Jul 29, 2011

Red Tails...

It's not often I watch a movie trailer and tear up, but Red Tails has done just that. Produced by George Lucas, Red Tails is set in the 1940s and tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen that fought during World War II. More impressive than the fact Mr. Lucas is financing this movie with money out of his own (albeit deep) pockets, the quality of acting and story line is superb!

Just watching the trailer I found myself tearing up a bit. It's easy to forget how far we have really come as black people living in the US. Movies like this portray the strength we have as a people and really hits a nerve with me in a positive way. It may seem dramatic, but wow... black people were doing some AMAZING things in the 40s, 50s and 60s! It makes you shake your head at the things we see on TV nowadays and the ways in which we're not only portrayed by others, but portraying ourselves.

I like guilty pleasure TV and gossip as much as the next person, but movies like this remind you of how many more amazing things we could be doing with our lives and talent other than starring in shows like Basketball Wives or writing songs like "Racks on Racks."

I'm so very excited to support this film and amazing lineup of actors. Will you be watching Red Tails?

Big News...

Most of my friends and family already know, but this time next week I'll be getting ready to start my new job and back in my favorite city -- MY city -- the amazing CHICAGO!!!

I'm beyond thrilled to be heading back home and embarking on yet another adventure. My time in South Carolina was great for the simple fact I got to live with my husband (post deployment), and any military couple knows that the time you get together (in-person) is to be valued.

I'm already looking forward to falling back into city life and getting the chance to resurrect my favorite blog series: Adventures on the CTA!!! Yay for public transit and the daily hilarity it provides!

Jul 28, 2011

Pizza & Pinot

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful dinner hosted by Ladies Lounge Columbia, a meet-up group for 20/30-something professional women in the Columbia, SC area. We all enjoyed Pizza & Pinot @ Terra in West Columbia and let me tell you - - I've attended meet-ups before, but this was by far the BEST event I've experienced while living in South Carolina. It was a diverse group of ladies, all full of personality and blessed with the gift of gab. I also had the pleasure of finally meeting fellow bloggers Shanika of Life is Pichey, and Ebony of Make Me Over Eb in person. I'm always excited to meet the faces behind the blogs I read, so putting an actual face with a blog/twitter/vlog is nice.

Pizza & Pinot @ Terra

One of the highlights of my dinner? Finding out I was sitting next to two fellow cancerians! June 25th, June 26th, and June 27th all sitting happily next to one another. I have a soft spot for cancers...

If you're new to the Columbia, SC area or have been living here for a while and genuinely interested in meeting other ladies, please take a look at this group. All the ladies are super nice, professional, and have PERSONALITY!!! It can be hit or miss meeting people online, but I assure you that this is a super fun group and I'm kinda sad I'll be moving. Seriously, why didn't I meet all of them months ago! lol...

This isn't a group that's interested in collecting a bunch of inactive members. If you decide to join please be ready to put yourself out there and have a good time. Participation on a monthly basis is expected, and after one event with these ladies you'll be eager to come out for more.

For more information on Ladies Lounge Columbia click here.

Jul 26, 2011

Boobs on the Brain... (A post for the Ladies)

I was going to write a blog post about the latest episode of Basketball Wives, but all of Tami's complaining wore me out lol. Instead, I've had boobs on the brains as of late.

Unlike women that sit around dreaming of implants, I joyously await the day I pop out some kids so I can go in for a reduction/lift. I remember getting my first sport's bra in 5th grade (from Contempo Casuals lol) and I've been a slave to the under-wire ever since. At a 36DD (the last time I got a professional fitting), I've always been well endowed, but secretly I've always yearned for a reduction. Part of me wonders if I'd regret going smaller since I've always had big boobs, but I think being a full C would be very nice.

Anyways, the reason for this post is really because I feel like since turning 27 my boobs have changed... and not in a good way... in a strange, something-is-off-but-I-can't-put-my-finger-on-it type of way. Can anyone relate to this? I'm kinda scared to see what my breasts would look like after kids. I've seen some nightmarish pictures of ladies that had nice, ample boobs and after kids they looked like deflated balloons (insert sad face here).

No, I'm not pregnant and my husband and I have no immediate plans for children, but motherhood does a number on your body. Is it shallow to want to nip/tuck yourself back together after kids... assuming you're one of the majority women whose body is NOT the same? Maybe I'm just being my typical "worrier" self and thinking about things that are non-issues...

