Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To The Past, Thank You For My Future

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I didn’t want to let Black History Month pass by without saying THANK YOU to those that have come before me and enabled my life to have so many possibilities. The photo above is of a statue at Ole Miss of James Meredith. James Meredith was the first African American to attend the University and without the sacrifice he made, my years at the University could have been a lot different if they were to exist at all.

It’s easy to look at where I am now and think all is okay now, but it’s not. There are still miles that have to be walked in this country before any of us can say there is true equality and opportunity. I see it every day but I recognize it for what it is and continue to walk because I know it is still changing.

I purchased a print copy of the photo above and digital rights that allow me to re-post it because I was given the opportunity to have James Meredith sign it for me. I am sad I could not be there to thank him in person, but I am proud that I will have this personal piece of history to hang next to my degree.

For this and other photos of the University grounds and events, visit Brand Photography Services.

Monday, February 27, 2012

In The Meantime

I made it safely to and from Blissdom 2012 in Nashville, TN and my head is spinning with all the new information and products that I received. It will take me a bit to get it all organized. In the meantime, all of my pictures and a few videos have been uploaded to Flickr. There are no captions and descriptions yet, but I will be working on that as well. Please be patient with me, there was a lot going on!



I’m looking forward to Blissdom 2013!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Wedding Hair Options

There aren’t too many things that really make me nervous about the upcoming wedding (outside of having too many people on the invite list) like my hair. I have been natural about a year and a half now but with every inch of growth there are old styles that no longer work for me and new styles that become possible. I don’t know what my hair will look like when the time comes so I am looking to my favorite YouTube naturals for inspiration.

Because my hair state and length is an unknown and the I don’t want to risk what that weather that day will do to me, I will be going for a really nice pin-up. Naptural85 has several really elegant up-dos that are appealing to me. I have tried her Casual & Classic Natural Hair Style, but I am looking to try her Simple and Charming Updo and the High Society Bun (both linked below).







The Simple and Charming Updo is winning out as my favorite but I really do love that High Society Bun. So, I will be trying variations of these styles over the next few months to figure out which will work best for me. And of course, I will be watching to see what else she comes up with during that time.

One thing I would need to do though is try out some curled styles to see what will work best for me. I have not tried any curl styles since I have been natural. I have some flexi-rods but I will need to pick up some curlformers. I’ve seen very mixed reviews on YouTube so I’ve been hesitant to try them. But now I have to.

When I first started looking around, this style from tishauntee was my favorite. MsVaughnTV who inspired this style has shorter hair and used braiding hair to finish out this style.




I still love this style but it doesn’t fit with how I want to wear my veil but I’m looking forward to trying it when my hair is longer. This is a perfect style for natural brides choosing not to wear a veil.

Hair of the Week

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I finally, finally got around to doing a Henna treatment on my hair. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about the formula and process that I use for henna so I wanted to take a minute and share that and give any tips I could think of. As usual, I started the process by looking to some of my favorite YouTubers to see what they do. I found a video from Spinta24 and I decided to try her mix. I haven’t looked back since. I use the Godrej Nupur Henna, avocado oil, rosewater and tea. Where I differ from her is that I mix my ingredients while the tea is hot. I think the liquid being hot helps you get a less lumpy mixture to start.




If you are looking for the color benefits of henna, you really do need to let this sit for at least 3 hours for the color to be fully released. Most times, I mix the night before and let it sit covered with plastic on the kitchen counter. I do stir it every few hours to help get more of the lumps out. So by the time I am ready to apply, the mixture is nice and smooth. I keep my henna mixture on the thick side so it is easier and less messy to apply. And application is very important to keep you from making a big mess. I promise you this can be done without getting henna all over your bathroom. I did last week’s treatment in my living room standing in front of the mirror while I watched tv. I did keep a towel on the floor where I stood to catch any drips but there is no need to have splatters all over your wall when all is said and done. YouTuber TheTruthIsHair has the best application technique that I have seen and I use it each time.




Start in the middle of your head and keep going around. It really is easy. I use a plastic grocery bag (or two) to cover my head when I’m done and I let it sit for as long as I can. I aim for about 3 to 4 hours. I wash out in the shower and condition wash to make sure all is out. You will still get some color transfer for a day or two so make sure you cover your pillow with a towel. I don’t tie my hair down at night so this is especially important for me. It is very important to deep condition or use a very good leave-in conditioner after this treatment. I made the mistake of not doing a deep condition after this past week’s treatment and my hair was not happy at all. After I realized my mistake, I coated my hair with shea butter and used a heat cap for a modified conditioning treatment. This helped some but not enough. After 3 days, I gave up and did a deep conditioning treatment. My hair is much, much better and gave me a very perfect chunky braid-out.

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I should have gotten a close up of the gray hairs that line the front of my head but they now have a copper tone to them that looks much better than the harsh contrast that I get with the gray. Until I am brave enough to have my natural hair professionally colored, I will continue to henna my hair. There are other benefits to henna that other naturals swear by, but for me it’s all about the color. Outside of that, there is no benefit for going through such a long process.

