Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hawaii Life: Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe

Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe was mentioned to me by some attendees at my last mommy and me coffee event. They suggested I check it out if I ever wanted my business to expand to a brick and mortar shop.

The shop is located further than I expected and hidden away (at least in my opinion) in more of a neighborhood setting as opposed to downtown like I assumed. They have two locations, one is located in a home decor store called Fishcake and the other is located on East Manoa Road.

We visited the East Manoa location (obviously) and I was immediately excited.  It is in a small shopping plaza, perfect for the smaller nature of the shop.

I always love seeing the handwritten chalk menus at coffee shops. There is no real reason other than it makes it feel like more of a personal place as opposed to a corporate one.

While they didn't have much out in terms of bake goods, I have seen pictures of the selections they have had on other days. They also have things such as breakfast burritos and burgers.  In fact, the table beside me ordered one of their burgers and it took all of my strength to be good and not order one too.

In the end, I decided to try their Vietnamese styled iced coffee and their banana bread. Neither disappointed.

Now, some may ask why would I write about a coffee shop when I one day plan to open one.  Well, the answer is simple.  My shop will not be in Hawaii. So while I am stationed out here I want to enjoy all there is to offer and see as many different styles of coffee shops the island has to offer.  Also, sometimes the best places are found simply by spreading the word.

So if you are ever in Honolulu and want to try a coffee shop that isn't part of a brand, definitely stop by Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe.  There is enough space not to be sitting on top of your neighbor but small enough to feel like you found something special.  If it wasn't such a hike from where I live, I'd probably make a few more visits before we move.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Empties: Jamaican Black Castor & Murumuru Oils Defining Butter Crème

At this point in my life, anytime I revisit Sephora it is like putting a great addiction in front of someone who is going through recovery.

I don't remember how I ended up in Sephora, but I do remember telling myself that I was only going to buy a lipcolor (because I had forgotten to pack any for my trip to Georgia).  Somehow I found myself drawn to the curly hair display.

Picture from Qhemet Biologics Facebook Page

I was excited to see the display because outside of Carol's Daughter, I was not familiar with Sephora carrying many hair care products catering to women of color.

While I had heard of Qhemet Biologics, it was the Madam C.J. Walker line that really caught my eye. I picked up the Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture Curl Enhancing Essentials Kit. I then put it down, then picked it up, then down, then I asked my sister if I should get it.  

Finally, a very fabulous white makeup artist/salesman told me that it was a great product.  I don't know how, but I let that convince me despite the obvious differences in our hair textures. 

Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture Curl Enhancing Essentials Kit $28

The kit contains three sample/smaller sizes of the Scent & Shine Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil & Murumuru Oils Ultra-moisturizing Co-Wash, and Defining Butter Creme. Eventually, I will review the other two products, but this post is just about the Defining Butter Creme.

Now a little information about Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Murumuru Oils.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil
  • Made from the same castor beans as original castor oil. However, the features of the oils and their benefits are influenced by the different manufacturing processes.
  • Contains vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Four benefits of Jamaican black castor oil are pain killer, healing, skin care, and hair care.
  • It is used to treat dry, damaged, and dull hair.
  • Believed to promote hair growth by warding off infections that cause hair loss such as scalp disease.

Murumuru Oil

"Murumuru grows in the Amazon Basins, enjoying a distinctive place in the local ecosystems as one of the dominant trees."

"The lipids present in the plant material hydrate and moisturize the skin and hair in a very intense way. The emolliency supports the integrity of the skin and your hair’s cutaneous barrier. Moreover, murumuru is chock full of nurturing vitamins and minerals. The nutty aroma of organic murumuru puts us in touch with Mother Earth — and is a tangible part of the great Amazon rainforest.
Pertinent specifically to visitors to, murumuru is especially useful to people of all ethnicities with kinky, curly or wavy hair because of its softening ability. Often, kinky, and some types of curly, hair feels coarse. Murumuru coats coarse curls, making them more supple and manageable. Products containing an appreciative amount of murumuru oil or extract are well suited to textured curls. Murumuru products moisturize the hair with lasting hydration, controlling frizz and defining curls." 

 Overall, the product was good and did it's job. But the ultimate question is would I repurchase it? And I would have to say..........


Empty 3oz Tube of Defining Butter Creme

I absolutely fell in love with this product.  I was skeptical at first, but a few times after using just this product post wash I was convinced.

