Christian Siriano Collection for Lane Bryant

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I am excited! I don’t consider myself a fashion person (I just like cute clothes) but I have taken notice of Christian Siriano. I watched his season of Project Runway, but never thought much about him one way or another after that. A friend raved over his shoes being sold at Payless, but because they were usually sold out in my size I never got a chance to see what the hype was all about.

Fast forward to year 2016. I not only own a couple of pairs of Christian’s shoes, which are both cute and comfortable, but I also hear that he created a line of clothing for plus size retailer Lane Bryant! And the clothes are cute too!

The line will be released tomorrow and the model selected to be the face of the campaign is a chocolaty brown, plus size beauty who has acted in Orange is the New Black and The Color Purple. Her name is Danielle Brooks and she is absolutely stunning! Here is a sneak peek of what will be in the collection. I’m sure stores across the country will sell out quickly. There are 18-pieces in the collection priced from $48 to $198. They all look like pieces that I would buy to add to my spring and summer wardrobe. See the rest of the collection here:

Lane Bryant

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Which piece is your favorite? Share below in the comment section. 

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Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus Twist Out

My hair story:

December 2014 I decided to cut all of my hair off for the third time in my life. The first time I had it professionally cut  into a short chemically relaxed style that was easy to maintain. I was in my 20s and I cried. The second time I cut off all of my hair myself with a pair of scissors in the bathroom. I did it out of anger at the end of a relationship. My hair remained natural for over 10 years. When I relocated to this area I decided that I wanted to get my hair blown out, so I found a Dominican salon in Rockville where I would religiously go to maintain my long, straight tresses. As time went on I noticed that I was losing my curl pattern and eventually my hair began to get thin and come out in clumps when I would wash it at home. I realized then that the salon had been putting chemicals into my hair. This was actually the second time I had this experience in a Dominican salon where I was a regular. The first time was at a salon in Harlem but the damage wasn’t as severe. Part of the reason that I went natural in the early 2000s was because my scalp couldn’t take chemicals anymore. I was started feeling the same discomfort, but because I was natural, or so I thought, I brushed it off.

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The big chop

Once it became apparent that my previously long healthy natural hair had been tampered with I took the scissors and cut away inches of uneven damaged hair. I began taking care of my own hair again. This is when I switched over to Shea Moisture products as the only products that I would use to shampoo and condition my hair. Shea Moisture was my product of choice because it easily detangled and moisturized my hair. I am a wash a go type of person and Shea Moisture made it easy to do just that. 20160426_225246.jpgSince my hair was short it was easy to manage and maintain.

Eventually my hair began to grow back and my curl pattern returned. I ventured out and started trying different lines of the Shea Moisture brand. I picked up the coconut and hibiscus line because I enjoyed the sweet scent of the product. I decided to twist out my hair on Sunday night while watching Beyonce’s Lemonade, so I grabbed my spray bottle and the jar of the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. By the last scene of Lemonade, my hair had been formed into chunky twists and wrapped up in a silky scarf for protection.

The next morning I carefully unraveled my twists to get the look in the first picture. By the end of the day, my curls had fallen into place. I wrapped my hair up into a pineapple the next night and the next morning freshened it with water to get the day two look in the second picture. I received a lot of compliments on the day two results of the twist out and plan to try it again using the Jamaican Black Castor Oil line next time.

What are your favorite products to use for twist outs? Do you have any tips of tricks for getting a perfect twist out? Share below in the comment section. 

Food Trucks: Pho Wheels

 

If you have been reading this blog for a while then you already know how much I love pho. So when I heard that a pho food truck was going to be at our building, I made it point to go downstairs to check it out. Unfortunately, I was too late the first time they came so I promised to do better the next time they visited. Sure enough, they came back and I made my way down to what they had to offer.

Of course they had pho so I had to order that in order to compare it to my favorite pho restaurant. But they also had Bahn Mi and Asian tacos. You know I had to try the tacos.

Pho: Meh, just O.K.  Lacked the flavor and consistency of a really good pho. I wouldn’t order it again.

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Pork belly tacos: Fantastic! The portion size was impressive. I actually only ate one and saved the other for another day. Flavor pairings were on point. Outer wrapping made of roti was moist and chewy while the inside was filled with tender pork and veggies. I would definitely order this again!

01610-calpee-shrimp-chips-xlThey also had yummy Asian snacks and treats so I picked up a bag of Shrimp Chips for nostalgia’s sake. I used to love them when I lived on Guam. Next time I want to try the egg rolls and the bahn mi.

Do you eat from food trucks? What is your favorite?

 

Miso, Sushi & Sake

 

This evening after work I went for a nice long massage. The week started off with a bang and my muscles were rebelling. The massage must have triggered my hunger sensors because I was ravenous when I got up from the massage table.

There is a sushi restaurant upstairs and I figured that sushi would be satisfying enough, but not overfilling. I started my meal with a miso soup. It was flavorful and delicious with bits of tofu cut into small cubes. Next I ordered a salad that was pretty good, but I probably wouldn’t order it again. Finally the pièces de résistance arrived! An order of crunchy tuna maki. I think it was supposed to be spicy. It was not. There was a dab of wasabi on the side and it typically gives a nice zip of flavor. It did not. The fish was extremely fresh however and I was satisfied with everything I ate. My beverage of choice was hot sake. It had a nice pleasant smell to it and a nice flavor.

