Curl Café Buena Gente: Community work

I love coffee, I love hair & I love community work. 

Last summer I tried a little social media experiment: Bring people together with similar interests that also happen to have curly hair via instagram! 

The experiment worked and here is what we did together. 

We first found a common cause that was close to our hearts, most of us did not know each other before the curl café and after that have remained friends and kept sharing our curl tips. Even though it was about drinking coffee, tea, and having curl conversation in the end what really brought us together was wanting to help others even in a small way. 

In total 9 people got together to donate and most went to the coffee shop and a few others due to schedulling issues sent their cash donations via wire transfer in order to purchase the goods for the elderly care home. We even got a spontaneous donation by the coffee shop that hosted us. 

When you have good intentions things do work out! 

The care home sent a list of needs! Here they are plus a card

The curl café team!

Don Vicente Coffee

Hogar Bolivar care home

As I reflect upon 2016 and my complicated relationship with Panama, I realize that my happiest moments there have always been related to volunteer & community work. This community spirit was somehow instilled in me by both my parents, no matter how busy all of us were there was always time to cook for someone or make a special donation or host a free origami workshop, something. 

My volunteering goal for 2017: is find an animal shelter were to work on my free time. Do you have a volunteering goal? Share it with me in the comments! Want to get started? I can help, just let me know. 

Have a happy life! 

Carrie Fisher

I have no words, but I will still make the effort to write something about this remarkable woman and creative mind.
Who is Carrie Fisher? I did not know her personally, but if you follow me on IG you know I do 2 things asides hair, I science and I Star Wars, from my science (neuroscience) point of view she is the prime example of SURVIVAL. Carrie Fisher played princess Leia and General Organa in the Star Wars franchise, but she was much more grand than that.

3 words defined Carrie for me: RESILIENCE, COURAGE & HOPE.

She had a disease called bipolar disorder, which justified her behaviors in her early carreer & she struggled & talked openly about it as an advocate for Mental health and kept working.
People complained about her looks bla bla bla but taking certain medications may affect the way people look & her looks were beside the point anyways.

She made a career later on, after the original trilogy not based on looks but on hard work, harder than most, and she proved that she could be successful despite and because of her disadvantages (gender, mental health,etc) She was great until the last day. I highly recommend watching her interview with Steven Fry (he also has bipolar disorder and made a film about it, I disagree with leaving illness untreated but it was a good film) and also watch the red carpet interviews of the london premiere of The Force Awakens she was THE BEST! She will be missed but never forgotten by so many of us for so many reasons. I will remember her for her Courage to be herself and be a positive role model to anyone with Mood Disorders, the correct term, that you can you should try to live.

A note on Mental Health

The only people qualified to treat Mood Disorders are Doctors.

Not all my patients, had mood disorders but as a Doctor with a Neuroscience background I can treat mood disorders & anxiety on a basic level. I am not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but I collaborated with them my scope of treatment of Mood Disorders is limited to mild to moderate cases of depression, but what all Mood disorders have in common is the sense of guilt and illness shaming.
I know the biology of depression,due to my background as a scientific communicator and physician; it is an illness where you can see in the brain a down regulation of serotonin receptors and many more things just like you can see blood when you cut your finger but the skin can be seen with the Naked eye and the brain can not.

I worked with a team that assessed the safety profile of an antidepressant drug some time ago and as it was obvious that I needed to know everything brain, to be able to communicate more effectively that was what got me hooked on neuroscience and guided my future academic interests.
My point is that having depression or Bipolar disorder nowadays and talking about it  is like saying you have the bubonic pest, but Carrie used her personal experience, influence and courage to talk about it for everyone who could be afraid to loose their family, livelihood or job for suffering from it. I once read on an interview that she hoped she could have romantic relationships, I will need to fact check this but it does sound like her alright and it made me feel a bit sad for her and reflect upon the need to do more to educate society about Mood Disorders in General.

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“Depression bipolar or not is a biological illness, it is an illness of an organ that happens to control the rest of the body” I said that.

