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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pardon the Interruption

I've been MIA but I assure you it's not been without good reason.  First, I've been very much in thought about where I want to take my blog from here and into next year, went through a bout of food poisoning, attended a few Christmas parties and then wrestled with a little writer's block.

I've been bursting at the seams with things that I want to share but I've been relunctant because I'm very clandestine about aspects of my life.

Maybe it's a scorpio thing to be super secretive as I love a good secret but I just believe in privacy.  And not to hide or conceal anything but simply for the purposes of protecting people, thoughts, ideas & goals that are special me. I love to share but I do so with caution & meticulous selectivity and I believe that timing is everything.

I've been this way forever and I can't help myself.  This blog started out as just a little project--(focused on girlie/woman things as I'm surrounded by men in the house)--and has since become an extension of me. I'm saying this to say that what you get on my blog is what you'll get in real life.  And that's because this blog is not some thing that I like to do to build fantasies about my life like it's super grand or anything--not that I've portrayed that in the least but I'm just saying in case anyone gets the wrong idea in the future. 

Though I'm a lil moody, I'm always the same and I abhor pretension & negativity on and offline.  I'm introverted but I'm not shy and I'm passionate so I tend to raise my voice about certain topics. That's why you may see many (!) in my posts because I'm so excited. Lol! Pretty much though, what you read is what you get.

Over the past weeks, I've been feeling happy, excited, intimidated, discouraged, encouraged, empowered and inspired.

I wish I could tell you all the things but I assure you in due time, lovies! I promise I'll tell! One good thing I'll share right away: Chief and I decided not to wait until November to marry.  We still plan to have a ceremony/reception in November but we're marrying in March instead.  So with that said, I'll be Mrs. Chief sooner than later! *cheer*

On another note:  I've made some wonderful friends through my blog and my YT channel and hope to connect with many more of you especially those than have inspired me to do better and be better.  Thanks so much for being the wonderful people you are. 

I hope you all had a great and wonderful Christmas or whatever you may celebrate this time of year (Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, etc.) and that you continue to enjoy this time for family and giving! Love you all and talk/write to you soon! ;-)


p.s. Moe I have not forgotten about you, I'm working on those "tomboy to prettygirl/pants to skirts & dresses" posts as we speak! ;-)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oh-Em-Gee, Donna Marie + Giveaway (CLOSED)

I started using Donna Marie products about 5 weeks ago and they are amazing!  My hair loves them and I don't know what took me so long to try them.  I loved these products so much that I'm going to give a set away.

Since I'd already had a blog giveaway, I decided to this on on my YT channel.  Check it out and enter if you'd like because you know I couldnt leave yall out.



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Curls I Know: Keyonna

Meet another one of my besties, Keyonna.  You've seen this curly girlie before in my "Illegal" post a few weeks ago.  Keyonna is not only my bestie but she is also my favorite Zumba instructor.  That's right, week after week she's lending women and men a hand in getting into shape--the fun way.  She's a mommy of two darling girls (one is my god daughter :-p) and plans to keep them natural as well.


When was your last relaxer? Did you go through transition or immediately big chop?

My last relaxer was May 2010, but I didn’t actually decide to go natural until August 26, 2010.  My natural hair journey wasn’t exactly planned but I just stopped going to the salon for my hair appointments because of the lack of time. I remember the exact date so well because it was two days before a friend’s wedding.

I was so undecided as to whether I was going to ask my hairstylist to slap in the creamy crack to make my life easier or to keep going and work it out with the new growth.  I guess you already know what I decided based on my girl's wonderful blog.

After deciding to go natural I had planned on a long term transition because I couldn’t fathom rocking a tiny fro. I was 6 months into my transition and one day, I was in the bathroom staring in the mirror after being so frustrated with the limp ends and my new waves clashing together.  I said “forget it , it’s all or nothing”.

I wrapped my head in a scarf, went to the beauty supply store and purchased a pair of shears. I got home, re-washed my hair, picked it out and began to snip away the scraggly, unhealthy ends.

How did your family and friends react and were you affected at all by it?