All I know for sure is that I've feel like I can no longer go bra-less around the house and it's kinda annoying. I feel like my boobs are too heavy to skip the bra, and allowing gravity to do its thing would only screw me in the long run. *le sigh* The joy of having big, natural boobs o_O

Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed something that seemed off? I'd love to know that I'm not alone!

Jul 25, 2011

Review: Mizani True Textures line

Ahh, the Mizani True Textures line...

Like many I was familiar with Mizani products, but always associated them with relaxed hair care. NaturallyCurly.com sent me the entire Mizani True Textures line to try out and I must say, in general I wasn't really impressed.... and I know it can be annoying hearing people speak about what is and isn't "impressing" them, but I guess I should say I was very underwhelmed by the True Textures line and what it did for my hair.

Check out my full review:

Jul 24, 2011

Todrick Hall...

**Update -- Clearly I live under a rock (or just don't watch American Idol), because Todrick was a part of Season 9! I'm glad to see he got some face time on camera... **

We've already seen Todrick Hall and his crew rock out to Beyonce in Target, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out this uber talented guy was already somewhat of a YouTube sensation!! Can someone, anyone, please hurry up and sign this guy to some type of deal lol... he's got raw talent, creativity, and a definite star quality about him.

If you have yet to find out who Todrick Hall is take a look at the following videos and check him out via YouTube or Twitter!


and my absolute favorite... his ode to Starbucks!!


Jul 23, 2011

Review: As I Am "Double Butter Cream"

I've been a busy bee over here cranking out my product reviews!!! I know it can seem a bit overwhelming to have so many hair posts coming out the same week, but these reviews were delayed as is, so please bear with me as I get them out :) Hopefully you're enjoying all of the wonderful feedback on the products I've tried.

On to the next one - - As I Am's Double Butter Cream!

This is a product that I was definitely on the fence about for the first few weeks I used it. I actually just became a huge fan of it the last 2-3 weeks when it dawned on me what consistent, amazing results it was giving me. As someone that loves the look of stretched out, fluffed out hair, my blow dryer is typically my best friend. I have no qualms about using my concentration nozzle and diffuser to create the looks I love... but the best thing about the As I Am Double Butter Cream was that it not only moisturized my hair, but it gave little to no shrinkage!!!

I was blown away that my twist-out was defined, stretched, and required just a bit of fluffing! Being able to skip an entire step is enough to make me buy this product again.

It's available on CurlMart.com for $15.50 which is rather steep for an 8oz jar... but we pay for the products that consistently give the results we like! I'm about 75% sure I'll be replacing this stuff. Also, Amazon has the 16 oz jar for under $30.

Check out my video for a full review (my hair was in a twist-out using the double butter cream!! )

Jul 21, 2011

Review: Karen's Body Beautiful "Sweet Ambrosia"

I'd heard many good things about Karen's Body Beautiful, but had yet to try the product line for myself. After receiving the "Sweet Ambrosia" from NaturallyCurly.com I was left with mixed reviews.

Check out my full review:


Available for $16 on CurlMart.com

Jul 20, 2011

Life Without Cable Pt. 4

A few weeks ago I blogged about how during my vacation back to Chicago it dawned on me the insane amount of TV I watched. I'm proud to report that by saying adios to the majority of reality TV shows I watched, I managed to cut my overall TV viewing down by at least 50%.

For the most part it has been rather easy to go without all the dramatic shows, but last night I found myself feeling nostalgic for Basketball Wives. It almost pains me to admit this, but I was starting to wonder what the ladies were up to...well, not Royce because she's just not my cup of tea -- or Meeka for that matter... but I was curious about what Tami, Evelyn, Jen, and Shaunie had up their sleeves. I had seen some clips online hinting to a blowup between Jen and Evelyn and like a good train wreck I had to watch.

So, today I pulled up a few episodes online (does that count as cheating? lol) and WOW... they have a whole shit storm going on between the two of them. For the sake of playing devil's advocate I can sympathize with Evelyn because it's very hard to fake the funk when you have friends, best friends at that, that are not  seemingly happy for your relationship or where you're going with your romantic life. On the other hand Jen is entitled to her opinion, but being a close friend to someone you don't necessarily air that out in an interview to the general public.

