Dec 30, 2014

Wisdom Teeth Update: Dry Socket + Stitches Removed [Video]

10 Days post wisdom teeth extraction and I finally got my stitches out! I also learned that what I thought had been merely a tight suture was actually dry socket. For the record: Dry Socket is extremely uncomfortable, but INSTANTLY feels better once the dentist applies a dressing to the tooth cavity.

Watch the video for my update and like always, feel free to ask any questions below!

Dec 29, 2014

Balayage results on Natural, African-American Hair

After rocking my Indique curly sew-in for quite some time, I was ready for a hair change. It had been a while since I last had my hair professionally colored and I was feeling very curious about the new balayage technique. One of my friends and co-workers had recently raved to me about her experience, but I wasn't sure how it'd look on natural, African-American hair. Doing a google search there wasn't a ton of info, so like always... I wanted to share my experience with everyone!

Why Balayage?
I absolutely LOVE color and was started to feel rather blah about my hair. In the past when I've had color it made my curls come alive and I seriously fell in love with my curls. A friend had raved about her experience getting balayage, but I didn't know how the results would look on my natural, African-American hair. In short, it was one of those styles I lusted after on Pinterest... white girls were slaying it lol... but I didn't know if I could pull it off. Looking online there weren't many examples of black chicks rocking balayage, so I thought it'd be a great opportunity to take the plunge and share my experience.

Risk of Color Damaging my Curls?
Color is a chemical process on the hair, so there is always a chance of your hair being damaged. The appeal of balayage was the idea that I wasn't getting allover color, but instead highlighting hairs here and there. On top of that, my stylist didn't use any bleach and I was also equipped with more patience, knowledge, and resources than I had in previous years when I had my hair professionally colored. Also - - I was feeling like life was entirely too short for me to be nervous over hair color! I was taking care of my body inside and out, so why not have fun with my hair. My motto for the week: Life is short. Get the color! Lol...

I arrived at the salon with my hair detangled in 2 flat twists. I wanted to make it easier for my stylist to work with my hair, so I'd also recommend prepping your hair prior to the appointment if you also have natural curls.

Once I was in the chair, my stylist (Izzy @ Vasuda Salon in Seattle) and I discussed the color I wanted, along with me showing her the inspiration pics I pulled. I also showed her examples of what I did NOT want. Often people bring in a slew of inspiration pics for their hair appointment, but I think there is a ton of value in making sure you also show your stylist clear examples of what you would NEVER want.

I received the balayage technique over my entire head and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the process went. About 20-30 mins to apply the balayage and then another 30 mins to sit with the color and allow it to process.

Once the color was done processing we washed it all out and it was time to blow dry and flat iron my hair. I can easily create curly styles at home, so I tend to opt for straight styles when I'm at the salon. For some reason I've always struggled to recreate salon quality straight hair at home (sans the Brazilian Blowout), so I enjoy having a few days of salon straight hair.

My hair takes heat well, but getting the results to last an extended time isn't the easiest for me. I did a slightly bootleg job at wrapping my hair (without my trusty mesh wrap), so the results weren't as smooth. I took these pics the morning after in natural light to show a better look at how flawlessly my hair color blended. I wanted to keep my base color the same and naturally work the balayage highlights into my hair. I was smitten.

If you're on the fence about getting color, but itching for a change in 2015, I'd highly suggest going for balayage. You don't have to change your base color or deal with ugly roots growing out, which is a huge plus. On top of that you still get to play around with custom color and make your hair come alive.

For those in the Seattle area, please check out Vasuda Salon (I go to the Downtown Location) and ask for Izzy! She was absolutely amazing... such a talented stylist with the sweetest spirit and disposition. Tell them that I sent you

Dec 19, 2014

Wisdom Teeth Extractions - The first 24 hours

Yesterday marked the day I headed into the dentist and strolled out 90 mins later, 4 less teeth in my mouth. Although I genuinely felt one step closer to being a 1600s pirate (sans the scurvy as @Dovie_Golden so kindly pointed out to me lol), I was very excited to be getting rid of the teeth.

