Dec 30, 2009


I'm probably one of the last people on earth that didn't have a microwave in my apt. My boyfriend managed to find this old school stovetop popcorn for me in a random walmart in the South and it was hilarious to watch this thing pop. In addition to sounding like a bunch of gunshots were being fired, it took a lot of energy constantly shaking the bag so it didn't burn. All in all, the popcorn popped rather quickly, but I think I prefer using a microwave.

Dec 29, 2009

N♥tural Hair: Flexirod Set pt. II

I've been trying to cut down on the amount of heat I use on my hair and wasn't sure if I'd be able to recreate my previous flexirod results w/o blow drying or flat ironing.

I did my usual routine of co-washing with Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut conditioner and added Cantu Shea Butter Grow Strong Strengthening Treatment to my towel dried hair. Next, I divided my hair into 2 parts and braided each side up... putting a scarf on my hair to allow it to dry and protect it that night. The next day t I took down the braids and combed out my hair and proceeded to set my hair with the flexirods. In the morning I took out the rods and fluffed my hair. The results were a bit different than the last time but I was still pleased.

Some things I've noticed:

1. The rods still aren't my favorite thing to sleep in. I've managed to learn how to place them so I can sleep better, but they can still be annoying.

2. The more my hair grows, the more shrinkage I have to deal with. Twist Outs and Braids Outs are quickly becoming a nice alternative to blow drying my hair, but still allowing it to air dry and stretching it some.

3. I have yet to master how to really make a style last. If I get by 2 days rocking something it's a miracle. Does anyone have advice on how to make a style last? I feel like my hair gets a bit fussy.

4. Fluffing is a must. When I first take out the rods I don't love what I see... but I like it enough to fluff it out. After some fluffing my hair starts to do its own thing and I always love the results. I have learned to not get discouraged if at first I'm not smitten with what I see.

Dec 28, 2009

Adventures @ Walmart: Blue Colla Holla

As I was prepping my car for my move, I was once again reminded of the sometimes foolish ways of Chicago men. The mechanic @ Walmart's Tire & Lube dept was the source of my daily amusement. This is what the conversation went like:

Walmart Mechanic:
You came up here by yoself? (insert typical westside accent)
Me: Excuse me?
WM: You ain't up here wit yo boyfriend?
Me: Umm, no. I came up here by myself.
WM: So, whatchu gettin done?
Me: I'm getting an oil change and my tires checked along with the rest of my fluids.
WM: What you mixed? You really speak like that?
Me: (trying hard not to lol in his face) No, I'm not mixed...this is really the way I speak.
WM: Are those your real eyelashes?
Me: Yes, these are my real eyelashes (le sigh)

Umm... the rest of the conversation was about as much of a trainwreck as the first part. I'm not sure why speaking proper English equals being mixed... or why he was interested in my eyelashes (Cover Girl Lash Blast is the business!!!) but he hooked me up with a great oil change and for that I was extremely grateful.

Another funny thing that happened in the store was watching this little, old lady pushing her cart around the store but somehow managing to get tangled up in a fishing line!! She had a grip of people (myself included) trying to fish themselves out of the nearly invisible line. I had to let out a huge laugh as she kept wheeling around her cart, and the line seemed to never end. Ahhhh... fun times in Walmart.

As I prepare to leave Chicago and the crazy antics of the CTA behind, I am looking forward to many more adventures in a place with a bit more sun. I'll find a way to fill the void the CTA is sure to leave in my life and replace it with other daily musings... including my upcoming road trip! Stay tuned for my multi-state adventure!!

Dec 23, 2009

One Size Fits All

Marketed as their "Size Issue", the January issue of V Magazine will be dedicated to plus size models (i.e. regular sized everyday women). NY Magazine recently previewed a feature which included two models (1 plus size, 1 skinny - both 5'9") going head to head in similar looks. The aim was to show readers that fashion can flatter any figure and models Crystal Renn (36-31-41) and Jacquelyn Jablonski (32-24-34) did just that.

