Oct 31, 2012

My Period: A Monthly Gift (Video)

While some people view their period as some sort of sadistic curse, I think of it as a monthly gift from up above! There is nothing more exciting then getting my period each month ... because guess what? It means I'm not pregnant!! Yay for being able to continue living my ultra fabulous, child-free life!

I know very few people that are in a situation where they'd welcome a pregnancy with happy, outstretched arms... and it's not because they're leading ratchet lives. Believe it or not, not every woman is going baby crazy. For those of us that are completely content not being called "mom," this Daily Vlog is for you!!!

How Facebook Lowered Your Reach to Increase Their Profit

Please excuse the copy/paste nature of this post, but I found this article to be really interesting. The original article can be found here. For any bloggers, businesses, or facebook "fans" out there, this is something that has affected all of us.

If you want to send Facebook a message, please feel free to use our graphics for your Facebook page

This has been brewing since around May. At least that’s when we first started noticing it here at Dangerous Minds and we certainly weren’t the only ones.
Spring of 2012 was when bloggers, non-profits, indie bands, George Takei, community theaters, photographers, caterers, artists, mega-churches, high schools, tee-shirt vendors, campus coffee shops, art galleries, museums, charities, food trucks, and a near infinite variety of organizations; individuals from all walks of life; and businesses, both large and small, began to detect—for it was almost imperceptible at first—that the volume was getting turned down on their Facebook reach. Each post was now being seen only by a fraction of their total “fans” who would previously have seen them.
But it wasn’t just the so-called “fan pages,” individual Facebook users were also starting to notice that they weren’t seeing much in their newsfeeds anymore from the various entities they “liked”—or even updates from their closest friends and family members. Something was amiss, but unless you had a larger “data set” to look at—or a formerly thriving online business that was now getting creamed—it probably wasn’t something that you noticed or paid that much attention to.
When we first noticed the problem, our blog had about 29,000 Facebook “likes.” Our traffic was growing 20% month over month, but our Facebook fans grew at a far faster pace. We were getting hundreds of new ‘likes” every day. Still do. As I write this, our Facebook fans now number over 53,000, not quite double what it was then, but give it another month or so and it will be.
53,000 is a more than respectable number of Facebook fans for a blog that’s only been around for a little over three years. So why is it that our pageviews—our actual inventory, what we sell to advertisers—coming from Facebook shares are off by half to two thirds when the number of new “likes” has risen so dramatically during this same time period?!?!
In a widely read—and widely shared on Facebook—NY Observer article titled “Broken on Purpose: Why Getting It Wrong Pays More Than Getting It Right,” (emailed to me by a friend, a prominent blogger, with the subject line: “Why putting a lot of energy into building a Facebook presence is a sucker’s game”) PR strategist and social media expert Ryan Holiday succinctly laid out the case against the damage Facebook had inflicted upon its most active users with its recently rolled out Promote “option”:
It’s no conspiracy. Facebook acknowledged it as recently as last week: messages now reach, on average, just 15 percent of an account’s fans. In a wonderful coincidence, Facebook has rolled out a solution for this problem: Pay them for better access.
As their advertising head, Gokul Rajaram, explained, if you want to speak to the other 80 to 85 percent of people who signed up to hear from you, “sponsoring posts is important.”
In other words, through “Sponsored Stories,” brands, agencies and artists are now charged to reach their own fans—the whole reason for having a page—because those pages have suddenly stopped working.
This is a clear conflict of interest. The worse the platform performs, the more advertisers need to use Sponsored Stories. In a way, it means that Facebook is broken, on purpose, in order to extract more money from users. In the case of Sponsored Stories, it has meantraking in nearly $1M a day.
I love how Rajaram phrases that so delicately: “Sponsoring posts is important.”
It’s perhaps the most understated stick-up line in history, worthy of a James Bond villain calmly demanding that a $365 million dollar ransom gets collected from all the Mom & Pop businesses who use Facebook. How many focus groups do you reckon it took until Facebook’s highly paid marketing and PR consultants finally arrived at such an innocuous phrase for describing information superhighwayrobbery?