One of my pet peeves in life is dealing with people that don't address an issue up front, instead allowing their feelings to fester, resulting in a major blowup. I think I have a rather nice circle of girlfriends and for the most part everyone expresses their feelings so there's little to no drama.

Full Disclosure: I will DEFINITELY be watching the finale next week, so I'm looking forward to seeing if they're able to discuss their feelings like adults... but who am I kidding, the show is based on drama so I'm sure they'll come to blows.

Sidebar -- What in the world was Royce wearing at that car dealership with Meeka? How are you looking at luxury cars dressed like a Pre-Teen ready to hangout at the basketball courts! Meeka, Royce, and Suzie can all drift back into the black abyss they came from.

** For anyone that is interested -- Jen blogs about each episode at Hollywood Life. **

Jul 19, 2011

Review: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie + Raw Shea Butter Line

This review is LONG overdue...

In a nutshell, I was having a TON of issues recording videos and having there be an insane amount of lag w/ the audio and my mouth. I didn't want to post videos that looked like low budget kung-fu flicks so alas, the wait... I figured out what was wrong with my webcam and I think I'm back in business.  

The Goods:

NaturallyCurly.com sent me the following products from the Shea Moisture line...

1. Organic Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie
2. Organic Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner
3. Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

The Verdict:

Jul 18, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos

I was eager to try this recipe I received from one of my girlfriends... little did I realize I was combining some of my favorite things: jalapenos, cream cheese and BACON!!! Seriously, I have a weakness for all things bacon. This stuff is amazeballs.

The recipe is rather simple....

6 Fresh Jalapenos ($1.99/lb at my grocery store - - this is just 1 serving)
1 tub of cream cheese
1 package of bacon
Coarse ground pepper (optional)

 ** Pre-heat oven @ 350 degrees **

1. I washed and cut the jalapenos in half, removed all seeds, and rinsed again
2. Used a spoon to fill each jalapeno halve with cream cheese
3. Since I didn't have tooth picks, I wrapped 1 entire slice of bacon around each jalapeno halve
4. Put into pan and topped with coarse ground pepper
5. Placed in oven for 30 minutes and voila!!! A yummy treat.

Ready for the Oven
Finished Product

Jul 14, 2011

Dental 101: What you should know about your teeth

It only seems fitting that as soon as I was about to write this Dental 101 post, my very own dental office would contact me about how I owe them $185.80. Huh? $185.80? After paying thousands of dollars for work and maxing out my dental insurance twice, they so kindly notified me that $185.80 was the balance that my insurance company would not pay since it was over my yearly amount. *Blank Stare* One of my biggest pet peeves with dental offices is their methods of billing. My current dental office here in South Carolina has actually been pretty good (aside from overbilling me that one time lol) but this is definitely an annoyance. I had the 2nd phase of my work completed in April so getting a bill 3, almost 4 months later was not ideal. They explained that they were ending their fiscal year and had issues with their computers and billing system... blah blah blah... Another freaking dental bill to pay! I have one final phase of work to get done - - preventative work - - and will be SO happy once everything is done. I think I may throw a party... seriously!

Anyways, my hope is to pass along some great advice for others out there that find themselves suffering from their own dental woes or just wanting more information. I spoke with my friend, dental hygienist, and owner of one of the best smiles I know Jessica ---->

 I asked some of the questions I was most curious about and hope it can help you too!

Q. Preventative care seems to be key in avoiding expensive dental bills down the road. What are the top things everyone should be doing at home to care for their teeth?

A. You are absolutely correct. Preventative care is very key in maintaining a healthy mouth. A lot of people don’t understand though that although attending your 6month appointments is important, it is just as important if not more to maintain proper home care. Brushing 2-3 times daily along with flossing, (at least once every other day if you are not able to every day), can keep plaque from building around and underneath the gum line leading to irritation and infection of the gums. It takes only a mere 48 hours for plaque to harden on most people’s teeth. Once that plaque has become hard, a dental professional will need to remove it. Hardened plaque beneath the gum line, properly termed calculus or tartar, is the catalyst that causes your body to go into fight mode. Once your body starts trying to “attack” the calculus, one may develop gingivitis or even worse, periodontal disease.

Q. Why is it that some people never floss and can walk around cavity free, while others (like myself) brush, floss, and use mouth wash and seem to have cavities and root canals everywhere? Does my mouth hate me or are some people more prone to dental problems?

