Monday, December 14, 2015

Check out 9 Moms Who Won the Internet In 2015
by Amber Dorsey at Mode

The Wiz LIVE! - DVD Giveaway!

Like many black families, Thursday December 3rd was a day we had been looking forward to for weeks. The Wiz was going to be performed live on prime time television and we couldn't have been more excited. Back when NBC announced The Wiz as their next live production my social media channels have been buzzing with excitement. The internet cast and re-cast the production based on their memories of the movie classic with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

I made sure the kids were bathed and dinner was done well before 8pm so we were all settled in on the couch and ready to watch. No one spoke until after the commercial break except BabyNinja when he said, "Oh Mommy Dorofy, yooks yike you. Her hair's curly too!" That just made my heart melt. That's honestly never happened before. My kids have never compared an actress on TV to me. Not once. Needless to say I was on a total high for the rest of the show.  It was based on the stage production of The Wiz and not the movie so certain scenes were decidedly different but spectacularly done none-the-less. The costumes and makeup alone had me swooning and wanting to pause the screen repeatedly. I've already decided we will be taking our cues from this performance for our Halloween costumes next year. I mean how could we not? Did you see Amber Riley as the Good Witch of the North?

I MEAN. Dang girl. And Uzo as Glenda? It was just all too good. We DVR'd it because we knew it would be on too long for the kids to stay up and watch it all and there was no way I was letting them miss out on this monumentus occasion. Then the next day I wondered aloud when/if there would be a DVD version because I NEED it and then a few days later I received an email asking if I'd like to host a giveaway for the DVD COPY OF THE WIZ LIVE!!!!
What the what?! #lookatgawd
So I'm stupid excited to offer you all a chance to win your very own copy of the DVD!! Just in time for Christmas! I mean, how's that for winning?

All you have to do is enter by leaving a comment below telling me what your favorite song from the show/movie is and I'll choose the winners at random by December 22nd! It's that easy!
So go on ahead and drop a comment so you can win!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Party Over Hair

Earlier this year I went out on a limb (at least for me) and tried crochet braids for the first time. I was hella nervous about suddenly going from super straight pressed hair to big crinkly curls overnight but I figured it was pretty much the same as getting a weave right? So I took the plunge and I loved it.
And so did everyone else. I switched up from the Water Wave to the GoGo Curl and fell in love even more. THIS was the big curly hair I'd been yearning for. It was fabulous to be able to just shake my hair out in the morning and roll out the door. The whole 'the bigger the hair the harder they stare" concept absolutely rang true and while at times it did feel as though all eyes were on me and my hair,which made me self conscious, I loved it all the same. It felt like me.

It commanded attention and sometimes got in the way , covering friends faces during pictures but it was great. I was able to experiment with some highlights and not have to worry about damaging my own precious locks in the process. My own hair is healthier because I haven't put as much stress on it and I'm just like, "why did I not do this sooner?"

Now it's the Fall/early Winter and I am itching to switch things up. I still want to give my hair a bit of a break so that means extensions or braids of some kind and ever since I noticed Ciara's post baby style game I've had major hair envy. She recently cut it into a lob and it's sort of all I can think about. Between her, Kela Walker and Gabrielle Union  I have all kinds of #hairgoals for both my natural hair and the style I choose to rock this winter.

This also brings into discussion the topic of bangs. Let's face it, the minute you start thinking about cutting your hair you think about bangs because they can totally change your whole look. But they're also a pain in the ass to style and deal with on a daily basis. But maybe weave bangs would be different? I don't know. 
I do know that I am ready for a change. I've enjoyed rocking these curls but I am ready for some hats!

And can we just talk about Gabby and her bomb ass braids that got me wanting to run down to the beauty supply and buy up ALL the Black Velvet hair for some. She almost makes me forget how long I'll be sitting to get them down and how long it will take to take them out. But dammit if she doesn't have me re-thinking my refusal to sit for so long.

Sigh. I love my hair, I really do, and I'm focusing on taking better care of it in 2016 and learning; like really learning how to style it to match my mood and in a manner that's flattering to the texture.
But until then, I'm going to play around as much as I can with my look.

