I Drive a Volkswagen, but I Love the Acura RDX Commercial (Thanks to Blondie)

Blondie collageIf you were a teenager in the 1980s then you’ll remember Debbie Harry, the platinum-haired songstress known as Blondie. Her waifish prettiness and punk chic edge made girls want to be her and boys fall in love with her. As a medium skin toned, curly-haired brunette there was no way I could imitate the Blondie look, but I copied her signature red pout whenever I could. Even my husband has confessed that Blondie was his first celebrity crush.
Call Me, One Way or Another, and Heart of Glass were among the songs that made up the soundtrack of my teenage years. So when I heard the hit Rapture (performed by Chelsea Ranger) featured in the Acura RDX car commercial I felt A) old and B) delighted. I love this song and the commercial is fun (featuring Fab Five Freddy in the boardroom!) Of course I know all the words so singing is mandatory whenever the commercial airs despite my teenage son’s protests (‘Just don’t sing, Mom. Please.’) Here it is, feel free to sing away!  I know I always will.

 

 

I love my Volkswagen Passat, but when my lease is up maybe we’ll talk, Acura. Because there’s always room for more Blondie, check out the original Rapture:

 

‘Uptown Funk’ Goes To School – How an Assignment Turned Into a Viral Video

This week my son had a project due in his music appreciation class. His subject was British musician Mark Ronson, whose collaboration with Bruno Mars resulted in the wildly popular hit ‘Uptown Funk’.  It’s a good thing I love this song – because of his project, I’ve heard it about 50,000 times in the past few days! Apparently Dallas high-school theater teacher Scot Pankey thought it was pretty popular too, because he assigned the song to his students, and the result is a video that’s gone viral (my son and his buddy did a PowerPoint presentation that got an ‘A’ but did not go viral). Here’s the joyous performance by the teacher and his students:

And the video even got a shout-out on Twitter from none other than Bruno Mars himself:

 

 

Pretty cool, huh? Break out your Chucks and Saint Laurent and check out the original video performed by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson – you’re welcome. :)

Dove Hair Shows Curly Girls Some Love!

Like so many women, I’d spent decades beating my naturally curly hair into straight submission – creams, gels, blow drying, flat irons – I used whatever products were available in a salon, beauty supply store or infomercial to transform my curly locks into straight, shiny, flowing tresses. I had my hair relaxed every 8 weeks, and that led to deep conditioning treatments to counteract all the damage I was subjecting my hair to – all in pursuit of that holy grail called straight hair!
I was in my 40s when I finally had the confidence to just say screw it, curly hair don’t care! Not to mention that I was risking repetitive motion injury with every turn of that round brush during blow drying. But my curly hair game was truly on when we went on a jam-packed sightseeing trip to Italy.  We were on the go from 7 a.m. in the morning to 9 p.m. at night, and I realized that nobody at the Colosseum cared that my hair wasn’t straight.  I wasn’t turned away at the gates of Vatican City by the Swiss Guard because my head was covered in ringlets.  And what did I see in paintings at the museums? A lot of ladies rocking curly hair!  Thank you, Raphael and Melozzo da Forli!

Art curly collage

Suddenly it was more important to get an early start exploring the ruins of Pompeii than spend an hour blow drying and flat-ironing my hair in the morning.  It’s been nearly four years since I last straightened my hair, and embracing my curls has been easier than I thought it would be, and so much healthier for my hair.
So I was delighted to see Dove’s new curly hair campaign, Love Your Curls.  This campaign focuses on helping young girls embrace their curly texture, from tight coils to loose waves.  We can’t control how the hair grows out of our heads, so it’s nice to see a company like Dove acknowledge that curly hair is beautiful too!  Check out the video below:

Are you a curly hair enthusiast? Stop by NaturallyCurly.com for tips on curly hair care and my Pinterest board for curly hairstyles for both men and women. Also check out my profile on CurlyNikki.com, where you’ll find tips on unleashing your inner curly girl, product reviews and more.
curls varying lengths

My hair at varying lengths during my curly journey!

Maintaining curly hair is infinitely easier with the right cut and products.  I highly recommend getting a haircut at a salon that specializes in curly hair. I go to Devachan Salon, but many salons around the country have hair stylists who are certified in the Devachan or Ouidad cutting technique. While I mostly use Devachan products, I also like Dove Nourishing Curls Whipped Cream MousseNYC Curls, LA Looks, Pantene’s Curly Hair line, and Ouidad products.  Here are the products I use in my curly hair routine:
I start with DevaCurl No-Poo, a non-lathering conditioning cleanser. I continue with DevaCurl One Condition, an ultra-creamy formula that’s great for all curl types. I rinse out most of the conditioner, leaving a light coating, lean forward and with my hair still soaking wet (I do this in the shower), scrunch my hair upwards and apply DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel,  starting at the roots and work it through to the tips, then scrunch upwards again. I then let my hair air dry or use the DevaCurl Diffuser attachment on my blow dryer if I need to speed up the drying process. Check out more of my curly hair favorites here.
How do you maintain your curly locks or are you still thinking about making the transition? Let me know in the comments!

Complete Your Wardrobe With Only 10 Pairs Of Shoes – Seriously.

