Castor Oil for Beauty? Yes!

I recorded another video for you all about castor oil! In case you can’t watch, the article is right below :). Enjoy!

Did you know that castor oil is awesome? I’m sure if you are like most people, you very well may think of it in unpleasant terms.  However, when it comes to healthy skin and body care, castor oil is right up there on my favorites list. In Leah’s Natural Minute today, I’m going to give you 3 used for Castor Oil that will have you singing its praises as well!

Three Natural Beauty Uses for Castor Oil

  1. Facial cleansing
  2. Hair growth
  3. Hair conditioning
  1. Castor Oil as a Facial Cleanser

This may seem odd at first thought, especially if you are someone with oily skin. However Castor Oil can be a wonderful replacement to your regular facial wash if it hasn’t been doing its job lately. What makes Castor Oil work as a facial cleanser particularly for oily skin is that it contains Linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is a naturally occurring omega-6 fatty acid. Omega fatty acids are the good fats that  are necessary for a number of healthy body functions.

Oleic acid, Linoleic acid’s counterpart, is very prevalent in acneic skin (source: J Am Acad Dermatol. 1986 Feb;14(2 Pt 1):221-5. Essential fatty acids and acne.). By adding a source high in Linoleic acid to the skin, the skin’s environment is balanced out, thus leading to less breakouts and blemishes. Since Castor oil is very high in Linoleic acid, it does a great job of this. Castor oil is also high in Ricinoleic acid, another omega fatty acid, which gives it its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. This is also great for problem skin.

  1. Castor Oil for Hair Growth

The Ricinoleic acid in Castor Oil is what is presumed to be responsible for its popularity as a hair growth agent. The understanding is that bacteria and fungi at the hair follicle can inhibit hair growth. Castor oil reduces these because of the Ricinoleic acid and thus creates an environment where the hair can grow unrestrained.

There are a number of ways to use Castor oil for this purpose. Think growing eyelashes thicker (more hairs growing over time), growing eyebrows fuller, as well as growing hair thicker. For each of these applications, you’d want to apply the Castor oil directly to the skin where the hair follicles begin.

  1. Castor Oil for Hair Conditioning

In addition to Castor Oil helping with hair growth because of Ricinoleic acid, it also can help condition and nourish the hair on our heads. Castor oil contains omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids as well. When applied to the hair shaft, the omega 9 fatty acids help nourish the hair follicle and condition the hair while the omega 6 fatty acids help smooth rough hair cuticles, reducing split ends and damage.

So, as you can see, Castor oil is a great addition to your healthy self routine. This article is just scratching the surface. I encourage you each to give it a try and see for yourself. As always, it’s important to give a natural solution time to work, so start looking for results in a months’ time. Also, it’s very important to make sure that if you are experiencing health concerns that require a doctor’s care, that you run everything you are planning to add to your daily routine by that doctor. Just be sure it’s a doctor that is just as much for the natural way as they are for the allopathic way.

Hoping for you the best until next time!

Leah’s Natural Minute: Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss

Hello lovies! I have a new Youtube Series called Leah’s Natural Minute! Each week, I will be sharing new videos and sometimes an accompanying article on a natural tip for healthy living, natural beauty, wellness, and keeping a healthy home. I’m extra excited about it! Below is the first video in the series and it’s all about Apple Cider Vinegar for weight loss. I also wrote an accompanying article below the video in case you aren’t in a place where you can watch. Enjoy it and feel free to ask me questions in the comments! xo! Leah

Apple Cider Vinegar, have you heard of it? You might know it as an appetizing addition to your favorite salad or a part of tantalizing marinades. Did you know, however, that it can be a wonderful addition to your everyday health routine as well?

Apple cider vinegar is one of the world’s oldest anecdotal remedies for almost everything. It’s been used for all types of ailments throughout the years, often times with such repeated success, that testimonials abound.

In recent years, it’s also been studied in academic settings and some of the claims from these years of use worldwide have begun to be substantiated by scientific data as well.

