Mini Walmart Haul + Product Review

Background Story:

Ever since I gave birth, I’ve been on this mission to find my womanhood. Growing up, I was labeled a tomboy & a grandma. I didn’t like being labeled because it always made me feel different. I was already taller than most, and slightly bigger than my closet friends. This kept me constantly comparing myself to them.

Through my teens I found myself not only trying to change myself, but living in self-pity. I had a lot of time to do this as I was always the third wheel, and while my friends tried to help me with make-overs and blind dates, I’d decline, proving them right. That motherly instinct, “not focused on boys, books only” mentality was my go-to or a reason why I wasn’t interested.

One side of me was scared of change (being seen as more than the good girl) and rejection (I knew this far too well). After declining their offers, the other side screamed, “just go for it, it couldn’t hurt, live a little! It’s not like you do this often! What teen doesn’t take a risk once or twice?” Angry at myself, I’d just go home and read or watch tv..

That was then, this is now. Self-sabotage has had enough power over my life. With that being said, I always thought about wearing makeup. I went through a mini phase where I’d sneak some of my mom’s foundation before school, her mascara and eyeliner. She is also a shade or too darker and one day I came home and seen she left the eyeliner in my room and told me it was not sanitary to share makeup. Anywho I digress.

I put on my big-girl panties and just went for it. I picked up a few things in Walmart. The first thing I did was go to the cosmetics isle, and picked out some cheap make-up to practice in. 

Now for the experienced make-up artists and wearers, I’m sure you’re probably thinking why go for the cheap stuff? I’ll be happy to answer that. Because while I am making room in my busy schedule for myself, I don’t want to waste my money on learning. Let me rephrase, I don’t want to play in the expensive stuff. I figured I use the cheap stuff to practice with, and as I get better at it, transition..

So, I started with what I thought was easiest: eyeliner, mascara, and the brow pencil. Oh and I picked up some brushes. 

 Ruby Kiss Liquid Eyeliner: I always liked liquid liner because I felt like it gives a more dramatic look. This eyeliner however is more on the watery side. If it was a little thicker we could get somewhere. It’s kind of runny. I won’t buy this again.

elf Eyeliner Pencil: Now this would be great if it wasn’t so bulky to hold. The point is a bit wide. It came with a spongy like blending tool on one end and a sharpener on the other end which is cool. But it could be thinner for a better grip and more control of the strokes. A narrower point for more precision of the desired area would help too. It’s like I’m coloring outside of the lines. Wouldn’t buy this again either.


 elf Volumizing & Defining Jet Black Mascara: I mean, you can never go wrong with mascara. This is a pretty honest product. It holds, defines, and adds the volume desired. But of course I definitely plan to try a higher end product.

Ruby Kisses Eye Brow Pencil: for my first time trying the eyebrow pencil, this wasn’t  bad. I think I am a little on the heavy handed side so this will be good practice to work on my strokes. I think I want to try an eyebrow kit (powder + angled brush) for more control. I notice also noticed in tutorials the kit gives a more natural look (that’s the goal).

Glam&Beauty Makeup Brush set: While I haven’t used my brushes yet they are so soft! I have been practicing my invisible strokes (mimicking applying foundation). I haven’t tried the brushes yet because while I was trying out different foundations in the store, I just didn’t feel like any as right. I feel like what I needed was sold out. My coworker suggested to just go to a makeup counter in the mall and have them help me with that (mental note here).

For now I’ll keep practicing. My next trip will be matching foundation, finding concealer and brow powder. This calls for a a part 2. Now my ultimate goal isn’t to constantly wear makeup, but to merely learn a new skill. Sometimes I feel like having a little one will add to my ensemble. I love my natural beauty (I really don’t need it), so minimal makeup is the goal. As I explore my femininity, sometimes I just have the urge to put some on. But I don’t want to have to pay for someone else to do it or look crazy trying to sporadically do it myself. So, I’ll keep practicing at home and come out when I feel like my skills are presentable enough.

