Aug 31, 2011

Hip Hop Project's "Virtual Classroom" - - Demetria Lucas (aka A Belle in Brooklyn)

Demetria Lucas, better known as the voice behind "A Belle in Brooklyn," recently sat down with the Hip Hop Project to participate in their virtual classroom series. Among the many pearls of wisdom she offered up regarding her lucrative career in writing, relationships and education, my favorite was advising folks to "spend money on experiences and not things." Yes, that Gucci bag may make you smile, but using that same money to travel to a different country will create lasting memories and provide a bigger bang for your buck.

As someone that has had a love of writing since I was a child, I enjoyed listening to someone that has gained much success in the field, yet is still growing and on their journey. It's inspiring to be reminded that following your heart and going for your passion in life can truly pay off. I also was reminded that you can always improve and develop... something I've been interested in doing personally with my writing and blog - - just having more of a focus, although I'm such a random person that I feel my blog does often reflect my scattered thoughts lol... Now, whether that's a good thing or not I have no clue.

Sidebar: Watching this video actually made me more of a "Belle" fan. I think I like her better "in-person" than online... I'm digging her style... and can I jack that hair color! Super cute...

Aug 30, 2011

My Weekend...

Back in 2008-2009, when I stayed in someone's club, lounge or restaurant on the regular,  I would write "Weekend Review" posts. My party girl lifestyle has definitely simmered down, but my social life has not completely flatlined.

This weekend I was on the hunt for a cute, low-key brunch spot to catch up with one of my besties and fellow blogger Kcalana1. Since I'm staying in the suburbs for the time being I didn't feel like driving up North to all of the fab spots that keep the liquor flowing. I decided to keep things a little closer to home and search in Hyde Park. I'm still on the fence about Hyde Park as a place to call home. It's a super cute neighborhood, but the insane amount of homeless people and lack of parking makes me wonder...


Anyways, we decided to check out Valois Restaurant, a cafeteria style eatery on 53rd (between Harper and Lake Park). The place had over 100 reviews on Yelp and averaged 4 out of 5 stars. The food was good and the prices were even better! My entire breakfast cost about $8 (2 eggs, grits, ham, english muffin and orange juice) and the service was prompt.

The only drawbacks to eating here were the parking situation and 'cash only' policy. I guess I've been living under a rock (aka South Carolina) because I had no clue that it's no longer free to park on Sundays!! I got a $50 ticket on Sunday and was highly annoyed. I felt like I was in an episode of "Parking Wars" as I ran to my car just as the meter man (isn't meter maid just for ladies? lol... am I crazy?) wrote my ticket.

I also ventured to the 59th St Harbor with another bestie and fellow blogger SexyandtheChi. I had never been to the marina before, but let me just say it was an experience. I've been on yachts (when I was younger my mom had one...) but I had never seen folks that own boats party in the parking lot of their marina. I guess gas is too expensive and nobody even wants to set foot on their boat lol. Another sight to be seen? The parking situation! Folks were parked in the lot... on the grass, on the sidewalks, on the curbs - - it was a mess! The only thing worse than the parking setup was the nightmare when we tried to leave! I've never been gridlocked in a parking lot. It took forever to get out of there and I couldn't have been happier to hop on Lake Shore Drive and whiz away from that place.

So, how'd you spend your weekend?


Weekend Haunts

Valois Restaurant
1518 E. 53rd St.
Chicago, IL 60615
773-667-0647


59th Street Harbor
5900 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60615
312-747-7019



Aug 29, 2011

Kim Kardashian’s Music Video “Jam (Turn It Up)” Directed By Hype Williams [Video]

**Update** Guess the video got pulled down just that fast! lol... Kim K stays on top of her stuff!

When her song didn't take off Kim Kardashian did a great job of making sure the music video never saw the light of day. The following is a clip I was sent via Bossip.com and although it's short, I don't think it's too shabby! Kim Kardashian is definitely NOT a singer, but Hype Williams did a wonderful job, as to be expected.

What do you think of the video?

200 sq ft Parisian Flat Remodel...

I've always dreamed of living in Paris and calling my very own Pied-√†-terre home. This 200 sq ft Parisian flat remodel was recently featured on ApartmentTherapy.com and as usual, I was amazed at the amount of space (or lack thereof) people can comfortably call home.



Parisian Flat Before...




Looking at all of these wonderful studios makes me question whether Americans truly are excessive, wasteful and less efficient? My husband and I just moved out of a 1000 sq ft apartment that we were more than comfortable in and the thought of downsizing was freaking me out... but if 2 people can share 400 sq ft and smaller without a problem should we all be thinking about making the most of our space instead of having a "bigger is better" attitude? Hmmm... thoughts?



