19th Nov2014

I’m the Featured “Business of the Week” at Mind Your Black Business

by Daenel

I’m honored to be the “Business of the Week” at Mind Your Black Business. A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a long time Twitter friend, Louiseza Sanders, and asked if I would like be interviewed for her website. I was hesitant at first, because, well, I don’t see what I do as a business… I don’t offer any type of services, just a bunch of rambling with a few words of encouragement splattered in between. But talking to Louiseza made me realize there is value in what I do. Others see it, I just need to see it too.

Mind Your Black Business Quote of the Week from Daenel T. at www.livingoutsidethestacks.com

Mind Your Black Business offers support and encouragement for Black business owners and entrepreneurs to guide them towards success and self~sufficiency. You can connect with Mind Your Black Business on Facebook, Google +,  Pinterest, and Twitter.

To read the article, click the picture….

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}

 

 

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16th Oct2014

Blogtober: My Hobby

by Daenel

Blogtober: My Hobby {Living Outside the Stacks}

A little over 3 years ago, The Hubs bought me my first “real” camera. It was a GE X500 Power Pro. I loved that camera. And I took it every where with me. But as I became more comfortable with photography, I started to recognize the limitations of my “bridge” camera {a step above a point and shoot and a step below a DSLR}; but I didn’t want to ask The Hubs to buy me a new camera either. We’d just moved from Pennsylvania to Missouri and were trying to get settled in a new place. A new camera was a luxury I just didn’t think we could afford.

Then one day The Hubs came home and said, “How’d you like a new camera?” I immediately started protesting until he said, “I want to do this for you.” So we hopped in the car, went to the store and he helped me pick out the Nikon D3100. This is, hands down, the best gift The Hubs has ever given me. And that includes our children.

The reasons I enjoy it:

  • I’m an introvert and photography allows me to be part of the action without necessarily interacting with people.
  • I like that photography allows me to capture memories and share them with people.
  • I enjoy the creative process; figuring out how I’m going to process the picture: light or dark, over or under.
  • I can tell a story. A whole story or part of a story. It can be real or imagined.

Some of my favorite pictures:

Blogtober: My Hobby {Living Outside the Stacks}

This was my first photo to ever go viral. I was and still am very proud of it.

Blogtober: My Hobby {Living Outside the Stacks}

An abandoned house in Fruitland, Missouri. I love the textures, the colors… I wonder about the people who used to live there. I want to know who owns it now.

Blogtober: My Hobby {Living Outside the Stacks}

Katie and Robbie are the owners of Dynamite Coffee in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. They’re such a fun couple and I wanted it to show in the picture.

Blogtober: My Hobby {Living Outside the Stacks}

This guy right here. I told him to hold the ball for me so I could take a picture. This is what I got.

Blogtober: My Hobby {Living Outside the Stacks}

There’s something about old vehicles that appeals to me. I guess I really like old stuff. Maybe it’s the historian in me?

Blogtober: My Hobby {Living Outside the Stacks}

I also enjoy portrait photography. I prefer to capture people doing stuff rather than posed because I like the idea of capturing someone doing something they enjoy. But I do appreciate posed photography as well. In this case, my daughter and I were talking about random silliness and I told her to stop and this happened.

My photography goals are:

  • To get more comfortable shooting in Manual. I do it but I get really anxious about how the pictures will turn out.
  • Take my camera out in public more. I get angsty in front of people.
  • Street photography is calling my name. I’m barely comfortable asking people I know if I can take their pictures so going up to strangers will be a real challenge.

You can see some of my other photographs by clicking here.

What’s your favorite thing to do? How do you make time for your hobby?

Blogtober 2014 {Natty Nikki}

I’m linking up with Natty Nikki for Blogtober 2014, a month long blogging challenge. Please feel free to join up, leave comments, share the posts, you know, spread some love.

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}

08th Apr2014

Walking on Tucker Blvd

by Daenel

Tucker Blvd {Living Outside the Stacks}

When I was a little girl, the one thing I wanted more than anything was one of those personalized license plates that I saw in stores. Actually, I wanted anything that was personalized but that was never gonna happen. My name is Daenel. Not a very common name.

So now whenever I see some variation of my name, I have to take a picture.

When you were a kid, did your parents buy personalized items for you? Or do you have an, ahem, creative name too?

