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A Collection Of Inspiration For The Art Lifestyle

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Aug 27, 2014

Spinach and Chicken Flatbread Pizza
By Ella G.

My husband and I have recently started a new healthy lifestyle journey. As I began this journey I wanted to incorporate some fun and healthy dinners that would still allow some flexibility and variety. We love pizza and always will! So, I created my version of Chicken & Spinach Flatbread Pizza that was a definite WIN in my household and wanted to share it with all of you. It is a great substitution for the typical Pizza Hut Meat Lovers Pizza that has a thousand calories in one slice that we used to get. This quick and easy meal will surely be a great addition to your weekly menu that the entire family will love!


Here’s what you will need...

Servings For Two

Flatbread White or Wheat (2)
Chicken Breast cut into thin strips (1)
Chopped Onion (½)
Olive Oil (1 tbl. sp.)
Salt (1 pinch)
Black Pepper (1 tsp.)
Chicken Rub (or your favorite chicken seasoning)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (1 cup)
Prego Artisan Three Cheese Sauce (¼ cup)
Drained/Squeezed Leaf Spinach (½ cup) *You can use fresh spinach and boil or canned

Step One

(Turn your oven on the broil setting on High) Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat on the stove top then add the strips of chicken and onions. Add your salt pepper and chicken rub (or favorite chicken seasoning) until the chicken is fully cooked stirring occasionally. When chicken and onions are cooked place in a bowl and set to the side. 

Step Two 

Take your flatbread pizzas and brush a small drop of olive oil and spread evenly. Place the flatbread in the oven on broil for about 3 minutes watching closely until you get the desired brown color for your pizza. This step is optional but I like a little crisp to my pizza.


Step Three


Spread your Prego Artisan Three Cheese Sauce evenly on the flatbread. 

Step Four

Add your cooked strips of chicken and onions to the flatbread as well as your drained/squeezed leaf spinach as shown above. It’s coming together now…

Step Five


Add your mozzarella cheese as your final touch and place the flatbread back in the oven on broil until your cheese has completely melted. This will take approximately four to five minutes on high…but just keep an eye on it as not all ovens are created equal…



You now have a delicious and healthy Chicken & Spinach Flatbread Pizza! Enjoy! 












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Aug 24, 2014

Some of My Favorite Choreography: Aaliyah More Than A Woman



Can't speak too much on this one. Too hard for me knowing there was a time watching this video and learning the choreography and she was alive doing it too. She was such a role model for me even outside of her music because I felt as if I could identify with her when I was a younger gal. Seeing someone who wasn't built like most of the other women on tv (in the hip hop culture), let me know that black people consider lean and thin beautiful too.

Hey it's hard growing up in black culture at times (as it is true for every culture). The crazy part is it's the girls who hold the standards for how girls should appear if they want to be accepted into society. I've come to realize that most guys don't care to grave detail. There are some (and I know I'm kind of going off tangently) guys who are more particular than others, but overall, the girls hold the standards. But back to what I was saying...

To see such an elegant tomboy blew my mind as that is how I feel myself to be. I truly loved her so much and still do. I feel like she has to be the one singer that everyone truly feels like that took a loss on, like in their own personal lives. True mourning for real. Not the celebrity mourning where it's kinda faded after a day or so. You think back on it later like "dang, I can't believe he died..." But with Aaliyah it's different. It's much different. I can't explain it, but it's not the same with her. It's real. She was before her time. Usually those are the ones who go out that way as well. Let's hope that's not the case all the time.

I really loved the camera angles in this video. Camera angles can really elevate your shot to another league if done correctly in relation to the nature of what is being filmed. That is why I adore Spike Lee. Such a great master of those angles. Spike Lee is one of my favorite filmmakers. Truly gifted. The world is filled with such brilliant creators.

Looks like I ended up speaking a lot on this, despite my prior disclaimer.


Z

Aug 23, 2014

Some of My Favorite Choreography: Janet Jackson Rock With U



Everytime I watch this video, I stare intensely at the dancers trying to somehow absorb the moves from just watching it. I'm not great with learning choreography in traditional ways. I remember certain advanced dance courses I took involved almost instant memorization and performance after like one practice of the routine. Not trying to do all of that....

Random: I want cookies. Chocolate chip cookies, but with mini m&m's instead. Or just nothing except the cookie. Still no name for chocolate chip cookies sans chocolate chips? We gotta do better than this as a human race guys.

Chocolate Chipless, 
Z



Aug 19, 2014

Natural Hair Treatment Fails


One of my first natural hair treatments was a homemade banana hair mask. The mixture included bananas, olive oil, honey, milk and an egg.

I laid out everything nicely to take a shot for my blog, as you can see above, and then jumped straight into mixing it all up.

