Tips for Natural Hair Care This Winter

Harsh winter weather can be detrimental to all different types of hair, but the cold, dry air is especially brutal to Black hair and other types of textured hair. Natural hair, and newly transitioned natural hair, risk undergoing extreme breakage and damage when exposed to the winter elements. Need some help on how to upkeep the quality of your natural hair? Avoid damage this winter with these must have items and habits to introduce to your hair.

natural hair3

  • An Efficient Protective Hairstyle

Protective styling, such as twists, braids, or locs, helps to retain length by stretching out your hair and encouraging growth. With minimal manipulation, you natural hair will be allowed to grow freely, eliminating the constant threat of tangling and breakage. Because your hair will already be in a style, all you have to worry about is maintenance–which allows more time to focus on moisturizing your scalp and roots! But be sure to only keep protective styles in for their maximum time limits–let your hair breathe! Keep box braids in for no longer than three months at the max, for example!

  • A Satin-Lined Beanie

Want to cover up your hair and keep your ears warm in style this winter? Invest in a satin-lined hat or beanie to keep your ends protected and to retain moisture on the go! You can find many of these online on Etsy or you could make one yourself with this easy online tutorial video!

  • Incorporate Heavy Products

Add heavier sealants and oils into your normal routine like shea butter to guarantee maximum moisture retention in the cold weather. You can find heavy shea butter at your local health food store.

  • Wash Your Hair Less

Unlike less textured hair, natural hair requires less frequent washing as it removes essential moisture from already dry hair. At least limit hair washing to every ten days or two weeks to limit drying out your hair even more.  Use fewer products to encourage healthy growth.

natural hair

  • Condition, Condition, Condition!

Ditch the shampoo and co-wash regularly! Carol’s Daughter has a lot of products in stock to cleanse and condition your hair all at once! If you don’t already do so, incorporate frequent deep conditioning treatments to your lifestyle. You can buy products to deep condition with in your local beauty store or stick to hot oil treatments with Extra Virgin Coconut or Olive Oil (and any other essential oils if you’d like!) Apply warmed oil to your hair and scalp and leave on for about an hour. Then, simply rinse and co-wash!


The music people choose to love is an interesting thing to observe.

Some folks want you to know how cool they are by the musical groups they promote.  Others let their musical preferences reflect their lifestyle – which is why there is such a large range of genres from Americana to Country to Hard Rock to Rap and more.  Then there are people that don’t push their musical preferences to the front of a conversation, but are known to weigh in with an “I hate that group” or a quick “have you heard of such and such?”

When you’re looking for a common ground conversation at a mixer, music is an interesting topic.  Really listening to what a person says can give you a deeper look into their life approach.  It becomes a springboard to further conversation.


Try this fun question, sure to incite a variety of responses: What are five songs you never get tired of hearing on the radio?

First of all, the tendency is to choose obscure music from dusty LPs that others reviewed and decided are classics.  You know– that fifth cut from the Police’s Syncronicity II album, or the live version of a Rihanna song that no one has ever heard.  Other responses include bands from New Orleans or central Tennessee that you must hear.   Naturally some music snobs will say, “I never listen to the radio.”  That’s how they can stay above The Fray (get it?) and not have to pay attention to pop music at all.

I like music.  It transports us to another place or another time.  It reminds us or propels us.

That means I can always pick out my favorites, but still appreciate and enjoy a wide range of things including show tunes, Eminem, and American Authors (who?).  With two teenagers, I try to keep up with newer music as well– I even saw the One Direction Documentary last fall.  That doesn’t make me hip – in fact I’ve probably lost some gravitas with a few of you – but at least I am somewhat current.  Not a bad trait for a 49 year old.

