By Jashia Wadehra

It’s that time of year! The grocery shopping never ends and neither do the school bake sales, friendsgivings, secret Santa’s or gift exchanges.

As a kid, I️ LOVED bringing my friends treats for every holiday and my birthday. And when money was tight and the $0.99 store was within walking distance, I️ learned to be resourceful. I’d start by hoarding my mom’s Trader Joe or other pretty grocery store bags post her shopping excursions. Then I’d make my way to the dollar store and pick up some standard thin glossy ribbon.

This DIY craft project is perfect to do with the your kids during the holiday season, or even for various holiday events! This year I intend on making a handful and filling them with travel-sized toiletries for a local shelter- get creative! 



How To:
What you'll need: brown paper bag, ribbon, scissors, hole puncher!

Step 1: 
If you’re doing this project with your kids, perhaps whip out the safety scissors. I’d cut out two pieces of the bag in the shape of a stocking and proceed to hole punch around the perimeter of both pieces. The size of the stocking is entirely up to how much you intend on stuffing it with! 



Step 2: 
String your desired ribbon through and create little handles at the top. There you have it, adorable DIY reused Christmas treat stockings! Feel free to loop through with multiple colored ribbons for extra festiveness! 



Step 3: 
I️ love to stuff them with these vegan chocolate coconut truffles (recipe here!) or some little knick knacks for my nieces and nephews. If we’re being honest here, I️ have used them as adult party favors and they’re still a hit sooooooo, I’m just sayin.



Do you do any arts and crafts with your kids for the holidays ? Share your projects with me in the comments !
Jashima Wadehra is a writer, dancer, entrepreneur, and lover of people based in NYC.  She can be found blogging at overpriced coffee shops or on a plane heading to a new place to write about.  Follow her on instagram at @TheChatterboxlifeEnthusiast and check out her new blog TheChatterBoxLifeEnthusiast.com
Photo: @mussettee

by Mary Wolff

When looking for a quick fix for you curls, sometimes the answer is lurking in your kitchen. Many naturals enjoy playing mixtress and creating concoctions for the health of their hair. Making a DIY curl cream is one of the easier ones to create to get great results.

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While there are lots of DIY curl cream recipes, this one will give definition while adding moisture to strands. It uses all-natural ingredients that are easy to find so you don’t have to search a bunch of sites to order things. In fact, you might even have these ingredients on hand already if you are skilled in mixing DIY solutions. The shea butter and coconut oil are rich in moisturizing properties to leave hair soft and hydrated. The aloe vera offers a sealant that will lock in hydration while helping with holding the definition. Rosemary oil is used to aid the scalp in circulation which leads to healthy hair. The apricot kernel oil is rich in linoleic acid which helps to moisturize hair. This DIY curl cream can be used as a pre-styler or a moisturizer. It will fight frizz, define curls, and leave hair hydrated.

Ingredients



  • 1/4 cup of raw shea butter
  • ¼ cup of pure aloe vera gel
  • 1 tsp apricot kernel oil
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 10 drops of rosemary essential oil

  • Directions

    1. Melt the shea butter and coconut oil in a double boiler. If you don’t have one, you can make one with a pan half way full of water and a bowl placed inside the water. Be careful to avoid burns!
    2. Stir until the two oils are evenly mixed into one.
    3. Place the bowl containing the melted mixture of the oils in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes or until the liquids are partly solidified.
    4. Using a hand mixer, whip the oil until it takes on a creamy consistency.
    5. Add the apricot kernel oil and continue blending until mixed in.
    6. Add the pure aloe vera gel and continue mixing until all elements are evenly combined.
    7. Add the Rosemary oil as the final ingredient.
    8. When you are finished, the finished products will be a soft white mixture that is smooth and easy to work into strands. If it’s still lumpy, keep whipping until its fluffy and airy.
    9. Transfer to a mason jar or other closed container with a lid. You want to avoid letting water get into the mixture since it may cause things to separate.

    by Mary Wolff

    Hair gels can have some questionable ingredients in them that make many curlies think twice. Why waste time studying labels when you can make your own DIY natural hair gel? Whether looking to make your own DIY natural hair gel as a fun project or because you simply ran out of product with no time to run to the store, these recipes are easy and effective.

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    Two Ingredient Gel
    This is an easy gel recipe to pull together. The gelatin will give hair solid hold and the only other ingredient is water. How easy is that?

    Ingredients

    • 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin 
    • 1/2 cup hot water 
    Combine gelatin and water in a saucepan until hot enough to dissolve the gelatin. Stir until evenly combined. Transfer to a clean container. Store in the refrigerator for an hour or so to let it firm up enough to use and voila! You now have two weeks of hair gel ready to go!