Aug 26, 2011

Macy's "Shop for a Cause" 2011

Macy's is having a great deal going on today and tomorrow...

If you donate $5 to their "Shop for a Cause" charity event (benefitting March of Dimes), you'll receive a card allowing you to receive 25% off all purchases today and tomorrow!!!

I just saved a bunch of money on bras (which they're having a great sale @ the State/Lake location), so I urge everyone to get in the giving spirit and instantly reap the rewards.

Breast Reduction Surgery...

I've toyed around with the idea of getting a breast reduction for years... but imagine my surprise when after glancing at before and after pictures I realized, "Fuck, I really DO look like a before picture." My jaw was seriously dropped and my eyes started to water... is my body changing before my eyes? My boobs were always big... then somehow they became HUGE! Ginormo even...  but recently I've noticed a major change (which I blogged about) and I'm starting to become more self-aware, self-conscious, and slightly insecure about my large rack. My posture is affected, the straps digging into my skin cause headaches, and I'm tired of not being able to have clothes fit me properly. I guess you could say that I'm just over having a big, disproportionate chest and want to fix it asap.

 The catch? I'm not 16, 19, or even 24... I'm 27, nearly 2 years into my marriage, and almost certain that I'll have kids within the next 5 years. Breast reductions (which are usually accompanied with a lift) are not recommended for women that plan on nursing because the surgery can cause complications with the milk supply - - basically you don't have food for your kid. I'm not a parent, but it would do a huge psychological number on me not being able to connect with and nurture my child via breastfeeding. On top of that, doctors don't necessarily recommend reductions to women that plan on becoming pregnant because pregnancy changes your boobs and guess what... all that beautiful surgical work they do will change, even if slightly... and Lord knows once I get my dream rack I don't want to go back to the racks on racks (on racks...) that I have now.

Have any mothers had the breast reduction surgery and been able to breast feed without any problems? Did you experience issues with your newly constructed boobs post pregnancy? Has anyone else considered getting a breast reduction, but been nervous because they have yet to become a mother?

Aug 25, 2011

I need some quality time with my girlfriends...

I've been in Chicago for almost 3 weeks now and have yet to see any of my girlfriends or go out. In my defense the first 2 weeks were spent adjusting to my new work schedule and commute, along with spending time with my husband before his 2nd deployment to the "sand box"... but it dawned on me the other day that I'm beyond busy all the time and really have no free time anymore. Once I start my classes again in 2 weeks I feel like I'll NEVER see anyone and might as well be living back in SC lol.

Not my idea of quality time...
I tentatively plan on rectifying this situation Labor Day weekend and getting in at least 1 or 2 days of fun... and I want to have a lot of fun - - dancing, drinks, laughs... all that stuff. What I DON'T want to do is sit around with my girlfriends and be a zombie attached to my cell phone ---------->

Cell phones and social media are awesome, but they do take away from actually enjoying the people you have in front of you. I mean, how many times have you found yourself surrounded by friends and family, yet glued to your phone? It's funny to be constantly updating twitter and facebook with all "fun" things you're doing... yet, how much life can you be living when you're face down into your cell phone? Don't get me wrong, I'll probably throw out a few funny tweets if I'm downing drinks lol... but I want to enjoy the time I have with people since my free time is so scarce nowadays.




Aug 24, 2011

Why I love Kris Humphries...

His down to earth personality and ability to keep things light-hearted is one of the most appealing qualities about Kris Humphries. In this clip I thought it was cute he wiped off Kim's makeup and was puzzled as to why her mom and Kourtney complained about getting their hair wet... as they were in a kayak in Bora Bora!! I'm one of those people that can't stand to be around folks at the beach/pool that can't get their hair or suit wets. What the point of even going?

Anyways, enjoy this clip of the lovebirds in action - - sorry about the auto-play. Super annoying, but don't know how to turn it off!


Aug 23, 2011

Wrist Candy (via Monica Rose)

When it comes to bracelets and watches my motto is the more the merrier, the bigger the better! Monica Rose recently posted some great arm candy on her blog and I had to share. I'm drooling over each of these pieces and can't wait to start building up my very own collection of wrist candy.



Absolutely LOVING the nail jewelry!! Super hot...

A gold watch is still a staple for me. I need to get the battery replaced in mine...


