Create: Crochet Granny Squares

Following instructions is not something I do well. Case in point, the Granny Square. Sure I read the instructions and created a perfect Granny Square. After that, I was sure I could do it again with no instructions because clearly as a novice, i have extraordinary skills.

After failing about 5 times, I gave up an did what i was supposed to do. And voila…

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Granny Square coaster.

I even got some confidence and make a dishcloth.

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This cloth works better than any I’ve ever bought from a store. My next project may be to make a few more and throw out all my old ones that need to be replaced.

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Eat: Okra Chickpea Tangine

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I love okra.

And I know that either you love okra or you hate it. Everyone in my family loathes the stuff. That didn’t stop me from making Eating Well’s Okra Tangine.

And I loved it.

okra chickpea tangine2

I added chicken because I wanted it to be a little heartier. I skipped the harrisa or hot sauce also because I have kids who don’t do spicy. They didn’t eat it so I should have added it anyway.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen okra, stem ends trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 10 sprigs fresh cilantro, plus more leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced, or 1 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon harissa, (see Ingredient Note) or hot sauce, or to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add okra and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the okra with a slotted spoon to the ice water. Drain.
  2. Tie cilantro sprigs together with kitchen string.
  3. Heat oil in a tagine dish set over a heat diffuser or a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper. Cook, stirring, until soft, 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
  4. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, 3 to 6 minutes. Mix in tomatoes, broth, cumin, the okra, cilantro sprigs and half the bell pepper. Reduce heat to medium; partially cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the okra is soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and salt; cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; discard the cilantro sprigs. Stir in harissa (or hot sauce). Serve sprinkled with the remaining bell pepper and cilantro leaves, if desired.

This was an insanely easy, one-pot meal perfect for weeknights. It’s a keeper.

Linking up to: Somewhat Simple |Easy Living Mom|House of Hepworths|House of Rose

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Lipgloss…A girl can never have too much

I was at the mall yesterday and had to stop myself from going into Bath & Body Works to buy lip gloss. It was hard but I walked away. Why would I force myself to walk away from the greatness that is B&BW lip gloss with its menthol healing properties and high shine?  Because I am utterly obsessed with lip gloss. At any given time there are at least 6 in my bag.

Going to the drug store pretty much guarantees that I will be buying more. I don’t spend much on gloss. A $30 tube of gloss is not something you will find in my bag. I like them cheap, easy to locate and non-sticky.

Here is what’s in my bag right now:

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  • EOS (evolution of smooth) Strawberry Sorbet. They are right when they say smooth! This cute balm is tasty and makes my lips super soft. It smells delightful and it’s organic!
  • Liquid Lipsmackers Watermelon. This is little tube last a pretty long time. It has a great smell and high shine. I really love that it is non-sticky.
  • E.L.F Super Glossy Lip Shine. The name says it all. It’s got great shine, non-sticky and a little bit of color.
  • Liplicious Signature Vanillas Berry. I actually don’t love this particular B&BW gloss. It’s a tad sticky and very thick. I use it once in a while but only if I can’t find something else after digging through my bag for a minute or so.
  • Green Apple Lip balm Walgreens brand. I love this one because not only is it a triple threat (shine, smell and no-nsticky) it was $0.99 and a little goes a long way! I’ve had this since Christmas, use it more than anything else and still have a little over half left.
  • Lipsmackers Lip Sparkler Vanilla Frosting. This is an old favorite that I always keep on hand. It doesn’t do much for moisture but it last a long time and is easy to slip in my pocket or clutch. This is my favorite to carry with me when I’m going out. I’m not big on color but I love shine and shimmer so this works. And since it’s fairly cheap, I don’t mind reapplying it a lot. Which I do to attract attention to my lips…don’t judge me.
  • The Disco Ball. I have not idea the name of this one. It was also a $0.99 Walgreens find. I was surprised at how great this one is. First of all, it’s glitter which makes it a good going out gloss. Second, it’s actually very moisturizing. I really like it. If it weren’t full of glitter, I would use it daily.

And just to be honest, I probably will be buying that B&BW gloss very soon.

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Related articles

Reduction Chronicles: It’s offical

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You can’t see it (and probably wouldn’t want to) but I’m doing my happy dance! I just heard from my doctor and my insurance company approved the breast reduction surgery! (Pauses for a moment to get my 90’s R&B girl group dance on.)

The surgery is just a few weeks away and I’m nervous out of my mind. I’ve never had surgery. Not even a broken bone. I’m not sure what to expect from the whole thing. I have heard that when you wake up from surgery, you feel as if your body is on fire. Not at all looking forward to that experience. But I am excited to have my boobs chopped off.
What this really means to me is no more pain, no more struggling to afford bras and no more unhealthy lifestyle due to the inability to workout. This is really about to be life changing and I’m scared but ready.