I've had my fair share of dental work done, so initially I was beyond excited about my appointment. The joy I felt at finally getting my wisdom yanked out far exceeded any doubts... that was until I started asking everyone under the sun their personal experience. Lord, I should've never opened up that Pandora's box. It was as if everyone had experienced some terrible thing - - dry socket in 1, dry socket in all 4, complications with removal, excruciating pain, etc... the list went on and on.

So, what was my experience like?

I arrived at my dentist's office at 9 and immediately went back to begin the process of getting numb. Once my dentist confirmed I was numb, the first 3 wisdom teeth (upper/lower left and upper right) came out within 7 mins. No joke. I didn't even have time to put on my headphones because he started the process so fast. The final tooth (lower right) was closer to the bone, so this one was going to take a bit more work. For some crazy reason this part of my mouth took forever to get numb. I had to get quite a few shots and wait at least 20 mins, but then we were good to go. Since the tooth was so close to the bone, my dentist ended up taking this out in 2 parts. I also had to receive suture on that tooth cavity, which is probably why I experienced more swelling on that side.


Leaving the dentist's office I headed straight to Walgreens and got my prescription filled for Vicodin and Ibuprofen. My dentist recommended managing my pain during the day with the Ibuprofen and using the Vicodin about an hour before bed. For some reason Vicodin does NOT make me sleepy, so I took it before bed but was still wide awake. I randomly work up around 3am THROBBING! Like, y'all... that ache was so serious. I instantly went for the Vicodin and within about 20 mins the pain was at bay and I was back asleep.

This morning I woke up and made breakfast so I could have some food in my system before taking more meds. Although pain meds don't necessarily make me sleepy, I am always subject to the dreaded sour stomach. I'm still eating soft foods, so I made some scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes. The icing on the cake? Another Vicodin lol...


Oh, the fun part... food! I'm restricted to soft food for the next few days. You'd imagine that I grubbed on a bunch of stuff pre-dental work, but I didn't. In hindsight I should have lol. Anyways, I've been eating pho broth, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, juice, popsicles... and I'm already over it lol. I'm not sitting over here starving, but I'm just ready to eat stuff with substance.

Dec 15, 2014

"You never really know what someone is going through..."

Titi Branch - Co-CEO of Miss Jessies
Titi Branch, Co-CEO of Miss Jessies
When I woke up this morning and saw news of Titi Branch, Co-CEO of Miss Jessies, having taken her own life my spirit was filled with a deep sadness. Not again. Not another one... another beautiful spirit lost to the darkness of depression. This is an illness that slowly creeps up on you, almost suffocating its victim in a deep, dark embrace of sadness and despair. It's an illness. Something you can't necessarily fight alone.

Every week it seems like we're sending out virtual condolences to someone who has tragically passed due to suicide. I'm starting to lose count of the number of times I've seen the statement "You never really know what someone is going through..." online.

Although it's an honest sentiment and something I think most people would agree with, I'm still left questioning -- what about the times you DO know what someone is going through? What do you do when you have friends and family around you who have expressed their feelings of depression, darkness, anxiety... I mean, what are you to do when you do have an inkling that someone is not okay?

While I may never fully grasp how or why a person chooses to take their own life, I do feel like I have been aware of those around me expressing their own battle with depression and dark thoughts... it just leaves me wondering what can I do? And primarily what can I do now to help them? I don't want to send out sweet words in memory of someone I love. I don't want to set up a charity to honor their memory, spirit and fight... I want to be able to champion for them while they live and breathe... give them the strength to overcome this disease which has claimed too many lives.

In this moment I feel frustrated. There are so many things occurring in the world which leave my spirit in a state of unrest... I just want to start somewhere. Help someone. I've started sharing my journey on the road to improving my emotional, physical and mental health. I have played a part in encouraging two close friends to seek out professional help. I hope I can help even more know that they don't have to travel down this road alone.

Dec 12, 2014

"All We Wanna Do is be Free" (via @JColeNC)

This song right here... absolutely beautiful! Thank you J. Cole.

