Mama Mai’s Secret Hacks



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Most of us have mothers who like to keep things because they don’t want to throw away their money. This can be true, especially for Asian mothers. I have a Vietnamese-Chinese mother who enjoys saving money to buy items on sale such as plates, dishes and cups or even new kitchen appliances. Before an item is worn down, she buys a new one after a year while the old one still works. She buys a backup just in case and keeps it for another five years.

I tend to keep items such as photos in a photo album and I would keep books around, even if I didn’t read them anymore. You could say it’s hard letting go of something you paid for, even if they are items you wouldn’t use or wear anymore.

Mama Mai is no different since she turns what others call trash into her own treasure. She reuses items to make it fit into her life. For example, she turns a skirt into a head wrap she can wear out to events or to hang out with family.

If you’re not familiar with who Mama Mai is, she’s Jeannie Mai’s mother. Jeannie Mai is one of the hosts from the daytime talk show, The Real. Jeannie Mai is also a fashion expert and a makeup artist. Jeannie Mai’s personality can be calm but she can get crazy and wild as well. Mama Mai is bold, colorful, crazy fun, opinionated and her style definitely shows that.

Jeannie Mai has a YouTube channel called, Hello Hunny with Jeannie Mai, and her mother is often featured in her videos. She has fun videos such as sharing her fashion accessories, makeup videos, and sharing her mother’s closet with everyone. Even though Jeannie and Mamma Mai loves having fun and enjoying life, they can be very versatile and dive deep into their feelings with videos such as, Why I Didn’t Speak to my Mom for 8 Years.

These hacks are from the video, My Mom’s Secret Hacks. Their mother-daughter relationship is sassy, loving, and wild. Most Asian mothers wouldn’t talk about their true feelings to their family but when it’s necessary, especially in a time of healing, she’ll have a heart-to-heart conversation with her daughter. The important thing is they love each other and that won’t change. Their personalities are a shining light in the world, especially since all they want to do is help others smile and bring joy to their life by bringing humor to their videos.  Like most Asian mothers, she has some crazy hacks she would like to share with the world.

Skirt Turns Into a Head wrap

Mama Mai had a friend who gave her a skirt. It was her friend’s daughters’ skirt but she spilled curry on it so it still has a yellow stain. Her friend wanted to throw it away but Mama Mai stopped her because she wanted to keep it. It’s a see through light purple-ish/gray skirt decorated with pink flowers and gold and pink stripes on the bottom.She uses this skirt as a head wrap for fashion purposes. She rolls it from the top of the skirt into small sections. It’s like folding a piece of paper. You need to fold the paper into small sections and you keep doing that until you have multiple columns on one piece of paper. That’s what Mama Mai is doing with the skirt.   Then she twists the skirt tightly and puts it on top of her head. She ties it in the back. Finally, you have a cute head wrap! You can also tie it in the front as well. Mama Mai not only uses children’s clothing as a head wrap but she uses her own clothing such as her see-through, black and white blouse as a head wrap as well.

Flower Decorations Into Accessories

When Mama Mai went over her best friend’s house, she saw her best friend had such beautiful flowers in her dining room. Mama Mai actually cut her friend’s flowers without her friend knowing. Since she cut her friend’s flowers, there are still branches with flowers on it and she bends it to use it as a headband. That way, you don’t need to buy a headband, you can be creative and make your own! Mama Mai would cut the flower branches and bend it so it looks like a corsage so if you’re going to prom, that’s a neat way to stand out.Mama Mai also took Jeannie’s décor as well. Jeannie had a neutral colored throw to add texture to the vase in her living room and her mom cut the throw. Her mother uses it as a scarf as an accessory to her outfits.  Mama Mai also takes her daughter’s old bracelets. Jeannie had a thick silver bracelet that was covered in dirt. Her mother is demonstrating how she cleans the jewelry with this neat hack. When you first wake up, you need to brush your teeth. That way, you can take care of your oral hygiene. Well, that’s the same process with cleaning the silver jewelry. Mama Mai puts toothpaste onto a toothbrush and scrubs the jewelry. After she scrubs the bracelet, she uses a paper towel to clean up the toothpaste. Next, her mom had a disposable bowl filled with water and she dipped the bracelet in the water until it’s been cleaned. After she did that, the bracelet was shiny and looked brand new. At least the bracelet not only looks nice but it smells minty fresh!

Tangled Jewelry

Have you ever had an event where you wanted to wear your favorite jewelry? There’s just one problem, it’s all tangled up! Mama Mai has a solution that’s sure to work, at least for her it does.The only item you’ll need to untangle this mess is a safety pin. Since this’ll take awhile, Mama Mai suggests you do this while watching TV, that way you won’t be bored. She unhooks the safety pin and tries to move the jewelry around, from right to left, and assures you’ll get it untangled after awhile!

Salad Spinner in Use

Mama Mai kept a salad spinner her daughter threw away. You would think Mama Mai would keep it to put food or at least salad in there, correct? Instead, Mama Mai has wet clothes in there! Let’s say you’re outside and got caught in the rain but you don’t have enough patience to wait for the drying machine. Instead, you can use a salad spinner.When Mama Mai puts the clothes in the spinner, she closes the lid and spins it until the clothes are dry. Guess where she learned that trick. She learned it from the world wide web!  

A New Hairdo

Another hack Mama Mai likes to use in hair for hairstyles are toilet paper rolls. You will need scissors for this hack. For the first step, Mama Mai cuts four snips on the toilet paper roll. Then, she duct tapes the four cuts on the roll. After that, she bends the cuts outward like a little stand. That way, it can sit on your scalp and when you bobby pin it, it’s stable.Next, Mama Mai takes Jeannie’s hair and wraps it around the roll. Then, she’ll pin Jeannie’s hair from the top of the roll. Of course, you can’t forget about hairspray. Finally, you get a new hairdo!

Jeannie Mai actually loves this hack because when she was a judge on Miss USA, she forgot her hair extensions so it was Mama Mai to the rescue. Jeannie had no hair extensions and only had one hour to have a hairstyle of some sort. She was a bit mad at her mother when she took her sweet time in the bathroom but then, Mama Mai came out with toilet paper rolls and helped with the hairstyle.After Mama Mai demonstrated most of the hacks, Mama Mai laughs so much it’s like a prank. Jeannie probably thinks most of these are a prank too since her daughter figured her mother wouldn’t do hacks salad spinner. Even though, they are all creative ideas.

The moral of the story for Mama Mai is to save your money and be creative. It’s easy to just go out and buy a headband or a corsage but it’s more meaningful and a bit cheaper if you made something yourself. This just shows how Mama Mai never lacks creativity since it’s oozing out of her soul. I admire Mama Mai, especially since she’s very resourceful. Who needs to pay for items you can create yourself? Let your creativity flow and be resourceful. Who knows what you can create that others would want too?

This just shows how it’s neat when one generation of women to another can pass down what they’ve been taught or create to share and have them learn as well. You’re never too young or too old to learn new ways on how to make your life a bit easier or make your fashion a bit faster.

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

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