What are your must-have accessories to rock this fall? Sidebar: I think I want to start rocking a friendship bracelet... very old school, but the colors used to make me so happy! lol...

Stylish Studios from around the Web...



By now everyone knows I'm slightly obsessed with studio living and the innovative ways people around the world make use of their smaller spaces. Each time I see these unique, quirky, glamorous, and efficient spaces it inspires me that much more to take the plunge and try living in a smaller space.

Apartment Therapy recently posted some of their top picks for cohesive and stylish studios from across the globe -- of course I was excited to share!



Images: 1. Innerstadsspecialisten 2. Trevor Tondro for The New York Times 3. Andreas Larsson for Chicago Home + Garden 4. Marie Claire Maison 5. DigsDigs 6. Thomas Loof for House Beautiful 7. Grant Delin for Dwell 8. Design*Sponge 9. Per Magnus Persson for Dwell. 10. Paul Costello for Glamour.


• Easy does it in this minimalistic, masculine home. The colors are minimal without being austere. See the full tour at emma'sdesignblogg.
• Blue beams and red doors create an intimate, unified space in New York City. See the full tour at
The New York Times.
• Dwell Studio's popular
Chinoiserie bedding pairs with modern photography in this bedroom in Marina City. See the full tour at Chicago Home + Garden.
• A carefully considered, layered color scheme looks sophisticated and inviting. See the full tour at Marie Claire Maison.
• This airy Swedish studio is decorated with thoughtful, lovely accent pieces. See the full tour at
DigsDigs.
• A clever photo holder is the centerpiece of this traditional studio. See the full tour at House Beautiful.
• A tiny studio is meticulously organized and decorated. See the full tour at
Dwell.
• Lavender walls look fresh in a light-filled studio in San Francisco. See the full tour at
Design*Sponge.
• Dark hues make a 495 square foot space look both cozy and modern. See the full tour at
Dwell.
• Layered textures look sophisticated in a space Nate Berkus designed for his sister. See the full tour at
Glamour.

The space Nate Berkus designed for his sister and the airy, Swedish studio are my favs! Which is your favorite space?

Aug 22, 2011

5 Smart Studio Layouts

Find yourself on a studio budget with dreams of a well-planned out space? Apartment Therapy recently posted the 5 smartest studio layouts renters should look for, along with how to make these spaces work best for you. Since moving back to Chicago I've been bouncing around the idea of living in a studio - - ultimately sacrificing space for location. Seeing these various layouts and how they maximize the use of space is inspiring and helps lessen my anxiety about living in such a small space.


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#1) Laura's Fresh Start StudioLaura's studio is a railroad-style apartment that she divides into a bedroom and living area using a curtain. The angled chair in the sitting room can move around, and a blue accent wall adds a touch of dramatic color. She keeps the space uncluttered by choosing just a few furnishings: a bed, dresser, chair, chaise lounge, side table, and a set of nesting tables.

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#2) Lila's Live/Work StudioLila fits her home and office into a 240-square-foot space. The sleeper chair in the center of the room folds out into her bed. Behind that, a dining table and bookshelves create a small study. The desk is a very smart system, designed as a ledge that wraps around the corner of the room. A brown-and-green color scheme keeps things unified.

03layout8-7-09.jpg

#3) Moo and Ju's Super Comfy: The bed is the central hangout spot in Moo and Ju's studio. During the day, it doubles as a sofa. Two armchairs face it, creating a conversation area. A small dining area separates the bed/living room from the kitchen. Vertical storage pieces flank either end of the main room. The symmetry and order of the arrangement anchors the playful prints and colors.

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#4) Tony and Hilary's 3 in 1 Studio: In this apartment, a custom-made "pod" and loft bed defines the space. Inside and out, the pod contains shelving. Inside, there's an office and closet. Outside, it holds the media center, with the bed above. The rest of the space is arranged with storage flanking each side of the room, a sofa in the middle, and a couple of chairs for guests.

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#5) Kevin's Triple ThreatKevin's studio separates the bedroom from the living area with a hanging "screen." The sofa folds out into a bed for guests, and a stool provides extra seating. Storage is built into the bed and the walls.

Aug 20, 2011

Clusterf*ck: Google+, bums, & hot coffee....

1. Earlier this week I had the chance to particiapte in a Google+ Hangout with fellow vlogger MsDanti and her friend Risse. It was pretty cool being able to video chat with one of my online friends, and I'd actually love to connect with more bloggers/vloggers this way. It took a few tweaks to get the plug-in downloaded and my camera working, but well worth the work.