Outside of the modeling world, Crystal Renn doesn't boast the measurements of a plus size woman - - but is well-proportioned with a nice build. I don't have anything against the skinny model, but the majority of women don't look like that and while it's nice to see someone prance around and basically be a hanger for clothes, I was excited to see a more realistically sized woman able to rock high fashion looks.

I'm not on some plight to have thicker chicks infiltrate the runway, but as for print media, this would be a welcome sight.I hope that ladies around the world will be able to see plus size models portrayed as fashionable, beautiful and desirable.

Dec 18, 2009

N♥tural Hair: Flexirod Set

After a few failed attempts at using the flexirods I had banished them to the back of my cabinet and really had no intention of using them again... but I found myself longing to rock some fluffy curls and figured I might as well give them another whirl.

I had already co-washed my hair with Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut conditioner and used some Cantu Shea Butter's Grow Strong Strengthening Treatment to provide a bit of moisture before the blow out. Having had my hair in a bun for a day, I already had semi-straight hair and only needed to section it w/ my fingers and place the flexirods randomly throughout.

Rods in place and ready for bed

After I woke up and took them down

Fluffed out @ work

Sidebar: Sleeping with the flexirods isn't the most comfortable thing in the world. Be prepared to sleep on your side when you want to rock this style. I think the results are worth it but I wanted to give everyone a fair warning.

Dec 17, 2009

A Diamond is Forever

Diamonds really are a girl's best friend and now thru March 28th, every girl can get a bit closer to their ultimate BFF by visiting The Nature of Diamonds exhibit at the Field Museum.

The 7,000 sq ft full exhibit will introduce attendees to the history and origin of diamonds & how they're mined, educate on the 4C's ever lady should know (color, clarity, cut and carat) and the newly added 5th C - Certification, as well as how they're used in today's technology.

The exhibit highlight is sure to be The Vault, which showcases close to 800 diamond pieces, including the breathtaking 128.54 carat Tiffany Diamond and the 407.48 carat Incomparable Diamond (the largest flawless diamond ever graded by the GIA and 3rd largest cut diamond ever recorded).

While the exhibit does require an additional ticket on top of the basic museum admission ($23 - Adults, $20 students), there is a discount for Chicago residents ($21 Adults, $19 students) ... not much but any money saved is money saved.

Every girl loves to dream and diamonds truly are forever, so hurry and get a taste of the glamorous life before it leaves.

The Tiffany Diamond

Milky Way necklace

The Incomparable Diamond

The Question Mark necklace

Dec 16, 2009

5 men. 2 hours. No censors.

5 men. 2 hours. No censors.

That was the task at hand for Essence Relationship Editor Demetria Lucas (better known to the blog world as A Belle in Brooklyn) when she sat down with a handful of single men to pick their brains on all things love, sex and relationships.

I was drawn to the December '09 issue because of the blinding rock Marjorie Harvey was flashing on her hand (Steve Harvey's Wife) but soon found the "What Men Think" article nestled on page 97. It's always enlightening and entertaining to see what men think, and though conversations can sometimes be funny, sometimes frustrating, Lucas tackled the job with ease. Check out the highlights below...

On the large number of single, Black women:

Essence: I've heard - and I'm sure you have too - lots of ladies blaming their single status on the lack of available men. If there are so many great men, why are so many Black women single?

Norman Lee: A lot of Black women are not trying to compromise. They have an entitled attitude like, I deserve this. I deserve that. No, you don't!

On what they're looking for in a wife and marriage:

Essence: Do Black men have the great options Black women think they do when it comes to finding a quality wife? I can't help but notice none of you are married.

Rich Williams: The reason the divorce rate is so high is people don't get married for the right reasons. They think marriage is just an extended, permanent dating period and it's not. It's an emotional and a business partnership. Our love doesn't pay the mortgage.

On what it takes to put a ring on it:

Essence: Say you have a woman who does all the right things. What will it take for you to put a ring on it?

Norman Lee: I need a woman who is aggressive. She has to set some rules and keep me in line. If I'm acting out, tell me, "Look, that's not happening here." I don't want a woman I can walk over.

On the importance of good sex:

Essence: How important is good sex?

Wes Mapes: If the sex game is not on point, we will not go to the next level. Sorry.

Rich Williams: At 30 you should know how to please somebody whether you're a man or a woman.