 "Be Free" - J. Cole
And I'm in denial
And it don't take no x-ray to see right through my smile
I know, I'd be on the go
And it ain't no drink out there that can numb my soul
No, no

All we want to do is take the chains off
All we want to do is break the chains off
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is take the chains off
All we want to do is break the chains off
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is be free

Can you tell me why every time I step outside
I see my niggas die,
Ooh, I'm letting you know
That it ain't no gun they make that can kill my soul
Oh, no

All we want to do is take the chains off
All we want to do is take the chains off
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is take the chains off
All we want to do is break the chains off
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is be free

Are we all alone fighting on our own
Please give me a chance
I don't wanna dance
Something's got me down
I will stand my ground,
Don't just stand around
Don't just stand around

All we want to do is take these chains off
All we want to do is break the chains off
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is be free

All we want to do is take these chains off
All we want to do is break the chains off
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is be free

Dec 1, 2014

How to Care for your Kinky Curly Sew-in Weave

I intended to post this video a few weeks ago when I originally filmed it. I was nearing the end of my 2nd installation with the Indique Bounce Collection Coil Curl hair and wanted to share with everyone how I'd been caring for it the 2nd time around.

Alas, I've already taken this sew-in out, given my hair a break for a few days, and gone into my 3rd sew-in with the hair lol... but the way I care for it is still the same. Take a look and let me know if you have any questions.


Nov 28, 2014

Rhinestone Vine Ear Cuff (via @Forever21)

Lately I've been loving the ear cuff trend and wanted to share an amazing pair I snagged earlier in the week from Forever21. The rhinestone vine ear cuff retails for $4.90 (a steal!) and is a great way to make an outfit pop. During the day I noticed a slight bit of discomfort at the top of my ear and realized I had attached the cuff too tight and in a sensitive spot. After a few tweaks I was fine, so it's not a real reason to not purchase.

Nov 21, 2014

Smack it in the air... #Beyonce

I love Beyonce... this video is absolutely EVERYTHING!!! I wish I could teleport myself to Chicago for a spontaneous girl's night dance party with my best friends! Y'all... this shit right here. It hits the spot and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love her. I love this video. The song makes me smile... do some corporate foot work at my desk because it's nearly 6p on a Friday and I'm still at work lol. Like, can I throw on a pair of dope boy short panties and twerk around with my best friends nad sip (and spill) some drank!

Happy m'fing Friday!!

Nov 18, 2014

Prioritizing my Mental, Emotional and Physical Health

A few months ago I decided to make my mental, emotional and physical health a real priority in my life... and I mean actually doing something... In real life... Not just talking about it lol.

In the past I've had a tendency to get an idea, get excited about it... then fast forward a few weeks (or even days) later and I'm already failing big time. This time around I wanted to approach things from a more practical standpoint, identify goals, put together a plan for success, and set monthly benchmarks to measure my progress.

Now that I have a few months of success under my belt I feel comfortable sharing my experience thus far. I'm excited and hoping to encourage others to take the time and effort to prioritize all areas of their health: mental, physical and emotional.

It's not just about looking good in clothes or hitting the gym for endorphins, but truly taking stock of your life, any residual issues you may be carrying, and saying that you'll make the investment to be the healthiest version of yourself possible.

I'm excited to share my progress and continuing journey with everyone. Remember, you don't have to wait for January 1st to roll around to make change.

Nov 13, 2014

Rhinestone Floral Halter Dress (via @forever21)

 A few weeks ago I was in Chicago for a wedding and had a last minute wardrobe snafu. I had originally ordered 3 dresses from Rent the Runway, but it was just my luck that none of the dresses worked out. I didn't have enough time to send them back and get a replacement, so I headed over to F21 to see what I could find. I wanted to look nice and knew I could snag something decent last minute.

The floral top, rhinestone choker/collar, and body con skirt of the dress definitely caught my eye. I ended up going with a Large and thought the fit was pretty nice. The only downside to rocking this dress for an out of state wedding was being limited in my bra selection. It was definitely my own fault for not doing a test run around the house and seeing which bra worked best... but whatever... I tried my best to make it work.

Halfway through the wedding I had to find some safety pins and try doing cleavage damage control, along with fixing a few of the straps... dumb stuff that comes along with purchasing from F21.

All in all, the dress was $32.90 and got the job done. I liked it a lot and am going to take it to the cleaners and get the stitching fixed. I'll also take the time to figure out the right bra to wear with it for next time. If you're looking for a cute, affordable dress to rock to a wedding I'd definitely suggest it.

Oct 21, 2014

Lesson 15: "A back-up plan is if the first plan doesn't work."

