Monday, January 30, 2012

Smoothie Base

When I decide to add something new to my life, I like to make it as simple as possible so as not to become a burden. In this case I am re-incorporating something that I absolutely love…Smoothies! I have had this book since college and it has been well used and well loved.
I do have some favorite recipes marked in the book, but for right now I’m going to use the book more for information and inspiration rather than exact recipes. Good fruit is scarce in the grocery stores right now so putting together a good base of fruit is difficult. I decided to keep things simple and basic. I like to keep the main ingredients frozen so no ice is needed. I used to keep the chopped fruit in individual containers in the freezer and take out what was needed for the specific recipe I was making. This time I decided to go even more simple and do individual bags with all the ingredients needed to make one smoothie.
The base ingredients I am using are bananas, cranberries, blueberries, wakame flakes and brewers yeast. As other fruits are available in the house, I can add them to the blender when making the smoothie.
One of the things I love about the Smoothies for Life book is that it gives you basic information about every ingredient used so you know exactly why it is beneficial in the smoothie. With this information, you can adjust ingredients as needed for the benefits you are seeking. Here is a bit of information about the ingredients I am using.
Bananas-great source of pectin (fiber) and add protection to the stomach from ulcers. Good source of B6 and potassium which lowers the risks of heart disease and hypertension respectively. They add a creamy texture and thickness to the smoothie.
Blueberries-aid in preventing bladder infections and reduces inflammation.
Cranberries-aid in the growth of collagen, aid in preventing bladder infections, reduces inflammation.
Sea Vegetables--The book recommends Algae or Kelp but I had Wakame in the cabinet so I decided to use it. I found some information on this site.
Sea vegetables are a good source of minerals and trace minerals. They also contain good levels of magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin K, calcium and iron as well as protein. They are especially rich in iodine which is crucial for a healthy metabolism and thyroid function.Brewer Yeast Flakes-excellent source of B vitamins and chromium, aiding in blood sugar regulation and energy production. Also aids in prevention and treatment of heart disease.
The wakame flakes were the only ingredient that needed some prepping before hand. These flakes need to be soaked in water to really be incorporated while blending.
I soaked some flakes in water. Because they do expand, not much is needed.
I divided the bananas (chopped), cranberries and blueberries into 10 zipper sandwich bags. To that, I added one teaspoon of both the wakame flakes and the brewers yeast.
The bags were promptly sealed and put into the freezer.
The liquid base of my smoothies will be almond milk and I will sweeten as needed with honey. I’m not sure how many calories each smoothie will have but I’m going more for the nutrients and energy boost than any kind of weight loss supplement. I love a cup of coffee in the morning, but I love having energy throughout the day even more so I am looking forward to adding smoothies back into my daily routine. I’ll update with a taste review after I’ve mixed the first one. This is my first time using the wakame flakes so it will be interesting to see if the other ingredients mask the salty-sea flavor.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Need A Charging Station...

So I made one. I have a few too many gadgets floating around the house these days and none of them ever seem to be charged up when I need them. So I go through the same routine everyday. I go through the house searching for a charger and then I try and figure out where to plug it in so I could possibly use it while I charge it. I’ve looked at setting up a place to charge everything in several places in the house, but nothing quite struck me as perfect until today.


In my living room, I have a console table with a decorative box on top…an empty decorative box. I think I used to keep knitting projects in it at one point, but after I started traveling, the unfinished projects went with me. So this box sat empty.

This box is a heavy paper box…maybe chipboard. I was able to cut a section into it with scissors. I took a power strip from my growing stash of cables and such and adhered it to the box with a couple of strips of double stick tape. I fed the cable through the cut-out in the box and put the lid back on. From the front the box looks just like it did before. You can only tell it’s been altered by seeing the cable protruding from the back. The cable goes straight down to the outlet below the table.


This is a great solution for charging small electronics. In the photo above, I have my Kindle Fire, iPod Touch and Nintendo DS charging up. I also have some extra cable store away in there for other electronics. And when I need to charge large electronics, I plug it in and feed it’s cable through the cut-out.



Perfect solution for my needs.

Cleaning Out

I have unpacked all of the stuff from the apartment, but I am still working on consolidating it all into the house. Last nigh, I worked on putting away all of my hair products. Before I hit the road two years ago, I was relaxed and really didn’t use a lot of hair products. When I became natural, I became a bit of a product junkie. Just a bit. I have curbed my habits a bit, but there are still some key products I am on the search for.


But part of what I really was behind on doing is review some products and getting rid of them because there isn’t enough left in the container for a full head application and wouldn’t necessarily do well mixed with other products. So, here we go.