Now, since this is my question, I have a running start on answering it.  However, you can start thinking of your own answers and have fun discussing them with your friends and family.  Try to include songs that most everyone would have heard at some point – even if it was while walking through a shopping center or eating at a restaurant.  Here are my five in no particular order:

  • Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn
  • Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows
  • Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
  • Viva La Vida by Coldplay
  • The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby

No matter how many times I’ve heard these particular songs, I’ll tune in, perk up, or hit replay.  There isn’t always a reason.  I just like them.  How about you?  What songs catch your ear every single time?  Talk amongst yourselves.

Remember Those New Year’s Resolutions?

January’s almost over and you may have already forgotten about that to do list of New Year’s Resolutions that only seems to get longer. You haven’t gone to the gym five times a week like you were hoping to and yesterday you bought yet another pack of cigarettes. Don’t beat yourself up about not fulfilling all of your 2014 goals by now. The most common reason why New Year’s Resolutions fail is because we tend to set huge standards for ourselves and these goals are often bigger than they should be.

new year goals or resolutions - colorful sticky notes on a blackboard

Aim lower; start small. Don’t plan to change your entire lifestyle in a week, rather make small improvements to your lifestyle more frequently. If you want to live healthier, set a goal of eating some type of fruits or vegetables every day or incorporating less strenuous exercises into your daily routine, such as stretching every other morning.

Know your limits. We tend to set grand resolutions expecting to see a major change instead of setting realistic goals. People who live a generally hectic life should not set too many goals at once. Rather, try to change one behavior at a time. This can be as minor as wanting to have more time to see your friends and be social or talking to your family more often. Long term ideals often fall through the cracks–for example, if you wish to learn a new language or lose weight, just do a little every day. Resolutions will come through gradually; don’t expect sudden changes.


Get a support group. It’s easier to work towards your goals with the help of friends and family on your side. Accept any help that comes your way which will also help with any relapses in behavior or stress management. Those on your side will make sure you keep going whenever you feel less than capable and can definitely throw a great celebration party when you achieve a goal!

Stay positive. So you were too tired to work out or hang out with family and friends–don’t worry about it. Mistakes are normal and can even give you more incentive to get back on the track. Thinking positively defeats those negative thoughts that can threaten any further progress. Come up with your own inner mantra and always keep on the bright side of life!


We want to know, have you stuck to your resolutions so far?  What are your secrets?  Remember, there is no shame in failing, as long as you keep trying!

Sassy Scrumptious Salads with Liz Bushong

Serve up Stunning Simple Salad’s with One Vinaigrette for a Healthy New 2014!

Turn over a new leaf in 2014 with this trio of sassy but easy-to-put-together healthy salads. Three different salads presented three different ways using one tangy vinaigrette. These no-cook colorful salads offer a variety of fresh greens rich with disease-fighting antioxidants. With their pleasing variety of flavors, colors, and textures, these salads are the foundation of healthy eating.

Lettuce begin the new year with the Tomato Melon Feta Salad. For this colorful salad, medium thick slices of ripe watermelon and firm red and yellow tomatoes are layered and sandwiched together like silver dollar pancakes or columns of crackers. Small cubes of feta cheese, salt and pepper complete the stacked wonder. Balsamic vinaigrette is drizzled lightly over the salad for a flavorful mix between the sweet and acidic taste of these fruits. Your palate will perk up with this unexpected pairing of fruits. According to Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, a tomato is a fruit. “The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.”

The Cucumber Wrap Salad has a beautiful presentation. We eat with our eyes and this salad really alerts the senses. This salad looks complicated but it is easy to prepare. A seedless English cucumber is mandolin-sliced horizontally, and curled around to form a self-serving bowl. A handful of crisp baby spring mix is layered inside the cucumber, and other garden fresh vegetables are then added and positioned to create this one-of-a-kind salad. The tangy balsamic vinaigrette is served on the side and may be drizzled on the salad to the guest’s personal taste. Edamame, walnuts or pecans, blue cheese crumbles, steamed snow peas and sliced gala apples complete this simply-stated salad. You will be cool as a cucumber creating this salad for your next ladies luncheon or brunch.

