Monthly Archives: April 2013

My Walls Ain’t Like Grandma’s

Daily Prompt: Wall to Wall

From April 26, 2013

What do you display on the walls of your home — photos, posters, artwork, nothing? How do you choose what to display?

Your personal space says a lot about who you are. From how neat you keep your areas to how you choose to decorate. From minimalist to maxamalist (if that is even a word) what dons your walls can be an extension of you and your personality.

I’ve been into decorating on some level since I was a child. I remember shopping for furniture and choosing carpet with my mom as a child. My first introduction to my own design style was in college. It was so much fun deciding the decor for my dorm room with my roommate each summer before the start of the new school year. I remember doing this with my roommates for my freshman and sophomore years in college. But for my last two years of school I had single room and had a lot more liberties to decorate and coordinate my living space without the consideration for another individual. That’s when the fun really began.

I had so much fun picking out fun lights, comforters, matching desk accessories. And IKEA got a lot of my money those years.

Fast forward to the purchase of my first house, and that was the most fun ever. I had so much space to fill and so many ideas to actualize it was almost overwhelming, but in a great way. The first room I tackled was the living room. It’s the place that most people congregate when they visit you. It’s usually the first room you enter upon arriving home.

I’ll save my whole design esthetic of my house for another time, but I will say that after two years I felt that my living room was pretty complete.


Well one day my grandmother made a comment to my mother that I lacked photographs of her and others in my house. The truth is I didn’t have many photos displayed in my house. The reason is that I like my photos to be displayed artistically. A lot of times you go into someone’s house and you see their entire family tree dating back to as long as there were cameras around.

With today’s technology of camera phones with filters and digital cameras with specialty lens. There is no reason to have multicolored and multi size photos and picture frames on mantles and walls.

I envision color coordinated frames filled with carefully selected shots of my loved ones and displayed artistically. A design and decor that catches your eye even before you can identify the people in the photo.

On the left side of the collage you can see a well thought out design to display beloved family photographs. On the right side you can see my grandma’s mantle and living room wall. The photos are displayed in random order without much thought to the display spacing, frame shape or color. Although love my granny, that is not what I want to see on display in my home.

With that said until I can find the right shots of all the people who mean enough to me to be showcased around my house. I’ve decided to go completely digital. I purchased a digital picture frame from HHgregg and downloaded all the people I love, to a memory card. Now I can proudly display everyone I want without hurt feelings or the clutter of photos everywhere.


Ulta Beauty Haul Spring 2013


Shopping for beauty products is always a fun adventure.  You go with one-thing in mind, and you leave with a whole bunch of awesomeness. I was in search for some new makeup brushes. Mainly for two reasons.

  1. I need more variety in my everyday brushes;
  2. I hate having to clean my brushes so often.

Depending on the brush cleaner I use, I’m not fond of the just cleansed brushes but on the flip side I don’t want week old makeup and grime being applied to my fresh face. Having more variety and options in my brushes will hopefully alleviate some of this.

This weekend I made a trip to Ulta. I picked up several things. The first is this brush set by Real Techniques, Limited Edition Duo Fiber Collection. 


I’ve purchased a blush brush previously from Real Techniques, and although I like it a few short months later the brush came out of the handle. So I was a little disappointed. I’m going to give Real Techniques another try. This brush set purchased at $17.99.

After picking up the brushes I went over the skin care section. I’ve been a long time user of Dermalogica. But haven’t really used it in the recent past after running out of the products I used daily. Until the recent past, Dermalogica was only available from select spa’s or from the Dermalogica website. Ulta has carried the brand for a while now and it’s a great place to purchase the products.

In questioning the skin therapist at the store Salon about the best Dermalogica cleanser for my skin, I realized that she had been performing a professional skin service on a another client.  Since Ulta was having a Dermalogica special, $20 dollars for a 20-minute service by the skin therapist on duty, I decided to book my appointment.  My appointment was scheduled in 40-minutes. So I went to Old Navy and shopped while I waited for my appointment time.

When I returned we discussed my current skin regimen and what I was looking for. I got a mini-facial with full-cleansing, steam and slight extractions in a slightly private  setting.  Afterwards  she recommended some products. Ulta also had a free-gift deal. A free gift of the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, Skin Hydrating Booster, and Multi-Active Toner, with any $65 Dermalogica purchase. Since I had paid $20 bucks for the facial, and would be purchasing a cleanser it wasn’t a big stretch to meet that $65 minimum.

