26 November 2017

Vampy Nails: Deborah Lippmann "Bitches Brew" x Zoya "Peyton"


If you know me, then you know that I'm extremely partial to pink when it comes to my mani and pedicure. Every variation of pink and corals are my absolute favorite polishes to wear and I wear them year round. I rarely stray from pink shades but I have so many polishes that I know I'm doing myself a disservice by not giving them all some wear.

Well, it's about that season for nice deep vampy colors so I decided to give a polish I've literally had for years and have been promising myself forever to try. "Bitches Brew" by Deborah Lippmann is a deep wine/berry cream polish with a light shimmer. I opted to spruce things up with a glittery accent nail in one of my favorite shades by Zoya in "Peyton". I must say I think I could get used to this color combo. It's very pretty and gives a little grown & sexy vibe ^_^ More photos and swatches below.


Bitches Brew by Deborah Lippmann x Peyton by Zoya





Product(s) in this post were purchased by me. 
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25 November 2017

Awkward Outings: Decatur Wine Festival


I'm by no means a wine connoisseur..hell, I can probably count on my fingers the number of glasses I've had since legal drinking age lol. I think it's probably because I've never truly found a wine that I enjoyed the taste of. I know a few wine lovers who talk about their deep affection for the savory spirits but I'm still on the hunt for the one that meets my fancy.

November is my birthday month and I've been looking to try some different things around the city that I've yet to explore. That's how I stumbled across the Decatur Wine Festival. I figured it'd be a good way for some outside fun and to sample a few wines. Who knows? Maybe I'd find my holy grail of wines!

The Decatur Wine Festival created by the Decatur Arts alliance kicks off once a year and is held in historic downtown Decatur. The festival features nearly 500 wines all for your sampling pleasure. I honestly had way more fun than I had anticipated, despite going alone and being totally clueless on wine culture. The people were friendly, the wine stayed flowing and there were also tasty foods, music and a dance session that kept the good times rolling! All of the wine vendors were very knowledgeable and helpful when it came to tasting. While I didn't quite find a wine that I felt like I could commit to - the overall experience did open my eyes to the various types of wines and makes me want to explore more ^_^ Below are a few pics from the fest. If you ever have a chance to attend a wine festival in your city I urge you to go! I definitely plan to do it again but next time I'll probably try the Atlanta Wine Fest. Enjoy!


A little entertainment before and during the fest 


Delicious foods and treats (I think I ate more than I drank)



Good times! 





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30 October 2017

I May Never Step Foot in a Grocery Store Again : The Farmers Market


I haven't been to the Farmer's Market in years. In fact, I believe the last time I went was for a school field trip many years ago. I got a mini burst of energy a few days ago and decided I'd go see what it's like to visit as an adult who actually enjoys cooking these days. With the holidays approaching I'd say my little trip kinda fueled me into being excited about doing all the cooking this year lol.

I went to the Dekalb Farmers Market here in Atlanta and boy was the whole experience refreshing. If you've never been to your local farmers market it is definitely something you should experience; as most are rich in fresh, cultural and organic foods. Some of which you'll probably never find in regular grocery stores and the prices are insanely reasonable. My market had some of the most fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables I've ever seen. Even exotic fruits like Dragon and Kiwano fruit. I literally wanted to try one of everything but I paced myself as I didn't want to go overboard on my first visit.

Kale


Purple Potatoes


Dragon Fruit


Kiwano Fruit


The seafood section was literally a dream and had everything you could imagine. Various fish, shrimp, crabs, mussels, calamari...even a few live fish and creatures. The prices of the fish was super cheap and I wish I had gotten more. I ended up sticking with fish I've cooked before. I got tilapia, catfish and salmon. Waiting in line for your fish selections was a little hectic and unorganized but definitely worth it if you wanted them cleaned and the heads cut off. (there was no way I was bringing home fish with the head still on lol)



There was just so much food! I can't wait to go back. There were so many farm raised meat selections, pastas, pastries, they even had their own custom sausages. I picked up a few links of a delicious custom Italian Turkey sausage.  There was also a floral department with some of the most beautiful arrangements I've ever seen.


