Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Look #2 - Ruby Red Christmas

Season's Greetings Glories!

This is the 2nd holiday look -- a very literal Christmas look, since I used a typically Christmasy colour scheme.

Diva, Goldie, Jade - All available at Halener Rustique

Diva is the colour I chose to use. I swatched Goldie, so you can see the difference between the two.


Living Proof Test Run

Hey Glories

The other day I decided to use one of my Sephora samples that I had stashed away: a hair care line by Living Proof.  I had apprehensions about the shampoo and conditioner, because it's for all hair types and I like things that are specified for different hair types.  I feel like if a S&C is catered for all, it's not gonna do what I need it to do for my specific (colour treated and dry as a biscuit) hair type.

It also came with a hair thickening cream, also for all hair types.

The texture of the shampoo was very light and runny and you can see in the photo below.  It took a lot to get some lather going, but I think it's because you have to lather up as soon as you put it on your scalp.  I ended up delaying, because I was fighting up with the packaging and so, I ended up putting more than I probably would have needed.  The lather fizzles out soon though, which is how I came to the conclusion that you gotta lather up asap.  The conditioner was also light and they both had a light pink grapefruit citrusy smell.  I liked it.  It smells like when you come out of the hair salon and your hair stylist used from fancy stuff that you'd never use at home.
shampoo - conditioner - thickening cream

I don't usually blow out my hair after a shower, but because the instructions for the thickening cream said to, I figured why not.  The results were horrible!  Now, because you say it might have been my technique or my blow dryer etc., I've blown it out before with this same technique, brush, and blow dryer and the results were nothing like this.  I looked like I had an afro.  On the plus side though, my hair was light and airy, not heavy like it can get with other S&Cs.  But seriously, no frizz for all hair types?  It clearly didn't work on mine!

It wasn't until I put my regular hair products (argan oil serum and castor oil) did the frizz calm down.  I don't usually like applying it in dry hair, but I didn't have a choice this time around.
BIG difference, right?
 My Verdict:
  • No Frizz Shampoo - It's too runny for my liking, but it smells great.
          Sephora price: 2 oz / $10 USD  -- 8 oz / $24 USD -- 24 oz / $59 USD
          Sephora rating: 4.2 out of 5
          My rating: 6 out of 10
  • No Frizz Conditioner - Does what a conditioner is supposed to do.  Doesn't smell as nice as the shampoo though.
          Sephora price: 2 oz / $10 USD  -- 8 oz / $24 USD -- 24 oz / $59 USD
          Sephora rating: 4.2 out of 5
          My rating: 6 out of 10
  • Thickening Cream - Smells as good as the shampoo and it's super creamy.
          Sephora price: 1.8 oz / $15 USD  -- 3.7 oz / $26 USD
          Sephora rating: 4.1 out of 5
          My rating: 6.2 out of 10
Over All Thoughts:
I obviously don't have enough experience with the product to rate it fairly, but I wasn't too impressed.  I wouldn't purchase a full size of any of these,  BUT if I got it as a gift, I would use it.  So they're not so bad, I just wouldn't spend my money on them.  The smell is divine and it stayed with me until I washed my hair again.  Even though my argan oil has a scent of its own, the shampoo smell still came through strongly, which is what I like.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Holiday Look #1 - Spin Me 'Round in D Staff Party

Season's Greetings Glories!

I wanted to have some type of schedule to when I would be posting holiday looks, but for those of you who know me... that wouldn't work out.  I do suggest you SUBSCRIBE to my YT channel for instant updates, because I'll be posting videos pretty randomly.

So, here is the first holiday look.  For my girls who like drama, don't worry, that's coming up later!  I guess I'm building my way up.. who knows, I guess we'll see as I go!

I don't usually list the products I used, because I don't think that's important at all!  You can always recreate a look with whatever you have, but in this instance I'll do swatches, since the colours aren't fully represented on my lid:

 Eden, OMG, Lightening - All available at Halener Rustique.

As mentioned in this video, this look is more geared towards 'work appropriate' and as a possible idea to wear to your job's staff party.  Rather than flat neutrals, I added some shimmery green to jazz it up and add a little sparkle, but kept it toned down with the matte brown in the crease.

You don't, of course, need to use greens.  You can use the same technique with a different colour, but just be careful with reds (I'll go into further details with that in my next video). If you wanna do greens, but don't have a green with such a strong golden undertone as OMG pigment, then use a gold instead.

I realize that having colour on the lid can limit your options for clothing, so you are in fact gonna replicate the look as is, then here are my thoughts on what you can wear with it:
  • Reds.  Green and red are opposites on the colour wheel, which means they looks great together.  And you'll definitely be sticking with the traditional holiday colour scheme with this option!
  • Purples.  Purple is a complimentary colour to green ont he colour wheel.  I'd opt for red-purples or darker plumy purples like these:
  •  Creams, whites, and blacks.  These colours practically go with anything.  Since all the eyeshadow have warmer golden tones, you might want to wear clothes with similar embellishments (gold buttons or threading).   I'd say match your accessories to whichever metallic colour you choose to wear in your clothes.  In the spirit of season, you might be able to pull off some silver.  it is also possible to mix metallics tastefully, so feel free to do that as well.
Orange also compliments greens, but I don't think that would match the aesthetic we're going for.  You might look rather psychedelic instead.  Now you don't have to take anything I say whole-sale; these are just some suggestions.  You can do and wear whatever you'd like, AS LONG AS YOUR COMFORTABLE.