I ended up purchasing the Active Moist, which is a moisturizer, the Skin Resurfacing Cleanser, and the Special Cleansing Gel in the smallest sizes.

I also picked up CLINIQUE’s moisturizing gel. I’ve used this for several years now and I like it. The thing with me is that I’m always looking or the perfect moisturizer. I’ve tried tens of lotions and creme’s and moisturizers and I try to change it up so my skin doesn’t get used to the same thing. I’ve tried CLINIQUE’s gel and lotion and I like the gel for the summer and the lotion for the winter.

I’m in the market for a new concealer. I tried a couple at Ulta but didn’t find any I was really crazy about. So the search is still on. I also decided to try a bronzer. I’ve tried a friend’s bronzer a while ago and thought about purchasing my own. So after sampling a few I decided to try the small size of LORAC’s Tantalizer Highlighter and Matte Bronzer Duo.

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Fresh New Music: Christen B.

This weekend I went to an open mic event in Annapolis.  It featured a live band, and a painting artist. I love live bands. The event was open to spoken word artists (poets, lyricists, rappers,) and singers and featured a painter working throughout the entire show.  There were several stand out performances. My favorite was a brilliant singer/songwriter from Baltimore by the name of Christen B. Her voice can be heard on Sound Cloud  and her Acoustic Soul sound is a cool blend of Yael Naim and India Aire.  I can’t wait to hear more of what she has to offer.

New Hair Color March 2013

For the last few months I’ve been itching to get my hair dyed. I was pretty set on getting my hair dyed a fierce red like Toni from MyNaturalSistas. I love that color on her and was looking forward to getting mine a similar hue. That was until I saw a beautiful natural hair girl with a really awesome shade of blond rocking a puff.  That threw a monkey-wrench in my whole plan, because I couldn’t decide which color to choose.

I got the bright idea that I would do both colors, a subtle honey blond in the front/top and the fierce red in the back. I really thought this would be a great combination.  After talking to a friend of mine I decided to go to the salon she frequents in the DMV to get my hair colored.

I read a bunch of reviews online before committing and making an appointment. And finally the day had come. I arrived at the salon and once I was seen I explained to the ‘junior colorist” what I wanted. She told me that the two colors I wanted didn’t go together according to the color wheel.

It’s been about a year to the day that I got my last color highlights applied to my hair.  I have been itching to update my hair’s color with something really bold and fun for the spring and summer. So after discussing my hair color goals and desires with the stylist, we agreed on the final colors.

I took pictures during the whole process.  She used three different colors on my hair. I have two different color highlights in the front and top of my hair. And a light brown in the back of my hair.
After sitting with the color on my hair for a little bit, it was rinsed out. She was excited and happy about how the color came out. She told me she would be toning all of my color down a bit, using a toner. And commented that it looked very much like the NFL football team the Washington Redskins’ team color, because of the reddish and goldish hues.

hair highlight blow dry

Anyway, consulting with the “senior colorist” they agreed to tone the color down just a bit which would also help the colors compliment each other better. After the final rinse she proceeded to blow dry my hair straight.

After it was dry she proceeded to flat iron it. I informed her that I wanted curls instead of wearing it straight. By this time I had already paid for my service which included the color ($90) and the style ($50). Because it was about 8pm and the receptionist was packing up to leave.  I guess she realized that I was in need of trim and told me that she was going to just trim it. (Meaning that she wasn’t going to charge me for the trim).  And assured me that she knew the difference between a trim and a cut.

I should have just objected because you can’t trust a lot of hair stylists with scissors in their hands. Many don’t know the difference between a cut and a trim. And since she’s not my normal hair stylist I was already a bit nervous about whether I’d leave there with a cut versus a true trim.

As I suspected, I saw strands longer than an inch falling to styling drape. At that point is already to late to right that wrong. Unless you want short and uneven hair. She finished the trim (ahem…I mean cut) and then tried to go back and even it all the way around. Now I knew I was screwed. She knew that I was taking photos of the whole process and because of that was worried that her work would be questioned if my strands weren’t perfectly even.

befoe and after clor

Granted, I needed  a trim but my normal hair dresser does a great job of giving me an actual trim. And never again will I allow someone I’m not comfortable with to give me a trim.  This may not be the best proof of how much was actually cut, since the left side is the result of a blow out on natural hair and the right is flat ironed and trimmed. But hopefully you see the difference.