  1. Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifier--I can’t speak to this product’s ability to stop breakage as the package claims, but I can proclaim loudly that this stuff will soften your hair, make it more manageable, moisturize, condition and help detangle. Yep. It lives up to all of that. And it smells great without being overpowering to my allergies. I will not buy the product again though because it makes my hair TOO soft and no matter what holding products I use, my hair doesn’t hold up when its that soft. But, if you are finding keeping your hair moisturized problem and you notice a bit of roughness to your tresses, this is the product for you. I rate it highly, but it is not for me.
  2. Jane Carter Solution Wrap & Roll Setting Lotion--I am on the search for a good setting lotion to reset my hair when I have enough product on my hair but need a little moisture and hold to reset my style. This is a very good choice for that purpose. It gives your hair a little shine and a little structure and a nice scent. Unfortunately, that scent does not fade so it’s ultimately a negative for me and my allergies. I would not recommend setting more than two days with this product as it does give a slight waxy build-up. My hair typically doesn’t last for multiple days as I have seen some of the YouTube naturals that I follow. They can set their hair and wear it for 3 or four days before needing to re-set. This is a perfect product for them as they will only need to use this once or twice in a wash cycle. Again, I rate this highly, but not for me.
  3. Twisted Sista Curl Activator--The directions say you can add this product to wet or dry hair. I used it on damp hair and it worked quite well in helping form my curls. The problem I encountered had nothing to do with the product but with my hair. Curl products cannot produce curls where there are none and in the front of my hair where I have straighter pieces, my hair just didn’t look good. But, this was a good go-to product in an emergency when my regular style failed me. I would pin up the top that doesn’t curl and use the cream to enhance the curls in other areas of my head. This would be perfect for you naturals with more curly hair or with consistent curls around your head. The BIG negative for this product is the packaging and the size. I hate these squeeze bottles because you will never get all of the product out and if you have a lot of hair (as I do), 3.38 fl. oz will not take you far. Unfortunately, they do not sell this product in a larger size. I rate this one as okay, but not for me.
  4. Twisted Sista 30 second curl spray--My thoughts for this product are pretty much the same as the Curl Activator. I really see this as the liquid equivalent to the Curl Activator, making it really useful when you don’t have time to get the cream distributed through your hair. A few quick sprays with this and some scrunching and you are ready to go. That is provided you have a natural curl to enhance. I would re-buy this if it came in a larger size, but it is only available in the 5.07 fl oz size. I rate this as useful to have around for emergencies, but not for me.
  5. Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Hold and Shine Moisture Mist-This is a great all around refresh spray to have on hand. I use it when my hair needs a little extra moisture and water is not enough. I use it to slightly wet my hair after I have re-set it. Wet or slightly damp hair sets better as it dries. I use it to spray my hair when I want my natural puffiness to give me some extra volume. It’s such a great all over spray. The only negative is that the bottle gets slippery as you go along, but I keep a hand towel close by to tackle that. I will repurchase this and I highly recommend it for a general use refresher.
The first four items will be retired from my collection, but the Shea Moisture spray will get added to my list of hair favorites. If you haven’t noticed, or if you are reading these posts from your RSS reader, I have added a new page to the blog listing all of my favorite hair products. Even though I did become a product junkie after going natural, I am very brand dependent and once I find a products that works for me consistently, I like to use that product. Even though I am still trying some things out, once I find all the product solutions for me, I am done. I will try new things occasionally, but I am all about have staple products.
So check out my favorites and leave a comment letting me know what you think. What do you thing of my throw-away products above. I would love to hear about your experience especially if these make your list of staples.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Escape in Real Life

<br/>The show is filmed at Highclere Castle, which is located amidst 1,000 acres of parkland near Newbury, England.

Above is the castle featured in the Downton Abbey television series.  Apparently, it is becoming a bit of a hot spot. Read the article here on CNN.  Oh, if only I could go and get away. I could walk for days around the house and grounds.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


On days like this, when my life just feels a little crap, I am happy to escape away into someone else’s world. And basically that just means I’m watching a whole lot of TV. This time, I am indulging in a marathon of the first season of Downton Abbey. 

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this series but I never caught it during it’s airing and now that season two is on the air, I figure I’d get going on the first. I do love my British people.