    Aloe Vera Gel 
    For a recipe that will give hold while offering moisturizing properties, this one is the way to go. The aloe vera and vitamin E offer moisture while the gelatin provides the hold. This recipe will give you a medium hold, but if you want a stronger hold, you can use 1 tsp of gelatin as opposed to the 1/2 tsp the recipe calls for.

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 1/2 cup aloe vera gel
    • 10 to 20 drops essential oil
    • 4-5 drops vitamin E
    Combine water and gelatin in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until evenly mixed. Remove from heat and add the aloe vera, vitamin E, and essential oil while still hot. Stir until evenly blended.

    Vegan Recipe 
    If you are taking the organic and vegan approach, you might want an option that stays away from gelatin. There isn’t anything wrong with gelatin, but it is partially created using animal products. A vegan-friendly option would be this recipe that uses agar agar flakes instead. This is a type of gelatin that comes from plants, like seaweed, instead of animals.

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 teaspoon agar agar flakes
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
    • 4-6 drops essential oils
    To make this recipe, simply bring the water to just below a boil in a medium saucepan. Add your agar agar flakes and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. When all the flakes are dissolved into the water, remove from the heat and add the aloe vera gel and essential oils. Stir until well blended. Allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring it to a clean container. Move to the refrigerator to allow it to thicken. After a few hours, you will have up to 2 weeks of hair gel ready to go!

    IG @brigiteeeee

    by Alexandria Jones via SeriouslyNatural.org

    What’s a Naturalista to do when her hair is being crazy and uncooperative? A hot oil treatment!

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    A hot oil treatment is the perfect option when your hair has become dry and damaged because of chemicals, heat tools, and the environment. The purpose of these treatments is to strengthen the hair and restore moisture so it’s back to being healthy and shiny.

    The treatments are also good for the scalp because it’ll soak up the oils and increase blood circulation to the follicles. Massaging the scalp with oils containing Amla, Brahmi, Olive, and Avocado oils is effective, especially for reducing hair shedding.

    Other benefits include:
    1. Prevents frizz
    2. Prevents drying of the hair shaft
    3. Great for scalp issues and dandruff
    4. Better elasticity
    5. Length retention

    Hot oil treatments are super easy to do and can be done in the privacy of your own home. They’re easy to apply and aren’t time consuming at all. Of course there’s always the classic VO5 bottle, but, of course, there are alternatives to everything.

    Some great oil alternatives are:
    1. Coconut-stimulates growth, softens hair and scalp, and eliminates dandruff
    2.Olive-high in vitamins A and E for anti-aging and disinfectant; also moisturizes, soothes, and heals
    3. Castor-adds strength and is great for those with thin hair that breaks easily.
    4. Almond-helps condition, nourish, and softens hair while stimulating growth
    5. Jojoba Oil-leaves hair light and soft

    Depending on your hair’s needs, you can do them either weekly, biweekly, or monthly.

    What do you use hot oil treatments for? How often do you use them?
    IG @_poemoney

    by Mary Wolff

    When it comes to taking your beauty into your own hands, you can’t beat do it yourself hair masks. A homemade hair mask is not only affordable and effective; it can be really easy! When using products from the store, you never really know what might be lurking under the label. With do it yourself hair masks, you can use the most natural ingredients, and all from your kitchen, for a hair care treatment you can feel good about.

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    Hair masks are usually made of a few key ingredients. These main ingredients are the main course for your strands because they are packed with nutrients and protein.  The most commonly used items are super moisturizers:
    • Eggs
    • Yogurt
    • Honey 
    • Avocado 
    • Olive oil 
    These powerhouses offer superior moisture and help fight dryness and frizz. They work as a base to help create a mixture consistency easy to work into hair. As long as you have one of these in your DIY mask, you can combine nearly any other element to make something more personalized. Some other key ingredients used in homemade concoctions for hair are bananas, apple cider, strawberries, milk, and lemon. These add extra vitamins and proteins to keep hair beautiful.

    When making a do it yourself hair mask, the main goal is usually to moisturize and offer hair a booster. As long as you use one of the bases mentioned, you will have the moisture aspect covered. After that feel free to experiment until you find the recipe that gives you the best results. Everyone’s hair is different and needs different things. Maybe your hair needs vitamins found in milk while your curlfriend needs a potassium boost from bananas.

    As with any mask, whether store bought or homemade, make sure your hair feels soft and non-greasy once you wash and dry it. No one wants hair they can’t touch! If it is still greasy, you may be using a mask that has too much oil as a base. Try using less or adding lemon to help cut some of the oiliness.

    Looking for a few of my favorite recipes for nourishing your curls? Check these out!

    The Only Three Hair Masks You'll Ever Need

    DIY Natural Hair Masks That Are Good Enough to Eat

    When it comes to making your own hair masks at home, don’t forget to have fun and experiment! It can be a great way to get to know your hair and what works for your beautiful strands.