Today’s topic of Leah’s Natural Minute is going to focus on how Apple Cider Vinegar can help you lose weight. Yes, you read that correctly! Apple Cider Vinegar can be a component in your journey to shed those pounds and slim that waistline.

There is plenty of anecdotal data that suggests that Apple Cider Vinegar helps with weight loss. I even have my own experience to support this belief, which I’ll share a little later. Scientists have begun to look into this to try to figure out what could be responsible for this effect. There are two theories.

The first has to do with Apple Cider Vinegar’s ability to block the digestion of some starches. Blocking this starch breakdown is thought to decrease the amount of calories being produced through digestion. Starches typically are very dense and so add up to lots more calories that need to be processed and converted to either energy or fat. If you aren’t using that energy, then those calories are going to be converted to fat. Less of them in the blood stream means less of them needing to be used or “glued to your waistline”.

The second theory, concluded from a study conducted in Japan, hypothesizes that Apple Cider Vinegar may have an effect on certain genes involved in breaking down fat. This studied showed that obese patients taking Apple Cider Vinegar over the course of a few months experienced better vital signs and a measurable decrease in weight compared to the control group. Source: link to ((2009). “Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects”. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 73(8): 1837–1843. doi:10.1271/bbb.90231PMID 19661687)

So this information, coupled with my own experience, is why I think it’s a great addition to your routine. I myself take Apple Cider Vinegar most mornings. For a while, it was the only change I made; I didn’t change my eating or lifestyle habits. Within months, people began asking what I was doing to lose weight and slim down. That right there was proof enough for me to continue.

When looking to add Apple Cider Vinegar, the easiest way that I’ve found is to take a tablespoon in room temperature water once a day, usually in the morning. There is anecdotal data and some scientific research that supports the belief that drinking this before a meal can help to curb your appetite and make you feel full faster.

I’d always suggest taking it with water or some liquid to dilute it because of its acidic nature. It can burn going down the throat and for sensitive people it can actually damage your esophageal and throat linings. It’s also not advised to take more than 1 to 2 tablespoons a day.

I would always advise as well to run everything you are planning to do by your primary care physician if you are currently being treated for any type of ailment. It’s always best to get an expert opinion and be safe. Just make sure it’s a physician that is open to the natural way.

I hope this helps you on your journey! Remember, there are no quick fixes but with the right combination, you can achieve what you dream! Be blessed!


Why a Dance Studio?


Ok, for some of you this may seem like a no brainer. Like Leah, you are a dancer – of course you’d want a dance studio. Of course right?

Mmmm, let me be honest – no lol. I love to DANCE. I love to be free within a mode of expression. I particularly love the technicality *and* the freedom within salsa, chacha, and even bachata (when I’m really able to let loose with it ;-) )

And I love to teach.

But the idea of owning a dance studio was far removed from my mind for years.

It just didn’t seem like what *I* really wanted. *I* really wanted to be on stage, maybe traveling, mostly performing and working hard on performing. I wanted to be social dancing with folks from all over the world – creating beautiful spontaneous works of art together on the dance floor. I wanted to be feeling the music and showing what I was feeling through every movement of my body – whether I was on stage or on the social dance floor. *That’s* what I wanted.

But my love for teaching stayed strong.

Let me explain. I love the aha moment. I love to see people getting it. I love to break something down to its minutest detail. I love figuring out how something is done and why exactly it’s done.

With dance, I love tuning into my body and figuring out how I’m getting it to do what it’s doing – and then translating that for someone else.

And so through my years of dancing, I’ve always been asked to teach. And the more I taught, the more I realized I didn’t *just* love the stage and the social dance floor. I actually loved getting other people as jazzed as I was about the dance just as much. h

And I found that I was good at it. Countless people went out of their way to tell me that they finally got something that they’d been to other classes trying to get. They told me that I was excellent at breaking things down and that my pace was perfect. They shared with me that through teaching how I came to feel and express the music so well, I was reaching them and helping them to do the same. How about that?!

So when I moved here to Little Rock, at first admittedly so, I was very focused on *my* dance career. I was traveling and performing and teaching around the country. Little Rock’s salsa scene was tiny and I did my best to help it grow, but my focus was on growing me.

