The Week of Firsts

As someone born under the zodiac sign of Cancer, I am not a super adventurous person.  I’m also finding that as I get older, I’m less willing to take risks and this is holding me back from a lot of things.  There was a time back in the day when I thought nothing of packing all of my stuff and moving across country (sending my boxes there for free using a hijacked shipping account from a record label, but I digress…). Because the tedium of my life is really starting to f**k with me, I find myself longing for those days. Now, I’m not packing up and moving across country (really tempting, though), but I am making do with small changes.

For the first time ever, I made the perfect pot of brown rice. I found the recipe here at Saveur.com and I tell you it worked great.  The secret is to treat the rice like it is pasta.  You boil it in large amounts of water, strain it, return it to the pot and just let it steam for 10 minutes.  There was no clumping (Deanna) and every grain was separate and perfect.

This morning, for the first time, I used an Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse on my locs.  I’m not sure why I’ve never done this before.  The vinegar acts like an astringent and clears out all of the product buildup and flaking from your hair. I’ve been having some problems with dry scalp and itching, so I tried it out.  You’ll have to check with me later for the results, because my hair is still wet and up in a towel as I type this! 🙂

So, its only Wednesday (I think. Working in retail messes up your sense of days.), and I’ve tried two new, albeit small, things and will hopefully fit in some more before the week is over.

Oh, last week I tried something new, too.  I turned 45 years old for the very first time! And now I plan on aging backwards….

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone!
First some old business:
I didn’t get much book reading done in December. Work is so crazy during that time that I only felt like reading magazines. I would pick up a book and my attention span just wasn’t there. I only managed to finish 3 books last month.
Knit Two by Kate Jacobs – this was the sequel to The Friday Night Knitting Club, which I loved. This one? Not so much. It’s 5 years later and the fate of the shop may be in jeopardy. At this point I just didn’t care. The problem with sequels to regular fiction (which I learned from trying to read Chasing Harry Winston), is that there is none of the drama involved that made you want to get to know the characters. By this point, you already know who they are and their motivations and sequels (unless they are action thrillers or mysteries) tend to be mundane.
Sex, Mu
rder and a Double Latte by Kyra Davis – I wanted to like this as much as Doret did, but just couldn’t connect to the main character. It’s a mystery surrounding a mystery writer who finds strange things happening around her and they all appear to be taken from scenes in her books. It was funny and clever; maybe my expectations were too high. She has written more in this series and I am not giving up, I will read those, too.

Sex and Lies by Donna Hill – You know I had to squeeze a Kimani romance in there! This is the beginning of a series of books about the ladies of TLC (Tender Loving Care) cosmetics. On the surface, TLC cosmetics is like Avon or Mary Kay, but this is a front for The Ladies Cartel – an undercover investigative organization. You may see your sister, mother, wife, friend with her bag of samples, but you don’t know that the moisturizer bottle really contains a set of listening devices and the shower gel may contain one of the pieces needed to assemble a gun. In this first book Savannah Fields is new to the group and is given her first assignment to investigate some shady dealings at a construction site that her husband is involved in. Really good.

Hip-Hop Wars by Tricia Rose – I wasn’t able to finish this book because I had to return it to work, but I really enjoyed it. Ms. Rose presents arguments on both sides of the hip-hop wars and shows the strengths and weaknesses of them all. Definitely pick this up if you are tired of hearing the same old arguments against and in defense of my favorite music genre.

Total books read for 2008 (not including Hip-Hop Wars, because I didn’t finish): 63, about 10 more than 2007!

New business:
I had planned to do a post on resolutions, blah, blah, blah. I was even going to sit down with one of my favorite books, Write I Down, Make it Happen, yesterday to create some concrete goals for 2009. Then I decided not to, because it is a pattern that I need to break. See, I am a planner. I will research the hell out of something and come up with a concrete program on how to make it happen and gather the materials and organize them. But after that I lose interest. I am not a doer, just a planner. So, no lists this year. That doesn’t mean that I am flying by the seat of my pants; I know the things I need to do. I’m just not going to stress about them right now. Maybe later.

My New Roommate

I just noticed that I haven’t blogged in almost a month and I need to rectify that.
I only have 2 books to review and no sewing (surprise). My mojo has apparently
left. Maybe she left because I stopped buying fabric and patterns and now she really
doesn’t care. I have to work on something to bribe her with.
In the meantime, to get me through the loss, I have a new roommate:

Isn’t he cute! He sits by my bed and illuminates me!

Health Resolutions 2008

In addition to the standard medical & dental check-ups, I want to do the following:

  • Lose 50 lbs by the end of the year. Women’s Health magazine (one of my favorites; I am a magazine addict) has put out a book called the Perfect Body Diet. I read through it (as I do all diet books) and while I decided that it wasn’t for me, I did take the test to determine what my ideal weight should be. According to my height (5’9″) and body frame (medium; determined by measuring my wrist), I should be 145 lbs. Yes, that means that I am currently 195 lbs. There! I said it! Talk amongst yourselves.
  • Exercise. I don’t have an exercise habit at all. The only reason that I am not substantially heavier is because I don’t drive and walk to and from the train and I walk a lot during the day at my job. I currently subscribe to the following health & exercise magazines: Shape, Fitness, Self, and Women’s Health. I have lots of exercise dvds. I just don’t do it. I must start. I am working on a viable, simple plan.
  • Practice yoga. The physical and spiritual aspects appeal to me.
  • Cut back on sugar. I am a sugar addict and rarely does a day go by without it. I have already started eating more fruit to give me the sweet taste without the blood sugar issues.
  • Drink more water. Compared to most Americans, I already drink a lot. I am not getting 8 glasses, though.
  • Eat more fresh vegetables. Again, compared to most Americans, I eat a lot, but more won’t hurt.