I sat there and mashed those bananas into the rest of the mixture until it was all one consistency. I took my time with it, to make sure it was thoroughly mixed. 

I should go ahead and say for the record that no blender was involved with this treatment. I saturated my hair with the treatment, shower capped it, and let it marinate in my hair. The real drama began after I attempted to rinse and wash everything out. Their were tiny bits of banana particles that were embedded into my hair. Everywhere!

I tried rinsing and washing and rinsing to no avail. It was the worst experience ever. I tried to wear a hat to work to conceal the horror. Anytime something like that happens to me, I start to freak out and think I will never go back to normal. Permanently bound to banana bits. 

So I've learned that most who use fresh bananas usually incorporate a blender to make sure it all blends completely. I don't even do that much now a days. I go to Walmart and buy banana baby food and I'm fine with that. I have a banana baby food treatment that works as a great weekly alternative to actual bananas. 

So the banana flop wasn't the only fail I experienced. I had almost an equally terrifying time with avocados. I used a whole avocado, some honey and yogurt I believe.

I mixed it all up and it was looking mighty smooth. It truly appeared to be blended to perfection by hand. But I now believe that you can never truly blend foods like these to perfection by hand. 

See that? Looks pretty smooth right? WRONG...After I put this in my hair, I could not get it out. Bits after bits after bits of avocado everywhere. I really couldn't tell you why I decided to try and mix another fruit by hand for a hair treatment after what happened with the banana.

I think the reason why most of us continue to make the same mistakes, is that we use our minds to rationalize why this time might be different. I can't recall my rationalization but apparently is was stupid. Lesson learned! 

I will never ever mash up a whole fruit or vegetable by hand and put it in my hair again. It took maybe a week at least for all that crap to slowly come out. And that was with me trying to brush out particles with my hands all day every day. It's just not worth it.

My biggest fail, even more so than not using a blender, was not straining the mixture. If I would have been able to separate the majority of the liquid from the solids, my experience would have been much different. But still, I'm over it.

I will go and buy guacamole and put that in my hair before I do this again. My advice is to buy the baby food versions, or thoroughly using a blender/strainer. I'm too traumatized to even use a blender at this point. Never again I say. Never again. 

Z


Aug 18, 2014

Cute Things from ModCloth

I was on Modcloth's site once again scrolling through so many cute items I so desperately want right now. But with a trip to New York on the way, these things will only make it to my wishlist for the moment. So many items sell out so I'm hoping to get my hands on something soon. Luckily they allow you to let them know that you really want something, and Modcloth will produce more of that item if enough people demand it.

Aug 15, 2014

Step by Step Tension Method Twist Out for Natural Hair

I wanted to experiment with using a little bit of the blow dryer tension method to aid in the styling process of my hair. My styling process went as follows:

1. Washed my hair with sulfate-free shampoo.
2. Added a quick layer of conditioner, to detangle and smooth strands. Rinsed out completely.
3. Did my protein treatment for a few hours with a shower cap.
4. Rinsed it all out.
5. Saturated my strands with a conditioner plus olive oil mixture then put on shower cap.
6. Rinsed that out after about an hour or so.
7. Added Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream as a heat protectant/ leave-in.
8. Twisted hair into 8 sections.
9. Let dry overnight close to 80% of the way. 
10. Lightly sprinkled a little water in palm of hand plus a few drops of olive oil to moisten untwisted       section very lightly from root to end.
11. Separate one section into two.
12. Pulled that section gently but firm so that it is straight, while shielding the ends with hand.
13. Blow dried the exposed length of that section on medium heat briefly until it is stretched.
14. Loosely twist back into eight sections (if my head were a grid, it would be two columns and four rows, with my hair parted down the middle.)


I enjoyed this method as it gently stretched my hair a bit more than usual directly following a wash. All my strands were detangled, and my hair was coated with a layer of strength from the protein treatment. My hair did not feel dried out like past attempts using the blow dryer. I did not allow the heat from the dryer to hit my ends, they remained protected. 

I unfortunately do not own a diffuser yet, so I am extra careful with the amount of heat I add with the blow dryer. Never using it on high, I don't find that to be necessary for my hair. This is a great option if you want to try out some styles on your hair and need it as smooth as possible. I could easily do this twice a month if I desired. 


Aziza-Morgan



Aug 14, 2014

Art Loves: Gabriel Picolo's Ink Sketches

I came across an artist by the name of Gabriel Picolo during a session of exploration on Doodlers Anonymous. Gabriel does insanely outstanding work in his sketchbooks, and he has a pretty large following that adores his work as well. There is a vast amount of skilled detail throughout each piece he has created. His Instagram is packed full of sketches ranging from Miyazaki compilations to Maleficent. Of the ones I have shared, I think my favorite is the first piece. Seriously loving all the details included in this bearded hipster's hat. Truly a fantastical approach to reality, which is my preferred route of creation. 