And then as time went on that changed. I got to know people here. I became connected with them. I saw their passion for the dance and I wanted to help them match that with the expression through their bodies.

It started with the choreography class, giving beginner dancers a chance to work up to the intermediate level while working on a specific choreography.

It continued with me bringing in my friends from around the country to do special workshops and bring a different flavor and level of dancing to Little Rock.

And now it is continuing on an even grander scale with this solid formation and new location for Leah’s School of Latin Dance :).

There have been tons of challenges! Lots of ups and downs, frustrations, crazy ridiculous upsets, and points where I said forget it about my own dance career and forget it about my career as a dance instructor.

But I am HAPPY to be here. I am HAPPY to be at this point and I am EXCITED to be taking this big next step and this awesome risk.

It’s going to be a lot of work. It’s going to require a lot of perseverance, personal cheerleading, and ‘keep at it’ motivation. But when I think about Little Rockers dancing and expressing themselves on the dance floor in the ways that inspired me to start dancing, I get jazzed. When I think about Little Rockers being able to go to dance events around the country and hold their own, I get jazzed. When I think about people so in tune with their bodies that you can hear the music and feel what they are feeling through their movement, I get jazzed! :).

That’s my goal with Leah’s School of Latin Dance and I’m pretty excited about that :).

And YES, I want you to get jazzed with me!

If you are in the area, I want to share my love of dancing with you :-). Visit my dance school at Leah’s School of Latin Dance and sign up for a class or 2!

Full Moon Tarot Reading


Hey lovies!

I hope life is feeling fabulous for you! I wanted to check in with a tarot reading and a quick run down of life these days. There are a lot of exciting things in the works – I’m crossing my fingers about it all!

You may or may not know about my two livelihood loves? One is my dance life and the second is my makeup line inspired by my dance life :).

So there have been some great things going on on both of those fronts.


My bi-weekly party has been going awesomely! Guys, it is such a blessing to have this party finally become successful! I’m even a little hesitant to talk about it as successful because of how tough it’s been to get it going BUT it looks like I’ve found the right venue and the right group of people to work with – it’s very exciting to see dreams you have coming to life right?!

The interesting thing is that my dream wasn’t ever really this exactly. My dream was to dance and perform. The Universe has a beautiful way of bringing you to your dreams in the most interesting of ways. And once you stop fighting the direction life is swaying in and “roll with it” instead, wow, things can be beautiful!

Right this moment, I have the opportunity to finally open a dance studio space. When I think of it, my heart soars. When I think of all the possibilities and how much fun it will be and all the beauty that can be created there, I get jazzed.

Trust me, it’s no light undertaking, but I’m feeling like the Universe is leading me this way…I will keep you posted :).


Very cool things happening here, especially in terms of the Pre-Flight program I’m doing. It’s been really eye-opening! The things they said about feeling discouraged, excited, pumped, discouraged again – yep it’s all true. But the insight is so invaluable. And the courage it’s giving me is amazing. I think it’s finally time to really focus in the line on dancers and performers. That’s a scary thing to me because it feels like I’m excluding so many other people. One of my great friends Star suggested this years ago, but I was afraid then. This class is giving me all the reasons why that is the absolute best thing to do. It just didn’t occur to me that I can branch out from there – I just need a solid place to start from :). I’m looking forward to even more insights like this. And a manufacturing plant – woohoo!! At least small operation, lol :).


All of this awesomeness makes my tarot reading today make even more sense. The Ten of the Major Arcana, the Wheel of Fortune. What a card for a time like right now. Things are teetering in the balance and feel like they are on their way to the upside! I’ve been on the bottom side of that wheel. As a matter of fact, the entire first part of the year was that bottom side. Disappointment, setback, delay, serious discernment. Even illness and recovery. And now, with all of my diligent effort and the blessings of the Universe, things are on the up – yay :). Very exciting indeed!