I think these are goals that are attainable. I am giving myself a whole year to lose the weight!!

Sewing Resolution 2008

This one is the easiest. My sewing resolution is to…..sew!

Some of you may think that I am lying and I can’t really sew. That I just collect fabric and lurk on sewing blogs to look cool. Well here is proof.

Yes it was 20 years and 50 lbs ago, but I made that off-the-shoulder knit top and tissue lame’ (not the nicest fabric to work with) bubble skirt!! While looking through the photo album for this picture I noticed that almost everything I had on was made by me. I was a fearless seamstress back then. I even made a black knit catsuit (you have to come to my apartment to see that picture). And I didn’t have a sewing room either. I found a picture of one of my roommates and in the background there is a dress form (that has since disappeared) and a sewing machine sitting on a packing trunk. That was my sewing table! And I just got rid of that machine last year.
So, while I won’t be making any bubble skirts any time soon, I will be ramping up the sewing around here. Nothing exciting at first. I will making lots of basics because I don’t have any of the staples in my wardrobe. I have created a spreadsheet called the Wardrobe Builder using the Lucky Magazine Shopping Manual. Each chapter is based on a different clothing type (skirts, tops, dresses, etc.), and it tells you what items you need for a well rounded wardrobe.

I want to do some fun sewing as well and maybe make some things from my inspiration wall (which has grown since this picture was taken).

2008 Resolutions

I don’t really make concrete resolutions. They are usually some abstract idea that stays in my mental Rolodex and then gets lost in there. Since I have a blog this year, I will use it to put some tangible goals in place for 2008. In the next few days I will outline them based on theme:

  • Sewing & Crafts
  • Health
  • Home
  • Career & Finances
  • Etc.

In Her Shoes

Yes, I know that is a book and movie title but this post is about neither. It is about my shoes. This may be hard to believe but I have not had on a pair of heels for over 10 years. My life has morphed since then into the “comfort zone” and all clothing & shoe purchases for the last 10 years have fallen in that zone.

So one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to step up my style game (more on that later) and today that meant going through my old heels and deciding what to keep and what to donate. But first let me preface this by saying that since I pretty much live in athletic footwear, my idea of a heel is not the same as most modern women. There are no Jimmy Choo’s here. Off we go.
When I first put these on I thought that they were cut a little to high on the foot and wouldn’t work any more. But after looking at them all day and walking around in them a little, I decided that the patent leather croc print was just too classic and they deserved a reprieve.
These used to be my interview shoes and I maybe wore them to work when I managed a Black bookstore and we would have an important booksigning. Again, cut a little high for my current taste, but they are hardly worn and despite the kinda thick heel, they can stand in as a basic black heel.

These are my most favorite shoes in the world. Aren’t they rich and luscious? Don’t you just want to get a spoon and eat them up? I bought these at an outlet store (can’t remember which one) earlier than 1996 (I gauge time by the Atlanta Olympics). Probably 1994 0r 5. I love them. I have dreams of them. Every year when the fall collections come out I picture which items I can wear them with. Yet….I have never worn them. The soles are as beautiful and spotless as the day I bought them. Please someone invite me to an event I can wear these to because they just don’t fit into my current lifestyle. Oh, and send me a driver because I don’t want to scuff up the bottoms!

I used to wear these a lot. When I put them on again today I didn’t remember them being cut as high as they are (I guess toe cleavage wasn’t popular in the 80’s & 90’s). Now they have a vintage vibe that I am falling in love with. Sort of reminiscent of the 20’s and 30’s.
They look a little dowdy in this picture but I am going to work that out.

These didn’t make the cut. I was just holding onto them for sentimental purposes. My first celebrity crush was a well-respected music journalist and author. I had been reading his work and following his career from afar. While I was managing the Truth Bookstore, a now closed Black bookstore in Atlanta, he came by for a booksigning. Before the signing he did a newspaper interview in the back of the store. While he was waiting for the reporter to get organized, he looked to the front of the store where I was sitting at the counter working and said, “Nice shoes.”
Men very seldom notice women’s shoes without being prompted so this was a big deal. We wound up going to an NBA game that night and while nothing came of it, I got to meet and hang out with my crush. He even let me read part of a book he was working on. Despite all that these shoes are kinda tore up and must go.

I am on the fence about these. The heel is a little chunky for my current taste and the toe is wide and boxy. On the other hand, when worn with really long, wide pants the boxy toe looks like a squared off cowboy boot. I will keep these around a little longer while I decide.

So there you have it. My limited heels wardrobe. Noticeably missing: anything for evening. I don’t have my evening opportunities currently and will just get them when I need them.