Wednesday “Wows”

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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!

 

Wednesday “Wows”

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1. Do you still believe in magic?

2. Fascinated with the transformation of this chair. DIY rules!!

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4. CRRRRRRRRRYYYYYIN laughing from this story. And currently looking up a Chicken Biryani recipe.

4. Hakuna Matata.

5. Chargaux. You’re welcome.

6. If you’re ever in North Hollywood – stop here. Their Pineapple Cake is to DIE for.

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7. These DIY Clipboards give us LIFE.

8. *drools* There’s something about gnocchi that makes us happy – and really hungry.

9. If these don’t make you crave summer, we don’t know what else would.

10. What’s a statement better than fried onions? Nothing. That’s what.

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11. Love every single one of these septums rings. And MsTBennett just bought this one. Squeeeeee!

12. Toccara Renee would stuff her whole face into everything on this menu.

13. MsTBennett can’t be the only one that puts on her makeup like this…..right??

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Photo Shoot and Yarn Twists

Yarn Twists -Chuckstr Photography

I had the ultimate pleasure of working with the talented and amazing Chuckstr. He’s a Chicago based photographer! He shoots portraits, lifestyle, beauty, places, weddings and food. So if you’re on the search for a photographer – trust me. He’s your man.

Despite being terribly nervous (c’mon, no model here) he made me feel comfortable, laugh and I had such a fun time! I would seriously, without a doubt or question, recommend him to anyone and everyone I know.

Interested in working with Chuck? Contact him here! You won’t regret it :D

Also, if you’re interested in learning more about my yarn twists, you can find my post on them here.

Wednesday “Wows”

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We are so excited to start a new weekly feature here on CurlyDeviants.com. We’ll be sharing some of our favorite websites, recipes, articles, videos, and pictures that inspire us to get our hands dirty in the kitchen, create from a place of love and dream outside the box <3

Join us here EVERY Wednesday for our Wednesday “Wows”!

Without further ado, here is our first set:

1. Pretty sure we could eat this Raw Raspberry Jam for days…

2. MsTBennett couldn’t be more excited about the Mastering Your DSLR course she’s taking with A Beautiful Mess!

3. Two words – Pistachio Butter. And sea bass?! OMG.

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4. *drool* Can this Chunk Chocolate Buckwheat Granola look anymore amazing?!

5. Totally want these Reversible Instagram Coasters on our tables. ASAP.

6. Yes please to this Brussels Sprout & Avocado Salad.

7. Where is spring?! This lime green DIY Statement Necklace is calling our name!

8. Get in touch with your inner Latina with this DIY Sofrito Recipe, Que Rico!

9. ToccaraRenee has found her Wedding Dress, next on the list: husband shopping! :-)

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10.  These Ombre Nails are just in time for spring!

11. Flower Crowns are where we hide our magical powers. Shhh, don’t tell anyone!

12.  So you mean to tell me,  I can have a 5 minute Brownie and not feel guilty? Where do I sign up?!

13.  Nesting with the Sparrows, sounds like heaven!

14. #followhim

Craving Spring

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Every day that I still have to wear my full winter coat, I die a little on the inside.

Okay, okay. Again, that was overly dramatic. But still – where is Spring and why is it not here yet? In an effort to bring a little more green into my life, I took a trip to the Home Depot Nursery while I was visiting my family in St. Louis this past weekend. The weather there was actually AMAZING, and I only had to wear a sweater to keep warm.

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When I was little, my house was filled with flowers. The garden was overflowing with strawberries and tomatoes. My Momma really has a green thumb – I mean a SERIOUS green thumb. She touches it and it grows. Viola! So, hoping her affinity for plants would rub off on me, I carted her off with me to the nursery to give me some guidance on purchasing the right plants for my apartment. Thankfully my place is a pretty great size, so I had the opportunity to buy a larger plant ( the dumb cane) and about 4 or five smaller ones (two succulents and some herb plants).

Totally will be purchasing more succulents in the near future. They’re just so darn cute!!

