Apr 25, 2017

Girlfriend Getaway Part 4:
Edible Cocktails with
Chef Matt Costello

Working in the Allrecipes office I'm surrounded by foodies and the latest innovations in food/drinks. I, however, had never imagined that I could EAT a cocktail. That's right... an edible cocktail!

Throughout the dinner experience, my mind was continuously blown by the genius of Inn at Langley GM and award-winning chef, Matt Costello! He did the absolute most with the meal and I loved every second of it!

I wish I could've captured more pictures of the food and drinks, but since we were filming I tried to stay in the moment and allow them to capture me truly experiencing things... and not just them filming me, filming my food. My millennial food phone-tography skills had to take a break.

Check out the Part 4 of our Buick Girlfriend Getaway below!!

Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 2
Click here for Part 3

Apr 19, 2017

Girlfriend Getaway Part 3:
A Drum Circle & Letting Go

The original plan was for us to see a psychic/spiritualist who analyzes your future based on your lipstick print, which admittedly would've been pretty dope. However, we ended up having a drum circle instead. My singing voice is trash, but I do believe in keeping my vibes aligned, so I tried to keep an open-mind and live in the moment. It also helped that the champagne was ever-flowing. Equipped with my BFF and all the adult juice I could want, I knew the experience would be one I could get through.

Marilyn Strong is the Spa Director at the Inn at Langley and guided us through our drum circle experience. We used drums, along with chanting, so try and get in tune with our inner selves. Or as Kat Williams used to say, our "star player".

We all started off super light-hearted and full of giggles, but once we went around the circle naming what we wanted to let go of, things took a more serious, intentional turn.

It was nice to connect with all of these women, all of us different, but realizing we shared a lot in common. There are some universal things women from all backgrounds can relate to, and I found it refreshing to share this moment with all of the ladies. We also got to light a flame to really cool paper that floated into the air as is burned. I wish I could remember the name... that's something I wanted to use in the future with my own set of girlfriends.

Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 2
Click here for Part 4

Apr 18, 2017

Girlfriend Getaway Part 2: Kayaking

One of the highlights of our Buick Girlfriend Getaway was kayaking for the first time! We were placed in the highly capable hands of the good folks at Whidbey Island Kayaking, and after a quick instruction set free to roam the water.

This was my first time kayaking and I must admit I was a bit nervous to do it. For some reason, despite being a water person, I still feel nervous when I'm sitting on top of the water and prefer exploring below the surface (y'all know I'm a certified scuba diver).

Natalie and I took a few mins to get our rhythm together, but ended up choosing a Beyonce playlist to find a cadence we could both maintain. Overall, kayaking was really enjoyable and quite relaxing. We got to see some cute stuff in the water (I loved the star fish) and it counted as an actual workout.

If you haven't gone yet, I'd highly recommend going with a friend. You should stay dry, but it's always best to wear something you don't mind getting wet and putting your phone in a protective case. Also keep in mind if your watch is waterproof/water resistant, as that's something folks easily forget about.

Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 3

Apr 6, 2017

Girlfriend Getaway Part 1:
My First Time on a Ferry
+ The Inn at Langley

Last Fall, I was one of 8 lucky ladies selected to attend a fabulous Girlfriend's Getaway sponsored by Buick and Seattle Refined. As a winner I was able to bring along a friend and it was a no-brainer to bring my partner in crime, Natalie. We're basically the Black Broad City of Seattle, so it was a dream to have a relaxing getaway and explore a new part of Washington together.

After a short ferry ride (which happened to be my first time ever on a ferry), we got to explore Whidbey Island where we stayed at the ultra luxurious Inn at Langley. This resort was absolutely breathtaking and a peaceful change of pace over the sometimes chaotic Cap Hill where Nat and I both live.

Below is part 1 of the trip where we road up in super comfy Buick cars (the cars were actually impressive), enjoyed the short ferry ride to Whidbey Island, and checked out our sickening rooms at the Inn at Langley... the room was so damn impressive it's worthy of its own post.

As you'll see in the video, Natalie and I had an absolute ball riding up with Seattle Refined host Gaard Swanson. He was super sweet and made us feel comfortable... it took NO time for our personalities to start shining and turn the ride into a lituation.

Also -- glad to showcase our #BlackGirlMagic on this trip as the melanin was definitely lacking. We were also the youngest of the group, though still in our 30s, and some of the only ladies who didn't have kids. I think it's an accurate reflection of the direction Seattle is going as the fastest growing city in the country where people have more dogs than kids. We work hard, play hard, and definitely enjoyed the peaceful break from our daily routine.

Sidebar: I personally think Natalie and I were meant for Reality TV, so if you know someone who is looking hit me up! #ShamelessPlug

Part 1

Click here for part 2

Apr 3, 2017

Seattle @Lululemon Launch of Fast & Free Collection

When I was contacted by Lululemon to participate in the Seattle launch of their Fast & Free Collection I was dumbfounded! Everyone knows the brand is luxurious and the créme de la créme of athletic wear, so the idea that I could be included in the launch was beyond exciting.

