Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

This will be an uneventful Christmas for me as I am in the middle of a major transition of life and living. I am blessed to be spending this Christmas with my fiancé but as he is sound asleep and I am nowhere close to tired, I am watching my favorite holiday movie (The Holiday) and packing. And I shouldn’t leave out the 20 games of Words With Friends that I have going and the blog reading that I’m catching up on.


So, even though this Christmas is uneventful, it will definitely be productive and enjoyable.

I wish you all a very blessed and joyful Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Long Awaited Giveaway!

Forever ago, I mentioned that I was so inspired and motivated by the Blogalicious 2011 conference that I attended that i was going to hold my first giveaway at the end of November. Of course, I chose November because of all the online activities I was attempting to do, like Nanowrimo and Nablopomo. November came and went and although I managed to post every day during the month, I had absolutely NO follow through on my giveaway. And I have no excuses my friends. None whatsoever considering I did order the item and have had it on my bookshelf since it’s arrival.

So, to one of my very lucky readers will go a brand new Kindle Fire! <<insert applause here>>


To be eligible, you had to have been a follower of the site by the end of November or have commented on a post during the month of November. I put everyone’s name in a numbered list and used to pick a number and the winner is…

I’ve been following Nik’s blog for awhile now. She is a fellow knitter and a fellow STEM girl. Visit her on her site and consider joining to see her great projects.

I’m looking forward to the next Giveaway! Click that little follow button or comment often to be eligible. Thank you all for following along on this little journey known as my life.



The countdown is done. I am officially on holiday!!! I am officially done with my temporary 6 month assignment that turned into two years. And even though its not done, I am officially done with 2011. That may change tomorrow, but it’s how I feel today. 2011 was not a bad year by any means but it was a tough year, the worst of it being three trees hitting my house during spring storms. How I hate tornado season!

But 2012 will be here soon and although I expect it to be tough as well, I’m hoping for the kind of tough that strengthens me and not the kind that wipes me out. 2011 has wiped me out! So, what am I looking forward to in 2012???

  • Making a family cookbook with my grandma
  • Wedding planning with my mom
  • Our wedding in September
  • Becoming a wife, gaining a husband
  • New job?
  • Finishing a book
  • Buying into a business
  • Launching a new endeavor for engineers
  • Becoming a MacArthur fellow or winning one of their grants or at least putting in a proposal for something
  • Make the donation that will get me on the wall!!--more on this later.
There are so many other things on my list for the new year. Needless to say it will be a busy, busy, busy year and I’m praying for so many things for myself and for those around me. This is truly going to be a year of action. I can’t let 2012 see me as tired as 2011 saw me. I have to break through.
What’s on your Goal TO-DO list for 2012?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kanban Followup

Since I’m stuck at work waiting for a meeting to start (I started this post on Monday night), I figured I would update you on how the Kanban productivity system was working out for me.


For tasks that are repetitive or have very distinctive sections or parts, this system is a great aid. In the middle of using this system to produce a report, I got sick and needed to be out of the office for a couple of days. Upon returning, my Kanban was on my desk giving me a visual clue of exactly where I left off. I was able to quickly get back to my report with little time lost in trying to figure out exactly where I was in the process. Adding the HOLD box allowed me to delay portions that were causing me problems. The extra box under the Done column was added to allow me to quickly answer questions from my manager on a subset of items that fit a specific criteria.

The green post-it tags are inputs to the report that I am writing. The blue tags are sections of the report itself that need to be completed. I put the Kanban in a plastic document sleeve to keep from loosing my tags. As I moved items into the DONE column, I started to tape them down as the tags at this point were starting to loose their stickiness.

For regular usage, I would…

  • use the super sticky line of post-its so there is better hold
  • always use a plastic document sleeve
  • color code the task types to add to the visual value of the Kanban
And I do need to add that it is definitely a positive to have such a visual progress chart for coworkers and managers to fully understand your workload. I can verbally tell you that I am working on generating a report, but that doesn’t fully relay all the input documents that need to be produced and reviewed to generate the report as the Kanban above does.
All in all, the Kanban is an excellent tool for those job tasks with repetitive or distinctive sections. My next step is to evaluate using a Kanban for following a procedure flowchart.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Starting Over

I have been away from home for almost two years! I get to come back to visit every few weeks but there is nothing like just being in a space long term. Now that I’m going back home, I almost feel like I’m starting over a little bit. I have been in a tiny city apartment and that has taught me a few things about paring down into a small space. And since I will eventually be moving a husband into a space that was just a single girl’s space, some things will have to change going forward. For the past few weeks, I have been combing the internet looking for inspiration for revamping the look of the house. I saw this photo on the Anthology Magazine website and I have fallen in love with it.


I love the print curtains. I love the mixture of textures-leather, wood, fabric. I love the green walls--my living room is already green. I love the cushy chair. I love the pop of red in the room. And of course I love all the books.

When I’m back home and settled, I’ll be working on making my living room a little more like this inspiration piece.

I’m excited!



The Poundcake and I are packing up the apartment and getting ready to move out. My temporary assignment is over and I will be returning to the homestead. Poundcake will move into a temporary apartment in the city until after the wedding. I am sad to be apart, but I am oh, so happy to be back in the home that I love so much. I am looking forward to cooking and sewing and redecorating some spaces to make room for a husband.

I hate moving, but I am happy that instead of having to hire movers and get this furniture to the house, it has all been sold. Now we just need to deal with all the clothes, yarn and books that have amassed in this small space. It’s a lot more than I would have thought.

