Getting Crafty: The Christmas Edition–Quick Hit

Alright, I’m likely going to postpone the dramatic conclusion of this series next week, when I get the rest of my supplies.

But I’ve still got a little something to tide you over until then.

So, we decided to Secret Santa at work, and we had a limit of $20 to spend.

I didn’t even have to spend that much. I had all the supplies I needed. I took this:

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Don’t mind the Theraflu. I’m fighting another cold.

And I made it into this:

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Pretty cool, huh? I hope my recipient likes it!

See you next week!

Crafting

Getting Crafty: The Christmas Edition, Part 2

I have been a busy bee these last couple of days. I’ve been making all types of goodies.

:D

Of course, this happy crafting did not come without a bit of legwork.

Ready for a story? :)

Alright, so the goal for my staff gifts this year was to make them some shea butter hand cream and soap. My assistant manager is getting a little something extra: vanilla bath salts.

Ok, simple enough, right? I live in NY, the land of the shea butter on every corner. Well, the shea butter wasn’t the issue, it was finding all the oils I wanted in the quantities I needed them in. I have a staff of 5 now, and just a couple of small vials of oil wasn’t going to cut it. I needed a shop.

Google did it’s thing, and finally, after about a day of searching for stores that didn’t want to send me home with 25 pounds (!!!!) of shea butter and a vial of oil small enough to moisturize a mouse, I finally got hold of all of the products. Yay!

Victorious, I grabbed some food and headed home. Right when I was getting ready to mix up the goodies, I realized…

…that I had no jars, containers, anything to put the finished product in. Of course I didn’t.

-_-

Now, it’s important to note here that I’d already taken off my bra, and typically that means I’m in for the day. But the hand cream had to go into something, right? Doggone it.

So, I reholster everything and get bundled. I head to the city to see if I can find some small jars. I tried the dollar store–nothing. Michael’s? Nothing but a line that stretched TO THE BACK OF THE STORE, OMG. But I kept looking. They had favor jars that held a thimbleful of cream. That wasn’t gonna get it. Then they had Mason jars big enough to sip some good iced tea out of. Nope, that’s too big.

Unlike Goldilocks, I couldn’t find one that was just right.

So, I keep wandering the area, and step into Utrecht. I wanted some supplies to make cards, and I picked that up and tried to pick up the cute cashier too.

What? Don’t judge me! :)

Still, no jars.

So, as I’m wandering 6th ave, I see a Blick’s Art Store. Hmm. Maybe it’s in here?

And…

SUCCESS! They had all the jars I needed, and at a pretty good price! So, I scooped up a few two ounce jars and headed on back home to get to work. I was able to take all of this:

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And transform it into this:

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Now, I’m not done with the packaging (the little creams will get tags and glitter on the tops, the soaps will be wrapped in tissue paper, and the bath salt gets some cellophane wrap and ribbon+tag), but I got the bulk of the crafting done.

Want to make your own shea butter hand cream? Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

Shea Butter (that’s a pound package up there, I used half the container)

Sweet Almond Oil (2 tbsp, feel free to substitute this oil for jojoba, grapeseed, safflower oils if you have a nut allergy)

Olive Oil (2 tbsp)

Coconut Oil (2 tbsp)

Essential Oils for scent (I used lemongrass and vanilla. It smells like cake!)

Bonus: if you want to use this in your hair, add in some castor oil and vitamin E oil in too.

Place all items except for essential oils in a bowl and whip with an electric mixer until fluffy and creamy. This works best if your shea butter is at room temperature. Fold in essential oil, a few drops at a time, after whipping.  If you’re giving this as a gift, place your cream into a plastic baggie (ziploc one), cut the corner off, and pipe it into your containers. I had enough to fill five-2 ounce containers, and still had a bit left over for me. :)

As for the bath salt, that’s even easier. Combine epsom salt with essential oil or even extract (I did vanilla extract because of the softer smell). Mix, place in container. Done!

Soap? I used a kit I found at Michael’s to make my soap. Pro tip: get yourself some other scents in case you don’t like what comes in the kit( there was a vial of scent in that package that smelled like wet leaves. Old wet leaves. Ew.) When your soap has hardened, wrap it up in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out before you put it in paper.

I want to say I’m done with my crafts, but I still have some jewelry and baking to do. Stay tuned for more!