Most people decide to call mental illness crazy or laziness. Family and friends sometimes are the most unhelpful, because of their poor attempts to “help” (out of ignorance) they either treat them (the patients) like less or blame them for their illness… and at work? don’t get me started about work place abuse and stigma.

About Mood Disorders in the clinical practice: My experience as a Physician

In my country, as a physician you don’t have to disclose in paper always any diagnosis; but what many employers do (unlawfully) is that they ask their workers to tell them, so I always made sure to educate all my patients to disclose symptoms instead of a diagnosis such as changes in bodily function instead of saying they have depression or anxiety. I usually referred my patients after the initial diagnosis and follow up because I  worked as a visiting physician only for a few months 2-3 and I could not do the long term follow up required for managing the brain biochemical imbalances that psychiatrists could, but I also know that more often than not those referrals were not followed up, by my patients because “if you visit a psichiatist you must be crazy right?” another stigma. One patient once told me that Neuroscience sounded better than psychiatry so he would not go see a crazy doctor and he might have been on to something there. The stigma in the society is a problem.
One Mentor gave me that advice (to protect mental health issues diagnosis from employers) when I was a med student, I enquired if it would not be deliberately lying about a diagnosis and she said “it is not lying, if it is the truth” and more often than not depression comes with visible physical symptoms such as gastrointestinal disorders. I only understood why the secrecy was important until years later while sitting in my office with a mother crying because she was afraid that if she took the meds her boss would find out and fire her.

A powerful Carrie Fisher Quote

“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.
They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.”
Carrie Fisher

If you need help understanding mental health awareness, do not hesitate to contact me on my IG:Dr_vasquez_MD

May the Force be with you.

Rest in Peace Carrie Fisherimage

My Xmas of Blog: December 27

May the force be with Mark Hamill and the ones who loved Carrie personally. Carrie is Already one with the Force, I worry about the ones left behind. If you have followed me on IG you woukd know I scienced and I Star Wars

I know how it feels to loose a “favorite” one in the end if December, it changes you. There no way to overlook the things that are not about Xmas, or New year’s and it grinchifies you, but today is not about me it is about what Carrie Fisher represented and about how her Space Sibling must be suffering her loss

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My Xmas of Blog: December 24 

Xmas eve is just around the corner! Here in Germany that means more Glühwein & more Xmas markets, the celebrations here extend to December 26th so tonight is going to be a more relaxed Xmas eve that what we are used to in the American Continent while still having all the festive spirit with shopping & fun deco with the added benefit of the Weihnachtsmarkt in the bigger cities such as Hamburg, where my husband’s Family is from. 

The plan for today, a relax family breakfast and then off to theWeihnachtsmarkt   to drink all the Glühwein and eat all the fuerwurst! And just rejoice in the lovely, jolly and cosy atmosphere of thäe German Xmas Markets! And then another relaxed family dinner. We decided to only give gifts to my second nephew? and focus on the little one! On Dec 26th we will have the formal family lunch with Oma & Opa and the whole family! 


Now, About my last Adventkalendar’s gift: today I got a parfum. I am not a huge fan of trying new fragances so this was a bit of a buzzkiller for the last present but that being said, I remembered what I wrote yesterday about unexpected items and got excited again about trying something I would  not have otherwise. Once I test it I will let you know how it went but for now here is a picture of this cute little parfum bottle, that if I like will last me for quite sometime as it seems to be a full size product. 


I must admit it was a difficult challenge to write about something everyday, I missed day 2, but it was also fun and rewarding. 

I am a huge fan of Neil Gaiman and he recommends to write a story everyday if you want to be a writer and I can see why; it forces you to think creatively,  to look for clever ideas and more importantly to create a sense of duty & responsability  towards the job at hand, in this case blogging about my 1st Xmas in Germany as a resident of this awesome country since April 2016. I have been visiting Germany since 2009 and moving here was the best decision I made in 2015, snd saying yes to my then german boyfriend was the best decision of 2014! I could keep going back in time but I will stop there and have my eyes set on the future and my goals fixed on making it a bright happy future in my new home country! Prost! Frohe weihnachten!

