Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fashion: Best 5 Fashionistas of 2011

Fashionbombdaily couldn't have picked a better bunch. I co-sign these choices 100%.

No list is complete without Solange. Not only is she fashion forward, but the girl is so comfortable in her skin. Confidence is the best outfit ever.

I'm super happy for Kelly. 2011 was definitely her year. Go 'head Kelly!

Kerry has been undeniably classy in fashion for as long as I can remember. I don't know a time when she shouldn't be on the list.

How old is this woman!!!??? She always looks so freakin' fantastic. I hate her... LOL. Go JLO!

Rihanna of course. What I love about her style is how she's effortless and rugged on one hand and then super fashion forward and clean on the other. She always makes me want to look.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

More House Inspiration: Sitting Room and Stairs

Isn't this room just DIVINE! This is exactly what I want, but I don't think there's room for this in the new house. I have so many books that I wish I could peruse, but I have a feeling that they're going to get stuck in a box somewhere. This room would be simply perfect.

The other thing we decided on last night was to paint our banister rail in a black or dark color. Since our floors will be dark, it makes sense that the banister be dark as well. Hubby showed me a couple of pics last night of what it would look like and I love it. While perusing my fav interior blog sites, I came across this pic, which is exactly what we're going for. Adding black-brown paint to the list...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ran-Dumb Thoughts

Ugh. My uterus hurts.

4 more days and I'm done. Alabama is calling my name. I can't wait to see my parents and be with them while we explore their newly built house. The memories are going to stack on top of each another. When I get back to work, it'll be reporting time so stress is inevitable. Inasmuch, I'm going to milk this mini-vacation for all it's worth. I hope the days go by as slow as possible.

There's nothing really going on in my part of the world. Just waiting and sitting and sitting and waiting. My life is about to change for the better I think and I'm interesting to see where this fork in the road will take my family. There's so much ahead of us. Challenges and good times. I'm not prepared for any of it, but that's how life goes isn't it? I'm very anxious/nervous about it all, to be honest. If I think about it deeply enough for my insecurities to unveil themselves though, I wonder if I'm strong enough to handle a growing family and the responsibilities of a house. I've been dreaming about it for so long. I've been preparing my mind by imagining how I would take on certain issues and by making resolves ahead of time. But who knows. I want to be the woman my mother was when she was living in a house with two children and a husband who was sleeping away at a firehouse every 4 days. I want to succeed like the rest of the older women I know. I want to be strong, like a superwoman.

Friday, December 16, 2011

THIS is What She Needs To Be Doing!

I really like Nicole, so I'm saying this out of love. Her musical director or whoever is picking her lane of music needs to be fired. She needs to let go of the pop stuff and stick to showing off her vocals. Go Nicole!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Movies: 'Think Like A Man' Trailer

Ha! This oughta be good. The film, based on Steve Harvey's book, "Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man" comes out in March 2012. Put this one on the list. Especially because Michael Ealy is in it. Mmm!

Home Maintenance Stuff

Yesterday, my boss' boss asked me if the house we're trying to buy has a steep roof or a flat roof. While he went on explaining that steep roofs lead to more work in the gutter-cleaning department, I started to wonder what else I don't know about home maintenance. So here's to educating myself...

"Homeowners can't simply call the landlord when the appliances need to be replaced or the hot water tank stops working. All these home maintenance tasks - and even the larger home renovations - are the responsibility of the homeowner. Whether you're planning a large remodeling project, or just to cover the necessary repairs, it is suggested that homeowners budget at least 1% of their home's purchase value per year towards maintenance. Therefore, if your home is worth $220,000, you should plan to set aside at least $2,200 towards maintenance costs. Some sources even suggest you should budget for up to 4% per year, which would be $8,800 on a $220,000 home."

Exterior Tasks

  1. Maintain your gutters.
    Remove all debris from your gutters so water can properly drain. This minimizes standing water and slows the freeze/thaw expansion process that occurs in cold weather. Clogged gutters can cause landscaping, lawn and shrubbery, walls, foundation, basement, crawl spaces and existing gutter system damage. Consider installing “gutter guards,” which will prevent debris from entering the gutter and direct the flow of water away from the house and into the ground.

  1. Maintain Your Lawn, trim your trees and remove dead branches.
    If your home has a yard, you will definitely need to budget for landscaping and lawn care costs. Paying a landscaping company to care for your lawn could run you about $30 per week. That adds up to between $120 and $150 per month for a basic lawn. If you choose to do the work yourself, your costs will undoubtedly be lower; however, you'll still need to consider expenses like fertilizer, tools and maintenance equipment, tree maintenance and seasonal plants for the garden. Although you might want to think it is free if you do it yourself, you do need to think about the time cost of mowing the lawn, or shoveling snow, if you are in the higher latitudes. Inclement weather can cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home, car, utility lines or someone walking on your property. Keep an eye out for large dead branches in trees; detached branches hanging in trees; cavities or rotten wood along trunks or major branches; mushrooms at the base of trees; cracks or splits in trunks; leaves that prematurely develop unusual color or size; and trees that were previously topped or heavily pruned. If you see any signs of hazards, call a professional tree service.

