Nov 24, 2009

The Good Life

The holiday season is upon us and most pet owners will be faced with the decision of where to leave their pets while they travel. Known for its extravagance, D Pet Hotels Hollywood is leading the way in 5 star pet resorts. Situated in Hollywood, California, this high end resort rolls out the red carpet for your pet giving them the star treatment... but be careful because you just may want to stay too.

Dingy pet hotels and kennels are a thing of the past. This resort boasts a variety of luxury suites complete with beds, flat screen TVs and artwork sure to remind your pet of all the comforts of home. In addition to the rooms (which make a few hotels look shabby) 3 indoor dogs parks, a spa and boutique will be at your dog's disposal.

For a great place a bit closer to home, Urban Tailz provides Chicago area dogs with an above average pet sitting experience. A highlight of their site is being able to read the bio for all of their walkers, ensuring your pet will be left in great hands. This has also been a favorite on YELP, yielding a 4.5 out of 5 rating.

Urban Tailz
2177 W. Shakespeare Ave. #1
Chicago, IL 60647

Homemade Stories #1

Shannon Cason, blogger and creative writer extraordinaire, has released his first podcast! In First Warm Day, Cason introduces listeners to the story of two young school kids in Chicago on the first warm day of the year. In addition to wonderful short stories, his blog (Born Unknown) offers a humorous peek into the sometimes intricate male mind. I thoroughly enjoy reading his work, but think it's a treat to hear the author read it himself... the way he intended for it to be heard.

N♥tural Hair: Polished Perm Rods

Last week I tried my first style with the perm rods but wanted to see if I could get a more polished look. After washing and blow drying my hair, I used the Cantu Shea Butter Grow Strong Strengthening Treatment to provide moisture and protection before I flat ironed. While this product was at times too heavy for my relaxed hair, it works great on my natural hair. I was really pleased with the results and enjoyed the amount of curls that my hair held. This is a style that I could probably stretch our for 2 days (some may have better luck with it lasting longer) and as my hair fell it looked better. I've been having so much fun experimenting with different styles and products. If anyone has any tips/suggestions for products or styles please let me know!.

Rolled, Wrapped and Ready for bed

The next morning with the perm rods out

Fluffed out

Nov 23, 2009

McDonald's Fail

Mickey D's hits the spot for millions of people around the world. My personal favorite is the Filet 'o Fish sandwich. This thing is so scrumptious and hits the spot every time. I was craving it last week and decided to head downstairs from my job and grab the fishy delight. However, I was thoroughly disappointed to receive this poor excuse for a sandwich. On top of having a baby slice of cheese it was basically nuked onto the bread. I was pretty grossed out. Are times so rough that we can't even get a full slice of cheese? I mean damn! It's safe to say this was the last time I ate at McDonald's. File this one under #EpicFail.

Nov 20, 2009

Adventures on the CTA - Blue Line Edition

I've been hearing for a while now that I needed to make the switch from the standard CTA fare card to the Chicago Card Plus. It took some time (over a year) but I finally made the change and let me just say that it's made a world of difference.

No longer do I have to fumble around with my fare card, hoping I insert it correctly and don't hold up the line. With a simple tap I'm able to enjoy all of the perks of having the CTA chauffeur me around the city. Another highlight is having my 30 day pass automatically reloaded every month!! I'm looking forward to not hustling to get a pass every week. Geez, I really wish I would have done this sooner. I'd urge everyone to definitely get the Chicago Card Plus if you haven't done so already. It's an amazing feature that the CTA offers.

A world of great guys hiding behind bad hair and outdated clothes...

Thursday's episode of the Oprah show featured husbands that seemed to be stuck in a time warp full of bad hair and clothes and in need of a fashion intervention. I was astonished at how tragic some of these men looked before Tim Gunn was able to get his hands on them and show them the light, fashion wise. Be it ill-fitting jeans, old Bill Cosby sweaters, or hair that looked more biblical than 2009, these men all had issues and needed help.

