January Hair Update

So it's been two weeks since I hennaed my hair.  I usually wash my hair every weekend, but last weekend I was sick and so I'm just getting to it this week.  I haven't had any styles since I hennaed; I've just worn it in big cornrows underneath a scarf and a hat.  So this weekend was the tell-all story.

Due to time constraints, I did a deep conditioning treatment first.  (I literally had conditioner on for about 6 hours while I ran all my errands and such before I had a chance to actually wash my hair.)  Then I washed my hair with an ayurvedic shampoo bar I purchased from the Indian grocers.  I skipped my other steps and just rubbed in some hair milk, added some Vatika Coconut oil and twisted it up.  You know how much my hair shrinks when wet so I was surprised how light and airy my hair was with just the simple wash.  I love that shampoo bar.  Maybe less is more.

immediately after washing with the shampoo bar

the same hair piece just stretched to show length

a little Vatika oil added and twisted

the same twist pulled down

complete head of chunky twists
(not the kind of twists I wear outdoors - lol)

I will admit that working with my hair takes time, but I love learning what works for it.  With that being said, I am now interested in getting some more extension twists.  I just got referred to another natural hair specialist and I'm interested in doing a consult with them.  We shall see....

Oh, in case you're curious about how that style turned out...

the next day...
 untwisted with a little of almond oil on my fingertips

and of course, this is me...
(let's see if I can make this style work for a few days)

Until then,

EAOC's Valentine Catalog

I'm so excited to share with you my Etsy Street Team's Valentine Catalog.  Go ahead.  Browse through and see all the lovelies created by this talented bunch.  :-)

Finding My Design Style

I have a room in my house that has absolutely no design style, no decor.  It's quite disturbing but for the life of me, I've not been able to hone in on how to decorate it.  I know that starting with an inspiration piece and moving from there is a good strategy, but I haven't been able to find the right inspiration piece.  I know the feeling that I want to invoke in this room, so for me that's a sort of start.

Well, I've been searching online to find a quiz that might help me find my style.  I ended up taking a quiz from The Home Stylist.  I answered some questions about clothes and furniture and a few other seemingly odd questions and these are the results for me: 

Your style is Funky Eclectic.

Anything goes. You don't like matching anything. You have bought or obtain furniture very discriminately. You only have in your home what you truly enjoy. You like a variety of prints and textures but you usually have the artist's eye that makes it work well together. You have old and new furniture and accessories. You may collect and display items no one has heard of. When you entertain, you mix a wide range of people - the more diverse, the more entertaining. Some people just don't get your style but you really don't care. You may have grown up in a traditionally decorated house and now you want anything but traditional in your home. Your decorating challenge is to pull all your belongings into a cohesive look while keeping your eclectic style.

This assessment hit the nail on the head for me.  But now I understand why it's been so hard to decorate this room.  So until then, the room will remain disturbingly bare.

We Shall Overcome (Video)

In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday (which is why many of us were off work on Monday), Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago put together a program sponsored by their dance ministry.  One of my cousins attends this church and is also one of the dancers (the one with the black dress with the kente cloth belt also sporting the medium-sized afro - towards the far right.)

For all my non-English speaking readers out there, here are the lyrics to the powerful song you will hear.

We Shall Overcome

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome some day

We'll walk hand in hand
We'll walk hand in hand
We'll walk hand in hand some day

Small Pleasures

Small purchases but totally amazing!


Purchased from:  Bed, Bath, & Beyond
My reaction:  This stuff actually works! 

Purchased from:  Bath & Body Works (but just found it for much less online)
My reaction:  Exfoliates lips with such a minty goodness!
Purchased from:  Bed, Bath, & Beyond
My reaction:  Feels really good, but must love the smell of rice (lol)
What is it, you ask?  Anti-Stress/Sinus Microwaveable Mask
Purchased from:  Dollar Tree
My reaction:  What?  A dollar!  Hypo-Allergenic and wonderful.  Did I mention it was $1.