2012 will truly be a new start for me. How are you finishing out the year?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another Finished Project


Using this Hot Pad Pattern, I crocheted this little ditty to use as a soap sack. I took all the little bits of left over soap pieces and stitched them in the middle of the double thick pad. I will use this in the shower until all the soap is gone and then wash it and use in the kitchen as a hot pad. I like the idea of getting two uses out of this item. This is much more practical than the first one (Ravelry Link) I made. It is much too small to comfortably use. But I will add it to the hand knit scrubbie collection in the kitchen.soapsackcollage-2011-12-10-22-56.jpg

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sick Day #2 Part 2

From the bag of unfinished projects, I pulled out this crocheted basket. I don’t remember when I started this project, but I’m happy to see it off the hook before the end of the year. Now I just need to figure out what to use it for. I finished it off with a white rim. I didn’t add a handle because I think this will end up sitting on a counter rather than hanging. It’s made out of standard cotton that I bought from a craft store. I bought tons of it and still have quite a bit left so you’ll see more cotton projects coming up.


I do have some pot holders and soap sacks in the near future plans.


Sick Day #2

I’m on the mend, but by no means 100%. I’m still trying not to talk so I can continue to heal and not go backwards. I’m still working on the agenda from yesterday, but I have pulled out my bag of unfinished projects to work on something else while I continue to read through all the posts in my RSS reader. I know RSS reading wasn’t on the list of things to do, but I’m going to do it anyway!IMAG0547-2011-12-9-13-23.jpg

Hope you all are being productive today, whether you are at work or home.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sick Day Part 2

The last load of laundry is in the washer and the socks are done!!!!! yay!


Now, it’s time to work on those lists. I do feel rather productive.

I still can’t talk and my fiancé is taking this as his chance. His time is coming though. Just wait till my voice comes back…

just wait!

Sick Day

For the past few years, my allergies/sinuses bother me enough that I sneeze and cough to the point of loosing my voice. This happens once or twice a year, but this time is different. This is the first time this year I’ve lost my voice and unlike any time before, I have lost it COMPLETELY! Usually, I’m just very hoarse and I can still have a squeaky conversation. Right now, one word and I am at the point of choking. I took the day off so I would not be tempted to talk and I have asked everyone not to call me.

But, I’m determined to be at least a little productive while I’m home. My list for today…

        ❑        Finish the socks! I just have the toe on sock #2 to go.

        ❑        Make my 2012 focus list! I’ve got a lot going on next year…wedding, husband, new business?

        ❑        Laundry

        ❑        Packing Plan

        ❑        Assignment Reflections--when I walk away from this assignment, I want to leave something behind

So, just to show how serious I am…


The laundry and the sock are making progress!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wedding Prep Has Started--The Dress!

This past weekend, I accomplished the next big item on the wedding 2012 list. I bought a wedding dress. After watching episodes of Say Yes To The Dress, there were a few things I was expecting.

  1. Everything would be expensive.
  2. Nothing would fit me. I am a plus size bride.
  3. I would leave the shop deflated and with no dress.
I’m happy to say things did not turn out that way. My maid of honor and I decided to try David’s Bridal as the first stop. I was really, really surprised at the selection. Everything I wanted to try was in stock and in my size. Everything fit and all the dresses I tried on were flattering on my frame. If you’ve seen Say Yes To The Dress, you’ve seen the girls in there hurt when every dress they try on can’t zip up and they have those awful clips holding in fabric pieces to cover the gaping hole in the back. Considering how expensive those dresses are that they carry, you would think they would make sure to have one in every size so no bride feels like crap.

Don’t worry. This is not the dress I chose. You’ll have to wait to see that. it was a strong contender but in the end, there was too much tule for me.

Kudos to David’s Bridal for not only carrying flattering dresses for the plus size bride but also for having reasonable prices. In the end, I bought two dresses for less than I expected to pay for one.

Yes, I’m that girl that has two dresses!

I just looked at the Say Yes website and they have clips they labeled as Big Bliss. Watch these plus size brides and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Kanban Trial

Today, I am trying Kanban for the first time. This really seems like a good system for engineers to organize themselves. This could apply to anyone really, but my goal is to find solutions for engineers. I’ll let you all know how it works. I’m a little worried about loosing some of my little task flags, but we’ll see.IMAG0532-2011-12-7-10-27.jpg

How are you getting things done today?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Challenge Complete

Since it’s the last post of Nablopomo, I feel like I should have something profound to say. But sometimes there are just no words. There are those times when we have so much to say and so many emotions swirling around in us, but when we open our mouths to speak or put our fingers to keys to type, none of it comes out. This is where I am today.

What I can say is that I am thrilled to have completed the blogging challenge for November. I’m sad that I didn’t get much novel writing done for Nanowrimo, but I’m okay with that. I’m still trying to determine in what direction my writing will go. Until then, I’m not going to stress too much about it. What’s important is that through the daily blogging, I was able to get some writing done.