Do you have shoes, shoes everywhere but not a pair to wear?  My husband can’t understand why one woman would need so many pairs of shoes – he obviously doesn’t appreciate the nuances between flats, pumps, sandals, wedges – and don’t get me started on boots!  But recently I came across this video claiming that you can complete your wardrobe with only 10 pairs of shoes.
That’s right, 10.  Avowed shoe-whore that I am, I eyed this video with a bit of skepticism, ready to cry foul – but it turns out that these 10 suggestions are a good place to start!
Watching this I learned that not only am I lacking statement heels, but I also need to inject a shot of color into my shoe wardrobe.  Isn’t education wonderful? Check out the video below and see if you agree:

Valentine Heart Crayons

I saw this little nugget of truth the other day on Pinterest; who else can relate to this?

broken crayons

My 7th grader, who no longer has any use for crayons having graduated to Faber-Castell manga pens and markers, has a crayon collection dating back to nursery school.  Heaven forbid I should throw them away, because, you know, if the Crayola factory blew up and there was a worldwide crayon shortage, he’d be the man.  Crayon apocalypse not withstanding, I decided I needed them for this post.  This is a quick and easy craft that melts down old crayons to make new ones, in this case heart-shaped ones for Valentine’s Day.  A couple of these in a treat bag are a cute alternative to candy for the class Valentine’s Day party.  My son intends to give these to his younger cousins (but I think he might keep one for himself).

I used a silicone baking pan as a mold.  Get the crayons ready by removing the paper and breaking them up into small pieces.  Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

instamag3Fill the mold as shown and place in preheated oven for approximately 22 – 25 minutes, checking to see when they’ve melted all the way through; I used a toothpick to swirl the colors.

melted befoe and after

Let them cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then put them in the freezer for another 5 to 10 minutes. When the crayons have cooled, carefully peel them out of the mold.

instamag

The crayons are easy for little hands to hold, and the swirled colors look great on paper!

v heart crayons

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day craft?  Let me know in the comments!

heart crayon final

All crayon photos courtesy of mommeetsblog.com

This craft was featured on inspirationdiy.com!  Check out this site for more great craft ideas or submit your own favorite craft here.

Empanadas Step by Step

One of my favorite dishes to make for special occasions are empanadas, or meat pies.  They are a traditional food in my family during the Christmas season and are always a big hit at parties and pot luck dinners.  When my son was in elementary school his Spanish class looked forward to them every year.  These tasty little meat pies are easy to make and you can tweak all the seasonings to your own taste.  The best part is you can do all the prep work the night before and fry them when everyone’s ready to eat.

Here I’ll take you through the process step by step:

empanadas step by step

Step 1:  The first step is to make the sofrito – this is the seasoning in which you will cook the meat filling.  You can use these measurements as a guide, there are no strict rules when making sofrito – at least not for me!  If you like a little more red bell pepper than green or more cilantro than flat leaf parsley, go for it!

2 red bell peppers

2 green bell peppers

1 Spanish onion

3 Roma tomatoes

2-3 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup  cilantro

Sea salt

Pepper

Ground coriander seed

Ground cumin

Packet of Sazon

I use the food processor to dice the veggies and then add the spices to taste.  I like to make a big batch of this and freeze it in small quantities (about 4-5 tablespoons) for use in soups, stews, beef and chicken dishes – I added 4 tablespoons to a pot of arroz con gandules (yellow rice with pigeon peas) I made for Christmas Eve dinner and it was delicious.

Step 2:  Now for the meat filling.  Start with 1lb. of ground sirloin or meatloaf mix, seasoned with salt and pepper or adobo.   Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan; when it’s sizzling add about 4 tablespoons of sofrito.  Stir that for about a minute and then add your meat, breaking it up and stirring until cooked through.

Step 3:  I use Goya Dough Discs for Empanadas to make the pies.  They’re readily available in most major supermarkets and should be easy to find.

Steps 4 & 5:  Place a disc on waxed paper on a cutting board to keep it from sticking.  Place about a spoonful of meat in the middle of the disc as shown.

Step 6:  Fold over the disc into a crescent shape, pressing down on the edges of the disc with your fingers to seal.

Step 7:  Press the sealed edges of the empanada with the tines of a fork to secure the seal.

Step 8:  Here’s what your empanadas should look like. I usually make them ahead up to this point and put them in the refrigerator until I’m ready to cook them, and make between 12 – 20 empanadas at a time.

Step 9:  When you’re ready to fry them, add enough canola oil to a heavy frying pan to cover the empanadas; heat the oil to sizzling and carefully place the empanadas in the oil; fry until each side is golden brown as shown.

Empanadas also make great appetizers:  cut the dough disc in half, fill and fold into little triangles as shown below.  They are easy to tailor to any taste level from mild to spicy and are always a welcome addition to any table – maybe add them to your Super Bowl menu this year!

empanadas final

Jeweled Candles

This is an easy craft that combines a few of my favorite things – candles, glitter and jewels!  It can be tailored to any color scheme or occasion, and when the candles burn down (if you even have the heart to light them, they’re so pretty!) you can reuse the jewelry components in your next project.  I went with a red, silver and gold theme for the Christmas season.

 

candle collage

 

Supplies:

  • Candles

  • Painter’s tape

  • Mod Podge

  • Foam applicator

  • Jewelry components

  • Hot glue gun

  • Glitter

Tape off your candle and apply the Mod Podge to the space in between; be sure to apply a thin coat – if it’s too thick the glitter will come off when you remove the tape (been there, done that). Sprinkle glitter on the Mod Podge and allow to dry (I gave mine about 2 hours). Carefully remove the tape and then use the glue gun to glue the jewels into place.  Here’s the finished product:

 

candle twins

 

I decorated a small table in my living room using a vase filled with leftover branches from our Christmas tree and two of the candles:

candles8

 

How are you decorating your home for the holidays?  Let me know in the comments!

 

Have a great craft you want to share? Check out Inspiration DIY, where my Jeweled Candles craft was featured!

 

inspiration diy