A. Dental decay and or periodontal problems can actually be hereditary. Some people naturally carry in their mouths the bacteria that cause decay or periodontal disease. I have seen patients who have a mouth that is pristine, free of plaque, and they still have so many issues. They try so hard at home care and cannot seem to get ahead. It is just important for these people to be sure and get in to the dentist regularly in order to address these problems when they are small.

Q. You've mentioned to me before that a fluoride rinse should be used daily. What exactly is a fluoride rinse and how does it differ from regular mouthwash like Scope or Listerine?

A. Fluoride is a compound element derived from a mineral that is used to strengthen the enamel on the teeth. I actually recommend it for everyone, problems or no problems only because it can help with everything from dental sensitivity to prevention of decay. It differs from scope and Listerine because fluoride re-mineralizes/ re-hardens enamel and rinses like Listerine kill bacteria in the mouth/ attempt to freshen the breath. A lot of people are apprehensive about fluoride because of beliefs that it can be harmful to the body. Please be advised that research should be done about the risks and benefits of it’s use before discounting it from your regimen.

Q. I've heard dentists recommend certain procedures so the gums don't "blow up". What exactly does it mean for your gums to blow up? 

A. I have never heard the term “gums blowing up”. My best guess is...well actually I don’t have a guess on that one LOL.

Q. When it comes to root canals are they necessary? And do you recommend getting put under the procedure?

Although I am a dental hygienist and I know most things about dentistry, my specialty is solely the gum and bone health. I would rather not go into depth on this question because this is not what I am licensed to do.

Q. How many times a year should we be visiting the dentist? 

A. If no periodontal disease is present, visit every six months. If you have gum problems or issues you should come as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist.

Q. How often should you change your tooth brush? 

A. Every 2-3 months. As the bristles wear down, they are no longer cleaning your teeth as they should. 8. What are the most important things to look for in a toothpaste? Most tooth pastes have the same basic ingredients. I would make sure it has fluoride first and foremost. After that, it is up to what your needs are. Some people want to keep the stain at bay so they purchase a paste with whitening agent in it (i.e. peroxide).

Q. Can whitening toothpastes and/or strips harm your teeth? 

A. For the most part the only adverse effect of over the counter whitening products is temporary tooth sensitivity. If you notice a tooth with open decay I would recommend not using whitening strips in that area because it could potentially damage the nerve of the tooth.

Q. It seems like it can be extremely difficult to find a dentist that you trust. What are the top things you suggest looking for in a dentist to make sure they're a good fit?

My mom is my dentist so I have never actually had the experience of looking for one, however, I think there are a few things I would look for if I had to. First thing would be someone’s willingness to recommend that Dr. Patients who are indifferent or displeased with the experience and work done more than likely will not think to recommend that Dr. I would want the best so I would definitely go with someone that a person close to me trusts. I would also have to view their work before I had any major work done by them. Just because they are a Dr and say they can do something doesn’t mean you should trust them without checking into things. Lastly, I would shop around and get consultations at several places. This might be costly but in the long run may be worth it to avoid a traumatic experience.

Jul 11, 2011

Why Women Have Unrealistic Expectations...

My favorite quotes:

1. "You chose to have a child by a loser... so you can't be mad at the loser and expect the loser to be this great dad when you chose that kind of man..."

2. "You're creating your life by the choices and decisions you make and you can't be mad at anyone else but you."

3. "A lot of people are trying to change their lives, but they're not changing themselves."


Jul 8, 2011

Natural Hair: Flat Twisting 101

Flat twists are my staple for creating twists with minimal shrinkage. The front texture of my hair is kinda straight so I usually always flat twist the front, however, if I'm looking for a way to get a twisted look w/o doing multiple twists I do about 8-9 flat twists on my entire head and get great results.

For those looking for a great way to incorporate this style into your regimen, I wanted to share this video MsDanti1 posted on YouTube. I do my flat twists the exact same way and can attest to how well this method works.

The key for me using flat twists to create my twisted style is to be sure to LET THEM FULLY DRY before taking them down. I don't sleep on wet/damp hair and typically use my hooded dryer attachment to make sure my hair is dry. Also, smoothing my hair with a Denman Brush has proven to be a key step in helping my curls clump and create a smooth finish.