My posting frequency will probably slow down now, but I have so many things to share with you over the next few weeks that you will still have plenty of content to absorb. Thanks for sticking it out with me this month.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about my first giveaway!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No Knitting

Instead of knitting, I have been catching up on blogs in my RSS reader. Basically, I am procrastinating. I need to start getting ready for another life change. Actually, I guess this is more like a life backtrack or reset. I’ve been on the road for work for almost two years. Over Thanksgiving, I decided it was time for me to go home. This was a difficult decision to make as I met my fiancé on the road and can’t yet take him home with me. :(

But I’m excited to be going home. Spending so much time with grandma in front of the fireplace didn’t help at all. But, it’s time to go. I’ve been loosing money (oh, what we do for love!) and now I’m passing a timeline that will throw me into a tax bracket that would do me more harm than good. It’s amazing to know that there is a point when making more money just takes more money out of your pocket.

So, I need an exit plan. That’s what I will be doing over the next few days. My list will include

        ❑        Sending a notice to vacate to the apartment

        ❑        Make a plan for finishing out all the projects at work

        ❑        Start packing

        ❑        Cancel all the crap I have to pay for (i.e. cable, gas, power, etc.)

        ❑        Figure out what to do with the furniture that is not going with me or the fiancé

        ❑        Throw some crap away

        ❑        Goodwill giving

        ❑        and a lot of other stuff that is not coming to me right now

I’m sad to be parting from the fiancé for a while but I am happy to get back home so I can get the house ready to go from a single girl dwelling to a home for two.

What changes are coming your way for the new year?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nothing. Still.

I promise you tomorrow I will have some finished socks to show…or something. I just finished setting my hair for the night and I am off to bed (after I watch a few YouTube videos, that is).

Good night!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I’ve been trying to figure out all day what to blog about, but I’m a little preoccupied and can’t really come up with anything interesting. I have a couple of tough conversations to have tomorrow regarding an opportunity that I am going to walk away from. Even though the decision itself lifted a huge weight off my shoulders, the conversations to explain my decision are a different story.

It is very difficult to get people to understand the decisions we make, especially when they think they are making you the best offer available to you. But, what you should understand about April is that I don’t settle for things. I determine what is best for me and I go after what is best for me. And that is what I must relay tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Travel Safe

For all of you hitting the road again today, please be careful and enjoy the ride. I bought a few new hair products yesterday that I will be reviewing in the coming weeks. I’ll just leave you with a picture of today’s hair.


Friday, November 25, 2011

A Little Sadness Has Fallen

It’s my last night in front of the fire for a little while. I’m sad to be back on the road for work. I’m sad to be leaving my mom and grandma. I’m sad to be leaving my friends. But I will be back soon.

I’m happy to say my grandma loves the fiancé so I guess I have no choice now but to keep him.

Now that my favorite holiday has passed, I will be working on planning the wedding, planning my career and planning for great things to happen in my life. I almost feel like its time to make new years resolutions. Thanksgiving always feels like a natural end of the year for me anyway. While everyone else is shopping away and anticipating Christmas, I will be making resolutions and goals and stepping into so many new things.

What does Thanksgiving mean for you? Are you getting wrapped up in the shopping and craziness of Christmas?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Haze

I know the haze has fully set in from the Thanksgiving meal. I hope you all had a great time with your friends and family. And even if Thanksgiving is not your thing, I hope you took a moment to think on the things that you are thankful for. I am so very thankful for my family, friends and neighbors who have helped me through this last year of hard work and travel.

In other news, I finally found a Carol’s Daughter product that I can use and so far I really, really like it. My mother had bought one of the CD starter kits from a department store and in it there was a little sample jar of the Mimosa Hair Honey. I had never personally handled this product so my interest was piqued.


Immediately, this product passed the smell test. This is always my biggest issue with CD products. They are usually just too heavily perfumed for me. This product has a really light scent that I could tell wouldn’t last long. I’m happy to say I was right about that.

I had washed my hair that morning and just let it dry with no product. My curly fro was impressive but definitely not the look I wanted to have on Thanksgiving day. I decided to try the Hair Honey to see how it worked. I parted for flat twists and sprayed with water before applying the Hair Honey. There is no hold to the product so it was a little iffy only applying this with no gel. But after getting a couple of flat twists done, I could immediately see the shine the hair honey gave. And although the twists had no hold, there was a look to the twists that I really liked. This would be perfect for the naturals that wear two strand twists as styles. Because the Hair Honey is not a styler, I didn’t have to worry about my hair not drying during the night.IMAG0460-2011-11-24-22-55.jpg

I side parted my hair and flat twisted down, away from my face. Since I didn’t know how greasy my hair would feel, I didn’t want to have the hair falling into my face.


I couldn’t be more happy with the results. My hair had a beautiful shine, the smell was completely gone and because I didn’t add any gel, I had really nice touchable hair that had very good definition. My hair was a little oily in the beginning but that quickly soaked in. Now, this would not work in the summer humidity but I will be buying this product to use as light styler for the winter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting Ready

I have completely lazy today. My grandma and I have been talking for hours in front of the fire. I’m enjoying the time with my mom and my grandma.


But now we must put the laziness aside and start prepping for tomorrow’s meal. yay!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thinking Ahead

Today, I am thinking ahead and getting my post out before I hit the road. I wish you all safe travels and the happiest of family/friend fellowship. Thanksgiving is my holiday and I’m looking forward to spending this time with my mom and grandma. I have another unfinished project that will be going along with me (with the socks of course)..more on that tomorrow.

For now, I’m going to pack up the computer for travel. Until tomorrow...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just In Time

I’m playing with Fire so I’m not being productive right now. But I did work on the socks a little today. I’ll be ready to decrease for the toes soon.

