Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NRW: Monkey Bread!



INGREDIENTS
•3 (12 ounce) packages of refrigerated biscuit dough
•1 cup of white sugar
•1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
•1 cup of butter
•2 cups of packed brown sugar
•1/2 cup of chopped pecans (optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9 or 10 inch tube/Bundt® pan.
2. Mix white sugar and cinnamon in a plastic bag. Cut biscuits into quarters. Shake 6 to 8 biscuit pieces in the sugar cinnamon mix at a time, then set to the side.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the margarine with the brown sugar over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute.
4. Begin to layer the biscuit pieces into your pan. After each single layer drizzle the brown sugar/butter mixture over it and sprinkle with pecans if you are using them.  Make sure the last layer is not filled all the way to the top or you will have spillage! There should be about 2/3 left between the biscuits and the top of the pan.
5. Place a cookie sheet or aluminum foil on the bottom rack and then place pan on middle rack. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes.
6. Let bread cool in pan for 5 minutes, then flip it out onto a plate and keep the bundt pan in place upside down for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan and enjoy. The bread will just pull apart.

*You may also use cream cheese to dip the bread in if you'd like. The more, the yummier!

~HG

LOTD: Green and Gold with a hint of Pink

When it comes to holidays, I like to plan out my look - what I'm going to wear, what accessories best match, what hair to buy (don't judge me), what makeup goes with the look, etc. However, this past Christmas I was so busy and stressed I had no other choice but to wing it, despite my constant need for perfection. I was not dissatisfied. I came up with a green and gold look that I am very happy with. I hope you like it too:


Face:
Bobbi Brown Oil-Free Even Finish Foundation SPF 15 in Almond
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Dark

Eyes:
MAC Indianwood paint pot - all over lid
MAC E/S in Humid - bottom lid
Coastal Scents Palette 88 green shadow 3rd column second from bottom - middle of bottom lid into the outside corner
MAC Pigment in Melon - inner corner of lid and on eyebrow bone (as a highlighter)
Stila Smudge Pot - Liner for top and bottom lids
Dior Iconic - Mascara

Lips:
Bobbi Brown Lip Liner in Plum - Line lips and softly fill them in with pencil
MAC Dazzleglass in Baby Sparks

Cheeks:
MAC Mineralize Blush in Superdupernatural
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Porcelain Pink - Under eyes right above blush, lightly dust on the center of forehead, bridge of nose, and chin
 
~HG

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Smell Good Enough to Eat? Why Thanks, I'm Wearing Wedding Cake!

I'm a self-proclaimed product whore, we all know that. When it comes to hair products, makeup, and bath products, I'm all over it. So when some sistagirls raved about LunaBleu's products, I said ok, I've gotta try them!

The names sounded so delish. How about taking a shower in fluffy marshmallows? Or lathering up with pink cupcakes? Yummo! The list of products simply sounded mouth watering! Needless to say, I was eager to place my order. However, we are still in a recession, so it took the strength of God for me not to buy every scent possible. How to narrow it down to just 3 scents??? Le sigh. Now that was a task, and I can't say I completely stuck to it, but I did darn good! Here's what I got with descriptions from her website:


Cotton Candy Soy Cream Body Wash and Goatmilk Cream
The smell of fresh spun Cotton Candy from the fair so sweet and yummy!
 
 


Dragon's Breath Soy Cream Body Wash and Goatmilk Cream





State Fair Treats
A blend of all your favorite State Fair Treats Freshly-Spun Pink Cotton Candy, Funnel Cake with Powdered Sugar, and Delicious Candied Red Apples



Wedding Cake
Formerly My Wedding Cake is a beautiful white chiffon cake with decadant buttercream frosting. Get ready to drool!

Annnd last but not least...


Various Cupcake Cuties Wax Tarts

The wonderful thing about Lunableu is that she also sends you plenty of samples, some even full sized. i received 4 tarts and a hand sanitizer as my samples.I also purchased the State Fair Treats fragrance oils. Lunableu not only has something for everyone, but is also very affordable. The bath washes were only $6.99 and the Goatsmilk Cream was only $7.95 for 4oz. I can't wait for hubby to try out the Dragons Breath. I hear it will make me want to rip his clothes off. Hmph, I'm ready *smile*.


~HG

Thursday, December 24, 2009

NRW: Noodle Kugel

This is a Jewish dish that is usually served on the Sabbath and during holidays. Since my namesake is Jewish, I'm posting this in honor of him. Enjoy!




INGREDIENTS:
•1 12-ounce package wide egg noodles
•1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter or non-hydrogenated margarine
•2/3 cup sugar
•2 tablespoons honey
•2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
•4 eggs, beaten
•1/4 cup milk or soy milk
•3/4 cup raisins

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9 x 11-inch baking dish or comparably-sized casserole. 
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Cook the noodles just until al dente, about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl. 
  3. Add the butter, sugar, honey and cinnamon. Stir until the butter is melted and the noodles are coated with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. 
  4. Add the eggs and milk, and stir until well blended. Fold in the raisins. 
  5. Pour the noodle mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the kugel is firm and the top is golden brown. 
  6. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold. 
  7. Kugel may be stored covered in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, or frozen, well wrapped in foil, for up to 2 months.

 ~HG

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Good Life

Just finished putting up the Christmas tree with hubby (don't judge us), toasting each other on our first Christmas together as hubby and wife, and slow dancing to Boys to Men singing Who Would've Thought (I'd fall in love on Christmas day). This, my friends, is the good life.

~HG

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Do You Glide?

As I've mentioned before, I officially have natural hair. No more creamy crack for me. While I love being natural, it is not always easy. I wear a lacefront wig more often than I'd like, mainly because I can't get my hair styled right. Right now my natural hair is shooorrrttt when curly. Too short for my liking, so I opt not to wear it out curly unless I'm spending a weekend in the house. When it gets to APL curly, then and only then will I wear it out without straightening it. However, straightening as been quite the hurdle. My curls are tightly coiled so no matter what I seem to do, I can't untangle my hair super easily. Moisturizing it while it air dries every hour has certainly helped, but it's still no real solution. Then there's the straightening. I hate hate hate that burnt hair smell I get when I straighten my hair with a flat iron or an electric straightening comb. It makes me feel like I'm frying my hair, and I probably am! So, I quit. I just settled for wearing my lacefront wigs. At least they're cute and allow me to leave the house looking presentable.

Little did I know, there was a miracle on the market. The ladies in my sistagirl group were squealing with excitement over something called a maxiglide, and as I started seeing result after beautiful result, I became curious. Ok, ok, ok, what the heck is a maxiglide and why should I buy it?


Maxiglide is a straightening iron that has pins for detangling, and uses steam to smooth your hair while you glide down to straighten your hair. Hmm, ok, but I was still a little skeptical. I mean, sure enough, I've never tried a straightening device that uses steam, but eh, we'll see. So when asked what I wanted for my birthday, I asked for a maxiglide of course!