Daenel T

30th Dec2013

100 Things: Part VII {About Me}

by Daenel

100 Things {Living Outside the Stacks}

Soooo, today is the last Monday in 2013. How crazy is that? Very, right?

Usually, I like to take the last week off from blogging so I can spend time with my family and recharge the creative battery but I didn’t do a very good job of timing my “100 Things” posts, and I don’t want to go into the New Year with unfinished business so… Here we go, a total wrap up in one final post.

61. My favorite food is seafood. Specifically, crabs.

62. I check my email obsessively. Even though I rarely get anything important.

63. I don’t set resolutions because I always break them, so I set goals. My goals for 2014 include learning how to use the Manual setting on my camera and learning to code.

64. My name is Daenel and I’m a shoe addict. The hubs had a walk in closet built into our first home with special shelving to hold all of my shoes.

65. I like to randomly text my children the following message: “Don’t tell the others but you’re my favorite.” It was funnier when they were younger but I still enjoy it.

66. I still have one of my childhood dolls but my family thinks she looks like Chucky so she has to stay in the closet.

67. I’m a news junkie. I don’t have a preference for channels or anchors, I just want to know what’s going on in the world.

68. I know all of the words to the movie Dirty Dancing. I also know the dance steps.

69. When I was a teenager I shaved one side of my head just to freak my parents out.

70. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 20 years old.

71. Sometimes I think about going back to school to get my PhD. I’d like to study protest movements and/or popular culture.

72. I was born in Washington, D.C. and I’ve lived in: Virginia, Texas, Colorado, Italy, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.

73. Money and safety no object, I’d like to go to Madagascar.

74. When I lived in Korea, the Korean nationals who worked on post used to bring me food because they thought I was too skinny and needed to eat more. I was pregnant, I ate everything they gave me.

75. At the age of 19, I protested to end Apartheid and free Nelson Mandela.

76. In Italy, I used to skip school to hang out at Burger King. My best friend’s mom used to write us excuses to get back into class.

77. I used to say had I been an adult during the 20’s I would’ve been some gangster’s moll.

78. My sisters say I would’ve made a better hippie.

79. Either way, I would’ve been happy and stylish.

80. My favorite teacher was Cathy Devine. She was my elementary school teacher… I can’t remember what she looked like, but I remember that she made me feel special.

81. I’m a creature of habit and I enjoy routine.

82. The hubs says I should be a game show contestant. I can remember random facts but can’t remember why I walked from one room to the next.

83. My best features are my eyes. They’re also my worst. I’m blind as a bat in a tornado during a hail storm.

84. I used to collect Barbie dolls; I still have quite a few of them in storage.

85. Watching dramas with my kids is probably one of my greatest joys. They’re hilarious and can make anything funny.

86. When the kids were little I used to make brownies. One year, their teacher sent home a note saying the kids had been raving about my brownies and she wondered if I would send the recipe along with some brownies for the school Cookbook/Bake Sale. I sent in a Betty Crocker box.

87. I’m totally addicted to Pinterest.

88. I lied. I don’t have a 100 things…

89. I got my first speeding ticket the day after I got my license.

90. In 2014, I’m looking forward to bigger and better. Hopefully, there’ll be a few giveaways and plenty of laughs. Be blessed and enjoy 2014!

You can read other stuff about me by clicking here

This post is inspired by Katie at Creole Wisdom.

Daenel T

23rd Dec2013

100 Things: Part VI {About Me}

by Daenel

100 Things {Living Outside the Stacks}

51. I had seizures as a child. In fact, my last one was so bad the doctor told my mother he wasn’t sure I’d ever regain my memory. Can you imagine being told your child may never know who you are?

52. I have an incredibly bad temper and it takes a lot for me to keep it in check.

53. I knew my twin sister was pregnant before she did. Both times. The first one took us both by surprise, but the last two? I was dead on. I also gave her totally different due dates than her doctors. I was right. Both times.

54. People say I wear my feelings on my face. -_-

55. My motto: “Let other people tell you ‘No’.” There’s so much negativity and rejection in the world that I hate for people to count themselves out without even trying. Sometimes, to get what you want, you have to be bold and  have heart.

56. I passed the Defense Language Aptitude Battery when I was in the Army. I’d planned to go to the Defense Language Institute until I found out I’d have to leave my daughter for a year. Every now and then I like to remind her of the sacrifice that I made for her.