The Thanksgiving break has begun for me. Yay…more tomorrow.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

More Unfinished Business

Since I’ve been tackling a few unfinished projects this month, I decided to add one more to the list. It’s actually a few in one but they are all the same. I am not a big jewelry wearer but I do enjoy wearing earrings. Whenever I leave the house without them, I can hear my grandmother’s voice in my head telling me she always feels naked if she doesn’t have earrings on. Once I learned how to make jewelry, I immediately set about making my own earrings. Most of the earrings I wear now are made by me. That way I get the exact colors I want and the exact sizes I want. But I do tend to start them and not finish them. Case in point…


It’s ridiculous that I have this many pair that are unfinished. So today’s goal was to complete as many as possible. I had a feeling I had more finished dangles than I did earring lever backs. And this was the case. In the end I was able to finish eleven pair. I tried to finish at least one out of every color range that I had, but I always lean towards more browns and blacks and of course my recent obsession with purple.IMAG0441-2011-11-20-13-15.jpg

I always store my earrings linked together like this so I lessen the chance of loosing one of the pair. Since I travel quite a bit, I have found that a recycled Altoids tin is the best storage device. I’ve tried many ways of carrying them, but this has turned out to be the best as it can fit in any spare space in a suitcase or in a pair of shoes without damaging the contents.


Okay…back to finishing those socks. Too bad they don’t go as quickly as these earrings. Hope you all are having a crafty weekend.

Take care!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First Try


This turned out pretty good for my first attempt at any kind of intricate styling. I flat twist my hair often but never to wear as a style. Of course I am nowhere as good as CharyJay. I have often watched her styling videos and thought THERE IS NO WAY I COULD SPEND ALL THAT TIME DOING THAT STYLE! But last night, I wanted to try something new. I’ve been determined to use my weekends to try new things and I’m happy to say that I succeeded. I need more practice, but not bad at all. I used to think my hair was thick but in comparing it to CharyJay’s, it doesn’t seem so thick anymore. I love how full and plump her twists look when she finishes a style. Once my hair is longer, I’m sure it will fill out a little more, but I don’t think I’d come close to CharyJay’s thickness. I think I’ll try a few more of her styles now.

What do you think? How did I do?


I did a Henna treatment using Godrej Nupur Mehendi Powder. I followed up with a conditioning treatment using the Milk Protein and Olive Oil Treatment. I styled using Elasta QP and Murray’s Loc-Lock Gel. This time I only sat with the Protein treatment on my head for about 20 minutes. I covered but I did not apply any heat. This is not for everyone though. A lot of naturals say that a henna treatment mimics the effects of a protein treatment on their hair so be cautious of the types of treatments that you combine in one day. This seems to have worked well for me. I washed before and after the Henna using Wen.

Unfortunately, my products worked against me as I woke up this morning with a terrible headache and a day’s worth of sneezes. I’ll have to followup with another post for those of us that are affected by our products.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cutting It Close

Once again, I almost let the day get away from me.  Today was Henna day so I'm a little wrapped up in my hair right now.  I'm attempting this style.  If it goes well, I will take pictures. ha.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kindle Fire Review--First Impressions

The Good
  • Simple. Only one button
  • Easy set up.  Once I connected with WIFI and went through initial setup, the Fire was ready to go and all of my Kindle books were preloaded.  I have no intention of using this for book reading but it was nice to see them there.  Because of size limitations, you could see the Apps in your Library but you have to download them manually.  Otherwise, they hang out in your cloud until you are ready for them.
  • Very easy Evernote setup.  This is more a reflection on Evernote than Amazon, but I appreciate it none the less.
  • Amazon Prime free videos and TV shows.  I only took a short glance at the offerings but there seemed to be some good selections.  More on this later.  I doubt I’ll be watching many videos on this thing but you never know.
  • The graphics are really good.  Just flipping through some of the knitting patterns in my Evernote account made me smile.  I will definitely be using this as I knit/crochet.
  • Easy Audible integration.  I was never really fond of using my e-Ink Kindle to listen to Audible books but the Fire is great for that as I can listen to a book while viewing a knitting pattern or while playing a game.
The Bad
  • A little heavy but I couldn’t imagine how it would feel if it had more bells and whistles like the front and rear cameras.
  • No widgets. One of the things I have always loved about Andriod over iOS is the ability to run widgets on a home screen.  With the firs you only get one bookshelf screen and no possibility of running widgets.
  • Too many games in the App store. I still need to spend more time in the App store but like some of the others, the early developers are all about the games.  I’m looking more for productivity apps at this point.
  • Some Apps are taking FOREVER! to install.  Right now, I have 10 just sitting in the queue with no indication that progress has been made.
  • Installation of outside Apps is possible but not the installation of the Android marketplace.
  • No Native Google Apps.  Really I just want Google Music Beta (no out of Beta I understand).  Amazon’s music upload is too cumbersome so I opted to use Music Beta for my cloud music storage.  I’m not as happy with Apple’s iTunes/Ipod offerings as I used to be.
  • The screen. Great for graphics but your use will always be dependent on lighting--no different than the original Kindle or the iPad or any cell phone. The fluorescent lights in the office make using the Fire difficult to use unless I want to hold it up for all to see.  I can’t just discreetly leave it laying flat while using it.
So, I think this device is a keeper but I have to find its use in the following ways to really make it useful.
  • RSS feed reading.  It came with the Pulse app which seems to be great but you are limited to 60 feeds.  I have much more than that in my RSS reader.
  • Crafting.  So far, so good on this but I have some more testing to do.
  • Work. I need a good email, calendar and to do system that syncs with my google accounts.
  • Evernote.  Viewing is great but what about creating notes and/or editing or sending notes to Evernote fro other applciations.  (this si more dependent on the Apps available and not the device itself.
  • Blogging. I want to be able to post on the WIFI-go.
  • General notetaking outside of Evernote.
  • Google Docs
  • Research.  Broswer searching, web clipping, etc.