Are you a Product Junkie?

 

Winter Holy Grail

11 Useful Tips for the Curly Girl Product Junkie

  1. Set up a monthly budget for haircare products according to your income and stick to it. Once I noticed I was spending too much money in products I found this to be the most useful intervention. My monthly budget is 100 Euros per month, if there is a particular product or hair tool that is more expensive than that then I wait until the beggining of the next month to make the purchase. Set a stablished amount and stick to it.
  2. Don’t impulsive buy when you visit the drugstore. Some products might be on sale or very cheap, but it is better to read about it first. Buy according to your hair needs, know your curls, for instance you might be protein sensitive and see a great protein treatment is on sale, but it is not the right product for you so it will only sit on your shelf.
  3. Trade products that did not work for you with friends and family, you both might benefit from the deal.
  4. Keep a list of your stock of products and buy first the type of product that is running out. I keep a shelf for styling and finishing products for example so that I can see if the balance is tilting more towards oils (my guilty pleasure) or leave in conditioner (my favorite product) while I am running low on curl definers or stylers before purchasing a new oil I check if there is not another product that I actually need.
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself, if all of the above failed do your very best to keep your hard earned coin together while not feeling guilty about a few moments of product junkism weakness, revisit your goals and strategy and repeat.
  6. Donate barely used products to charity and quantify how much money it is you are giving and consider a fund for donations instead of excessive shelf products.
  7. Shop online in a store with a rewards program or on a beauty supplier and ask for free samples of products you might want to try in the future or join a products subscription box service and keep within budget while still trying new things!
  8. Be alert for the sales of your holy grails and stock up and then adjust the subsequent months budget.
  9. Review your product cabinet when the seasons change, it might be some products that did not work in summer work for winter and viceversa. Try them in a different season and if it is a no no then kiss them goodbye.
  10. If all else fails reset and go back to your holy grails until you find a way to sort out your product junkie cabinet( at least that is what I am doing just now, getting rid of all my products in order to return to a few holy grails that were just perfect for my hair & skin)
  11. Have fun!

When I started his blog in April I was not a product junkie, now I can confidently say I am a product junkie and I need to go back to keeping it simple as a new hair goal. I will try to use all the products I have or try and trade them although I have no fellow curlys in my vecinity for now.

Cheers!

Devacurl One Condition Decadence Results


Dr. L

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I wish my shelf was as tidy XD

I Have a Crown Now 

I am sorry you can not see, how great I am. I am sorry you were born below me, I always knew I was better than you and now thanks to my crown, everyone knows.

You wanted me to apologize, ok I will write a meaningless statement just to keep the crown I deserve, because I have better skin, better hair and a faker smile than yours.

Get outraged, write about me on social media, I do not care, I am the crown queen or king of the most powerful country on earth. I am the face of racism, discrimination, hate and violence and I am proud of it. I have not changed at all but I will write I did just to weather the storm. Anyways next week Kayne and Kim will be trending instead of me.
***This is what I imagine feels like reading in between the lines of the never ending Apology for saying and writing racists, or sexists comments from celebrities, politicians, teenage beauty queens, social media influencers, anybody big enough to have millions of followers and people they influence.

I cannot understand how systematically we continue to vote, pay for products and merchandise, select services and invest our money in businesses and people who clearly dislike others but their “own kind” whatever that means. This is a global reality it is not circumscribed to one single country like the USA or the UK, because selective crime and punishment also happens in places like Latin America where I grew up. We as a collective of peace loving people should be more supportive and take true actions for peace not just ignore the comments and move on, yes it is scary I get it. It took me months to finish this prompt reply I knew what I wanted to write but not how. 

I choose love, compasion and understanding, non violence and non hate, because as the iconic Mae West once said “It takes two to get one in Trouble”
 

 

 

 

Cabello ondulado, cabello fino, cabello crespo. Parte #1 ¿Qué Onda?