Make sure you don’t miss another post! Sign up for the newsletter and you’ll get a snazzy Leah’s Beauty Minute DIY Skincare Report all about which Fruits and Herbs to use for beautiful skin! Sweet right?!

Self Care for Today

Self Care Today

Hey lovies,

I hope you all are having a beautiful day so far. Today I wanted to share a quick note on one thing though I have many in my mind :-). It’s funny how you can have nothing to write about in one instance when you have endless time, but then have so much to write about days later when your time is short!

That’s me today. I’m on a time table but I promised myself that I would take 15 minutes and write and share a bit no matter what.

So quickly, I’m going to share one thing that make me feel good and always give me peace when I allow myself to do it.

A tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in 6 or so ounces of room temperature water.

This feels like self care. This feels like me making myself important and caring enough to do something healthy, life giving, and kind to me. I know it may not seem like that much lol. But can I tell you how many days I have to remind myself that this is for me and it’s worth it for me to take these few minutes – go get the tablespoon, pour the water, pour the vinegar, swirl it around, and drink it. I have a bit of an anxiety issue, lol, so sometimes even those few minutes can feel like too long away from something else. What else, I have very little idea – it’s just the little monkey in my head pushing me along I suppose.

Now there are a ton of reasons that apple cider vinegar is awesome for me to be taking. There are anecdotal ones built off of hundreds of years of people’s experiences and there are even a few scientific ones built off of a couple of reputable studies conducted.

This month, I’m going to do a video, the first in my Natural Minute series (yay!), sharing all of that information hoping to encourage you to incorporate it into your daily routine.

But for today, I’m hoping that the part about making you important inspires you the most. I know how hard it is for me and I think about it all the time. If you aren’t self aware obsessed like I am (not always a good thing, lol) then I can imagine it might be a little difficult for you too.

Try this or some other loving, healthy act of kindness towards yourself today. Make it a morning or night routine. Make it easy. Just make sure you do it ;-).


I’d love to stay in touch with you! Won’t you join my email list here? Thanks tons!


  • What feels like self care to you?  Buffer
  • Try a loving, healthy act of kindness towards yourself today...  Buffer

Gratitude Saves Me


Lately I’ve been dealing with a LOT of fatigue issues. It’s funny, I always thought that I wouldn’t ever succumb to that. I figured that fatigue issues happened to other women, the ones who weren’t taking care of themselves or the ones that were just plain unlucky. I didn’t think *I* would ever have to deal with that.

And now looking back, it seems a silly thing that I thought I would be excluded. I’ve always had problems with getting enough sleep. I remember driving home from Philadelphia to my apartment in Ambler and falling asleep several times before I made it home. This happened all the time in fact. At jobs, I would fall asleep reading a computer screen. While studying back in college, I would fall asleep in the middle of reading without warning.

So I’ve had problems with sleep all throughout my life. But I always attributed it to not getting *enough* sleep and I thought for sure that once I was getting enough sleep, my fatigue issues would subside.

And that’s what is bothering me so much right now. I’m typically able to get 8 hours of sleep a night yet, I can get a full night’s rest and still have to negotiate with myself to get out of bed. I still find myself tired and yawning throughout the day. I still need a jolt of coffee to get enough focus wired up to complete tasks.

And it’s frustrating, frustrating as all get out. Especially for me, as anxiety ridden as I can be and as prone to the most dramatic thought as I’ve been in the past, frustration is definitely not my friend. While I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with me and how to fix it (Is it residual effects from my surgery or my surgery meds? Is it my body’s normal healing process even though I’m almost 6 months post-surgery? Is it something I’m deficient in in my diet?, etc), one thing has helped reel me back from the spiral of anxious, frustrated thoughts. Gratitude.

What is Gratitude? Gratitude, to me, is getting into a space of remembering what is going right in your life. It’s focusing on all the good stuff, the things you’d happily tell people about, the things that bring involuntary smiles to your face. It’s even your secret satisfactions that you only share with yourself. These points of gratitude always help me to realize that there is so much more to life if I allow there to be. There is so much more to focus on if I allow myself to focus on it.