And of course I couldn't leave without visiting the cafe and trying some of the cooked dishes. Everything was so good!


I made dinner last night with some foods I bought and it was incredible. Organic Kale & Greens, Berkwood Pork Chops and oven roasted Red, Purple & Yellow Potatoes. So delicious!



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15 June 2017

Fresh Coats DIY: Updating Old Spaces Easy & Affordable


So I've been doing a lot of updating to my home over the past two years and it's quickly become more than just a hobby for me. It's been fun to see the drastic changes and even more exciting to be able to see my own vision come to life. It's an antique home built in the 1920's and I will say that the decision to keep it vs buying a newer home has been rewarding but not without it's challenges. I had a full bathroom and kitchen remodel about 2 years ago and I still get mesmerized walking through both rooms reminiscing on how far this little house has come. I'll share a few before & after photos of that in another post but today I wanted to share a glimpse of a smaller project I'm currently working on.

I recently cleared out a bonus bedroom in my attic. I initially was unsure of what I wanted to do with the space but now I've decided to turn the room into a cozy little dressing/sitting area. All of the walls in the attic are paneled wood except for the main bedroom which I had drywall and insulation put in a few months ago. I painted over the paneled walls in the smaller room (that's become my current project) several years ago. Although my initial paint job wasn't perfect, it still looked way better than those ugly brown panels that had been scraped up over the years. I really wanted to tear down all of the paneling in the attic but the one room (my bedroom) that I did do was quite expensive.

So I figured why not just save some coins and slap a fresh coat of paint in the bonus room. Besides the surface imperfections the walls were still in pretty good shape. Only this time I decided to go the professional route and just hire someone. My little paint job held up over the years but I painted that entire room yellow...from the ceiling to the trim to the doors. I don't know what I was thinking lol. I wanted to brighten it up a bit and make it girly so I chose a pretty rose pink for the walls. I couldn't be more happier with the color.

Here are a few before & after pics. It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do!






In my bedroom I also had some unfinished closet doors I had installed last year. I'd been meaning to paint it forever but finally got around to it. I wanted to do something a little different than basic white doors so I decided to go with a metallic silver. I absolutely love how it came out!

A few before & after photos. The camera truly doesn't do the beauty of this color justice but it's really pretty!





That's it for now but I'll be sure to post some updates once I get the room finished.

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12 May 2017

The Makings of Me: Discovering my Heritage + AncestryDNA Results


For as long as I can remember I've always been quite intrigued about my family's history but the attempts to dig deeper into our roots always seemed to end with a concrete wall. I mean, I could only verbally trace back so far, only about 2 generations to be exact. Which included my maternal & paternal grandparents on my mother and father's sides and my great-grandparents whom they only had vague memories of. I remember my grandfather telling me stories of fighting in WWII and the Korean wars. I could listen to him for hours and I wish I had documented the memories before he passed.

My grandfather, Korea 1950

Being African American the loss of our family history is just the reality for most of us. Of course, I know the painful truth of the less than pleasant voyage of how we got here but I also feel like I deserve to know who I am beyond just the descendant of a people who were stripped from their culture. Thankfully, through science and forever progressive technology I am finally able to tap more into my long awaited journey of self discovery.  Although there are so many options, choosing the right DNA test for me was pretty simple. I wanted something that had a confident probability rate, that was straightforward and specific in terms of possible trace regions. AncestryDNA had all of that and more. In an effort to not make this sound overly complicated here's the simply put version of how Ancestry's DNA testing works. You send them a saliva sample and they run it through their labs. The process can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks or more depending on the demand. My test took exactly 9 weeks, it was received on February 14th and my results were ready on April 15th. In your sample, Ancestry looks at what's called your Autosomal DNA which has the ability to look at both your maternal and paternal lines and discover your genomes (chromosomes that are present in a living cell) in over 700,000 locations where genetics markers appear in your DNA. To my understanding this is how they also identify specific regions and countries that you are likely from. They basically take their findings and compare it to other DNA with similar traits.