Hace mucho que no escribo en español, pero lo extrañaba y me sentí experimental; así que les comparto este post Fusión.

Para Empezar algunas definiciones para hablar el mismo idioma de cabello y aclaro son un poco prácticas y no tanto “de libro”.

¿Qué es el cabello ondulado?
Un punto intermedio entre cabello rizado y cabello lacio.

Es posible estilizarlo con calor para lograr un lacio marcado rápidamente. Incluye los Patrones de rizo 2A, 2B y 2C (ya saben que esa clasificacion no me gusta pero bueno). Puede ser de baja o alta porosidad.Grueso, fino o mixto.Puede ser Corto o largo.

¿Que es el cabello fino?

Pues para fines practicos es un cabello propenso a la ruptura capilar, muy delicado y puede ser ondulado, rizado o crespo. Debe ser manejado con extremo cuidado y exponerse en la menor medida posible a quimicos fuertes como el vinagre de manzana, el bicarbonato de sodio, los shampoo 2 en 1. No se deben utilizar aceites pesados como el de coco o castor y las mantecas deben ser evitadas. El mejor aceite para este cabello: argan. Jojoba, aguacate y macadamia tambien son recomendables.

¿Que es el cabello crespo?

Es el cabello mas delicado de todos e incluye los patrones de rizo 4a-4c. Tiene tendencia a la resequedad y ruptura capilar, no debe ser expuesto al calor en la medida de lo posible y durante la transición es absolutamente necesario evitar el calor.

El cabello Crespo o Kinky-Coily es un cabello que durante la transición  es “alérgico a la plancha” por lo delicado que es, sin embargo es uno de los mas hermosos en su estado no estirado Natural.

Hoy me dedico al cabello ondulado pero muchos de estos tips también aplican para cabello fino y crespo, de allí esta agrupación tan poco usual.

Tips de cuidado de cabello ondulado

1. Secado con blower a temperaturas bajas: en este punto hay mucha controversia, pero parece tener sentido hacer esto porque al secar al aire puede tender al frizz con más facilidad que los otros patrones de rizo.

✨Siempre usar difusor si se le tiene temor al frizz.

✨secado invertido con el cabello hacia el suelo

✨Secar completamente.

Mi opinión: si no desean usar calor también pueden intentar envolver el cabello en una toalla de microfibra hasta que esté casi seco y ver si les funciona.

2. Decidir el estilo: liso con blower y plancha(o rollos y tubi tubi) o definición de rizo con blower y difusor y enfocarse en un look.

✨Liso: Hidratar bien y usar pretratamiento, protector de calor obligatorio y si el cabello es fino mejor evitarlo.

3. Usar un solo producto para peinar:

🔸Deber ser Ligero: No cremas o butters pesados ni  leave in conditioner en crema, a menos que se desee poca  definición aka beach waves.

🔸Mousse: uno que me gusta mucho es el de marca Aussie

🔸Leave in conditioner: preferible en spray para alta definición.

🔸Se puede usar un fijador hair spray suave para finalizar

4. Cuidados habituales de cabello rizado

✨Secar con tshirt o toalla de microfibra

✨Desenredar correctamente.

5. Dormir sobre seda o satin.

Hay de todo en el mundo del cabello, y lo mas importante es ser feliz sintiendose comodo con uno mismo.

Tschuss

Dr. L

Special ingredients! What are they? Should you care?

“New hydrating ultra moisture honey, olive, coconut, argan Madness Shampoo and Conditioner”

Gosh I would love to try a product made out of those 4 ingredients exclusively, if you know about it please let me know.

Shampoos and conditioners have all sorts of chemical components (yes, all natural brands are also created using chemistry) that make or break a product, but what really matters is the base ingredients, how they mix together, the molecule size, how big or small an ingredient is can determine how it will be absorbed in the scalp and hair shaft and off course the pH, a pH balanced shampoo is so much better for the hair than a natural alkaline “cleansing agent”.