Stay Tuned.  Much more to come.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sometimes You Are Just Too Tired

And that is what I am today. I am going to hit the sack early tonight but I suspect I will be waking after a few hours nap. So, if that happens I’ll be posting my initial thoughts on the Kindle Fire tonight.

Hope you all had a wonderful day and I hope you recover from it too.


Take care!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Got a New Toy Today!!!--It's On Fire!


I’m hitting the deadline of getting this post out because I’m playing with my new toy. Lots and Lots about this in the coming days. No knitting for me today.

Thanks Amazon for getting the Fire out a week early!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Knitting Update

I’m making progress. I’m a little tired so I won’t finish this tonight…maybe tomorrow.


I’m very happy that this went so quickly. The final Harry Potter movie and a marathon of the older ones got me through. Still watching Harry tonight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What You Don't Have To Do As A Natural

I would immediately point anyone that is thinking about going natural or that is newly natural to YouTube as a resource. There are some great ladies out there giving tips and sharing styles and for the price (FREE!), you just can’t beat what you get. But, as you are watching the videos and absorbing the information, there are some key things to remember.

  1. Just because you are natural, you do not have to curse products that are not completely natural or products that contain less desirable natural ingredients, like mineral oil. Determine what is best for you and your hair.
  2. Just because you cut your hair off, you do not need to overcompensate with huge flowers and headbands. Remember to keep your look age appropriate and in proportion. I hate to see a girl (natural or not) with a flower that is half as big as her head. This isn’t cute on everyone.
  3. Just because you are natural doesn’t mean your earrings have to be the size of your head or hanging down to your boobs. Again, be age appropriate and choose a style that looks good on you, not everyone else.
  4. Just because you are natural, you don’t have to add fifty new colors to your makeup palette. The makeup looks are getting more and more bold, but some to the point of being garish.
  5. Just because you are natural, you do not need a wig for every season and occasion. There are some lovely wigs out there but if your goal is to cover your head until your natural hair looks more like the wig, you may want to really evaluate if you want to be natural.
  6. Just because you are now natural, you do not need to assign a type to your hair. Learn your hair and learn yourself but don’t let the use of typing limit what you want to achieve.
  7. Just because you are natural doesn’t mean you should be disparaging to those that are not. Influence but do not bash.
Bottom line, we are all different and our variety is what makes us more beautiful. Strive to look like the best version of you and not a replica of your YouTube idol.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Winter Hair Routine

I am approaching my second winter as a natural but during the first, my hair was very short and there was not much I could do in terms of moisture balance, maintaining definition or much of anything else. I went through quite a few products during that time but none of them have really lasted through the summer months. I think the best thing for any new natural is to understand that one product may not work year round or work for every style. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn because I used the same products for years on my relaxed hair. I remember being upset when Dark N Lovely changed the relaxer formula. I wanted things to be consistent. If I got great results with this group of products on January 1, I expected it to be the same all year round. And for the most part, it was. But that is no longer the case. Natural hair is different and it responds to its surroundings in a way relaxed hair never did. My relaxed hair didn’t get frizzy just by me standing in the shower.

So, now I am approaching a new winter with lots of new growth. I need to determine how I’m going to keep my hair moisturized. I do like having my hair out so I probably won’t be doing much protective styling. That may change as it gets colder but this is the plan for now. Considering that my hair will be out, this is my plan.PastedGraphic-2011-11-12-00-29.jpg

  1. For those cold mornings when I walk to work, I will leave my hair twisted and covered with a hat until I make it into the office. My hair gets twisted every night to maintain my styles .
  2. I will style using heavy butters (like Elasta QP) and light gels (like Taliah Waajid Lock It Up). This seems to give my hair maximum moisture and softness. On days when I want more hold and definition, I will use theSmooth N Hold Pudding, but it’s moisture retention is not as high as the Elasta QP. I may have to figure out how to add a bit more moisture to it. I may try to layer something underneath it to boost the moisture. I’m still trying new products during the winter but I will try to keep this to weekend and/or holiday styling when I know my exposure to the elements will be limited.
  3. I will set my hair earlier in the evenings. When I set my hair each night, I usually spray with a water/conditioner mix (shoutout to Nizzy who recently commented that she does the same). My conditioner of choice is the cleansing conditioner I use for washing my hair. Because I am slightly wetting my hair each night, I need to give it enough time to air dry. The earlier I style, the best chance I have at achieving this. This goes for mid-week washes as well. I do not sleep with my head covered because I then to sweat and that doesn’t help my hair dry. I don’t sleep on a satin pillowcase because they too make me sweat. What has world in my favor is that I have bed sheets and pillow cases with a very high thread count. They are very smooth and lovely and I have never had a hair to snag on them. Falling asleep on the couch is another thing entirely.
  4. When I am out in the cold and my hair is free, I will lightly wrap it with a scarf. My out locks are too much for any hat in my collection.
So, that’s my plan. Nice and simple. What’s your plan for the coming winter months?