Crafting Shopping Stories

Holiday Look Book: Sparkle and Shine

‘Tis the season for being with family and friends, enjoying good food and company.

But you want to look lovely doing it, right? Of course!

And that’s where I come in. I have a round-up of pretty things to wear to your holiday shindigs this year!

Let’s get to it!

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From Monif C.

This is actually a set (you have to get the top and skirt separately) but how cute is this? Sexy, yet understated, it’s perfect for after work cocktails.

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From Qristyl Frazier Designs.

Yes, please. Because all of the sparkle! Maybe you don’t want to wear this to Christmas dinner with Nana, but you’ll be smoking on New Year’s Eve. Shine on!

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From Monif C.

I love this for a company party. Formfitting, but still covered with a little flair. Work appropriate, but you don’t feel so buttoned up.

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From Rebdolls.

Dressy, going out to a restaurant type of party. It’s cold up here in NY, and this gives a little more coverage on the bottom while being bundled up top on the way to the venue. Once inside, let your shoulders show!

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From Eloquii.

Yes please, part 2. I love sequins, I can’t lie. This is an option with cap sleeves instead of a long one. Very dance friendly!

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From Rebdolls.

Can I just say I want this for myself? Cause I really want this for myself. Maybe when I’m done Christmas crafting/shopping/baking. Anyway, I love this for either casual (just change the shoes, add a sweater+belt) or dressy (high heels+clutch). Super versatile, and great if you’re looking for something that can be used more than just for a party.

And that’s it! I hope I gave you some lovely outfit inspiration this year, and hopefully gave you some ideas on how to treat yourself!

Making it a homemade Christmas? Tomorrow I’ll show you what I’m working on, and give you a recipe for my homemade shea butter. See you then!

Retail Therapy Shopping

Holiday Lookbook: The Beginning

Y’all, we are full swing into the holiday party season. I have a whole post of pretty dresses for y’all to rock out and be as glittery and sparkly as you want to be coming soon!

But first, an appetizer.

The good folks over at Invaluable contacted me to ask if I’d like to do some styling with one of their rings. I thought, why not? It’s totally the time of year for a little extra bling and glamour. So, what I decided to do here was create a really nice holiday party look, full of all the sparkle y’all have come to expect from me.

Let’s get to it!

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How fabulous is that ring, y’all? That beautiful cluster ring (which you can bid on here if you love it too) was the inspiration for this shimmery glam look. Since I tend to wear all black every day for work, I go over the top when I can. This look is no exception.

Now this dress, from Rum+Coke. Listen. That thigh high slit, y’all. I love my legs. In fact, besides my bum, they’re my favorite body parts, and I would throw on those sky-high heels from Just Fab and STRUT, you hear me?

Oh, and the slit is on both sides. Yes, ma’am. If you wore this to a holiday party, and you attended solo, you’d leave with a new friend.

Seriously. ;)

Oh, and I know y’all are like, ok, we get the dress and heels and ring. But, Char, where does the penguin figurine come in?

That’s a clutch, y’all. No, really! It’s a clutch!

A friend of mine, S, introduced me to the concept of the conversation piece when one is being social. If you’re a bit awkward, like I am, it’s hard to strike up convo. But, if you have something interesting on, like this clutch, you’re gonna be able to be friendly–everyone will want to know what it is, and then: “OMG, so cute!”

And now you have a friend. :) I have to say, it’s worked well the times I’ve done it!

Still looking for some good picks for parties? I’ve got something good coming for you Wednesday. Stay tuned!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. No compensation from Invaluable was given; all opinions are my own.

Opinions Reviews Shoes Shopping

Getting Crafty: The Christmas Edition, Part 1

I’ve already gotten myself a present this year, so I’m looking to find some supplies to make my friends, family, and coworkers some nice things for Christmas.

Normally, I get my staff little things to show my appreciation. This year, the size of both my store and staff has doubled, so I won’t be able to purchase a lot. But I do enjoy making and baking things, so this year, I’m looking to do some crafty things that come from the heart and can keep me under my budget.

One of my favorite crafting sites, hands down, is Darby Smart. Not only can you get kits to work from, they also have a separate craft store section that you can purchase additional odds and ends from. I’m looking to get this:

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You’ll recognize at least one of the pieces here; I did the clear clutch for my birthday earlier this year. I’m also looking to get this:

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Homemade Soap Kit!