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Loving Lately: Mint

Now that spring has made its way, I’m really feeling inspired by mint. It’s such a cool color that it instantly makes me think about mojitos and sitting poolside.

Here are some mint things that I’ve been loving lately:

mint green infinity scarf

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wrist soiree

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viscid watch

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The Shamrock Shake!

I even got into it and painted my nails mint

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What color are you loving for spring?

Linking up here today:

Lipgloss &  Binky

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Create: Yarn Ball Bowl Filler

yarn ball CollageBowls, vases and jars always pose a problem for me because they need to be filled. Fruit, flowers, rocks. And now yarn balls.

This came about from necessity. I needed to add some chartreuse to this bowl and so yarn balls were born.

I’ve seen Styrofoam balls used as a base. I used scrunched up foil. I’m a rebel (ask my mom).

It took about 20 minutes to wrap three balls in yarn. I simply used some fabric glue to secure the end of the yarn to the ball.

I love the pop of color and the texture it adds to the other store bought bowl filler.

Ta-da! That’s it!

Have you DIY’d anything out of necessity?

Linking up here:

Blackberry Vine

Kathe With An E

One More Time

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Watch: The Coalition

The Coalition (2013) Poster

I’ve been on the whole making dreams happen kick lately and realizing that it’s time to get it. I’ve been a reader of a blog for while and this woman is truly living her dream.

She’s a writer and a director. And she made a movie. Like she went out and made it happen. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.

So I moseyed my way to Netflix and watched her movie, The Coalition and let me tell you, I felt proud. Proud because I suddenly realized that making stuff happen is real. And I just had an overwhelming need to say thanks for the inspiration.   It was right on time.

And the movie, y’all, was really really good. It was a fresh concept and it had so many twists and turns I didn’t know what to expect.

So if you’re searching for something good to watch, check it out. You’ll be pleased.

Michelle

Eat: Almond Milk Chocolate Pudding

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Three years ago, I had my gall bladder removed and one thing the doctor told me stuck out. He said that as a result of the removal, I could become lactose intolerant.

Well, while I’m not 100% lactose intolerant, it does bother me when I eat too much.

That’s why this pudding excited me so much. I cant believe I never thought of it before, honestly. So when I did I was super thrilled. Now, I’m not really a pudding person, but oh buddy am I a chocolate lover.

almond milk pudding

This is basically just a substitute of milk for almond milk and of course any flavor change is pretty much indiscernible. All  I tasted was yummy goodness.

And of course I had to top with extra chocolate chips.

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Michelle

Starting Something

The scariest moment is always just before you start.

–Stephen King

I quit my job in March of 2011. I was pregnant with my third child and we were moving from Philadelphia to Tampa, Florida. I was scared to stay home. I had two daughters and all I had ever known was dropping them off to daycare. Overnight, I shed my working mom title and became a stay at home mom.

That was a shock to my system but I adjusted and I’ve pretty much got a firm handle on things. Wake up, get two out of three littles off to school, clean/cook, homework, bedtime, rinse, repeat. But now that I do have such a good hold on the home stuff, it’s time for me to take my dreams off pause.

And that’s where the scary comes in.

It was sort of a relief to be able to hide behind being a mom. Oh three kids, you  get a pass. But now I have elementary aged kids and a toddler. It’s time for me to give up my pass and get to work on making things happen in my life.

I want to write a novel. I want to start a publishing company and extend that dream to others.

The past two years, I let my creativity go for more practical things like changing diapers and cooking dinner. Those things are no doubt important but it’s time to focus on me again.

I’m ready to start something. It’s scary but it’s time.

Michelle

Beauty: Protective Styles

Knowing that for about 4-6 weeks post-op I won’t be able to do my hair, I started searching for protective styles. Unfortunately, I was having a hard time because I needed a braided style that was unique and not something every other woman I know is wearing right now. That eliminated my favorite Senegalese twist, kinky twist and box braids.

Twisted styles

pictures from beautifulhairbraiding.com and
foreverbloggingxo.blogspot.com

I asked a few gurus on twitter for some advice on other protective styles. I got some suggestions for the styles above as well as twisting my own hair. I won’t twist mine without extensions because my hair is too thin. Way too much scalp showing. Then I got a suggestion from @afroniquely to try Havana Twist. I fell in LOVE.

havana twist

Happily Ever Natural did these herself and they are gorgeous! She has a YouTube tutorial showing the process. I won’t be doing these myself because it would be my first time and they have to last at least a month and a half. But later on, I will give it a shot.

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