Archive | December 2012

2012… My year of settling in.

I’ve taken time this weekend to reflect on this past year and figure out what was the biggest message I received. It’s a message that’s quite simple…Settle In. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Well, here it is; most of my adult life I spent away from loved ones and working like a bee to the hive. I didn’t really take time to myself and I definitely didn’t settle into one space for a long period of time. From the Air Force to Contracting  I was on the go, but in 2012 I took time to see those who really meant the most to me. I spent 2 months in Cleveland with my Granma and then moved to Alexandria, VA with one of my dearest friends, Kristy aka my roomy. I faced the harsh reality of unemployment (8 months worth) and being a veteran. I got my butt back in school full time and eve though it’s been hard, I’m sticking it out. We moved from Alexandria in May to Silver Spring, MD and I’ve been in love with this place ever since. The view is great, our proximity to transportation is awesome, and then there’s the people I have met who’ve made me feel like this really is going to be my home. Maisie Dunbar and the entire Maisie Dunbar Spa Lounge Team are absolutely inspiring. My Ladies over at NNatural Hair Studio always keep the conversations lively, and how could I forget my new family of Bloggers! My job as an intern in is working out swell, I’m seeing the other side of the Criminal Justice system and working with people who really do want to make a change. I’ve made a few new friends and lost a few, but everything has made me stronger. With everything going on I’ve finally found a point where I’m motivated to write again and this time I’m willing to share. I’ve been inspired by stories of loss and triumph, and even my own trials and tribulations. I’m an Aunty now and proud to say I made it to 30!  I know this is where I’m supposed to be, and have made it here by the grace of God & love from family & friends. This pretty lil’ peacock is finally settling in. I’m so looking forward to 2013!

Here are a few pictures thru 2012

Happy New Year!!! New Year's in Atlantic City with Kristy, we had so much fun!!!

Happy New Year!!!
New Year’s in Atlantic City with Kristy, we had so much fun!!!

Welcome to Silver Spring, the view from my balcony is pretty fantastic!

Welcome to Silver Spring, the view from my balcony is pretty fantastic!

                    The Amazing Maisie Dunbar!!!
The Amazing Maisie Dunbar!!!

 

 

 

How's that for showing support?!!!

How’s that for showing support?!!!

 

Field trip to the zoo with my roomy!

Field trip to the zoo with my roomy!

Trip to Vegas was eventful. Blogalicious DMV Ladies (Nae Carter and Taya Dunn Johnson)...Love these two.

Trip to Vegas was eventful. Blogalicious DMV Ladies (Nae Carter and Taya Dunn Johnson)…Love these two.

 

My girl Aliah!

     My girl Aliah!

 

 

 

 

Celebrating 30 with my girls of NNatural Hairstudio...Got my hur did for my birthday...lol

  Celebrating 30 with my girls of NNatural Hairstudio…Got my hur did for my birthday…lol           

 

Kristy and I went to see Jekyll&Hyde for my Birthday...Thanks Roomy you're the best!

Kristy and I went to see Jekyll&Hyde for my Birthday…Thanks Roomy you’re the best!

Great year for my hair too

Great year for my hair too

 

 

 

Curlformers!!!

I recently took a step towards super cool hair styling. I’ve discussed why I went natural here on the blog before, but for those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of reading that post; I’ll make it simple. I did my big chop back in February of 2008, while deployed in Iraq. I had decided to take my freedom regarding my hair, and I mean that on so many levels. From rules and regulations in uniform to the expectation that in order to look neat and well kept I needed to have relaxed hair. So I BC’d in ’08 and for the last few years I’ve been trying to find what styles I love the most or my “Go To Styles” when all else fails. For the longest time I would just wear my hair out (Rocking the Fro), then I went to Two-Strand Twisting, and then within the last few months I’ve gone to wearing it in a “Puff Ponytail”. But after a few months of stalking YouTube tutorials and a plethora of Natural’s blogs, I finally broke down and bought one of the coolest inventions ever!!!! Yes, I bought Curlformers. I was a bit skeptical at first and just knew that it had to be some hard technique to putting them in my hair, but in all honesty….It was easy as pie! I’m not into making my own tutorials so I took pictures of a few steps through the process and a cute pinup style for travel. Not only was I using Curlformers for the first time, I was also using a new hair product (Naturalista Cosmetics) as well, and it worked amazingly in my hair. Below is the process with pictures. I have to say I was impressed, not only at the results but also at the fact that my hair has finally begun to grow past the TWA stage…OK OK way past the TWA stage, and I’m proud of myself for sticking it out and not going back to that “Creamy Crack”…lol