"Well, first of all you're supposed to have a plan. Let's have a plan first. A back-up plan is if the first plan doesn't work. If you put your life and view yourself as somebody else's: I'm so-and-so's wife, I'm so-and-so's mother, I'm so-and-so's daughter... and you haven't created a "you" - - what happens when all those other things leave you? Your husband can leave you. Your children will hopefully grow up and fly away and do their own thing, as will your grandchildren, and your parents ... if they go before you, you'll have nothing left. So, you have to have a plan first. Then your plan is prepare yourself for life as a whole person." - Judge Judy

Oct 20, 2014

Fluffed out Afro on Natural Hair or Weave

So, I'm back in a sew-in using the same Indique Bounce Coil Curl hair I originally bought back in June. I remember clutching my pearls at the price ($189 and up per bundle), but it turned out to be one of my best hair investments to date. I'm currently about a week into this 2nd install and the hair is doing great.

After a night full of wine and Jimi Hendrix, I was in a 60s/70s mood and wanted to fluff out my hair. So many naturals are obsessed with getting perfectly sculpted ringlets, kinks, or curls... but I wanted an old school fro.

The night before I'd thrown my hair into a high ponytail and went to sleep, so I was already working with less defined hair.

To add more volume and further diminish curl definition, I used my Denman Brush to fluff out my leave-out and the Indique hair.

I'll admit that I initially felt a bit intimidated by having such big hair. I almost pulled it back up, but my bf helped ease my worries... he was like, "if you're gonna rock it, you need to really just rock it." Wearing a fro is dope, but it does feel like the spotlight is on you... and honestly it really is. You have this big ass, dope hair! It's big, fluffy... blowing in the wind. It's awesome, but not for the faint of heart.

Anyways, in person the hair was SUPER big, but my iPhone 4s didn't truly capture it.

Oct 10, 2014

Faux Fur Stole (via @Zara)

I was completely obsessed with the idea of getting a stole for winter. Initially it didn't matter if it was real or faux fur, but I knew I wanted a cinnamon color and for it to not break the bank.

Considering my budget (under $100) I figured that my options for real fur would be slim to none. Well, heaven saw it fit to smile down on me and bless me with the last faux fur stole in Zara!

Y'all... the moment I saw this my heart started to race and I quickly looked around to see if anyone else was eyeing it. I speed walked right over to the table and snatched it up... taking a moment to relish in my find.

If you're looking too add some joy to your Fall/Winter wardrobe, run (not walk) over to your nearest Zara or go online and snag yourself the perfect Fall/Winter accessory. They retail for $59.90

Sep 26, 2014

How long is "too long" to be engaged?

During an interview on the Wendy Show, Jennifer Hudson was asked about her 5+ year engagement to fiance David Otunga and her response was that they were "taking baby steps."

When I heard this my face screwed up just as quickly as Wendy's did lol. I was like, wait a minute. Baby steps? What world are you living in where having a 5 year old son and being engaged for 6 years equates to baby steps? I mean, if a baby and 6 year relationship are baby steps, what are we all doing with our lives?

I've never quite understood people who feel comfortable accepting a marriage proposal, but drag their feet with the whole marriage thing. I mean, the point of an engagement is to actually get married. Now, I am sure that long engagements have probably equaled more than a few dodged bullets, but the reality of the situation (in my perspective) is that you shouldn't feel comfortable accepting a marriage proposal from someone you wouldn't want to spend the rest of your life with.

JHud, Fiance Otunga and Son David Jr.
In my own experience I was engaged for about a day or two tops, then we got married - - because that's what people do. They get engaged and then get married lol. Now, it's no secret that a few years later and I was divorced, but the length of the engagement or quickness of the actual wedding didn't affect that. I've been rather transparent about the struggle that is military life... but I digress. I can really only rationalize about 1-2 years for an engagement and that would be to save money, plan the wedding, seek out pre-marital counseling... you know, actual stuff that you should be doing with the time you're engaged.

After being engaged for over 5 years, it feels as though the engagement is more of a novelty and "get out of jail free card" from having to call yourself a baby mama or baby daddy. Do you think it's normal to have a 5+ year engagement? Or does this seem like some fuckery and foolishness?