I’m watching it on the new media player I purchased for my guest bedroom. Review on it to come soon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hair Of The Week


This week I am wearing my hair in a braid out. I wanted my hair out of my face so I just pinned it back. I love it. My mother said she doesn’t like it so much because it’s not shiny. I could only laugh at that. The braid-out is a style that I couldn’t really master until my hair was longer. This is mainly because of the straight ends that I sport in the front, but also because the shorter your hair, the more braids you have to have. The same goes for the twist-out, but the braid out is more of a pain. The braid-out gives me big and fluffy hair. I re-braid every night and get a more stretched look as the week goes on.

I originally set these with Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer which I absolutely love, but it has no hold and the recent rains would not let me go out with hair with minimum product. When I reset these braids at night, I have been using Organic Root Stimulator Lock & Twist Gel. This product is like a mix between a creme styler and a gel. My hair feels good. It feels soft, but it doesn’t give me a noticeable shine as my mother pointed out. But today was a fluffy day and not a sleek defined day so I’m okay with that. I think for me this will strictly be a winter time product. I doesn’t have enough hold to keep my summer time hair together. So my search for the perfect me-gel is still on.

Despite the lack of shine, I do love-love-love this picture and have swapped it onto the Save The Date notice.


What do you think?

On My Bookshelf

One of the goals that I have set for myself this year is to increase my reading.  You wouldn't believe how many books I have around the house, on my Kindle and in my Audible account that I have yet to read. I'm announcing to the world that I am a book hoarder and I need help. In an effort to control and reverse my book buying habit, I have a subset of actions that I will take.

  1. I will read at least 100 books during the 2012 calendar year.
  2. I will not purchase any new books (unless I already have them on pre-order). New titles will come from the library.
  3. I will sale, trade, donate or gift at least 50 books from my shelves. This does not include books that I need to return to friends.
  4. To keep myself accountable, I will keep a running tally on the blog and do at least one book review a month.
Being that January is almost over and I have not read anything, I am terribly behind. To make it through 100 books in a year, I have to read roughly 8+ books a month, but since I'm down to 11 months, I'm looking at 9+ books a month.  I need to get started!
My first selection of the year happens to be written by a friend of mine, Victoria Thurman.  I met Victoria a few years ago at a book conference (I meet such great people at conferences!) and we have been friends since. When I am dying for wine and curry, she is one of the first people that I call. Her book, The Dating Dilemmas of Delilah Dunnfield,  hit the shelves in October, but I have been waiting to start reading it until my other wine-and-curry buddy, Angela, got her copy over in Indonesia. She confirmed receipt last night so we are ready for a Read-A-Long.  If you are interested in reading along with us, leave me a comment and I will include you in our discussions.
The Dating Dilemmas of Delilah Dunnfield
I'm sure many of you can relate to the opening lines of this book.
I have often heard it said of life that there are watchers and doers.  It doesn't take a genius to figure which of those I am.
When I read these words, my heart jumped then sank because I was just thinking this of my own life. As I am gearing up to meet a boat load of inspiring women at Blissdom, I can't help but think of all the things in my life that I keep saying I will do but haven't made the time to do. I have to stop watching and start doing.  Hopefully as I read along with Delilah's journey, I will make some changes in my own life and thinking.
You can read an interview with Victoria over at Elizabeth Byler Younts' blog.There is also a giveaway so go over and say hi. And if you think of any other questions for the author, let me know.  I'm sure I get her to dish a little more over a glass of wine and a curry.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Standout Completed

This was a three day project that is not for the faint of heart. I can’t say that I will be rushing to bling out my cell phone but I do want it done.


These are the gems that I used, purchased from Michael’s. I painfully picked out all the pink and purple variety and started applying them with the jewelry adhesive that I already had in my supply.


As you can see, I used quite a bit of it. But I am disappointed that the last tube that I opened (BRAND NEW BOX!) was no good. I barely got two drops out of it. The rest had solidified inside. No amount of massaging and squeezing was going to get any more out of the tube. This was a $5 purchase that was a complete fail. I love this product for doing earrings, but I would not recommend it for this type of project. I did like that I could move slowly and apply a bead at a time which was good because I did not separate out all of my beads at one time. I alternated between pulling out beads and applying them to the laptop case. I would have liked to be able to spread the adhesive a little better, but the goal in this case was to use what I already had.

I’m not sure if t was the nature of the beads being cheap or the adhesive being too caustic, but the foil on the bead did crack after the adhesive dried. This takes away from the bling of the bead, but not a significant amount. Next time, I’ll try an adhesive that’s more appropriate and see if there really is a difference.


I ran out of beads so I was not able to get all the way to the edge of the top cover, but I think this is best as the beads take away from some of the flexibility of the case making it a little more difficult to take off. So the extra space on the edges will be helpful. I also used some beads to go around the edge of the bottom case. I worry about these popping off due to the wear they’ll get from being in contact with my wrists as I type, but I’ll deal with that when I have to.

