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!
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.
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?
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.
There are days when I want to wear my afro FOREVER. And then there are days when its -40 windchill in Chicago and I’m afraid if I wear my afro my precious strands will go into shock, freeze and die 0_0 Ladies and gentlemen – that day was yesterday.
And because I KNEW this horror was coming, I decided to quickly bust my butt and install a a protective style. And since it was so FRACKIN cold, I decided to use yarn. Heck. Why not?
Let’s talk Yarn Twists! If you know how to do Senegalese twists, these will be a sinch. I twisted them with the invisible root method. I used 4 1/2 rolls of Red Heart Soft Yarn in black – I got it from Micheal’s Craft store. Per twist, I used 9 strands of yarn. The length of the yarn was based on the full span of both of my arms stretched out to either side of my body. It took, in total, about 5 1/2 – 6 hours.
Probably would have taken less time and less yarn if I didn’t have the tendency to part small sections. Obviously I like full styles.
Since its only been a couple of days, I’ll come back with thoughts on how I like them!
The New Year is right around the corner (literally some hours away), and I bet you’re wondering what you should be drinking on – right? I mean, that’s a fairly important question for New Years gatherings! There are so many options! Wine, champagne, hard liquor. In the craziness that is prep for ringing in midnight, I figured I would give you a two-fer to solve all your problems :) If you’re in the mood for something happy and warm, or in the mood for something a little more…boozie – this is the drink for you! This simple & tasty spiked apple cider will warm you from head to toe!
Say this three times fast – Spiked Spice Apple Cider! ;)
Served hot OR cold, you won’t have to do much to get festive and get ready for 2014!
1 ” Tree Top, Growers Best” Organic Apple Cider ( 128 0z or 2; 640z containers ) or any brand of apple cider you wish to use
1 tbs of brown sugar
2-3 small slices of fresh ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
18-20 whole cloves
2 medium oranges
4 cinnamon sticks
Stew Pot or crock pot
Cheesecloth or 2 paper coffee filters
Thread to secure the ends of your spice pouches
2 pinches of lavender ( optional)
Red Wine (optional)
Place your crockpot or regular pot on low/warm setting
Add your Apple Cider
Combine the following ingredients inside your cheesecloth/paper coffee filter: ginger, nutmeg, orange peelings, cloves & lavender ( optional). Secure the ends tightly with a small amount of thread.
Using an additional pouch add the brown sugar and 2 broken cinnamon sticks. Remember to secure the ends tightly with a small amount of thread.
Toss your spice pouches into the pot.
Slice the remaining oranges and toss them into the pot as well, along side the remaining cinnamon sticks.
Let it cook for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally.
When ready to serve, either pour into your favorite mug or let cool and chill on ice. ENJOY!
A special treat:
Adding a small amount of red wine to the hot cider will give it just the right kick. For an even bigger night let chill and add whiskey over ice.
I’m a DIY fanatic. I admit it. There’s just something so fun and thrilling about developing and creating your OWN things. Be it a new shirt, hat or beauty product. It’s just so COOL (says the nerd in me :) Ad in that Christmas is right around the corner and I can’t help but MAKE things.
One thing that I notice about the winter months is that I get DRY AS A BONE. I mean sheesh – the cold, frigid Chicago air and the super hot and dry heat in my apartment leave my hair, skin and lips are ALWAYS parched, dry and kinda sad.
That’s where Body Butter Bars come in – they moisturize your skin with a mixture of shea butter and cocoa butter. Perfect to ward off the harsh elements.
So if you’re running out of ideas for Christmas gifts and have no idea what to do – this will be PERFECT. It’s easy and inexpensive.
Body Butter Bars are best used while in the shower after soaping/washing up. The hot water will allow the bar to melt and glide easily.
The ingredients for this bar makes a very hard bar and the high content of cocoa butter will ensure your bar doesn’t melt at room temperature. You should still store it in a cool, dry place when not in use especially on hot days or if you live in a tropical country. You may have difficulty rubbing it into your skin but the bar is designed to be used in a hot shower and should melt nicely.
