Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Transition Accomplished!

A certain someone home on winter break has been commandeering the laptop, so I'm finally logging on to post the final results of my transition to natural!

I had originally planned to take 2 years to transition via extensions but decided to cut it a year short last month after seeing the progress my hair has made. I've come a long way!

Here's a few snapshots of my hair this year:

This was last month getting my last extensions taken down, remaining relaxed hair cut out and my natural hair blown dry, pressed (edges) and flat ironed:

I'm very thankful to Reggie and his team at The Hair Lounge that the health of my hair was maintained especially my edges. I've seen so many women post-extensions that have no hairline to speak of and this was definitely a concern of mine. Hooray for edges!

Here's a video of two natural styles provided by The Hair Lounge and by Romel at Blow-Out (formerly Image is Everything) - I reviewed both salons here:

Thank you for following along on my hair journey, and I look forward to experimenting with more styles and techniques throughout 2014!

How We Created a Christmas Home

As 2013 is practically over, I realize I often look to my blog as a scrapbook especially since I've journaled since I was 7 but not as frequently since starting this blog in 2009. Before the year ends (right under the wire!) I wanted to be sure to capture how we created a Christmas home this year. In all the places we've lived since being married for 4 1/2 years, this apartment has really started to feel like a home, and I'm thankful to Mr. Lovebird for being on board with projects/decorating (remember the headboard he made?).

So here we go: a few snapshots of how we created a Christmas home this year (and yes, our tree is still up - it comes down tomorrow!):

Our Tree:

Mr. Lovebird agreed this Type A method for stringing lights was best and indulged me by following it to a T!
 Our Entry:


 Our Mural - updated from this one (inspired by Hey Natalie Jean):

Our Aroma:

A perfect simmer pot recipe

Other Little Touches:
Love Energizer's flameless candles - they even have scent AND timers!

Added a few extra festive vases - Nia kept trying to steal the candy canes!

Is your tree still up? How did you create a Christmas home this year? 

P.S. I've shared Jones Design Company's amazing Christmas home before, but for next year's inspiration I'm looking to how they decorated for the holidays this year - absolutely stunning!

Monday, December 30, 2013

I Used to Be Mad at Oprah

I've fallen in an out of love with Oprah many times over the years and one of the reasons I fell out of love with her at one point and actually was mad at her was because of her decision not to marry and have kids. Even if she didn't marry, part of me thought it was selfish of Oprah not to at least have children to share her wealth with - her own flesh and blood.

I know logically, it's none of my business, but in my early 20 something-year old mind I thought it would be so ideal for Oprah to experience motherhood and not keep all those riches to herself. I abandoned this logic soon after learning more about the philanthropic endeavors Oprah's had especially with her work at her girls' school in South Africa and I realized Oprah really didn't need to have kids to prove anything (especially not to lil ol' me!). Oprah's "children" are represented by many she invests in worldwide. Motherhood really has nothing to do with it!

Now at 33 as a I wife and mother I don' know why I was so interested in Oprah's life decisions (projection maybe?), and I have long resolved this "beef" I had with her but was reminded of it in this recent Madame Noire post regarding Oprah's decision not to pursue motherhood. Here's a snippet:

“If I had kids, my kids would hate me. They would have ended up on the equivalent of the Oprah show talking about me; because something [in my life] would have had to suffer and it would’ve probably been them.” - Oprah

And of course what's always interesting in posts like this are the comments:

"Oprah's views are indicative of gender equality. For example, men don't feel they have to forgo parenting to be a success in life. Oftentimes for men having a wife and children are aspects of a successful life. But Oprah like many women of today and yore feels that having a family is an impediment to career success. Women unlike men lack the options of having partners to rear their children and make having a spouse/parenting their lives while they conquer the world." - 1Val

"I admire Oprah's honesty. I think if more women were completely honest with themselves and not buy into the pressures of society says and thinks, there would be less unwanted children in this world. Although I have children, I have always believed that just because a woman CAN have children doesn't mean she SHOULD if it's not what she really wants to do . . ." - Yvette

Have you ever had ill-conceived beef with a celebrity?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Lovebirds at the "Can House:" Our First Annual Family Ski Trip

I've referenced the "Can House" a few times on social media including this Instagram post, but I'm excited to share with you the full details about this very unique property we stayed at last weekend for our first annual family ski trip.

My brother-in-law orchestrated the trip and found the house which he ran by us. Nia watched this fascinating video clip of it with me, and declared it the Can House. She was so excited to announce that we were going there before we solidified it. We even considered another, less quirky property, but in the end I'm glad this is where we stayed. 

It was definitely a trip we'll remember!

First smore of her life (turns out she prefers just the marshmallows!)
I was so happy to catch up on my knitting - it's been about 2 years!

There were lots of lady beer cans

We also got out of the Can House to enjoy the high temperatures (65 degrees the day before we left!):

I also shot a quick video of Lil Lovebird snow tubing for the first time:

Here's looking ahead to perhaps another trip to the Can House next year!

What unique properties have you stayed at? Do you think you could handle staying at the Can House or is it a little too strange for your taste?

P.S. Here's a video of Lil Lovebird ice skating for the first time too!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lil Lovebird's Gingerbread House Playdate

About a month before Christmas I started getting notices about gingerbread house classes around the NYC metro-area, and they were pretty pricey! I just couldn't fathom spending $40-75 for a one-hour class for a 3 year old especially as I have fond memories of making a gingerbread house as a child, and I'm pretty sure it didn't set my parents back nearly that much.

I debated giving in and taking a class with a friend whose daughter is also at Nia's preschool but started asking a few other moms about their experiences making gingerbread houses and decided to make one with a kit instead. I went to 4 different stores before finally getting a tip from a fellow mom about going to Rite Aid. Who knew?! I don't even think I've ever stepped foot in a Rite Aid before, but I went in and found loads of train gingerbread kits but didn't see the gingerbread house kits - at least not at first. I was about to give up when I decided to dig behind the trains and lo and behold found just 2 gingerbread house kits left. One for Nia and one for her friend!

When I got up to the register the clerk saw them and mentioned they were on sale and signed me up so I could get the club card. The kits rang up to only $6.50 each - 50% off!

Our friends came over after school, and we had a leisurely play date (there's no way we could have done this in just one hour especially with 3 year olds!):

Have you ever made a gingerbread house? Did you your kids end up eating most of the candy before it could get on the house like Nia did?

P.S. Just for fun check out this NPR post about how to make an indestructible gingerbread house according to an engineer!

A Belated Merry Christmas (and Our Cookie Exchange Recap!)

How was your Christmas? We had a nice quiet time at home . . .

Our Lil Lovebird was thrilled for her new dollhouse!
We said goodbye this week to the last of the cookies from last weekend's cookie exchange, and Lil Lovebird is still longing for more - she has quite the sweet tooth! (We ended up having a gingerbread house play date to appease her.) 

While I was disappointed not to host our cookie exchange last year we more than made up for it this year. It was such a fun time with friends from both sides of the Hudson. It made me very thankful for the connections we've made in almost 2 years of living here in Jersey City. 

Recreated last year's silly moment with my sisters

Have you ever been to a cookie exchange? What's your favorite cookie to gift (or eat!)?

P.S. Stay tuned for a few two-posts/day including today! I have quite a few things backlogged that I want to share from hair updates, to more Christmas details such as our recent return from the "can house," as Lil Lovebird calls it. It was our first annual family ski trip, and it was such a unique and memorable vacation in a sorta bizarre location. I can't wait to share more details soon!


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