Photo Credit: GRace Weber

Soulful & Gritty artist, Grace Weber is exactly what I needed this Autumn!

I absolutely love RDIO, an app that never lets me fall behind on the latest music; for a small monthly fee I can take my large collection of music anywhere in the world with me  (right now I’m in Romania)  jamming away to all my favorite tunes, even without wi-fi.  Two weeks ago, I stumbled across Grace Weber, this gritty and soulful midwest girl who can SANG hunny!

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(Photo Credit: Grace Weber)

 At first listen, Perfect Stranger, whipped me to the 60’s, where artist like Dinah Washington and girl groups like the Supremes slayed EVERYTHING. The keyboard and drums give a retro vibe that will having you clapping the entire 3:09.  Her new album has a bit of everything for music lovers; from string filled ballads like Til I hurt you; to the bold brass record, Oil & Gold.  Not to mention her Gospel roots sprinkled all over this second effort.

Have a listen below!

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“You’ve got to find people who love like you do”_DSC3830 copyI am AFFIRMED.  I am FREE.  Living by my own standards. Making my own decisions and loving through all of life’s adages. For the last 6 years I have been doing one of the many things that has made me not only happy, but something that has concretely developed some of the most delicate inner linings of my spirit. Being an athlete goes far beyond what many of you see on tv. Being an athlete at the professional level can challenge every ounce of your  mental and emotional core. In the midst of cultivating the person you see before you, I’ve been able to tap into parts of my existence that has allowed me to reach for more, BE more and achieve more. In the midst of loving on my self more and more everyday; My heart took me to a place that I never imagined I would end up…

California.

Warm winters. Creative freedom. Art. Live Music.  It’s what draws the masses to the west coast on every occasion. These perks are amazing, especially for a midwest girl.  My push to California, Los Angeles in particular, came from a deep pull within; and my- am I glad I came!photo 3(2)I’ve taken the summer to adjust and take in Los Angeles as much as I can, Only to be heading abroad in a few days ( which I promise to be more telling with my journeys abroad, via hair, lifestyle and culture in future post.)  I’m also excited to blog from Romania regarding my natural hair, life and cultural experiences. Brown girl in Romania this should be quite interesting! :-)photo 4

So I humbly ask YOU, our amazing readers, to keep me in your prayers, send me love and light as I embark on this current love affair with California and follow me as I attempt to put my mark on the country of Romania!
Wish me luck!

Magical Black Girl

There’s something wondrous in creating.

For the past couple of months I’ve felt like I’ve been slowly rising back up from a deep dive into watery currents. Sometimes reality is more…. real….. than you anticipate. Family, bills and work became my one solitary focus and everything else blurred. But today, right now, my heart feels more full, more light, more bright then it has in quite some time. Like any other 20 something, I’ve had my share of stupid moments, life lessons, and jumping into the unknown. And to be honest, I pray they continue.

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I wouldn’t be the woman I am without them.

I like to think that by living my own life with character, abandon and hope, I’m providing value to those around me. A big part of that, I’ve recently realized, is expressing myself via creative projects. For anyone that would listen, I’d gladly tell them I’m a frequent reader of A Beautiful Mess. Everyday I’m inspired by accounts I follow on my Instagram. There isn’t a street drive that I don’t wish I had a camera to capture a moment that should be seen, shared and felt.

Everyday I want to create. But I haven’t been. Until recently.

I’d like to think that I can attribute my re-awakened fire to myself, but I know that’s not entirely true.

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What I didn’t realize was how empowering it would be to have someone invested in your interests as much as you are. Someone who’s just as excited about new DIY projects, ideas for creative pictures, about exploring forest preserves or making chia seed jam. No matter how silly, how impossible, or how impractical – someone to share the moments with.

Someone who craves adventure as much as I do.

What more could a magical black girl ask for?

 

– Till next time –

ELLE WINSTON

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I’m excited to share with you Elle’s new single, “Downtown”  produced by Sammy Nichs.