All in all, I am very happy with the outcome of this project. I will do it again (crazy me). I have so many beads left over, I have to find something to use them for.

Do they sell clear cases for Kindles???

If you try this, let me know and leave a link to your blog in the comments. I would love to see it.

If you’re attending Blissdom ’12 in Nashville, you’ll know its me when you see this laptop. Come by and say HI!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Save The Date?

Because I’m procrastinating so much, I decided to take a stab at doing my own save-the-date postcards. It has been close to impossible for the boy and me to get a good photo together so I’m stuck with singles. What do you think?


Friday, January 20, 2012

The Ballroom, Of Course


I have been a little slow on wedding planning, but one of the things I did do early was book the location. We will be getting married in the Silver Ballroom at the Sheraton Read House in Chattanooga, TN. Since I attended my first wedding here, this location has held a special place with me.


The wedding ceremony and reception will take place in the ball room. There’s an area outside the ballroom for bar and mingling. The Gold room is also available to me. It’s such a pretty space. My goal is to have a beautiful but simple wedding. There is nothing better than having one location for everything with a price that can include location, food, cake, DJ and setup all in one. You don’t get any better than that! I still need to get rooms booked and rates set up for guests and a whole list of other things. But I’m not as far behind as I feared. That’s the lie I’m telling myself so I would appreciate it if you didn’t make me face reality.

Still Learning

This is my fifth year blogging (WOW!) and there is still so much to learn about this whole process.  If you are reading this in your RSS reader, I encourage you to click over to the site and take a look at the page.  Go ahead, I'll wait for you there.  :)
I haven't changed much, but there are some things I want to point out.

  1. As I mentioned before, I've done some cleanup to the tags on each of my posts, making the Tags list in the right-hand bar more useful. Just click one of the words and you get all the posts that I've assigned that tag to. I love easy to find information.
  2. I've finally learned how to set up and display multiple pages to the blog. You will see those listed in the ribbon just below the title banner. These will change every few months as my focus changes, but for right now the wedding and the blogging conferences, Blogalicious and Blissdom are my areas of focus.  And I can't forget my prayer project which will be continuing throughout the year.
  3. I have often had comments made to the blog that I wished I could respond to.  At one point in time, Blogger did not have a native solution for responding to comments.  This is now available and I plan to use it to continue our conversations.
I'm sure there will be other changes as I continue to learn and grow.  If you more experienced and savvy bloggers have any suggestions for me, please let me know.  I would love to get your feedback.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Standout

I decided to try a new project today. I have been wanted to bling out a case for my cell phone for some time now. I keep looking at the different cases for sell and that people have DIY’d and I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to shell out the bucks to buy one or order the supplies and do it myself. Since I have a case for my laptop that I hardly use, I decided to go ahead and give it a try on the laptop. I went to Michael’s and bought a multipack of plastic flat multi-faceted rhinestones. I already had jewelry adhesive at home--lots of it--so I didn’t need to purchase more. I don’t know how many colors are in this pack but I only plan to use the pink/light purple blends for this case.



This is as far as I got before I was forced to take a break to attend a meeting.


This is not a quick project so I will update you when I make it a little further. Of course, this is just so my laptop stands out a little bit when I hit Blissdom in February.

Portlandia Imitating My Life

I saw this clip from Portlandia and I was immediately convicted for my recent behavior. I just finished a four day marathon of Dollhouse seasons 1& 2. I had seen a couple of shows when season 1 was airing, but I lost track of it and before you know it, the show was cancelled. I recently bought a media player for the TV in my guest room that I refuse to buy a cable box for. So, to test it out, I started watching several things, but got stuck when I watched the first episode of Dollhouse. I have been camped out in my guest bed every night devouring the show. I even watched a couple of episodes away from home in a place where I should not have been indulging. You didn’t hear that from me.

Anyway, Portlandia and Dollhouse both come highly recommended from me. I hope I get caught up on Portlandia before it gets cancelled so I don’t have to subject myself to another television marathon.

Reviews on the media player and service I used to watch the video coming soon.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

GBE #35--Pet Peeves

I now have more than 200 posts to this blog. And every one of them became more familiar to me as I was taking care of some of the backlog issues with the blog. Adding tags to each post gave me a glimpse back to some of the things I have written about and some of the things I said I would do and never did. I am not a fan of people who demonstrate no follow through in life and with this blog and my writing in general, I have done the very thing that I despise. I failed to follow through on so many things.