Going into this I recognize that this science isn't exact but more so an estimate of my possible lineage. With centuries of lost generations it's impossible to know all the specific details of your family history but for me, this DNA test at least gives me a structured understanding of where I came from and what makes me individually me. Which brings me to my results. In the midst of waiting I became more obsessed by the day with watching people's DNA results on YouTube. I couldn't wait to see how mine compared. Honestly, to say I was shocked about some of the findings is an understatement, lol I was SHOOK. Check out my video below for a few details on my family history and my initial reactions to my results.




 Ethnicity Estimates and Percentages: 

So here's how I summed up. Below are my estimates from AncestryDNA. The continents tested were Africa, Asia, Europe and  America. Other regions tested were West Asia and the Pacific Islands. There are only 2 continents that share 100% of my DNA. Africa and Europe. All the other regions tested were 0% which dispels all the family related tales and random stranger observations of "wow you look *insert random ethnicity here* LOL! I must admit that I am still sorta shocked. Not at being from Africa and Europe but shocked at the percentages. I already had a general idea of what to expect based on history. If you're African American there really should be no shock in having a majority of DNA from Africa and some traces from Europe. European DNA isn't a shock because of the slave trade. Many slaves were raped and conceived children by their owners. I think the shock factor for me is solely on the percentages. Being 64% African was a shock as I expected that number to be much higher. Most of the result videos I watched, African American's were in the 75-95 African percentile with only small percentages of European. So, yes, having nearly 40% European DNA seemed pretty wild to me.



Comparisons:

I learned that there are other websites that allow you to upload your raw DNA data files. Some of these sites offer more insight about your results as well as calculate their own geographical percentages based on their findings in your DNA.  I used DNA.Land and GEDmatch which are both completely free and only take about 24hrs to complete.

Below are my GEDmatch results. The site is a little more complex to figure out because they have so many comparison options. I found that the best option for me was the EthioHelix K10 + French Admixture Proportions. This specific comparison is best used by people who are mixed with African and European which is ideal in my scenario. With this one the percentages varied slightly and more African trace regions were found.

GEDmatch

Next are my DNA.Land results. This site was a lot more user friendly and easier to understand. They give a detailed ancestry report which consisted of similar percentages to my AncestryDNA. With this one my African & European percentages were nearly split evenly. It also picked up a small percentage of East African which I'm curious about. A tiny percentage of Gujarati which is actually the term for the language spoken in Gujart which is a state in Western India. That's fascinating, I guess it wasn't significant enough to be picked up by Ancestry's test.

DNA.Land



What does all this mean for me?

I am still kinda processing everything. In the grand scheme of things these percentages don't have a significant influence as to who I am today. I am black, I have always identified as black and always will. I'm very proud of that. I am proud of all the pieces that make me, me. I am proud of the big chunk of African blood that runs through me. Being someone who's extremely conscious and slightly militant (lol) I'd be lying if I said that knowing my bloodline has been significantly diluted with Euro DNA doesn't make me feel kinda emotional. My highest Euro percentage was in Great Britain which was known to have dispatched over 10,000 voyages to Africa for slaves. And coincidentally my highest African percentage is in Ghana, in earlier years referred to as the "Gold Coast". Ghana was once the center of the British slave trade. Although it happened in many parts of West Africa, Ghana was also notoriously known for having slave dungeons along the coast which allowed them to easily sell their own people into slavery. This is what makes me uneasy on both sides of the spectrum. I kinda get this triggering sadness with the question of where did my ancestors and myself ever really belong? What could I genuinely call my homeland? Aside from the ugly history, knowing these results have given me a deeper feeling of connection so to speak.

It would be a dream to one day experience the culture of both Continents. Until then, I plan to continue my research and learn more about all of my trace regions. I would love to visit parts of Europe. Right now I feel the most passionate about connecting to my African roots. Ghana and Cameroon are my highest region percentages so I'm very interested in visiting and consuming everything I can about both countries.

If you're at all curious about your personal family history and ancestry I would highly recommend taking one of these tests. I also plan on having my parents tested as well, just to kinda get an idea of what side specific percentages come from. It's truly been an awakening experience for me and I look forward to digging deeper into my journey.

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