30th Jun2010

Naturally Me…Kind Of

by Daenel

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last natural hair post!  What is wrong with me?  I really haven’t been that busy.  Hmmmm, I’m just gonna chalk it up to laziness and move on.

A lot has happened since my last post ~ I’ve dyed my hair twice, discovered new hair products and found an incredible community of natural haired people on Twitter.  Who knew there were so many natural haired beauties out there?  I didn’t.  And lemme tell you, these ladies know what they’re talking about.  They’re quick to offer love, support and helpful suggestions (use the hashtag #NaturalHair if you want to check them out).

I’ve been natural for 11 months now.  Yay!  I’m not going to lie and say it’s been an easy road, there have been times that I’ve wanted to go back to the “creamy crack.”  Dealing with natural hair, as beautiful as it is, is a learning experience.  There are days when I think I’ve figured my hair out and then my hair does a flip on me and I have to start all over.  When I first started this journey I was using the Mixed Chicks product line and I loved it because it defined my curls but I hated it because my defined curls were incredibly hard. I’ve also tried products by Carol’s Daughter but I felt like I could taste the hair cremes so I stopped using them, now I only use the shampoo.  A few people have suggested that I try products by Garnier so that’s next on the list.

I’ve been experimenting with different hairstyles ~ I think that’s one of the pluses of natural hair, the versatility.  I’ve worn curls, puffs and two~strand twist outs.  I’ve even flat~ironed it.  I don’t really like straightening it but my husband prefers it that way, so…  For the most part though I wear it curly.  My girl, Kendra, posted a video of herself brushing her hair out and I love it, so I decided to post pictures of myself with my hair brushed out.  I don’t have a lot of hair but it’s thick so brushing it out is a chore.  I do love it though, it’s so funky and you can really see the burgundy color.

Since going natural, one of the things I’m started to pay a lot of attention to is natural sistas in the media.  There are commercials (the Ford Fiesta and Mirena commercials come to mind) where sisters are totally rocking their natural ‘dos and I’m loving it.  I’ve also noticed natural haired sisters on television shows ~ Jasika Nicole, I’m looking at you, girl.  And did y’all see the BET Awards?  I have serious hair envy.  Esperanza Spalding, lady, your ears should be burning.  Seeing natural haired women who are beautiful and successful is so inspirational.

Now if we could just get Essence to get it right ~ why do y’all advertise hair relaxers on the same page that you offer tips and tricks for natural hair?  Doh!

29th Jun2010

Shopping in NEPA: the Bare Accessories

by Daenel

People are always asking me about my jewelry, they want to know where I bought it or who made it or if they can get something similar.  I always tell them “Yes!” and then I proceed to tell them exactly where I purchased each piece, how much I paid for it and who they should talk to when they get to the store.  I especially love doing this with small, locally owned businesses ~ when you buy local, you help your community.

Anyway, about a month ago, Miss 16 and I were shopping for accessories for her prom dress when we stumbled across a lovely little store at the Shoppes at Montage in Northeast Pennsylvania (NEPA).  the Bare Accessories is a cute little shop that offers a variety of accessories to fit every budget.  My daughter picked up a bronze clutch that perfectly matched her dress (my daughter shares my eclectic taste) and I fell in love with some floral leather bracelets.  I decided not to purchase the bracelet *gasp* because the shopping trip was not about me, it was about Miss 16.  I just made a mental note to return later in the week to buy it.  Naturally, life got in the way and I never made it back up to the store.  And when I finally did, the bracelets were gone!

I perused the shop since I was already there and found quite a few pieces that caught my eye ~ chunky rings, slouchy handbags, sequined scarves, beaded earrings, etc.  On my way out, I decided to take a chance and ask if they’d be getting anymore of the leather bracelets and was told they would be getting them the following week.  Then Stephanie, one of the co~owners, did something that is almost never done at the big stores (and this is why I heart little shops), she asked for my name and number and told me she’d give me a ring as soon as they arrived.

Sure enough, the following week I received a phone call letting me know the bracelets had arrived!  While picking up my bracelet, I met Michaelene, the owner of the shop.  She is so nice.  If you get a chance, pop in and check out their wares ~ I’m sure you’ll find something you love.

Contact Information:

the Bare Accessories
Shoppes at Montage
2031 Shoppes Blvd.
Moosic, PA 18507
570.347.2001
Hrs: Mon ~ Sat 10 AM ~ 9 PM
Sun 12 PM ~ 5 PM

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  I just really like the products and the owners of the shop.