P.S. I tried a new foundation here, tell me what you think!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The top portion of the swatch is with NYX jumbo pencil bases.  I used Milk on the 2 outer swatches and Black Bean on the middle swatch.  You really need a creamy case to get the shiny stuff to STICK.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rihanna Inspired Make-up

Rihanna Inspired Make-up from I dunno where... I believe it was her BET Awards Performance.  Here's a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIVUzJ4ENW0
Check her out around 1:55


Saturday, October 29, 2011

I may be young, but I'm ready......

 Beyonce's PARTY MUSIC VIDEO inspired make-up

This was a very simple look to do and as I mentioned in my intro, it's very wearable.  If your new to colour, I suggest you try this.. it makes a statement without being too bold!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Duped: Physician's Formula Mood Boosting Blush

Hey Glories!

I recently did a review on Physician's Formula Happy Glow and Mood Booting Blush...... that's a mouthful.  If you haven't seen it:

Same night, I noticed I had a bronzer (Thanks Melrose!) that was a pretty good dupe for it:

The colour on my camera kept automatically adjusting and.. pissing me off, so here are some pics:

 [Left] Physician's Formula // [Right] Beauty Treats

Even anything, the Beauty Treats Bronzer is more versatile.  You can use it as blush and bronzer depending on where you swirl your brush!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cry or Rejoice?

"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour."
-- William Blake

Me and religion have been long time rivals.  Growing up in a Christian/Hindu home, you'd think I'd be engulfed by so much religion that I couldn't help but.. be religious.  I believed in God (still do), but I knew none of the specifics pertaining to either religion I grew up with.  The freedom of choice my parents allowed me just served to justify my decision to "choose later."  So, instead, I grew up avoiding it and putting off the day when I would finally make a choice.  Now, there's more to this story than I'm willing to tell at this moment, but lets just say I've passed through a number of doctrines from Wiccan beliefs to Islamic (two complete ends of the spectrum, I know).  Presently, I consider myself more spiritual than religious.  And while I still choose to follow no particular doctrine, I have respect for all.

Friends and family the like have always been trying to get me to go to church.  Once I did finally agree and when my friend came to my house to get me, there I was undressed and unwilling.  I really don't know why I was so scared to go to church.  I guess I didn't know what to expect and I didn't want to stick out like a sore heathen thumb.  Christmas of '09 I made a trip to Trinidad and it was my Presbyterian boyfriend's tradition to go to church on Christmas morning.  Having him by my side gave me the courage to finally step inside a Church only to realize it wasn't so bad after all!  Angels didn't come down from heaven to reproach me about my presence there, the reverend didn't give me the evil eye, and the patrons did nothing to make out my scene.  The singing was enjoyable and even more so because it's the only time I get to hear Dale sing loud and proud.  The presiding Reverend that morning was Reverend Cyril Paul.  It was love at first sermon.  His resounding voice and powerful message impacted me like no other reverend that I've listened to proceeding him.  Still, I wasn't an avid Church goer.  Early mornings torment me and my return trip to New York insured that I wouldn't be in a church until my next trip to the island.

Summer of '10, I made the "big move" to Trinidad and started attending UWI the same year.  I kept telling Dale how much I enjoyed Reverend Paul's sermon and that we had attend his Christmas service again.  As fate would have it, I bounce up the reverend in the car park of the School of Education one day while on break.  I jumped out of my seat and ran after him "Excuse me.. excuse me!"  Eventually catching up, I foolishly said "Are you...your...what's your name?"  For the life of me, I couldn't remember if he was suppose to be addressed as a reverend or a pastor and I didn't want to assume one or the other.  He told me his name was Cyril Paul and then I went on to explain how I was enraptured with his Christmas service last year and wanted to attend his Christmas service this year.  He invited me to walk back to the office of one of his colleagues where he took my number to call me when he found which Church he would be in for Christmas.  During our short walk, he asked which church I went to and questions I could barely answer, because naturally in true Marsha fashion forgot which church I first heard him in (there are two Presbyterian churches in my area and I have no sense of direction, need I say more?) and as I've mentioned before I'm not well-versed in the Presbyterian faith.  I told him about my boyfriend's Christmas tradition, stumbling on the word 'boyfriend' fearing I'd be judged for having a 'boyfriend' and not a 'fiance' or 'husband'.  Quite silly, but I was in the presence of a Man of God, I couldn't help it!

Christmas of that year, we attended his sermon in Curepe Presbyterian Church.  A good way from my home, but well worth it.  And again this year, it was already understood that we'd seek him out Christmas morning.  Reverend Paul got cancer and passed away this morning.  Dale and I wanted to visit, but kept postponing it.  Partially, because something was always coming up and partially because I was unsure if I wanted to see him like that.  Part of me wanted to remember him the way he was for our awkward little meeting in the parking lot.  And you see, I don't do well at funerals either.  I ignorantly prefer not to get "closure."  I think funerals shouldn't exist and for my own, I'd like it to be a celebration.  I don't need closure.  I prefer to go on feeling as though the person is still around, but we just haven't had time or opportunity to reconnect.  Funeral's take away any such hope of that feeling and finalize things in a manner in which I'd rather not subject myself to.  I attend out of respect, not by choice.

Reverend Cyril Paul spoke to my soul.  I wanted the man who baptized my boyfriend to preside over our wedding and today I mourn the loss this spiritual icon.  Do I cry because you're gone or rejoice because you're in a better place?