During the course of the show I noticed that once cleaned up these men all looked pretty good. It became a running joke when Oprah pointed out how excited the wives seemed and how everyone would be having a "good night" later on. Judging by the transformations these guys underwent the panties were for sure going to be getting thrown their way.

Another thing that stood out in my mind was how easy it was to clean up a guy. I hear tons of women complaining about the lack of decent men out there and I think they aren't completely tapping into all of the resources we have. If you meet a great guy give him a chance... the core is what's important. You can always polish a man and get him to wear what you feel accentuates his assets. It's kind of like reupholstering your favorite piece of a furniture or refinishing kitchen cabinets... the surface is easy to change. You can work with a sweet guy that wears lame clothes but you can't change a wack personality. In all honesty though, there are so many amazing guys out there and we hold ourselves back from possibly meeting the man of our dreams because of trivial stuff.

On a different note, after the makeovers I could see the personality overhaul these guys encountered... they all had their swag turned on high! I couldn't help but to eye their wives and think that all of the husbands looked WAY better. Hopefully their makeover would encourage the women in their lives to step their game up too. In relationships it's easy for both people to get stuck in a rut.

Before and Afters:







Russell originally received a makeover from Oprah in 1990 which admittedly was awful. In an attempt to make it up to Russell 19 years later, Oprah did a redo.

Gingerbread Yogis

Want to thank your favorite yoga instructor for helping to keep you lean and fit throughout the year? Patti Paige has put a fresh twist on an old favorite with her Gingerbread Yogis. This tasty treat features 10 gingerbread cookies in various yoga poses. New to yoga? Don't fret! Every box comes complete with a cookie chart so you can point out your down dog, warrior and tree poses like a pro. For more information visit Patti's site.

Box of all 10 poses
Original Gingerbread - $35
Vegan Gingerbread - $45

N♥tural Hair Update: Playing w/ Perm Rods

Wednesday night I decided to experiment with the perm rods I had bought from Sally's a few weeks ago. Thru trial and error I had realized I couldn't put my wet hair in the rods since I didn't have a hooded dryer to sit under... nor could I try and sleep with them on b/c it resulted in a hot ass mess lol. Getting creative, I tried blowing out my hair and then using the rods and ended up liking the results. I must say that I wasn't trying to achieve a super straight look with my roots so I didn't flat iron before using the rods. I was aiming for something similar to what Tracee Ellis Ross rocks... full, slightly puffy curls. In my world the bigger the hair the better! It took me about 20 mins to roll my hair and I ended up sleeping with a silk scarf over my pillow. I actually think this will be a go-to winter style for me since I can achieve the volume and fullness I crave without my wet hair having to battle the cold.

I used different sized perm rods throughout my hair

The Results: Big hair with some curls. I didn't want perfection, but to have fluffy, slightly puffy curls! Big hair gives me life. This was my first time trying this style so I'm looking forward to perfecting it...

Tracee Ellis Ross was my inspiration and of the many styles she wears, I had the one pictured below in mind.

Nov 19, 2009

Abortion: Always a Woman's Choice

A minor rant:

Abortion, politics and religion are topics that people rarely change their stance on, therefore we end up debating for the sake of hearing our own voice or trying to prove a point. This is just my little rant.

Whether the result of rape, failed birth control or just not wanting to be a parent, I think that at the end of the day abortion is a woman's choice. I don't feel anyone has the authority to dictate what someone can and cannot do with their body. People have numerous reasons for having an abortion and the idea that a man can put into effect laws that govern how a woman can and cannot handle matters that are exclusive to her... it baffles me.

I think that people should invest money into sex education and parents should actually have conversations with their kids about sex instead of being delusional to the fact that their teens, younger and younger nowadays are spreading their legs and dropping their pants to experience something they may or may not be ready for. I feel everyone can do their part to educate those around them to not be in the unfortunate position of having to choose because it's not an easy choice... but I believe 100% in not bringing an unwanted child into the world. It's not the 1700s...we have options.

He got knocked the F*CK out...

