elle ( I started watching her natural hair videos years ago) she is an author and has her own podcast

Fashion for women over 40

https://www.youtube.com/user/BusbeeStyleTV -Erin also has a blog


Please let me know if you check out any of these sites. What are some of your favorites? Are you familiar with any of the ones I listed?












Have you ever had so many things that you want to accomplish you’re excited and want to tackle everything at once only to become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing? I have done that so many times and I realize that I have only looked at the big picture not all of the little task that helps me reach my ultimate goal. I am a planner, a note taker, list maker I love everything about making lists and checking it off tasks once I have accomplished it. I find in my day to day life that I get so frustrated with not enough hours in the day. How many times have I said that. I am adopting a new way of achieving the goals I have set:

  1. Specific-My goals have been too broad or even vague. For example, I want to exercise more (vague) How can I exercise more? I can exercise more by getting up earlier, preparing the night before by setting out my work out gear (specific)
  2. Measurable– I will work out at least 3x per week when your goal is measurable you will know if you hit your mark
  3. Achievable-My goal must be obtainable working out 3 days per week is doable versus saying I will work out every day my life is too hectic and I will easily become discouraged with an unachievable goal
  4. Realistic-I want to lose 40 pounds in 2 months hmm not going to happen; 40 pounds in 6 months realistic I have set a finish line, a time limit to achieve my goal
  5. Timely-Setting a deadline keeps me on track and motivated to reach my goal

To use the example of losing  40 pounds if I break down my goal into monthly, weekly or daily goals I am chipping away at my 40-pound weight loss goal with little victories along the way that will keep me going (losing 1 pound per week) as a weekly goal

I have a dry erase board in my office that I have written these reminders to myself:

  • Focus on the daily smaller task to accomplish my larger goals, break my goals down into more manageable smaller task and then check them off once complete
  • Block out time each day to accomplish those daily smaller tasks.
  • Spend your time wisely- limit time on social media, schedule time for social media and stick to it (it can be a time waster)
  • Get off your butt and move
  • Practice Self Care
  • Depend on God-Trust Him
  • Do it Scared
  • Erin Condren Life Planner $49


    Erin Condren Notebook $25


    Moleskin Notebook $20

    Some of the tools I use to keep me organized I used to keep my appointments on my phone and only use electronic calendars but that didn’t work for me. I love old school planners and notebooks.

How are you doing with your goals? How do you stay on track? Do use planners and notebooks?


Hot Head Thermal Care $29.95

I have used my beloved   http://www.hairtherapywraps.com/services.html for years to add heat to my deep conditioning regimen but after 7 years of almost weekly use it finally just fell apart. I have seen several reviews for the Hot Head Thermal Care https://www.thermalhaircare.com/hot-head/ and added it to my natural hair Black Friday sale list.

I purchased my Hot Head from their website during the Black Friday sale 30% off plus free shipping; the regular price is $29.95. I received my order very quickly, there was a handwritten note thanking me for my purchase. There were clear simple instructions on how to use and care for the Hot Head.

Wash day for me normally takes about 2 hours ( cleanse, deep condition and style). The great thing about both The Hot Head as well as the Heat Therapy Wrap is that you can do other things while you’re deep conditioning versus being stuck under a hooded dryer.

To use the Hot Head I cleanse my hair, gently towel dry and add my deep conditioner, put on a plastic conditioning cap, follow the heating instructions for the Hot Head and leave on 20-40 minutes. Adding Heat to your deep conditioning treatment allows the product to really penetrate the hair for added moisture.

  • Place Hot Head on a clean glass or ceramic plate in a 1000-watt microwave with elastic facing up. Power level must be lowered accordingly for higher wattage microwaves! Refer to your owners manual to find out how. Heat for a total of 3, 30-45-second intervals, removing your Hot Head to flip inside out and replace in the microwave at each interval. If additional heat is desired proceed in 10-20sec increments, following the above flipping method, until desired heat level is achieved. Do not exceed a combined total of 3min, from start to finish.
  • The care instructions spot clean with a damp cloth and a mild detergent.

The Hot Head is very well made, the outside is made of cotton and the interior is a terry cloth like material. It has a nice hefty weight and is filled with flaxseeds which help it retain heat; in my experience for up to 40 minutes. There are several patterns to choose from and it also comes in a child size.

While I loved my Hair Therapy Wrap I prefer the Hot Head because it retains heat longer due to the flax seeds, there are no gel packs and it comes in several colors and patterns.

It is vitally important to deep condition regularly especially during the colder dryer months to retain moisture and length.

How often do you deep condition your hair? Do you use heat?


Original Moxie Shape Shifter 12 oz $34

9 day twist out (smiling to hide how sleepy I am)

Day 9 Twist Out!

