Dec 26, 2011

Have you been cuffed?

Winter is officially here and cuffing season is in mid-swing. Even though the weather has been mild for the most part, the urge to get cuffed has not disappeared.

Folks that didn't want to cuff someone prior to Christmas (for fear of shelling out dough on a gift for someone that would only last a few months), Christmas is over and NYE is on the horizon... a fun introductory holiday to spend with your latest cuffing victim!! What's better than a cute outfit, drinks, and lip locking your new boo?

For those that aren't aware, Cuffing Season officially lasts from November to March, so if you haven't found a cuff-mate don't fear -- you have a little time left. But I'd urge you to have your cuddle buddy in place by mid January so you can prepare for the winter freeze that is February in Chicago.

I was a little rusty on my Cuffing Season etiquette, so I found the below video to give myself a refresher. Remember, "it's cold outside and everyone needs a cuff buddy" lol.

Dec 25, 2011

Ho Ho Ho...

Merry Christmas!!! Just looked up and realized that I haven't blogged in weeks. It's pretty funny because I've had numerous blog posts running through my mind (a few I'm still on the fence about whether or not I can get away with writing lol), but my life has felt like a soap opera lately... one big shenanigan, if you will. My girlfriend @ladyla83 and I have even coined our festivities "Shenanigans in the City." What do these shenanigans include? Many nights of being lost in the sauce lol...

This year Christmas is feeling a lot like any other day of the year. Not sure if that's due to the deployment and being in the midst of an apartment hunt, or because I'm grown and clearly don't believe in the magic of Santa lol. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to wrapping up the final week of the year and my vacation to the Dominican Republic in 10 days :) Yay for fun in the sun!

My intention is to put the pieces of my life back together and crank out a few blog posts before 2011 comes to an end.... and for anyone that cares, Tuesday is my half birthday :) so I may need to be in these streets to celebrate.

Dec 12, 2011

Brazilian Blowout Results on Natural Hair (Chicago)

Last year I wrote numerous posts raving about my experience getting the Brazilian Blowout on my natural, African American hair. It had been well over a year since my last treatment, mainly due to military life and all the moving, but I finally received my third treatment over the weekend.

The search to find a salon carrying the official Brazilian Blowout line was rather difficult, so when a girlfriend referred me to stylist Danyel Nicole I was in heaven. Danyel works at Lakshmi Hair Salon, a neighborhood spot nestled in East Pilsen.

My main  motivation for seeking out Danyel Nicole was 1) She used the official Brazilian Blowout product line and 2) She's familiar with black hair care, as a number of her clients are natural and 3) I was referred to her by a friend whose hair judgment I trust.

The actual Brazilian Blowout? I loved my results - - as I expected. Again, this was my third time getting the treatment done, and all three times have been using the original Brazilian Blowout formula - - NOT the "Zero" line they just released.. but the Original with the "trace amounts of formaldehyde". I wanted to stick with what I knew had already worked well for me. The only difference I noticed this time around were a few fumes, which I NEVER experienced with the lovely Kim @ Apricot Lounge Salon in Scottsdale, AZ. I had read some reviews where people complained about fumes, but my prior two times that never happened to me. This time I did sense a few, but didn't realize what it was until after the fact. It took a while to make the connection lol... Now, the fumes weren't something that overpowered me or really alarmed me, but in the sake of being honest with my readers I DID experience them for the first time, this third time. I believe this was due to Danyel Nicole's technique, or lack thereof if you will.

In comparison to the previous treatments I received, Kim took her time and worked her way through my hair. She wasn't overbooked or working under the gun, and therefore was able to really be neat with her application. On the other hand, I think Danyel Nicole provided me with the same overall amazeballs results, but her technique seemed a bit rushed and not as neat. I want to really phrase that carefully because she didn't have stuff all over the place or things dripping in my eye lol... not at all. She just worked really fast and I think slightly rushing through may have caused some of the fumes. With that said, I would still recommend Danyel as a stylist.