For me, it was a big deal and I thought it was a nice change from the straight look. I have a very supportive circle and they were happy as long as I was.

As for my parents, they’re still trying to get use to the natural look but show their support. My father is used to the so called “tamed” look on women, and is usually the one to make comments like “Are you going to do your hair?” but I just think it’s just because he’s been brainwashed that straight hair is the only way.

My hubby doesn’t really say much about my hair and he just lets me do me. His favorite style is when I rock my sista twists.

Do you prefer straight or curly?

I prefer my hair curly at the moment. I've fallen in love with my natural texture. The most wonderful thing about natural hair is that it's so versatile.  If I wanted to wear my hair straight I could but for the moment I'm refraining because I'm afraid I'll mess up my curl pattern. I have two young daughters and they’re both natural. I want them to grow up seeing just how beautiful their hair really is and have the confidence in themselves even though their hair may be different from others.


What were your views on natural hair before you made the decision to go natural?

My views were a little different than they are now. I thought that my hair was “too nappy/ too kinky” to go natural. My hair is thick and full and I was scared of that in the beginning.  I kept saying, "How am I going to be able to manage this thick mess."  I also thought that I wouldn’t be as beautiful with natural hair.

This natural journey has been a life lesson in itself. I began to love myself even more for who I was and learned not be so superficial when it came to something as simple as hair.  It helped me to embrace other beautiful features about myself as a whole and I began to take better care of myself inside and out.

Any advice/words of encouragement for newly natural or those thinking of going natural?

I would like to say that if you ‘re curious about natural hair do some research, talk to other naturals and just try it. Embrace it.  It's not easy going natural, it's going to take time and patience to learn about your hair all over again.  Find a support system (blogs, youtube, forums etc.) because you'll definitely need it to help you throughout your natural journey.  Good Luck!

Meet Me at Dusk | A Makeup Look

Finally, I got a little time to play in my makeup--this is my attempt at a smoky eye.  If I've done one before, I assure you it was an accident.  I think it came out pretty well but next time I think I'm going to try to go smokier.

Chief's work Christmas Party is coming up and I'm trying to plan my makeup (and I don't even know what I'm wearing yet *smh*).  I just want to be able to create the look that I want faster as it took me over 45 minutes just for makeup the last time we went out. 

To create this look it took only 38 minutes so I suppose it's an improvement.  I'm still a novice so if I can get this down to 25 minutes, I'll be a happy camper.

I found the accent lashes a little harder to apply as well because my own lashes are so darn curly they kept booting the accents off.  I will further work on my lash application.

Here's the look:


What I Used:

Face:
MAC Matchmaster Foundation - 6.0
NYX Concealer (under eye) - Glow

Eyes:
NARS - Califonia (just above crease)
Rock & Republic - Provocative (lid)
NARS - Coconut Grove (crease)
MAC - Rice Paper (inner corner & highlight)
Maybelline Line Express -  Black (waterline)
Sephora Smoky Cream Eyeliner - Cafe (upper lash line)
ARDELL - Accent Lashes (outer corner)
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara--Blackest Black

Cheeks:
MAC - Pinch Me
NARS - Hungry Heart (highlight), Sin (contour)

Lips:
Covergirl Lip Perfection - Rush
MAC - Chestnut lip liner (blended)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fade To [Blue]Black

Since coloring my hair in April, my hair has grown out significantly and I've been itching to color it again.  Originally, I wanted to go lighter but decided to let that wait until summer.  Recently, my sister cut and colored hers black and it looked fantastic so I told her I was going to take a lil bite.  And not minding the fact that I'd seem like a copy cat (this is just what we do and it's ok because that's my sister), I decided to try a color I've never had before.

Knowing, though, that I want to go light in the summer and not wanting to risk green hair, I opted for semi-permanent color (a rinse). I've always been reluctant to color my hair this dark because I thought it'd make me look dead but it turned out pretty well. The semi-permanent color I used is by Adore in Blue Black. Take a look:


AFTER STYLING (OH yeah, and this is my first (3 day old) rod set on completely natural hair :-)
CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cinnamon Buns| Success!