  1. Maintain your steps and handrails.
    Repair broken stairs and banisters to prevent falls and injury.

  1. Inspect your roof.
    Be proactive and prevent emergency and expensive repairs. Things to look for include damaged or loose shingles; gaps in the flashing where the roofing and siding meet vents and flues; and damaged mortar around the chimney (especially at the joints, caps and washes). If you see any signs of damage, call a professional to repair the damage.

  1. Inspect your home’s exterior walls.
    Look for possible weather-related damage, like cracks and loose or crumbling mortar. Wood trim and siding can suffer from deteriorating paint or become loose. Windowsills may be cracked, split or decayed.

Indoor Chores

  1. Check your home’s insulation.
    Your attic should be five to 10 degrees warmer than the outside air, otherwise too much heat escapes and causes frozen water to melt and refreeze which can result in a collapsed roof. Don’t neglect your basement and crawl spaces, and well insulate pipes in those spaces to protect against freezing.
  2. Maintain your pipes.
    Wrap your pipes with heating tape every winter and insulate unfinished rooms such as garages, if they contain exposed pipes. Check pipes for cracks and leaks and have any damage repaired immediately to prevent costlier repairs later. Keep your house warm — at least 65 degrees.
  3. Check your heating systems.
    Be sure to maintain your furnace, fireplace, boiler, water heater, space heater and wood-burning stove and have your heating system serviced every year. Check smoke and fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and change your heating and air conditioning filters regularly.
  4. Know your plumbing.
    Learn the location of your pipes and how to shut the water off. If your pipes freeze, the quicker you shut off the water, the better chance you have of preventing pipe bursts. Check weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors and replace or repair as needed. Caulking helps keep your house weather-tight, lowers your heating and cooling bills, and can also help keep insects and rodents out of your house. Also look for chipped or peeling paint around window frames and trim. Repair broken glass and loose or missing putty. When needed, use a modern glazing compound instead of putty for a waterproof seal.
  5. Clean and vacuum dust from vents, baseboard heaters and cold-air returns.
    Dust build-up in ducts is a major cause of indoor pollutants and can increase incidences of cold-weather illnesses. Check all your faucets for leaks and repair any you find. Replace washers if necessary. Many types of heating and air conditioning systems contain filters to remove dirt and dust from the air. A home owner should change these filters when necessary.

And here are two additional tips that I thought were useful.
- When you bought your home, you probably received a warranty from the builder on workmanship and materials. This warranty applies to problems related to the construction of the home, but it does not apply to problems that arise because of failure to perform routine maintenance. For example, if your roof begins to leak after six months because of faulty workmanship, your warranty would cover that. If you develop a problem because water backed up in clogged gutters that you should have cleaned, the builder is not responsible for repairs. Also, some items, such as appliances, may be covered by manufacturers' warranties and are not the responsibility of the builder. 

- You should fully familiarize yourself with the terms of your warranty soon after you move into your home. With all the excitement surrounding a move into a new home, most people have little desire to curl up in front of the fireplace and read a legal document. Nonetheless, you should not wait to read your warranty until a problem arises. Set aside an hour to learn what your rights and responsibilities are from the outset.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Diane von Frustenburg, one of my favorite designers, said that to have a good relationship with oneself, you have to know what's good about yourself and what's bad about yourself. I think I'll use this exercise as my end of the year reflection.

The Good

The Bad
I have too many voices in my head. One tells me one thing while the other says something completely different. I'm just plain ole' complex. If I didn't have a pen and paper or a keyboard and screen, I would become unstable.

I take to heart the smallest things. Everything bothers me when nothing should. Sensitivity is a blessing and a curse.

I am a world renowned self-examiner. I'm never satisfied with my current state. There's always something to fix. There's always something more. I can hardly name an accomplishment. There's never a it's-good-for-now moment.

The Ugly

Yep, that's me.

Goal for 2012: Stop thinking so hard. Stop being so inwardly dramatic. Fill my mind with good thoughts. Fill my pessimistic soul with fun.

Is Parenthood Losing Its Luster?

There's a discussion going on under this title on VSB's blog. Click here to read. I'm finding out that many people in my demographic aren't in favor of having kids. My immediate and lasting reaction was shock. This stirred a bit of emotion in me that I can't shake.

Three of the comments that hit me the most are the following:

When I read that most don't want children, I had this emotion that I couldn't explain. This was what I was trying to express but couldn't.

"This is making me sad. I’m always pro child-free living for the individual… but to see it collectively… to see the vast majority completely opting out… makes me so.entirely.sad.
It’s like… if it’s a few folks, it’s a personal choice…. if it’s an entire population, it’s cultural suicide."