So the real question is: Does she bang or not?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

My cup runneth over

This year has been nuts, that is without a doubt. It might have been one of the most challenging and surprising years yet and it's still not over. There is so much drama and negativity in this world right now and it's been taking a toll on me both mentally and physically. It's all been too much at once with no end in sight. That's why I'm pretty jazzed about the upcoming holidays to be honest. I know they can be stressful with family in town and all the cooking, shopping and cleaning that needs to be done but I kind of love it. It forces me to slow down a bit and reduce the scope of my lens. I focus more on hearth and home, kith and kin.

My aunt, favorite cousin and me circa 1997

I'm super nostalgic this time of year as well as I always have fond memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas with family and friends. When we first met and my husband asked what I loved SO MUCH about the holidays (which he thought were a commercial sham) I told him family. It just reminds me of home. I've always been "the baby" of our extended family so everyone went off to school and left me with all the moms and when they came home it was always such a fun and exciting time to me.  They were all so cool in my mind and I wanted to be like them, off in college and living my life (whatever that meant).

my brother, god-sisters and me circa 1994

There was a certain energy in the air that wasn't usually there and I fed off of it. I still do. I love to entertain around the holiday season for this very reason. I like to have people  in my house as much as I hate to clean up and have to deal with having people in my house. Particularly if the energy is good. Being a divorced kid the holidays have also always been a time of anxiety as I worry about who to spend the day with and how the other parent is going to feel. The older I get the less I stress about it but it's still a concern. But this year both parents are doing their own thing and our family is off to hang with our famdamily.
I'm super looking forward to it as we haven't all spent time together in awhile and it's always a good time when the kids are able to run around in a safe environment and we can all relax a bit. Well sort of. We are talking about toddlers and pre-schoolers here.
I love the traditions we are creating with our kids and I hope that as they get older they look back on this time with the same type of fondness that I do with my childhood.
I'm also REALLY excited about food, apple cider margaritas and breaking out Cards of Humanity if there's time.

What are you looking forward to this holiday season?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ripped Jeans + Red Lips

A few weeks ago I was feeling less than inspired by my wardrobe. I would stand in my closet and basically only look at one particular section of my closet like that was all I had to choose from. For some reason I was stuck in a “I have to wear a semi-profesh” looking dress to work mentality. This is SO not the case. The atmosphere at the office is super chill so the only thing that might get me noticed would be if I were to show up in a ball gown.

Working both in and out of the office full time has made it harder to keep up with my favorite blogs so I’ve had to resort to IG stalking and while doing so I realized a common theme among some of the people I followed. They were all hella fly. Some are mama’s of littles, some have teens. Their styles are all varied but there is thread of familiarity that runs through them all that inspires me.
So I wrote about it. And was duly inspired by my own work. That very weekend I made it a point to go through my drawers (working my way up to the closet) and do yet another clean-out. I focused on what my personal style has REALLY been over the last three years. I know what I’m drawn to but, I also have to think about what works in my real mom life. The true story is, while I LOVE the polished looks of some of my fave style bloggers, I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. 

That’s honestly what I feel the most comfortable in, aside from dresses in the summer.  With that in mind, I planned my outfits for the week and decided to get the party started on Monday with some fabulous heels and a bright red lip.

Y’all know I’m still a new to the red lip game so it’s still a bit of a shock to see myself with it on but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t absolutely love how it looks.

The simple combination of a graphic tank + my favorite ripped skinnies and the silver shoes did wonders for my self-esteem.  I convinced my co-worker to take some photos prior to lunch (and me ruining my red lip) and they came out crazy good. 

I was reminded how fun it was to actually “get dressed” in clothes and shoes I felt REALLY good in and loved. It was just the kick in the ass I needed to get a handle on my closet and get a grip on my look. I loved the look so much I’ve basically had it on repeat over the last few weeks. Ripped jeans + band tee + heels + lipstick were so good to me I even posted a few of the photos on IG. It felt good to be back on my #OOTD game and definitely added a little strut to my step all week as I worked at getting back to being a woman in heels. It's funny how something so small (putting on lipstick and heels) could give me the pick-me-up I so desperately needed to get back into my wardrobe and reclaim my style. I'm still working on adding jewelry back in but hey, I've gotta start somewhere right?