57. My twin sister and I used to play horrible pranks on our younger sister. We had her convinced that she was adopted but our parents didn’t want her to know. When they found out, we had to go pick our own switches. *insert violin music here*

58. I can go days without speaking to anyone. There are times when I truly have nothing to say, so I find it best to just keep my mouth shut. I should mention that my family doesn’t tolerate this well and will provoke me until I say something.

59. My biggest pet peeve is people who complain about something without attempting to change things.

60. We spent so much time in church when we were little kids that we used to tease our mom that our first stop on the way home from the hospital was the church. Which wasn’t far from the truth since she had to pass the church to get to our apartment.

You can read other stuff about me by clicking here

This post is inspired by Katie at Creole Wisdom.

Daenel T

16th Dec2013

100 Things: Part V {About Me}

by Daenel

100 Things {Living Outside the Stacks}

Are you guys sick of me yet? I think you now know more about me than the NSA….

41. I can bake three things really well: Orange Cranberry Loaf, Banana Nut Bread, and Dried Fruit Bread

42. Seinfeld taught me one thing: if you look really frustrated people will think you’re busy and leave you alone. Life taught me one thing: that does not work on children. Or husbands.

43. Crocheting relaxes me.

44. I had to do so many push ups in Basic Training that the Drill Sergeants called me “Private She~ra”. I kept getting in trouble for giggling.

45. Every summer I re~read Peyton Place and Valley of the Dolls. This is a habit I started when I was in graduate school to help me decompress.

46. I didn’t get the Assistant Director’s job at my library. I think this has disappointed me more than I thought it would.

47. I used to hate dresses and skirts but since I discovered thrifting, I’m obsessed.

48. When I was a kid, I used to say that I was only going to have enough eating utensils at my house for myself because I didn’t want people coming over and getting comfortable. I live in a house full of people.

49.  I don’t sleep well. At all. This often results in me emailing myself work notes at 2 AM.

50. My first car was a custom painted Pontiac Fiero.

You can read other stuff about me by clicking here

This post is inspired by Katie at Creole Wisdom.

Daenel T

08th Dec2013

100 Things: Part IV {About Me}

by Daenel

100 Things {Living Outside the Stacks}

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14 {NIV}

What a powerful declaration! Each and every time I hear a story about a child being bullied, I just want to grab him or her and say 2 things:

  1. you are made in the image of God {Genesis 1:27}
  2. God loves you {John 3:16}

I know what it means to be bullied, to go home crying because the teasing hurt so much that I thought I’d break in two. I understand the kid who sits in the dark of night and thinks life will never get better. I’ve felt the sting of rejection from a crush…

I grew up with a twin sister who was always voted to the Homecoming Court, was constantly sought after by the boys, and, in general, was just very popular. I was the odd one out. People looked at me and thought nothing of questioning my paternity {or my maternity, for that matter} in front of me. “Are you two really twins?” They’d stare at my yellow skin, reddish brown hair, and dark freckles in disbelief, “then how come you don’t look alike?” I suffered under constant suggestions for “improvement” from well meaning family members: lose weight, do this with your hair, try a little makeup, suck it up, etc.

I began to take solace in books…

I solved mysteries with Nancy Drew. Fell in love with Heathcliff. Protested with Malcolm X. And cried with Anjuli~Bai.

But, still, in the back of my mind, I could hear those voices telling me that I wasn’t good enough. I needed to reach for something deeper and that came from the word of God. I’m not a mistake. There is value to my life. From the moment we were in our mothers’ wombs, God had a plan for us {Jeremiah 1:5 and Jeremiah 29:11}. We just need to seek after Him to find our purpose. This doesn’t mean that I don’t still have moments of self~doubt, I do; but they’re quickly replaced with the joy that comes from knowing who I am in Him.

I am somebody.

You are somebody.

Embrace your quirks, I do…

31. Sometimes when a really good song comes on the radio, I pull the car over and sing. And dance.

32. My kids used to call me “Lady” when they were little. My biggest fear was that someone would think I kidnapped them.

33. The first time I saw computer {1980something}, I told my teacher that no one was going to have one of those things in their house. I was wrong.

34. I wanted to invest in Starbucks. Our financial planner told us that it was a ridiculous idea. She was wrong.

35. I used to be Scottie Pippen’s biggest fan. I was probably his only fan.

36. When I was a little girl, I fully intended to have one child and one monkey. I wanted to raise them as siblings. I promised my family I’d never ever share that with anyone. I lied.