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CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

(Photo credits: Ashton Alexander | Iva Kozeli)

Elle Winston is a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, who spent most of her life growing up in the southwest sun of Arizona.  Her music draws its influences from American jazz, funk, blues, r&b, folk, alternative music and world music. Elle studied classical music at Arizona State University where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. After college, she went on to become deeply involved in the live music scene in Phoenix, Arizona. Throughout her time in both Arizona and New York, Elle has opened shows for a wide range of artists such as Gil-Scott Heron, Joan Jett, Groupo Fantasma, Orgone, Bridget Kelly, RaVaughn, Carl Thomas and many others. She has played Phoenix’s Pride Festival, the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, Hot97′s Who’s Next Showcase and headlined the 2014 Harlem Arts Festival. Her music  has been featured by SoulBounce, The Couch Sessions, This Is Real Music,Oh So Fresh!, Put Me On It (UK), Kurofone Crew (Japan), The Wild Magazine and many more. Elle has also performed at some New York’s most beloved venues including Rockwood Music Hall, Pianos and SOB’s.

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Elle Winston 

Tuesday Nights and Scissors

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There’s something freeing about cutting it all off.

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So there I was. Pulling at the back of my head, trying to detangle the mess it had become in the last two weeks that I’d not done anything to it. I mean, it was my fault. I have 4C hair yo – there IS no “Well, I’m not going to detangle my hair for two weeks and its going to be roses and rainbows.” Especially not when while its in a fro and not a protective style, living its own life carelessly. It was as horribly tangled as I thought it would be, and not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

At this point in the game, my emotions about my hair were nothing short of nonchalant. I equally loved it, didn’t care a bit about it and cared about it to a point of obsession. Confused much?

By the time I got to the worst of the tangles, I just started cutting. And the more I started cutting, the more I started thinking. I. Should. Just. Cut. It. ALL. Off. Because….why not??? I’ve spent the better part of 4 years struggling and winning and crying and smiling over my hair. Its grown, broken, grown and thrived. But I really started considering, in those brief moments of decision making – why did I care so much about growing my hair out?

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What did getting to long hair really matter to ME?

Obviously, not much. Within the next two hours I had my roomate cut it down, my friend with clippers make it even and a bottle of Dark N Lovely’s Golden Bronze slathered all over my head. I figured, a Tuesday was as good as any other day to cut your hair. Right? Right???

When it was finally done, and I stared at myself in the mirror, all I could do was smile. It was new. It was different. It was living, on my own terms at my own time.

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And dammit….I felt good.

OOTD | Summer Feels

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Hey guys! I’m supper excited to announce that I did my very Outfit of the Day video! Woot! The weather was beautiful and all of Chicago was smiling :) All in all, it wasn’t so hard.

Please see the video and pictures below!

You can find all of the outfit details in the video!

 

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Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowl

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My mouth is watering just thinking about this chicken.

Never mind that I literally just had an amazing breakfast of fresh, homemade coffee, eggs and sauteed kale. Mmmm. No – I’m thinking about this spicy, sweet sauce, and how absolutely amazing it was. I’m super excited to share this post, because after I ate this I literally felt like I could lift a car and save the world. Or a the very least – seriously consider lifting said car.

Over the past few months I’ve seen an abundance of these bowl recipes scattered across my favorite blogs – so of course, I wondered what the big deal was. MAN. I’ve found out, and I’m never going back. I think the amazing thing about these bowls, filled with fresh veggies, is that you feel GOOD after eating it. Its light, flavorful, filling, and healthy.

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Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowl

Without further ado, lets get into this recipe!!

INGREDIENTS

Honey Chipotle Chicken

1 pound organic chicken strips
1/4 cup olive oil
3-4 tablespoons adobo sauce, from a can of chipotles in adobo (depending on how spicy you might like it)
4 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 garlic cloves, minced

Lime, Cilantro Brown Rice

1 cup whole wheat rice
2 cups water
1 lime
1 /2 lemon
3 tablespoons cilantro

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

1 cup Brussels Sprouts (cut in halves)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pan Seared Sweet Potatoes

1 cup sweet potato
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon olive oil

 

DIRECTIONS

Cilantro

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Honey Chipotle Chicken

  1. Add the chicken breasts to a baking dish and season with salt. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, adobo, honey, mustard, cilantro and garlic. Pour the marinade over the chicken, covering it evenly. Place it in the fridge and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. To cook the chicken, add to skillet on medium heat. Cover the chicken and cook until golden brown.