28th Jun2010

Monday Mingle: I Love My Job!

by Daenel

Monday Mingle is hosted by Eighty MPH Mom. If you’d like to participate, simply create a short vlog in which you answer the questions and then hit up the linky. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave some comment love for your fellow participants. Afterall, isn’t that what mingling is all about?

This week’s questions are all about work:

1. Tell us some of your previous job titles. Which was your favorite job?
2. Who is the worst boss you ever had?
3. Who was your favorite boss?

Next week’s questions are:
1. When was the last time you went to the beach? Where?
2. What are your plans for the summer?
3. What are your favorite summer recipes? (you know the ones that don’t require an oven)

PS Jennifer included a little reminder on her vlog for us to make sure that we check the linky periodically to see if there are any new minglers.  If you see new participants, welcome them to the crew by leaving them some comment love.  Thanks

28th Jun2010

Mamavation Monday

by Daenel

This is just a very quick post to say “Woot! Woot!”  I’ll tell you the reason in a minute…

I’ve spent all weekend trying to find something to wear because I have an interview today!  Yes!  I’m so nervous and happy that I’m not even tripping over the fact that my dress pants are all still too tight.  That’s why they made jackets, right?  Besides I plan to so dazzle them with my fabulousness that no one notices that I can barely breathe…

And while I’m talking about being fabulous, have you checked out the goods over at Lingerie.com?  They always say if you want to feel powerful and sexy, you should wear something powerful and sexy.  And, man, do I wish I had this hot little number to wear under my suit today.  By the way, today’s Mamavation Monday Blogging Carnival is being sponsored by Lingerie.com, the winner will receive a $45 shopping spree and no shipping and handling charges on the purchase.  Oh baby!

I didn’t do very well with my healthy commitments for last week, life sorta got in the way.  However, I did eat a bit healthier and I drank more water so I’m fairly happy with that.  Therefore, my healthy commitments for this week are carryovers from last week:  drink more water and exercise a minimum of 3 out of 7 days.

Anyway, my other reason for the “Woot!” is:

Weight ~ 158.6 lbs  -2.8 lbs
Bust ~ 38.5 in  -1 in
Waist ~ 34 in
Hips ~ 43 in

PS click here for the bread pudding recipe from last week

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  This post is my entry into the Mamavation Monday Blogging Carnival that is being sponsored by Lingerie.com.

26th Jun2010

Fruity Bread Pudding Recipe

by Daenel

A few weeks back I mentioned that my children surprised me by loving bread pudding.  In fact, Miss 16 sent me a text requesting the bread pudding instead of cake for her birthday.  Anyway since my post, I’ve been getting requests for the recipe.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to make another one so there aren’t any pictures to go with the post but I wanted to share the recipe with you all anyway.

I tweaked the recipe a bit to fit my family’s taste (they love dried fruits) so I encourage you to do the same.  Please stop back by and let me know what you think after you’ve tried it.

Ingredients
6 Slices of day old bread (I use hard rolls)
2 TBS butter
1/4 Cup raisins and/or cranberries
1/4 Cup dried apples, figs, apricots (diced)
4 eggs (beaten)
2 Cups milk
3/4 Cup white sugar
1/2 TSP ground nutmeg
1/2 TSP ground cinnamon
1 TSP vanilla extract

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Break bread into pieces into a greased baking dish. Drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle with dried fruits.
3. In a mixing bow, combine eggs, milk, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour over the bread. Using a fork, push bread down until it is completely moistened (if you don’t get it moistened completely, the bread will be hard!).
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Serve warm or cold. This is terrific as a breakfast food or a desert. You can also add walnuts or pecans for extra oomph.  And never ever forget the coffee!

This recipe was adapted from a combination of recipes in Live Longer and allrecipes.com

25th Jun2010

Coffee Talk: Memories of Michael Jackson

by Daenel

My daughter is now a big fan of Michael Jackson’s, isn’t it crazy how an artist transcends generations?

22nd Jun2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Bride

by Daenel

Picture I took of our friend on her wedding day at the beach...

…She didn’t realize that I was taking her picture.

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom

22nd Jun2010

We Were Drama Queens from Birth

by Daenel

Oh how I wish I’d found this on Sunday!  My sister and I have always known the story of our birth, Mom used it as a way to highlight our need for drama since birth.  And as I tell you the story, you’ll understand that we come by our dramatics honestly.  Thank you, Mom and Dad.

It was about 2 AM on a Saturday morning in 1973 when  my dad went racing down the streets of Washington, D.C. in his little Datsun.  With dual horns blaring and my mother tensing up in labor, my dad violated all sorts of traffic laws.  Really, what do stop lights mean when your wife is about to give birth to your twins?  Motorists were moving over to the side, hand gestures of all sorts were flying and police sirens were blaring.