37. I absolutely positively hate Halloween but I will not turn down a piece of candy. Smartees, please.

38. I received two full scholarship offers to two different colleges and one partial scholarship to another. I chose the partial because the school was in New Orleans. That is not how one should plan his or her future.

39. I tried out for the basketball team in 10th grade. I was awful. The coach felt so bad for me that he made me the team statistician. I got to travel with the team. Which was all I really wanted…

40. My twin sister was born in the back of a police car and I was born 45 minutes later at the hospital door. My mom says we were drama queens from birth. I’d agree.

You can read other stuff about me by clicking here

This post is inspired by Katie at Creole Wisdom.

Daenel T

01st Dec2013

100 Things: Part III {About Me}

by Daenel

100 Things {Living Outside the Stacks}

A few weeks ago, the family and I were sitting around the dinner table talking when Miss 20 said, “You never know how crazy your parents are until you move out and then come back home.” blank stare I proceeded to explain to her that we are not crazy, my parents are crazy. Their dad’s parents are crazy. But we are not. Then I started looking at my list… While I’ll admit nothing to her or the rest of those people, I will concede that I’m, ummm, different.

21. I’m a walking talking contradiction.

22. My daughter and I lived in my apartment for almost a year before I turned on the stove. I used to buy crawfish by the pound{s} from this guy who sold them from the back of his pick up truck for us to eat.

23. On my 21st birthday, my family called and said: “Happy birthday, we didn’t think you’d make it.” I was fearless: traveled around Korea alone, drove from state to state with just my daughter and a couple of bucks in my wallet, etc.

24. Nine days before they were born, the doctor told me I was having twins.

25. My birth father was an artist; I inherited his creative spark. I used to decorate envelopes with elaborate drawings; the hard part was trying to figure out how to make the addresses part of the pictures.

26. The hubs and I have been together for 20 years and married for 19. This is the longest starter marriage ever.

27. I think birds are flying rodents.

28. I have an M.A. in American History and and one in Library and Information Science. I taught American history for traditional and nontraditional college students. Sometimes I’d make them sing a popular song from the decade we were studying before we’d leave class.

29. Sometimes I think people won’t remember me, so I pretend I don’t see them so I don’t get my feelings hurt.

30. My motto is: “Fashion over function.”

You can read Part I by clicking here and Part II by clicking here.

This post is inspired by Katie at Creole Wisdom.

Daenel T

24th Nov2013

100 Things: Part II {About Me}

by Daenel

100 Things {Living Outside the Stacks}

Thinking of things to tell about myself is harder than I thought it’d be. I go through the list of stuff I could write, and I think no one cares about that… But then I think about my #fistbumpfriday posts and how I try to encourage everyone to celebrate not just the big moments but the small ones as well. So I write this list knowing that I’ll not share anything earth~shattering, just revelling in the knowledge that it is these small and random things that make me uniquely me.

11. It took three tries before I realized that the hubs was trying to propose to me. He almost changed his mind.

12. My favorite movie is Imitation of Life.

13. When the kids were young I tried being a vegetarian. Before the end of the week I wanted to eat them.

14. I have one tattoo.

15. Cats freak me out.

16. Dixie Carter’s character, “Julia Sugarbaker” from Designing Women, shaped my concept of how women should be: opinionated, verbal, and independent while always remaining a lady.

17. Butter Pecan is my favorite ice cream.

18. I was stationed in Korea for a year with the U.S. Army. Loved it.

19. My theme song is “Overcomer” by Mandisa. I’ve “overcome” seizures, abuse, car accidents, and cancer. By the grace of God.

20.  I picked out my first born daughter’s name when I was 12 years old. Her name is Anjuli, from the book, The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye.

You can read Part I by clicking here.

This post is inspired by Katie at Creole Wisdom.

Daenel T

18th Nov2013

100 Things: Part I {About Me}

by Daenel

100 Things {Living Outside the Stacks}

During my interview, one of the questions asked was the standard “Tell me about yourself.” I never know how to answer that question. Do they want the personal or professional answer? Here’s my answer:

A few years ago, a librarian friend of mine asked all of us to write our “unofficial” library biographies and share…My name is Daenel, and I’m a histolibrarianivist. A combination of a historian, a librarian, and an archivist. I have the research skills of a librarian, the preservation skills of an archivist, the organizational skills of a soldier, and the domestic skills of Stepford wife. These are the things that represent me professionally.