2. The bums on Michigan Ave. are out of control - - particularly at 168 N. Michigan Ave. The building is undergoing renovations so the homeless population has set-up what looks like a day camp in front of the location. They have beds, chess sets, and of course cups to beg for change. I'm not anti-homeless people because life happens and everyone has a story, but I'd rather not step over them during my morning/afternoon commute. On a lighter note, I do think it's pretty cool to see some of the business men in suits playing quick chess matches w/ the homeless while waiting for their bus.

3. We all know coffee is hot, but have you ever wondered just HOW hot your cup of joe is? Well, after burning my tongue on my "wake me up in a cup" the other day I decided to put my googling skills to use. The average temp coffee is served at ranges betweeen 185 - 200 degrees!!! Yowzers... that's one hot ass cup of coffee. The Keurig in my office is set to 189 degrees and that really seems to hot... like hospital burn hot. The lowest it will let me set it to is 187 degrees, which is still hot... so tongues beware!!

Aug 18, 2011

10 Ways to Customize a Rental

Living in a rental can often be a buzzkill. Unless you're paying top dollar, you're often faced with bland flooring, blah walls, and an overall space that's uninspiring. In an effort to help spice up your rental space, Apartment Therapy posted 10 ways renters can customize their rental spaces into something that's uniquely you!


1. Use modular furniture that you can customize to fit your space. Casey Marie's sectional sofa, for instance, splits up into chairs or a loveseat. If her next apartment doesn't have room for a full sectional, she can still use it. For other modular furniture ideas, click here.

2. Emile added lofted storage in an oddly shaped area above the kitchen. If your apartment has high ceilings, utilize the space above your kitchen cabinets to build in extra storage.

3. Rhiannon worked with a problem that many renters face: wall-to-wall carpet. By adding bright accents and layering area rugs over the floors, the carpet doesn't seem so bad.

4. If your rental comes with some surprising color choices (like the bright green cabinets in James and Emily's studio), work with it rather than against it. The green tea towels, dishes, and kitchen chairs make their kitchen seem very pulled-together and bright.

5. One of the best ways to streamline a rental apartment is to consolidate your storage and hide it behind closed doors. The chocolate brown wall in this photo from Alex's apartment is actually an IKEA-hacked wardrobe that holds all of his clothes and separates the living room from the bedroom.

6. To really make an apartment your own, hang some artwork. This cluster of pictures from B, Joe, and Rachael's apartment may leave a lot of holes in the wall, but it's nothing that can't be fixed with some spackle and touch-up paint. If your landlord is dead set against any nails going into the wall, try some picture hanging strips instead.

7. Some landlords will allow you to paint as long as you choose a neutral color (like the light gray shown above in Gingerpop's apartment). Even the slightest hint of color can transform an apartment and freshen up the walls. If you can't paint, bring color into your home through furnishings and artwork.

8. Take down those ugly plastic blinds and dress your windows with something a little nicer: roman shades, floor-length curtains, a screen-printed panel... anything that will soften up your room and complement your decor.

9. Replace outdated ceiling lights with something a little more stylish. Gregory wrote a great how-to that includes detailed instructions for switching out a ceiling shade.

10. You don't have to undertake a full-scale renovation to transform your kitchen. For inexpensive and accessible ideas, check out the Kitchn's list of improvements for renters.


Aug 17, 2011

My Fro {Angela Simmons inspired}

For some naturals it's easy to get caught up in protective styling and forget to let our hair down and enjoy it. Angela Simmons can usually be spotted rocking a hot sew-in, but recently showcased her full head of natural hair. Who says weaves aren't great at growing your hair out? After seeing the pic Angela posted (below left), I was inspired to post my own! I was rocking my blown out fro around the house and having a Diana Ross diva-type moment.

 When's the last time you let your hair down?

Anthropologie Statement Earrings...

Big thanks to Sophia at Kiffe Coco for her post on her fab Anthropologie earrings... because I never knew the retailer had such a nice selection! The prices are on the higher side, but the unique designs seem to have the quality and character I look for. I've only perused Anthropologie a handful of times, but I'll be sure to give their jewelry section a closer look.

Some of my favorite pieces....


Chiapas Earrings - $148.00

Equilibrium Play Hoops - $38.00


Grand Deco Earrings - $138.00


Jelly Bean Hoops - $34.00


Polygonal Earrings - $128.00


Speckled Rock Drops - $98.00

Sidebar: Did anyone watch the Basketball Wives reunion show and see Evelyn going off on Meeka about who was rocking their signature earrings first? Lol... absolutely hilarious.
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