I was told I'd be picking out a pair of their new Fast & Free Collection pants, featuring the innovative "naked sensation" Nulux fabric. This lightweight, quick drying material was designed to offer a barely there feel so you can focus on your workout and not the discomfort of your athletic wear.

Fast & Free Collection

This was my first time in a Lululemon store (ever), so I was happy to receive such a warm welcome. Sometimes it can be intimidating walking into a high end store, but the ladies were so friendly... before knowing I was one of the bloggers participating in their event. This helped me feel comfortable and get excited for the process of picking out my new tights!

The pants come in 2 styles -- the Free 7/8 Tight and the Fast & Free Crop 19". Since I'm 5'2" I opted for the crop style which ended up hitting around my calf. I felt like the 7/8 Tight would've been a bit long on me and I prefer to workout in crop length gear.

This was my first experience with the brand, so I wasn't familiar with their sizing. I usually range between a 10/12, so it was nice to see similar sizing in their pants. If you're new to the brand and unsure of what size you should choose, click here for their sizing guide. I chose a size 12 (XL) in the Fast & Free Crop 19" in black.

Next it was time to put the pants to the test! We gathered at Orange Theory Fitness in Lower Queen Anne for their signature 60-min bootcamp. I'm a huge fan of bootcamps, but this was my first time at Orange Theory. Again, no clue what to expect but suffice it to say after an hour and some change I walked away with my mind blown! Amazing workout with a mix of water rowing machines, treadmills for cardio and free weights. Seriously in love with the format and looking forward to going again.

So, how'd the pants perform? I joked with my boyfriend on the Lyft ride to Orange Theory that I'd forgotten I was wearing them. Corny? Yes... but very true. The nulux fabric is SO freaking soft and felt like it became one with my skin. I've never really invested in great workout clothes, so I was actually able to tell the difference in feel and performance of the pants compared to what I typically wear. During the workout I didn't have to fidget with my pants. They have a higher waist (with a drawstring) and stayed in place the entire time. Between sitting up and down on the rower, sprinting on a treadmill and using free weights, the pants were "one with my body" and lived up to the hype of feeling "nearly naked".

Seattle Ladies in our Fast & Free Collection Pants #TheSweatLife #iSEAnulux 

Though I was gifted a pair of pants for free, the price wasn't lost on me. They cost $118 real, American dollars and that made my jaw drop! Like, sis... hold up! These athletic pants are the same price as my Banana Republic Jeans. It was like rocking the Bentley of workout pants during that class. However, I will say, I felt the difference between rocking cheap pants for a workout and these luxurious ones. I've also heard great things about Lululemon's customer service, their ability to tailor pant length in the store, and return policy. Also -- these pants felt extremely durable and I'll be putting them to the test over the course of my spring workouts and blogging about how they last. If we look at this from the stand point of a price/wear value... I'm sure they'd end up being a solid investment.

Do you need $118 pants to workout? No... but if you have the money to invest in some amazing feeling and performing pants would I recommend these? Hell yes!

For more information on the Fast & Free Collection click here.

Mar 29, 2017

Iron Springs Resort
The Most Dog Friendly Resort in Washington

One of the perks of living in Seattle is the close proximity to the coast! I absolutely LOVE the ocean and being within a short drive of an instant vacation.

The only downside to planning a vacation (for me), is having a dog. Yes, I adore my pooch and am a proud pet parent (aka Instagram Stage Mom), but between finding a pet sitter or a pet friendly resort, the struggle is real.

Enter my boyfriend.

He's been an absolute dream planning dog-friendly vacations at resorts or Air BNBs that are pet friendly and allow us to explore. Our most recent trip was to Iron Springs Resort in Copalis Beach, WA and it truly blew me away.

Not only is Iron Springs Resort dog friendly, they were named the 2016 "Most Dog Friendly Destination" by KING-5 TV. Finally an award that I can get behind.

After spending 3 days and 2 nights at the beautiful resort that sits on the Pacific Ocean, my boyfriend, dog and I all left relaxed, refreshed and singing their praises.

 The best perks for dog owners:

1) Dog friendly resort where dogs are allowed in all areas of the resort and beach -- it was great staying at a resort that allowed Khaleesi to be everywhere. Not once did I ever feel like she was unwelcome, and all the other dogs at the resort were super friendly. Also, major points for having private beach access that was relatively free of cars! This is huge

2) Dog bowls, towels and washing station at every cabin -- it was amazing having dog bowls and towels ready to go in the cabin for us. I also loved having our own hose/washing station in the front of our cabin so I could give Khaleesi a quick spray down after our romps on the beach.

3) Iron Springs Resort branded tennis ball and dog treat available at check-in -- This was very clutch considering Khaleesi lost one of her dog balls on the beach. Bring your chuck-it and get ready to have some fun! The tennis balls were the perfect touch and way to remember the trip.