There are so many comments dedicated to why it's not a good idea to have kids, but then I read this and said WOW.

"Even though I have a son, I can understand those not wanting to have any kids, and have no desire to condemn their ambivalence. Some people are just not meant to be parent’s and I applaud those who are honest with themselves about it, as opposed to squeezing some out to please other people.
But then again not wanting to have kids doesn’t necessarily stop you from having them.Even birth control isn’t a complete fail safe, shout out to my BFF on baby #3 while on the IUD. If you hump, they will come…eventually.

Truth be told, I never wanted kids or to be married, then I looked up at 21 and found myself with both. I guess that Paul McCartney song is right, “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans, and stuff.”

But I didn’t really have any rigid life plans before I had my son, I’m not really good with structure, so my son’s birth didn’t really interrupt anything besides my plans to own a 69 Mustang.

True enough children do change everything about your life. When I wonder about what my life would be like if I didn’t have a child, I figure I’d have nicer things, more free time, and less stress. And yeah that’s nice, it seems real nice since all three are scarce commodities when being a single parent. But I honestly, feel that nicer things and more free time , pales in comparison with what my son gives me. He’s the first human being I’ve ever been able to maintain a stable loving relationship with, and the only person who motivates me to be a better person, the only person I’ve ever felt accountable to. In a lot of ways he taught me a lot about myself, and what I’m capable of. I wasn’t confident I could be the maternal type. I owe a lot of who I am now, to having a child, though it is the most challenging, sometimes hair pulling , and tequila guzzle inducing experience I ever encountered, and eventually he will turn into a teenager (which I am not looking forward to). I’m sure I’ve had 2 mini strokes already, but I wouldn’t want a life without him, I never known anything so significant, then again I didn’t know that when I was childless. So for those who are kinda “meh” about it, that’s not abnormal, a lot of parent’s were “meh” before having kids, but you’d be surprised how much you learn to kinda like the lil buggers once they enter your life."

And then I read this... Why can't more men be like this? sniffle.

"Both of my parents are from the south and almost since birth I was made to understand that the most important thing in life is family and that the MOST important thing a REAL man can do is to protect, cherish, provide for and love his family. The idea or notion that man abandon’s his family or doesn’t want a family is beyond me and one that I just can’t grasp; while I do not knock those that don’t share the same values regarding family that I do, I just don’t understand. Not having a child is not going to be the end of my life but I know and have known for a long time now that I wanted to be a father."

Some people don't understand why this is such a big deal to me. This is simply put a topic that really means a lot to me. I can't explain it. It just is what it is. The attachment to this is real. I can't help it just like I am who I am.

Saturday, December 03, 2011


I searched online and found a great antique store on U Street in DC. Who's going to GoodWood with me?!

The Hunt for a Home

We put a contract on a house! Yaaaay! The seller has already given us our congratulations speech, but I'm still holding my breath. We have inspection and appraisal to go through first. So while we chug along to our closing date of December 29th, here's some design and inspiration thoughts I've had. I really pray that we get this house so this blog isn't in vain!

So, the first few things we need to do when we get in is put in hardwood floors, paint, and get new appliances.

The floor I keep thinking about the most is the first floor which has the living room and kitchen. Since MJ is going to have his man cave in the basement, I really want to own the look and feel of the living room. That's going to be my sanity room. My woman's den.

Here's the current living room.

And this is my inspiration for the final transformation. This room is so me. I love the comfy look of this sofa mainly because I could curl up and fall asleep on this thing. My mom and I agree that that rug is to die for. Look at the texture! Can't you just imagine the feel of this rug on the soles of your feet?! And those Crate & Barrel chairs. Ugh. I love them but they are entirely too expensive. I'm going to need to find my chairs at thrift stores or antique shops.

I'm thinking I want to go with grey walls and dark hardwood like the picture below since the furniture and rug will be light. I'm actually going to go for a lighter grey than this.

And here's the other room I keep dreaming about. My kitchen. Here's how it looks now.

And here's how I want it to look when it's all said and done. We were thinking about granite countertops like everyone else does, but the more I think about it, the more I become interested in concrete countertops like these. MJ wants the sink built in just like the picture which I'm in total accord with. We've already researched how to paint the cabinets ourselves. It's going to be a cool project. Think about this kitchen with dark hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances. Ooooh yeaaaaaaaah.

Here's a look at the space right next to the kitchen. This picture is taken as if you're standing in the kitchen looking out.

I'm thinking of doing this since I've always wanted a window seat/bench.

Or this... I don't know how this would work in the bay window, but if I find a way, I'm doing it.

I'm looking for a curved bench for the bay window area. That's going to be my prized win.

I pray we get the house! More on where the house is, etc after December 29th!!!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Best Friend

The very topic of "best friends" has been on my mind lately. I didn't know how to verbalize my thoughts until I read this article today. I couldn't put this better if it were my own words.
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