Before going natural I was someone that couldn't braid or twist my hair against the scalp to save my life, but I continued to play around with the style until I got it down. If you have free time or an "off" day where you have nowhere to be, I suggest playing around with products, techniques, and styles. If they look great you've found something new... if not, you don't have to go anywhere with your hair looking crazy lol...

Remember, it can take time to perfect your method for doing a style so don't count it out if it doesn't come out right the first few times.


Jul 7, 2011

Natural Hair: Stretching Your Twists (Heat Free)

One of my favorite natural hair YouTube vloggers, Naptural85, recently posted this great video showing how to stretch your twists overnight sans the heat. I've been looking for a method to use when I want to create an elongated twist-out, minus the use of my blow dryer.

Now, I'll give a full disclosure that my diffuser and concentration nozzle are still my go-to for creating my fail-proof stretched out look, but when I'm around the house or running errands it's not necessary to have my ideal going out hair... especially since I'm back in the insane heat and humidity of South Carolina.

I gave this method a try a few nights ago and was really pleased with my results. More importantly, my favorite part of this method was sleeping without worrying about my twists going flat!! I will continue to pin my twists up this way because I've always struggled with having twists that look ratchet, flat, and lifeless in the morning. This made styling my next day hair a breeze.

If you're someone looking to stretch your hair without the use of heat, or someone that can't seem to have your twists last overnight I would highly suggest watching this video and giving the method a try.

Jul 6, 2011

Taking a break...

While I was visiting Chicago something dawned on me - - I went 11 days without watching ANY reality TV shows. In fact, I only watched one show during those 11 days - - Beyonce's CNN interview with Piers Morgan. (Sidebar: I really enjoyed the interview and can't remember the last time I saw her showing so much personality) 

During that much needed break I realized how nice it was to be out living life and not just watching folks do stuff on the tube. When I got home and settled in a bit I grabbed the remote and started making my way through the mess that was my DVR. SO many shows were in there for me to watch and it was slightly daunting being faced with the fact that I had fallen about 2 episodes behind on many of my favs. Halfway through watching The Real Housewives of New York I decided to do something drastic - - I just started deleting all of my shows!!! Yes, me -- the self-admitted reality TV junkie was going to just go cold turkey and give up 95% of the crap I watched.

Maybe I'm still on a "Chicago high," but being a zombie in front of the TV for countless hours during the week isn't appealing to me. I want to be active and out living life - - even if I'm in SC lol. I could be doing SO many other things with my time besides watching grown woman make fools out of themselves for a reality check.

After my super clean sweeping session the only reality shows that were left unscathed were: Keeping up with the Kardashians and Celebrity Ghost Stories. It's funny because they really are my two favorite shows and satisfy my craving for celebrity and paranormal lol.

Jul 5, 2011

Summertime Chi

My husband and I wanted to send a huge thanks to all of our amazing friends and family that made this vacation a memorable time. It's hard to realize how much you're missing out on by not living in a place where you have easy access to the ones you love most, but I made sure to see as many people as possible. I hadn't been home in about a year (longer for my husband), so it was a slight challenge making time for everyone - - and there were a bunch of people I didn't get to see. I try to not feel too bad, but when you're stuffing a year of missed times into a week of activities it's hard.

One of the best things about being back home with my photogenic friends was being able to put my camera to use!!! I've always been the unofficial photographer of my group so capturing our various nights out is high on my list. I put together a small collage of some of my favorite moments of this trip.

On another note being back in Chicago and having an actual social life provided me with tons of blog fodder. On the roster in the coming weeks: 

1. J Bar and the ultimate club come up
2. Bijan's and their foreign exchange program with Russia
3.  Planking - - even the strippers are doing it :/
4. Witness Protection: My mission to save the waitress @ Perez
5. When good crowds go bad - - Educated blacks acting an ass at Sawtooth
6. You know your night is good when you top it off by sleeping in a car
7. Toll Roads - getting ripped off 80 cents at a time (aka the 294 sucks)
8. My quest for a signature drink

Jul 1, 2011

10% off for Military @ Forever21

I'm still on vacation and prepping for an AMAZEBALLS night out with friends later on today... but I wanted to share with all of my fellow military spouses (and military personnel) that Forever21 will be offering 10% off all purchases in-store 7/1 thru 7/4! I love a sale and 10% off is quite nice. Take advantage of this deal.

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