I'm not sure if I all together regret not visiting.  Though it would have been nice to show Reverend Paul that the girl from the car park hasn't forgotten him, whether it was subconscious or conscious (or a mix of the two), my own selfish motives took precedence.  My only comfort now is believing that somehow, someway through forces unbeknownst to me, he knows just how much he meant to me.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Mission: Eat Right, Get Tight Entry #6

Yall, ah shame! I started using Sensa beginning of October.  My dad brought it down for me (think he's tryna hint something?) and it was featured in my New York haul video.  I wasn't too keen on using it.  In fact, I gave the whole set to my cousin and I dunno if she got scared cause I said I didn't want it, but she never used it either.  So, like the Indian Giver that I am, I took it back and still.. couldn't bring myself to using it.  I find the people in the DVD had a rel screw pan and the whole business about screwing with my 'senses' freaked me out.  Dale played guinea pig and started using it and everytime he weight himself, he boasting that he loosing.  Finally I gave in and started using it too.  It does not alter the taste of the food, which is a plus and so far I have lost a pound, so.. I guess we'll see.

I plan on joining UWI gym soon and running around campus in the night, since around the Savannah isn't save anymore.  So, hopefully the lbs will continue to shed.  I started at damn near 160lbs, but I just can't seem to cross 150lbs.  I keep fluctuating.  But, it's not to say I've been putting in any hard hours excercising, so I only have myself to blame.  I just wanna make it to 145lbs, and I feel maybe that will give me the extra push to do more, rather than just being sour about being at a standstill.

But, seriously I'm just ina rut these days.  I stopped yoga and mediation and spiritually I feel heavy.  Hopefully, I can remotivate myself and get active.  Lemme tell you, my days have been so preoccupied with school and picking up the pieces from this theft business, I haven't even watched the season finale of True Blood NOR the season premiere of Dexter.  Sad, I know.

Cheers to the freakin weekend peeps.  I'm spending mine with Gulliver's Travels, Henry V, Macbeth, and my Linguistics textbook.  Hope yours is more eventful than mine =)


Friday, September 23, 2011

Stolen Livelihood

RIP my babies!

My livelihood was stolen from me on Monday, 19th of September 2011.  Right after school, we drove to Lange Park to get a bite to eat at Shakers Bar.  We got their about 7:10PM and left at about 8:00PM.  During that interim, someone broke into our car via the back glass and stole my my laptop, my school bag, and my make-up bag. Gone.

On returning to the car, I got into the passenger seat like normal and Dale walked over to his side and in a confused tone said "But, I didn't leave the window open.." The sharp realization stabbed him quickly as he exclaimed "They broke into the car!"  Shocked, I turned around quickly saying "What did they take?" as my eyes fell on the empty space in the back seat.  "Your laptop and school bag." I was in a state of disbelief.  I couldn't cry and I couldn't react.  It was that feeling of wishing you had made different decisions or wishing your could turn back time that hung in the air.  Utter disbelief.  Disbelief soon turned to devastation.  It was only on our way to the police station (yes, we had to go to them) that I turned to Dale and said "But my make-up bag was in the trunk right?" and again that slow realization dawned on him as he said "No, they got that too."

Now, can you really picture a thief or the type of person that would do something like this, going home and reading the expensive Linguistics textbook I had just happened to have borrowed from a friend that day or making any use of my coveted make-up brushes?  They grabbed the bags thinking there was money or items of worth in there, but those bags were only valuable to me.  As I stared at the ratty notebook of the girl next to me in class the next day, anger overtook me.  I take pride in my school work, my notes, my textbooks.  The weekend prior to the theft, I had spent my time getting my notes in order, printing extra information I found online, as well as the worksheets and readings from my lecturers.  And here is this girl, not giving a shit about her work, barely taking notes and my organized information filled notebooks are gone.  The weekend prior to that one, I spent my time converting all my pigments and foundations into 3 gram jars for ease of use and storage.  Those are now all gone as well.

Honestly, I could live with my laptop being stolen; my portfolio pictures, my essays, pictures of my first and only nephew, my memories.  I equate it to a laptop crashing and wishing you would have backed up your files like you were supposed to.  It wasn't even password protected.  I feel exposed.  My school books could be bought back and my notes could be acquired again, but hoss when I realized my make-up bag was gone.. I was in a mess.  It took me years to get those brushes.  They've been purchased at various places at various times.  And they weren't cheap!  I've contacted the companies to which my stuff has been stolen to see if they can assist in anyway.  No shame in asking, right?  I can either get a no or be ignored.

I don't know where to start to pick up the pieces.  It's going to cost me a lot of money to get back what was lost.  Money that I don't have and money that I can't work for either.  My tools are gone; I can't work without my brushes.  Luckily, there are a few kind people out there in this world who have offered their assistance and to them I am eternally grateful.  I received many kind words from people I barely know and honestly, got more understanding from strangers than I did from my own friends.  So thank you to everyone who has reached out, I really do appreciate it.

Right now, I'm stuck somewhere between stage 4 and 5 of the 5 stages of grief.  Depression and acceptance.  I'm trying to count my blessings and not my problems, because the situation could have been a lot worse.  The whole car could have been stolen.  A life could have been lost.  I'm grateful for what I have, but still feeling the devastation of what has been taken from me.  There are a lot of emotional highs and lows (like there isn't enough of that on a daily basis).  The recent theft and rape in Central was also a wake-up call.  As the Constable in Chaguanas Police Station was explaining to Dale what the next steps would be for us, my eyes fell on the theft/rape write up.  The words "continuously raped" starred back at me as I instantly felt like a fool.  Here I am, crying about my brushes and this poor family is suffering from something that can never be given back.  Even if they catch the perps, which I hope to God they do, it's not going to take away the trauma or the memories.  My material items can be replaced.  It may take me awhile, but that's nothing compared to what those two women are going through.