The final salad in this dynamic trio is the Salad of Mesclun Greens and Baby Beets. It consists of a combination of mixed greens, shaved vegetables, and cubed beets all served with bagel croutons. A splash of the balsamic vinaigrette brings out the artful essence of this salad. You will enjoy this delightfully light and crunchy combination. To make this the main course, just add protein such as grilled chicken strips, flank steak, salmon, tuna or shrimp.

Presentation for a salad or any meal is important. To keep yourself motivated to eat healthy, be sure to set your table in style by using glass bowls full of the organic fresh vegetables and fruits that you have put in the salad as your table centerpiece. Packaged herbs like dill, mint, chives, and oregano make a beautiful statement as one or two elements of the centerpiece. Cut watermelon slices and graduated bowls of fruit and berries can serve as the light dessert after your salad course. Be creative and have fun!  

Salads are satisfying, health promoting, disease fighting, and include the best fresh ingredients from farm stand or grocery store finds. Serve up one of these tantalizing healthy salads for your family or just for yourself.


Food for thought: Just happened to turnip some nutritional information about a few ingredients in salads, such as edamame, apples and leafy greens.

“The United States Department of Agriculture states that edamame beans are “a soybean that can be eaten fresh and are best known as a snack with a nutritional punch”. Edamame and all preparations of soybeans are rich in carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, and micronutrients, particularly foliates, manganese, and vitamin K”.

The nutritional benefits of an apple are remarkable. “Apples can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Apples, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.” . “Spring Greens Help You Detoxify Naturally, according to Medea Galligan, MS, Nutrition, AADP CHHC, RYT, with healthy lifestyle concepts blog.

“The health benefits of eating leafy greens can’t be overemphasized. Salad greens are loaded with vitamins A and C, as well as several of the B vitamins. Just one cup of these greens provides 70 percent of the daily recommended intake for vitamin A and 20 percent of the DRI for vitamin C. Salad greens are also a rich source of iron and calcium and numerous trace minerals including magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale also are good sources of vitamins K and E.” – SpringGreensHelpYouDetoxifyNaturally


Liz Bushong- Serve it up Sassy Recipes

For more recipes and ideas go to


Salad of Mesclun Greens, Baby Beets and Bagel Croutons


5 ounces mesclun or spring mix greens, washed and dried
2 medium sized beets, steamed, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
16 individual sliced chives
2 carrots, peeled and shaved with vegetable peeler or mandolin
1 English cucumber or cucumber of choice, washed and sliced to ¼ inch
2 plain bagels, or bagel of choice, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-6 ounces thinly sliced smoked Gouda, rolled tightly
Balsamic Vinaigrette or dressing of choice

Wash greens and spin dry. Plate the greens in the center of plate. Shave peeled carrots, and then roll strips tightly to form a curl, position carrots as desired on greens. Slice cucumbers, dice the beets, and roll the cheese, position as desired on greens.

Cut bagels into small bite-sized pieces using kitchen shears. In small zip lock bag, place soy sauce and olive oil mixture, toss croutons in this mixture to coat. Bake on baking sheet at 500 degrees for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully not to burn croutons. Remove from oven and place on top of salad.

Serve Balsamic Vinaigrette in a separate dish or drizzle salad with dressing.

Garnish salad with X crossed 4 chive stems on each salad.

 Yield: 4 small salads

Tomato Melon Salad

liz jan

2 medium firm ripe yellow tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch
4 ½” thick sliced of watermelon, sliced melon in rounds
2 medium firm ripe red tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch
1-(4 ounce) package crumbled –or block blue cheese, or feta cheese
Balsamic Vinaigrette or light dressing of choice
15 steamed pea pods for garnish

Stack yellow tomato, watermelon slice and red tomato one on top of each other. Add crumbled blue or feta cheese and drizzle with vinaigrette. Garnish plate with pea pods.