Bath and body gifts are my favorite gifts, especially if one took the time to find my favorite scents. While this kit comes with a scent, I’ll probably use some essential oils in it to customize the smell. I’ll also be making a shea butter cream to go with the soaps–(quick recipe: shea butter, carrier oil(s) (can be olive, sweet almond, vitamin e, or all of those plus more), and coconut oil. Mix with mixer until creamy. You can also add essential oils (a few drops will do) if you want it scented. I promise to put up a proper recipe when I get the proportions down!)

I’m also going to bake. Baking always manages to bring me to my happy place, and my brownies seem to bring everyone else to their happy places. So, I’ll be baking up boxes of delicious for the rest of my store staff and my landlords (they’re getting a Cardamom Spice Pound Cake.)

Whoa. I have a lot to get making! But it never feels like labor–I love to create and make people happy with my creations. :D

Anyone else out there making it a do-it-yourself holiday? Have any great crafting places I can get supplies from? Leave them in the comments!

Crafting Retail Therapy Shopping

Nail Adventures: World AIDS Day

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve done a Nail Adventure! I haven’t had as much time as late to dedicate to designs, so I’ve been letting my nails breathe and treating the cuticles.

And of course, I had to let my finger heal after I managed to close it in the closet door.

*sigh*

I’m pretty klutzy, y’all. I’m working on it.

Anyway, I did my nails for World AIDS Day (today!), and want to share the design I’m wearing to work for the day. For those not familiar, World AIDS Day is a time to raise awareness about the disease as well as honor those who have passed for the disease. The color ribbon is red, and I wanted to incorporate that into the design.

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I used OPI’s Big Apple Red and Essie’s Licorice for the design. I would have done my ribbon in red rhinestones, but couldn’t find round ones.

Please folks, if you haven’t taken the time to get tested, do so. Yes, it can be nerve wracking, but knowledge is power. Protect yourself and your health–know your status. Take your friends and partners to get tested. I preach it to y’all cause I love y’all! <3

Nail Adventures

#BlackOutFriday

Happy Thanksgiving, my US loves! I hope it is a day filled with food and fun, or if you’re working like me, a day where customers don’t make you want to break things. :)

Now, in the States, one of the biggest family traditions around this time of year, after carving up the turkey, is to go shopping and get all types of gifts and goodies.

I normally try to put together a whole post of places I’m shopping for Black Friday, to help y’all get some great deals. And I still intend on doing that today, but with a bit of a twist.

First, some background:

If you haven’t heard about the Michael Brown case, go here for some good information. Monday, the nation (and world) received word that his murderer, Officer Darren Wilson, would not be brought up on charges. And this started a string of protests, one of which is called Black Out Friday. Essentially, folks of color are not going to shop at the big box retailers (Target, WalMart, etc) and are instead either not shopping at all for Black Friday or are patronizing Black-owned businesses.

I am in the latter camp. I won’t get into the social and political implications of Wilson not being brought up on charges, but I am willing to protest in any way that I can. And since I am in a position to do so with my dollars, I will.

So, this year, I’m spending my dollars Black. It’s a small gesture, but one I do in solidarity with the Brown family.

If you’re participating in #BlackOutFriday as well, Huffington Post has a good list of businesses here, and Afrobella built upon that list here. I found some great sample sales and deals on my Instagram, which I’m going to share with you now.

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Girl With Curves has amazing style, and now an amazing line. If you’ve been wanting to pick up a piece or two, now is the time to do so! I’m eyeing this dress. Gorgeous!

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I love this brand for their quirky, cheeky t-shirts. If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on my I Wear What I Want crop tee, get online tomorrow to score this and some other new designs!

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If you’re looking to do your shopping in person, and you happen to be in NYC for the weekend, TruDiva Designs is having a sample sale on Saturday! I’ve loved just about everything I’ve seen on the runway, and let me tell you, I am looking forward to scoring a piece or two! Go here to see her collections.

So, there you have it! A few places I’ll be shopping for the weekend. I’ll do my best to do an update as I see other deals pop up on my Instagram feed.

Oh, and if you do decide to go shopping on Black Friday (no judgment here, seriously!), please be nice to the employees and to each other. Keep in mind that no item is worth sacrificing being polite.

Happy shopping and Happy Thanksgiving!

Retail Therapy Shopping