Goodies and Such

Recently I entered a giveaway on 2sistasthatknit's blog and guess what?  You got it.  I was one of the three winners.  I had no idea what the yarn would look like, but I knew in my heart that it would be beautiful.  And it is.

(Plus I got a knitting calendar and some chocolates. Yum Yum.)

I've been aching to try a henna treatment.  I purchased some Nupur henna at an Indian store over the Christmas holidays and finally got the guts (and time) to do it.  I read that henna was really messy, but I didn't have that problem.  Trust me though; I took precautions and covered everything in the bathroom and wore plastic gloves.  The gloves are not optional.

My biggest concern was making sure that my hair would not turn to the color of the henna.  I asked probably every Indian person I knew before trying this and they assured me since my hair was dark I wouldn't have any problems, but I was still a bit skeptical.

So why did I henna?  As a protein strengthening process, but naturally.  I took a few pictures for you.  Not the best; they are from my camera phone.  I also didn't want to take any chances with henna getting on or in my camera.  What you will notice, besides how much my hair shrinks when wet, is that all of my gray hairs turned a coppery color.  Very interesting....

70 g of henna mixed with 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 humectant conditioner, 1/2 cup cholesterol.  
After letting it sit overnight, I mixed in some Vatika coconut oil.

(before sitting in for about 2 1/2 hrs.)
See why I was concerned?
It's amazing how your face looks different when your hair is a different color.

(after rinsing out the henna)
See those gray hairs?  Yeah, an indigo treatment might be my next step.  Who knows.

So what else is new?  I'm working on two new designs.  I want to finish them really soon so I can get more ideas out of my head and into the yarns.  :-)

Hanging Out with Kids and Etsy Love

It's great to be able to borrow your friend's kids.  Especially when their kids are super cool.  So after work today I went over my friend's house and her kids tried on the fish hat.  It fit perfectly on the 5-year old so I updated my Etsy listing to reflect that.

5-year olds are unpredictable and funny!

We looked in the mirror.

Made funny faces.


And smiled some more.

Then I had a little helper keeping up with my lens cap...

...and letting me borrow his room and his old crib.  He'll be two tomorrow and is getting a bunk bed!  

(Ripple blanket for my Etsy shop.)

Again, friends with kids are cool.  Looking forward to some good times with them and their sibling-on-the-way.

Rockin' Ski Hat

We were able to crawl out of our homes from the snow and ice to get to work on a delayed schedule and my friend Shelly graciously agreed to model for me.  This Rockin' Ski Hat will be listed in my shop.

Can you believe, this is all yarn stash? :-)

Capturing the Moment

It doesn't snow here very often, usually twice a year and only for a day or so.  On the first day, I'm usually so glad to be indoors that I don't even go out to even touch the snow - so not like when you're a kid, right?  Day one is a cleaning, napping, or craft day.  On day two I usually grab my camera and go out to capture something in my yard because I know the snow will be short-lived and I don't want to miss capturing the "snow season."  Well, it's day three here and I hadn't been out until today.

Looking out the door and window a couple of times I noticed that the sleet that fell for like 1 1/2 days after the snow cast a dangerously beautiful sheen over the entire ground and all the trees.  So, I had to go out.  All bundled up with my camera strapped around my neck I carefully made my way to the back yard and captured a few images.  I knew it was time to go in when the wind started blowing and pieces of ice started falling from everywhere.  I wanted to check out the front yard, but it so was not going to happen.

What do you think?  Notecard worthy?

Catch of the Day

Didn't want you to think I was all cook and no craft, but it's just that you can craft in mini-sessions, but you definitely can't do that with cooking.  However, since the weather has provided me with much needed "you can't go anywhere no matter what" time, I have finally been able to finish up this crocheted version of the beautiful knitted fish hat Kar made not that long back.