Norman Lee: Yeah, you're playing varsity now. This ain't JV.

On what they think good sex is:

Essence: What is good sex? Do men want women to swing from the chandeliers?

Brian Miller: I need the woman to be nasty. Who wants a prude in the bedroom? Don't bring gadgets or be a dominatrix with the whips, but be open to anything else.

For more on this interview pick up the December issue of Essence Magazine.

Dec 15, 2009

DIY: Closet Makeovers

Looking for a way to transform your closet into a home office? MSN featured this awesome closet remodel by Real Simple design director Ellen Wundrok. She was able to tranform her 32.5" X 42" coat closet into a great office space.

Before: Basic Coat Closet

After: Cozy Office Space

Eager to try this out with your own space? Follow these easy tips!

  • Keep the top shelves intact and add some cut plywood for a desktop.
  • Try painting the surfaces a glossy white. (Impervex Gloss, $17 a gallon, for stores.)
  • Splurge on a fun design element by adding a funky wallpaper. Ellen used a great rosabella wallpaper ($140 a roll, for stores) to brighten up the spot.
  • Combat potential clutter by hiding wires. Computer wires were plugged into a power strip that was attached to the wall beneath the desktop.

Dec 14, 2009

When to let go of our "skinny jeans"

As I was cleaning my closet last night I came across a large amount of jeans and decided it was time to officially "let go" and move on. I'm more of a leggings/skirt/dress type of girl, so I rarely wear jeans... but looking through the pairs I had I came across my favorite pair of "skinny jeans". They were both my "skinny jeans" and a skinny cut. I remember buying them last summer when I had first moved back to Chicago and being thrilled at the fit. It was like they were made for me... perfect length and everything! As I tried the jeans on to see how they looked I realized that my butt had gotten a bit bigger and the button wouldn't close. I scrunched my face up. I just loved those jeans so much I couldn't really toss them. What if I lost those 5-10 lbs and was able to squeeze back in them with ease. It made me start to ponder: When do our skinny jeans become our jeans that just don't fit? I walked around the house a bit in the jeans and then took them off, undecided about whether or not they should be put back in the closet or in the donate pile. I didn't know if they would serve as an indicator of reaching my goal body weight, or just another thing I couldn't currently wear taking up space in my closet.

I'm curious to see who else has their pair of "skinny jeans" or that particular outfit you just can't let go of... men and women.

Dec 11, 2009

Adventures on the CTA - Blue Line Edition

Another day and another horror story. "Joe" was replaced with "famo" and scarface impressions with talks of prison stints and snitches. The teens were long gone and in their place grown men and their rants about how the Chicago Police were"stupid all the way through." You could sense their bitterness and resentment towards CTA employees as they bitched and moaned about how CTA employees felt like they were "above them" because they had a "gig with the CTA." I started to feel like the blue line was the business office for thugs and bums. The cars their personal boardrooms to conduct meetings. I ditched my usual mo of listening to what they were discussing because honestly, some information you just don't want to be privy to. I didn't even make eye contact for fear that it would draw unwanted attention to me. I noticed that was getting a death stare by thug #3 who had strategically distanced himself a few rows behind thugs #1 and #2 as they discussed their "business". As I made the trip home, I had never wanted to be off of a train so bad. The boisterous and rude thug #2 decided to make his rounds around the car asking for money in between his rants on politics, the war, and how selfish everyone was. I was disgusted when he approached a Spanish speaking woman and asked "how do you say suck my balls in Spanish?" It felt like I was in a bad movie... and I wasn't getting paid to be an extra. I wanted out immediately. At that moment I pitied everyone on the train. We were all stuck there and doomed to endure the harassment until we reached our respective stops. I glanced up at a sign stating that we should report any strange activity. I wish I could pick up my phone and call the 800 # and tell them scum was on the train. Why didn't the CTA have a # you could send a text to. Sometimes you're in a situation and unable to pick up the phone and call. My stop couldn't have come any sooner! It felt like it had taken forever... I jumped off the train and felt like I was sprinting home. I just wanted to be locked up in my house, safe and far away from the randoms of the blueline.