At Dangerous Minds, we post anywhere from 10 to 16 items per day, fewer on the weekends. To reach 100% of of our 50k+ Facebook fans they’d charge us $200 per post. That would cost us between $2000 and $3200 per day—but let’s go with the lower, easier to multiply number. We post seven days a week, that would be about $14,000 per week, $56,000 per month… a grand total of $672,000 for what we got for free before Facebook started turning the traffic spigot down in Spring of this year—wouldn’t you know it—right around the time of their badly managed IPO.
Whenever the controversy raging over Facebook’s exorbitant Promote fees gets covered in the media, I’ve noticed that the comments have been very telling. Opinion seems to be about nine to one against it. Some in the “it’s a free country” section of the peanut gallery maintain that the new Promote “option” isn’t extortion, justcapitalism, baby, and furthermore that disgruntled Facebook users have the simple option to seek out other venues that are free such as Twitter and Google+
That’s true. They are right of course, in a strict free market logic, but this would be an unsophisticated viewpoint to hold if you are the CEO of a multi-billion dollar concern like Facebook. It surely doesn’t take a Harvard degree, does it, to figure out that Facebook so aggressively angering their user base by inserting themselves into the equation in this way, is perhaps—if only because of the size of the company’s market cap—the single most misguided thing a major corporation has ever deliberatelydone, bar none, in the entire history of American capitalism and the world.
What else would come even close? New Coke?
These comments, from that same NY Observer article, spell out what this all really means and lays bare why Facebook’s ham-fisted money grab is so staggeringly inept:
I run a Facebook page with 15,000 fans. That’s 15,000 people who have consciously signed up for our website updates and want it to appear in their newsfeed. Yet, we’re having exactly the same problem this article chronicles. We’re barely reaching 15-20% of our fan page and we’re sharing stuff that always used to be popular. Facebook for us was always a vehicle to drive traffic to our website (just like our email list, twitter page, etc). It’s become less and less valuable as a tool to do this due to Edgerank and Facebook wanting to charge you to reach the audience you’ve ALREADY paid to reach. It’s a betrayal. It’s just not worth it to pay $100 to reach all of our fans for one article. As a small business, I’m starting to care less and less about Facebook and I’m not alone. They need to get rid of Edgerank and get rid of Sponsored Posts.
A fellow named Bill Downey replied to that comment. Imagine your name is Mark Zuckerberg as you read the following:
I have a similar experience, my page has over 40,000 fans and when Facebook started this the traffic to my website dropped from 30,000 a day to 5,000 a day. I tried paying for extra reach but it’s not worth it for a small site like mine. The fee they charge I can not make up thru ad revenue. It’s probably fine for McDonalds page or Coke who can afford $200 per post for the full reach. I would be all for paying if the cost to play wasn’t so steep, they need to come up with better scaling for the fees for smaller pages. They don’t care about the little guys when they can sock it to the big companies. The worst part of it though is the lying to our fans that sign up to see our content and then never do unless they fall in that 15% group. Facebook has a number of other issues that make most of its users hate it. I know I despise it and I am desperately trying to find a way to replace it for promotion.
“I despise it.” Hear that beleaguered holders of Facebook stock? That kind of talk would make my blood run cold. How many companies can you name that you actively despise?
For online publishers who depend on “page views” to sell advertising against—and who have invested considerable time and effort courting Facebook fans—the company’s new policies are particularly galling: Imagine losing 85% of your inventory and then being asked to pay a daily king’s ransom—more than it’s even worth to you—to get it back!
Netflix was only trying to soak you for another $6 a month, not starve you to death!
Personally, as a publisher of a medium readership blog, I used to get a great deal from using Facebook—but I understood it to be a two-way reciprocal arrangementbecause I was driving traffic back to Facebook as well, and reinforcing their brand awareness with prominent widgets on our blog—but like Bill and Jonathan here, we’re actively seeking out other ways of driving traffic to the site now. With this very post—which will likely be the first and very last thing we’ll ever pay to promote on Facebook—we’re hoping to increase sign-ups to our daily newsletter (sign up at the top of this page), our Twitter feed and our Google+ page
We simply can’t afford to pay Facebook $2000 to $3200 a day and we can’t afford to do nothing, either. Their shockingly greedy business plan offers us no alternative and we’re not alone. The Facebook management team have obviously never read the classic business motivational parable Who Moved My Cheese? They should buy a few hundred copies and spread ‘em around the office so the behavior of the mice won’t seem so confusing to them!
So we’re doing the $2000 Facebook Promote package for this very post as a one-shot deal. It promises that 1.7 million people—all of our “fans” and also their friends—will see it in their newsfeeds.  Will Facebook even allow it past their human approval process for promoted posts? There’s nothing in this post that violates anyof their policies and guidelines, but how long, I wonder, will they allow it to spread through their millions and millions of data-streams? Will I have “free speech” on Facebook if I pay them $2000? The way I look at it, this is what I have to do to get Mark Zuckerberg’s attention to let him know that he’s killing our business.
It will be interesting to see how this experiment turns out. I hope you’ll pass this along if you find what I’ve written here to be of interest, or if it might be relevant to someone you know. If you want to send Facebook a message, please feel free to use our graphics for your Facebook avatar. I’d like to get our money’s worth! The more of you who connect with us via TwitterGoogle+ and our newsletter (sign-up widget at the top of this page), the better.
But make no mistake about it. Had Facebook debuted the Promote “option” with a more reasonable rate card that would apply to frequently updated blogs and media outlets—something akin to “book rate” at the post office—we’d have been willing to pay between $7 to $10 a post. Facebook WOULD have made around $2500 to $3000 a month from Dangerous Minds, every month. That’s around $30,000 a year, but apparently the price of a new car is not enough for Facebook to want to cultivate Dangerous Minds as a customer! Instead, we’re left with no options save for putting our efforts into Google+Twitter, and our daily email newsletter.
Ironic, isn’t it, that the one time we’re willing to pay Facebook’s insane rates, is also likely to be the last time we use Promote. We’re even willing to pay them to reduce our dependence on Facebook—how else to regain what they took from us save for a stunt like this one—and so it finally seems that this relationship has gone properlytoxic.

