Eggplant is often overlooked and under-used! It’s such a versatile vegetable that can be prepared in a variety of ways. 

I really enjoy having it in Antiguan Chop-up, Trinidadian Melongene/Baigan Choka, trendier dishes like Eggplant Lasagna or more traditional dishes such as Moussaka. Eggplant is a huge favorite of mine and I’m always looking for new ways to add a much-loved local veggie into my meals.  

Enter, Eggplant Marinara! Few meals are as satisfying as a plate of fresh, flavorful, tangy marinara sauce smothered pasta. My mouth is watering as I type! This is a fun twist on a traditional marinara sauce and will help you add another serving of vegetable in a super tasty way! 

Eggplant Marinara
Serves 4 

1 ½ cups diced tomato
2 ½ cups diced eggplants
¼ cup diced sweet pepper
¼ cup diced onion
1 seasoning pepper (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
4 sprigs thyme
2 tsp basil
½ tsp black pepper
3 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp oil
1¼ cup water

1.       Saute onion, seasoning pepper, sweet pepper, garlic and thyme in oil until softened and golden.

2.       Add tomatoes, eggplant, black pepper, and basil. Saute 2-3 minutes until soft.

3.       Add tomato paste and water then salt to taste. (Use salt sparingly.) 

4.       Simmer on low heat until thickened  (20-30 minutes).

5.       Serve warm with pasta.  

That's it! This marinara recipe is super easy to whip up and definitely packs a flavorful punch.

What are your favorite eggplant recipes? I'd love to give them a try! 

Building a better regimen is a major step in maintaining healthy hair. A big key to this regimen (especially for kinkier hair) is making sure your hair receives enough but definitely not too much moisture. You’re probably tired of hearing it; but, it’s true! Figuring out where to start can feel overwhelming. There is so much information floating around on different treatments and steps that you can incorporate into your regimen; however, few persons actually show you how to compile it all into a process that works best for you. 

A good moisturizing regimen will tell you which steps to take and when to take them. Consistency and compliance with a regimen that works well for you and your hair will help you achieve the results that you’re after. 

Below I’ve listed everything that you might want to know about this aspect of my hair regimen.  It’s broken down into four main sections: wash day, weekly moisture routine, mid-week moisture routine and daily moisture routine. Wash day usually takes place once or twice a month completely dependent on the state of my hair and if I’m being honest, whether or not I’m in the mood to tackle washing it. 

Wash Day

Hot oil treatment/ Prepoo
Section and twist hair. Both prepoo and hot oil treatment are done using coconut oil, olive oil or a mixture of both. 

Hot Oil Treatment: The oil is warmed then applied to the scalp and length of the hair. The hair is then covered with a plastic cap for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Prepoo: The oil is applied to the scalp and length of the hair then sits for a minimum of 30 minutes.

A cheap rinse out conditioner is added to the oil in each section. Detangling takes place using fingers and a wide tooth comb.

The oil and conditioner should now be thoroughly rinsed out after which a cleanser is applied.  The cleanser of my choice is usually a sulfate-free or a sulfate containing shampoo depending on how much build-up is present on the hair.  

After cleansing a moisturizing deep conditioner or protein treatment is used as recommended by the product directions.

Apply your favorite leave-in conditioner or moisturizer to damp hair.   

Apply castor oil and/or Shea butter as sealant.  I like to use both.

Weekly Moisture Routine

Leave-in Conditioner/ Moisturizer
Mist with water then apply your favorite leave-in conditioner or moisturizer to damp hair.  

Apply castor oil and/or Shea butter as sealant.  I like to use both.

Baggy Method
After applying leave-in conditioner and sealant place a shower cap/ conditioning cap and use body heat to boost moisturizing effects.

Mid-Week Moisture Routine 

Leave-in Conditioner/ Moisturizer
Mist with water then apply your favorite leave-in conditioner or moisturizer to damp hair.   

Apply castor oil and/or Shea butter as sealant.  I like to use both.

Daily Moisture Routine 

Mist with water or Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifier 

Whew, that was a lot! I really hope that this breakdown of my hair regimen helps you create or improve your own. Do you have a consistent natural hair regimen?  Are there any other steps that you’d recommend I give a try and incorporate into my own?  As usual, if you have any questions feel free to reach out! 

I'm officially half way into twenties! What! How? When did this happen? 