Hair Type: 4c/4b

Length: I have no clue. Nape of the neck and tip of my nose, yes to me that’s a length, I don’t have a measuring tape handy

Color: Dark Brown

I started in the back on freshly deep conditioned and detangled hair

I started in the back on freshly deep conditioned and detangled hair

After about 2 hours of this I'm finally done.

After about 2 hours of this I’m finally done.

view from the back

view from the back

The Curlformers are out and I'm pretty impressed!!!

The Curlformers are out and I’m pretty impressed!!!

Check out the length in front!

Check out the length in front!

I decided to pin up my curls since my trin ride would be a long one and I knew I didn't want to mess them up sleeping.

I decided to pin up my curls since my trin ride would be a long one and I knew I didn’t want to mess them up sleeping.

Here's a side view of my hair pinned up.

Here’s a side view of my hair pinned up.

I bought the Short & Wide Styling Kit ( Orange Clockwise/Pink Counterclockwise) from Curlformers.com, priced at $48.95 for 40 curlers. After I made my order I realized that my hair is more than likely too thick for just 40 of these curlers and wanted to have a varied curl look, so I went to Amazon.com and bought 2 packs of Long & Narrow Starter kits (10 Blue Clockwise/10 Green Counterclockwise), these came from Sally’s Beauty Supply and cost $13.99 a pack (on the curlformers website they are $11.99). My order from Sally’s came first and the Curlformers.com order came the very next day. Both arrived within 3-5 business days, so if you’re not in a hurry and want to save a few extra dollars, I suggest ordering from Curlformers directly. Here’s what they look like straight out of the pack.

40 Short& Wide ( 20 Clockwise/Counter Clockwise)

40 Short& Wide ( 20 Clockwise/Counter Clockwise)

Short & Wide/Short& Narrow

Short & Wide/Short& Narrow

Here's what the Curlformers look like on the hook.

Here’s what the Curlformers look like on the hook.

Now, I told you all I used a new hair product as well called Naturalista Cosmetics. I’m all about natural hair care products with none of the bad stuff (harsh chemical additives), so when I read about this product I was interested, when my stylist Candace of NNatural Hairstudio used the Juicy Leave In Conditioner in my hair with an Updo, I was in like, after I used the Juicy Elixir Herbal Moisturizer& Detangler and Juicy Leave In Conditioner…I was in love, that’s not even mentioning the fact that the AloeFlax gel made my curls super shiny and not stiff! *Caution these products smell absolutely yummy and will have you thinking there’ some kind of fruitilicious dessert part goin’ on while you’re using them!!!*

Juicy Leave In Conditioner, AloeFlax Gel, Juicy Elixer (Moisturizer/Detangler)

Juicy Leave In Conditioner, AloeFlax Gel, Juicy Elixer (Moisturizer/Detangler)

The only thing I was not happy about regarding using Curlformers was the fact that by the time I arrived in Yemassee, SC my dear old friend Humidity took all my curls away and left me with thick, juicy poofs of pinned up hair. So I’ve decided to try Ouidad’s Climate Control Heat& Humidity Gel instead. Also I didn’t realize how long my hair truly was so I have also bought Curlformers Long & Narrow, and Long &Wide set. In my opinion I believe Curlformers are easy to use and natural hair friendly. Overall, I’m pleased and know I’ve made a smart investment and I’ve also found a new style to rock with my natural hair.

Here are the websites for products used:

Curlformers: http://www.curlformers.com , http://www.sallybeauty.com , or http://www.amazon.com

Naturalista Cosmestics: http://www.naturalistacosmetics.com

I also found a few tutorials on YouTube that really helped, just type in curlformers on natural hair.

Sip n Paint!