Yield:  4 small salads

Cucumber Wrap Salad


1 English cucumber, sliced horizontally into thin strips
 2 ½ cups Organic small leaf greens
10 tablespoons Edamame (soybeans) & snap peas steamed and cooled
15 thin slices of Gala apple with skin
10 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
5 tablespoons chopped pecans or nut of choice
Balsamic dressing-recipe follows or purchase

  • Slice cucumber into very thin strips.  Curl into a medium sized circle. Cucumber will stick to itself if you overlap ends. Fill cup with greens, layer apple and pea pods stand on ends in back of salad.
  • Add blue cheese and nuts to the left side of salad. Add soybeans to right side. Serve dressing in separate bowl.  Make it Yours by adding whatever salad toppings you enjoy.  Balsamic Vinaigrette page 36.

Serve it up Sassy on individual white salad plates.  You cannot pick this up to eat, must be plated.

 Yield: 5 mini salads

 (This vinaigrette is for all three salads- 3 salads 1 vinaigrette)

Balsamic Vinaigrette                                                                                                           

½ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon celery salt and pepper
1-cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Whisk together first 5 ingredients until blended. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Blend well. 
  • Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • Serve on any green salad as well as Cucumber Wrap.  Can also be used as a veggie dip.

 Yield: 2 cups



 Helping You Make a Statement, Make it Sassy, and Make it Yours! ®

Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. Liz is famous for creating her own version of a beautifully presented tablescape – which she calls a Sassyscape ™ -and she also creates magic beyond the dining experience. In 2009, 2010 and 2013, she was selected from thousands nationwide to be part of an elite team of 75 professionals entrusted with decorating the White House for the Holiday. In 2011, she was part of seven-person team selected to decorate the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion for the holiday.

To purchase her cookbook, find recipes, cooking, and decorating demonstrations/ideas go to,, and twitter @lizbushong.


Look Cute and Stay Warm!

To be cute or not to be cute?

That is the question that’s definitely been on most of our minds during this frigid winter. Freezing blasts of cold air have put a damper on daily ensembles around the nation. So who is this invisible enemy, daring us to tuck away sexy heels and lightweight jackets in favor of fur lidded puffer coats and ski masks?

Thanks to the Polar Vortex, a low pressure system of circulating cold air descending south from the North Pole, many of us have put fashion on the backburner in order not to freeze to death when having to deal with weather as low as 1° Fahrenheit in some areas. You shouldn’t have to choose between wanting to look cute and hypothermia, so here are some tips on how to survive the winter weather and still look fly:

  • LAYERS!  The number one way to make it through these frosty days is to pack on lots of layers. This is especially good for constantly moving from outdoors to an indoor setting. You can wear a nice coat, a scarf, a nice blazer, and a comfy cardigan underneath. For the main outfit, try a slip underneath your dress or layering t-shirts. Leggings can go under jeans or trousers or for a more whimsical look, try knee highs over tights!


  • OUTERWEAR: Puffer coats aren’t always the answer. (And if they are, try a less bulky one with a high collar or tailored waist!) This winter, don a double breasted wool pea coat instead, like a Jason Kole product, available at Macy’s for only 79.99!                                                  
  • Keep your fingers warm and your hands adorable with quirky gloves and fingerless mittens! The Etsy shop, Yastikizi, specializes in handmade hand warmers and other winter fashion necessities to combat the cold weather in style! www.etsy.comwebsitecoldweather
  • Funky tights can add flavor to any drab winter ensemble! Retailers like SockDreams or Romwe have large collections of inexpensive one-of-a-kind legwear sure to make a scene. or


@Bruceontheloose: Try Something New

It’s so easy to listen to other people and catch where they are wrong.  Sometimes when we take a deep breath and think, the next thought is the recognition we’re saying (or doing) the same thing.

Let me explain.