I've included a few from Doodler's Anonymous, but they didn't have much of his work displayed. His true treasure can be found on his IG, which I am going to follow right now. He is a great inspiration to me as I love working in inks as well. I really am going to get more sketching done over the next few weeks.

Spending so much time on Doodlers Anonymous these last couple days has really kicked me back into drawing gear. I'm just not sure if I can afford to be, as my other artist personalities fight for attention. I was supposed to be in music composition mode once I shifted out of writing mode but I truly have very little control over which one takes the lead. But I do have control over the influence I absorb that tends to awaken the individual creators that reside within myself.

I've attempted naming them, just for the sake of organization, but I don't know, it gets too hard to keep up with. So I let the artist personalities name themselves. Perhaps I'll get into that another time. Back to the point...Gabriel Picolo is fricking amazing. Thank you for sharing your mind with the world! You are an inspiration.

Z




Aug 11, 2014

DIY Banana Baby Food Deep Conditioner
for Moisturized Natural Hair


Moisture is the greatest ally for any type of natural hair. When your hair is truly moisturized, you suffer less from breakage and frizz. I've come to realize that if you consistently repeat a potentially effective treatment (or any action), then you increase the magnitude of its potential results. I keep adding in potential because different things work for different people.  So on to the point...Bananas are consumed with amino acids, potassium, vitamins A, B, C, and E. All of these elements help to restore or strengthen chemical components found within the hair follicle. Oh the science of hair care!


Benefits

Strengthens hair follicles 
Minimizes breakage
Softens hair
Restores natural elasticity
Restores heat damaged hair
Reduces frizz
Soothes itchy scalp

Ingredients

2 packs of 2 count banana baby food containers (the "2nd foods" version)
3 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons olive oil

Directions
  • Mix all ingredients. 
  • (Optional) Pour into applicator bottle of some sort. 
  • Apply thoroughly to hair. Saturate as much as possible
  • Apply plastic shower cap or two, throw a bonnet or scarf in the mix. Pop on a hat to top it off if you please. I have a lot of beanie type hats just because it's my style, but they also serve a very useful purpose for my hair. But mostly, this is all to create a nice heated environment so the hair follicles can open up and soak in all the nutrients. 
  • Leave in for at least an hour. 
  • Rinse out thoroughly.
  • Saturate hair with a cleansing conditioner.
  • Rinse out thoroughly in cooler water.
  • Style as desired. I choose the LCO or LOC method of styling. Leave-in conditioner followed by either cream styler or oil. Which order I choose really depends on what products I have at them time. I either flat twist or create 8 braids. 

I must admit that the reason I switched over to the banana baby food as opposed to just using bananas is a result of a horribly tragic event involving the smashing of bananas, and the trauma that followed afterwards. I am planning on getting that together as a post later on this up coming week. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. 

But on a better note, this baby food, especially once a week, will do wonders. You can switch up the other ingredients to coconut oil or whatever else, but that banana baby food is the main star. I had softer, more moisturized hair with less frizz. I could say I used it for at least a month straight, once a week. It's also very affordable, I got mine from Walmart for a total of just around 3 dollars. Winning on all levels out here. 

Aziza



Aug 9, 2014

10 Tips for Minimizing Frizz on Wash Day

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1. Start with clean hair for defined coils by shampooing or cleansing

Due to product build up, it's good to give your strands a nice cleansing to restore the fresh state of your hair. I know that I went weeks upon weeks just co-washing and it felt like my hair was just getting poofier and poofier before and after my styling sessions. I decided to use my sulfate free Organix Ever Straight Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo to clean my hair. Before washing I pre-poo'd with a castor oil/olive oil/ melted shea butter mix. I found that after my wash, my coils were springy, defined and smooth. I see it as a "reset" option for your hair. Allowing you to start fresh after a lot of sometimes unseen buildup.

2. Rinse with cold water always

This is a must. If you want to seal your hair follicles back to a smoother state, you need to rinse your hair with cold water at the end of your washing situation. If I am in the shower washing my hair, there is no way in hell I am having cold water running down on me for the sake of minimizing frizz. So what I do is step right on out, turn the water down somewhere between cool and cold, and I lean over the tub with the shower stream hitting my head. At this point, my hair is saturated with conditioner, so I let the cold water rinse a majority of the conditioner out.

3. Try apple cider vinegar for rinsing

Apple cider vinegar has properties that restore balance back to your hair strands. Sometimes, when I want a really deep penetrating condition, I sprinkle in a little baking soda to my deep treatment, which opens the strands up to receive all the glorious nutrients. I then counter the baking soda later on with the apple cider vinegar to close the strands back up. I have been recently experimenting with a diluted acv rinse with water after a normal wash just to add a bit of shine and minimize my frizz even further. When I use apple cider vinegar, I notice that my strands are shinier, smoother, and a huge decrease in frizz. Experiment with it to see how it can accompany your natural hair routine.