So as promised, I'm sharing my successes (and fails) with you as I embark on this journey to become the best bake-sale mom that ever lived (MJ's only two but I'm getting my practice in now so as not to embarrass my poor baby when he starts school.). 

Ok so for the first try, I didn't come to the kitchen prepared.  When I got finished kneading the dough and let it rest, I say in the directions that I needed a dough roller.  Being the baker that I'm not, I didn't have one so I rolled the buns out by hand as best I could but the dough wasn't nearly as flat as it should have been before rolling.  Here are the atrocious-looking but delicious cinnamon buns I made just before Thanksgiving.  It's ok to laugh--I won't be offended.
Only two left, aren't they just hideous?  They looked terrible but the taste was pretty good. LOL

A few days later, not at all ready to give in, I purchased a dough roller and pastry mat from Wal-mart.  Then my fiance, son & I headed to my mother's house for brunch with my ingredients and new dough roller in tow.  While I hooked up brunch for my family, I began again with the cinnamon buns for dessert.  Let me just tell you that the dough roller made a world of a difference.


Everything was just right except for this one rogue bun at the top right.  I cut that one a little longer width-wise but again, I'm still learning.

Here's a single bun on my stepdad's plate. It was his second round.


You just don't know how proud I am.  Years of worth of failed recipes, brick-hard cookies & sunken or choke-sandwich worthy cakes all fixed with just one recipe book and a little extra heart & effort.  I can't wait to try more from my Taste of Home recipe book.  I was the "can't-get-right" (from the movie Life) of baking but now, I'm on the come up with baking and I'm guessing  it's safe to say that soon, I'm going to be nothing to play with in the kitchen.

And I'd planned to share the recipe but in a fit of laze, I decided to google it instead.  Lucky I did because I save myself a bunch of type

Here is the recipe if you'd like to try it:

Apple Cider Cinnamon Rolls
 Prep: 1 hour w/rising  | Bake: 30 min. | Yield: 12
3-1/4 cups all purpose flourr
1/4 sugar
1 package (1/4 oz) quick rise yeast
1/2 teaspoon
2/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup apple cider or juice
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup butter, softended. divided
1 egg
2 cups finely chopped peeled tart apples**
1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar*
3/4 cup chopped walnuts***
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Apple Cider Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups apple cider of juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 package cream cheese, softened****
1/4 cup butter
1 cup confectioners sugar*****



SUBSTITUTIONS & CHANGES

*I cut the brown sugar down to 3/4 cup as I thought the originalt recipe was much too sugary.  After cutting back the brown sugar and upping the cinnamon by 1/2 teaspoon, they were perfect!  Just like the Original Cinnabon at the mall.

**Second batch, I left out the apples--in my opinion, it made the buns too sweet along with the original amount of brown sugar and the icing.

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine 2-1/4 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, cider and 1/4 cup butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add egg; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll into a 15-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Spread remaining butter to within 1/2 in. of edges. Combine the apples, brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon; sprinkle over butter.

3. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 slices. Place cut side down in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. 

4. Bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. For frosting, place cider and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick; cool cider.

5. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and reduced cider; beat until smooth. Spread over warm rolls.
***I substituted pecans instead of walnuts as MJ is allergic to cashews and walnuts. He wasn't going to be eating any of these cinnamon buns in the first place but just to be on the safe side I didn't buy any.  We usually don't keep tree nuts in the house at all now but since I'd be leaving the unused nuts at my mom's house, I made an exception.

****only used 1/2 package of cream cheese - 1 whole package seemed excessive.

*****Cut it down to 3/4 cup confectioners sugar

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Length Check (End of TGHBPSC)


The GoodHairBlog 3-month protective style challenge has come to an end (Aug.1 - Nov. 30) and sure enough it was a challenge to keep my hair in styles that kept my hair tucked away.  I can say with certainty that it'll be a good while before I mess around with protective styles again.  I'm so ready to dive in and have fun with my hair being "out"; in fact, as I type this, I'm sitting under my hooded drying coloring my hair.  Of course I'll tell you all about it.
 
In the meantime, here's vid about the progress I made during the challenge:

Hover to Pin

 
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