Once the treatment was done she blew my hair out using a technique with all of these round brushes. I had seen it on TV before, but thought it would tangle my hair. Well, it probably would if I was doing it lol... but Danyel worked her way through my hair with those brushes and the body I had was AMAZEBALLS!!! I would seriously go back to her for a regular wash/blowout ANY time. My hair was doing thangs. Yes, THANGS!! I had what Tyra Banks calls wind in the hair... when you walk and create your own wind. It was next level amazing.

If you talk to me in person about the Brazilian Blowout I may border on sounding like an infomercial lol, but the treatment really is that good. Example: Saturday night I ended up going out with friends to dinner, a bar, and then passing out on my girlfriend's couch. Any other time I would have woken up to a shrunken ball of yarn (aka my fro lol) but with the Brazilian Blowout I woke up with smooth, frizz free strands and was once again reminded of how much I love the treatment. Another reason why I love it? I can get my idea of blown out perfection using a round brush, no flat iron! Even my "after" pic below was using round brushes. Salon Fresh!

If you're interested in booking a consultation with Danyel you can reach her via phone (312-404-0853) or email. She's having a  $199 Brazilian Blowout special until the end of the year. Tell her I sent you :) No, seriously... tell her I sent you lol... I'm all about that referral life.

Arizona Folks: I still live for Kim Allison and the Apricot Lounge Salon. If you're in the valley, please book an appointment with Kim ASAP as her hands were dipped in the fountains of the Gods at Mt. Olympus lol... she's really that good! Salon #: 480-947-3833

Getting the treatment applied. You can see my hair in its natural state.

Blown out and getting treatment sealed in via flat iron

Finished product!!! Blow out with round brushes... 

Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email!

Dec 7, 2011

Design Talk Webisode 2: Top Ten Tips for Renters

Interior designer Niki McNeil, and her design enthusiast bestie Tricea, are back for the 2nd webisode of Design Talk! This month the ladies are dishing their top 10 tips for renters... a topic idea yours truly suggested via twitter. One must love the power of social media. I'm very excited for this month's webisode and think it's full of great tips. In particular, I love their suggestion to paint! I think all too often renters are intimidated by the idea of painting their walls (if the landlord allows it) and their sugestion of doing the trim as well was awesome.

Since my husband and I have been on the apartment hunt, I've come across many rentals that were lacking. If there was great light, the interior was dated. Great floors, but appliances are from the 1900s lol... Location is amazing, but the carpet looks like death. Unless you have a $$$$ budget, most renters will be faced with having to find a place that has some potential and doing the work. I know that nobody wants to invest a ton of money and work into a rental property, but as Tricea said, your home should come up and greet you when you walk through the door. We spend so much time in our homes and making the space a reflection of our personalities and a true oasis of relaxation should be high on everyone's list.

I'm going to continue my rental search with an open-mind and eye for design. I'll also be sure to ask the landlord/property manager their rules on light fixtures being changed, walls being painted, and especially the trim!! My father-in-law is an electrician so it'd be nice to put him to work. I have chandellier dreams bouncing around my mind lol.

Sidebar: Peep the background of the video!! Niki's room is GORGEOUS. I need to hire her to design my space :) (once I get a space that is lol....)

So, what do you think of Design Talk? As a renter, did your favorite tip to transform a rental into your own space make their list?

Dec 5, 2011

Watch The Throne...

Last week my girlfriend and I headed to see 'Ye and Jay-Z in concert. It was amazeballs. Kanye West + A hometown crowd? "Y'all n*ggas ain't ready!"

To say that I enjoyed myself would be a gross understatement. The concert was bananas!!! If it's headed to your city please grab some tickets because you don't want to miss it. 3 hrs of non-stop performances from both Kanye and Jay-Z, 40+ songs, drinks, good times...

We ended our nights with one of our favorite spots - - Bijan's Bistro!! I think we were feeling inspired by the concert, but we dined on one of our favs: Escargot! Only Lontier and I eat escargot at 2am like it's nothing lol....