So folks, please be careful when you go out and take the necessary precautions, even if they seem silly.  And sometimes even that isn't enough, because some of us aren't even safe in our own homes.  But still, pray for our country, pray for yourselves, and your neighbors.. even your enemies.  Believe in the power of prayer, it's magical.


On a another note, some of the things taken from me were very distinctive and I'd appreciate it if you saw anything that you would contact me.  I still have hope!

-My laptop is a black Gateway Laptop, but I swear I don't think there's another one like it in Trinidad.  It has a wood grain pattern that I've never seen anywhere else.
-I had Sigma brushes, Sonia Kashuk brushes, Sephora brushes, Bare Escentual brushes, and Posh brushes, so if you see anyone selling these anywhere, please let me know.
-My 2 bag's were both from H&M from a couple of years ago, so again, I doubt there are many of these in Trinidad.  One is a huge black purse, with a purple interior and the other was an even bigger shiny black snakeskin bag with a burgundy interior.
-And as tiny as this detail is, I had a compact mirror that was very near and dear to me as it reminds me of my mum.  It golden, with a cherub (which is basically a baby angel) on it and a red gem button that's pressed to open it up.  I'm SURE no one else in Trinidad has anything like that, because I've had it for many, many years.

Thanks for your assistance and kind words.  Please be safe my Glories!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fashion Conformity: Dare to be Different

Today, we take a break from our regularly scheduled weight loss program to bring you a rejected article.  I initially wrote this for a Trinidadian online magazine (twice!), but it seems that we're not a match made in heaven, no hard feelings... but, thank goodness for blogging and self-publication!

Make it work!

Many people often stop themselves from dressing “out of the ordinary”. Fashion may seem like a small part of the big picture, but being a trendsetter, actually takes a lot of courage and confidence.  Choosing to be different is choosing to utilize your own voice. Many of us go along to get along and often play it safe when it comes to expressing ourselves through what we wear, but the question is, why?

According to social psychologists, there are two main reasons: the desire to be liked and the desire to be right (I learned that in my Intro. to Social Psych class, who’s an attentive student?? I am, I am!!). Approval and acceptance is something that we, as human beings, crave, even if that means altering our behaviour to meet others expectations in an effort to appear more “likeable.” We also tend to get a sick self-satisfying pleasure from being right. Unfortunately, we seek it out from others’ opinions of “right” and “wrong.” The more uncertain we are about something, the higher our chances of being influenced. Be careful who you seek advice from, because you just might end up with a vajazzled vajayjay if you seek advice from the wrong person (consider yourself officially warned).

I tried a little “social” experiment of my own last semester at UWI. I took a basic, wire headpiece that I made in my Carnival Studies class and put it on my head. I walked around campus observing people as they observed me. People could not stop staring. My own friend walked behind me in silence trying to figure out what was going on with my head.  My lecturer, Dr. Skeete (awesome lecturer btw, no brown nosing here.. just truth), stopped midsentence in class and said, “Ok, now that’s interesting. Is that a new style or something?” She was so confused that she lost her train of thought and couldn’t remember what she was lecturing about.  One man even went so far as to ask me if I was receiving adequate signal.  Rude Trini’s again nah!

This small addition to my outfit caused people to stop in their tracks, stare me down, and peaked curiosity to the point that people couldn’t help but comment. No wonder it’s difficult for people to break social norms. Conforming is so much easier.

So, how do we overcome this need to conform? Well, I’m no social psychologist, but common sense tells me a great place to start is to stop looking for approval from others. 

Before our current State of Emergency, I was in St. James getting my burger fix.  There was this badass chick with a dyed Mohawk and a face studded with piercings on a motorcycle not too far away from the burger cart. The Burger Delight man and his family were catching rel kicks from heckling said badass chick on the hog. It made me wonder, if they can harass her, who is me?  She looked like she could annihilate the burger man and his entire burger flipping family, yet that didn’t stop them from talking.  Trini’s doh have cover for they mouth, that’s a given, but the goal is to stop caring.  Don’t be afraid to be you.  Fear is for chumps and you ain’t no chump!

Companies like Colour Marketing Group and Colour Association of the United States, get paid BIG bucks to colour forecast, which is predicting what colour trends will take place within the next couple of years. Now, they don’t just pull random colours from a hat, it’s not that simple.  They look at a number of factors that can affect what colour might be “in” for the years to come. Once the final choices are decided upon, the shades are printed onto a palette and distributed to thousands of retailers for companies to manufacture products (everything from clothes to accessories to home decor) that will coordinate across the board, therefore influencing everything we buy for the next few years.  Changes your perception of freedom of choice, doesn’t it?

We seem to have this distorted pre-colonial notion that whatever is from “away,” is what we should be wearing.  Instead of waiting for fashion trends to come down to the island, we should be influencing the masses with our island flavour.  My friends from NY were so excited to come to Trinidad to get “unique” pieces, when I had to wake ‘em up and let them know most of our stuff is coming from where they reside!

Yes, Trinidad’s fashion industry is stepping up its game.  We have our Peter Elias, Claudia Pegus, Christian Boucaud, and Meiling, and we can’t forget Anya Ayoung-Chee who’s rocking it on Project Runway (don’t forget your hash tags when tweeting peeps #PR9Anya), but ya’ll realize there is no Caribbean Vogue magazine? The cluster of islands in the Caribbean Sea, in which we belong to, has no representation in the world’s leading fashion magazine. We can change that.