Friday, November 11, 2011

November Knitting Project

My grandmother got her shrug in the mail yesterday and she loves it. So, now that I’ve got one crochet project off the hook, I feel the need to get at least one knitting project off the needles. In looking at my Ravelry account, it seems I only have two knitting projects in progress (we’ll ignore the seven that I have put in time out--hibernation for all you Ravelry users)--A fair aisle blanket and a pair of socks. Needles to say I’m going to go for the socks.


I have had these socks on the needles since July 2010, over a year! When I first learned how to knit socks, I went crazy with it, with the goal of having enough socks that I could wear nothing but hand knit socks. Well, that’s a good goal until you become burned out and your existing socks sprout holes. Darning is a separate project that I need to tackle. But, back to these socks.

The pattern is Crosshatch Lace by Charlene Schurch from More Sensational Knitted Socks. The yarn is Lion Brand Sock-Ease in the Rock Candy colorway. I’ll try to get better pictures to show off the color when I finish them. I originally stopped working on these when I kept messing up the start to the second sock. It’s not a difficult pattern, but apparently my brain was in a difficult place. Let’s see if I have better luck this time.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Week 1 Update

*This was supposed to be a 1 wk check in. Now, it’s two. Time is flying!*

The first week of November has been a busy one so far. Even though I haven’t done as much as I would have liked to by this point, I’m happy with the progress.


This is my first year attempting Nablopomo. This is also the first year that Blogher has hosted the event. I am going to attribute the technical difficulties to the fact that they are new to the process. I signed up. I have my welcome email telling me what to do. I set up my page, added a profile picture, posted my first post and added my blog to the November blogroll. all was well. The following day, all the links to the site seemed to be broken and my login to the site would not work. If you’ve spent any amount of time on the Blogher site, you know how congested and ad heavy it is. It is also very difficult to find the right person to email with a problem. Eventually, I gave up. I didn’t want getting bogged down in technical difficulties to keep me from the actual task of writing.

So, you can find me on Blogher (I’m #1085 on the blogroll) but I think my involvement with Blogher won’t go beyond that. What really upset me was that a user on Ravelry had the same issue and actually managed to get her username reestablished. So, the Blogher team is full aware of the issue, but no information to that was given in the update email. And that’s another thing. I’m still getting the emails, but the site tells me it doesn’t recognize my email address. Really Blogher???


I have barely done any novel writing this month and I’m actually not upset about it at all. With this blog and my November Prayer Project, I have actually been writing quite a bit, just in a different form. And I’m happy with that. November is about writing and my progress in that is evident. I still check in on the Nano site whenever I can to see what my connections are up to. They’re not writing either, it seems. But I know that will change. There are a couple of them every year that seem to slack in the beginning but then attend a few write-ins at the end and manage to catch up. It’s really amazing that they can do that. Who know, may I will too. :)

How is your writing progressing this November?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Really Love This Hair!


This is all. Just still loving what that protein treatment did for the hair. What hair products or treatments are you singing the praises of these days?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Finally an Answer

Since I was in high school, I started having terrible headaches. In the beginning, I’m sure my mother thought I was feigning my headaches to get out of doing housework. When they first started, the headaches would pretty much cripple me. There was nothing I could do except lay in a dark room with a bag of ice on my head and pray the pain would stop soon. I remember my mother coming into my room one day and found me laying silently crying into my pillow. That started the parade of doctors into my life. As a child I was never given a clear diagnosis. One doctor said maybe you need glasses. I did and I got glasses, but the headaches didn’t stop. The next doctor suggested I had sinus problems. I did and I got medication for it, but the headaches didn’t stop. The next doctor couldn’t even guess at it and suggested I have an MRI. My early nineties insurance wouldn’t pay for it and I was afraid of what they would find.

Over the years, I learned to live through the pain. In college, I learned to function through it all. I still went to class. I still went to parties. I still went to my work study job on campus. I even went to football games, all while functioning through my headaches.

As an adult, I sought out the help of an allergy doctor. I found out I’m allergic to a litany of things, but it still didn’t help with the headaches. When I told the allergy doctor I thought I was developing a food allergy, he responded negatively. So I found another doctor. She was great. She started off her session in prayer and asked God to guide her in helping to find the problems that were affecting my life. She never she could fully resolve my problems but she did help me to realize that I couldn’t live my life with restrictions. I would always have environmental factors that would cause me to sneeze and wheeze and whatnot, but I couldn’t let that keep me from living.

It wasn’t until I was traveling and needed to see a new allergy doctor that I was led down a different path. After describing my issues to the allergist, she asked me, “Have you ever seen a Neurologist?”. Of course I hadn’t. I hadn’t thought my issue was serious enough for that. I was living through my pain for so long that it not occurred to me to seek a higher level specialist. The allergist suggested I may have food-induced migraines.

I took her recommendation and sought out the care of a neurologist and today I can say that I am a migraine sufferer. I am still learning what foods cause me the problems, but that my friends is another post for another day.

Take care and eat well.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Listen To Your Hair

This is part product review, part me realizing that I am not paying attention to my hair!!!


This Milk Protein and Olive Oil deep conditioning treatment was given to us in the swag bag at the Blogalicious 2011 conference. I have not taken the time in a while to do any kind of conditioning treatment to my hair. Since I’ve been natural (~14 months), I’ve done maybe 2 conditioning treatments. I have done one protein treatment, but the protein treatment that I did was messy and required heat and since I no longer have a hair dryer, I have not done it again.