Right now I am in awe of Nigerian YouTuber & BloggerShirley B. Eniang. Our complexion is almost identical and being that she is a full lipped brown girl like myself, automatically inspired! I love how she applies her make up down to the order she applies it and how much (it’s just enough), and her over-all style. She is the persona of my feminine goals. I don’t know how I came across her (yes I do, I was looking up YouTube videos on how to get started in make-up and came across her Make-Up Starter Kit: Part One & Two. My life has never been the same since. Check her out!

With this being a learning lesson and all, please leave any questions, comments, or any suggestions you may have. If you use these products or have in the past, let me know your thoughts. Any other YouTubers you can suggest would be great. Stay tuned for my trial + error shots in another post!

Thanks for reading.

Until Next Time,

t.

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First Try at Ribs!!

1 rack of Baby Back Ribs

Lawry’s: Seasoned Salt

Great Value: Organic Garlic Powder

Trader Joe’s Smoked Paprika

Great Value: Organic Hickory BBQ Seasoning

Mrs. Dash: Salt-Free Original Blend

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Clean thawed ribs (I removed some of the fat), then season however you like. I don’t really eat ribs unless they are off of a grill (or unless my grandma cooks them. She insisted I take a rack and they were halfway thawed so I said why not.
  3. To mock that grilled/smoked taste, I rubbed the smoked pap and hickory BBQ on it first, then the seasoned salt, garlic powder, then the Mrs. Dash. Baked for 30-40 minutes (my grandma said 30 but, I did 40 and they still came out fairly well. She also said to use tenderizer, but I didn’t have any so..

Came out delicious, I guess it was all in how well I rubbed in the spices because it tasted like I marinated the ribs over night.  For my first time making ribs, I did a good job. As you can see I don’t have actual measurements for how much seasoning. I am able to measure just by looking (I can obviously tell when enough is enough).

I know that is something I need to work on and I don’t normally eat this heavy. But everything in moderation right? But I do like well seasoned food. In other words, I like to taste my spices and seasonings in every bite. I guess I had a sweet tooth, because after they were finished, I added a hint of brown sugar on top and took the left over oils from the bottom of the pan I cooked the asparagus to coat the brown sugar to I guess caramelize into the ribs. I didn’t taste the asparagus on the ribs at all.

I sauteed asparagus in olive oil, salt, and pepper for about 5-7 minutes.

I also baked corn on the cob provided by my grandma (she provided this whole meal minus the asparagus— found that in the fridge). That recipe I got from pinterest.

The cookies were prepackaged from Walmart, Tollhouse brand I believe, also amazing! This meal was great and if you try it, please let me know how it turned out in the comments.

Bonus Tips:

 

  1. I heard Gordon Ramsey say fat’s only purpose on meat is to help maintain flavor while meat is cooking—it should be cut off and disregarded after cooked (steaks and ribs for example).
  2. My grandma said spraying over your ribs after seasoning them helps to keep them from drying out while in the oven. Indeed she was right!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!

I woke up on Tuesday morning to 101 followers via WP and 1,086 email subscriptions!

I thank God so much for helping me to rediscover blogging as it has played an immaculate role on my journey.

The more time I spend on WordPress, the more I am able to improve this blog.

I am so thankful for all of the love and support that I have gotten since I have started this blog over a year ago.

I remember a lot of you who followed in the beginning, helping me navigate through WP because I was so lost (laughs). I have even gotten to know a lot of you all. This, being the best part of it all. Being able to connect!

Watching my views and content rise, along with followers and views from around the world, this has been nothing but a blessing. I am indeed, humbled by this experience.

I could thank you guys all day, but I will keep this short.

Expect more content (trying to perfect it all before I post it), and additions to lifeoftf. I’m even looking into some collaborations (definitely leave a comment if interested–I spoke with a couple of you all in the past).

Thank you again to my followers from day one and to my new followers, welcome.

God Bless You All.

Until Next Time,

t.

Embracing Womanhood: Life Update

Writer’s block sucks.

With today being exactly a month since my last post, I had to let y’all know I was still breathing. But if you follow me on social media, then you already know I’m doing fine. This is what’s happened:

I finally moved!