Dec 8, 2009

N♥tural Hair Update: First Trim

After going 6 months without a trim my ends were looking like crap. I had splits everywhere and it was a sad sight. I called Toss Salon & Spa and explained that I had started transitioning and needed someone familiar with natural hair. Cori was suggested and my appt was set for Saturday morning.

Cori was very personable, punctual and professional. I received a wash and trim and was in and out in just under 1.5 hrs. That is pretty good for a salon on a Saturday morning.

Anyone that is natural or transitioning I would recommend seeing Cori because she can offer you a wealth of knowledge while caring for your hair at the same time. While the majority of her clients are natural, she does work with all hair types, so if you want a weave, etc... don't fret! She has you covered.

I've been going to Toss since I moved back to Chicago in July '08 but my stylist (Phaedra) left to go back to NY in May so I haven't had a regular stylist. I was really pleased with Cori so I hope to be seeing her again.

As an added bonus, the salon has a Buy 1, Get 1 free sale on all Miss Jessie's products so definitely venture in there to take advantage of that awesome sale.

Toss Salon and Spa
60 E. 13th St.
Chicago, IL 60605

Dec 4, 2009

Reailty Wrap-up

Launch my Line (BravoTV) - Like Project Runway minus the designers having any actual design experience... nor do they know how to sew... but 10 professionals are paired with "real" designers and able to articulate to them the vision they have for their line. Umm... I wish that Bravo hadn't lost Project Runway to Lifetime because it's sad watching them cling on for dear life and put out knockoff after knockoff.

Real Housewives of Orange County (BravoTV) - With each episode I'm starting to like Gretchen more and more and Tamra less and less. I feel like Tamra is a grown woman that's caught up in petty drama (aren't they all in the Housewives series) and really starting to look a bit aged in the face. I think she should replace some gossiping with resting those tired looking eyes... or maybe she could focus on her marriage and finding a job so they don't lose their house. Vicki setting her daughter up with some random guy was, well... random.. but I've always liked her daughter Brianne and thought she provided some much needed down to earth energy to the otherwise pretentious OC scene. On another note, I can't wait for them to take things back to NY. I love Bethanny and Jill!

Shore House (MTV) - Okay, the commercials almost managed to pull me in but at the end of the day all the "fist pumping" would be completely lost on me. I decided to pass on this show and really think it's just another version of Real World, but with fighting being acceptable.

For Rent (HGTV) - Anyone that is a renter should check out this show which airs on Sunday nights on HGTV. Real estate agent and designer Jodi Gilmour, helps people navigate the sometimes tricky rental market. I always enjoy seeing how she's able to transform spaces with her designs. Renters (and homeowners) can get great ideas from this show.

The Hills (MTV) - The season finale aired and I decided that Kristin in cool, but I like Lauren Conrad a bit more. I doubt I'll watch the next season of this show. The whole Kristin/Brody/Justin Bobby love triangle that they're trying to create is so painfully orchestrated that it's not even entertaining. Not to mention I still scratch my head at how "Stacy the bartender" got a legitimate role on the show... I can't believe these people are getting paid up to $90k per episode!

The City (MTV) - Along with The Hills, The City also aired their season finale this week. I liked the switch from DVF to Elle magazine for Olivia mainly because I love Elle magazine and enjoyed seeing some of the inner working... though Olivia seemed to always come off entitled and lacking any real understanding how what hard work was. Whitney was back at People's Revolution and I was thrilled because owner Kelly Cutrone is the highlight of the show for me. I love her personality and how she tells it like it is. I wish she was offered her own show.

Meet the Natives: USA (Travel Channel) - In this Travel Channel original, 5 tribesmen from the South Pacific island of Tanna are brought to the US to experience American culture and spread their message of peace and love. In the first two episodes they visited a ranch family in Montana as well as a WASP family in New York. I actually really enjoy this show and it makes me realize how much we as a country do have. I wouldn't trade it for life in Tanna, but it does make you appreciate things a bit more. This is a very heartwarming show that will make you laugh out loud.