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Lime, Cilantro Brown Rice

  1. Bring the water to boil in a small sauce pan. Add the rice. Lower fire, cover rice and cook for 20-30 minutes, until fluffy. Add only the juice from the lime and lemon. Stir in cilantro.

Brussels Sprouts

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Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

    1. Clean the Brussels sprouts and cut each one vertically in half.
    2. In a large flat-bottomed frying pan, heat oil to cover the base of the pan.  Place the Brussels sprouts in the pan, cut side down, in a single layer. Sprinkle the sea salt and pepper over the Brussels sprouts.
    3. When the sprouts are just starting to caramelize (you will smell them), turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
    4. Cover for an additional 4-5 minutes until desired tenderness.

Sweet Potato

Pan Seared Sweet Potatoes

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet. Add the sliced sweet potatoes. Cover and lower heat. After about 5 minutes, uncover and turn the sweet potatoes with a spatula. Cover and continue to cook until tender, another 5 minutes. Check frequently to make sure the potatoes don’t burn.

Assemble your bowl, and top with fresh tomato!

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ENJOY!

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  • Clean the Brussels sprouts and cut each one vertically in half.  Finely chop the shallots and crush the garlic.
  • In a large flat-bottomed frying pan, heat enough oil to cover the base of the pan.  Place the Brussels sprouts in the pan, cut side down, in a single layer.  Scatter the chopped shallots and garlic over the sprouts.
  • When the sprouts are just starting to caramelise (you will smell them), turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes or so.

- See more at: http://www.cooksister.com/2008/11/garlicky-sauteed-brussels-sprouts.html#sthash.5qC9R0nv.dpuf

I found the original honey chipotle chicken recipe over at How Sweet It Is, and catered it to my taste. Jessica, the amazing owner of that blog, has no idea how much I admire her recipes!

 

Orange Old Fashioned

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It was a beautiful Spring Saturday and that called for bourbon. Because. BOURBON.

DSC_0312This past weekend I seriously couldn’t believe the weather. I woke up Saturday morning, walked to the window, rubbed my eyes and did a double-take. It was SUNNY. And warm. And WARM. Ahhhhhh. Seriously. Heaven.

So of course, this calls for a celebration with something refreshing. What’s more refreshing that bourbon and fresh squeezed orange juice you ask?

The answer would be – nothing!

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So let’s get straight into the easy cocktail. I got my inspiration from the amazing Adrianna over at A Cozy Kitchen. She created this Grapefruit Old Fashioned that LITERALLY made my mouth water. Sheesh! I wasn’t interested in the tart of the grapefruit, but orange definitely sounded tasty.

INGREDIENTS

Drink:
2 oranges
Angostura Aromatic bitters
Bourbon of choice (I used Jim Bean)
Sparkling water
Ice

DSC_0324DIRECTIONS

  1. Juice the ranges juice into a measuring cup.
  2. Add all of the orange juice to shaker, along with two to three dashes of the Angostura Aromatic bitters, 2 shots of bourbon, a splash of sparkling water and ice.
  3. Shake, pour and enjoy. Garnish with an orange slice.

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Viva la Spring!

WW

1. I totally just jumped out of my chair, Jazmine Sullivan is back!!!

2. On those, ” I don’t feel cute” days- Fear not!

3. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

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4. “You are 300 Sandwiches away from an engagement ring – better start cooking!”

5. Saul Williams will star in Broadway’s new musical inspired but the work of Tupac Shakur. CAN YOU SAY EPIC?!

6. Coffee Caramelized Croissant French Toast Sticks. Lord….help me. *drool*

7. Of course I want to learn how to draw a Cherry (Harry Potter) Pinup Cartoon. Of. Course.

8. Spring makes me want to plant things! This is gorgeous!

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9. Yep. Pretty much love every single pair of their glasses. GIMME!

10. I need ALL of these skirts to survive. Too dramatic? But…I wants them!

11. Why am I not drinking this Fresh Mint Iced Coffee RIGHT NOW? OMG. Jessica makes the most amazing recipes.

 

 

 

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Brand new video alert! Fun tutorial showing you how to apply Henna for healthy hair!

 

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