Consider this, if they’re charging a blog the size of Dangerous Minds $200 per post, what would a major metropolitan newspaper, with dozens of sections and hundreds of individual daily articles and blog posts that relies heavily on Facebook for web traffic, have to pay out to them just to get their old traffic back? It would amount to tens of millions of dollars per year. Facebook are angering not just indie bloggers, small business owners, non-profits and rock bands, but people employed by mainstream media outlets who have seen their hard-earned traffic shrink by as much as 85%. Consider how tenuous it already is to work at a newspaper—where there is about as much job security as there is in seasonal strawberry picking, if not far less—and then the rug gets pulled out from under them like this?
The medium and small blogs are already up in arms about Facebook’s extortionate Promote fees. What’s wrong with this picture from a marketing and public relations standpoint when writers for The New York Times, Washington Post, Gawker, Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Boing Boing, Laughing Squid or Huffington Post begin to “despise” Facebook, too? I wonder what Arianna Huffington and Rupert Murdoch will make of this when it’s brought to their attention? This is a very big deal.
Summing up, Facebook has taken a pee in their own pool from quite a lofty height, turning vast armies of “influentials” against the company, people who are now making plans—born of necessity—to bolt from that pool and to stop putting any effort there. Furthermore, Facebook’s greedy grab will have the knock-on effect of causing many blogs to simply throw in the towel, diminishing Facebook’s own business ecosystem and Facebook’s value to its own users to the point where only Axe Deodorant, Taco Bell and Nike will be showing up in your Facebook newsfeed, which after all, is pretty much the sole point of Facebook in the first place! They’vedeliberately broken their own product’s biggest selling point. Whose idea was that?
The Facebook Promote story is just now beginning to pick up speed and will soon reach critical mass. Have you tried posting anything to a friend’s Facebook wall in the last couple of days? Try it now and see what happens.
If Google plays their cards right, they’ll be able to kick Facebook right in the teeth when they’re already reeling from a self-inflicted wound. An online advertising campaign touting how “Google+ will never charge you, that’s a promise” would bespeaking directly to the Jonathans and Bills of the Internet. Google would simply be crazy not to try to capitalize on these head-scratching missteps every way they can. If anything can boost Google+, it’s Facebook’s management team. All Google has to do is sit back and wait.
I can sympathize with Facebook’s travails on the stock market and I can appreciate that they are providing a value—a great one, unprecedented, really—by connecting such a vast number of human beings in an electronic global village. But I can’t pay them $2000 a day and $672,000 a year for the exact same product that I was getting for free back in March!

Send a message to Facebook about their exorbitant Promote fees! Download larger versions of this graphic (in both blue and red) to post on your own Facebook page HEREHEREHERE and HERE. Graphic by Dimitri Drujchin, original photoGuillaume Paumier

Oct 29, 2012

How to get rid of Roaches (video)

I've never had to experience living with roaches, but I know they plague many people. I mean, they're the one thing that has managed to survive for centuries! Gross...

One of my favorite personality vloggers, Shameless Maya, posted this quick DIY recipe for how to get rid of roaches once and for all. It seems like an easy to do, effective recipe for living a roach free life for at least a year.

Take a look at the video and let me know if this works for you!