This is my hair before the treatment. Ignore my little gray there in the front. It’s almost time for a henna treatment. It’s just a chunky twist-out that I put into a puff as I was laying around the house. I washed with Wen Cleansing Conditioner and applied the Milk Protein and Olive Oil Treatment, as directed by the packaging. This product is currently sold in packets and I think the directions were directly ported over from that package as the directions tell you to use the entire pack. Needless to say, I ignored this particular section of the directions. I used a little over a third of the container, but I really slathered this stuff on. I probably could have used less, but I wanted to make sure every strand was well coated. I haven’t given my hair any extra care in months so I was not about to skimp, especially on a free product.

The product went on well. I really appreciate that the smell is not heavy with perfumes. It’s a medium scent with a menthol kick to it. And that menthol felt very good on my scalp. It was very cooling and that was exactly what I needed to help sooth away the final remnants of the migraine I had that morning. The white color and texture of the product made application a little reminiscent of applying relaxer. *flashback!* I didn’t dare try to detangle my hair at this point as the product suggests.


The directions suggested covering with a plastic cap and sitting under a dryer for 10-15 minutes or just covered for 30-45 minutes. I covered with a plastic bag and used my Hair Therapy Wrap for the heat. I got caught up in television when I ran across Imitation of Life (one of my favorites)! It was an hour later when I finally got up to wash it out. I think when the product is warmed under the dryer or plastic cap, it would be easier to detangle. I chose to just wash it out without the detangling.

I rinsed and immediately noticed a nice firmness to my hair that I’ve been missing for too long. It’s hard to describe beyond that. My hair wasn’t soft, but it wasn’t crunchy like it can be after some protein treatments. It felt structured as if any style I put it in would hold without falling apart while still being touchable. I styled in two-strand twists using the Olive Oil Smooth N Hold Pudding.

The next morning, I had this….


Sorry for the tired eyes. I am not a morning person and I’m going to blame some of that on the time change…no it doesn’t matter that I got an extra hour. It wasn’t enough! But my hair is happy this morning. I was definitely in need of a protein treatment and I should have paid attention to the signs some time ago.

So, product recap...


*Good packaging--I tend to through my products in a huge basket together so I feel better when products have screw tops like this one and not the snap tops.

*Nice smell--I suffer from migraines that can be brought on by strong smells and this medium scent was no problem to deal with.

*Texture--very smooth, easy to apply

*Price--This 16 oz jar is available through the website for $6.99. It is also available in 1.7 oz packets for $1.99 I’m not sure what the price point of this product will be in this size packaging (16 oz).


*None--I will continue to use this product (maybe once every 4-5 weeks) to see how my hair reacts later. Since this is a protein treatment, you have to use your judgment on how often to use it on your hair. And of course, protein rich products aren’t for everyone.

I definitely recommend this product as a light to moderate protein treatment. Sofn’free has new products that will be hitting the shelves starting 11/11/11 (according to the rep at Blogalicious 2011). I will definitely be on the look out for them.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Addicted to Statistics


Attending the Blogalicious 2011 conference really opened my eyes to what is possible through the world of blogging. I can’t say that I plant to do even half of what I heard that others are doing but what I do want to do is put this blog in a position where greater things are possible. I’m all about setting myself up to have choices in life.

But building this “choice” has caused me to become a little too obsessed with the statistics. My blog posting and traffic has increased significantly since just before the conference and I’m excited about all the new readers that are coming my way. But I find myself looking a little too much at that pretty little graphic that google uses to show you how well (or not well) you are doing.

By the way, HELLO! to all my new readers. Happy to have you aboard. Remember to subscribe or comment during the month for a chance to win in my first giveaway!!!

Okay, back to the topic at hand. One key point that was made by several people at the conference was that the biggest mistake you could make is to make it all about gaining followers and having higher numbers. It is quite exciting to see my little blog growing, but my goal is to produce good and usable content.

So, I’m depending on you, dear readers to keep me accountable on my content. Leave comments often and let me know how I’m doing.

Hope you all had a great weekend and you are refreshed and ready to start a new week.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Abandon The Place of Secrets

I am not a fan of secrets. I can never remember what I’m supposed to tell and what I’m not. This also make me incapable of telling lies (big ones at least). :)


But I seem to be surrounded right now by people that keep secrets. Sometimes it’s done for “protection”, sometimes to minimize business impacts and sometimes to just be deceitful. Whatever the reason, keeping a secret sends the same message, I DON’T TRUST YOU!

If you are in a relationship and you are holding secrets because you feel like you need to protect your significant other or you want to avoid drama you’ve experienced in the past, YOU DON’T TRUST YOUR PARTNER. You don’t trust them to communicate effectively and you don’t trust them to be understanding.

If you are a business keeping secrets and you are trying to protect your intellectual property or you are trying to minimize business impacts, YOU ARE SHOWING A LACK OF TRUST IN YOUR BUSINESS SETUP. Intellectual property is protected through good contracts and through choosing good business partners. And if you are operating in a place where there is no transparency, you may want to evaluate the goals and mission of your company.

It goes without saying that if you being purposefully deceitful, then you trust no one. More than that, I think a deceitful person can not trust themselves. You can not trust yourself to obtain what you want in life without truth.