And what about the everyday guys and dolls on the streets who can’t afford the designer clothing?  Fashion is expensive, style is not!  Late fashion trends trickling down from “away” onto our local store racks all tend to look like clones of one another. Amongst the sea of Mohawks that’s plaguing Trinidad, it’s hard to tell one Mohawk guy from the next.  The other day I stopped the wrong Mohawk guy thinking he was the Mohawk guy from my Visual Arts class, but in actuality he was the Mohawk guy from my Lits class, who gave me a weird look when I asked him about the stained glass project that was due that day.  See how confusing that was?  There’s no individuality.  And in that, people get lost in the crowd.  I cut my once long black hair into a short a-lined blonde streaked bob and now I stick out like a sore thumb.  Is that a bad thing?  Don’t know, don’t care.

People always make assumptions based on appearances.  It’s the first thing we register when we meet someone. But, guess what? They’re going judge you and think what they want regardless, so why not do what you want and wear what you want regardless as well?  It’s your life. Don’t let other people stop you from being you.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mission: Eat Right, Get Tight - Entry #5

Hey Glories!

Cooking myself thin has been going well.  I've lost 6 lbs and I've got 27lbs more to go before Carnival 2012 (as you can see in the little countdown I have going in the right hand column).  The even better news is I should be able to meet my goal by December 4th 2012 (just in time for Christmas too!), according to Loseit.com.  I signed up for an account yesterday, not really conducive to the downsizing of online sites that I'm signed up for, but it's pretty useful, so I think I'll keep it.

Right now, I'm signed up for Blogspot, Flickr, Facebook, Youtube, Forumspring, Beautylish, Twitter, and Tumblr (feel free to click the links and follow any of those btw)!!  Way too much to keep up with, hence the reason I'm trying to downsize.  My 3 passions are: makeup, writing, and photography, so that leaves me with Youtube, Blogspot, and Flickr.  Facebook connects all 3 passions, because that's where I post updates.  My Twitter is connected to my Facebook and My Loseit is connected to both.  I guess that knocks out Tumblr, Forumspring.. and.. ah feeling hard to give up Beautylish, because I adore the website!  I guess I'll keep it for now and see what happens.

Anyway, back to Loseit.com.  It's just like Weight Watchers (which I've been a part of before), but instead of counting points, you count calories.  The site allots you a specific amount of calorie intake for the day, depending on weight, height, BMI, and even calculates a date for when you'll reach your goal!  My calorie intake is 1317, which is 67 calories more than I allow myself with Cooking Yourself Thin.  It's like a food journal, where you enter what you eat daily and try your bestest not to cross over into red (that means you've went over your calorie intake for the day).  You could use it throughout the day to keep track of your calories, but I prefer to use it in the morning to plan out my day (exercises and all!), which is mighty convenient.

It has a database of foods to which you can also add your own if it's not already there.  You can also calculate in any exercises that you've done for the day or plan to do for the day, which makes more calories available to you.  Every time you log in, you can record your weight loss or gain, so it's ideal for keeping track of your diet, exercise, and progress.  I'm telling you, it's just like Weight Watchers, but for free!  *[bbm dance icon] for freeness* You even have the option to add and make friends, but that's not something I'm really interested in.

So, this entry is going to focus on some of the foods I've been cooking utilizing the Cooking Yourself Thin Faster cookbook (that means, it's the meals that I remembered to photograph).  I'm gearing it towards folks who are interested in purchasing the book and cooking the meals, as I'll be discussing substitutions I made, issues I ran into, and of course, TASTE!  Since it's just a fraction of what I've been eating, you can check out my Loseit account to peep my daily meals, if your interested.

Cooking Yourself Thin Faster... Trini Style!

Violet Morning Smoothie:
Easy and quick to make!  I tend to have this in the morning.  It's made with blueberries, pomegranate juice, and yogurt.  It's high in antioxidants, yummy, and gets me to eat my fruit!  The colour of it is a gorgeous violet, which the picture doesn't do it any justice to.

Almondy Joy:
Not the best picture, I know, sorry!  This is another quick and easy, delish smoothie!  It made with frozen naners (bananas), almonds, and yogurt.  It's a great way to utilize those naners that are over-ripening to the point where you don't want to eat it, but you don't want to waste it either, which always ends to happen when I buy bananas.  Because who want to eat a whole bunch of bananas all d time, all d time.  If I don't nyam it in time, just before they go bad I cut em up, freeze em and make this smoothie whenever I'm in the mood for it.

Chicken Cordon Bleu:
This thing is SO freakin delicious.  The most yummiest thing I've made thus far!  The great thing about it is you can use different cheeses as stuffing (you can even add olives), so it won't get boring.  Wrapping it might look difficult, but it's a breeze.
I didn't have twine, but I had a long piece of this stuff that I used instead. Looks like shoelaces, dunnit? It didn't hamper the cooking process much, and shoot! a girl gotta improvise!  The recipe called for a piece of boiled ham, which I didn't have either, so furthur improvisation called for me to use frozen deli slices that I had in the freezer.  This one in particular is beef pastrami.  The fun part about this meal is you get to flatten the chicken breasts with a meat mallet or bailna (rolling pin).  Talk about taking out your frustrations.  Don't beat too hard though, else you'll tear the meat.  The recipe didn't instruct me to tuck in the sides, but common sense says that the cheese stuffing inside would melt if I didn't.  After you brown them on each side in the frying pan, you have to add water to the pot, so it can simmer and finish cooking.  Watch those babies!  The cheese starts to bubble out the sides.  If you see cheese I loss!  Ah get so vex, ah added some extra cheese on the top to make up for it!

The main herb (or seasoning) the recipe calls for is rosemary.  Eek GAD!  I used rosemary in another meal I made and I hated it.  It has this strong, bitter, licorice taste.  Dale liked it, but I can live without it.  I seasoned my chicken as normal with my blend seasoning (shadow beni & garlic) and I added a few sprigs of rosemary. All yuh know American's doh season their meat!  I limed those chicken boobies down prior to seasoning them as well!  Rosemary isn't something that's easy to find in Trinidad and for good reason too, it's yuck!  But for Corpus Christi, Dale planted some herbs for me; rosemary being one of them.