Oct 26, 2012

Raw Kale Salad from @WholeFoods

When I first heard people speaking about Kale and how amazing it was, I thought they were referring to the garnish from Sizzler. Like, who in the hell eats the garnish from Sizzler lol...

Well, I've had my life force checked a bit because I tried the Raw Kale Salad at Whole Foods and let me just say.... the stuff is AMAZEBALLS!!! (Lontier you were right lol)

Last night I went to Whole Foods and to my dismay, the lady in front of me was in the process of scooping up the last bit of Raw Kale Salad ---> That's what I was met with... broken promises and failed dreams lol

I wanted to bop her in the head, but instead I decided to just ask if anymore was coming out. You know what they say - - closed mouths don't get fed. Ask and you shall receive! 5 mins later they restocked it! Nothing like being patient and getting fresh food.

This is one of my favorite items from Whole Foods right now and good enough for me to drive to the South Loop location daily to stock up. You can't beat fresh, healthy food.

If you've been on the fence about trying Kale, or like me and didn't know what in the hell it actually was, go to your nearest Whole Foods and try the Raw Kale Salad. You will thank me.

Raw Kale Salad
Dried Cranberries
Pine Nuts
Dressing - Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper

Oct 25, 2012

Thick Neck Thursday: Rob Evans @the_robevans

A picture is worth a thousand words, and former boxer Rob Evans doesn't require many. At 24yo, Evans put down his boxing gloves once he was discovered at his gym and has done a swift TKO to the model industry.

The 6'3" stunner does double Thick Neck duty as a model and judge on ANTM. He's also rumored to be Tyra Bank's boyfriend (or boy toy since she's 14 years his senior)... but his abs, neck and Greek God-like face have opened plenty of doors.

Although Evans is definitely a sight to sore eyes, he's not really my type. I like my thick necks a bit more rugged... but know a few of my girlfriends would gladly hand their drenched panties his way.

The British Irish hybrid oozes sex appeal and has a certain swag about him... (yes, "swag" is pretty played out, but I like the word).

His boxing background is a turn-on - - something about a man that is not only gorgeous, but could actually kick ass.

Some people are meant to see in motion, so check out the below video of Rob doing what he does best. Note that I love the way he clenches his jaw...

Sidebar: Somehow I got sucked back into the current season of ANTM. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but I've been recording and watching each episode. I don't like the incorporation of the "fan" social media score, but I do love Kelly Cutrone sitting on the judge's panel.

Oct 24, 2012

Natural Hair Inspiration on Pinterest

If you're looking for a daily dose of fly curly hair, check out my Pinterest Curlspiration Board
I'm always featuring the flyest natural curls I find online.

Oct 22, 2012

Corporate Woes (Video)

Yet another installment of my daily YouTube vlog series...

As a member of corporate America I know how to play the game, fall in line, and stand my ground. When it comes to lunch meetings I'm usually on board and don't mind my company stuffing my face for free 99... however - - when this is intended to replace my actual lunch hour that's when I have to put my foot down and disagree.

Maybe the issue is calling our lunch hour a "lunch hour." I'm down for calling it an hour to do whatever the fuck I like. I work extremely hard and like to use my lunch hour as an opportunity to decompress, get away from my desk, get some fresh air, eat, run errands... whatever it is that I choose to do with it. It's an extremely small fraction of time to have to myself.

So, for all of my corporate folks out there, how do you handle lunch meetings that cut into typical lunch hour times - - noon to 2p? Do you still take your lunch after the meeting? Go before? Suck it up and take a longer lunch on another day? I'm curious to see what corporate protocol calls for... and if anyone is in HR please feel free to give me some insight.

Oct 19, 2012

@CurlyNikki in Chicago Tomorrow!!

Curly Nikki Chicago Natural Hair Meet-up

Chicago naturals - - CurlyNikki.com founder and natural hair favorite Nikki Walton, will be hosting her meetup tomorrow, October 20th from 2p-5p @ Japonais. Space filled up within 18 hours of her posting the event on her site... we're quite an anxious bunch, aren't we! lol...

Remember the hashtag for the night will be #curlynikkimotions on twitter... so keep things social and post tons of pics and event recaps!

Please feel free to grab me and say hello if you see me there... looking forward to seeing all of the lovely curls. Let's show folks how Chicago ladies do it up!

Litter Box Woes (Video)

Smudge, my 2 yo Russian Blue, uses the litter box 100% of the time... but only covers up his shit 50% of the time. I never know what little surprises will be waiting for me when I pass by the box... and I'm tired of living my life in that type of agony. I want to send him off to some feline finishing school to help him get his life together... and give me some peace of mind.