It’s really amazing how much Gratitude helps to readjust your thoughts. It’s so useful across the board for just about any ill feeling you are experiencing. Anytime you need a perspective shift, focusing on what you are grateful for is a surefire way to get it. It’s a super valuable tool that saves me every time.

My favorite ways to get my gratitude going:

1. If I have time, I’ll write out a gratitude list of ten things I’m grateful for. When I’m really on a roll with myself, I’ll do this every morning before I get started with my day. It really helps to put me in the mental space I want to be in.

2. If I’m experiencing some anxiety, I take a moment away from that thing and either list off in my mind 3 things I’m grateful for or actually go do one thing I’m grateful for as a break.

I’ll leave you with this last thought. It require energy to be unsettled. It requires energy to feel settled. They both require energy. Why not use yours in a way that makes living life feel better ;-).


  • Gratitude saves me every time.  Buffer

Suicide in the News


Just a quick post today. I wanted to write out my thoughts on how prevalent suicide seems today. It’s strange to me that I haven’t written about it before, particularly because I outted myself last year. I think I thought for sure that I’d be able to write freely about it and that the taboo wouldn’t exist. But it’s interesting because it still does for me a bit. And another interesting thing – lately I’ve actually been feeling quite good. Quite on top of things. Pretty balanced. This is a new feeling. This is a new phase. It feels quite wonderful. I know that has to do with a few very important stabilizing things in my life. I’m really not ready yet to discuss them publicly, however soon though, I’m sure – that’s evolution right?

But back to the other interesting thing. I’ve found that I didn’t have the words to express what I was feeling when I was not feeling balanced. I wanted to talk about the rash of suicides – the young blogger, the young actor, Robin Williams, just recently another young singer from one of the contest shows. But I couldn’t find my old sadness – what I mean is that I actually couldn’t access how deep that despair goes. Crazy to think that right?

What it brought out in me is compassion. Compassion for the people who don’t ever experience the depths of depression. I understood a little better how they can be (what seems to be) heartless when dealing with a depressed person. It’s because that level of stagnation just doesn’t exist for someone not in that space. I get it better now. It makes me want to find better metaphors, to be a part of more education and awareness, and to do more talking about it.

I’m not really sure where that will lead me. I thought for sure last year that I was on the advocacy path, but it really hasn’t manifested for me yet. I guess I will just wait on the Universe to keep showing me where my next step is :).


  • Wait on the Universe and it will show you your next step...  Buffer

30 Day Vegan Challenge!

Alrighty my friends! My dear lovebug and I have decided on a decidedly awesome challenge. We’ve decided to eat vegan for 30 days! We started this Monday and it’s been a little bit comical so far. Now for me, it hasn’t been super hard, because I eat most of these foods already. My biggest battle is convincing myself that I have time to cook.

And we also hadn’t gone grocery shopping yet when we started. How foooooolish!!! :-o :-).

I remedied that problem yesterday! See just a portion of the grocery store bounty below.

Vegan foodsI am excited about cooking with quinoa! I’m always reading cool recipes with quinoa in them and I’ve had it here and there but I’ve never cooked it myself. Time for a change!

Now my lovebug is going to have a bit of a harder time because he is a meat loving meat eater. But his is totally game for this – in fact, it was his idea! Now isn’t THAT cool!

So I’m looking forward to it. Of course, I’ll share the journey here – especially the recipes and quick dishes that are a win!

I’ll also share some frustrations – like figuring out how to eat enough to not feel hungry again..working on that one, especially for the love bug.

This last picture is of my masterpiece quick veggie wrap for dinner last night. It was about 6pm and I had to be at salsa (about 15 minutes away) to teach at 7pm. Usually this means I eat snacks or either fret until there’s no time to eat anything and go hungry.

Well yesterday, none of that babee!!! What did I do instead? Sauteed a bunch of frozen veggies with lots of good non-salt seasonings, heated up a tortilla, cut a few pieces of dairy-less/soy-less cheese, and then put the cheese and veggies into the tortilla for a yummy wrap. I mean, it was really good! And really quick! I’ve got to remember little, easy triumphs like that :).