4. Use lots of conditioner for saturation

This is one trick I really had to learn from my sister. After I convinced her to go natural, she has been creating her own routines for her hair, and everything she does includes saturating her hair with conditioner. When you saturate your hair with the right conditioner during a wash, you are adding so much weight to your strands that they relax a bit. That means frizz too. You can relax your frizz with a ton of conditioner. If you have thicker, frizzier hair, use a thicker conditioner. Just keep trying out conditioners until you find the one that can truly weigh your hair down. Once it is in that state, smooth your hair even more with your hands and rinse with cold water. This will minimize frizz much more than using just enough of the wrong conditioner to cover your hair and then rinsing with hot water.

5. T-shirt instead of towel

When you use a towel to dry your hair, you are causing a lot of friction between the material of the towel and your hair follicles. It's sort of like (and I'm exaggerating here) taking a match and striking it against the section of the match book that looks like a piece of sandpaper. You get fire as a result. Let's think of that fire as frizz. We don't want that. We want smooth. It's best to use a fabric that glides along the strand instead of push back up against it. Use a t-shirt instead. What I do is go to my closet, find a plain t-shirt of my husbands that I hate, and I stick my head through the collar area, but in the opposite direction so that the bulk of the shirt is covering all of my hair. I then gently squeeze and wrap the shirt around my head. Sometimes I find a thin headband and throw that over everything to hold in place so that it can absorb the water without much manipulation of my hair. The less friction on any material the better.

6. Add diffusion to blow dryer to decrease air harshness

For those who blow dry after a wash, one way to decrease the amount of frizz is to add a diffuser to your blow dryer. This will limit the harshness of the air blowing on your hair. Air in motion can be a powerful thing, and that applies to hair as well. You still are causing friction with your hair so the best you can do in this situation is to limit the harshness of the blow dryer. Since it is blowing out hot air, it is imperative that you have your hair covered with something to protect your strands from heat damage, dryness, and frizz. I recently have been testing out the tension method, which saves me an unthinkable about of time in my styling process. I blow dry my hair only after a protein treatment, deep condition, and a sealing with some Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream. Your hair should be a majority of the way dry before adding heat for the safest styling.

7. Detangle thoroughly

On days that I am rushing to get my hair done, I tend to rush through the detangle step, which leaves me with hair that is confused and prone to frizz activity. It doesn't take a whole lot to detangle my hair, but if I let it go without washing it for a long period of time, it will become much harder to get through the tangles. Detangling hair becomes so much simpler when you saturate your hair thoroughly. I have this wonderful Conair Detangling Comb that I have used since day one of my natural hair journey. It doesn't pull out any of my hair and I am completely satisfied with it. When your strands are aligned with one another, they cause less friction with one another and will lay down much easier.

8. Satin while sleeping

Most of the natural haired gals I've come across either have some variation of the satin scarf or bonnet, or they have the satin pillowcase. I can't sleep on those pillowcases, they are hot and uncomfortable for me. I like sleeping in a cool environment, so I stick to the bonnet or the long wrap situation. I must confess, I am horrible when it comes to remembering to sleep with satin. It truly is a deal breaker. I've always woken up the next day with super dry ruined hair when I sleep with no satin. My sister recently introduced the use of a knee high stocking as the protective agent. I love it so much because it keeps everything together, can stretch to hold almost any amount of hair in any configuration and it has enough air flow to be able to dry your hair if you are going to sleep with it damp.

9. Minimal manipulation

Keeping your hands out of your hair can be difficult, especially when you need your hands to actually do your hair. The key is doing just enough to get the results you are looking for. I have a serious problem with just being overly fascinated with my hair. On wash day, I have to snap out of just playing with my hair for no reason. Detangle as much as needed. Style as much as needed. But remember to cut out any unnecessary friction from your hands to your hair. The least amount of manipulation you can pull off, the least amount of frizz you will end up with.

10. Deep treatment

I have found that deep treatments for your hair makes a difference in how much frizz your hair naturally produces. If there is less frizz to minimize, then there is less you need to do overall. I love doing my protein treatments because I end up with silkier hair right off the bat. Incorporate a deep treat on your wash day and it will make a world of difference. I'm getting to the point now where any deep treat I do, I add a little baking soda in, and then once I'm done soaking up all the greatness, I rinse with my diluted apple cider vinegar and water mix, as I mentioned earlier. Everything seems to be an experiment with this journey doesn't it?

Frizz Freely, 
Z