I think this is a male cat issue since Misty (my female tabby cat, also 2 yo) doesn't EVER do this. She's actually my little angel. For those with cats do you have any advice?

- Stressed out Pet Parent

Oct 18, 2012

Thick Neck Thursday: Dynamic Duo

They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and this week's Thick Neck Thursday is a Father/Son tag team. Not sure of their ages or names, but I do know that the son (on the right) should thank his father for passing down good genes and a healthy lifestyle. I would like to see what he looks like without the hat on, but you know... this is about the neck and that's on full display!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the older the berry, the sweeter the juice... and I'm "team pops" all the way! His son's "V" is a slight turn-off. I don't like it... not sure why lol.

What do you think?

Oct 17, 2012

I made Kool-Aid for the First Time (video)

Before you judge me, know that I had a childhood and drank copious amounts of kool-aid, however, I never actually made it myself until last weekend.

I posted a picture on instagram and was instantly clowned by my friends for using a measuring cup... but let me just say, why "season to taste" when you know that your taste prefers 1.5cups? I mean, where's the logic in that... I made 3 batches and guess what, they yielded consistent AMAZEBALLS results each time. On top of that I knew the exact amount of sugar I was consuming.

Anyways, kool-aid is pretty freaking awesome. Sidebar: It's the perfect way to make use of filtered water that needs a new filter lol

Oct 16, 2012

Natural Hair Rant: I Hate Protective Styling

Earlier I found myself questioning whether or not I wore my hair "out" too much.  It seems like such a silly thing to ponder, but in the world of natural hair people are constantly talking about low manipulation protective styling. To me, just the term "protective styling" depletes my life force. Damn... Can I live? 

Curly or Straight, I like my hair OUT!!
I like rocking my hair big, bold and everywhere... every day. However, it caused me to question whether my flare for big hair was causing me to sacrifice length retention.

Honestly, I'm not that into wrapping my hair at night or doing deep treatments. I like to live carefree during the day and just crash when it's time to sleep. I don't mind re-twisting on a daily basis and if you ask me, hair will grow regardless of what I do... so really, if I'm not length obsessed it shouldn't be a big deal.

One of my favorite bloggers/vloggers Lipstick Love Affiair, recently posted a new video discussing her current hair routine and I was in love with the growth and retention she's experienced. It caused me to question whether I should overhaul my hair life and put an actual routine into place. Now, I'm not trying to build Rome in a day, but I think committing to wrapping my hair and keeping my ends covered at night, and potentially scaling back the amount of times I wear my hair out during the week could be a great starting point.

My company's corporate office is located in a different state, so my office in Chicago is very small. Like 5 people including me small. Yes, my appearance is what I'm showing the world, but I doubt the 4 people I work with really care too much. So, I've theorized that I could adopt the same routine as Lipstick Love Affair and wear my hair covered up Mon-Wed, reserving Thurs-Sunday for rocking my curls. Plus, it's the weekend and I'll be able to do it up for Cuffing Season excursions with the boo.

I will  rock a wrap around the house lol
Or am I putting too much thought into this? lol... I can honestly think of at least 5 other things I should be devoting time to OTHER than my hair, but you know... whatever. Am I the only one going through this? lol... My other option for giving my hair a break from daily styling is to grab a weave or twists. That could probably appease me for a month or two.

Oct 15, 2012

Natural Hair Rant: When to take your head wrap OFF!

I stumbled upon this pic of India Arie walking the red carpet of Black Girls Rock and it infuriated me. Yes, my life force was hit with a swift 1-2, and I felt super annoyed. Maybe I'm in an irritated mood, but damn... if you won't take your head wrap off to walk a red carpet, WHEN IN THE HELL WILL YOU? 

I totally understand running some errands or waiting for your hair to "set" while you're doing mundane things, but if you're going to a real event, doesn't that warrant ditching the wrap and showcasing your hair! What in THEE fuck. Who told her this was acceptable? This is a freaking red carpet.

If she was doing something daytime casual and rocking jeans and a cute tee, just maybe she could get away with not doing her hair... but she's wearing heels and a cocktail dress! Come on.... do better.

This also makes me think of people in general that wear their hair covered up in scarves, wraps, or God forbid that black satin bonnet in public at inappropriate times. For the love of God... just take it off and wear your hair out! Am I alone in my annoyance? lol...