So we’ve pretty much established that one of my goals has been to get out and about more in our Nation’s Capitol. A fellow blogger and friend talked me into doing an event that I found not only intriguing but also right up my alley, it’s called Sipping and Painting. Yes, that’s right, Sip n Paint, I’ll give you a moment to appreciate that………..:-)

Three of us had planned to go to this event back in November before my birthday, but as we all know, life often times dictates our schedule so only two of us, Jazzy and myself were able to go, but don’t worry the other friend (yes you Nae Carter) was not let off the hook.

🙂 I digress.

The information I found about the event was pretty awesome, you pay a small fee to paint and drink wine. Jazz and I went on December 20th, and quite honestly I was afraid it would be packed and we would be mandated to paint something outlandishly holiday-ish. I’m no Scrooge, but after being at work all day…I really just wanted to cut loose and be silly. It kinda sorta went like that…

I arrived at 918 F Street a lil early, being that it’s about a 10 min walk from where I work. Jazz met me there and we waited around for the event to start. As the living social employees set up we chit-chatted about our holiday plans. Once we stepped into the room where the easels were, I began to get a lil intimidated. I saw the picture they expected us to paint and believe me, it was not gonna go down the way they thought…lol. I was definitely going to need that glass of wine, Jazzy laughed and said don’t worry about it, if anything, I could always paint whatever I wanted, I leaned over and asked if that was allowed.

Jazzy's doin her own thing!

Jazzy’s doin her own thing!

As the instructor began to tell us what colors to use and what techniques of shading; I realized it had been a long time since I had been in an art class, long as in almost 20 years (elementary school). So first off I had a hard time seeing from my position in the back; which by the way was not a complaint because I didn’t have to worry about everyone staring at the blob of paint on my canvas. Secondly, because I couldn’t really see the instructors picture from my position, I felt I had to concentrate even harder on making my canvas look like something that resembled the the photo in front of me, and took no more than 3 sips of my Chardonnay.

I'm in deep thought, I'm not sure if my painting even remotely resembles the picture posted about of if it just looks like a green blob of paint.

I’m in deep thought, I’m not sure if my painting even remotely resembles the picture posted about of if it just looks like a green blob of paint.

Jazzy just smiled and told me to relax, and if it didn’t come out right I could just buy the instructor’s painting when we were done…Easy for her to say she decided to go off the beaten path and paint some awesome Tulips! After a few more sips of wine and some encouragement I realized canvas wasn’t too crazy looking after all. By the time Jazzy and I left to catch the Metro  I was totally in love with my work of art.

Full of energy and smiles, see my work of art!

Full of energy and smiles, see my work of art!

By the time I got home, I was full of excitement and rambling on and on to my room mate about how much fun I had, how she would have to go the next time, and how we had our first piece of artwork for the apartment. My room mate just smiled and laughed, but agreed she would definitely have to go the next time.

I’d like to Thank Jazzy Jones and the Living Social Staff of 918 F Street for encouraging me to get out of my comfort zone and enjoy myself a bit.

Here’s the final photo:

My Castle!

If you’re interested in a Sipping and Painting event or any other event through Living Social check out their website : https://www.livingsocial.com/cities/1-washington-d-c

Cranberry-Ginger Tea: A warm beverage for you.

Hello beautiful people. Oh how I’ve missed you; between work and school it’s been very hard to get down to what I love to do most…write. Today I have a special little treat…I cooked! Well sort of, I made one of my favorite drinks of 2012, and before some of you get too excited…It’s a non-alcoholic beverage, but it’s super yummy and pretty good for you too.

What I made today, and for a very special cause I might add, was my own version of Cranberry Ginger Tea. It’s so delicious and full of goodness, but before I get into how I made this beverage, let me explain why I’ve decided to share it.

            If you all remember at the end of September I went to Las Vegas for Blogalicious 2012. While there one of the events we attended was called “Bowl for more Birthdays” sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS). Well a very awesome woman, Christine Koh, reached out to many of us to ask if anyone wanted to participate in a blogger series called A Healthier Holiday Table, bloggers share healthy recipes for the holiday seasonhttp://woobox.com/hw6h3iACS-Badge

I immediately responded and said I would love to participate. That was the easy part, the hard part was trying to figure out what exactly I was going to put together to share as a recipe. After a day or so I realized I’d share something simple and easy to make. So I chose a warm beverage I like to make for myself on the weekend. I pulled out three things I really love from the kitchen around this holiday season; Cranberries, Ginger, and Cinnamon. Here’s the quick and easy recipe, I scaled it down to make only one serving (Hey I’m single and my room mate and I try to keep the fridge clutter free)

Ocean Spray Cranberries

2 Cups of water

6 oz of fresh cranberries ( or if measured in a measuring cup, 1 ½ cups)

1 tsp of cinnamon

¼ cup of crystallized ginger (chopped)

1-2 tsp of Agave syrup (for sweetner)

A strainer

A bowl or pitcher (this is for saving what you don’t drink right away)           

– In a medium saucepan, add water, cinnamon, crystallized ginger. Bring to a boil.