In the past few weeks I have had different Roanoke folks tell me they’ve never visited Black Dog Salvage, eaten at Lucky Restaurant, been to a show at the Kirk Avenue Music Hall or even heard there was a new hamburger place down on Market Street.  Respected business people said they didn’t come downtown because it was too big a hassle or they didn’t know how to park.  Active citizens didn’t know about the Roanoke Food Tour or hadn’t been to the renovated Center in the Square.

I was shocked.  These are all opportunities easily accessible and mostly not too expensive.  Interesting diversions for people in the area – some of whom may be wondering what they could do to have some fun or experience something different.


The next part wasn’t as fun.

I’ve never been to AmRhein’s Wine Cellar.  It’s been years since I have hiked in the area and I’ve never visited the Cascades.  I haven’t been to the updated Mountain Lake Resort.  I just learned Foggy Ridge Cider is about 20 minutes from Floyd and they are open for tastings on Friday- Sunday.  I’ve only eaten at The Blue Apron one time (and loved it).  And so on…

I decided recently it was time for me to do some more exploring in my own (adopted) home town and 2014 will be the year I chip away at my list.  When someone visits our area it means business.  The Virginia Blue Ridge branding and marketing will bring more visitors through the coming years, but if they come across someone who hasn’t experienced a lot of these great things I wonder if they’ll come back.  Will they have fun and experience all we have to offer?

What about you?

Watch Salvage Dawgs on TV (yes Roanoke has its own real life TV stars), drink a cocktail at Lucky (or grab an amazing dinner or both), listen to live music on Kirk Avenue, or eat a burger at Jack Brown’s.  You can find parking downtown – make it a game or pay your two bucks and pull in.  Google the Roanoke Food Tours then go on one.  Visit the top of the Center in the Square.  Find things not on this list and make your own fun.  Then tell others about it – that’s how a community grows and a region is built.  Virginia’s Blue Ridge has so much to offer.


Sometimes we just need a reminder our own patterns are just as set as the “odd” ones of someone else.

I can’t wait to make 2014 the year to start some new local tourist stops.

8 Steps to Perfect Holiday Cookies

The time-honored popularity of holiday cookie baking remains strong even in today’s grab-and-go society.

“Most of us are looking for ways to simplify the holiday hubbub, and focus on activities that truly have meaning for our families,” says Ginny Bean, publisher of Ginny’s catalog and Bean, who fondly recalls baking holiday cookies with her mother and her three sons, offers the following easy tips for your own holiday cookie baking tradition.

* Get organized. Read the recipe thoroughly. Gather your ingredients before even turning on the stove to make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything that would require an unanticipated trip to the store.

* Keep it simple. Bean recommends starting with this good, basic dough recipe and adding different ingredients to customize the taste and texture to personal preferences:

Cream 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar until fluffy.

Add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until well mixed.

In separate bowl, whisk 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon baking soda together, then add slowly to creamed mixture, beating until combined.

“There’s almost no end to what you can do to this dough,” says Bean. “Get creative and experiment with different mix-ins like lemon peel, pumpkin pie spice, even instant coffee, or substitute toffee or peppermint chips for traditional chocolate and butterscotch.”

* Use the right fat. Some cookie recipes only achieve their best flavor and texture with butter. Hopefully, those recipes will specify “butter only; no substitutes.” Recipes calling for butter or margarine will produce good results with either, as long as you use a margarine that contains at least 80 percent vegetable oil.

Check the nutrition label. The margarine should have 100 calories per tablespoon. Margarines with less than 80 percent vegetable oil have high water content and can result in tough cookies that spread excessively, stick to the pan, or don’t brown well.

* Measure accurately. Metal or plastic measuring cups are intended for dry ingredients such as flour and sugar. When measuring flour, stir it in the canister to lighten it and then gently spoon into a dry measuring cup and level the top with the straight edge of a knife. Glass or plastic cups with spouts are meant only for liquids. If you use a liquid measuring cup for flour, you’re likely to get an extra tablespoon or more of flour per cup, enough to make cookies dry.