What do you do when you get into a style rut?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Grab Your Rental

Dress: Nicole Miller via Rent The Runway

The “it’s been a long time since I posted” tripe is so over done but it couldn’t BE more applicable here. I legit haven’t blogged since before my birthday. In June. I know. It’s terrible. To be fair, quite a bit has transpired since then so it’s kind of understandable but given that I’ve still had a pretty heavy social media presence I guess it’s sort of lame that I haven’t gotten my ish together enough to hit publish. To break the cycle I thought I’d hit you with a good old-fashioned ‘what I wore’ style post. Last month one of D’s best friends tied the knot and we were out in full force to celebrate. I was probably the MOST excited because the groomsmen invite stated that the wedding was going to be black tie. THAT MEANS EVENING GOWN Y’ALL.

The last time I was that dressed up was when WE said “I Do.” So the excitement was real. And so was my shopping struggle. I knew good and well I wouldn’t have the time I’d like to actually go try on dresses. Nor did I really want to. As much as I like shopping, I detest trying on clothes and fancy dresses just seem like a lot of huffing, puffing, zippering and wiggling.
So after a lil research (read: I polled my FB friends) I decided to try Rent The Runway.  I was blown away over all the options they had available and more than a little irritated I haven't used them before. I was super torn on which dress to get and ended up doing another social media poll on the three dresses I was debating on. I asked everyone to weigh in and of COURSE people had opinions.

Two of the dresses were totally out of my comfort zone as they were both lace and fitted which is not my norm. While the sheer polka dots was up my alley in the A-line shape but the sheer panel and the cutout made my inner conservative a little nervous. But I still kind of loved it.
I was also pretty freaked out about the idea of renting a dress sight unseen and having it arrive in time for the wedding because, as per usual, I waited until the last minute (the Monday before the wedding to be exact) to commit to a dress and the concept of renting the runway.

However, the site allows you to try TWO sizes of your dress choice so I knew I was at least covered on that front. I did spend the entire drive into work fretting about whether or not I chose the right dress but at that point it was too late to turn back so I just had to sit and wait for it to arrive.

I was thrilled to come home Thursday evening and find that my dresses had arrived.  First thing Friday morning I tried on the first (and largest) size sans shoes and realized it was a little loose and hella long but still looked cute. I’d forgotten I requested a size down and thought I’d just got two different lengths so I didn’t even bother to try on the second dress until the day before the wedding. It fit perfectly and was the proper length for my heels too!
Even though I was a little bit rushing getting dressed (last minute makeup touches for the bridesmaids!) I felt like my overall look came together quite nicely. It was one of those rare fashion moments where the look in my head worked out in real life. I didn’t want to look too much like a bridesmaid since they were also wearing long black dresses so I chose to go w/ a subtle smokey eye, false lashes (duh) and a lightly glossed lip.
I’d just gotten my hair re-done the day before so there was no need to worry about what to do with it but I still sort of swept it to the side for a little bit of drama and then secured it with a ponytail holder cuz I’m classy like that.  The dress was light enough to have me sweating my makeup off in the warm evening and stretchy enough that I could eat, drink and dance to my heart’s content. It was a good look. I’m a fan.

Immediately following the reception I changed back into MY clothes put the dress back on the hanger, zipped up the carrier and swapped the UPS label on the outside and we dropped the whole thing off at a UPS drop box on our way home!
Easy like Sunday morning!

I don’t know WHY it took me so long to even think about using RTR. I mean, it couldn’t be easier, and for someone like me who’s a tad on the slow side when it comes to getting things mailed out it, having the label already to go made a huge difference.  I kind of wish I had more events to go to and occasions to dresss up for just so I can use them again! And they’re not just limited to evening gowns! They’ve got cocktail dresses, rompers and jumpsuits and generally if you need an outfit for ANY event, they’ve got you covered. For reals.