During our nice little snow storm Saturday I decided to give the maxiglide a go. I shampooed and conditioned my hair, and then used the products that came with the maxiglide. I heard wonderful things abut them, and I'm a product whore, so I'll bite. Let me just tell you I did NOT like the Beyond Straight product! It made my curls a crunchy, weird mess. Ugh. For me, it was just say no. However, my hair could NOT get enough of The End! It made my hair feel so smooth and look so shiny, yet weightless! I got the handle of the maxiglide in no time, and it only took me 90 minutes to straighten my hair as oppose to the 3hrs it usually takes. I know the second time I use it I will have it down in 1hr. Exciting! Maxiglide took my hair from this

 
to this



Love.It.com. This is the best product E V E R!!! Run out and go get it right now! Actually, you can stay in an get it. They have it on hsn.com for $79.95. That includes the MAXIglide MP Straightening Iron, Miniglide styler, Maxesse Moisturizing Shampoo, Maxesse Tri-Protein Moisturizing Conditioner, Beyond Straight Temporary Straightener, The END Silicone Shine Enhancer, a Detangling Brush, 2 Maxius Travel Cases, and the Instructional DVD. Trust me, it's worth it!

~HG

Thursday, December 17, 2009

All I want for Christmas is...

So the question "what do you want for christmas?" has been asked a million times and 99.999% of the time I cannot remember a thing that is on my list. Le sigh. So, I started a list here. I will update it through Christmas eve I'm sure lol. Here goes:
  •  brand new tivo. I have an archaic one from when they first came out. I need to be upgraded.
  • A wireless printer. Seriously, if I trip over one more wire anywhere in our apartment, I'm going to scream!
  • One of those heavy duty mixers with a bowl, and not a knock off either. I need a REAL mixer. Like this one: http://tinyurl.com/y9kkot5
  • A gift certificate to MAC and Bobbi Brown, OR a gift certificate to Nordstroms
  • Accessories from Aldo. I need more necklaces and earrings.
  • Neon colored socks.
  • The newest sims game
  • Gift certificate to Target
  • Any of the following shows on dvd: The first two seasons of Greys Anatomy, the last three seasons of A Different World, and any of the Cosby Shows
  • Gift certificate to Borders
  • NARS cactus flower cream blush
  • mehron palettes
  • lush HERBALISM
  • Temptu Airbrush makeup system


 RCMA Shinto Palette



  • Kat von d palette


  • Lancome COLOUR FOCUS PALETTE 4 OMBRES - Exceptional Wear EyeColour Quad


  • Cargo Hands of Hope Eyeshadow Palette



  • Dior 2-Colour Eyeshadow


  • Smashbox WISH Eye Wish Palette


~HG

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bank of America, I Quit You!

I have been a member of Bank of America for years, since my second year of college. I've always simply adored them. Finding an ATM machine on every corner, no monthly fees (because they let me keep my account as a "student"), great customer service. I can't even begin to tell you how many times BOA came to my rescue. When I was a silly child I would try to buy $25 worth of groceries with only $2 in my account, but BOA let me! I would pull out my card, inhale 1, 2, 3, swipe, exhale, 4, 5, 6, and beam when that machine said "approved" and I could eat for yet another week. Of course the overdraft fees were nothing cute, but as a broke college student the system worked in my favor.

Not anymore.

Do you know those bastidges are holding my money hostage! My money! Hostage! MY MONEY! Whew lawd, it took Jesus and all 12 of the disciples to hold me back from marching up to one of their branches and holding a sit in. Let me take a few steps back, calm down, and explain.

When I was in High School God dropped two of the most wonderful angels in the world in my life. For the sake of anonymity I'll call them the Scotts. The Scotts helped pay for me to go to High School, and helped pay for college. Imagine my amazement when they said they wanted to help me pay for graduate school. isn't that crazy? Who gives from their heart like that these days? Not many folks I know! Anywho, I had humbly accepted their help. So at the beginning of each semester they supply me with a check that is always so tempting. More money than I've had in my account E V E R! However, it clearly says "scholarship fund" on the check, so I woosssaaahhh, bring myself back to reality, and go online to pay for my classes. So Sunday, I did the same as always. I signed and deposited my check at the ATM knowing the funds would be released by Tuesday, like they always are...right? WRONG! I check my account today and it says my funds are on hold UNTIL DECEMBER 23RD! What the...have they...do they know...maaaaaaaannnnnnn Jesus you better hold me back! So I call them. "Welcome to Bank of America, may I have..." "I want my money. I want my money, and I want it now." I give ole girl all of my information, and she basically tells me there's nothing they can do. They check the system and see that why yes, I do make this deposit twice a year, and no, my check has never been held hostage before, but indeed, I willl have to wait until the 23rd. "I want it back" "excuse me ma'am?" "I want my check back. Give me my check back. I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!!" Le sigh. Let me just say that today, I still don't have my money back. They released a small portion of the check into my account, but that's all I get for now. That portion doesn't even pay for ONE of my classes. It barely pays for a credit. I kindly let them know that as of December 24, 2009 I will no longer be a member of BOA. I'm done. I'm tired. People have tried to convince me for years to leave BOA, but I just didn't have the issues they had. I was exempt. Well not anymore, and I told the customer service agent "ma'am, don't take it personally when I say this, just think of it as taking one for the team but...I quit you. I don't like you anymore and you really do leave a sour taste in my mouth. I never want to speak to you again, and if I should pass you on the street, I can just about guarandaggontee you that I will NOT be stopping by to make a deposit. We must go our seperate ways. Good bye and God bless". And that's it. Another relationship ended in my life. I'm moving on. To where I don't know, but it'll be far far far away from that piece of crap bank known as Bank of America. Good riddance!

~HG

Friday, December 11, 2009

Two Reasons Why I Love Craigslist

As we all know I just finished having my poorest year ever. Even in the midst of that, while my husband was concerned with making sure the rent was paid, I was here looking at our house in deep despair because I couldn't decorate. Our living room is mixed matched and our dining room table was a folding table, le sigh. I vowed that as soon as I got a little bit of money, I was going to start decorating this place. Well, I still don't have that money, but I went browsing around craigslist anyway, and I ran into this ad:

Dinette Set - $25 (Washington D.C.)

Date: 2009-12-05, 10:30PM EST
Reply to:

This is a cute dinette set, perfect for students/someone furnishing an apartment on a budget.
It is particleboard, Not real wood. And, there is a piece of veneer chipped off one side (i can send another picture showing), thus the $25.00 price.
Round table and four chairs.

I said what the heck! We just need something decent to eat on for christmas, so why not? So I replied to the ad and picked up the table on Thursday. I love it! Of course it's not my dream table, but for $25 it's not bad at all!

Tadaa! There it is. Not bad right? You can't even tell where the chip is! Oh, and those flowers? Surprise from hubby on Wednesday night. God I love that man!

And the second reason I love Craigslist? You can find some of the most invaluable, loving, change your life things on there, like a Pepper:


That is my precious, precious baby boy (yes, I know he's a cat, but he's MY child). I adopted him from someone on craigslist 5 years ago. He'll be 6 years old on Saturday. He's the greatest kitty in ze world!