This is everything else:

1. I’m shy. Talking to people sometimes gets me angsty.

2. Being on stage or in front of groups gets me happy. I know, right?

3. One of my prized possessions is a doll that I’ve had since I was about 4 years old. My kids say she looks like Chucky. I say she was here way before them and she’ll be here long after them.

4. Growing up, we were only allowed to listen to Gospel music.

5. When I was a kid I wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer. To this day, I’m obsessed with sequins.

6. I don’t have any rhythm.

7. My favorite color is purple. Not just any shade of purple. Deep vampy purple with red undertones.

8. I used to be very brave and incredibly daring. Then I became a mom.

9. When the kids were little I had to stop watching daytime television because they started walking around yelling: “Jerry! Jerry!”

10. I drink a lot of coffee.

This post is inspired by Katie at Creole Wisdom.

Daenel T

11th Mar2013

Three Things {About Me}

by Daenel

This year is a year of celebration for me. Not that I don’t celebrate every year, but this year I turned forty. Actually, I turned forty on yesterday and today I’m celebrating my eighteenth wedding anniversary. Yes, I realize I totally hosed myself on the gift departmentbut being married to my bff is the gift. Yeah, I’m totally gagging, ’cause we do not talk like that. We make fun of people who talk like that.

Anyway, I decided to celebrate my fortieth year by taking photos of myself. Because, you know, the weekly What I Wore Wednesday pictures aren’t enough… Anyway, here’s what I have so far:

1. January

Three Things {Living Outside the Stacks}
I’m an overachiever. The doctor diagnosed me with both the flu annnd bronchitis.

2. February

Three Things {Living Outside the Stacks}

Updating the blog because it doesn’t update itself. For the record, I don’t always look like that when I’m working but I was having a particularly good hair and makeup day and decided to commemorate it.

3. March

Three Things {Living Outside the Stacks}
Eighteen years, y’all. It hasn’t always been easy… There’ve been times when I’ve thought no court in this country would convict me, but I’m glad we stuck it out.  If you’d like to find out how we met, click here. P.S. what is up with my butt in that picture? Yes, that’s what I noticed.

You can follow my year in pictures by clicking here.

04th Mar2013

Wishing… {About Me}

by Daenel

Wishing for Spring {Living Outside the Stacks}
Maybe if we all wish together, Spring will come early.

25th Feb2013

Saturday Wanderings {About Me}

by Daenel

For the past few weeks I’ve been nearly vibrating with excitement; the hubs and I were supposed to go to Tennessee to visit my sister. But as with all of the best laid plans, this one fell through and the hubs and I were left wondering what we should do…

We ended up running a few errands and then heading down to one of our favorite haunts: the Mississippi River Walk. We enjoy sitting on the banks of the river with coffees and people watching. For whatever reason, we didn’t stop for coffee before heading downtown. Not cool.

The Mississippi River Walk {Living Outside the Stacks}
Did you notice that she has coffee?
Saturday Wanderings {Living Outside the Stacks}

This is also a little preview of my What I Wore Wednesday post? Like how I slipped that in there?

The Mississippi River Walk {Living Outside the Stacks}

Don’t you just love the view? Can you see why the hubs and I like to wander around the River Walk?

The Mississippi River Walk {Living Outside the Stacks}
What do you think they sell at The Woman’s Store? Or rather, what do you think they used to sell at The Woman’s Store? It was completely empty but fascinating all the same.

The Mississippi River Walk {Living Outside the Stacks}

One of the things that I appreciate about the hubs is that he indulges my crazy. Saturday’s bit of loopiness involved him pulling over on the side of the road so I could take a picture of this windmill. Cars were coming and he had to wave them around, but he patiently sat in his car until I was satisfied with my shot.

It’s moments like that when I truly appreciate what a great husband I’ve created. Bwahahaha 

How did you spend your weekend?

19th Feb2013

How Do I Celebrate/Embrace My 40s? {About Me}

by Daenel

How Do I Celebrate My 40s {Living Outside the Stacks}For the past few months I’ve been bouncing back and forth between acceptance
and angst over turning 40 next month. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is that’s getting to me. Is it turning 40? Is it getting closer to menopause? Is it facing my own mortality? Exactly what is it that’s getting to me?