* Chill dough properly. The chilling time given in a recipe is the optimum time for easy rolling and shaping. If you need to speed up chilling, wrap the dough and place it in the freezer. Twenty minutes of chilling in the freezer is equal to about one hour in the refrigerator.

* Use a powerful mixer. An electric stand mixer is the best way to mix heavy cookie dough. With a handheld mixer, you’ll probably end up needing to stir in flour by hand, which can be a nightmare.

* Choose the right cookie sheets. Look for shiny, heavy-gauge cookie sheets with very low or no sides. Dark cookie sheets can cause cookie bottoms to overbrown, and cookies won’t bake evenly in a pan with an edge. Insulated cookie sheets tend to yield pale cookies with soft centers. If you use them, don’t bake cookies long enough to brown on the bottom because the rest of the cookie may get too dry. Nonstick cookie sheets let you skip the greasing step. But the dough may not spread as much, resulting in thicker, less crisp cookies. Unless specified otherwise, a light greasing with shortening or quick spray with nonstick spray coating is adequate for most recipes.

* Know your oven. Experiment with the temperature of your oven. If your oven typically cooks items faster than the recipe calls for, adjust accordingly. Don’t bake cookies for too long. They should be light brown around the edges and look a little underdone when they come out. Keep in mind that cookies will continue to cook from the heat of the cookie sheet after you remove them from the oven. Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet initially and then transfer them to a wire rack once they can be lifted with a spatula without breaking them. Once they are cooled completely, you can decorate them or store directly in an airtight container.

Fun Holiday Appetizers

Get crafty with edible holiday appetizers

Don’t worry, Mom. In this case, it’s OK to play with your food. The latest online social media craze features awe-inspiring galleries of edible art, showcasing everyday ingredients transformed into munchable holiday masterpieces.

This season, whether you’re looking to revamp the relish tray or simply keep the kids occupied with a fun project, a few holiday-friendly staples are all you need to let your creativity take flight.

Take, for instance, California black ripe olives. Known for their versatility and mild flavor, black olives are a party favorite for a reason. And with 95 percent of the nation’s ripe olives grown on family farms in California, they’re a truly all-American ingredient, too. They’re also the perfect building block for edible holiday treats.

Get in on the fun with an easy and adorable-to-look-at recipe that uses black olives, cream cheese, pretzels and a few other common ingredients to create an unforgettable herd of holiday cheer. In fact, this is one reindeer game anyone can play.

For more holiday recipe ideas featuring California ripe olives, visit

California Olive Reindeer

Makes 8 reindeer


2- 4 Won ton wrappers

Cooking spray

2 Sandwich-sized reclosable plastic bags

4 ounces cream cheese


8 colossal California Black Ripe Olives

8 large California Black Ripe Olives

1 bamboo skewer

16 pretzel sticks

Paring knife

Tiny pieces of carrot and raisins

Powdered sugar (optional)

Kale (optional)

Mushrooms (optional)


With a small, sharp knife, cut wonton wrappers into “antlers.” Place on a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes at 350 F, or until lightly browned. Place cream cheese into two sandwich-sized reclosable bags. Snip 1/8-inch off the corner of one and 1/16-inch off the second. With the bag and the 1/8-inch hole, squeeze cream cheese into colossal olives. Using a bamboo skewer, make a hole in the large olives. Break a pretzel stick in half and press into hole and into colossal olive. Press together to form the head. Make four holes in the colossal olive with a bamboo skewer and push four broken pretzel sticks in to form legs. Squeeze cream cheese with the small-hole to form eyes. Make tiny slits with a paring knife in the top of the head and insert wonton antlers. Make a hole in the large olive (head) and insert a small sliver of carrot for the nose. Use a small piece of raisin to create pupils.

To create a winter setting, dust kale leaves with powdered sugar and snip the tops off mushrooms to simulate large boulders.

The regional magazine for women