I guess if what I wanted was color, I got it. But ultimately, it wasn’t the color I really wanted.  I think she did a good job with the application of the color and highlights. And perhaps if I needed to I could return for future color processing. But I would save the styling and definitely any cutting for my trusted regular hair stylist.

quad hair


Have You Dumped Friends For a New Beau?

Guilty As Charged

Yup! I’ve been that friend that neglected or bailed on my friends after beginning a new romantic relationship.  I hate to admit it but it happened.

A few years back I was knee-deep in a new relationship. We saw each other every day and ironically we lived in different states and about 1.5 hours away from each other. It was an intensive relationship to say the least. A few months into it, I made plans to hang out with a friend out-of-state. I didn’t think it’d be a big deal. But I hadn’t considered that my boyfriend at the time would want to tag along. I mean at some point you need your girl time.  Well this caused a major fight for my boyfriend and I. Ultimately, I blew off my friend to bring the peace back to my relationship.

Well, my friend wasn’t having that. She put me right in my place. For starters, my long-term friends and I all are of the school of thought that you don’t dump your friends for a man.  So after months of not  of spending time with my friends and keeping my word on commitments, she had had enough. She flat-out told me that what I was doing was wrong and that I needed to re-evaluate who I was and what I was becoming based on the behavior she had observed since I had entered this new relationship.

Now this conversation could have gone a few different ways. But because I know my friends and their true intentions, I knew there wasn’t shade being thrown behind her confronting me on my recent behavior.  So luckily for me this wasn’t the end of a long-term friendship. I heeded what she said and recognized the truth in her words.

I was slightly hurt and disappointed in myself. Because I had discarded my relationship with my friends and family for a guy that wasn’t respectful of the relationships I had built before I ever knew his name. It wasn’t right and because my friends and I had always had conversations about women who “got ghost” once they got a man, I couldn’t believe that I had become one of them. I vowed then that I would never do that to any of my friends or family again.

I think there are situations when it might be time to get new friends or distance yourself from old ones. But this wasn’t one of those situations.

I’ve lived by the quote that:

“If you get into a relationship & drop all your friends…don’t expect them to be there when the relationship ends…”

And that holds true for both males and females. Ultimately, I think it is extremely important to value your friendships and relationships. If you outgrow a person, make it known that it’s not about your new relationship but that you perhaps don’t find the same things interesting as you once did. And the bond you once shared isn’t as strong as it had been.  People change, and the people in  your life don’t always change at the same rate or grow in the same direction you see for yourself. But if you are honest with yourself and the company you keep, you can avoid a nasty break up with your friends and family.

More importantly, if your new boo is keeping you from your friends and family, it could be jealousy or insecurities. Either way those need to be addressed immediately.  If they can’t respect your friends and family enough to feel comfortable with you spending time apart and with your loved ones, that person is probably not the one for you.

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Reality TV: The Root of Divorce


I can create a very long list of my favorite Reality television shows. And a list just as long of the marriages that dissolved after the marriage was put on public display via Reality TV.

Marriage in itself is difficult. Caring for another individual, the shared financial responsibility, children, family drama, you name it. Having your relationship put in front of millions on a weekly basis seems to be the exact recipe for the perfect divorce.

Why so many couples choose to share their most intimate moments with all of the world for a few dollars, I’ll never understand. What happens in many of these marriages is that, friends, the media, and just loyal television watchers begin to comment and impose their thoughts and feelings on the couple and their marriage. In the more recent divorce cases of Porsha and Cordell Stewart. Porsha is/was married to Cordell Stewart a former pro-football player and their relationship was aired in the latest season of BRAVO’s Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA). So many people had negative things to say about Cordell being controlling and Porsha not being independent enough or having much of a voice.