I could blame it on all the travel for work that I have been doing. I could blame it on an ongoing lack of focus. I could blame it on the fact that in the beginning, I didn’t think anyone would read this blog of mine. I could blame it on a lot of things, but at the end of the day the blame lands right at my feet and accuses me.

I didn’t start blogging just for kicks. I started blogging to get used to putting something I wrote out into the world and having other people comment on it and possible shred it death. I did it so that when I eventually became an author, I would have had some dealings with the good and bad comments people would make against me. I did it because I have a voice and I want people to hear what I have to say. But none of that matters if I don’t consistently follow through. Who wants to follow the girl that promised to fill you in on that book she’s reading and two years later she still has nothing to say about it? It’s not a good look for me and I intend for that to change.

Please forgive me for not following through.

Blissdom 2012


You all know how much I raved about Blogalicious 2011? I was an amazing and eye opening experience. I hoping to get even more inspiration at the upcoming Blissdom Conference in Nashville, TN. This is so close to home, I just couldn’t pass it up. I have so much planning to do. I need new cards made. I need to finally get that QR code so I can easily share my contact information and blog links. And I need a plan for this blog and a press kit. Even though this blog is still really small, I’m quite interested sharing information about the products that make my life better. There isn’t anything better for spreading word of mouth information than the blogs we share with the world. I worry about the way products are marketed to us and I love seeing the truthful reviews from real people. Of course, not even every blogger can be trusted but I take the word of a real person over an advertisement any day.

And I completely blame Krystal Grant. I saw the Blissdom badge on her site and I couldn’t help but check it out. See, unspoken word of mouth.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tackling the Backlog

Tonight, I am handling some of the backlog in my life. In terms of my hair, I’m getting in a much needed protein treatment. For my house, I am continuing to put away and clean out. And in terms of this blog, I’m adding the much needed meta data to each of my posts. For each post, you will now see labels making the label listing in the right hand border bar more usable. Increases productivity with just a little bit of effort. I love it.

Maybe this new year is turning around for me. Let’s see what else I can accomplish.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

GBE #34--Work

This is actually a late post for last week’s GBE, but I really wanted to talk about work. Actually, I have a question to ask to all of you readers.

Have you ever hesitated quitting a job because you didn’t want to give up the space or location? This is the dilemma I am facing now. For the first time since being an engineer, I work in a really nice space. I’m not sure what the building was used for before, but it has exposed brick and wood beams and the cubicle layout added by my company is actually quite appealing.


We get tons of light and the location is close enough to all the downtown restaurants without being so close that the area is distracting. There are some negatives--the temperature controls are never quite right, it’s going to be noisy if we ever get to fill it with people and it’s next door to a chicken processing plant so coming in and out can be stinky at times. But, it’s such a pretty space and that says a lot for an engineering firm. I’ve been hesitating sending my resume out because I don’t want to leave such a nice office space.

What do you think? Crazy? Tell me you’d do the same.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Giveaway Failure????

So, I now consider my very first attempt at a giveaway a failure. The winer never contacted me, so now it’s time to move on. Any suggestions? Any tips from my fellow bloggers on running a successful giveaway. I purposefully did not want to have a giveaway that required you all to write poetry or Like a Facebook page or tweet me. I just wanted a simple, “thanks for subscribing” giveaway.

Oh well, I will mark this down as a learning experience. I’m not sure what I have learned yet, but when I figure it out I will let you all know.

In other news, I’m still working on getting my house in order so I can concentrate on crafting and writing.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy New Year?

My 2012 has truly started in an interesting way…and by interesting, I mean it sucks already. Here are the highlights.

  1. I spent the first week of the year wondering if the job I have would be over at the end of the week. On Friday I was informed I still need to come to work on Monday so I guess I should be happy about that. I’ll see if I make it through this next week. It’s the nature of the work that I’m in but it doesn’t get any easier to deal with.

  2. When starting to put out feelers for jobs with other places in the city, I was politely informed that one company does not look on it highly that I quit working for them at one point. Seeing as everyone there are “friends” that I’ve worked with, I’m taking that to mean that someONE did not appreciate me taking better job opportunities over staying there to work with them. The reasons I left had to do with taking a better, more interesting and more risky job opportunity. It had nothing to do with the company or it’s employees that I thought were my friends. Oh well.

  3. Distance does not always make the heart grow fonder and it definitely won’t help people think of you more fondly.

  4. An 800 square foot apartment can accumulate a lot of stuff. Incorporating that stuff into an already full house can be a bit much. As such, the charity pile is growing.

  5. Just the thought of being positive is depressing me, so bah humbug to the new year.