But I do love the results.

The Vendors-Jewelry

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Even though I am determined to have a simple wedding, I do want there to be a little bit of drama here and there. I’m talking drama that makes you memorable for a good reason, not the reality show drama so many of us have become accustomed to. Jewelry and accessories are a good way to get that little bit of drama. A friend referred me to an amazing jewelry designer, Jill Zaleski. I met Jill yesterday and I was blown away by her and by seeing her pieces in person. I had been keeping an eye on her through Facebook since I heard about her. She recently posted pictures of her newest collection and I fell in love with several pieces. I was happy to walk away from her with this one to add to my own jewelry collection.

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It’s a lariat style necklace and the details are simple but dramatic. She packaged the piece up while we were talking and her packaging matches her personality and style perfectly. I was happy to get home and unwrap this little gift to myself. I can not wait to see what she comes up with for the wedding. I’m sure she will provide pieces that become treasured for years to come.

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I will definitely be treasuring this lariat. Isn’t it pretty.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book #1--Inheritance

I finished my first book of the year (FINALLY). I listened to the audible version of this book since I have not had much time to actually sit down and read. Christopher Paolini is a brilliant young man and he does not know how to write a short book. The unabridged audible version is 31 hours and 22 min and I enjoyed every minute of it.
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I won’t go into the plot of the book since this is the fourth book in a series, not to mention this is really too much of a book to really discuss in such a fashion. The plot twists and details are immense and engaging. I got so wrapped up in the characters and actions scenes that I started having dreams about dragons and spell casters.

The only thing that disappointed me with the book was the ending. It was entirely too reminiscent of the ending of Lord of the Rings. (Slight Spoiler!) The Hero decides he can no longer live amongst the regular folk and must sail off into the sunset with a chosen few companions. All I could think about was poor Frodo who never found love and had to leave his best friend with growing family behind for other adventures beyond the sea. And here we are seeing Eragon, having missed the mark on love, leaving his best-friend-cousin, Rowan and his growing family behind and sailing off to a life of raising dragons beyond the reach of the sea. I was not happy about that, but the story wrapped up well but leaves enough holes that other stories could spin off from this.

I highly recommend the entire Inheritance series to anyone that enjoys fantasy every now and again. They are exceptional books and I can not wait for the other movies to be made. Book 1, Eragon, has been made into a pretty good movie (the die-hard fans may disagree based on the some of the comments I have seen on the blogs). I am assuming the movies were halted due to the popularity of Harry Potter and Stephanie Meyer’s vampires. Now that we are moving on from these two book/movie series, I’m hoping the Inheritance movies can shine.

We’ll see.

Next up on the reading list…

I am still reading The Dating Dilemmas of Delilah Dunnfield by Victoria Thurman and Will Work From Home by Tory Johnson and Robyn Freedman Spizman. (Links in the side bar to the right). I’m reading both of these on my e-ink Kindle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lisa Loeb's Guessing Game

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I have had a special girl crush on Lisa Loeb for years! She is such a bubbly, fun person and she has a truth and honesty about her that just draws you in. My admiration for her really grew when the Number 1 Single reality show was airing. It was refreshing to watch her go through the dating game. And I hesitate calling it a game when pairing it with her because love and family was (and still is) a key motivator and core belief in her life. Well, she is no longer the #1 single and she has a little girl. And if I’m not mistaken, she “twittered” that she is expecting baby #2.

But the Lisa Loeb glasses have been really popular through the years and she finally released a line of glasses that fit her signature style. I have been wanting new glasses for a while now and I really wanted to try out her frames to see how they would work for me. Pearle Vision is the closest and easiest place I could find the glasses. I went in and tried on every pair they had in stock and was happy when they offered to order me other styles and colors that they did not have in stock. It took two rounds of ordering, but I settled on the Guessing Game frames in the fudge sparkle color.
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I love these glasses. Because my prescription hasn’t changed in years, I now have several pair of glasses that all work for me and I usually swap between them as the mood strikes me. I will have to do a separate post about my eyewear addiction, but these win out over the others at the moment because I have more front viewing space. The bigger frames keep the frame from breaking my line of vision like some of the others that I have. As with all of the thick plastic frames, your peripheral vision is partially blocked, but I have learned to live around that. When you need enhanced peripheral vision, you really should be wearing contacts.

I highly recommend the Lisa Loeb frames for any of you that love to wear glasses. I do recommend you go in to a store to try these on rather than ordering them online. The colors don’t show up on the website like they do in person. She has some great colors, but she also has some colors that would only work for a small subset of us. She has a green color that I couldn’t imagine working on anyone but someone bought them from Pearle Vision and I was so sad I was not around to see them try them on.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Everyday is Saturday

Today was my first day of unemployment and so far this is the best weekday I have had in quite some time. I didn’t fight with the alarm clock this morning. I did hit the snooze out of habit, but then I realized that I didn’t want to go back to sleep. For the first time in more time than I can remember, I did not dread where I had to go and what I had to do today.