So yeah, RTR is legit and y’all should totally use them. And I’m jazzed I wore a fancy dress, didn’t trip OR spill and got to get a few decent photos for posterity. Who knows when it will happen again.

Have you ever tried Rent The Runway? 

** I was in no way compensated for this post I just really enjoyed my experience with this service.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Because Tacos Are ALWAYS A Good Idea

A few months back I saw a post on FB about something called 'Tacolandia' that was being put on by L.A. Weekly magazine. Intrigued, I clicked the link and found out this was the third year this event was being put on and featured the best of the best in tacos from all over Southern California. From Los Angeles all the way down to Baja, participants were chosen to represent their restaurant/foodtruck etc. It happened to fall on the weekend before my birthday so I was psyched!  I immediately sent out a mass text to the famdamily to make see who else wanted to go, because TACOS. Of course my food loving family was in and we all purchased tickets for this epic event. How have I missed out on this for the last three years???

June seemed like a long way off but the day finally came this past weekend. My famdamily along with about 800+ other folks headed out to downtown Los Angeles's famous Olvera Street for some tasty treats from over 80+ of the best taco vendors all over So Cal. In a word, it was heaven. In another word, it was gluttonous, but dammit if it wasn't fun.

When we first entered Tacolandia we were completely overwhelmed with the numerous tents and various taco options that lay before us. We immediately headed for the first line we saw and were treated to type of elote-style corn salsa on tortilla chips topped with crumbled cotija and a squeeze of lime juice. 

It was heaven in my mouth. We didn't move from that front area for a solid 20 minutes as we sampled the first few booths in our sight and then hit up the famous Koji truck helmed by acclaimed chef (and culinary genius) Roy Choi. At that point we realized we should probably start splitting the tacos if we were going to last for the next few hours.

As we slowly snaked our way in and out of lines sampling the best of the best we discovered our best strategies for waiting in line and discovering new flavor profiles. 

As we crossed the main street we gasped to see that the line of tents continued on further up and around the corner and further still down another alleyway. The tacos just went on forever. I may or may not have let out a whimper at all the delicious smells that were emanating from the area. 

There were samplings from Trejo's Tacos and some of my favorite Top Chefs were there (Susan Feniger and MarySue Milliken  from Border Grill had a crazy offering of beef heart on one and a kale Caesar with cotija croutons on a quinoa tortilla that was kind of amazing. I couldn't bring myself to try the beef heart but some of my crew did. They said it was cool.

Midway through the first aisle we decided to take a reposada break and hit up the ice cream and churro stands. Because yum.  While we were taking a breather I took a step back to soak up the moment. Years ago, there's no way you  would've caught me at something like Tacolandia. 

I definitely wasn't eating a taco that I couldn't customize and with THINGS on it, let alone one made from fish or another seafood. Yeah, no way that was happening. Call it growing up or just not wanting to be left out at family functions (my in-laws GET DOWN) I've since expanded my palate and am now excited to try (some) new things.  So while I was a little nervous about the offerings being beyond my reach, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much I was willing to try.

We had such a good time running from stand to stand it was a little like trick-or-treating for adults. With margaritas and Jarritos in hand.  SO. much. fun.

Suffice to say that by the time we left we were all groaning with gluttony while simultaneously savoring the memory of every morsel. I was pretty much ready to be rolled down the hill back to the car and it took great will power not to fall asleep on the way back home. All in all we were back home to the kids by 8:30 pm and had my bra off and sweats on by 9pm. I was full and loved scrolling back through my phone at all the fun photos and yummy food. I also enjoyed scrolling the hashtag and seeing that one of OUR favorites of the day one for Fan Favorite at the festival and all of everyone's delicious food pics!

If you like tacos even a little bit, I highly recommend looking into this next year. I know we'll be going back for sure but this time we'll for sure VIP it up and try to pace ourselves ... but I doubt it.