At some point one of the police cruisers whipped in front of my dad’s car with the intention of forcing my dad to stop.  Unfortunately, my dad had only two options ~ slam on breaks and hit the police car or slam on breaks and hit a metal telephone pole.  He chose to hit the police car.  As my parents braced for impact, my mother’s labor pains intensified and my sister started crowning.

In the ensuing melee, Dad was put in the back of the ambulance and Mom ended up in the back seat of a police car where Shontel was delivered by a stranger.  We never learned the man’s name because he wasn’t supposed to be in D.C.  He had told his wife that he was going to be elsewhere for business, instead he was with his girlfriend.  However, he did come to the hospital to check on us.  So whoever you are, if you happen to stumble across this blog and you remember that day, I just want to say “thank you.” About 45 minutes later, my mom was at the hospital and she started telling the E.R. doctors that another one was coming but they thought she was in shock and ignored her.  Lo and behold, between the emergency doors, I came into the world.

As you can tell by the newspaper article, my dad was charged with multiple traffic violations, all of which were dropped.  But our story doesn’t end there….

My sister was released from the hospital after a few days but I was kept in the NICU because of respiratory problems.  Yeah, my dad wasn’t having that.  He felt like my sister and I had been conceived together, incubated together and, therefore, we should go home together.  He started yelling at the doctors and threatening to take the hospital hostage if they didn’t release me.  After a few hours, Mom and Grandma Vaughn were able to talk him down and he let me stay in the NICU and he took Shontel home.  But you better believe, my dad was at that hospital bright and early on my release date.

So there you are, the story of our dramatic entry into this world.  And someday, I’ll share the story of my twins.  Let’s just say it involved a car, contractions and a drive through three states.

21st Jun2010

Monday Mingle: Wanna Feel Good About Yourself? Lie About Your Age

by Daenel

Monday Mingle is hosted by Eighty MPH Mom. If you’d like to participate, simply create a short vlog in which you answer the questions and then hit up the linky. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave some comment love for your fellow participants. Afterall, isn’t that what mingling is all about?

This week’s questions were submitted by Dee from Say Anything:

1.  What is the one thing you find most frustrating about getting older?
2.  What is the one thing you like best about it?
3.  What age did you look forward to most?

Next week’s questions are all about work:

1. Tell us some of your previous job titles. Which was your favorite job?
2. Who is the worst boss you ever had?
3. Who was your favorite boss?

PS Jennifer included a little reminder on her vlog for us to make sure that we check the linky periodically to see if there are any new minglers.  If you see new participants, welcome them to the crew by leaving them some comment love.  Thanks

20th Jun2010

Mamavation Monday

by Daenel

My daughter totally bailed on me!  She ran with me last Monday and then went to stay with her grandmother for the rest of the week.  Seriously, what a way to avoid exercise.  This mean I’m on my own again…

My eating habits were o.k., not great but not bad.  I had planned to work my way through the Live Longer Cookbook but I’m going to have to start next week.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn’t able to start my healthy cooking last week.  However, I have encouraged my remaining family to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.  With 5 out of 7 meals I make sure that we have salad, which everyone loves.  I’ve also started baking *healthier* sweets for the family ~ bread/rice pudding with tons of fruits like apples, apricots, cranberries, mango, plums and raisins.  In fact, the kids love the bread pudding so much that she’s requested it for her birthday instead of traditional cake.  For the record, the recipe is from the Live Longer Cookbook

I’m trying to get more water down.  I really don’t have a valid excuse considering my refrigerator has an ice and water maker.  For whatever reason, when I have bottled water I don’t have a problem but as soon as those bottles are gone so is my taste for water.  Yes, I am crazy.

My healthy commitments for this week are to work out for a minimum of 3 out of 7 days and to cook healthier meals.

Now for the stats:

Weight ~ 161.4  lbs     +1 lb
Bust ~  39.5 in
Waist ~ 34 in     -1 in
Hips ~  43 in

18th Jun2010

Coffee Talk: Birds and High Seas

by Daenel

For information about Abby Sunderland, click here

18th Jun2010

6 Ways to Make Your Blog More Appealing to Companies

by Daenel

A few days ago I asked the question that has been plaguing mom bloggers since the beginning of time. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration but from the replies I received to my query, I’d say this topic is pretty high on everyone’s list…  Moms want to know how they can make money from their blogs.  After I asked the question, Jennifer James wrote a brief outline in my comments section about how to profit from your blog and then she wrote an excellent follow up post.  I won’t rehash what she wrote but I will offer the following suggestions for making your blog more appealing to companies:

1.  Market yourself ~  Think about it, you have a blog and you’re on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc., you’re making a name for yourself, so use that to your advantage.  Let companies know what they can get for their money.