Nov 24, 2011

Turkey Day Reflection

It's Thanksgiving Day 2011 and guess what? Millions of people are crawling out of the woodworks to spend time with friends and family... some begrudgingly lol... but today marks the one day (aside from Christmas) where people feel societal pressure to reflect and show others love. I'm of the mindset that we should approach each and every day with the "attitude of gratitude," but I don't mind the emphasis on Thanksgiving...

So, dissecting the word: Thanks-Giving....

I'm first thankful for having time! Time is one of the most precious, if not THE most precious commodities in the world. I mean, there's even a new movie  out about it lol. But seriously, I'm very thankful for God to have given me the time - - the 27 years I've had on this Earth. Within time I have seen that all things are possible. Broken hearts can heal. Sickness can turn into better health. People grow. Life just happens - - and none of it would be possible without time. Time is also mysterious because in a control freak, ocd, instant gratification world, it is one of the few things nobody has control over.

When I think about giving, I often reflect back to when I was younger and would give my TIME volunteering. Kinda crazy how what I find most precious (time), is what I'm most grateful to be able to GIVE. I am happy to give not only my time, but also my love and friendship because going through this world alone is a grim reality for some people. It's a cliche saying, but I feel extremely blessed to have the love and support of my friends and family, but to be able to GIVE that same love and support to them is amazeballs.

I have no plans to stuff my face or fall into a food coma this Thanksgiving. If anything I'll indulge in some delicious ham (because you can never have enough ham lol), but I'm eating to live, not living to eat lol.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and really spends their time, their precious time... doing exactly what they want with the people that matter most. Life is short and you never know when your time will be up. Live it to the fullest and with no regrets.

Nov 23, 2011

My Metra Struggles are real....

I love the metra. It's a million times better than the CTA and I have never felt safer... and seriously, I've had more than a few sketchtastic moments on the Blue Line (including a few weirdos on the #3 and #4). With that said, my metra struggles are real!

Having a social life, no matter how far away I live, is a priority of mine. Not referencing club events, but after work happy hours, hair events, just opportunities to be social in the city with friends - - I'm all about that! I think I got spoiled originally living in the South Loop... then moving to Oak Park I was still able hop on the e-way with ease. Now, I'm out in the burbs and everything is a challenge.

So, the downside? After about 7pm the metra train only runs once an hour. Couple that with nearly an hour long ride? Yeah... shit gets real! The positive? I can safely pass out on the train, though I do keep my iphone out of sight and my purse in a death grip.

As my husband and I continue our apartment search I'm debating on what area to call home. River North is high on my list, the South Loop will always be number one, but I've also started thinking about Hyde Park, Lincoln Park, and Oak Park. Damn, that's a lot of "parks" lol.. Nevertheless, I'm on a mission to reduce my metra struggles and revive my social life. I'd love to live within cab distance downtown and have the option of easy access on the e-way. I can't wait to see where we end up. My metra commute is for the birds.

Nov 22, 2011

@Hub51: Best Cocktail of my Life!!!

Two Words: Hub Punch!!! This is the BEST cocktail I have every had in my entire life - - and I've had a lot. The perfect blend of tequila and vodka, the "Hub Punch" features Grey Goose Le Citron, Cazadores Reposado Tequila, Licor 43, and Pomegranate.

Now, I'm well aware that most people would never contemplate mixing vodka and tequila, but this drink was insanely smooth and free of hints of either liquor. It had notes of orange and pomegranate, but not obnoxiously fruity either. Seriously - - the PERFECT COCKTAIL. What makes this even better? It's only $8 a glass or $32 for the pitcher.

Last week I celebrated my girlfriend's 30th birthday at Hub51 and it was my first time at the restaurant, but consider it love at first sip!

After losing count of how many drinks I had, it was time to "break the seal". Of course I took the obligatory "drunk in the bathroom" picture (which my hair was looking all kinds of awesome lol)... but guess what? Even the bathroom in this place was gorgeous. Individual stalls with solid wood doors and amazing lighting! I was in bathroom heaven.