The Wash n Go is how I style my hair 99% of the time and an occasional twist out or two strand twist but I love Wash n Go’s! However, this disrespectful weather with high temperatures in the teens and the dreaded wind chill factor in single digits or lower has forced me to forgo my beloved Wash n Go (takes my hair a full 24-48 hours to dry). My favorite product for twists and twist outs is the Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter https://www.camillerosenaturals.com/products/almond-jai-twisting-butter

I, unfortunately, waited too late to purchase it during Camille Rose’s Black Friday sale it was sold out (also sold at Target). I was looking through my stash and came across Orginal Moxie Shape Shifter Reforming Creme. I have had this product over a year I purchased it at the salon (Oasis Hair Salon in Rockville, Maryland) the stylist used it on my hair after he trimmed and shaped my hair.  http://www.oasis-salon.com

After he styled my hair with it I loved the way my hair looked but I only got 2-day hair; I tested it several times and it would always flake on me like HUGE flakes that required me to re-wash my hair. So it sat for a year. Out of desperation, I reached for it again since I was out of my go-to product.

I decided this time to actually read the directions, this product has to be applied to soaking wet hair I used a dime-sized amount on each section (In my defense I have always used creams/butters that can be used on either wet, damp or dry hair). Using the product correctly gave me super bouncy, shiny, well defined, moisturized twist and amazing twist outs. The product is described as moisturizing with a flexible hold; I would totally agree. The hold is firm but doesn’t leave my hair crunchy or hard. I am currently wearing a 9 day twist out (I leave the twist in for 3 to 4 days) and undo twist on the 5th day and wear a twist out (I normally re-twist at night). I have used it at least a dozen times and have about a quarter of it left which I can easily get another 5 or more uses.

The consistency is very liquidy with lots of slip, the scent isn’t my favorite it reminds me of playdough but it doesn’t linger at all. I have used it with several leave-in conditioners without any issues. This product is among my top 3 for twist and twist outs. Orginal Moxie can be purchased on their site https://www.originalmoxie.com/curl-cream/

The ingredients are amazing:

Aqua (Water), Linum usitatissimum* (Flax) Seed Gel, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Aloe barbadensis Leaf Preserved With Potassium Sorbate*** & Citric Acid***, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic-Capric TG (Fractionated Coconut Oil and/or Palm Kernel Oil), Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed (Cupuaçu) Butter, Jasminum grandiflorum (Jasmine) Wax, Ricinus communis (Castor) Oil, Polyquaternium-10, Sorbitol***, Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid, Polianthes tuberose (Tuberose) Wax, Essential Oils of Vanilla planifolia (Vanilla), Styrax benzoin (Benzoin), Santalum album (Sandalwood), Cananga odorata (Ylang Ylang), Jasminum grandiflorum (Jasmine), Cinnamomum cassia (Cassia) Bark, & Elettaria cardamomum (Cardamom).
*Certified Organic

I made a rookie mistake early on not using this product as directed the first time and tweaking later if needed. I would highly recommend this product!

Do you have a similar experience with a product that you didn’t like but later loved it?  Do you style your hair differently in the colder months if so what is your go-to winter style?





Oyin Ginger Mint Co-Wash $11.99 8 oz

Oyin released a new Co-Wash in October and I purchased mine during their Black Friday Sale. My favorite cleansers are both from Deva Curl No-Poo Decadence and DevaCurl Micellar Water Cleansing   Deva Curl Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum Review 

See the review for the Buildup Buster. I love both of the Deva Products the Decadence No Poo because it cleanses my hair without stripping it and leaves my hair really soft. The Build Up Buster cleanses a little better than the Decadence but doesn’t leave my hair quite as soft.

Oyin’s Co-Wash, however, is a GAME CHANGER I Absolutely love this product! The scent is light and refreshing the ginger and mint are a nice combination one doesn’t overpower the other. I don’t normally like minty smelling products but this is nice. The consistency is that of a light lotion, it has tons of slip which glide through the hair very easily. The mint is soothing and cooling to the scalp and cleanses the hair very well. The best part is how my hair feels after rinsing it out. My hair feels very clean, but not stripped, and super moisturized. I have used the product 4 times to really test it and I love it! The price point is reasonable $11.99 for 8 oz. I got it during Black Friday for 30% off. I purchased 3 of them because I saw one of my favorite Blogger /Youtuber Elle review it on her youtube channel check out her blog and channel here:  http://questfortheperfectcurl.com

Elle raved about this product and I love the Brand (my favorites are the Oyin’s Hair Dew, Burnt Sugar Pomade, and Frank Juice). I don’t use shampoo and I rarely try new co-washes because I was very happy with Deva. The Ginger-Mint Co-Wash is a winner!  I only wish it came in a larger size! The ingredients are incredible no sulfates or parabens and if you wondering how can a co-wash cleanse your hair the ingredient Cocamidopropyl betaine is a compound derived from coconut oil that acts as a surfactant instead of harsh sulfates found in most shampoos. Do yourself a favor and try this Co-Wash. Right now the Co-Wash is only available online on Oyin’s website http://oyinhandmade.com

What do you use to cleanse your hair shampoo or Co-Wash?