2.  Brand yourself ~  You are your best advertisement.  For example, I’m a big coffee drinker so I had a travel mug made by Designhergals.com that has my image as well as the name of my blog on it.  You wouldn’t believe how many people ask about the mug and about my blog.

3.  Proofread your posts ~  When you’re representing a company, you want to put your best foot forward.  All blogging platforms come equipped with spell check, use it.

4.  Be authentic ~  I find that the blogs that draw me in are not just the ones that pimp products but the ones that share something about the blogger.  Give your readers a reason to trust you.

5.  Be bold ~  If you want to represent a company, contact them and ask.  The worst they can say is “No”, right?  Check out this post from Mommy Reporter.

6.  HAVE FUN ~  Whether you make pocket change or enough to finance a mortgage, you want to have fun.  Blogging takes a lot of time and plenty of effort and if it stops being fun, you may need to take a step back for a bit.

15th Jun2010

Wordless Wednesday: Lake Louise in Pennsylvania

by Daenel

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom

14th Jun2010

Monday Mingle: I Blog/Vlog Because I Can

by Daenel

Monday Mingle is hosted by Eighty MPH Mom. If you’d like to participate, simply create a short vlog in which you answer the questions and then hit up the linky. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave some comment love for your fellow participants. Afterall, isn’t that what mingling is all about?

This week’s questions were submitted by Alex from The JAKA Files:

1. When did you start your blog? What made you want to start a blog?
2. Why did you choose the name of your blog?
3. Why did you start vlogging? How nervous were you during your first vlog?

Next week’s questions were submitted by Dee from Say Anything:

1.  What is the one thing you find most frustrating about getting older?
2.  What is the one thing you like best about it?
3.  What age did you look forward to most?

PS Jennifer included a little reminder on her vlog for us to make sure that we check the linky periodically to see if there are any new minglers.  If you see new participants, welcome them to the crew by leaving them some comment love.  Thanks

13th Jun2010

Mamavation Monday

by Daenel

CONGRATULATIONS, KIA!!!!

We have our first Mamavation Baby!  That is so cool and exciting.  Kia is beginning the adventure of a lifetime and I wish her all the love, peace, joy and patience she needs to be the best mom she can be…

Summer vacation has started!  My kids had their last day of school last Tuesday, so they are now home to disrupt my life.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Well, the joke’s on them.  Instead of sitting around and vegging between cries of “I’m bored”, they’re gonna be out getting some exercise.  In fact, I’m writing this post on a Sunday night because tomorrow I’m going to hit the gym early, come home and grab Miss 16 so we can go for a run/walk and then later (if the weather holds out) I want to take all four kids for a walk to see the preparations for River Fest on The River Common ~ a new scenic walking path and outdoor stage along the Susquehanna River.

Last night I made the mistake of eating fast food for dinner.  I learned two things about myself:

1.  I’m too old to eat past 7 PM

2.  Fast food does not agree with me

I have been feeling sick ever since ~ like the food is just stuck in my throat.

I never want to feel like I did last night.  It was awful!  So from now on dinner will be eaten no later than 7:30 PM and it will only consist of healthy stuff.  I’ve located my Live Longer Cookbook and I plan to cook my way through the book this summer.  I will post pics of everything I cook on flickr along with the recipes.  Fortunately my family is pretty open minded when it comes to food (well, except my son who is a vegetarian in name only ~ he eats chicken and ground beef but swears he doesn’t eat meat).

As far as exercise goes, I slacked off this week because of a persistent headache.  This week I’m much better (except for that whole fast food episode) so it’s back to the gym…  I’m pretty excited because I’ve been feeling pretty sluggish since I haven’t been able to work out.  Funny how that goes, huh?

Anyway, my healthy commitment for this week is to cook healthy meals and keep my kids and myself away from the junk.  I also plan to hit the gym for 5 of 7 days and the track for at least 3 days.