Veggie Wrap

Pre-Flight Program – I’m excited!

Happy face

So my friends, this may be considered a weird share :). I do have another blog that I write all my secret thoughts about being in business but it’s secret, lol so I don’t generally share it. However, I’m so excited about this program and I want a lot of accountability following me so I’m deciding to share this over here on this very public blog :).

I was super blessed this week with being able to start a GREAT program for entrepreneurs here in Little Rock. On this blog you may not really get a feel for my entrepreneurial spirit or what my day job is. Well my day job is full time working my businesses – those being Etniq Cosmetics and Leah’s School of Latin Dance. I am a hardcore entrepreneur and quite serial about it – though I must say everything has generally been around the same area of holistic health, wellness, beauty, and dance.

So back to the program. This program, named Pre-Flight, is offered by a new organization here in Little Rock named The Arkansas Venture Center. This is such an amazing opportunity. This program is the real deal. Like really. Like accelerating your business idea from 0 to 100 in 14 weeks! Did I say I was excited? Yes, I am excited!

My partner and I are going to rock this program out. We are going to do our absolute best. We are going to utilize this resource to the utmost of its intended use and we are going to be so much wiser, so much better prepared, and so much more positioned for the success of our choosing at the end of this.

I’m cysed and I just wanted to share that :).

Dreams come true my friends. Keep expecting the best and it will come – I can testify to that!




  • Keep expecting the best and it will come.  Buffer

Red Raspberry for PMS even after Fibroids

Red Raspberry

With fibroid surgery, you’d think that I’d be free of heavy menstrual pains and uncomfortable cycles. I was hoping :-). Things however have just changed – my PMS doesn’t feel the same, but it’s unfortunately equally uncomfortable. However, I’m believing that this will change. I have to remember that it’s only 5 months shy of surgery so I realize the importance of giving my body time to balance out. I’m sure it will :-).

There are things though that I can do to encourage the balancing and that’s what this post is mostly about. Relying on my herbs and essential oils instead of that “too easy to pop” 800 mg Ibuprofen is the way I’m going!

The first remedy I’m going to tell you guys about works wonderfully for relieving PMS and menstrual cycle symptoms. It also has other great therapeutic effects on the body, as do most natural remedies.

Red Raspberry – Red raspberry has long been one of my favorite herbs. It grows wild but is also cultivated as a crop throughout the world. It’s been used since at least the 1500s to treat all types of illnesses and afflictions. The fruit is typically used for food and medicinal purposes. The leaves, which are our focus today, are used mainly for medicinal purposes.

For PMS and menstrual cycle pains, red  raspberry leaves act as a powerful muscle tonic to the uterus and also can reduce inflammation and therefore cycle pain. Red Raspberry is considered a powerful tonic for the entire reproductive system, most likely owning to its wide range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals including antioxidants. All of these help red raspberry act as an anti-emetic, muscle relaxer, and more.

Red Raspberry is very safe and it’s often recommended to take 3 cups a day over several months. Generally you’ll begin to experience an easing of PMS and menstrual symptoms about a month after starting the tea. This is why it’s a great to start right after a cycle. You’ll be prepping to have a much gentler cycle symptom-wise the next month.

Red Raspberry is high in phytoestrogens, plant constituents that mimic the behavior of estrogen. I was initially a little worried that Red Raspberry and other plant estrogen containing substances would contribute to my fibroids reappearing. However, after a bit of research, I found that the phytoestrogens will actually work in favor of keeping fibroids from reoccurring.

The reason for this is that phytoestrogens take the place of estrogen at the estrogen receptors but since they are weaker, don’t stimulate the estrogen receptors like estrogen would. Therefore incorporating certain phytoestrogens, like soy, for instance into your diet, can actually help protect again fibroid growth and reappearance.

That was so relieving, trust me :-).

The next time around for this article, I’ll talk about another remedy I really like. If you don’t to miss it, make sure you subscribe to the blog over on the right! In the meantime, go make yourself some tea :).