@WhippedProducts "Cocoa Mama Butter" Review

So, my girlfriend was raving about the Whipped product line for a while, but I was hesitant to try. Not that I didn't trust her word of mouth, but I'm quite impatient and ordering something online is just overall annoying to me. I'm a Cancerian and pretty moody lol... so you know, sometimes I'm all about that online ordering life. Other times I could give a rat's ass and would rather drive to Target lol. These are my struggles.

After being unhappy with Carol's Daughter Body Jelly (it's NOT the same), I decided to give the Whipped line a try. I liked that the site offered a variety of products and sizes to try.  I'm a huge fan of cocoa butter and ended up ordering the "Cocoa Mama Butter" in 16 oz. I've been using the product for a few weeks now and am a fan. My skin is uber moisturized and soft. At night I like to use the butter on my lips and get this, when I wake up hours later my lips are STILL moisturized. This is amazing, especially for the winter.

To purchase and learn more about Whipped Products click here.
Wanna talk to the creator? Tweet Lau @WhippedProducts!

From the site:

Whipped is a premier line of luxury body, hair, facial & scalp butters and cremes designed to moisturize & condition even the driest situations. Each product is made from organic, raw & unrefined materials whipped together to form customized soufflés for every skin or hair care need.

All products are made from just a few ingredients that are familiar to all. no scary chemicals or components that you'd need to be a scientist to read, everything on here is minimalistic and safe for sensitive skin.

Each item is made to order by hand especially for you. as a result some items may appear slightly different from what is pictured but the recipe & quality will always be exactly the same.

Oct 12, 2012

@ATWCurls Bow Review (Video)

I posted the written review of my "Around the way Curls" hair bows I ordered, but recently filmed a YouTube review. I've come to realize that many people don't like to read, so for those that would rather see me in motion and the bows in "real life" check out the video.

The bows retail for $10 and can be found here.

Oct 11, 2012

Thick Neck Thursday: Warrior Thick Neck Jason Momoa

When Jason Momoa first graced my screen as Khal Drogo in HBO's Game of Thrones my jaw dropped. The 6'5" hunk gained about 30 lbs of muscle for the role which resulted in 235 lbs of Warrior Thick Neck walking around. Yes, please! More....

In real life Momoa walks around at a respectful 205lbs and plays house with wife Lisa Bonet. I was actually surprised to see how crunchy granola the Hawaiian native looks in real life. Don't get me wrong, he's still very attractive, but in a hippie, hand you a flower, make peace not war type of way. No? I'm also not a fan of locks on a man... and even the thickness of Momoa can't get me to be "team locked up."

Actor Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa: Boho Hippie
This is a Thick Neck that I prefer to have remain in character. Similar to Gerard Butler as King Leonidas in 300, Momoa would never need to break character. Just keep that guy-liner (eyeliner for men lol) on and play warrior god king in the bedroom. Better yet, can I just call him Drogo for short?

Nevertheless, this man is freaking gorgeous!! Look at those eyes and that face... you would never tire of waking up to him. Now, you may get annoyed with the stuff coming out of his mouth, but those looks... they're pretty amazeballs.

Adventures on the CTA: The #29 bus is basically the Red Line

Taking the Red Line makes me feel gross, in general. I try to avoid the train at all costs and honestly only need to hop on it when I'm going to see K Dot. Other than that, the Red Line and I are not friends. There are a few ways I can navigate the city streets to get home... and when I want to avoid the Michigan Ave. traffic I typically take the #29 or #62 buses. Well, let me be the first to say, the #29 is basically the bus equivalent of the Red Line train. Me no likey. My life force is constantly being subjected to ratchet shenanigans and interesting things.

A few weeks ago I witnessed this lady on the bus subjecting everyone to a never-ending monologue about how the government had taken away her bi-racial grandchildren... and as proof she was pushing around an empty stroller! *pause* I wish I was bold enough to hold the camera directly in her face and film, but I'm not that intense... so treat this video as mainly audio, but you'll see I'm focused on her stroller.

Oh yeah, to make matters even more interesting, the lady only had like 3 teeth! *Le Sigh* Yes, 3... and none of them were touching. On top of that, another lady got on the bus and started co-signing the crazy, getting her really amped up. It was pretty funny and I couldn't get a straight face.

Oct 10, 2012

Cuffing Season Update: Time is Ticking

Hola Chicagoans...

Cuffing Season Shopping Trip to Levi's
Cuff Season Shopping Trip
It's freaking cold outside and it's safe to say Cuffing Season is in full swing. This year has really flown by, so it's hard to believe we're in the midst of another Cuff Season, but whether you like it or not, snow will be here soon enough... so what's your current Cuff Status?