As a fan of the RHOA series, I think Porsha was right to defend her husband and her marriage. Not every relationship is for everyone. But for the most part I think that she was well within her right to not go to the strip club with the other ladies. In any relationship you need to choose your battles wisely. In her opinion arguing with her husband over a trip to see some naked women, probably wasn’t worth the drama it would have caused in their relationship. In her confessional, Porsha later revealed that she felt that by going to the strip club, she’d be partaking in degrading behavior and in her heart she had a ministry for women she wanted to develop. And I agree with Porsha that, that type of behavior wouldn’t be particularly conducive to empowering women through ministry.

Another alternative reason for the failed marriage is probably how Cordell saw himself on the show. Nobody knows what really goes on behind closed doors in a marriage. But once you open the doors and windows, you will certainly be put on display for all to comment. And once you really see how you’re portrayed on screen, it’s no debating the facts. Maybe Cordell didn’t like the way Porsha was portrayed and what people would say about her naiveté.

The bottom-line is that marriage vows are exchanged between two people. Those two people decide what works for their marriage and what doesn’t. Allowing outsiders to comment and doubt how you govern your marriage is setting the relationship up for failure. Especially, when many of those outsiders don’t have the best interest of the couple in mind when they give advice or commentary.

There are few marriages and relationships that have survived Reality TV. What’s their secret? Whatever it is they could definitely bottled it and sell it for millions. The one that immediately comes to mind is Ozzie and Sharon in the TV series The Osbournes. The Osbournes may be one of the few couples that survived the curse of reality tv, and by the looks of recent reports, their marriage is on the rocks. Another is Khloe and Lamar I like them together and I wish both couples the best.

A few of marriages that have failed the Reality TV test are:

English: Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson at th...

English: Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson at the Headquarters of US Marine Corps, posing for the camera. (The couple later hit the road with their “Nick & Jessica’s Tour of Duty”.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey (Newlyweds)

Bobby and Whitney (Being Bobby Brown)

Kate and Jon (Jon and Kate +8)

Nene and Gregg Leeks (well, apparently they’re remarrying)

Hulk and Linda (Hogan Knows Best)

Kim Kardashian and Kris (This marriage was probably doomed before the start due to so many reasons)

Eric Snow and DeShawn (RHOA)

Lisa Wu and Ed Hartwell (RHOA)

Jennifer and Eric Williams (Basketball Wives)

Bethany Frankel and Jason

Kelsey and Camille Grammer (RHOBH)


Dark Skin vs. Light Skin: The Color Complex

Color classification is a still a huge deal around the world and seen more prevalent in the African-American, Indian, and Asian communities. The color of one’s skin can be linked to social status in the community.

While many people of non-European decent typically think of  their own culture as being plagued by the stereotypes and negative connotations associated with darker vs. lighter skin, the truth is you can find it in almost every culture or group of people.

The Indian community has long suffered from the caste system and connections to skin color. It’s still typical to see fairer skin Indians marry each other and darker skin Indians marry each other, than to see a darker and fairer skin Indian couple marry; it’s frowned upon by the couples’ families.

Additionally, many Asians, women in particular, invest in bleaching and lightening products to make their skin fairer or whiter. If you’ve ever spent time in any Asian country you’ll notice television commercials and advertisements cast with the lightest skin women.

In the African-American community, stereotypes continue to perpetuate the idea of lighter skin being better than darker skin.  Just recently on an episode of  VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop, the rapper Consequence defended his lyrics in a song referring to the skin tone of women.

Light skin is the right skin, so you, you, you and your white friend

Maybe lighter complected skin is most attractive to him, which is fine to have a preference but to say one is right denotes that anything else is not.

One of the problems I see is that this conversation seems to evoke a feeling of black or white. Not in the sense of African-American or Caucasian but in the sense of one extreme or the other. What happens if your skin tone falls somewhere in the middle? How should you be classified? I don’t think that in the black community light skin or dark skin are sufficient adjectives to describe the many shades and hues that we bless the world with. Chocolate, latte, mocha, caramel ..we’ve relegated our color to coffee flavors. I don’t think it’s a bad thing because you actually get a better understanding of a person’s hue with those descriptors.

Color and complexion distinctions are made clear for most during childhood years. Hollywood actress Gabrielle Union depicts an all too similar experience as a ‘brown girl’ growing up  in her letter to her younger self displayed beautifully in the October 2012 issue of Ebony magazine. I read it when the issue was released and thought that it was so wonderfully and beautifully written that I cut it out, added it to my journal and was inspired to write my own letter to my younger self.