I encourage us all to abandon the act of keeping secrets. It’s a much healthier way to live. But do what you think is best for you but please don’t tell me secrets you want me to keep because I WON’T. (Please note that privacy and secrecy are not the same--maybe I’ll go into that in another post).

If you are keeping a secret from me, I suggest you reevaluate our “ship” because you obviously don’t trust me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hair of The Day 11/4/11


Chunky Twist Out! I’m thrilled with my hair today. I love the curls that I get with the chunky twists. It reminds me of the roller sets I used to love so much when my hair was relaxed.


The links I provided are to Amazon, but the Elasta QP is cheaper at the local BSS. The Amazon price for the Lock It Up is better than what I paid for it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm Taking a Stand Now

I have a lot of blogs in my RSS reader and although I spend time catching up everyday, I very rarely get to the point of zero unread items. I feel like I get a lot of good content and inspiration but I also get a lot of useless junk mental fodder.

Today, I deleted several blogs from my stream that I just don’t seem to have use for anymore. But the ones that are really driving me carzy are the ones that post multiple times a day. I am known from time to time to put up two posts a day, but unless you are a news or social media outfit of some kine, please keep it at less than three a day.

One of these said blogs had SEVEN posts for today at the time that I am writing this. She apparently uses her mornings to post and she does it hourly. This morning’s posts were clocked in at 7:10, 8:08, 9:10, 10:05, 11:05, 12:05, and 1:05. I was amazed. Every hour! Looking back on the past two weeks 6-7 posts a day is her average, but for the content I am getting, this is a bit much for me. DELETE!

Please don’t misunderstand and think I am being a blog snob. If the content was interesting, I would save them and go back to them on the weekends when I have more time and not during my lunch breaks. During lunch, I like to consume as much content as possible. I usually find something inspiring and I’m able to get through the rest of my day. Get bogged down in multiple useless posts drains me a bit.

But, the only people that can truly judge the value of our content are our subscribers and regular readers. My goal in blogging is not to be overly prolific. My goal is to produce content that is, if not usable, then enjoyable.

We could all be happy if we exercised a little productive filtering not only in what we consume but also in what we produce.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Prayer Project

I have decided to set up the Prayer Project as it’s own blog. You can still send prayers in using the email address but I thought there would be some who would want to be anonymous so I set up the Prayer Project blog. The comments to each blog post will never become public and you can submit prayers in the comments without using an online profile. I know this opens the blog up to spam but I think it’s worth it if all the prayers are lifted!

Stop by and submit your requests and pass it along to everyone. We all need prayer and if there is anything that should go viral, it’s the act and power of prayer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nanowrimo? and other things

Okay, so it’s 7pm on day 1 andI have yet to write a word. Honestly, I’m not very motivated to do anything at the moment except wash my hair. But before I get moving on that, I want to make a few announcements to start off the month.

  1. I am participating in Nablopomo in addition to Nanowrimo so you will (hopefully) see at least one post a day from me for the entire month. yay! I promise I will come up some interesting things to say. Unfortunately, the Blogher site that is now hosting Nablopomo seems to be having difficulties so I’m glad I got today’s post in last night (early this morning, technically).
  2. During the month of November, I am running a side project that offers prayers for those that need it. I will do a full post on that after my shower. If you want to get a jump on things and put your request in early, please email your prayer request in to upliftmewithprayer(at)gmail(dot)com. We all need prayer from time to time and we need to stop being so shy about asking others to lift us up.
  3. Please, please, please follow the blog. If you have the blog in your RSS and you are not on the follow list, please leave comment to this post and let me know. Why? Because I am going to do my very first giveaway!!!! I have a shiny new toy from Amazon on order and I will be gifting it to one of my lovely subscribers. So, do what you got to do!!! It’s a HOT item and I’m sure you’ll want to be eligible. Sorry to my family--you are not eligible.
So, there you have it. Three very good reasons to stick around with me for the month. Comment and let me know you’re here with me.

A Fresh Start

I wanted to start the month off right by finishing a project that’s been on my to-do list for way too long. Now granted, I have plenty of unfinished projects, but this one was for my grandmother.

Back in July, she requested that I make her a shrug. Of course I said yes. This is the woman that supplies me with really beautiful homemade quilts. I couldn’t say no to her. Plus, I really do like sharing something that I made with her since she has been making things for me since I could remember.

We searched around on Ravelry and came up with this pattern for the Sequoia Shrug (Ravelry link). She picked a very pretty yarn from my stash and I started on it right away. What I didn’t realize at the time was that to get the ribbed pattern that was shown, you would be crocheting this entire thing through the back loop. That slowed me down quite a bit. Crocheting through the back loop is easy but not as quick as just a regular crochet stitch.


Every few weeks, I would see this project in the apartment and pick it up out of guilt to add a few more stitches. Finally, in the process of preparing for Nanowrimo and Nablopomo, I decided to bite the bullet and get it done. I’m happy to have my first post of Nablopomo be a celebration of finishing. Maybe I will even write a crocheter into my Nano novel. ummm. I really haven’t planned that through so that will be another post for later. For now, I am happy to be packing this up to ship to grandma. This is a great project for new and seasoned crocheters alike and the finishing is minimum so that is great. You are pretty much just crocheting a big rectangle and then stitching to get the shape.

IMAG0329-2011-11-1-00-29.jpg IMAG0328-2011-11-1-00-29.jpg

Sorry I don’t have any model shots for you. I’ve never really liked the look of shrugs on my body type.