I'm currently invading the same life force, but have seen some great power cuff moves being played around me. For the most part my close friends are being about that Cuff Season life and have found quality boos for the season (... maybe more!), so I'm more worried about YOU, the people. Are you still auditioning folks? Try-outs over and you're narrowing it down to the final 1? (or two/three for you players... though that shit is exhausting).

Putting a spin on what can become a very routine thing, I've taken my Cuff Season antics to the streets. The weather is cold, but still enjoyable (no snow, arctic freeze lol) so the boo and I enjoyed a day of shopping (where I snagged these awesome Levi's Demi Curve ID Jeans) and brunch at Waffles.
Cuffing Season Brunch Run
Waffles Brunch: Chicken & Waffles, Steak & Eggs
I'm all about brunch in the South Loop. Nothing beats waking up and being in walking distance of amazing food options. Plus you get to support local businesses. So far, Waffles is still one of my preferred spots, Tapas Valencia has great Sunday drinks specials, Eleven City Diner lures me in with their Bloody Marys, and Yolk is an oldie but goodie.

Adventures on the CTA: Green Line Struggles

Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover... case in point? This ratchet chick on the train. She was wearing some sort of Rocafella / House of Dereon jacket that smelled of fried chicken and starbursts, pushing a raggedy baby stroller, brown finger nails (no polish) and just oozing West Side. I tried to hold my *scrunch face* because it felt somewhat mean to judge her off of appearance, but seconds later she opened her mouth and confirmed all of my thoughts.

Chicago Transit Authority Washington and Wells Purple Line Stop
Waiting for the next CTA Adventure
Somewhere there is a man receiving a voice mail from an irate rat... she's going on and on about how he better call her back or she'll show up at his house. How her mother and him conspired to get her baby brother locked up and she's not playing with his ass. Real talk.

Oh, the struggles of the West Side Rat. I've never understood people that spazz out via phone... while on public transportation during the early morning rush. It's tragic and embarrassing. I shouldn't carry the weight of the Chicago Rat on my South Loop shoulders, but as a black woman I still get embarrassed when non-black people see black folks doing ratchet things. Am I alone in this struggle? I just want us to do better as a collective whole.

Oct 9, 2012

@LEVIS Curve ID Jeans to the Rescue

Shopping for jeans is always a pain in the ass. I'm short (5'2"), curvy (size 10/12), and seem to be on a never ending quest to find a flattering pair of jeans. Not just flattering, but quality jeans that don't break the bank or bust it all the way open lol.

This past weekend I was walking around the city enjoying a beautiful Fall day, you know... taking my usual cuffing activities outdoors when the boo and I decided to check out the Levi's store. I had heard consistently positive reviews on the quality of their denim and the Curve ID line.

Glancing down at my Forever21 Skinny Jeans I was just a tad bit embarrassed. It was clear the $10.80 jeans had long overstayed their welcome. They were stretched out in the knees (strange) and looking faded. Yes, the jeans had been a decent purchase. I mean, being able to wear such cheap jeans for nearly a year is pretty awesome, but I came to the realization that I can't have fashion struggles this close to 30.

I entered the Levi's store on Michigan Ave. with an open mind and patience... I knew it would take a little time to get measured, try different fits, and see what worked the best for my body. After 90 mins and a ton of help from sales associate Juliet, I emerged from the store with 2 pairs in hand and a big smile.

Levi's Demi Curve Skinny Jeans 
I measured on the cusp of 2 curves: Demi and Bold. I tried both styles on and ended up picking the Demi curve as it fit a tad bit more comfortable on my hips/waist. I opted for 2 pairs of Demi Curve Modern Rise Skinny leg jeans in dark denim. I also loved the 30" inseam option - - perfect for shorter ladies.

The jeans retail for $78 (not much more than the $69.50 I would pay at The Gap), but Levi's had a great 30% off sale going on... might still have it... so I walked out of there with 2 exquisitely fitting jeans for just over $100. If you're still searching for a nice pair of jeans I suggest going in a store and getting fitted. You'll be happy.

Oct 8, 2012

@CurlyNikki Chicago Meet-Up

Curly Nikki Chicago Natural Hair Meet-up

Chicago naturals - - get your hair ready because Curly Nikki is finally gracing the Windy City with her presence! CurlyNikki.com founder and natural hair favorite Nikki Walton, will be hosting the meetup on Saturday, October 20th from 2p-5p @ Japonais. Space is limited so hurry up and get your RSVP in today by clicking here.