I encourage everyone to go peruse craigslist to see what goodies they can find. Just don't go picking up a gift that keeps on giving...like a prostitute in the want ads w/ an STD...*shudders*

~HG

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

NRW: Slow Cooker Turkey Noodle Soup

INGREDIENTS
1 bag of Light 'N Fluffy Egg Noodles Wide Enriched Pasta
3-4 turkey drumsticks
1 stick of butter
1 onion
salt
butter
cayenne pepper
black pepper
garlic powder
Water

DIRECTIONS
1. Season drumsticks really well (more than you would if you were frying or baking them).
2. Place drumsticks along with onion (leave whole), and butter.
3. Pour water over drumsticks filling almost completely, leaving about 3 inches at the top. Season the water well.
4. Turn slow cooker to 8hrs or the equivalent and let it cook over night.
5. Approximately 1 hour before completion, taste the juice to make sure it is seasoned properly. Add more seasoning if you need to. Pour egg noodles in and stir. Continue to let cook for the last hour.
6. Discard onion and enjoy!

~HG

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lauren Merkin Holiday Sample Sale

Lauren Merkin Holiday Sample Sale: Handbags, Clutches and Accessories up to 70% off!!Date: Tue-Fri, Dec. 8-11th: 11am - 7pm & Sat, Dec. 12th: 11am - 4pm Location: 231W.29th St. Suite 201 (Btw 7& 8th ave) Payment: Cash, Amex, Visa, Master Card, Discover Only
via http://www.shebreathes.com/salesvault/2009/12/lauren-merkin-sample-sale.html#

Oooo, a Stila on Sale and Cherry Culture love!

I logged onto Haute Look this morning and look what I found! Too bad I don't get my first paycheck for another week, hmph.


Apparently the sale is on for another 47hr 42min and some odd seconds. Run get that!
Also, look what I found in my inbox this morning from Cherry Culture:



Hmmm, anybody want to get me that NYX Makeup Artist Kit for Christmas? Please feel free!

~HG

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

NRW: Chocky Chunk Chunk

Two years ago I made this for my husband and he has been begging for it ever since. Little does he know, I'm surprising him with a batch for Christmas. I may even add some marshmallows in there.

INGREDIENTS:
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
2 cups pecans


DIRECTIONS:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).
2.In a medium bowl, mix together 2/3 cup butter, 1/4 cup white sugar, and 1 1/4 cup flour until evenly crumbly. Press into 9" square baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
3.In a 2 quart saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. Pour over baked crust. Spread pecans on top and then cool until it begins to firm.
4.Melt chocolate and pour over caramel layer. Cover the layer completely.Chill the sheet of bars, but don't let it get too cold.
5.Cut into small squares, and serve.

Advice:
  • Poke the cookie mixture with a fork several times before placing it in the oven, and then several times after taking it out of the oven. This helps the caramel adhere to the cookie.
  • Get a candy thermometer for the caramel. You want to heat the sugar mixture to 250'. If you don't have a candy thermometer, drop a bit of the sugar mixture into a cup of cold water. If the caramel hardens it is probably the right temperature. If the caramel is still soft to the touch when removed form the water, you need to cook it a bit longer. 
  • Do not do not do not let the bars get too cold before cutting or they will be hard as heck to cut. Also, make sure to cut them into little squares. There's a lot of bang in these bars!
Enjoy!

~HG

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Finally Starting to Love My Hair

As you all may remember, I began growing my hair natural in January of this year. I was taking a serious chance since I had done this once before and failed terribly. My junior year of college I decided to grow my hair out natural since I rarely got relaxers. It was a total failure because I had no direction. There weren't all of these natural hair care forums that there are now, and none of my friends were natural so...I just grew it out. No cutting off of the relaxed hair, no change of routine, nothing. It was a m e s s!

This time I started growing my hair out in January. My last relaxer was November, and I just didn't feel like getting another one. I had started getting relaxers only about 3 times a year, so I figured why not try it again? Long Hair Care Forum became my best friend! I've never spoken a word on there (chronic lurker mode in full effect), but I learned so much from those ladies. In May I had my first quasi-big chop. I was too much of a punk to get it all chopped off, so I just had the stylist cut off 4-5 inches. I bought a few lacefront wigs, and got all of my hair supplies. The whole Organic Olive Oil line was extremely good to me! I co-washed with the conditioner once a week, deep conditioned with a cholesterol conditioner once a week and washed with the shampoo once a week. That may seem like a lot, but for my hair it wasn't. My hair is super oily at the base and dry at the ends. I would braid my hair up underneath and go. My hair was so healthy that I didn't need a trim for the next 4 months! My hair was growing, but it was growing even. Never experienced that!

Now I find myself looking for styles to wear in the next few months. If I continue to treat my hair right, I suspect I will happily wear it out by April. I want to get a little more length (like 3 inches) before doing so. Then I'll start simply bunning until I reach my goal length.

Here's my hair now. I lurve it!



So loving my hair. This was pre-trim, but I actually didn't have to cut much off. Yay! Hopefully I will report back in April with about 3 more inches of growth to this length.

Have any natural hair care tips you'd like to share? Please do! I'm always looking for new products to try out!

~HG

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Makeup Look



Face:
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Dark

Eyes:
Indianwood paint pot - all over lid
MAC Pigment in Mega-Rich - bottom lid
MAC E/S in Off The Page - middle of bottom lid out to the right corner
MAC E/S in Passionate - Crease
MAC E/S in Rule - on top of Passion to blend it out & in inner corner
MAC E/S in Shroom - Eyebrow bone
MAC E/S in Handwritten - Outter V

Cheeks:
MAC Sheertone Blush in Blushbaby

Lips:
Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil in Raisin
MAC Dazzleglass in Get Rich Quick

~HG

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NRW: Audra "my hair so fly" chanell's Mac N Cheese

***Note from the recipe owner*** I used Cracker Barrel's vermont white, sharp and mild cheddars, cream cheese, and Parmesan for my last batch-use cheeses you like.

The purpose of the cream cheese, and I also use sour cream, is to aid with binding and creaming-sort of what cream cheese does for cheese cake and it also happens to be a cheese so thats a plus. I dont really "measure" so eyeball for the consistency you want before layering.

Makes a large aluminum pan or deep 9 x 12.

INGREDIENTS
  • Box of elbow Or ready cut noodles
  • Butter
  • Philly cream cheese
  • 3 tbs sour cream
  • 2-3 blocks of cracker barrel cheese-your choice (shred them)
  • 1-2 cups Parmesan (grated)
  • Milk
  • One egg ( pour to cover layers)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Topping like crumbled bacon if you'd like.
DIRECTIONS
  1. Mix 1 egg with about 3 cups of milk (may have you add more if it doesn't cover the last layer of cheese)
  2. Boil noodles, drain, add butter, sour cream, and cream cheese to hot noodles and mix til melted
  3. Start layering: Buttered cream cheese noodles, Shredded cheese, Pat of butter in corners if a large deep 9x12
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper continue layers til cheese layer and leave 2" at top pour milk over layers,
  5. Cover with foil, bake on 350 for 40 mins
  6. Remove foil to brown the top then add crumbled bacon
Enjoy!