My girlfriend did an awesome job putting together a menu for us and I think the Roasted Turkey Chopped Salad was what my dreams are made of. I wish I could comment on the other items, but the salad and hub punch were all that I had.... oh, and a bit of sushi, the Miso-Glazed Salmon Roll. The sushi was forgettable, but the salad was delicious and the Hub Punch was the essence of amazeballs! I wish I could spread that drink from coast to coast... package it up and sell it! *sigh* Oh, the memories... I need that cocktail in my life lol...

If you're on the hunt for the perfect place to dine downtown, please put Hub51 high on your list. You will not be disappointed.

Nov 21, 2011

@LovinMyTextures "Beautiful Textures" Product Launch (Chicago)

Last week I attended the @LovinMyTextures #BeautifulHair product launch for the "Beautiful Textures" line. The event was promoted as an "evening of coils, curls, & cocktails"... and it was just that.

How I ended up at the event is actually an interesting story - - one of my girlfriends (and co-workers) was originally scheduled to be a hair model, but couldn't make it so she recommended me. I was surprised to get the call @ 3p asking if I could be a hair model for the event which began at 6p. Super excited for the opportunity to network with fellow natural hair enthusiasts, I was able to pull some strings at work and get to the event by 5p.

Since this whole thing was so last minute my hair wasn't necessarily "Clean & Fresh" like they wanted (I had just worked out lol...), but fab hairstylist Kimberly Walker (@KimmyGotSoul) was able to work some magic and salvage my hair.
So, it's clear that by no means am I a model nor do I have a model body - - so I was slightly, umm... what's the word - - hesitant to rock the size medium tank with the company name for the event. I have a 36DDD rack and was like, umm.. this logo is about to be all kinds of stretched out lol. But you know what, I sucked it up, rocked the tank with a smile, and was thrilled to put my normal clothes back on to get some decent photos lol.

Tank top aside, I had a wonderful time at the event being introduced to the new product line catered to mixed texture hair (curly, wavy, kinky-coily, frizzy), along with seeing a bunch of familiar (and some new) faces. I walked away with a gift bag with a few products to try:

DJ Niena Drake 
1. Rapid Repair Deep Conditioner
2. Tangle Taming Leave-In Conditioner
3. Curly to Straight Flat Iron Silkener
4. Curl Control Defining Pudding

First thoughts? I did get the opportunity to try the Curly to Straight Flat Iron Silkener when I was blowing out my hair - - and this stuff was pretty good! It's an oil so you have to be sure to start off with a smaller amount and gradually increase, but it left my hair amazingly smooth and soft. It can feel like the natural hair market is flooded with new products every day, but I'm genuinely excited to try the rest of the products.

 Vlogger @MsVaughnTV 

Blogger and Vlogger @MeechyMonroe (MsVaughnTV's sister)

Blogger and Stylist @TheSassyPeach

Blogger @TheManeSource

Hair Stylist @KimmyGotSoul

Nov 15, 2011

Nail Art: LBD for your Nails

Source has been featuring 31 Days of Nail Polish Ideas on their daily beauty blog, Girls in the Beauty Department.

This black with gold studs design seems relatively simple, but is actually the perfect way to treat your nails to a holiday style "LBD." My favorite colors are black and gold and I think this manicure is the perfect way to keep it simple, yet add some edge to your nails. I'll for sure be giving this a try.

What's your go-to holiday nail look?

Nov 14, 2011

How many pours does it take to get to the bottom of a delicious bottle of Moscato?

This weekend I decided to answer a question that had long plagued my brain - - how many glasses can one get from a bottle of wine! I've never polished off an entire bottle of wine in one sitting, so I was clueless about how much bang you really got for your buck.

By no means am I a wine expert. For most of my life I actually loathed wine and only drank red during catholic church lol. Last year I discovered Riesling, and earlier this year Moscato made its way into my heart. I found this bottle of Barefoot for under $6 at Target on Saturday night, and since my only goal was to stay in all weekend it was the perfect time to do my "research."