So on 4/29, I signed a new lease and downsized from my townhouse to a furnished garden. Even though I lost a lot of space, I gained a lot of amenities. one less utility, a new washer and dryer, and updated kitchen and bathroom, swimming pool, fireplace, two full bathrooms, quiet neighborhood, and cheaper rent than the last place. Can you say a blessing? Thank you, Lord. Trying to get settled in and ensure I left the previous place on good terms is what took up most of my time.

I think my truck finally gave out on me.

After over drafting my account to fill it up, unnoticed it starting to struggle to start. In my mind I was like, “…watch the starter go out…”. Surely enough, after getting home from work one night (thank God I made it home), the next morning it wouldn’t catch. I have been out of a truck for the past three weeks now, and while my dad says he’s found a good deal for me, I’m just not ready for payments at this time. I mean yes, I moved to save on bills and get caught up on the current ones. Not to add another one and a higher one. Insurance, payments, and the maintenance makes me nervous. But for some reason I have that meme in my mind where Jesus is trying to get the little girl to give up her teddy bear in hopes that she will trust him, but she loves it. In the meme, he has a bigger one behind him, but won’t reveal it to her until she lets go of the one she has..

(in just typing this, I realized I’m hindering my own blessing— *calls dad*).

Embracing Womanhood:

So I have been thinking about how I view myself for a while now. I never really discovered my femininity (or essence that makes me feel like a woman). For instance, I’ve been a tomboy since as long as I can remember, the girl next door and have been referred to as the mom or grandma of the group for as long as I can remember. And while there is nothing wrong with it, mentally I’m starting to feel that way. To the point where I’m physically starting to feel like I’m senile. I just see myself going down a bitter road because of it. So, I looked myself in the mirror. Heck, I’m 23. I want to start feeling like a woman. I started watching YouTube videos on how to get started in wearing makeup, more hair tutorials and the like, well… I’ll make a separate post about this.

Mommy Adventures:

I’ve been trying to maintain a good work-life home-life balance. I think I have been doing quite well with that. I am back to cooking and meal prepping, as well as starting to get some AM workouts in at home.  On top of that I am trying to make sure I maintain an active relationship with my daughter. Having so much to do during the week, it’s like I barely see her. So even if she is up when I get up in the morning or going to sleep later, I try to remind myself to make each moment an enjoyable one. As a matter of fact, I haven’t done a baby update since she was 6 months, stay tuned for that too.

Finances:

Moving into a new place at first is expensive but as I get settled in, I can see the expenses decrease. This will be a gradual change but I am glad I am finally moving in the direction I want. I had to put a halt to the envelope challenge. I hope to start this back up soon. I still participate in my rebates but haven’t been couponing. I am currently trying to familiarize myself with the new area I’m in, so I can start shopping in new places.

Look forward to New Content:

Can you believe I am still unpacking after a month in? With the smaller space, I’m still trying to figure out how to place everything. A lot of things just don’t go with the place. Definitely look forward to a furnished tour (this will probably take a few months because I want it completely finished—I didn’t think to take pictures of it unfurnished because moving day was quite stressful—there maybe a post on that craziness). Also, going into more details of this post is a separate post about my journey into make-up and how that is going for me. Baby post is definitely in the works. Also my current YouTuber list is in the works as well (maybe my own channel…)!

Well, that is what’s been going on. Oh and I made a snapchat. Still trying to figure it out but bare with me. and my social media usernames have changed from olesoulbynature to justsayt (instagram & snapchat) & justsay_t (twitter). So feel free to follow me there for more updates.

Until Next Time,

t.

 

Baby Update

The last update was when Tamia was her first birthday. She will be two this September. I don’t know what happened looked up and now she’s chasing after me! Man oh man..

Talking /Learning

I think she started singing before she started talking. Her dad keeps saying she’s gonna be a singer. Her favorite songs are itsy bitsy spider, ABC’s (which she is starting to make those ee uu beee sounds — t u v, ess— x).  She also likes twinkle twinkle little star (which I found out was the same melody as the ABC song—children open your eyes to things you never noticed) and Wheels on the Bus. She learned Ring Around the Rosey in daycare. You should have seen my face when I noticed her singing it for the first time.