I was watching MTV's "The Ruins" last night and witnessed the fight between Darrell and Brad. I actually like both of these guys and was surprised that they fought... definitely the result of drinking too much alcohol and being in closed quarters. Anyways, I was SHOCKED at the aftermath of the fight. I mean, Darrell probably hit Brad about 4 times tops... and when you see the end result... my GOD!!! I didn't think someone's face could swell up that fast!

His eye was insanely swollen! He looked like a freak of nature

Then the producers cleaned him up a bit for his exit interview

Darrell's face was spotless. Brad didn't manage to lay a finger on him

Nov 18, 2009

Dream Jobs

While my friends were working normal mall jobs in high school, I wasn't allowed to do anything. As a working adult in my mid 20s I can now appreciate being able to have a childhood void of clocking in and out for a measly few bucks... but I can't lie...I always thought it would be cool to be a cashier. I don't know if it's the little "beep" or handling money, but the idea of being a cashier always made me smile. Not that I would ever quit my job to do price checks in aisle 3, but I do scratch the itch by opting to hit the self checkout line every time I'm in Jewel. As a matter of fact, if I have the option of checking myself out anywhere I do it.

Some days I find my mind wandering and thinking about what I'd do with my days in a "perfect world". I think splitting my time between MAC Cosmetics and an animal shelter, with some lifestyle writing/blogging would be my ideal gig. Those are the things that never get old or boring to me and that I'm passionate about.

I'm curious to know what everyone else would love to do with their days, if $ wasn't a priority.

Nov 17, 2009

Podcast #407 Activating Faith Instead of Fear

For the past few years I haven't had a church home but instead opted to watch Joel Osteen. Based out of Houston, Texas, his messages are full of positivity and uplift and I really enjoy watching his sermons and downloading the podcasts. I find him inspirational and think you should subscribe to his free podcasts. They really do help minister to your soul on a daily basis.

Today I was listening to podcast #407 "Activating Faith instead of Fear". Here are a few of the notes I took while listening...

- Don't put your faith in your fears

- Don't let people talk you into settling for mediocrity

- Don't use your energy to worry, use your energy to believe. It takes the same amount of energy to believe and worry. Expect God's favor

- Don't use your faith in reverse (i.e. believing that bad things will happen, life will be hard, etc)

- Stay in faith that when one door closes, another will open

- What we meditate on is what will take root

- When you act on fear, you draw in the negative

- Fear will steal your joy, steal your enthusiasm and keep you awake at night

- Worry, fear, and wrong thinking is not just a bad habit, it's allowing the negative to come to pass

- If we're gonna stay in faith we have to be careful who our friends are. Be careful who you associate with. Fear is contagious. Worry is contagious. Negativity is contagious. If you're around people that are always complaining and discouraged, that spirit can get off on you. We can catch other people's emotions, just like a cold.

- Don't let your imagination run wild in the wrong direction

- God has brought you through the past and he'll bring you through the future

N♥tural Hair Art

Since entering into nesting mode I've been on the hunt for vibrant, unique artwork to make my white walls pop. Yesterday I came across these funky prints by Andrea Pippins and it was love at first sight. At $30 each, these 11.75" x 15.75" prints fit perfectly into IKEA Ribba frames and are an awesome way to liven up your home.

As someone that's embracing their curly hair, these prints send a strong message and are the perfect gift idea for any natural friends you may have.

Andrea runs FlyGirls Blog and recently launched her site, I love My Hair, where all of her artwork can be purchased.

The Only Regret - $30

Kinky Coily Curly - $30

Self Love - $30

Nov 16, 2009

Champagne Wishes, Rolex Dreams

From previous posts everyone could tell that I was stoked about getting the Michael Kors "rolex in training" gold on gold watch. After venturing into Macy's and seeing it up close and personal, I felt crushed that it was nothing like the pictures. Online the watch seemed sleek and sophisticated and in person it was just big and awkward... more like a clunker than a classic. Always able to save the day with some good advice, sexyandthechi was able to point me in the direction of Citizen's watches. I combed thru their site & came across 3 new contenders in hopes of making my dreams of having a "baby rolex" a bit closer to coming true.