I decided to watch "American Horror" while I worked my way through the bottle, and I'm not sure that was a good thing. Wow... that is one crazy show. The wine definitely didn't help me understand the dizzying plot, but I digress.... after all was said and done I was able to get 5 very heavy-handed pours out of this bottle. That's about $1/glass average and absolutely amazeballs by my standards. I feel like wine is the way to go.

What's your wine of choice? Better yet, has anyone been watching "American Horror Story?" If so, please explain to me the plot... I'm so freaking lost and that bottle of wine did nothing to help me lol.

Nov 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day

As an Air Force wife I know firsthand the level of dedication, sacrifice, and stress military families go through... all too often having nobody understand or even care. Today I want to wish a very happy Veteran's Day to all of the amazing troops (past and present) risking their lives every day, as well as the families that support them.

The military experience, though not for the faint of heart, is a great one full of opportunities to learn and grow along the way. There's nobody I'd rather go through this with than the love of my life, my husband. It's kind of funny that he's working on Veteran's Day, but most troops are working while we're out living our lives - - enjoy the freedom we have because it does come with a price!

Nov 10, 2011

@tgiFRESHchicago: Black Friday "So So Fresh Edition"

Do you have your "day after Thanksgiving" plans yet? Once you're done braving the mall, or a fierce session of online shopping, come out and enjoy the sounds of Jermaine Dupri. He'll be the guest DJ at TGIFreshFridays - - the monthly event hosted by So Chi Promotional Group and Royalte Inc.

Why I love their events so much? It's once a month so there is no burn out, the steady line up of fresh DJs they bring in, and best of all? $40 "open bar" wristband!!! Of course there's a slight catch - - the open bar is typically only between 9p to midnight... but for anyone that likes to have more than 3 drinks this is a great deal.

Pre-sale tickets are only $16 and on sale until 11/18. Hop on this now because the regular price is sure to sky rocket as the event nears. Come work off those Turkey Day calories and enjoy some good times.

Please note that an RSVP is required for entry in addition to purchasing a ticket. This event is sure to sell out and an RSVP does not guarantee entrance into the club. 

Purchase Tickets Here

Nov 9, 2011

Hot Fashion from Iggy Azalea's "My World" Video

By no means am I proclaiming Iggy Azalea as the next "big thing" in the world of female rappers, but after watching her "My World" video, I need to give her stylist props! I'm absolutely loving the fashion she's rocking and actually think she's a pretty cute girl... Almost too cute to be rapping about her "Pu$$y" and what not lol... but to each their own. Those black/white stripe wedges, black leather studded vest, leopard print wedges, Dalmatian dot skirt, and hot pink dress (which Forever21 has a version of - - not yet on the site, but in store)... give me all that PLEASE!

I'm not someone to jump on the "white girls can't be rappers" bandwagon, and after watching a few of her videos I kinda like her style. I think it satisfies my nasty, "Three 6 Mafia" loving side. Oh, you didn't know? I'm OBSESSED with Three 6 Mafia and Project Pat. Actually, most people who know me already are aware of that gem and have been privy to hear me go ape shit crazy rapping their songs lol...

Sidebar: A few months back I was at the club with LadyLaLaCPA and the DJ played a 30 min Three 6 Mafia set!!! Oh-Em-Gee! That is unheard of - - especially in Chicago clubs. I think that may have been the best 30 minutes of my life in terms of club moments.

If a rap career doesn't pan out, the Australian looker could easily be a model. What do you think?

Nov 8, 2011

Summer's Lincoln Park Gem

Summer and Josh added a classic touch to their 1800s historical charmer. The Lincoln Park 1 bedroom is gorgeous and a smart mix of classic pieces, pops of color, and fun patterns. Not to mention their effective use of window space! The curved seating is genius!

The chandellier is amazeballs, but I would have added an area rug to ground the living room space, as well as opted for a different wall treatment. Not a huge fan of the wall paper. Still, Summer and Josh have a Lincoln Park stunner. They've successfully inspired me to continue my apartment hunt.

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