Funny story, I actually wrote this post around my 23rd birthday and it's been chilling in my drafts for the last two years. After a few tweaks it's finally seeing the light! The 20's are a time for growth, experimenting and learning. The early and mid 20's are especially filled with growing pains as we work our way from those awkward teenage years into full blown (and even more awkward) adulthood. Below are 20 things that I've had to learn the hard way, I hope this saves someone a bit of those growing pains or at least offers some company as we grit our teeth and work through it.
  1. You're going to feel lost and it's OK to feel unsatisfied with where you are.
  2. Beauty doesn't have to be painful, expensive or excessive.
  3.  Neither do periods. 
  4. Save as much as you can afford to. Set financial goals every month and met them. 
  5.  Stop being jealous of other peoples lives!
  6.  Be flexible. Make big plans then go with the flow.
  7.  Long distance relationships take work but they can work.
  8.  Wash kinky hair in sections or twists.  
  9.  Job hunting isn't always easy. It may take a little time and a lot of patience but you'll get there.
  10. Everyone expresses love differently but it's all equal. No, that's a lie it's not always equal but it doesn't have to be.
  11. Be a reliable person. Try to avoid making promises that know you can't or won't deliver on.
  12.  Not everyone you meet will like you and that's totally fine. You will not like everyone you meet and that is also fine. Be kind and show respect. Always.
  13.  Spend less time on social media. Log off for a bit and head outside for a walk, read a book or cook a meal.
  14. Do your best, be your best possible self.  Your best is good enough.
  15.  It's OK to say no without providing an explanation.
  16. Lists work! Make a note of  the goals you've set, the groceries you need to purchase, the books you want to read, the places you'd like to visit and movies you'd like to see. Write everything down and experience the gratification of ticking them off.
  17. Find a go to hairstyle and learn how to create it on your own. 
  18.  You and your friends will change.
  19.  Self love is important and may take different forms.
  20.  Revel in the now and worry less. Things will fall into place.  It's so easy to get caught up in laying tomorrow's foundation. Remember to enjoy today; go to that event, have the chocolate covered ice-cream bar, choose big, colorful hair, stay up a later than you should. You'll never be this young again. 

 In the summer of 2013 "I went natural by accident".  I had my first relaxer at the age of 10 or 11 so after my big chop I had absolutely no idea what to do with the 1.5 inches of hair that was left on my head.  I've learnt a little more since then with thanks to YouTube, Instagram, Google and my own silly mistakes. 

Before we go any further, growing long healthy 4c hair takes time! Don't be discouraged if your hair retention isn't as exponential as that of your "YouTube/Instagram hair twin".

Here a few that I wish someone had told me at the beginning.

 1. Wash your hair in sections or twists.
This is a game changer. It makes wash days feel a little easier because you aren't overwhelmed with one, big head of hair! Placing hair into sections or twists also reduces tangles which is always a plus.

2. Find a de-tangling method that works well for you.
Tangled, knotted hair is going to break, minimize that problem with regular de-tangling sessions. Regular for you could mean weekly, every two weeks or even monthly. Personally I only do an intensive de-tangling session on wash days. Contrary to popular belief using a comb isn't a sin against kinky hair and if done correctly and gently all of your hair won't end up on the floor when you're done. Whether you use tools, your fingers or a combination is your choice. A comb doesn't need to glide smoothly through your kinky tresses but ensuring that the hair is well de-tangled along it's entire length is key.

3. Cleanse your hair!
 Conditioner ONLY washing isn't the wisest option for most persons. Our hair needs to be cleansed! You can use shampoo, clay or whatever option you choose just be mindful that placing a conditioning agent on your hair then rinsing it off isn't going to give you the best clean. There's a reason we don't wash our skin with lotion.

4. Add moisture to your hair before it becomes too dry.
 Experiment with a moisture routine to find what works best for you and your hair. After you've moisturized your hair figure out how many days pass by before it becomes noticeably dry then apply moisture the day before your hair gets to that point.

5. Apply the same  products between wash days.
 Whenever you're moisturizing or styling your hair try to use the same set of products from one wash day until the next. Avoid confusing and stressing your hair by piling a variety products with different formulas unto your strands. This may also help to prevent product build up and flaking.

Help your fellow Naturals out. If you've got any healthy hair tips share them below!