I hope it makes some toddler happy.  I've been thinking of lining the head portion, but for now I'm very satisfied.  And guess what?  I didn't have to go out and buy anything.  I'm still using yarn stash.  1 1/2 skeins down and many partial skeins to go....  :-)

I wonder what else my hands can find to do.... Craft ADHD exists!  :-)

London Broil (Crockpot Dish)

On Saturday my mom and I were in the grocery store and I spotted what looked to be a roast in this woman's cart.  It was so beautiful.  When she wasn't really looking, I glanced again because the grain was so fine it couldn't have been a chuck roast, which is what I initially thought.  One of the beauties of the South is that you strike up a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere.  And that's what my mom did.  She inquired about the "roast" and found out it was London Broil...and, on sale.  So we both got one.  I had mine cut in half.

The woman gave us her really simple recipe, but of course I had to fine-tune it here or there because it made no sense to me to place potatoes and carrots in with the roast from the very beginning and cook it all day.  Experience has taught me that you'll have a mushy mess.  So here's what I did:

London Broil (Crockpot Dish)

London Broil
oil (I used canola oil)
1 onion, sliced
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
6 potatoes, peeled and quartered or halved (depending on the size)
1 can of string beans, drained and rinsed

Season the meat with salt and pepper, then flour it.  In a cast-iron pan or dutch oven, heat oil then sear meat until browned on all sides.  This will hold the flavors of the meat inside.  Place the meat in a crockpot.  In the same cast-iron pan/dutch oven, make a gravy using the onions, flour, water, and salt/pepper.  I cheated and added some Kitchen Bouquet to make my gravy brown.  Then I cheated again and poured in a small jar of a prepared brown gravy I already had.  I never do this, but I didn't feel like fiddling with the gravy today.  Pour the gravy over the meat in the crockpot and cook on high for about 5-6 hours.  In the last hour or so, add the potatoes and carrots, and later add the green beans (since they're already done). 

My verdict:  Absolutely delicious!  I do eat red meat, but on occasion.  I love the flavor, but hate chewing, chewing, chewing, especially roasts.  lol  I don't know if it's the nature of this cut of meat or what, but this meat was so tender and so good so I didn't have that problem.

Ok, I know you're curious.  Here's what it looks like.  I still have tons of gravy and veggies in the crock pot.

And I know better than to cut a meat before it's properly rested, but I had to show you just how tender this meat was.  It literally flaked with a fork.

Bon Appetit!

White Beans with Rosemary (Feijão Branco com Alecrim) - Vegetarian

Every now and again, I revisit Rita of the blog Pink Bites.  Rita is a Brazilian vegetarian and has the most amazing dishes.  I love visiting food blogs of international cuisines because it provides so many other options to the often hum-drum of the food you've always known or eat on a regular.

I've been eyeing these beans for a while; kind of curious about what vegetarian beans taste like.  I'll admit, beans with absolutely no meat is foreign to me.  But it's a snow day and I was ready to give this one a shot.

I followed her recipe to the "T" so it's no need in posting modifications.  She specifies that you can use any white bean of your choice.  Although my favorite white bean is navy beans, I opted for great northerns.  I also didn't soak  my beans overnight.  I did it the way my mom taught me - cover the beans with water, bring to a boil, turn the heat off, and let the beans remain in the covered pot for an hour.  After that, you just follow the recipe as normal.

I will say that beans have been a staple in my family.  Although the flavor of these beans is new to me, the process of picking over the beans, washing them is not.  Making this dish brought back memories of when my mom used to give me a pan of dry beans and make me do that job.  She used to put a pot of beans on almost every Saturday morning.  I think part of what makes food good is not just the flavors but the emotional connection that it evokes.  What do you think?

White Beans with Rosemary (Feijão Branco com Alecrim) - Vegetarian
(ingredients - onions, garlic, fresh rosemary, white beans, carrots, salt and pepper)

View Rita's recipe here

* I wanted to sign out in Portuguese but unfortunately I don't know a phrase that is like "Buen Provecho" or "Bon Apetit" in Portuguese.  Can I get some help, Alessandra?  :-)

ETA: Bom apetite!(Thanks, Ale)