For over a month, I have been under constant threat of layoff due to lack of billable work but also complete lack of good business practice. There are ways to weather the storm when facing a downturn in work, but not everyone has the presence of mind in a crisis to fall back onto these methods and not be thrown into chaos. The atmosphere at the company was that of fear and chaos and I could not take it anymore. I decided the best thing to do for me and my growing family (okay it’s just +1 but that counts) was to walk away and start anew.

So my next few weeks will be spent looking for a new job, but also doing all the things that I enjoy. I will read, I will write, I will blog, I will knit and crochet, I will make jewelry and use the rhinestones I have left to bling all the tech in my path. Okay, I’ll try not to get to crazy with it. I’ll experiment a little with my hair since I don’t have to be in an office and I will finally, FINALLY, make a little progress with the wedding planning.

Don’t get me wrong, even though I’m happy as can be to be out of such a stressful situation, I am still quite nervous and apprehensive about what is to come. My poor fiancĂ© has bought into this crazy lifestyle of mine and no part of that included me being without a job. We’ve got a long road ahead of us, but we are together and we are forever prayerful.

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I got something new. Can you guess what it is?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blissdom Surprises

I came home to a FedEx message in my mailbox that a box was left at my front door. I thought it was something wedding related because I am waiting for a custom address stamp that I ordered. But I was surprised when I opened the box and instead of a stamp, I was faced with this.

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It’s a prep kit for the upcoming Blissdom Conference in Nashville. Just a few essentials goodies.

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  1. When I snapped this picture, I thought it was just a package of coupons from ConAgra foods, but there is also a music CD included (see photo below). Jewel and ConAgra have teamed up in the fight against child hunger. Visit www.blissdomconference.com/childhungerendshere for more information. I’m looking forward to using the coupons as well!
  2. This pamphlet has a lot of information including packing list and class schedule information. I will be going through this soon to make sure am ready.
  3. Business card case from the One2One Network…another reminder that I really do need to get my cards ordered.
  4. Johnson and Johnson had the best idea in putting together this little book of sticky notes (additional photos below). This will be a staple in my purse to keep my notes from getting all dirty and torn.
  5. My name tag with my blog name and web address.
This is such a fantastic way to get everyone ready for the conference. BRAVO to the Blissdom team and their sponsors. This is great!


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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hair Inspiration-Updo

I am a big fan of Naptural85 on YouTube and she has some really nice hair styles that she showcases on her channel. The biggest problem for me is that her hair is very long and luscious and I’m not quite there yet. But my hair is not so short that I couldn’t do a variation. So, today I decided to try her Casual & Classic “Natural Hair” Style.



This is my version. I’m working with a braid-out that I was too lazy to reset last night.The back of my hair is not long enough to bun like she did so I put it in ponytail holder until I finished securing the pieces from the front. Afterwards, I removed the ponytail holder and folded the bottom up and pinned in place.

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I finished it off with a purple fabric head band after making a bit of a pompadour with the front section. It was not long enough to sweep to the side like I would have liked.

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You can see my grays a bit in this one. I’m way over due for a henna treatment.

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I absolutely love this as a quick and easy up-do and the boy liked it as well. He tells me my up-dos give me that school teacher look. I love styles that show the texture of the hair and that’s one of the reasons I like watching Naptural85. She really loves her hair texture and she loves showcasing styles that show off that texture. I’m not a big fan of loading down my hair and edges with gel to get it all perfect and slick. I like the more natural and slightly messy look of our hair.

I will be revisiting this style in a few months when I get a bit more growth. For now, my modified version will work just fine.

What do you think?

Boy Tested And Approved

I am quite smitten with my pre-assembled smoothie packs that I put together. The amount I put into each pack is the perfect size for making a smoothie that just the right size for meal replacement. One of the biggest struggles I have at times are with portion control so this keeps me from over indulging even if it is on something so healthy. I do like having the extra vitamin boost of having the sea vegetables (wakame) included but it does take some extra blending to break up the wakame flakes. But when I encounter flakes that didn’t break up well, I just swallow them and move on.

The true test for the acceptability of the flakes was to try it out on the future hubby. The boy was in town for the weekend visiting. I couldn’t have been happier to see anyone else on this earth! As soon as I saw him, the worries of the week melted away and I was able to forget and just get wrapped up in love. Saturday, I made the boy a simple breakfast of boiled eggs, toast and a smoothie. I’m also trying to get him to be more mindful of portion sizes so it was a stretch to have such a simple breakfast. I put extra effort into making it look really pretty.

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I held my breath as he took his first sip of smoothie which was blended with vanilla milk--he is not a big fan of the almond or soy milks that I prefer. He absolutely loved it and even more he loved my presentation which he deemed to be very “French”. I don’t know about that but I very happy to know that he enjoyed it. I’m one step closer to convincing him that simple eating can be quite enjoyable. Every meal doesn’t need meat and every meal doesn’t need elaborate ingredients.
So, my recent smoothie mix is boy tested and approved! If you find a favorite smoothie blend that works for you, let me know about it.