Well, yesterday I think I figured it out. I was playing around on Instagram and I started typing a little message that read:

“In my 20s, I served in the U.S. Army

In my 30s, I got two Master’s degrees

In my 40s, I…”

I need to do something big in my 40s. Making it through Basic Training and serving in the Army gave me a sense of confidence that I don’t think I would’ve gained otherwise. Many people join the Army, not a lot of them make it through Basic Training, Advanced Individualized Training, and then go on to serve honorably. And getting my degrees showed me that almost no obstacle is insurmountable. I had a husband, 4 children, and cancer; still I managed to walk the stage with my classmates {bald head and all}. Now that I’m turning 40, I need to find a way to celebrate. I need to do something big.

But I’m not sure what I want to do. Do you have any ideas?

28th Jan2013

Tired {About Me}

by Daenel

DSC_1108 TwentyFour

I don’t know if it’s the blah weather or what, but I haven’t been sleeping well. I know, I know, people say it’s all the coffee I drink but it’s something more than that… I think it’s the winter blues. There’s just a general feeling of “I don’t wanna” as in “I don’t wanna get out of bed”, “I don’t wanna go to work”, “I don’t wanna do anything”, etc. It’s hard to feel all energetic and bouncy when you’re facing cold temps and gray skies.

I’m ready for spring. I want to see color. I need to feel the warmth of the sun. I want to smell the fresh air. It’s time.

How about you, are you ready for Spring? What are you most looking forward to doing?

01st Jan2013

Happy New Year!

by Daenel

Welcome to 2013! I’m so excited about the possibilities that come with a new year. It’s almost like life is giving us some sort of cosmic do over. And boy do I need it! I missed some of my goals for last year but I’m pressing forward and not dwelling on the past. I hope that you’ll continue to share this journey with me and that you’re just as excited for 2013 as I am…

Morning Coffee {Living Outside the Stacks}

I began today much like I do any other day, with a cup of coffee. This is how I prepare myself for the day’s activities: a cup of coffee and a few minutes of silence. And with this being the beginning of a new year, I used my quiet time to think about all the things I will accomplish.

This year I’ll be turning the big 4~Oh! This is so hard for me to believe. There are days when I feel like I’m barely out of my twenties. And a lot of days when I look at those four teenagers living in my house and wonder why they’re calling me “Mom”. You’d think after nineteen years I’d be used to them by now. I’m not sure what I’m going to do to mark this milestone birthday, but I know I have to do something big.

I’ve joined not one but two photography challenges for this year. Like last year, I’ll be joining in the Photo A Day Challenge hosted by fat mum slim and posting the pictures on Instagram (be sure to follow me there). The second challenge is the one I’m most worried excited about because it requires that I use Nikki (my Nikon D3100). Poor Nikki hasn’t been getting out as often as she used to since I started working. Mostly she’s been relegated to taking outfit pictures but we all know she’s capable of so much more. So I’ll be stretching my creativity and, hopefully, learning some new tricks along the way. You can view my photos from  365: The 2013 Edition by clicking here.

At church I’ll be busy with the women’s group. Pastor Z asked me if I would help lead the women’s group. squee and eek I agreed because I thought it might be fun and since I’m not reading the Bible in 90 Days this year, I thought this would be a fun way to engage myself with other ladies in a study of God’s word. Our first study will be True Woman 101: Divine Design by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I’ve already run it by the ladies and they’re all kinds of excited about the study and the discussions that we’ll be having.

I’ll also be doing some product reviews, sharing some of my favorite books and, hopefully, hosting a whole lot more giveaways. As always, I enjoy reading your comments, so please don’t be shy, leave a comment whether you agree or disagree; life is all about learning and sharing.

And I look forward to sharing 2013 with you! Be blessed and be happy!

09th Dec2012

Easy Twist Out Tutorial {Natural Hair}

by Daenel

I’m doing it again. I’m giving up the Creamy Crack (aka hair relaxer). I know, it seems like I do this every couple of months but this time I’m determined to see it through. Last time I lasted a full year and was completely natural, then I went to my mom’s and the rest is history… As much as I loved being able to control my hair with the relaxer, I was seriously missing my curls.

Easy Braid Out Tutorial {Living Outside the Stacks}

And I started to develop a bad case of hair envy. Have you seen my Pinterest board? I’m obsessed. Check it out here.