For more information or to book your next stay click here.

Mar 28, 2017

RN74 Seattle Executive Sous Chef John Sheffey preps Lobster for Lobster Pot Pie

Back in October of 2016, I had the pleasure of attending a Seattle Yelp Elite event hosted at RN74 in downtown Seattle. One of the perks of being Yelp Elite was being able to have access to the restaurant outside of their regular business hours, and getting to meet the staff who make it all happen.

During a tour of the kitchen, Natalie and I hit it off with Executive Sous Chef, Chef John Sheffey. Not only was he personable and a good sport about all of the Seattle Yelp Elites invading his kitchen, he also took the time to explain what goes into getting that delicious food from the kitchen to our tables.

The day we were there, Chef Sheffey was prepping lobster for the lobster pot pie that'd be on the menu that night. As you'll see in the video, he showed us the most humane way to kill.

As a lover of seafood, I think it's important to understand the way your food gets to the table... however, based on my commentary you can tell I was struggling with the entire process. I think everyone should be required to see how their food gets from "farm to table" and truly have a high regard for the life you're taking, just to consume.

On a sidenote, I appreciated the diversity in the kitchen at RN74. Seeing so many people of color, especially a black executive sous chef, made me smile. Food is something everyone has in common and has the power to unite us!

For more information on Chef Sheffey and RN74 Seattle, check out their Instagram.

Mar 27, 2017

Where to go for a Men's Haircut in Seattle

This weekend my boyfriend obliged my desire to treat him like a real-life Ken doll and let me take him to a black barbershop for the first time! Since this was his first time going to a black barbershop, I took the lead and made his appointment with barber (and Seattle Barber owner) Glen Charles. He'd been growing out his hair and beard for the appointment, and it proved a great canvas for Glen to work his magic.

Seattle Barber is a dope shop located in the heart of Seattle's Capitol Hill Neighborhood and caters to ALL hair types. What impressed me most, besides Glen's skill as a barber, was the diversity in his shop. I saw a White, Black and Asian barber (not including Glen) and his clientele reflected that same diversity.

It's really cool to see a shop that mirrors the diversity of the neighborhood it's located in, as well as being able to offer men of all backgrounds a great cut. Literally ANYONE can walk in and trust that Seattle Barber is equipped to handle their hair type.

I know this isn't the biggest issue for my boyfriend, but as a black woman I know the struggle of having to call around and see if a salon can do your hair. With the constant stream of transplants moving into the city, it's nice to know Seattle Barber can take care of you.

Funny Story: While my bf was getting his hair cut, someone called the shop and asked Glen if they could cut black hair. He chuckled before saying yes. Listen folks. The struggle is real for people of color.

Cuts range between $23 to $28 with beard services being an extra $5. Walk-ins are accepted, but let's keep it real -- you're better off making an appointment with the barber of your choice. If you'd like to get in with Glen, he recommended booking your appointment a week out via text. Seattle Barber is open Tues-Sat from 12p to 7p and is CASH ONLY!!!

For more information about Seattle Barber, check out their Instagram or Yelp Page. They currently have 4.5 stars (out of 5) with over 30 reviews.

Mar 22, 2017

Side Swept Feeder Cornrows

A few weeks ago I reached a point where I was absolutely OVER doing my hair, so I scheduled an appointment with my favorite Seattle braider, Michelle of Natural Legacies Salon in Burien, WA. I knew I wanted something that would last a few weeks, so I opted for this cool cornrow style I found on Instagram. Thank God for that bookmark feature because it makes it super easy to save styles I like. I have so many hair and nail art options saved... wish I could try them all.

If you'd like to re-create this style, ask for "natural start" or "feeder" cornrows and show the design. I am a huge fan of natural start (instead of that hideous big bump cornrows sometimes have) because it seems to be easier on my edges and naturally blends in your hair with the extensions.

It took Michelle about 4 hours to do this style on me and I think we used about 4 bags of hair.

Inspiration Style from IG

Mar 16, 2017

A Rabbi + A Priest + An Athiest

As my girlfriend Natalie would say, Happy Friday Eve! It's Thursday and in a few hours I'll be bidding adieu to my corporate gig and clocking in for my fun weekend getaway with the BF's family to the Coast! The only proper way to pre-game for a vacation while you're still at work is watching YouTube videos, duh.

I've always been a believer in "LOVE" being the common thread in most religions, yet so many people tend to focus on our differences and what separates us. As someone who identifies as a connector of sorts, I tend to lead with finding similarities and ways to connect with someone before I look to separate myself.

When I saw this video of a priest, rabbi and atheist sitting down with one another to smoke some weed and chat it was right up my alley! If you have some time, take a look and let me know what you think.

I love coming together with people who may seem starkly different to me, but realizing that we truly do have so many ways to unite and not focus on exclusion. In short, more love... less hate! When is the last time you sat with someone who is different and make a genuine connection?

Weekend Challenge!

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