Sushiko is located on the border of Friendship Heights in D.C. and Chevy Chase, Maryland.  It is convenient via Metro or if you drive they offer 2 hours of validated parking.

H Street N.E./Capitol Hill

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I work on Capitol Hill and daily I can see how H Street is gentrifying fast and furiously. What was once a blighted run down area is now rising from the ashes to become one of the most sought after areas among young up and comers. As you can see from the photos, new restaurants, bars, and apartments are cropping up all along the corridor. The new Metro Streetcar is also now fully operational. The close proximity to Union Station and a Walk Score of 85 make it attractive to those who choose to reduce their carbon footprint on the environment.

Founding Farmers

I was in the mood for a really good salad Thursday after work and my favorite salad is the Fried Chicken Salad at Founding Farmers. Because I had just dropped a coworker off at George Washington University, I decided to try the location in Foggy Bottom. Of course there was no parking, so I got on the Parkway and headed up the the location in Potomac, Maryland. I couldn’t resist ordering the kettle corn which is prepared and served in an actual kettle. It is so delicious and I had enough left over to bring home and it lasted for two days!  I also took a couple of camera phone shots of the cool quotes inside of the restroom.

The C&O Canal Walking Tour

 

Thursday after work I felt like going on an adventure so instead of heading straight home from work, I hopped on the Clara Barton Parkway and headed to Maryland to have a salad. Traffic was bad and my leg was starting to tense up so I pulled over into Lock 10 of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park. I was familiar with the C&O Canal after seeing the end of it in Georgetown right before I moved to the area.

I got out of my car to stretch my legs and explore a bit. It was getting late in the evening and the park closes at dusk, so I didn’t stay long.  I plan to go back to explore the park when I have a full day to walk the trail and really enjoy the experience.

The canal was quite dry, but the area was peaceful and quiet. The scampering wildlife in the surrounding woods was the only interruption other than the bikers and joggers who find that the towpath an ideal destination for getting a good cardio workout in.

Information about the Lockhouse: Canal Trust

Visiting the C&O Canal: National Park Service

La Madeleine Country French Cafe

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La Madeleine is one of my favorite places to stop and eat when I want something quick but not necessary fast food. I passed La Madeleine often when there was a location in Rockville, but never went in to try it.

20160403_182623.jpgA couple of years ago when I visited Louisiana with my aunt one of my cousins took us to lunch at La Madeleine. It reminded me of Panera, but better. For some reason Panera always gives me anxiety, but La Madeleine is laid back and they offer a variety of options that go beyond soups, salads, and sandwiches.

IMG_0061I have tried a variety of different items off of the menu and found them to be solid. On this particular visit to the Bethesda location, I was in the mood for a sandwich so I went with the Croque Monsieur, a cup of mushroom soup, and a slice of lemon cake. The sandwich was a bit disappointing because my first experience with Croque sandwiches was in Harlem at Maison Harlem. The sandwich at La Madeleine had the cheese on the outside as opposed to the inside of the sandwich so it took away from the complexity of what would be a really good Croque Monseiur. Everything else I ate was solid. The desserts always tend to be so-so despite the appetizing display case at the front of the store.IMG_0062_1

There is plenty of seating at La Madeleine and even during the busiest of times you will have a satisfactory experience.

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La Madeleine is located at 7607 Old Georgetown Road Bethesda, MD 20814 

Website: www.lamadeleine.com

My 5 Most Used Free Apps

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A couple of years ago I shared 5 essential apps for navigating a new city. Well, now that I am settled in I thought I would update my list to include some of my favorite and most used phone apps.

Instagram: I love taking pictures on Instagram so it is one of my top used apps. The app lets me share pictures either publicly or privately. One of the more popular features of the app is that users can apply digital filters to their images. I usually don’t use the filter feature because my camera phone quality is usually better than the filters. The maximum duration for Instagram videos is 15 seconds.

Swarm: I use Swarm primarily to figure out what is around the immediate area. I can see what restaurants are in the neighborhood, where the nearest drugstore is, and the name of an interesting building nearby. It is also fun to use when you have friends who are on Swarm, because you can check into a location and see if they are nearby.

Yelp: Yelp is a review site that give you real person reviews of local businesses.  I always check out the online reviews before wasting my valuable time and money on a new business.

Waze: If you are anything like me then you get turned around pretty easily while trying to navigate unfamiliar territory. Having a GPS in the car is great, but what about when you are walking?  Waze (pronounced ways) covers it all. It is a GPS app that  is totally reliable and operates in real time due to the fact that users are constantly updating it with road hazards, speed traps, red light cameras, and traffic jams. Just download Waze to your smartphone, type in your destination, and never worry about being lost again. You can also use it with friends and keep track of where they are for these times when you are in a caravan and get stuck at a red light or get cut off in traffic.

My Cycles: This is an app just for the ladies so gentlemen you can excuse yourselves at this point. Are they gone? OK, so this app is one of my favorites because it helps me to track my monthly cycles. I can track the dates, changes to my cycle, and any symptoms that occur.

Now it’s your turn to share. What are your favorite or most used apps on your phone?