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The Home Depot actually had a ton of options, though my Momma said some were a little bit more expensive than she thought they should be. I seriously had my eye on a Chinese Evergreen, but was told to hold off for a lower price. Boo. I really liked their selection of pots! I probably would have purchased terracotta pots exclusively, but was told that I would need to soak them in water for a full day (as they pull moisture into the pot). Sadly, I didn’t have time to do that.

photo 2(4)It was a beautiful day. I peppered my Momma with questions, made my selections and got to spend the evening having her teach my how to pot them and take care of them back in Chicago. There’s nothing better than Momma/Daughter time <3

I’ll keep you updated on their progress, and show you my final choices in an upcoming post!

Tell me – how do you get ready for spring? Thinking of planting anything?

Baked Brown Sugar Chili Chicken Wings

Sometimes, life just comes together.

And if you didn’t appreciate how dramatic that was, you probably would have winced at the shriek of joy I made when I dipped one of those wings into that sauce. It. Changed. My. Life. I await moments like that – when good food rivals a day at the beach. *deep sigh* Since obviously, its going to be winter here in Chicago. Forever.

I have some choice words to say to Mother Nature. And her bastard son, Winter.

Despite that, after work yesterday I decided to trapeze through the woods near my job. No, that doesn’t make any sense. Yes. I still did it. I’ve been wanting to take some photographs of the woods with fresh snow all winter. Thanks to Spring Forward, I was given a little extra light time and that made it all possible. In the picture of the trees, and what looks like a path, you can see the deer tracks I followed deep into the woods. I’m happy to have noticed them. I saw the deer off to the side, but they scuttled as soon as they heard me.

Snowy Woods  Snowy Woods

What does this have to do with chicken wings and spicy sauces you ask? Well, when I finally left, as the sun started to set – I felt invigorated. Renewed. And freezing. It was worth it. But I was also STARVING! In pops the idea of chicken wings, which I’ve been craving for a couple of weeks now. But, I seriously couldn’t pull myself to make them (didn’t want the fried grease smell throughout my apartment). Damn you fried foods and your tastiness! *shakes fist*

Luckily, there are these wings and that SAUCE. They taste amazing. Only thing I missed was the crunch of a fried wing. Other than that? These will be happening again. In hopes of a crispier outside, I parboiled them first for 8 minutes, then baked them for 25-30. A little crispier, but not quite a crunch. Maybe next time I’ll parboil them a little longer.

Baked Brown Sugar Chili Chicken Wings 2 With Slaw

I adapted this recipe from Damn Delicious.

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 pounds chicken wings
    • 1 tablespoons olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 3 tablespoon smoked paprika ( I love paprika)
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • Soulard Spice Shop Seasoning Salt, to taste (or sea salt)
For the Roasted Red Pepper/ Chipotle Cream Sauce
  • 1/3 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
  • Chipotle (adobo) to taste – depends on how spicy you want it
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • Sea Salt, to taste

For the Red Cabbage Slaw

  • 1/2 head of red cabbage
  • 3-4 tablespoons Marzetti Original Coleslaw Dressing

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Clean chicken wings.
  3. Boil water in a pot and parboil wings for 7-8 minutes. Remove wings and pat dry thoroughly.
  4. In a large bowl, combine wings, olive oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Place wings onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, using metal tongs to turn at halftime.

To make red cabbage slow, cut cabbage into long or short slices. Add Marzetti Original Coleslaw Dressing and mix. Refrigerate.

To make the dipping sauce, combine roasted red pepper, chipotles, goat cheese, sour cream and salt in the bowl of a food processor until emulsified; set aside.

Serve wings immediately with dipping sauce.

Baked Brown Sugar Chili Chicken Wings

Baked Brown Sugar Chili Chicken Wings With Slaw

Toccara 2

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to share my experience as a professional athlete, caring for natural coils.  Thank you to the wonderful naturalista’s at NaturallyCurly.com for sharing my hair-story with curly girls worldwide!

Click the link below to read the full article:
NaturallyCurly.com

Chocolate Cravings

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Let’s talk chocolate.

And not just ANY chocolate, my friend – we’re speaking of the one, the only, the mighty, DARK chocolate. The kind of chocolate that saves galaxies and creates world peace. The kind of chocolate that puts you into a chocolate coma and you don’t even care.