~HG

Saturday, November 21, 2009

So I saw New Moon...

and I loved it! That's huge considering I thought Twilight pretty much sucked. The only reason I keep watching it is because I loved the book so much that I'll watch a piece of crap movie just to get a little feel of what the book gave me. I went to the midnight showing over in Cleveland Park at this movie theatre I'd never been to before. Its screen is HUGE!!!! Old school seating, but IMAX size screen. It's pretty cool.





The second picture is the view from the balcony. The screen actually goes out even further than that. Anywho...

I felt like such a teenage goober! Not only did I rush there to get in line early (I got there at 10:24 to be exact), but I even grinned and bared it when it started to pour! Thank God these two sweet ladies in front of me invited me to share their huge umbrella. Very kind of them. Can I just tell you all how I felt like such a pedophile watching New Moon? I mean, I thought Jacob was cute before because he is an adorable little boy, but honey? Huuunnnneeeeyyyyy! When that boy chopped off his hair and got all buff??? Lawd Jesus save my soul. Whew! I was suddenly all "Heeeeyyyyyy Jacob, how YOU doin???". Craziness. Whew, moving along...



I thought the acting in this movie was much much MUCH better than it was in Twilight. Everyone seemed more comfortable in their roles, like they really understood who their character was, and who their character was in relation to the other characters in the movie. Even the makeup and hair in this movie was a heck of a lot better! Well, except Jasper. His hair was a bit of a mess. I have no clue what they did to it or why, but can we just say yuck?

I still think the books are 10x better than the movies, but this movie made up for the hugely flawed Twilight. The one gripe I had, besides Jaspers flawed hair of course, was the flawed Edward! I LOVE Edward, and always will (team Edward All.The.Way.), but... why does Edward sound totally hard and ripped in the book only to be scrawny and sickly looking the movie? While Edward isn't suppose to be as big as Jacob, he is suppose to be a little more ripped. I would hope to see a more solid, sexy Edward in the next installment, Eclipse, but I know they are already filming and I've seen Robert Pattinson...he's not ripped...le sigh.

I give New Moon (3.5 smileys lol) out of 5. Not bad. Not bad at all.

~HG

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Change Gon' Come

There been times that I thought I couldn't last for long
But now I think I'm able to carry on
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will
~Sam Cooke
 
I could feel it in the air. It was like something switched, and in September my faith grew stronger.

As of November 12, 2009 I became deeply apart of the chronically unemployed statistics. Being unemployed is completely life changing, not just monetarily either. It changed the way I saw myself. My self esteem dipped, and the bubbly person that I was went into hiding. Mainly that was because I didn't know how I was going to pay the bills next month, or the month after that, but I held on to my faith.

And then there's makeup. GOD, makeup is such a huge part of my life. It's my craft, it's my addiction, it's my sunshiney place when everything else seems dim and dismal...But I could no longer afford it. Because I could no longer afford it, I could no longer go out on makeup jobs because I couldn't afford to buy the palettes I so desperately need, or the money it costs to get from point a to point b. That could've been depressing, but again, I held on to my faith. I reminded myself that this was just a road I had to travel and one day I will be able to afford to buy more makeup than should be legal!

I started to lose myself some days. I would wake up and wonder hello, is this really me, is this who I am? Days would go buy where I wouldn't run a comb through my hair or put on a touch of makeup. My husbands lucky that i showered! With no place to go and nothing to do, all of that kind of seems pointless. I'm the girl that likes to go out to happy hour, or to the movies with a friend just because it's wednesday. I like to go buy accessories, and plan weekend getaways. All of that stopped. That part of my life was put on pause, and that part of me paused with it. I became this very mundane person, completely uninteresting without much to say because I didn't do anything.

Then a couple of weeks ago I saw a light at the end of a long, dark, creepy, tunnel. My friend Nikki alerted me to the fact that her job was hiring for a myriad of positions about a month ago. I gave her my resume to forward, but heard nothing. Then two weeks ago they called and I got my hopes up. They did a preliminary interview, then invited me in for an interview. Great! I went in, nervous because I hadn't interviewed for anything in a year, but determined to get this job! So I walk in with as much confidence as I can muster and...it's busted! Bubbleburst.com! They had me take a data entry test and a microsoft office test. Let me say that I am a visual person. I need images, pictures, something! Can I just tell you how they had the nerve not to have one single picture with the program??? Just gonna ask me situational microsoft issues, and have me pick an answer from multiple choice. I looked very much so like my cat at this point. Ears going forward, then out to the sides, then one ear going back while the other was going forward. Can we say confuzzled? I laughed at that test. I just started guessing and picking C a lot.

Next up was the interview. I interviewed with 3 ladies, and I could tell that one of them didn't really care for me. She wasn't mean, or nasty, just had that oh no, not you, not my department! look. Ok, fine, whatever, I stumbled on one question, but kept it moving. Leaving the interview I felt ok. My mom asked me how it went, and I told her I thought it went ok, but you never know with these things. Then I im'd my bff because I was going into Chick-fil-a. Let me tell yu, this place was in Silver Spring, so I was uber excited! I always loved working there and it wuld be great to get back there. Anyway, I left and headed home.

4 days later, I got an email telling me that they had chosen someone else. Le sigh. Back to the drawing board.

So I was going about my business reaching out to as many businesses as I could when my phone rings. "Hello may I speak to..." "Heeeyyy Jennifer!!!" Isn't that shameful? I wanted that job so much I had already memorized the HR ladies name and voice! Anyway, she told me that they had another position become available and she thought about me. Squeeeeeeeeee!!!! Praise.God. Unfortunately we had to go through the same HR questions, but whatever, I was down. Then she invited me to come in that Thursday for the interview. This time, I had more confidence! I shook off the igginess that I felt the first time and rolled with it. I even paid more attention on the microsoft test, although nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, will ever stop me from being blown that they have no visuals on that thing! Do you know my friend had to retake that God awful test when THEY offered HER a promotion? I was like GTFOH! But I digress.

I walked into the interview room and who was in there but the same hiring manager that had interviewed me the first time. I mean, she knew who was coming, so that let me know that she didn't hate me. She must've liked me a little to take a second chance on me right? Anyway, she let me know that there would be someone else joining us. What do you know, it was one of the ladies that was at the first interview! Not the one that didn't like me though lol. Anyway, once again, the interview goes ok, but when Jennifer walked me out she asked me how it went, and I told her you never know! Dude, I hate that question! It's like, even when you think you did perfectly, you find out later that you sucked! So, whatever, anywho...

Friday morning came and so did a phone call..."we would like for you...to interview for another position." Wait...what?......wait.......huh??? I just knew this was the phone call where they were going to say "we would like to offer you the position" but yeah, no, that wasn't it. Hmph. Bah hum bug. However, I didn't get too down because 1) They weren't gonna make me go in to interview me again; they were gonna interview me over the phone instead 2) That meant no testing and 3) That obviously meant that they wanted me, but were just trying to find the right fit for me. Love it! So that Monday while on my school's campus I scrambled to find a quiet room to do the interview in because as the day wore on, I kinda sorta maybe probably absolutely forgot about it. Don't wonder how, just go with it. So there were three of them on the phone, the questions were shorter, and it was over in 10 minutes *blink* *blink*. Hmmm, ok, sure...