Now for the stats:

Weight ~ 160.4 lbs
Bust ~ 39.5 in
Waist ~ 35 in
Hips ~ 43 in

13th Jun2010

Exactly How Do I Get Paid Then?

by Daenel

When I started my first blog, Curious Child’s Library Wanderings, back in 2007 I had no idea that people could get paid for blogging.  Mostly because that’s not why I started blogging.  I started blogging as an extension of a class assignment and as a way to connect to other archivists, librarians and information professionals.  In the three years since I started that blog, blogging has come along way.  At least it has for me anyway…

I started this blog when my tenure as “Queen of the Histolibrarianivists” ended last year.  This blog is much more of a personal reflection of me and things that I find interesting, as opposed to the other blog which has a more professional edge to it.  This blog is my link to other women who share my interests and as I’ve started to connect to the “Mom Blogger” community, I’ve noticed a move from blogging for fun to blogging for profit/product.

In fact, I’ve noticed that there has been an increase in posts arguing against women blogging for companies for free.  The argument is that it takes a lot of time, work and effort to represent a brand and that the effort is worth more than the promise of links, traffic and free products.  That’s all true but what I’m not seeing from any of these articles is suggestions for how women should go about asking for payment.

One of the biggest proponents for blog for pay is Jennifer James who offers a lot of good advice about why women should get paid, but I see very few pointers on how women should get paid.  I’d like more women bloggers who are getting paid to share their tips for making the successful transition from blogging for free to blogging for profit.  Serve as mentors for those who would like to make that move.

For example, a company recently sent me an email asking if I’d be interested in receiving free samples of their products, writing a review and posting some recipes and pictures of the product on my blog.  I’ve worked with this company before, not for pay but for free product.  Should I now turn around and say “I’d be more than happy to do all that you want but for X amount of money?”

I mean it’s all well and good to tell mom bloggers to stop giving up the goods for free but how about suggesting how they go about getting payment?  Tell me exactly how do I get paid then?

11th Jun2010

Small Talk Six: Signs That Mom Has Had Enough

by Daenel

I try not to let things get to me but when they do, I try to take time and visit my “Happy Place.”  Unfortunately for me, my happy place looks a lot like a shoe store.  Anyway, today’s Small Talk Six topic is:  “6 sure signs that you are stressed out.”  Hmmmm….

1.  Everything makes me cry.  I’m not a crier by nature, but when I’ve reached my limit, everything brings me to the point of tears but it’s the little things that push me over the edge.

2.  I get real quiet.  I mean real quiet, as in the quiet before the storm kinda quiet.

3.  Nothing becomes my favorite expression.  For example ~ Tony:  “What’s wrong?”  Me:  “Nothing.”  Really, after 15 years, shouldn’t he just know?

4.  I eat.  A lot.

5.  Shoes…  Click here if you want to see what I mean.

6.  I go for a drive.

Now it’s your turn, what do you do to get rid of stress?

Would you like to play along? Sure you would. It’s easy. Simply go here to find out the topics, then answer it on your blog (you can write a list, a paragraph, use pictures, vlog, etc.), then grab the badge and link up. Don’t forget to visit your fellow participants and leave some comment love.

11th Jun2010

Coffee Talk: That Huggies Commercial Creeps Me Out!

by Daenel

Click here to see the Huggies commercial.  Don’t forget to leave me a comment letting me know what you think?  Am I being too sensitive or is the commercial slightly skeevy?

09th Jun2010

Wordless Wednesday: Ocean City, Maryland

by Daenel

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom

08th Jun2010

Ten Random Facts About Me

by Daenel

1.  I make up words.  Sometimes I don’t realize I’ve done it until someone says “Whaaaaa?”  Fortunately, my family’s used to it and they just let it go and figure out what I mean by context.

2.  My twin sister is 45 minutes older than I am.  When we were kids I used to say we were equal in age, now I love the fact that she’s older.

3.  My first car was a Pontiac Fiero.  I’ve had 3, I wrecked 1 and the other 2 died on me.  That was over 16 years ago but every time I hear “I’ll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me” by Expose I’m taken back…

4.  The first time I saw a computer I told my teacher that no one would have those things in their homes.  I was wrong.  Do you remember that, Mr. Engbrecht?

5.  When I first got married I couldn’t cook.  At all.  Now I like to think that I’m a hop, skip and a jump away from being a chef.

6.  I started drinking coffee when I was 10.  I used to hide it from my parents.  Recently my mom told me that she knew.

7.  We had nine days notice that we were having twins.  As in, nine days before the babies were born the doctor said “You’re having twins and we don’t deliver twins at this hospital.”

8.  When I was 14, I shaved one side of my head and dyed the rest of my hair black.  My parents are preachers.  They were not amused.

9.  There are times when I wonder why these 4 teenagers are calling me “Mom” and then I remember, I gave birth to them.

10.  Back when I used to model, my husband showed up at the photo shoot and took me out for dinner while I was all dolled up.  We were treated like celebrities.

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