 Buffalo Wings & Stuffed Mushrooms:
These are the most DELICIOUS low-fat buffalo wings you'll ever eat in your life!  Mind you, this picture is when I didn't have the buffalo sauce and ended up making my own (so it was more like BBQ wings), but I've made it several times after with the proper sauce and it's finger lickin good!  The recipe calls for Frank's Buffalo Sauce, but good luck finding that in Trinidad.  My mom had brought down a ready made buffalo sauce from NY once and I noted the ingredients.  Now, I'm talking about the kind of fluorescent orangey-red, tangy, not so spicy buffalo sauce (kinda like the one you get in Ruby Tues or Fridays).  I like my wings sauced down in this vingary goodness!  The key ingredients to buffalo sauce, at least the type I like, is cayenne pepper and vinegar.  If you go by colour alone, your likely to buy something that tastes like traditional Trinidadian pepper sauce and that isn't ideal for coating your wings in (unless you boss like dat and can take that kinda hotness, but even my hot mouth cyar handle dat) and then you'd probably have pepper wings, not buffalo wings.  The ready made buffalo sauce would be a no-no since that already comes with butter in it, but I found the PERFECT sauce in Xtra Foods in Grand Bazaar.  It's called Louisiana Hot Sauce (mmhmm, that foreign stuff) and you don't even need a lot, so a whole bottle can make me about 3-4 batches of wings.
These stuffed mushrooms are made with panko bread crumbs (which you can also find as Xtra Foods), Parmesan cheese (which I noticed is a big staple in a lot of these recipes), and parsley.  You just cut up the stems, mix in the rest of ingredients and you literally have to hold the mushroom in your hand and stuff them.  If you just sprinkly some from up top, it won't pack in, and you'll have a lotta extra stuffing to shrooms.

So I basically had cutters (appetizers) for dinner one night, but it was darn good!  The buffalo recipe suggests celery sticks to go with and advises that you mix blue cheese with yogurt to get a lighter sauce.  Genius idea!  I didn't have blue cheese, but I had some horseradish sandwich spread thing that I used instead.  By itself, it would of course be thick and creamy, but mixed with the yogurt, it was light and still tasty!  I'm sure you can do the same with garlic sauce if you prefer (or have) that instead.

Pasta with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes:
Ehh, these meal was ok.  I'll admit, I had to put some ketchup and pepper sauce to make it more appetizing to me, but that's just because I like saucy things.  Dale on the other hand, didn't mind the fact that it was dry.  It calls for an array of simple, easy to find ingredients that you might even have in your kitchen right now: sausage, parsley, cherry tomatoes, and whole wheat pasta. The recipe called for pork sausages; I used whatever breakfast sausage I had in the freezer (which had maple syrup in it, so maybe that accounted for the mediocre taste).  I didn't have cherry tomatoes, so I just cut up normal tomatoes instead.  When it comes to the herbs, use whatever herbs you like.  If you know you hate parsley, try something else or just omit it altogether (though you'll be omitting flavour as well).  I must admit though, the pasta was light and it satiated my appetite without leaving me feeling overstuffed.

Chicken Meatballs & Creamed Spinach:
This might look a lil funny, but I think the colours are charming!  Red and green!  These were two separate recipes that I paired together.  You could, of course, pair the meatballs with whole wheat pasta instead, but this combo was pretty good.  It was similar to the veggie lasagna recipe I made, just without the lasagna layers.  The creamed spinach is okay.. it likes flavor for me.  Dale really likes it though.  I ended up using a extra cup of milk to make the sauce, because that one cup just disappeared into my roux and left me with lumpy flour (kinda look like parsad haha)!  I used more spinach than the recipe called for, so I guess everything sorta evened out. *shrugs*
The recipe called for canned tomatoes (preferably fire roasted).  All I has was tomato sauce, so I added some flavour to it (ketchup, garlic, herbs, and pimento) and fired roasted my own tomatoes!  Tomatoes choka, anyone?

Quick Jambalaya:
This meal was a complete FAIL.  And ironically it was the very first recipe I tried out!  If I had let this recipe set the bar for the rest of the recipes, I would have been in shambles!  That would have been a bad pre-mature decision, for sure.  This jambalaya is made with turkey meat and I just had happened to have roasted a turkey a couple of days before, so I thought what a perfect way to get rid of the rest of the meat.  BLEH!  I already don't like rice, but I tried to give this a chance, but even Dale couldn't eat the remainders (and he eats anything).  It's sour and tasteless.  NEVER making this again!

Raspberry Lemon Tea Cake:
This is the 2nd dessert I tried making.  Prior to this, I made the Fudgey Brownies, which were yummy.  Those were easy to make, so I'll make it again and snap photos.  Now, straight off the bat, my measurments are a bit off.  Your suppose to measure dry and wet ingredients with different measuring tools, but I only have a measuring cup, so that's what I use.  It came out edible though.  Not sure if the center was entirely cooked, but as you can see it already started browning on the edges, so I didn't want to keep it in longer.  And somethings up with my oven, so it could have been that too.
Your suppose to put it on a cooling rack, but I couldn't find mine, so I put it on the grater.  What?! It does the same thing!  The holes allowed the air to pass through just the same!  This recipe was an AWESOME way to use the raspberries that I bought in Xtra Foods (as you can tell by the pattern, that's where I do my groceries), that were already spoiling.  I saw that they were leaking juice profusely when I bought them, but I was so missing my blackberries and raspberries that I had to buy them.  But they were already on the verge of going mushy.  The berries weren't that sweet, so the cake was a bit tangy as well.  And I used lime zest rather than lemon, because that's what I had!