So there I was, driving home from work, and considering what it would be like to swan dive into a lake of chocolate syrup. Guys – I was craving chocolate. BAD. I could have gone to the grocery store and grabbed a Hershey bar. I could have even grabbed some cake from the bakery section. But I was feeling adventurous. So I quickly Google’d (cause ya know, Google knows EVERYTHING) “the perfect chocolate cake.”

Low and behold, the very first link is from addapinch.com. And guys. This recipe is the TRUTH. Thank you Robyn for sharing it with us all!

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Now I bake for fun guys – I am not a professional! But this recipe was super easy to follow and it turned out AMAZING. The only thing I didn’t use was the expresso powder, as I couldn’t find it at my local grocery store.

You can find the full recipe HERE.

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The cake was AMAZING. As I don’t plan on being 200 pounds anytime soon, I took it to work. SO many compliments! They loved it!! Pretty sure it disappeared in 3.6 seconds.

She also has the best white cake ever recipe….and my birthday is coming up next week *smile* Let’s just say that I have plans. Bwahahahahahaha.

Anyways, talk to you guys soon! And do let me know if you try the recipe!

What’s your favorite kind of chocolate?

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I have never thought myself beautiful.

And before you begin to question my confidence – hear me out. I can in all honesty say that I think myself attractive. I am confident in my words and my looks. I think I’m pretty in every “woman next door” kind of way. I enjoy dressing my best, feeling pretty, and feeling confident in my womanhood. And on the occasion that all the stars align, goddammit I feel SEXY.

But I have never felt, nor have felt the need to describe myself as, beautiful. As gorgeous. And though people have labeled me as humble, I can’t truly say that I am – at least not when referring to my looks. I KNOW beautiful women. From their midnight eyes to their souls, I have met them, interacted with them, befriended them. And for some reason have never considered myself a part of them – in the physical description of beauty.

Was this insecurity? Its hard for me to say yes, considering I have never felt more comfortable and more ME in my life. Comfortable in my skin, with its freckles, beauty marks, stretch marks and scars. I am not so comfortable with cellulite, but that I can change and is a work in progress.

I’ve been told consistently that I am hard on myself. And so, I wondered, if therein lied my real issue. I see beauty displayed on my Instagram feed daily. I see it and somehow I disassociate myself from it, because I’m not…perfect.  And for someone who can recognize beauty in others who aren’t perfect, who aren’t the industry standard of beauty, why couldn’t I accept the same in myself?

It was a very sobering and harsh reality check when this was pointed out to me in recent conversation.

“No beauty is less better, just because it isn’t “standard” and marketed.”

And I felt like such a hypocrite, because I was doing to myself what I pushed my friends and loved ones to never do to themselves. I was downgrading my beauty in comparison to…the “definition of beauty.” A beauty that is Photoshopped, manipulated and not made to show black women in their own light (but made to dim it).

I couldn’t have expected his response to change how I viewed myself…but awareness can be thrust upon you. You can decide to accept it, or leave it. I chose the former.

“Is it not important to buy an HD memory card for an HD (DSLR) camera? The camera will already give you high quality, but the card allows you to get the highest quality the camera was produced for. Even if nothing changes, its just dope to know the exact truth. Its trivial when viewed alone, but its one ingredient that goes into the pot that creates you.

For women, and men, we are told what is beautiful. In magazines, on  tv, etc. It’s because there’s a certain “standard” needed to show something is expensive and make what ever item is being sold, desirable. ”Oh, said celebrity uses this perfume?? Well, I’m going to use it too!”

But we don’t leave it at that. We then think “If you don’t look like that, you’re not beautiful. At all.””

Ya’ll. I bawled like a little baby. What I had been doing was sipping the kool-aid while making everyone else homemade green smoothies from organic vegetables. I constantly told my friends, my associates – you’re BEAUTIFUL. Your hair is beautiful. Your person is beautiful. YOU are beautiful. Then I took myself out of the equation.

No longer. I am not the standard beauty. But I am beautiful in my own right.

And that is all I needed to accept.

 

Special thanks to my friend Sean for speaking to me in way that allowed this to finally sink in my thick skull. Your caring and love for “Your Black Queens and babies” is amazing, and welcome.
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