On top of singing, her vocabulary is expanding. Hot, cold (and the right times to use them), up, lamp (or amp), dada, and MAMA (smiles). Why does mama take the longest for babies to say? I mean, I did carry you and birth you. But it’s cool it was worth the wait. I just light up every time I hear it. She is still using sign language (my grandma got her started) for eat, bath, more, and cup, trying to get her to say those words but I won’t rush. It will come.

We stopped reading to her because it was just ripping the pages in the books. So instead, we found the television of course caught her interest. Little Baby Bum and Baby Einstein are her favorite shows. She sings a long, dances with and gets help with pronouncing her words from LBB while Little Einstein assisted with the sign language. These shows definitely helped with us teaching her. We also try to incorporate our surroundings for recognition. She also likes Pocoyo and was watching Sophia the First (I think this one is more for me as it doesn’t quite grab her attention yet).

Her dad does a great job at helping her to count on her fingers. She is also starting to form those words verbally (fieee—five, teee—three). She also got this reinforcement in daycare.

Nightime/ Breastfeeding

So if you can recall around this time last yer, I had trouble getting Tamia to sleep through the night. Well as of 2017, something had to turn around. I found myself irritable and confused. At this time, I was just about fed up with breastfeeding because the night time feeding were still happening. Having to roll over four to five times a night to soothe her and put her back to sleep (yes I was and still am co-sleeping) and at this point I was gradually weaning and got up to night time feeding only. Her dad finally stepped in. Thankful that he stepped up and took over for me because—I didn’t have this situation at all). He would come home from work. wake me up to go downstairs on the couch to sleep while he slept with her. There were days he would put her to sleep (how hard that must’ve been for him) and she’d be screaming for a while. I had to put in my earphones to contain myself from going upstairs. He was patient (thankful that he has so much of it—because I didn’t). I caved and went upstairs twice out of that  process. I’d say it took about a week for him to sleep train her (without my interruptions) after we got through the kinks, and noticing I was not night feeding so that allowed me to fully wean her. It’s funny how that worked out.

She is a light sleeper, so when I get up, she will eventually get up to find me. But for the most part, she sleeps through the night! She takes at least two naps a day (fighting that second one).

Potty Training

I was on my hands and knees praying for a child with her own mind. A leader. Who knows what she wants. Be careful what you ask for (laughs) but in this case this is a good thing! We started trying to potty train Tamia in December (15 months). That was a no-go. Not only did she wait until she got off the potty to pee on the floor, but I personally wasn’t committing enough time to teaching her. I always took her with me when I went, and still do—or she’ll follow me anyway. But while she was in daycare, she was benefiting as well. Because we stopped daycare and was in the process of moving, we decided to stop the process until after we were settled in the new place because we didn’t know how the environment change would affect everything. On the contrary to what I expected to happen, she immediately started going on her own when we moved into the new place! She signs to us when she has to go, we open the door and remove her diaper (yes she is sill in diapers, but will be incorporating pull-ups soon), will do her business and go on her way. She has had one bowel movement in the potty since we’ve moved in (it’s been a month now) and she actually had an accident on the floor after bath time (accidents are to be expected). But for the most part, she is doing well. We are only training during the day time at the moment. Not sure when we’ll start the night-time. Pull-ups first, then night-time. Baby steps. But I learned that I have a child that does things on her own time so I can’t really put her on a schedule. She definitely lets me know when she needs something…

Diet

Speaking of which, she definitely lets us know when she’s hungry. She still loves her water and juice (still iffy on the milk but loves yogurt). She devours fruit but spits out her veggies (will definitely be bringing this to the docs attention come the next visit). She loves potatoes (fried, baked, mashed). She is indeed a picky eater if you haven’t guessed. I made a spring frittata with bacon, cheese, zucchini and squash for breakfast last weekend (recipe coming soon), but she only ate the bites with bacon in it (rolls eyes). I thought being these veggies were soft, they’d blend in with the egg, but nothing gets past this child (again, I prayed day and night for a smart child—and that’s exactly what I got).

I learn something new as I fall in love with this girl every single day  I am with her. I love her strong, loving personality. She is the best company I’ve had along my journey. Together we will conquer the world.