Ok that's  all the meals for now folks!

Let me make a quick side note before I go.  I think I mentioned this in my last entry, but just to reiterate, I don't really buy low-fat or fat-free products.  So if the recipe calls for skim milk, I'm using whole milk.  It's important to look at the ingredients and nutritional info on the back of your foods, so get in the habit!  A lot of the fat-free/low-fat products make up for the lack of fat with other garbage like extra sugar or might even contain trans fat (which you want to stay far, far away from).  There are such things as 'good fats' and your body needs fats to be healthy (check out this article - it's short, so don't worry).  So that's something to consider when calorie counting.  It's not just about the calories, because if your only consuming empty calories, your body is going to lack the nutrition it needs to be healthy.

If you have any questions about these recipes or any questions at all.. feel free to ask in the comments below.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Mission: Eat Right, Get Tight - Entry #4

Cooking Myself Thin

Hey Glories!

After a couple of redundant weeks of working out and still feeding my addiction to fast food, my weight was fluctuating up a down by a couple of pounds.  I decided I needed to take the weight loss issue into the kitchen.  Last time I lost weight, my mom was doing the cooking for me.  She was making traditional Trini dishes, but since she's somewhat health conscious, so it was working out just fine.  Now, I had to take the cooking into my own hands, which is perfectly fine, because I love to cook.  If my family members read this they'd be like "Gasp! What?!" because they don't see me cooking often.  I like to try out new recipes and things, so I'll quicker make something I saw on Food Network than make Dhal and Rice or something.  Not something I'm too proud of, because I'd hate to see the culture die with me and I become one of those women who can't make home cooked food as good as mom did, but for now since I have so many aunties and tanties to make it for me, I really don't see the need.  But cooking is something I really enjoy.  It's relaxing and freeing.  I put on my "A true Trini loves doubles, slight pepper" apron, turn the radio up on 103.5 FM where I can hear all my favorite classics and I rock out with my knife out!

I've seen a couple of episodes of "Cook Yourself Thin" and I always come across the book in the bookstore, but I never really take it on... in terms of, I never thought I've actually end up attempting to cook myself thin.  My current living circumstances changed all that!  There are a couple of recipes on the website, but I went out and got the "Cook Yourself Thin Faster" cookbook, because the bookstores in Grand Bazaar were out of the original book.

The first week, I real plan out my meals and put down the calorie count and scheduled days to eat leftovers (because the recipes usually make a 4 serving size) knowing to myself that this probably wouldn't go exactly as planned, which it didn't.  I didn't take into consideration the times when I'd have guests over who would eat my leftovers for the next day or when Dale's mom would send over something tasty to eat, which are things that you can't really schedule in anyway.

I'm in the middle of the 2nd week and when planning the meals, I was a bit looser in doing so, which is ideal for a # of reasons:

  • I can't be spending so much time planning everything to a T, this is tedious and impractical.
  • If it starts to feel like a chore, I won't want to do it.
  • For me to integrate this kind of cooking into my lifestyle, it has to be something that comes a bit more naturally, where I don't have to count everyyyyy single calorie of what I eat, because that gets.. annoying.
  • It would take the spontaneity out of life.. like when me and Dale ups and decide we want to go out.
I've lost 3 lbs since I've started and that's inclusive of a couple of cheat days. I haven't been working out a vigorously, but that's because Tanty Flow visiting.

According to the book, you should be eating your ideal weight in calories x 10.  So, I want to be 125, so I'm allotted 1250 calories for the day.  I usually plan my meals a bit under 1250 to cater for any substitutions I may make (using whole milk rather than skim) and for any unplanned cheats that may occur (Dale's mom sent over coconut bake last week), so lil treats and cheats are ok, which also helps me feel like I'm not dieting.  I don't deny myself anything!  It's everything in moderation, which keeps me happy and not feeling deprived of goodies.  Also, since exercise burns calories, it makes more calories available to me.  Keeping my meals slightly under 1250 allows for me to have lazy days as well, so I don't feel the pressure to have-to must-to work out everyday.

  • Ingredients aren't difficult to find, so the recipes are "Trini Friendly" in that you don't need a health food store or specialty food store to find what your looking for.
  • Things can be swapped.  They give you alternatives to use, which is economical (so you don't have to run out and buy what the recipe calls for, you can use what you have) and it keeps it exciting, because you can try different variations, rather than have the same thing over and over again.
  • The recipes in "Cook Yourself Thin Faster" aren't as time consuming as the recipes from the 1st book, so it caters to people on the go.
  • I get to have "fast food" in my house, but better because I get to control what I put in it and know that the burger cart man didn't just take a wizz without washing his hands or the i-hate-my-job cashier/cook didn't spit in my food.
  • Eating healthy is expensive!  Not as expensive as eating out, but more expensive than making regular groceries - whole grains and whole wheats just cost more!
  • Having to plan my meals out to come capacity, because without planning, I may not have all the ingredients that I need.
  • Sometimes I started to feel hungry in between meals (which is inclusive of healthy snacks) and I feared my body going into starvation mode.  Now, I just snack more to prevent feeling hungry, even though they suggest only 2 100 calories snacks for the day.
The next entry will be what I made for Week 1 along with commentary.  I tried to take pictures, but sometimes I forgot.  I will be more conscious of this for Week 2.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Mission: Eat Right, Get Tight - Entry #3

Hey Glories,

I lost like 2 lbs.  Nothing much, but it's better than gaining.  I've been making an effort to eat more frequently with smaller portions.  I have 2 fav. snacks right now: yogurt with any fruit and pineapple with olives and cheese.  I know the last one sounds a bit.. off, but I came across the combo at a party.  The hostess has it on skewers along with grape tomatoes and sausage.  I just throw it in a bowl and nyam away.  In an effort to be healthier, I put more pineapple than anything else, cheese being the least ingredient.