1. Eco-Drive WR100
Model: EW1242-52P

2. Silhouette Sport
Model: EW1262-55P

3. Eco-Drive
Model: EW3152-95P

Adventures on the CTA - Blue Line Edition

I'm used to the train having delays and sometimes sitting at a stop for a few minutes, but Friday night it was outrageous. I could tell something was up when my blue train headed towards Forest Park was sitting at the UIC/Halsted stop for what seemed like forever. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a man walking around inspecting each car from the platform. He was moving fairly quickly but I thought I saw a gun on his hip. Seeing as how I'm not in Arizona where it's legal to carry a firearm I was hoping he was a cop...and not some sketchtastic man on a mission. The next thing I know I saw another cop...then another...and yet another... 20 mins and 20 cops later, my boyfriend and I were still sitting on the train and waiting as the police conducted an "investigation" on what the CTA operator described as an "urban crime" lol. Umm... What the hell is an urban crime? Well, the cops proceeded to sweep each car of the train and I sat there and watched as 2 people, a man and a woman, were pulled out. I'm assuming that they had drugs or something on them because they were being searched and the cops were using their flashlights to see if anything had been dropped underneath the train. It was so random to have that happen while I was on the blue line, but I'm glad my bf was there with me... and that it was at the UIC/Halsted stop so I could use my cellphone. Way too much action for a Friday night.

On a different note, I drove down 71st st. on my way to Midway airport last night and can I just say that the overwhelming amount of little dope boys on the corners was astonishing! Seriously, anyone that braves 71st st west of the Dan Ryan needs a freaking medal (or a gun) because it wasn't anything nice. It's shocking to see how lost some of our youth are... or did they never even have a chance *sigh*.

Nov 13, 2009

Snap Happy

A picture is worth a thousand words and the perfect way to capture a moment in time - - forever able to relive the joy, love, & happiness with a single glance. I found this neat DIY art idea on the coco + kelley website and am definitely going to try this out myself.

Nov 12, 2009

Relationship Q&A

I was on facebook today and found a note that was posted re: relationships and having a committed relationship while keeping your friends on the side. It was written by a 20-something woman and I found it to be somewhat sad... in the sense that you can see, quite clearly, throughout the note that she is just scared to love fully. Here is what is written along with my response (a little long but a good read). I'm interested in everyone else's take on things:

Facebook Note:

I used to be what some would call a serial dater. Not because I was just so hot that all the guys wanted to date me or that I fall in love easily. I just always happened to meet the guys that wanted a commitment. I also don’t take a lot of shit. I have this deep fear of being played (When guys usually ask me for shit like money or sex I usually don’t ask why I just say NO) Not one to stress about being cheated on because if it happens I’m done. Period. I can be a prude at times. (When you’re confident your sex is good why not make’em wait. Shit, it’s worth it.) (That usually makes a certain type of man loose interest quick) In summary, I can let men go really easily. I’ve dated enough to know that its stupid to hold on to something that’s not what you really want when there are other options available. Some girls get into relationships thinking they will last forever. I went into relationships thinking it would last through the fall, maybe winter, and plan to be single for the summer. I say I used to be a serial dater because I stopped. I realized that I should chill out and be single for awhile. I realized that I was playing games in relationships and although I still planned on playing a few games while I was single, it seemed more noble. Plus, I wanted time to think about what I was really looking for and to just kick it. And when I say kick it, I mean KICK IT. I ran the streets, talked to multiple guys at the same time. I was tempting, mind fucked a few, hung out late and was very upfront with guys about my agenda: “let’s just keep it simple”, have fun, no commitment, no sex . You know, some real playa type shit. LOVED IT. That lasted for a little more than a year. Yeah, I had some lonely moments but I was cool… till I met my boyfriend. I did not expect him to affect me the way he has. It was really tough in the beginning because I was constantly looking for reasons to run away, excuses why it wouldn’t work (I was afraid) and he stuck it out with me. (I was trying to break up like every other week over dumb shit) Now we are so close to celebrating our one year anniversary. If I and he were to break up tomorrow there would be nothing but respect and admiration because I have learned so much from him and our relationship. He is a great man. (Love you muffin!) Okay enough of the mushy stuff lets get on to my issue/topic. When my boyfriend and I decided to be seriously exclusive (which brings up another issue around having a shared definition of what you are) we both knew we had some loose ends to tie up, people to break the news to and then gently exit them out of our lives. We were upfront about that. There were the guys/goons I had acquired during my single fast and free days that were easy to dismiss (mostly dope boys, trust me they were not hurt). Plus, I had gotten word that he had a crazy ex that definitely needed to be updated. (I met the chick and laughed…so bitter) But then there was this whole other category, there were guys/girls that we were genuine friends with, had history with, that were not so easy to let go. For me this was a mix of male friends that are like brothers to me. Men that I trust and have never been romantically involved with like my big brothers... Those guys looked out for me all throughout college and still support me. The other type of male friends is a little less pure and wholesome. I have guy friends that I might have been romantically involved with or I know once upon a time they liked me and we have history. Both sets of friends I don’t want to throw away but I can see from my boyfriend’s perspective why one group is more of an issue than the other. But even if I and the person have a romantic history, I think women are better at putting up boundaries regardless of that history to ensure that their relationship is not being compromised. Men can’t do that as well. So, am I saying that there is a double standard for men and women when it comes to being in a relationship and having friends of the opposite sex? Yes. That is exactly what I am saying. A man is going to be more easily persuaded by easy pussy than a woman is going to be persuaded by good dick. (Can’t wait to see the arguments against this one) These guy friends I talk about, I have no desire to fuck them even if they are attractive, charming, and/or willing to trick off some money (Yes, it is trickin even if you got it). I’m good, trust me. So one might argue if I am happy (which I am), satisfied (which I am), and committed (which I am) then why would I want to keep some of the guy friends that I used to casually date? It’s quite simple; I’m loyal, I like the idea of having options, and they serve a purpose. It all goes back to something my grandmother told me, who is a true pimp at heart, “Never…….NOTE TO BE CONTINUED.

My Response:

First off, I believe that this has nothing to do with you being "loyal" because at the end of the day you're going hard for men that are not your man. Friends are a beautiful thing, but when you enter into a real relationship with someone it's no longer about what benefits you or him, it's about what benefits "us". You are clinging onto your single mentality, keeping the men in your life around that have always been "safety zones" but trying to make a relationship work at the same time.. I believe you when you say that you're happy, satisfied and committed... but I believe that when you're head over heels in love ecstatic, not happy. Overjoyed, not satisfied...this will no longer be an issue. You have to be willing to let go of the little things and open yourself up to love fully. With big risk comes a big reward. If you're not dealing with a control freak it shouldn't be that big of an issue for you guys to discuss things and reach a common ground. A real relationship isn't about having options, it's about making a choice to love one person and nurture that relationship. In all honesty, you just sound scared to put yourself out there because you don't want to get hurt. I wouldn't waste time being in a relationship with someone if you're still putting your "true pimp, always have options that serve a purpose" mentality on a pedestal. When you're ready to give it all you have then go for it, but until then you're going to continue to get out of it what you're putting in, which is clearly less than 100%.

Nov 10, 2009

Adventures on the CTA - Blue Line Edition (mini rant)

Newsflash Blue Line riders: Chips do not count as a breakfast food!!

This morning I was tormented as the lady behind me devoured her sour cream and cheddar chips... the constant rustling of her bag making its way thru my headphones, making me contemplate ways to choke her out. On top of that she licked her fingers like it was the last supper and proceeded to touch everything in sight. *gag* Has she not heard of H1n1?? She's for sure gonna catch the monster. This is like the umpteenth time I've seen people eating chips for breakfast (the last time was flaming hots) and I'm just like lord Jesus, take the wheel!!!