Sep 17, 2014

How to Measure your Calves for Boots (via @GarnerStyle)

There was a point in time last Fall/Winter when my bf pulled me aside and told me that my beloved Chinese Laundry OTK boots had to go. It was hard to admit because I'd had them for quite a few years, but they were busting at the seems, had stains on the leather, and were super slouchy in some areas. Thus, after we moved I cut the chord and tossed them in the trash. This was very difficult to do.

My Calves: 15.25 Inches
Fast forward to now... it's nearly Fall and I'm on the hunt for a new pair of OTK boots to replace my old favs. The only catch? I have pretty large calves and it's always rolling the dice when it comes to whether or not a boot will fit. Enter blogger GarnerStyle. I came across this super informative video by GarnerStyle on how to measure your calves for boots.

This seems like common sense, but for some reason I had never taken the time to do it... and my calves are on the larger side of "normal." I followed her directions and measured my calves... and guess what? They're 15.25" each. Pretty dope... and informative, so I can actually have real facts with me as I try out boots in stores and look online.

Sep 16, 2014

The Perfect Coat for Fall

Praise God for PTO and being able to take some time off work. I've been feeling very overwhelmed lately, so being able to veg out around the house and catch up on Wendy Show today was awesome.

During the Fall Fashion segment I saw this amazing plaid coat and fell in love... it's seriously everything my fall fashion dreams are made of.

It retails for $229 at Urban Outfitters and can be found online here. I'd need to see it in person and make sure the fit was on point, but it looks like the perfect Fall/Winter coat to get me through the impending grey days ahead of me in the Pacific Northwest.

Sep 15, 2014

2014 Break-Up Anthem (via @BigSean)

Big Sean just dropped a new DJ Mustard produced song called "I Don't Fuck with you" featuring E-40 and it will make anyone going through a break-up attempt to c-walk and smile as you tell your ex you no longer have fucks to give their life.

 It's not often a male rapper drops a break-up song, so I'm very appreciative for this gem. Take a listen and let me know what you think. Feeling inspired to tell someone to kick rocks? Lol...

Sep 12, 2014


Love lines, battle wounds, mommy marks... whatever you want to call them, stretch marks typically get a bad wrap. We are often pushed every product under the sun in hopes of getting rid of the marks, but #LoveYourLines aims to highlight and remove the negative stigma surrounding stretchmarks.

Promoted as "two moms celebrating real women, real bodies and real self love#LoveYourLines is making waves on Instagram as every day women submit photos showcasing their stretch marks.

To keep it all the way 100 the #LoveYourLines Instagram page is offering me a ton of inspiration. I have 2 stretch marks on my body that seriously drive me nuts. It's not something everyone can spot, but it's something I zero in on each time. Ugh. It's annoying. I've tried oils, butters, creams... if I could pay a reasonable price for a laser removal I would. However, nothing has worked and I'm at the point where I've had to accept the marks and #LoveMyLines.

It's SO easy to get consumed with the idea of body image and get down on ourselves, not to mention the idea of having stretch marks seriously makes my entire force crumble... but #LoveYourLines is showcasing just how common stretch marks are. Whether it's due to weight gain, weight loss, pregnancy, etc... stretch marks aren't the end of the world.

Do you have stretch marks? What is your relationship with them?

Sep 9, 2014

"He pulled me down the stairs by my hair..." A domestic violence story (via @pixiwoos)

Everyone is talking about the Ray Rice elevator domestic abuse case and elevator footage. The feedback in the media has been overwhelming full of many opinions, judgments, explanations, excuses... the only person not chiming in is his wife Janay. This is another reminder of how little voice the abused typically have.

Two of my favorite makeup artists, sisters Sam and Nic of Pixiwoo, recently sat down with their mother who was a survivor of domestic abuse. In the video she shares her experience being in an abusive marriage, why she stayed, why she left, and her advice to others.

I think it's very important to create a positive conversation around a very unfortunate situation that is all too common. I also wanted to share the voice of a survivor and someone who experienced the struggle because so many people clutter the web with their opinion (myself included), but have not walked a day in the shoes of someone who is actively going through the situation. As an added bonus, it's not common to see open conversations between parents (abuser or abused) and their children. This is a stellar video by the Pixiwoo duo and their amazing mother for being to brave to share her story.

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