In the letter Union wrote:

Your deep Mahogany skin may not resemble that of the others in your family, but it’s just as gorgeous and you’re just as worthy….One day you’ll appreciate how much your brown skin shines in the moonlight, glistens in the sun and ages ever so slowly.

This resonating with me so strongly because I too had feelings of inferiority due to the images on television and personal experiences. As I got older I learned to accept and embrace my chocolateness. But those images that portray lighter skin as perpetually equaling beautiful still exist, so it becomes even more necessary to be confirmed in who you are, as to not compare yourself to anyone.

Through every example of skin tone revealed above and others not mentioned here, it is obvious to see that the underlying factor in the skin color debate is the lack of self-love and acceptance. No matter who you are, where you were born, how you were raised,  every person has some complex with themselves that either they don’t like, want to change or are just not comfortable with. If you find the love for yourself from within, and don’t allow other people’s opinions or judgement to dictate your beauty, stereotypes will not be an issue for you.


Oprah’s OWN network recently aired a documentary entitled “Dark Girls” highlighting the degradation of darker skin [black] women. It depicts to a broad audience something that so many suffer from silently. I think it was pretty well done and honest. The documentary can be viewed here.


This upcoming January 2015 Oprah’s OWN network will be airing a follow-up to the Dark Girls documentary entitled Light Girls.  I’m interested to see the juxtaposition of these two points of views.  Here is the preview:

Now that Light Girls has aired, stay tuned for my thoughts on the similarities, differences and perception.

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Recipes: Spinach Quiche



My co-worker made Quiche and had it for lunch recently. That inspired me to make my own. I found a recipe for the crust but I guess I was supposed to bake the crust by itself for a bit before adding the filling. Anyway, the crust didn’t quite come out as expected but it was only a thin layer on the bottom so it didn’t affect the taste.  I used a bunt cake pan so that I could lift the Quiche out of the pan. I was concerned that it might stick to the sides of the pan but it didn’t. I actually used a 9-inch cake pan with the bunt cake center. So it might look like a large quantity but it’s not.



In this recipe I used:

3 oz. of Feta Cheese

4 oz of a cheese blend (mozzarella, sharp etc.)

5 eggs

1 cup milk (estimated)

fresh spinach

1/2 onion

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil to saute the onions and spinach




Here’s my attempt at making the crust from scratch. Flour, butter, salt, milk and water.



Poem: Free At Last

Confusion, Determination

these terms run wild in my mind

Captured like an animal

In a cage, I’m confined

Escaping in danger

now mentally enslaved

tormented, beaten,

welts permanently engraved.

Running, being chased

by ferocious hunt dogs

Contradictory statements

of my inner monologue

Overworked, underpaid

Extreme work conditions


yet we still have ambition.

A long adventurous journey

traveling thru the town

Creeping in the night

Knowing I’m freedom bound.

Long nights alone and cold

scared, frighten

yet extremely bold.

Running, sweating,

heart beating fast

Praying to God

Finally Free At Last.

written by

-D. Justice B.

March 17, 2000


My New Favorite Things:

Lena Dunham

Lena is just awesome in what she’s created in seemingly such a short time.  She acts, directs, writes, and is pretty good at them all I must say. I follow her on Instagram and after finding out that she wrote and directed an independent film, I had to see it. I did and it is a bit similar to the feel you get from the HBO hit-series ‘Girls’ and happens to star several members of the Girls cast.

Chrisette Michele

I’ve loved her since her first album.  Her voice was perfect for the Jay-Z hit song Lost One and she quickly made a name for herself with her debut album I Am.  She has a mixed tape currently out and is opening for Keyshia Cole on tour.  I can’t wait for her next project. I just love who she is, her voice,  and what she represents. Especially, after seeing her in interviews and witnessing her perform first-hand at my church last year.


Travel Blogs

Anyone who knows me knows I’m always going somewhere. I’ve traveled to many, many places and plan to continue doing so. As I’m preparing to possibly move, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with several travel blogs and websites. Part of the reason for creating this blog was to document my travels and experiences abroad. I have so many pictures and experiences from my travels that I want to share and display for my followers. I can’t wait.

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