Have you ever been to any food festivals? Get tickets for 2016 here

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dinosaurs Galore For The Boy

It seems dinosaurs and boys tend to go hand in hand. The minute we announced Baby Ninja was indeed a boy I noticed all the cheesy/ kitschy boy themed stuff was all dinosaurs, trucks and robots. I didn't really think a lot of it at the time as I had no plans to do the boys room in a 'theme' he (read I) would be stuck with for several years before needing a big boy overhaul. However, I clearly underestimated my kids innate love for the reptilian beasts as he is currently obsessed with all things dinosaur.

It started out slowly with an accidental viewing of Jurassic Park, of which he was both fascinated and terrified, and then became a full fledged obsession watching Dinosaur Train in the mornings and anything else that had dinosaurs in it. We've had fun learning about all the different species beyond the typical T-Rex and Tricertops we knew of as kids. In fact our minds were a little blown away when we realized we'd been identifying several dinosaurs incorrectly (thanks PBS Kids for letting us know). And now, we are completely immersed in the dinosaur world and generally have one within arms reach at all times. It's not at all surprising to reach into my purse looking for gum and come out with a Velociraptor. This is just my life now.

So, in an unexpected parenting move, I let him watch the rest of the Jurassic Park movies. While he was quite terrified at some parts for some time, he also learned there was nothing "real" to be afraid of, that it was just a movie and the parts he didn't like, he didn't have to watch. He could simply leave the room, hide or cover his eyes. Once he realized he had control over that feeling, he began to make more commentary about the actions of the dinosaurs. At one point in the first movie he's been known to exclaim "Rexy SAVED them" because all he sees is the big dinosaur besting a smaller one while the people were able to escape. The fact that the T-Rex is a ferocious predator is slightly lost on him.

We got a lot of quizzical looks and raised eyebrows whenever we mention he's seen the Jurassic movies and to be fair, I get it. He's not even 4 yet, but since he is dino obsessed and I am a HUGE fan of the films (I've been known to do weekend movie marathons) I just thought it would be a fun way to spend time as a family. And, oddly because he's been watching the movies, now Sweet Pea has finally seen them all as well. It was only a few short years ago that she would run from the room if the even heard the bone chilling Tyrannosaurus roar,  but since her baby brother has seen them, it gave her a boost to think she can too. We all have fun talking back to the screen and still shaking our heads at some of the characters actions. When we saw the trailer for the latest installment 'Jurassic World' I turned to my husband, eyes wide with excitement, and nodded my head like "ohhhh's going down." His first thought was to take the three year old who has a history of not being a fan of the movie theater. Mine was not. While I do think he maybe wants to see it (he enjoys the commercials)  I think it's a probably a bit too much coming at him and too loud on the big screen just yet.


Luckily for us our friends at Universal Pictures understood our struggle and were kind enough to send over some fun items for us to create our own Jurassic experience. A backpack and hat to make the boy feel like a 'real explorer' AND a Jurassic inspired LEGO set. Baby Ninja is going to pee on himself when he sees it all as he already has a 'kit' he needs when watching the movies (a flashlight, Rexy and friends, and his 'noculars) so this is just right on time for him and I couldn't be more grateful to them for helping to encourage his imaginative play.
I get a kick out of watching him hunt for dinosaurs and spy their 'eggs' everywhere we go. It's a big difference from the pony, doll and glitter filled life we experienced with Sweet Pea.

This just further fuels my desire to take him to the Natural History Museum so he can see the fossils live and in person as well as the La Brea Tar Pits to further explore the dinosaurs extinction. See how I squeezed in some educational elements with the fun? That's what summer is all about right? I know if I told them we were going to the museum just to be going , there would be groans and sighs but coupled with a viewing of one of the movies I think (hope) it's only going to spark more excited conversations about the history of the world and the evolution of life on this planet. And as cheesey as it sounds, I love those moments. Where something fun becomes something teachable and they don't even know it! It's like sneaking beets into brownies, they like it and and never even know there's something good for them in there! Mom win!

Do you have plans to go see the movie? Did you see it already? If so, tell me what you thought!


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