I've been doing 1 or 2 yoga sequences religiously everyday.  I mentioned in my May Favs Video on YT how much i LOVE yoga.  The postures are so elegant and graceful.. makes me feel like a dancer.  And it's something that I can see myself improving in, which is always motivating, because I want to get better and better at it.  As I see it, I'm not advanced enough to do different sequences everyday, because I always have trouble with completing any one sequences properly.  Rather, I'm focusing on 1-4 sequences at the moment and I interchange when I do them doing the week (depending on my mood) and in doing so, I can tell when I'm getting better.  Either because my balance is improving, holding the posture longer, not struggling as much, more flexible.. things like that.

Yoga also gives me a chance to calm it down and meditate.  I do that after every sequence and it's very relaxing.  It gives me a chance to focus, center myself, bring myself into the present moment and pray.  Yes, before I go into the actual meditation session, I say my prayers.  I find that after yoga, I can focus more on my prayer.  I used to do it at night, which is when I think most of us do it, but I find that I can't focus properly and my mind starts straying.  So, yoga is helping me physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I'm really enjoying this and I'm happy.

I will eventually have to incorporate more cardio, but I'm taking it slow.. I'm really out of shape.  I don't want to push myself too hard.  And I also don't want to take on too much that I won't be able to follow through.  That will just leave me discontented and defeated.  Zuma is nice.. but I have to be in the mood for it.  The same way, I does have to be in the mood to go to the club.  Not everyday I feel like shakin my ass, ya digg?

Below are the sequences I'm currently doing.  My fav. practitioner is Tara Stiles.  I like her sequences, her voice, her aura, and the way she explains things.  Another sequence I've been hooked on is from Yoga Today with Neesha Zollinger and it's a Morning Yoga sequence that I absolutely LOVE.  It gets the body moving.  Neesha also has a calming voice and explains things really well.  It's not too strenuous, but at the same time it gets things moving in the morning.

My Goal: do a handstand & do a split


P.S. I know I haven't been blogging about much else recently, but that's because these entries are so easy to do.  All I have to do is type.  No taking pics, editing pics, uploading pics, researching etc., you know?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mission: Eat Right, Get Tight - Entry #2

Hey G's,

SO.. I've gained 5 lbs since my last entry.  Saddening.  Looking at the THEN and NOW questionnaire, it seems like fast food and lack of exercise are the culprits.  Over the weekend, I tried to make more of an effort to workout.  Do to the lack of Exercise TV and Fit TV (c'mon Flow, get up on it!), I've resorted to using YT vids. I've found quite a few good ones, but I do miss my 2 favorite exercise shows from Fit TV: Shimmy and Namaste Yoga.  I remember I bought VHS's to record Namaste Yoga on before I left New York, but I left it for the day I was leaving like the procrastinator I am and wasn't able to record much.  I sourced a Kate Potter (who is the teacher behind the Namaste Yoga TV series) DVD on Amazon, but I don't think its the actual show and the DVD cots $90 USD.  Kate mad.  I not paying that kind of money.  Hopefully, when I visit NY this summer, I can record some of my fav. shows to I wont have that as an excuse for not exercising.

I've been mostly doing yoga.  Not the best way to loose weight, since it doesn't incorporate too much cardio, but I need to do what I like or else I won't do it.  And I like Yoga.  Fortunately, there are some weight loss sequences out there.  The only sucky part is, they're pretty short, so I find myself combining a couple of videos.  On Friday, I did 3 video's in a row and I was dripping in sweat.  DRIPPING.  My yoga mat looked like it had been rained on.  My favorite sequences (weight loss and others) have been coming from Tara Stiles.  There are other practitioners out there, but I like her vibes.

I like belly dancing as well.  My favorite videos have been coming from Neena & Veena (they're belly dancing twins), but I find myself seeking out yoga sequences more.  I think it's because my big ole gut makes me feel unsexy and belly dancing is hella sexy, but hopefully I will defeat that self consciousness soon.  After all, it's not like anyone is watching!

I've come to realize that without school, I don't get any day to day foot work.  At least when I was in school, I was trudging around campus all day.  I'll have to put in extra workout time to makeup for the lack of movement and find everyday activities that keep me active (like cleaning up, ugh).

As for food, I'm still addicted to fast food, but I have improved on eating more frequently and not waiting for me to be hungry.  I'm trying to take advantage of all the fresh produce that's so readily available in Trinidad.  People in the states pay twice as much for organic and I have organic growing in my backyard!  I've been so busy complaining about how difficult it is to adapt a healthy eating lifestyle in Trinidad, but Trinidad has it's perks as well.  I just need to seek them out.

I've been re-reading Dr. Ian's book as you might have guessed from the last entry, I'm on the "goal setting" chapter, so expect an entry on that soon.  What I find myself doing a lot is saying "Today's my last day pigging out, I'll start eating better tomorrow" EVERY TIME I mess up and over eat.  It's been leading me to believe that I haven't actually started the process yet, which is BS.  Even though I mess up once in awhile, I need to realize that doesn't invalidate the fact that I've started the weight loss process.  Expect to mess up, but don't let that stop you!  Accept and over come.  Push on!