Wednesday I got the call that they were going forward with checking my references, woohoo!!!!

That was a mess! One of my references didn't call them until MONDAY, another gave an excellent reference, and I had to scramble to find references I was still in contact with for them to call. It all worked out though because on Tuesday I got a call that said

I GOT THE JOB!!!!!!

As of Monday, November 23, 2009 I will be a working woman again. Praise Jesus! Can you believe I will be working in the very area I told God I would like to work in again? This is definitely a shout in praise to Jesus moment.

I would like to take this time out to say thank you. Thank you to my husband and parents for loving me and sustaining me through this crazy time! Your prayers and love have truly lifted me. Thank you to my friends for paying for me whenever we went out, and to the bff for being willing to buy your girl a lacefront wig because mine was super ragedy and just ugh! Hey, that's what friends are for lol. Thank you to my readers and internet friends for keeping me in your prayers. We've never met, but you thought about me enough to pray for me. That's love. I appreciate all of you and pray that I am able to pay you back 10 fold.

~HG

NRW: Blackberry-Cornmeal Muffins

INGREDIENTS
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour 
  • ½ cup fine-ground yellow cornmeal 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 to 2 containers (6 ounces each) fresh blackberries (frozen worked fine too)

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 375°... make sure the temp is correct of the berries will sink to the bottom of the cake. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs and melted butter; pour over flour mixture, whisking to combine.
2. Fill each lined cup with a scant ¼ cup batter. Top batter with blackberries (3 to 4 berries per cup), then sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
3. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until evenly browned on top, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are baked, but will keep up to 2 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

Enjoy!
~HG

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Russian Roulette

So as most of you know, Rihanna has out a controversial new song called Russian Roulette. Listening to the reasons it's controversial I've tried oh so very hard to just straight up hate it, but...I can't!!! My inner Rihanna rebels. Let's face it, there is very little Rihanna can do wrong in my eyes. She is my Beyonce. I love her style, and I dig her music. She is so *forgive this cornball moment* swaggerific *cornball moment over...maybe* she doesn't even have to try. She just...is... Le sigh. Lurve her. Can't help it. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Thing is, I think that anyone that has been in a dangerous relationship can feel this song. The relationship didn't have to be physically dangerous, it could've been simply emotionally dangerous. I'm in one of those relationships right now...with my husband. There is very little I could imagine not doing for him. The difference is that I've matured over the years so I know better than to love someone more than I love myself, but I do believe that everyday I am growing to love him as much as I love myself. I'm 98% there. At the end of the day, this song, this album, is Rihanna's story to tell. She's an artist. She should be allowed to tell her story. She is not here to raise our children, or even to be their role models. Understood that some children make her their role model, but maybe if mommy and daddy were more involved those would be the people their kids would look up to. Even if they do look up to mom and dad, isn't it important that mom and dad know what their kids are listening to, and explain to them what's right or wrong about a song? Maybe this can be a gateway for them to talk about love, obsession, or suicide. Point is, Rihanna is an artist doing what artists should - expressing herself for herself with the added bonus of having fans listen. Without further ado, here's Rihanna's Russian Roulette video:


Friday, November 13, 2009

Since You're Getting NRW on Friday...

Here are two recipes for you to work with. Sorry for the delay, school is kicking my butt!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 pkg (2 layer size) of spice cake mix 
  • 1 pkg(3.4oz) of Jello-O vanilla flavor Instant pudding 
  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin 
  • 1 pkg of Philidephia cream cheese(or any cream cheese), Softened 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 4 eggS

DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare cake batter as directed. Add dry pudding mix and pumpkin; mix well.
  3. Spoon mixture into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.
  4. Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy. Blend in sugar & 1 egg; spoon over batter. Swirl gently with small spoon. Bake 18-21 minutes(more like 25 but keep checking at 20 minutes) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks. Cool completely.
------
Thank you Bambamgotchatwice for the following recipe!

Chocolate Toffee Bites





INGREDIENTS
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 Cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 Cup cold butter, cut into pieces 
  • 1 Cup whole pecans, toasted (or 1 Cup ground almonds) 
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar 
  • 2/3 Cup butter 
  • 2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

 DIRECTIONS 
1) Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9*13in pan with parchment paper
2) Mix the flour, 1 Cup brown sugar, and cold butter cut into pieces until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs by cutting the butter into the flour and sugar
3) Pour mixture into prepared pan (mixture will be very dry), and press down evenly, then sprinkle nuts evenly over mixture and set aside
4) In a small saucepan melt butter and 1/2 Cup brown sugar stirring constantly until mixture begins to boil
5) Let mixture boil for one minute then pour evenly over nuts in prepared pan
6) Bake for 18-20min until topping starts to bubble
7) Remove from oven and evenly sprinkle chocolate chips on top while pan is still hot
8) Let stand for 3-5 min then spread the chocolate evenly to cover entire pan
9) Place in fridge to cool then cut into squares

Enjoy!

~HG

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not Interested in Playing God

The fall of 2002 was one of the scariest times of my life. I was away in college in Charlotte, NC while my family was here in DC going about their everyday life. One Tuesday I spoke to my mom, as usual, but this particular evening she carried "worriation" in her voice. "There's someone going around killing people at gas stations you know...". Gas stations? Seriously? Have gas prices jumped and they're pissed off about it? Darn Bush lol. However, I soon learned this was no laughing matter. My family and friends back home were frightened, paralyzed with fear, afraid to leave their homes. The gunmen who rode around in this white van didn't seem to have any real rhyme or reason. They weren't attacking a specific gender, race, class, or anything. Just innocent people.

And then I had to go home for fall break.

The only way I have ever gotten around this city is by metro. Metro is my best friend here. However, that fall...that fall???? Metro was my enemy. I was scared to leave the house to go visit friends because I didn't know if I would make it to my destination, or make it back home. My parents feared for my life, I feared for theirs...it was a mess! Trust and believe me when I say I stayed prayed up. You could find me on the metro or bus rocking back and forth with my eyes closed having a deep conversation with Jesus and his whole brigade begging to be able to keep my life.

Some time a couple of weeks later they captured the two men that were terrorizing the DMV - John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo. Today, John Allen Muhammad is set to be executed.

The Death Penalty. I've never been a fan, and oddly enough, John Allen Muhammad doesn't make me one. When we talk about killing a killer, I feel like we are playing God just a little too much. The world I live in is the one Jesus left us with - the world of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. If God can forgive John Allen Muhammad, who am I not to? It's not like I'm far removed from the situation. You ask me about it now and even today I can feel the anxiety I felt then. My blood runs cold, and my hands start sweating. I felt like I was having a panic attack everyday that they were out there terrorizing our area. However, no matter how heinous his crime, that does not make me God.