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Source: Google Scholar

Special ingredients are what each cosmetic product has as a unique individual characteristic, and also a powerful marketing tool.  They can improve the quality of the product to another level; but they can also increase the price either because they are rare ingredients, they are costly to produce or because it is a hype and it sells well.

How to invest wisely? How to know the difference, quality vs hype? The simple answer is with science.

The base of every product is more or less the same, so once you have found a mix of base ingredients that work for you usually ( for simplicity lets say the first 5 ingredients) you can look for add on special ingredients.

Lets try it with shampoo, because we have this great info-graphic available. If we have a good base of detergent, conditioners, sequestering agents and thickeners we are highly likely to get good results regardless of it having or not the most precious golden oil from a beautiful country, off course if its a good product and has the special additive it will be an even better product.

A good add on special ingredient, with a good base will certainly increase the quality of the product, and is worth the price tag; but a good add on with a bad base means money wasted in developing the product and by the final consumer.

A good base for curly hair in terms of shampoo has only 1 detergent if you see 2 types of deep cleaning agents in a “moisturising shampoo” do not buy it, it will dry the hair out and eventually will make you believe that all shampoo is bad for curly hair when the problem was a bad mix.  Always use pH balanced shampoos, any shampoo with a pH above 5,5 will highly likely irritate and dry out the scalp. I am aware we can not check the pH of products on the hair care aisle but some state it in the label and we have no choice but to believe.

Special ingredients should be high on the list if the product claims to be made exclusively or mainly out of that ingredient, but if the product only states that it contains the ingredient and you like the first ingredients lets say 5-10 and then see a special additive you would like to try that is also fine.

The idea is to shop wisely and to not fall for misconceptions or marketing tactics either in favour or against certain products.

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My favourite Special ingredient: Argan oil  Source: pinterest

 

Budget Manifesto: Rule Breaking Handbook

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I just like Prisma and this Picture and Bow ties, Bow ties are cool

Please do not judge me, who am I kidding this the internet and we come here to judge and be judged although maybe we should not; but that is not today´s topic.

Today I will continue writing about the extensive subject of shopping and how to not get ruined.

The reason for this series is actually personal and out of curiosity too, this is a hobby inside another hobby. My budget for non essentials has been considerably reduced due to my relatively new living circumstances, yet I have managed to (within reasonable limits) continue living in the same standards as before partly because I moved to a cheaper country and partly because I have found a way to adapt without missing out on experiences, that lets face it, cost money.

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Everyone shares cute memes about how experiences are more important than money and I agree, but we need money in order to pay for the internet to post that meme, so money is not irrelevant and I do not like taking it lightly. That being said I like shopping, travelling, eating out, giving presents, pizza, bacon wait this is not about a comprehensive list of likes! The bottom line is I dont get everything for free and most people dont even if they are dirty rich…well maybe…Nope lets not go there.

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A great experience can be for free, like The Floating Piers

Curly Hair is a particularly interesting starting point to practice restraint and start a good path for financial security and long term goals, sounds funny but if you are passionate about something you are bound to try harder. So why not set a Hair goal which comprises of good financial practices?

There are lots of options out there to get good products while not breaking the savings account. A quick google search offers all sorts of boxes, discounts and special deals so the offer is not the problem, the problem is restraint. I recently downloaded yet another budgeting app and I must say it is a lot more user friendly than other for sale apps I have tested in the past,  I am not ready discuss the app just yet, but in a few weeks I will get to that.

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Revisiting my Old wardrobe only the Hat & the Bag are from 2016

Non essential purchases, services or products are all those items that are not necessary for basic standard living. Rent, Mortgage payments, college funds and utilities are essential services but make up, spa visits, cosmetic procedures, branded training clothes are non essential purchases that can be either reduced or eliminated. Prioritize essential services first always and then considerer add on items or services.