Attendees will be treated to live demos from Motions stylist Ursula Stephen, natural hair product samples, tips and educational info compliments of Motions, and complimentary Motions cocktails for the first 200 people. Hors d'oeuvres will be available along with a cash bar.

Keeping things social, the hashtag for the night will be #curlynikkimotions on twitter!

Oct 4, 2012

Thick Neck Thursday: Bloody Bite Edition featuring @joemanganiello

The reclusive werewolf from Mississippi, Joe Manganiello is the epitome of a Thick Neck that packs a big bite. Everyone knows him from the HBO series "True Blood," but what they might not know is that Manganiello had to tone down his thickness for the role.

Joe Manganiello True Blood Thick Neck Thursday
Prior to snagging the part of Alcide Herveaux, Manganiello was 6'5" 240lbs of drool worthy thickness. After joining the cast, trainers whipped him into even better shape and sculpted his down to an impressive 225 lbs.

I typically go harder for Vampires, but Manganiello just might peak my curiosity for the hairy beasts. His body is pretty freaking epic! I mean, I can't even count the amount of "packs" on his stomach... it's just like an eternal cluster of squares. Do people even have that many muscles in their body? Sheesh... allow me to wipe the drool from my mouth.

This past season was my first time really watching "True Blood," but I became an instant fan. I can't wait for next season. If you've never given the show a chance, crawl from underneath your rock and check it out on Netflix/OnDemand. It's really entertaining and easy to follow.

Thick Necks on Pinterest

Ever find yourself craving a thick neck, but it's not Thursday? Well, don't worry your pretty little head... I have a Pinterest board that can give you a hefty dose of 'Thick Neck' any day of the week! Check out my board: Thick Necks: The Thicker the Neck, The bigger the Heart!

Oct 2, 2012

Review: @Ouidad Mongongo Oil results on Natural Hair

NaturallyCurly.com sent me another gem from Ouidad to try and this time my socks have been knocked off... Well, Aztec print house shoes if we're being technically correct, but I digress...

Part of the Salon Series by Ouidad line, the Mongongo Oil is marketed as a multi-use hair treatment offering strands deep nourishment, protection, smoothed out frizz and boosted shine. It has no silicones, sulfates, parabens or waxes... what does that all mean? It's pretty freaking awesome without tons of bad stuff. And like we all know, good stuff doesn't come cheap. The oil is sold in 2 sizes: $36 for 2 oz and $58 for 4 oz.

Before you start to have an epic meltdown over the price to size correlation, let me say that NaturallyCurly.com sent me a 2 oz. bottle to try and though it may seem on the small side, a few sprays of this oil goes an extremely long way. I've average about 2-3 sprays for my entire head... meaning I spray 2-3 sprays into my hand, rub together, then distribute. Donzo. That's it. My results typically last a few days... think 3 or 4 on average. So, I won't use more than 6 sprays a week. Looking at the rate I've been using this oil I could easily see it lasting 3-4 months. When you put that into perspective it doesn't make the sticker shock so bad.

What the site claims the product does:

This super-concentrated, multi-tasking serum is infused with Mongongo Oil, known as “hair food” in Zambia for its high vitamin E content and superb regenerating and antioxidant properties. With American Palm Seed Oil and Broccoli Seed Oil, the formula restructures hair as it deeply repairs damage to restore a healthy appearance to even the dullest locks. By forming a protective film over the hair fibers, hair is instantly more manageable and has a natural, healthy-looking luster. It coats hair to protect against UV rays and environmental aggressors to help defend against damage. Further, it protects hair from aggressive heat styling and helps speed up drying time.

My experience:

I could immediately tell my strands were coated and feeling shinier and smoother. My drying time was noticeably shorter... it shaved off drying time similar to how my Brazilian Blowouts do (cutting it by like 50%), and heat styling with my flat iron took only 1 pass. I honestly didn't want to like this stuff because it's expensive. I'm being 100% honest lol. The last thing I needed was to become hooked on a product that didn't cost $5-$10. I'm not really cheap, but you know... I don't want to drop $36 for an oil. However, after using this oil the past few weeks I've definitely changed my mind. It yields consistent results, and the results are unique enough to not be duplicated with a cheaper product. I honestly haven't found anything that gives me these types of results other than the Brazilian Blowout... which is expensive, but of course is a chemical treatment (though temporary). So, in terms of an at-home DIY hair treatment, Ouidad knocked it out of the park! I'm completely smitten with the Mongongo oil. It makes my strands happy and heart smile.

If you'd like to learn more about the Mongongo Oil or buy it, click here.

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