Small to You, Big to Me.

 

One month ago, I recited the first half of this poem to my entire job site— it’s at least 1600 of us. 

Understand how nervous I was..

We were originally given until this month to be ready for this, we were told a week in advanced and wasn’t made aware we had to perform it until two days prior. Now neither of us being poets, idk how we got ourselves into this. Actually I do; see my job is split up into three major teams, each major team has about 5 sub-teams. Each major team has to host a floor meeting (entire site) to bring in the month with our new site goals. It’s kind of like a pep rally. Being that we just started doing this in January, the first two teams did a rap. We were tired of those so we decided that we’d be a little different. We did a Showtime at the Apollo edition!

Now Ashley, my teammate suggested someone do a spoken word, now idk how, but one of our managers won’t playing around so she said cool, Ashley is doing spoken word.. wait what? So she wasn’t up there alone, I said I’d play bongos in the background. We had one of our managers bring back Sandman, we had a member of the team dressed as Kiki Shepard, and my teammate portrayed Steve Harvey (laughs). We dropped the bongos, and just split up the spoken word. Of course, Ashley picked the second half so I agreed to do the first half. I was never the one to be chosen as lead in anything, but I said to myself if I’m going to take this acting thing seriously, I gotta start somewhere. 

Here is where the BGs came into play, the time came to get ready and everyone performing gathered, we were all talking about how nervous we were, win the Apollo theme music queued, and as we started getting each other hype in line, I smacked a coworkers butt… like the basketball teammate. I was so embarrassed and apologized so many times (we were still in the workplace).

I was like omg, Ima get fired, forget this poem. But after reassuring me it was okay and not to worry. I looked up and it was time for us to go on. Somehow, we got stage names of Afro Centric (me) and Spiritual Flower or something (Ashley—laughs). Steve Harvey asked some interview questions and ..

I sent a shout out to my team and manager who was out on an injury for a xouple of months and just went for it. 

It was kind of a blur, I heard some laughs (nailed it)

Some snaps (they’re diggin it)

Then just like that it was Ashley’s turn.

We closed the poem together.. and a whole lot of hooplah

Cheers!! Clapping!! What? You really liked me?! My biggest fear, what had shied me away from acting in the first place, had been overcome. Not only had I overcome stage fright, but I had opened the performance, and was able to put myself in the shoes of the character.. because I am no poet. This was a big accomplishment for me. I even did a little improv, I didn’t read the poem word for word. I made it my own. And I loved every second of it. 

Following that performance (which  was about two minutes in length), I was getting compliments from people who I worked with in the site who I only seen in passing. The acknowledgement was truly humbling and rewarding. I originally performed this March 16th, and I am still being complimented on this performance. It was small, very small, but the significance behind it, gives me the confidence and the confirmation to believe in God to continue this journey, I am thankful to myself for trusting God to take a step out on my own understanding and failures of my past to give this another try. I know I will not always have good days and people won’t always respond to my performances as well as they did this one. But as long as I believe in my work, that is reason enough to keep moving forward and never be shied away from my calling again. Next step, I need to desperately find some local classes in my area and make time for them!

Ps: I hope you enjoy this anecdote: I don’t have any pictures from the show because everything is confidential at my job (sorry)

The Dialer Blues

Wake up in the morning rushing to not be late

Because you remember tyvann saying ash and Taureenia you have Dialer at eight

Walk on the floor and you can hear a manager saying the money is here

While logging in the phone and hearing

Welcome to avaya scream loud in your ear 

Ready to make big money and go on with your day

 But Answering machines wrong numbers seems like Dialer just not going your way

Feeling like you’re getting close but your no where near

While you can hear Wall Street and capital hill cheer

You trying to represent for the unit the best team here

But Dialer will have you feeling like press your luck

In your head Screaming no whammy no whammy big bucks big bucks 

Finally someone comes on the line ready to pay it all and you see 

It’s in someone else flipping responsibility 

If you can relate then you know this feeling isn’t new

And you know why I call this poem the Dialer blues 

-Ashley Kilpatrick