– Add cranberries, reduce heat to low, and cover. After 10-15 minutes your berries will begin to open.

– Take the mixture and pour through a strainer, also take a spoon and press the excess juice through as well.

** Note: Often times I like to have my berries and chopped ginger to join my little yum fest and I won’t strain my beverage at all before I pour it into my mug.**

– You can add the Agave syrup at this time if you like, I normally only ad 1-2 tsp,but if you want to add more or less be my guest. Just a heads up, I use Agave Syrup instead of processed sugar.

Please let your drink cool before consuming or giving to someone else to consume, it is still hot. This awesome beverage can be sipped Hot or Cold…your choice. Personally, I like it on a chilly morning, all steamy hot. The smell of Ginger and Cinnamon make me smile and the taste of Cranberries remind me that the holidays are here (even when there’s no snow to look at from my balcony).

 Cranberry Ginger T!

Hopefully, you too take the time to try this mmm yummy beverage, whether it’s Christmas morning with some homemade French toast or just because you feel like it.

  ………………Wait!

 I almost forgot to tell you about the great benefits of the ingredients I used…silly me, I got so caught up in drinking my tea that you almost missed out on the benefits of why this is not only yummy but healthy too.

First, let me share a fun fact with you from the American Cancer Society regarding fruit intake:

  • Did you know that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your cancer risk? The American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day. Here are two resources filled with ideas for upping your fruit and vegetable consumption through the day.

Guess what…You just had one serving of fresh fruit!

Now here are a few tidbits of info regarding the other health benefits of ingredients used:

  • Ginger is known for its calming properties, from intestinal gas to migraines and even helps arthritis. It’s also a staple for many women who have morning sickness.
  • Cranberries are packed with anti-oxidants and Vitamin C. They’re also known for their anti-bacterial properties and often used when a urinary tract infection (UTI) is present.
  • Cinnamon, aside from being found on French toast or my nemesis “Cinnabon”; have great properties. Cinnamon can be used to aid in the relief of arthritis, blood sugar regulation, and help lower cholesterol.

So how ‘bout that, yummy and super healthy too.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

Gotta appreciate

This evening was definitely an Adventure in Randomness:
I decided to go Qdoba for dinner, I was a bit preoccupied with my telephone conversation with one of my closest friends ( wedding planning discussion/for her not me). I was pretty sure I grabbed my keys on the way out and started on my little field trip. I got to Qdoba, and on the way back the conversation switched to help with an iPhone issue. As I’m explaining something I realize I can’t feel my keys in any of my pockets…crap how am I going to get into our building? I got in on sheer luck, but the next step was hoping my room mate hadn’t gotten in the shower or gone straight to sleep when she got off work….well I knocked for a few minutes and received no answer. She had turned her phone off, so I sent a message to her Facebook (Thank You Social Media) and waited, nothing for a few minutes so I realized I would have to go and ask downstairs to have someone come and open the apartment, by the way I’m still on the phone with the bride to be. I get on the elevator down to the lobby floor, feel my pockets for my ATM card because I’m now going to have to pay $50 to be let into my own apartment and what do I feel….but my keys of course. Deep down in the corner of my super baggy sweatpants were my 2 keys and security fob for our apartment. AIRHEAD!! So back up to the apartment I go, and as I get off the elevator I receive a Facebook message from my room mate saying the door was now open. I deem today Airhead Monday, my friend on the phone laughed at me, which happens often when I have these type of moments and said she was hanging up. Thanks for the support L.A. This really makes me appreciate having my room mate around, she’s pretty awesome, even on those days where she’s shaking her head at me laughing at how ridiculous i can be.