3 ounces refined cocoa butter
3 ounces refined shea butter
1-2 ounces beeswax*
14 g ground rice, red beans or almonds (or all three)**
4 g fragrance/essential oils***
1. Add all of your butters to your double boiler (if you don’t have a double boiler, like I don’t, put an oven safe bowl over a bowling pot of water).
2. Add in ground exfoliants and stir well.
3. When the mixture is warm to the touch add in your fragrance/essential oils.
4. Allow to cool in the fridge until the mixture becomes opaque and has thickened slightly. This helps keep the exfoliants suspended in the mixture instead of sinking to the bottom when placed in the mould. Stir well.
5. Spoon the mixture into your mould.
6. Put the mould back into the fridge and wait. Check back after 20 minutes and it should have hardened nicely.
* Beeswax may not be needed, but is helpful in keeping the bar SOLID. It takes a higher temperature to melt beeswax vs shea butter or cocoa butter. Shea butter melts the quickest, followed by cocoa butter, then beeswax.
** An exfoliant is optional. If not using one, please disregard that portion in the instructions.
***Fragrance is optional!
Pop it out of the mould and enjoy!
This recipe was adapted/found via the blog Oats and Honey.
Sometimes it’s a burger kind of day. And when I want a homemade burger it doesn’t have to be “fancy” to make me satisfied and happy. I remember when I HATED blue cheese with a fiery passion. I thought it was the most disgusting kind of food known to man.
“Why??!” I’d ask in a horrified voice. “Why would you east something moldy and BLUE?”
Obviously, I was delusional.
One day I tried it on a burger and I shut my silly mouth and never spoke badly again of the one and only amazing blue cheese. Lol. Blue cheese coupled with the fresh tomato, grilled onions, and fresh lettuce on a burger changed my life. Forserious ya’ll.
So when I’m cooking it at home, I try and follow the same template. And despite not using any greenery this time (I was craving meat and bread) it was just as amazing.
So here’s what you’ll need to make this simple, but tasty, burger!
1 pound grass fed ground beef (you won’t use all of this for one burger)
1 beefsteak tomatoes
McCormick Steakhouse Seasoning Grinder
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Make sure the ground beef is room temperature. Section portions and mold into a nice shape for a burger.
- Slice onions (do not dice).
- Season meat evenly with fresh ground pepper, sea salt and Steakhouse seasoning.
- Heat skillet to medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Let oil get hot.
- Place burger patty into skillet on medium heat. When partially cooked to your desired taste, add sliced onions to grill on the side of the patty.
- Let cook until desired readiness (I cooked mine medium). Add blue cheese on top of meat before you remove it from the skillet (it gets more melty).
- Remove from skillet and put your burger together!
What’s your favorite kind of burger?
We’ve got guest blogger Ivan Mitchell from Hectic But Eclectic back again to share some of his favorite songs of the year. We’re still fans of the 2012 playlist he made for us and we’re sure you’ll dig this one as well.
Read on and make sure to check out the tunes at the bottom!
1. KING – In The Meantime: These ladies are no strangers to this site, so it’s only fitting they kick off the playlist. This track is as intoxicating as anything they’ve done before.
2. Jessy Lanza – Kathy Lee: Perfect for late-night drives, but make sure the bass isn’t too high or it might wake the block.
3. Hiatus Kaiyote featuring Q-Tip – Nakamarra: Who knew there was so much soul from Down Under? The jazzy groove laid down by this Australian band couldn’t have been better suited for Q-Tip’s flow.
4. Laura Mvula – Like The Morning Dew (pictured above): Everything about this screams regal, from the orchestra swells right to Mvula’s commanding voice.
5. Lady – Money: Terri Walker and Nicole Wray (remember “Make It Hot” with Missy?) dress down the moochers in their life, retro soul style.
6. Bilal – Back To Love: During the heyday of neo-soul, Bilal was one of the genre’s brightest stars. This highlight from his latest album, A Love Surreal, serves as a healthy reminder why we loved him so much in the first place.
7. Mayer Hawthorne featuring Jessie Ware – Her Favorite Song: He’s definitely game during the funkier stretches of the song, but it’s when Jessie Ware comes in on the chorus that the whole thing smoothly melts into something special.