The Defining Butter Creme gave my effortless definition and moisture. Often when I find a product that defines curls, I am left with a crunchy or flaky aftermath.

Also, the definition held up even a few days after using the product.  I will definitely be purchasing the larger bottle in the future.  In fact, I think it is safe to say this is a holy grail product because I was definitely sad when the tube ran out.

Washed my hair before this picture and only put the Defining Butter Creme in afterwards. Just air dried from the wind of the day.  No real styling. Don't mind the unevenness, I needed a bit of a hair cut.

Sites used for the Jamaican black castor oil:

The Jamaican Black Castor & Murumuru Oils Defining Butter Creme are available in two sizes: 3oz ($14) and 6oz ($26) at Sephora and

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Story of an Army Wife: Is This The End of the Military Life?

For almost 6 years, I have been the girlfriend and wife of a soldier.  While I don't allow it to be my sole identifier, the thought of no longer being an army wife has recently been a topic of discussion in my household.

Timing is always an amusing aspect of my life. So when I connected with the company SimpliSafe and learned about their connection with the military through their Jackson in Action Foundation and security systems for families to protect their home, I wanted to share my experiences as an army wife. While there are plenty of stories I could share and have shared, I am choosing to share my views on dealing with the possible end.

Last month, my husband suffered a knee injury during PT. The tendon that held his knee cap in place snapped and shot his kneecap into his thigh.  Sounds nasty, right? Of course he needed surgery to repair the tendon. This injury happened the day before his 33rd birthday and a month before he was to go to the promotion board. There is that funny timing again.

After the injury

 The swelling

About a week after his stitches were removed from surgery

If there is anything I have learned from being the wife of a solider and the daughter of an airman is that don't count on anything being guaranteed with the military.  With this now being Akeem's second surgery in a year (the first was on his foot), the conversation has come up about med board.

While med boarding out of the military definitely has its upsides for my family (moving back home, no more moving, chance for a career for me), there are definitely aspects that I fear.

Akeem and I were both some knuckleheads before we ever met each other.  Hell, some days it may still seem like we are lacking in the maturity department. 

We both have younger siblings who have made great strides in kick starting their careers and accomplishing a childhood goal; his brother joined the Washington Redskins and my sister started her first year as a medical intern at Vanderbilt.

Just had to brag on them a little bit...

Now, my husband and I joke about our follow through being sub par compared to our siblings in following our dreams.  But with the army, we both found a level of security.  As if the military life would shape our dreams for us.

I was 23 when I got married and hadn't even reached the path of starting to find myself before I moved to Kentucky.  For my husband, he had made his mistakes and the army was a bit of a saving grace to getting him back on track.  Most of our relationship has been known within the walls of the military life: from my job choices to our life and schedule.

So what happens when all your relationship has known is the guidelines of the military life?  Where there is somewhat of a safety net and consequences for things the civilian world doesn't follow?

In the last few weeks, I have been digging deep to adjust to the possibility of a new life path.  I have really been trying to grow my business, looked into going to school, and we have had discussions about financial changes.

At 28 years old, I feel like I have never really been an adult in the civilian world.  I graduated from college and a year later I was married. I've never had to worry about medical bills or not having enough money for rent. I've never been forced to really test my capabilities because I always had the safety net of being an army wife (the resources of being a military family=safety net).

In a week in a half, my husband will return to work.  The doctor's told him that his rehabilitation will be anywhere between 3 to 6 months. But with a knee injury, I feel like it can be tricky to foresee the long term effects.

I never thought I would feel any kind of way but happy at the thought of having a "normal" life outside of the military. But as we wait to see about the possibility of the "normal" life coming sooner rather than later, I can't help but feel some kind of way.

In the last few years, I have made some amazing friends and helpful networking contacts.  I feel like I have grown a lot since Akeem joined almost 6 years ago.  It is these these things that make me wonder will I continue to grow, will we as a couple continue to grow, or will the stresses of moving back to the civilian world be more than we expected?

When people talk about the end of their military life, I never really hear about what it did for their marriage.  It always seems that the military person got out and that was it. Now I feel like it is time for me to start asking that question: How did your family adjust to the switch?

Like I said, nothing is guaranteed.  And in the army there is a phrase: "hurry up and wait."

I hate that saying and I hate not knowing what is next for my family. But I do know this, we have been through hell and back as a family and we will make the most out of whatever cards we are dealt.

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