I’ve been transitioning for 6 months now and so far my favorite style is a twist out. It allows my relaxed hair and natural hair to blend seamlessly without a lot of manipulation. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 6 months, it’s this: DO NOT OVER STRESS YOUR HAIR. If you work your hair too much, it gets frizzy.

Here’s how I achieved the look in the picture:

  1. Washed and conditioned my hair with Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner
  2. Towel dried my hair. I know a lot of natural hair bloggers say not to towel dry your hair but I can’t work with sopping wet hair.
  3. I put a deep part on the right side of my head then went over the edges with Shine ‘n Jam conditioning gel.
  4. Then I put a good heaping handful of Beautiful Textures Curl Control Defining Pudding in my hair. I made sure I covered my hair roots to end.
  5. For the flat twists, I put 4 on the right side, one down the back and 4 on the left side. I rolled each twist with rollers. I sleep with a silk scarf on my head every night to protect my hair.
  6. The next morning, I put a little Africa’s Best Hair Oil on my fingers and then untwisted each braid.
  7. To get my hair really full, I pull each section apart, not all over, just random chunks.

Easy Braid Out Tutorial {Living Outside the Stacks}

This hairstyle will usually last me about a week with little upkeep. If I don’t retwist, my hair will get bigger and the curls will become less defined. If I retwist every night, my hair will look basically the same as it does in the pictures all week.

I don’t know how often I’ll update but I will try to remember to at least take a hair picture or two once a month.

What’s your favorite go to hair style? 

30th Sep2012

Things I’m Looking Forward to This Fall {About Me}

by Daenel

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it never hurts to say it again, “I love sweater weather!” Fall is by far my favorite season of the year. I love snuggling up with cozy sweaters, eating comfort foods and watching my favorite TV shows. “Hell on Wheels“, anyone? But there are a few other things I’m looking forward to this Fall, some are old and some are new, either way I’m looking forward to everything that Fall has to offer:

1.  Seasonal Coffee Flavors

Coffee {Living Outside the Stacks}
Oh sweet coffee! Not just the regular flavors but the seasonal ones like Salted Caramel Mocha. I’m so not a Pumpkin Spice Latte fan. Going to coffee houses to get my fix can be pretty expensive, so I searched high and wide for a recipe that I could make at home and I found one at Raves, Faves & Must Haves. ‘Cause that’s what librarians do, we find stuff.

2. New Boots

Boots {Living Outside the Stacks}

My favorite pair of boots finally kicked the bucket. I adored those boots. I wore them with everything ~ skirts, dresses, jeans, etc. I even wore them after the uppers started to crack and the layers started to peel. I drew the line, however, when water started seeping through the cracks and getting my feet wet. So now the search is on for the perfect replacement…

3. Feathering the Nest

Globe {Living Outside the Stacks}

Since moving to Missouri, the hubs and I have discovered that we enjoy antiquing and checking out second hand shops. In fact, every weekend for the past few weeks, he and I have gotten up bright and early to check out some of the local shops. We enjoy finding pieces that will will fit into our new home. I’ll show you more of our purchases in a later post, a little hint: that globe was our latest purchase.

What are you looking forward to this Fall?

20th Sep2012

Seventeen Years Ago Today… {Repost for the Birthday of Twin A and Twin B}

by Daenel

Jazmine and BrandonI gave birth to Twin A and Twin B, also known as Jazmine and Brandon.  But, really, their story begins nine days earlier…..

On 11 September 1995, the hubs and I showed up at the hospital for a routine OB visit.  The baby was due in nine days and, almost overnight it seemed, I had put on about 15 or 20 lbs and my pregnancy gait had shifted into full on waddle.  Furthermore, the baby was bouncing all over the place. Don’t babies normally slow down the closer you get to the due date?

Anyway, the hubs and the two~year~old sat in the waiting room while the doctor pulled out the measuring tape and measured my belly.  “Hmmm,” he flipped through my chart, “where’s your ultrasound?”  I noted the apprehension in his voice and replied, “I only have the confirmation ultrasound but they haven’t done one since then.  Why?”  He looked at me over his paperwork, “Well, you’re measuring a little large.  How about if we get you in for an ultrasound?”

I rolled off the table (at that point, that’s all I could do), got dressed and told the hubs that we were headed downstairs to get an ultrasound.