8. TiRon & Ayomari – No Filter: Whenever this Los Angeles-based duo refer to the sound of mid ’90s hip hop, they’re usually at their best. This laid back observation about a woman on the party scene is no different
9. Chance The Rapper featuring Vic Mensa & Twista – Cocoa Butter Kisses: Acid Rap was one of 2013′s most critically-acclaimed mixtapes. This song is the best example of the emotion and introspection that made it so popular.
10. The Internet featuring Yuna – Sunset: The loose and effortless approach is a throwback to the prettiest of ’70s soul, especially with the way the melody and keyboard glisten.
11. Alicia Keys featuring Maxwell – Fire We Make: If you’re looking to set the mood during a cold winter night, “Fire We Make” will for sure get more than just the chimney going.
12. José James – It’s All Over Your Body: This song is all about precision, from the way the bass snakes around to each head-bobbing snap of the snare drum. The technical performances are indeed impressive, but it’s James’ smoky voice that keeps everything warm and incredibly sensual.
13. Kelela – Bank Head: By using a lot of the trademarks that can be found in electronic music’s underground scenes, we’re given a futuristic vision of R&B.
14. JoJo – Take The Canyon: The “Leave (Get Out)” singer may have record label issues, but that hasn’t stifled her creativity as witnessed in this effective slow burner.
15. Lulu James – Sweetest Thing: The texture here is beautifully murky, but the sincere declaration of love and friendship never makes it inaccessible.
16. Alice Russell – Drinking Song: We were only given a snippet of this song on the British soul singer’s latest album, To Dust. When extended to full-length, it’s one of the classiest songs for the dance floor in 2013.
17. Disclosure – F For You: The simple structure of the verses and hook are exactly what made this one of the most infectious house tunes of the past few years.
18. Submotion Orchestra – Damn Hot: The way this track breezily floats and skips makes it a great option to mellow out after a long night of dancing and you’re not quite ready to pack it in yet.
19. Summer Camp – Fresh: This indie-pop duo played around with lite funk and the results are delightfully catchy. When Elizabeth Sankey delicately croons “Do you remember the first time?”, you see love through her eyes.
20. Tyler, The Creator featuring Coco. O & Erykah Badu – Treehome95: One of the most surprising cuts of the year came from the usually aggressive MC as he shared his love for jazz with two of today’s most soulful vocalists.
For more on music and other pop culture musings from Ivan, you can go to his blog, Hectic But Eclectic and starting Jan. 6, you can listen to his radio show, Noteworthy, every Monday from 6PM-8PM CST at http://uicradio.org.
OUUUUUUUUCH. So there I was, in a meeting at work, and my bra had just decided to see if it could dig a hole to China through my right breast – the same side, of course, that my boss was sitting on. Great. Wonderful. Super…awkward.
I grimaced and discreetly cast a glance around the room. Finding everyone enraptured with staring at the computer screen in from of them, I…well…I wiggled. Yes dammit, I wiggled! I slowly moved my upper body around at stupidly odd angles in hopes of dislodging my stupid bra from my STUPID tender breast meat. And you guessed it – the wiggle didn’t work.
As I resolved myself to sitting there for another hour in pain, I could only shake my head. Why the hell couldn’t I find a bra that fit me correctly? I mean seriously – as a member of the itty bitty titty committee, I figured it couldn’t be that hard…right?
WRONG. I’m not the only woman who’s resorted to the wiggle of death.
80% of women wear the wrong bra size.
But what most women don’t realize is that their bodies are constantly changing. A bra size could change with as little as a five-pound weight loss or gain, changing physical activity or even age. “You should probably get fit every year — just go and check in to make sure you’re still wearing the right size,” Richardson told StyleList.
For everyone who’s ever worn a bra that was painful, this is for YOU:
In case you’re not sure if you’re in the majority or minority, check your bra’s fit against these guidelines:
The band: Should be firm against your body to provide most of the support.
The shoulder straps: Should not be taking the brunt of the weight. If they’re digging into your flesh, you need a firmer fitting band.
The underwire: Should encapsulate the breast and should tack firmly against the body.
The look: If the bra fits properly, your nipples should be on the level of the middle of your upper arm and within your arm span.
So ladies, the next time you see a SUPER cute bra but it’s not in your size – pass it up.
Trust, your boobs will thank you!