Hair Update

Since transitioning in May/June '09 I've become a product junkie. Hours and hours spent scouring natural hair sites had me feeling overwhelmed with info on which conditioners, creams and oils to use. It was seriously making my head spin. Throw in the mix all the stuff about "bad" ingredients and I was a lost cause. I didn't get why caring for what was supposed to be my natural hair seemed like this big task. For goodness sakes, it's growing naturally from my head, it should be fairly easy. Plus, I managed to care for relaxed hair which is very high maintenance, in my opinion, in comparison to going natural so I felt like I should have things under control.

When the weather changed I started realizing that my summer routine wouldn't work. Instead of co-washing with Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut and leaving in Aussie Moist, I'd have to go back to my tried and true Organic Root Stimulator. I absolutely LOVE their Olive Oil Creamy Aloe Shampoo which is fantastic @ cleansing my hair. Just as the package states, it removes calcium build-up, restores moisture and gently cleans and neutralizes. Their Replenishing Conditioner was previously only available in 1 oz packs but I'm thrilled to announce that they're now offering it in a12.25 oz bottle!!! This stuff is divine and does wonders on my hair. I don't use this for co-washing but instead as a deep condition once a week.

In more exciting hair news, I was able to get some free samples from Carol's Daughter Friday night. I'll be trying out their Hair Milk, Loc Butter and Some of Marguerite's Magic. I can't wait to give everyone an update on how it works for me...

sidebar: BGLH Online has started featuring lovely naturals when they were kids. I wanted to include a few shots of me when I was a little girl rocking puffs and dookie braids lol...

Nov 9, 2009

Signature Scent

My mother has worn Estee Lauder's Beautiful perfume my entire life. As I've gotten older it has made me reconsider my usual preference of body splash and sprays over perfume. However, after discovering 2 gems in the fragrance world, I think I've finally found my signature scents.

Parisienne by Yves Saint Laurent and Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf are divine!!! I hope santa brings these to me for Christmas.

*ahem* Gigi... I want these for X-Mas *ahem* :)

Cluster F*ck

1. I'm still obsessed with Electrik Red. I don't know if it's because they're pretty, outgoing girls that can dance their butts off and hold a note... or having hit maker The-Dream write their entire debut album making it full of hits... but I can't get enough of these fab 4 chicas. Browsing Youtube I was able to catch their performance at Pace University's Homecoming and they did a great job. Check out Naomi's hot outfit. I need that top in my life!!! Not sure if I'd be doing too much, but yeah... it's worth a shot.

2. Nicki Minaj - Okay... so I barely listen to the radio, EVER... so I was really late on figuring out who this chick was. What I can say is that she has a great shape, love the strong bang and signature pinked out barbie look! I also adore her makeup game. She screams MAC girl to me and I love all things Mac Cosmetics. I've been watching a few of her interviews and I think she's a cool chick. Will I run out and buy her cd? Probably not... but I wouldn't bootleg it either. Maybe I'll luck up and a friend will have a legit copy that I can copy. lol...

3. After my facebook rant on black men and relationships the other day, it was suggested to me that I check out Mad Men on AMC. I was able to watch a few episodes of season 3 On Demand and got sucked in. I once had a married friend tell me that his life resembled the Chris Rock movie, "I think I love my wife". Well, if I was able to speak to that friend today I'd tell him to watch Mad Men because he may relate to that show too. Working long, hard days in business suits... coming home to have your daily martini, carrying on an affair... all of that can be found in Mad Men. I was surprised that this show, based in the 1960s, was able to capture me, but the writing and acting is on point. I think the bf is going to buy the 1st and 2nd seasons so I can catch up.

Spread The Love...

It feels like forever since I did some nail art. Hell, it's been weeks since I gave myself a mani/pedi, but I decided to treat my toes to some tlc on Saturday night. I had a navy blue polish I wanted to try out and was eager to use the white/pink nail design polishes I bought. You can probably tell that I have "love" on the brain but I'm pleased with the turnout.

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