I know a lot of people aren't a fan of it, but I would just lock him up for life. Some will say "he can't be rehabilitated" but I invite those people to join me in reality. 1) You're not GOD so get off your high horse and stop saying who can be changed and who can't. God saved a wretch like you, didn't he? 2) God doesn't see murder as being any worse a sin as being a liar. Both kill. Check yourself 3) Umm, did you really think that prison rehabilitated anyone? The ones that come out changed are those that had a change of heart and decided to work on themselves. You know as well as I do that even though our prisons are suppose to be about transformation and rehabilitation, they aren't, AT ALL.

I would never tell someone what to believe. Wait, we're talking about me so scratch that, yes I would. However, the death penalty makes my blood boil. I think everyone should pay for the crimes they commit, absolutely, but taking someones life is not the answer. It's not. My spirit tells me it isn't right, and that's enough for me.

At 9pm when John Allen Muhammad is set to be executed, I will be in class. I will be in class, saying a prayer for him that he found salvation before he took his last breath. I will also say a prayer for the US, that we find some dignity, humanity, humbleness, and maybe step our morality game up a bit. You don't correct a murderers wrong doings by bloodying your own hands.

~HG
Matthew 5:7 & 5:38-39, James 4:12, Romans 12:17-21, and John 8:7

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NRW: Pecan Crusted Bourbon Chicken

Because I'm in a happy hour state of mind :~)

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans  
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs 
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
  • 1/4 cup clarified butter, melted  
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard  
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar 
  • 2 2/3 tablespoons bourbon whiskey 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce  
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes 
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
DIRECTIONS
  1. Stir together the pecans, bread crumbs, and 2 tablespoons of clarified butter. Spread the mixture out on a plate. Press the chicken breasts into the mixture to coat on both sides.
  2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of clarified butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the coated chicken breasts in the pan, and fry on both sides for about 2 minutes each. 
  3. place the chicken in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until done. 
  4. In a small saucepan, whisk together the Dijon mustard, brown sugar, bourbon, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce until smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then remove from the burner, and whisk in the 3/4 cup of unsalted butter one piece at a time. Do not return to the heat. 
  5. Arrange the chicken breasts on a large serving plate. Pour the sauce over the chicken, and sprinkle with green onion.
Enjoy!

~HG

Monday, November 2, 2009

We've been blogged!

As most of you know, I exchanged vows with the love of my life on 6.20.09. Our photographer was Michael Clark of Michael Clark Photographics in Baltimore. I contacted Michael after releasing the photographer I had originally hired. He didn't return phone calls and he disappeared for 2 months...2 MONTHS!!!! So yeah, I contacted Michael and he was a God send. He soon met us at our ceremony/reception site - The Capitol Hill Club - and it was like we had known him our whole lives. On our big day I felt like Michael was a friend, and I was extremely comfortable around him which made everything go much smoother. So well all know that I'm enamored with him, but imagine my surprise when I got a message on facebook from my girl Karima telling me she was stalking his blog (lmao) and saw that we were the feature. Yaaaayyyy! Geeked? Absolutely! In everyday life I know that it's not such a big deal if your wedding was blogged, but in the life of a knottie, it means A LOT! So, run! Go check it out now!

michaelclarkphotographics.blogspot.com

~HG

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yummy Potato Soup

Because tonight I need comfort food...

INGREDIENTS
  • 3lbs of potatoes, scrubbed and pierced in several places
  • 1tbsp. of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped onions
  • 2 tbsp. of minced garlic
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz) of garlic broth
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of pepper
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • crumbled bacon
  • chopped scallions
DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Bake the potatoes 1 hour or until tender when pierced. Peel when their cool enough to handle.
  3. Melt the butter in a 4 - 6 qt pot over medium low heat. Stir in onions and garlic, cover and cook 10 minutes until soft, but not brown.
  4. Add 2/3 of the potatoes and mash. Add broth, milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occassionally.
  5. Cut remaining potatoes into small cubes, add to soup, and stir gently to reheat.
  6. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, and chopped scallions.
Enjoy!

~HG

Some days...

I wonder if it's really worth it. I know that it is. I know that this is just the first year adjustment, and really getting to know who the other is. However, somedays, I honestly want to throw in the towel, real talk. Then I think...at the end of the day, will I still love him? Yes. Will this seem like it was really worth separating over 5 years, or 5 months even, from now? No. Does that make it hurt any less? No. So right now I'm choosing to stick it out, go silently within myself, and ask God for a little more peace, joy, and quiet.

~HG

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I LOVE My Husband!

Tuesday my husband an I celebrated 4 months of marriage. I know that for some that seems like a silly anniversary to celebrate, but not us. We celebrate our marriage every month, usually by just having a special dinner, to show each other that we appreciate one another. We like to take a moment to sit back and reflect on how much we've changed and gained through marriage. A moment to realize we are truly blessed.

Tuesday was a particularly hard day for me. I was stressed due to a presentation I had to give that nite. It was after the storm of the presentation that I really took a look at my hubby and realized how lucky I am. He quietly gave me my space to deal with my stress, checking on me here and there but pretty much just letting me be. I even kind of snapped and rushed him off the phone when he had called me earlier that day to see what kind of coffee I liked. "How trivial!" I thoguht to myself. There I was stressing about school and he wanted to talk about...coffee? I'm sorry, what sir??? Ugh. Anywho, I rushed home to cook us a nice romantic dinner with a bottle of riesling to accompany it. It was in the midst of cooking that he exclaimed that he had a gift for me. Of course I was excited, what woman wouldn't be?

It was a coffee maker and for me, that was a really big deal. I'm broker than broker and have been wanting a coffee maker forever! Well Sunday I expressed this to him, and apparently, he listened! Not only that, he got me the single cup one with the pods, exactly what I wanted! Squeeeee! Loves it, and loves him. This feels so special to me. Now every time I have a cup of coffee, I think of him, and trust, that's a lot!

~Hidden Gem

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NRW: Angel Hair Pasta in a Garlic Butter Sauce

For the past two days I have served this with every meal we've had, mainly because hubby says it's addictive. It's fast and easy, and good all by itself. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound of angel hair pasta

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Cook pasta until al dente
  2. Melt butter on medium low heat
  3. Add the garlic, pepper, and salt to the butter and stir
  4. Pour sauce over pasta, mixing well.
  5. Plate pasta, and sprinkle paremesan cheese on top
You could always add some broccoli to this dish, like I did today. Tuesday we enjoyed it with lobster and crab stuffed tilapia, and today with steak. Yummo!
~Hidden Gem

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NRW: Cream Cheese Bacon Crescents



INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Chive & Onion Cream Cheese Spread
  • 3 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, cooked, crumbled
  • 2 cans (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls  
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix cream cheese spread and bacon in small bowl until well blended.  
  2. Separate each can of dough into 8 triangles each. Cut each triangle in half lengthwise. Spread each dough triangle with 1 generous tsp. cream cheese mixture. Roll up, starting at shortest side of triangle and rolling to opposite point. Place, point sides down, on ungreased baking sheet. 
  3. Bake 12 to 15 min. or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Back to Black

Every once in a while a collection comes along that makes me wish I was making more money (or in this case, making money period since I'm unemployed) and MAC's Style Black is definitely one of them:

Gaw! You have no idea how inlove I am with this collection! I'd been avoiding going into Pentagon City Mall in VA just for that reason. I needed to escape the MAC store and various MAC counters because I knew that this collection would call my name. I currently own the Mineralize Eyeshadows Gilt By Association, a Black with gold bronze pearl and Cinderfella, a Black with silver pearl. I desparately want the Black Cream Colour Base and all of the Nail Lacquer's, but this out of work business is making it impossible. I do, however, accept donations :~)

Mineralize Eye Shadows: $19.00

  • Cinderfella – Black w/ silver pearl
  • Young Punk – Black w/ pink purple pearl
  • Gilt by Association – Black w/ gold bronze pearl
  • Blue Flame – Black w/ blue pearl
Grease Paintstick: $17.50
  • Intense Black – Black w/ purple shimmer
Penultimate Liner: $16.50
  • Rapidblack – True black
Eye Kohl: $14.50
  • Smolder – Intense Black
Lipsticks: $14.00
  • Black Knight – Creamy true black
Mattenes:$14.50
  • Midnight Media – Matte black
  • Night Violet – Deep grape purple
Glimmerglass: $18.00
  • Bling Black – Sheer black w/ gold pearl
  • Blackfire – Sheer black w/ pink purple pearl
  • Blackware – Creamy true black
Nail Lacquer: $12.00
  • Nocturnelle – True black
  • Seriously Hip – Black w/ gold particle pearl 
  • Baby Goth Girl – Black w/ pink and purple pearl
Skincare:
  • Volcanic Ash Exfoliator: $19.50
  • Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask: $19.50

Cream Colour Base: $16.50
  • Black – Creamy true black
  • Bat Black – Burgundy black with pink pearl (Pro)

Pink & Grey Look

My friend Kristin asked me to do a pink & grey look, so here we go!





Face:

  • Bobbie Brown Oil Free Even Finish Foundation SPF 15 in Almond (7)


  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Dark

Eyes (I mainly used Coastal Scents Palette #78):
  • Lid - section 4, third pink down on the left
  • Crease - Section 4, dark grey above the blush and Section 6, dark, greyish black color
  • Brow bone - MAC eyeshadow in yogurt
  • Inside corner and below bottom lash line - MAC eyeshadow Seedy Pearl (frost)
  • Liner - Stila smudge pot in black
  • Mascara - Maybelline great lash
Cheeks:
  • 5th blush in Costal Scents Palette #78
Lips:
  • MAC lipstick in Lovin It
  • MAC lipglass in Mimmy (limited edition)
~HG

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Softer Side of Me

Last week on facebook I updated my status voicing my concern about feeling insecure about a fashion show I have to do later this month, and the reactions I received were surprising. I had friends calling and trapping me in the corner at church completely baffled. "You...insecure??? What??? But that's not even YOU!". I laughed. I laughed a good, hearty laugh, but also a melancholy one.

Ever since I was a kid being raised by a quasi-single mother (I lived with my mother, but my father (who she was never married to, and isn't my birth father) helped raise me) taught me to be strong and not-so-much vulnerable without really meaning to. There were times when we struggled in our relationship where I had to depend on me. There was only me. I was an only child and I didn't have a sibling to lean on, so whenever I dealt with something, I dealt with it by myself. Over the years I have never really noticed that I still do this. What I have noticed is that my closest relationships are with the friends I made during my volunteer time at the DC Rape Crisis Center because, let's be honest, that was a pretty heart wrenching, emotionally thick place where everyone was vulnerable at one time or another. There was a bond of trust amongst us that isn't easily found in those you meet everyday. However, even they don't REALLY know me. Not the nitty gritty, bare bones of me. Mainly because I trained myself from the time I was a child to say "this too shall pass". Since I had to deal with things on my own, I've never really been comfortable with relying on others emotionally. I don't even know if I know how to. When I try, it feels very uncomfortable. I think a part of me would rather be completely alone and without friends than open and let them see some of those vulnerable sides of me.

Another reason I'm so cut off is because I've tried a time or two to open up to others, but because it didn't come when they desired for it to, or it wasn't packaged the way they wanted it to be, it wasn't received and once again I was that little girl with mommy issues that shut down emotionally. That just taught me that yeah, I should just keep things to myself, deal with my own issues. I thought I was ok with that, until I saw how it was affecting my friendships.

There are few friendships where I feel comfortable showing that there are times when I am vulnerable, there are times when I'm completely unsure of myself. I have no problem knowing that I am insecure at times. Overall my self esteem is incredibly healthy. However, I am human lol. I think it's so funny that some people think that even I can't feel insecure. I can. I honestly can. I just find it hard to let people in enough to see it. It doesn't mean that it doesn't happen though.

My hope for the rest of 2009 is to learn to open up to my friends more. I am not responsible for their reactions, and I cannot personalize it no matter how much it personally hurts, or disturbs me when they don't give back to me what I need in those moments. This, what I'm trying to do right now, is not about them. It's about me. I want to be able to say I am being the best wife, friend, daughter, cousin, etc. that I can be. My pastor told me a long time ago that it's not about what others do, it's about focusing on what I do. I hear her now. I hear her loud and clear.

~HG

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NRW: Toowoomba Pasta

My first year of college I lost 20lbs due to depression. Hey, I was 18 living in the most depressing city ever, Pittsburgh, and experiencing family problems back home that I could do nothing about. I couldn't take it for another semester, so I found myself in Charlotte for my Sophomore year. It is there that I found sunshine, happiness, glee, and the freshman (sophomore?) 15. The former had to do with those Carolina blue skies, but the latter happened because of my friends over zealousness with eating at Outback Steakhouse. There were two things I was guaranteed to get back then: kookaburra wings and the Toowoomba Pasta. Yummo! It wasn't until I began working there that I stopped eating there (well, I still go to get the wings!). The fat content? Out of Control! I couldn't deal.

Sunday my mother wanted to go to Outback for dinner, and I reluctantly agreed. I looked at the menu and low and behold, they no longer serve the Toowoomba Pasta! Craziness! Then I remembered a knottie friend (aka virtual friends you make on theknot.com) sent me a Toowoomba Pasta recipe knock off quite a few months ago, and it was on! I decided I would make it this week, just for old times sake. I never ever ever would've imagine how delicious it would turn out! Although I must admit, I do feel like I'm going to go into cardiac arrest at any moment. I was feeling like my girl Paula Dean while making it. Heavy cream and a whole lotta butter? Lawd have mercy! Make at your own risk!


INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups quartered baby portabella mushrooms  
  • 1 lb raw shrimp (tails off and de-veined, substitute 1/2 for crawfish if available)  
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion (about 2-3)  
  • 16 ounces fettuccine pasta (I am guessing on the amount of pasta since I make two batches of Easy Homemade Fresh Pasta (Gluten Free)) 
  • shredded fresh parmesan cheese

 DIRECTIONS
1. Cook fettuccine as directed.
2. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add cream, ketchup and spices. Whisk together and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer and reduce while you continue with the rest of the recipe, stirring occasionally with a wire whisk. (most of the cream will boil away, leaving you with a dark orange sauce).
3. In a separate small skillet, sauté mushrooms in olive oil until soft. Add mushrooms to simmering sauce.
4. Cook shrimp (and crawfish if available) in the small skillet in olive oil just until pink and add to sauce. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
5. Toss with cooked fettuccine and serve immediately lightly topped with finely shredded fresh parmesan cheese.
 