Insert cold belly jelly here

I looked at the ultrasound and started to panic.  My baby was going to be a freak!  There on the screen were two baby heads, one pointed up and one pointed down.  I asked the tech what I was looking at and she replied that I’d have to wait for the doctor, in the mean time, she was going to get my husband.  This did not sound good.

The doctor and the hubs both walked into the room at about the same time, the hubs looked at the screen and started backing away as the doctor announced “TWINS!”  What?  You have got to be friggin kidding me?  Nine days before they’re due and now you’re telling us that we’re having twins? But wait, it gets better…

The doctor went on to explain that the hospital at Fort Polk, Louisiana didn’t deliver twins (especially high risk twins ~ who knew what condition my little monkey babies were going to be in when they arrived?) so we’d have to drive to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas to have them.

The next day, we drove the two~year~old to Mississippi to my parents’ house and then drove down to Texas.  With me having contractions the whole way.  If you think pot holes are a pain in the butt on a regular day, try hitting them when you’re in labor.

We arrived at BAMC, just in time for them to decide that it would be too much to have the babies right then, so they stopped my labor.  Yes.  They stopped it.  I could have cried.  Then they started doing ultrasounds and stress tests to see how the babies were doing.  The entire time, we could only hear one heartbeat.  Finally, the doctors decided that I needed an amniocentesis but they didn’t really want to do it because they didn’t want to put the babies in any harm with a double stick (anesthesia and the hollow needle).  I told them to do it without the anesthesia. What was I thinking and why didn’t my husband slap me straight?  PAIN!!!!! Worse. Than. Child Birth.

The amnio showed that the babies were developed enough to survive outside of the womb.  So on my original due date ~ 20 September 1995 ~ the doctors induced labor.  At this time, I would like to stop and thank my anesthesiologist because I felt absolutely nothing! I have a picture of him and his wife in the twin’s baby books, that’s how much they mean to me.

Jazmine Danielle was born at 11:40 AM and she was followed ten minutes later by Brandon Anthony.  Their birth was witnessed by the hubs, the seven doctors and nurses  who worked on me, six doctors and nurses for the babies, as well as fifteen to seventeen residents who watched from the observation platform.  I know this because we met one of the residents in the elevator when I was being discharged.  He proudly stated in the elevator before a group of onlookers, “Hey, I saw you have your twins!”  Yuck!

Seventeen years ago today, I was surprised and doubly blessed with two beautiful babies who have grown up to provide me with love, laughter and a healthy dose of humility.  I love you guys and it has been an honor and a privilege to be your mother.

Now start packing your bags, ’cause you’ve got one year left!

02nd Sep2012

Squeekerz Came Home with a New Family

by Daenel

Squeekerz

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter then you know that our dog, Squeekerz, ran away last Friday morning, leaving the family heartbroken.

Well, he returned late Saturday afternoon after a week long adventure and he didn’t come back alone…

Late Saturday afternoon, the boy and I were sitting downstairs talking when I happened to glance out the window and see a big fluffy black something in the backyard. A few feet behind the black something I saw a little tan something dart across the yard. I called the boy to the window and said “What’s that?”, he replied “Oh, it’s a black cat.” I squinted and said, “No, past the cat. What’s that? Is that Squeekerz?”

By this time, I was shaking from excitement so the boy had to open the door for me. We both took off running towards the backyard yelling “Squeekerz!” The dog turned, looked at us and started to run in the opposite direction. So we slowed down and started walking, the boy stretched out his hand and started calling the dog in a softer tone. Meanwhile, the obviously pregnant cat who had accompanied our dog home, stood between us and the dog, looking from one of us to the other. Finally, she turned and looked at the dog and then looked at the boy as if to ask him what he was waiting for. I saw the dogs ears tune into the boy like he was remembering something and then he took off in a full run towards the boy.

Fast forward a couple of hours and these are the questions that rolled through my head:

  • Where has this dog been for a week?
  • Of all the animals to bring home, it had to be a pregnant cat? Doesn’t he know I’m terribly afraid of cats?
  • How did the cat know where the dog lived?

Finding out that the dog had been brought home by a pregnant cat led to some pretty funny Facebook exchanges:

Facebook Conversation

Needless to say, I will definitely let you know the results of the test or if this turns into a mixed marriage.

For those who are interested in the whereabouts of the cat, she ran off when the boy picked Squeekerz up. I’ve since learned from my daughter that the cat hangs out in the neighborhood, so I assume we’ll be seeing some kittens pretty soon.

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