In the Meantime a Budgeting made to break rules for non essentials:

  • 30-30-30-10 Rule and how to break it
    • 30% of my income for current monthly essential spending (rent, utilities, groceries)
    • 30% Debt repayment (for instance credit card payments, car payments etc)
    • 30% savings
    • 10% Non essentials.
      • Breaking it: If I spend less than 30% of my income in essentials, I transfer that to my non essential shopping budget making it a total of 40%.
      • If I did not spend the total 30% for debt payment I would add the remainder for the saving section making it a total working fund of 60%. Always prioritazing the main categories.
  • Having Basic Non essential categories:
    • Clothing
    • Hair Care Products
    • Sports Gear
    • Beauty Services
      • Breaking it: If the income is regular we already know the exact amount we have available for each tear and we can allocate a specific amount to each tier lets work with and easy round number $100
      • $25 dollars for each category, if I dont need sports gear I move the 25 to Hair care, and so on and so forth and if I really need or want to buy all in Haircare then fine but making sure to not purchase anything else until the next month.
  • What if I want or need to buy something more expensive, lets say a $200 Hair Steamer or Hair dryer.
    • Funds rollover: I either make savings for the next month (best option) or take a self loan from the next month budget. I think saving is better because it creates a habit of restraint but many times I simply just buy ahead and assign a zero budget for next month
    • Breaking it easier: Make the purchase the last day of the current month.
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Nachos are always essential, not giving up nachos 😛

I like to keep it short for now, please let me know if you have any budgeting techniques that work for you and if you would like to read more about this topic!

Cheers!

The Hair Lab Doctor

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Freundschaft
This wall was painted in 2011 by kids to honor the reunification of Germany in 1989.
I took this picture yesterday, again not knowing we would wake up to horror in Europe. Last night a syrian asylum seeker who had been denied asylum injured 12 people in Ansbach.

If I was still living in Panama, my reaction would have been anger to blame the mistakes of the governments all of them. Now I am more tolerant, maybe it is the hair, the life or maybe the German kindness, possibly a mix of factors. This is my home now, at least for now Germany has made me feel welcome in every possible way, office workers are diligent & courteous, people in the street are friendly, my family all of them from Hamburg to Baden have welcomed me and shared love all over.

This is not a violent society like in the American continent, violence is the exception not the norm.
I am afraid that the german kindness can turn into hate and xenophobia because they feel betrayed by their government or by the massive flood of refugees due to bad decisions just like it happened in Panama when the illegal & legal inmigration due to the crisis in Venezuela started. Panama’s situation and Germany’s situation are entirely different, this is the first time a syrian commits a terror attack and no one in Panama has tried to blow up anybody; but my point is governments taking actions regarding people when they are not prepared for it is a source of social tension and as a consequence makes people vulnerable, that is something that both countries have in common.

If the reaction of turning xenophobic, vigilant and hateful of the people of Panama to the behavior and actions of a lot of Venezuelan  immigrants (arrogant, disrespectful, etc etc), off course not all of them are like that, but the bad ones have made  their mark; a few years back panamanians were completely welcoming to the venezuelans but after repeated offenses from one group to the other many panamanians are wary of foreigners now, if this change of heart of panamanians is any indicator of our human nature and predisposition for reacting negatively, I am very afraid for Germany.

I was so uncomfortable in Panama because very often you heard in the street foreigners hating on Panamanians and vice-versa, it was exhausting. I hope Germans do not change, but it seems they are already changing by voting for hate parties such as AfD or supporting hate groups like Pegida.

Let us remember how hard the world has struggled for unity and globalization, do not let hate destroy it.
Hate does not have nationality boundaries first a possibly afgan teen with an Ax, then a german with a gun, now a syrian with a bomb; they all have in common being people who commited terrible crimes.
Do not pray for Germany, engage for the world, join political movements, volunteer organizations, travel, talk to others and make your government accountable.
I hope for a successful recovery of the victims of these attacks and my condolences to the victim’s families.
Politicians decide, but the people sheds the blood. Sorry for the “activist” post but it felt wrong not addressing this.