~HG

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Recipe Wednesday: Fudge Meltaway Bars

I have had a serious sweet tooth lately, and it doesn't help that I live with the devil, errr, my hubby who eats sweets like some people drink water. He's only encouraging my bad habit, but I digress. I received this recipe from a dear friend of mine in Minnesota. Her mom passed away some years ago, but she likes to carry on the tradition her mother started of making these bars on Christmas morning. Since I'm really feeling the fall weather, and the idea of wearing winter boots soon, this recipe came to mind. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 sq unsweetened chocolate (1 oz)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups graham cracker crubs
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used Walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp milk or cream
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-1/2 sq unsweeted chocolate (1-1/2 oz)
DIRECTIONS
1.Melt 1/2 cup butter and 1 sq chocolate.
2.Blend granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, egg, crumbs, coconut and nuts into butter-chocolate mixture.
3.Mix well and press into ungreased baking dish. 11-1/2 x7-1/2x1-1/2" or square 9x9x1-3/4".
4.Refrigerate.
5.Mix 1/4 cup butter, milk, confectioners' sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Spread over crumb mixture. Chill.
6.Melt 1-1/2 sq chocolate and spread evenly over chilled filling. Chill again.
7.Cut into tiny squares before completely firm. Makes 3-4 doz squares.

~HG

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sisterhood At It's Finest

In a town like Washington DC, many women, particularly African American women, complain about the lack of female friendships available to them. It seems like everyone here is about their own agenda and could careless about embracing new people in their life. That is, of course, unless it can benefit them in some way (i.e. networking). That has caused me to take a step back from the social scene, and just enjoy the few friendships that I have. When I moved back here from college, it was hard and frustrated. I found that women here balk at the idea of meeting another female that is on their level or higher because surely she wants something from her, so she must stand on guard. Crazy right? Well at least it sounds crazy to me.

It was then that I found a group of sistas online that lived in DC, and just enjoyed chatting with each other all day about any and everything, and getting together from time to time to get to know each other in "real" life. It is through this group, in fact, that I met my bestie! I love these group of girls with all my heart. The truth they give to us, always, ALWAYS giving it to us straight, the laughs, crying together...priceless.

One thing the ladies in this group of 1500 women have in common is that we all love to read. A young lady in the group was reading The Host by Stephanie Meyer and asked if someone could read it with her. Of course several of us said ok, and it turned into a meetup. We met on Sunday at Busboys and Poets to eat, drink, and discuss the book. For those that don't know, Busboys and Poets is a bookstore and restaurant in one. There are dining tables, lounge couches, and books all in the same areas. It is one of the most unique spaces I've found in DC, and I love to take family and friends there when they are in town, but I digress :~)

When I walked through the door I could feel the positive energy. There were several women there that I knew, but a few that I didn't. It was such a joy to sit there with these welcoming smiling faces. No arguing, no giving each other the side eye, no hostility what-so-ever. Just women who were interested in getting to know each other, and wanting to discuss this book (which turned out to be a good read by the way, after the slow start). I took a moment to sit back and just look at us. This was definitely sisterhood at it's finest. We all sat there together, in agreement, with love. It was an awesome experience. So much so that it opened me up a little more to being more friendly to women I don't know who have the potential to become a friend. I must admit, my experience when I first moved back home to DC scarred me from being open to friendships here, but through this group of women, I see a glimmer of hope.

If you have a tight group of sisterfriends, hold them close to your heart, and thank God for them. Sisterhood is really a treasure worth finding.




~HG

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Day Hurt & Confusion Thrived

On the day of September 11, 2001 I was at school in Charlotte, NC. For about a week I had been sitting nervously watching CNN day-in and day-out. I just simply could not shake this eerie feeling that something big was about to happen, but had no clue what. I never in a million years would have guessed the events that were to come.

I woke up that Tuesday morning struggling with whether or not to go to my International Politics class because it just felt like a really bad day. My blinds were drawn, so my room was dark, but it didn't matter because the day had started off dark and cloudy, just like my mood. I sat in bed watching CNN, then decided I would go ahead and go, although I felt like maybe I should just sleep the day away. I entered class and sat down in the front row waiting for the professor to come in. I waited...and waited...and waited...she finally arrived after being 12 minutes late. We were a little disappointed since the University had a rule that if a professor was 15 minutes or more late to class the students could bail out. Anyway, she walks in asking "did you all hear what happened??? A plane has just crashed into one of the WTC". "What does that mean?" I wondered. I mean seriously, what did that mean to me? I felt back for the people, but ok, why is it such a big deal that was late for class? Well, she was the first person I heard say that she didn't think it was an accident, but a terrorist attack. About 5 minutes later class was dismissed because the area television news stations wanted to interview her.


I left class and headed to the Student Union. As soon as I walked in I saw the second plane hit. I just felt numb, still confused about what it all meant. I headed to Prospector, the cafeteria in the center of campus, and ran into my friends there. They were all nervous, anxious. My friend Abdulla was pacing saying "they are going to blame it on us! They are going to blame it on us!" I was all "wtf are you talking about?" I was so oblivious to current events and lost during that time. Surely we wouldn't immediately blame arabs right?

I sat there until I heard about the Pentagon being hit. Umm yeah, that was a little too close to home, so I had to get out of there. I started to get up from the table when the towers collapsed. My head started spinning. What the hell was going on??? I jetted out of the cafeteria and started to head back to my apartment, trying to call my parents. My mom works on capitol hill, and most of my other family members do as well. Freaking out is an understatement. I couldn't get through to anyone. It was then that I made friends with other folks from around the Washington, DC area. We found each other in the ruckus around campus, kind of feeling out of place in NC instead of with our DC family.

I finally got back to my apartment complex to watch CNN with my bff Jackie for the next few days (yeah, no one went to class the rest of that week), and we were just shocked. Majority of our friends were Arab, and there was this weird tension. More-so them trying to decide if we were still ok, wanting to be sure we knew that they did not support what happened, they weren't that "kind" of Arab. We assured them that I wasn't that kind of American, and Jackie wasn't that kind of African to just generalize all Arabs because of what this particular group of people decided to do.

I walked through that semester in a complete daze. I went back to my International Politics class twice, but stopped because the professor constantly talked about the various ways the US could get blown to pieces. I was already having nightmares about 9/11, so I thought ummm, I'll pass.

My family was ok. My mom was shook, and looking over her shoulders, but alive. My aunts and friends stayed at their government buildings until late Tuesday night when things were a little calmer and they could make it home.  My aunt that worked on Wallstreet was a mess, but again, alive. My dads father was at home in Queens, safe and sound. I didn't lose anyone that day, thank God! And fortunately, I didn't know many people that had. In that sense it was far removed from me, but because this is my country, and a larger part of my family, it was so personal, and so was the hurt and confusion.

~HG