Bad Girls Club (Oxygen) - After watching the first episode of Bad Girls Club, I quickly realized I was over the constant partying, binge drinking, shit talking and fighting in the club. It wasn't entertaining, it was sad. Why can't these women do better... and why did they throw a 26yo in the house with 21-22 yo's?? She sticks out like a sore thumb and it makes me scratch my head. While I don't expect much from a 21yo, when you're 26 you need to have your shit together. Getting thrown out of the club when you're almost 30 isn't a good look.

Adventures on the CTA: Blue Line edition

I was sitting on the train eager to get home when I saw these 2 random teens get on. From their demeanor I could tell that they were worthless, but hoping they'd keep the hood antics to a minimum. Ummm, not so much.

After proclaiming that everyone on the train was going to hell with him, this overgrown teen with a picked out perm proceeded to say that he could "be an actor". He flexed his acting chops by subjecting everyone to his montage of Scarface impressions while raggedy ass teen #2 notified everyone that they had 11 more stops to go. I could barely manage to shoot him a side eye (o-O) before I was berated with more "joe" and "on my mama" quotes than I want to remember. I don't know where that stuff started but I wish it would go away. Things went from bad to worse when he began doing footwork and then telling some story about how he was going to "bust on dude" (insert blank stare here). Not surprisingly, things came to end as the Kedzie-Homan stop approached and they bid everyone adieu.

First off, the Kedzie-Homan stop really is responsible for most of the West Side trash that rides the blue line. Period. But more importantly, I feel that the youth of today are lost... primarily teenage, black men in Chicago. I feel like they're doomed if parents don't step in and stage an intervention. It's embarrassing to see them act a plum fool on the train and have people think that they represent black youths today. It's even sadder that the majority of kids seem to act like this and think there is nothing wrong. I wish that black boys 15yo-19yo could go to a finishing school and get exposed to some class and refinement. Furthermore, I think black men need to be raising these boys. Women can't raise a man like a man can. These boys are running around with no sense and it's tragic. *sigh*

Times like these I wish the Metra was an option.

Dec 1, 2009

Adventures on the CTA - Blue Line Edition

Fat People Squeezing into the Seat Next to You:

Anyone that uses the CTA knows the horror of having an empty seat next to you and seeing someone larger than life (literally) approach it. Yesterday on my way to work I was thrilled when a seat opened up and I was able to relax. The lady next to me was quite petite so I enjoyed a comfortable ride... that was until her stop came up and I was faced with having a really fat chick sit next to me. Now, I'm not one to get aggravated over fat people because I know that THEY know that they're fat. However, as she wiggled and squeezed her plump ass into the seat next to me I couldn't help rolling my eyes because I was SMOOSHED!!! I mean, seriously! I know she wanted to sit down too but what made her think she could fit in that seat. So annoying... On top of that she insisted on texting on her old school flip phone the entire trip which required her to hit a key a trillion times to send a simple message. Throw into the mix that she was one of the few that hadn't figured out how to silence her key tone and I was ready to throat chop her.

Creepy, Old Guys:

Yesterday as I was waiting on the blueline platform to head home I was completely freaked out by this grown ass man that approached me. Clearly trying to avoid any unnecessary conversation, I had my headphones in and was blasting some Lady Gaga. Out of the corner of my eye I could see this guy walking towards me but was hoping he wouldn't say anything. The next thing I know he's asking me if I'm on facebook. I wish I could've sent a twitpic of my puzzled face. I replied "yes" ( For some reason I couldn't think to say "fuck off" quick enough) when he responded by saying that he knew he had recognized be from there before walking away.

Ummm.... *insert blank stare here* That was the oddest moment I've experienced in a while and it really made me want to remove some of the 1000+ pics I have online (as well as untag myself in a few). I guess living in Chicago you're bound to see people that you recognize from facebook but very rarely do you approach them. On top of that, grown men shouldn't just be walking up on you talking about how they've seen you online. I'm not a celeb.... you're creeping me out so please keep it moving. I think if he would've followed up his statement with something relevant I would've felt a bit better but nope... he was just being creepy. So, my advice to everyone (though it goes w/o needing to really be said) be careful about the amount of information you have readily available to people online... Keep your profiles private... and just be aware of anything that seems to be weird.

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