Relaxer update – Waistlength

So I finally got my relaxer. After stretching for a whooping 8 months! Ok, I didn’t set out to stretch for 8 months. I was just too busy (read lazy 🙂 to relax my hair so I resorted to wearing protective styles the whole time. Mostly Cornrows (underneath a wig) and buns. It was really easy. If you wear your hair out often I don’t recommend stretching for more than 3 months. It could cause a lot of breakage if you do. So, here is what my hair looked like after relaxing and flat ironing it:

It’s still at waist length because it grew about 4 inches and i trimmed of the same amount because my ends were so scraggly and uneven. I recorded a youtube hair update video. Click here to watch it.

xoxo
Bey

Stretching my relaxer…. 8 months!

Ok, so I have not relaxed my hair in about 8 months. It hasn’t been that difficult considering the fact that I have been protective styling and haven’t actually worn my hair out in the entire 8 months. I recently took out the cornrows I’d been wearing for about 3 weeks and came face to face with  4 inches of thick, coarse, kinky new growth.

I plan to get my relaxer this week. In the meantime I am wearing mostly buns. I have to keep manipulation as low as possible because  the line of demarcation (where the new growth meets the relaxed growth) is susceptible to breakage. Here are some styles I am wearing:

My high bun

Front flat twists and bun

Candy cane mani

For this weeks mani, I was feeling a bit nostalgic and totally missing the “cold land up north”! So in her honor I decided to get a red and white mani. I think it looks more like a candy cane than a Canadian flag/symbol. Soo, this is what I ended up with:

I used a random white matte nail polish I got at the drugstore and a red nail art polish from Golden rose. Hope you like….

Hugs,
Bey

Trendspotting – Colored jeans

In line with the brights and pastels that are currently in style, colored jeans are everywhere:

Kim K

Rihanna

Ciara

Sarah Jessica Parker

I always thought you needed to have super slim, near perfect legs to pull off bright  colored skinnies but with the right cut and shoes, almost anyone can rock this trend. Oh and for longer looking legs try wearing shoes the same
color as your jeans.

Ciao bellas
B

How to Make Moi-Moi

Moi-moi is one of Nigeria’s most yummilicous foods. It’s made out of beans (blackeyed peas) which are blended, seasoned and then steamed. It’s positively delish!

This was my first (and may I add, last) time of making moi-moi with actual beans. I usually make it with bean flour/powder but everyone always goes on about how moi-moi tastes so much better when it’s made from actual beans as opposed to the flour so I thought I’d give it a try. And let me tell you, I will be going right back to the flour. Here’s the thing- if you use actual beans, you have to wash them… thoroughly. You have to get the skin completely off each bean. And please believe- washing beans… is not beans.

I suffered, y’all. I washed beans from morning to night. I looked up the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to see if beans washing was there. Lord!

It took me roughly ten years (give or take a few days) to finish washing the beans but I eventually got the beans from this-

To this-

When I was done, I sent out a BBM to my siblings and close friends telling them that if they ever heard me say that I was going to make moi-moi from beans again, they were to immediately call 911 because it obviously meant I was deep within the cruel grasp of psychosis.

And of course the suggestions and advice came pouring in. All, after the fact:

1. “Soak it overnight- the skin falls right off”

2. “Blend it dry for a bit first before you wash- the skin falls right off”

3. “Boil it for about five minutes and once the beans get hot, wash it- the skin falls right off”

4. “Just buy skinless blackeyed peas- the skin has already fallen right off.” *Insert shocked smiley face* Such a thing even exists?

Smh. Where were all of you 15 years ago when I started washing these beans?

In any case, here’s the recipe and some pics for you. If you can get the skinless beans, then the rest of the process is really a walk in the park.

After washing the beans (good luck), blend it into a fine paste.

Then season it. A lot of the seasoning is just done to taste so feel free to adjust this recipe based on your own preferences. I added half a bell pepper, one and a half hot peppers (I really like hot pepper) and one small onion.

I blended it all and then stirred it into the mixture.

Next, I added crumbled corned beef- I used about a third of a can- I would have used half a can, but that was all I had left in the house. I also added a couple of knorr cubes (you can use maggi cubes, of course, some salt, pepper, curry and crayfish (all to your taste) and a table spoon of vegetable oil.

Then I ladled the mixture into moi-moi pans. (Just ask for small tart pans at your grocery store. Or you could ask for moi-moi pans and see what happens. 😐 ) I prepped the pans by greasing each of them with a touch of vegetable oil. You can use cooking spray if you have it but you really don’t even need to do this. I just did it to make it easier to get the moi-moi out of the pan after cooking. I don’t even know that it made much of a difference. Make sure that you don’t fill the pans to the brim so that the moi-moi has room to swell.

Last, I added some slices of boiled egg and shrimps to each pan.

Then I steamed the moi-moi for 30 minutes. I don’t have a steamer so I just put water at the base of my large pot, put some aluminum foil over top of it, put the moi-moi on the foil, then used more foil to cover it all so that the steam gets trapped in to do the cooking and then I covered the pot. (The picture isn’t the greatest that ever lived but I hope you get it.)

And…. the moi-moi came out great.

UPDATE: I ate the moi-moi. And I changed my mind. I will definitely be making moi-moi again… with beans (not the powder). It was absolutely delicious… definitely worth all the work. I guess this is kind of like having kids. They get here and they’re so adorable and you love them so you forget how painful labor was and do it again. 🙂

I’ll definitely look for skinless beans though and if I can’t find those, then I’ll be trying one of the suggestions on how to get the skin off more quickly. And of course, I’ll keep you posted.

All the bestest!

Koko.

HELP- I’m on fire!

In January 2011, I stopped wearing acrylics after having worn them for 10 years straight. It happened because one day as I was whining about manicure costs in Ottawa versus Detroit, it occurred to me that I had spent 8000 dollars on fake nails. Dude, if you know the right people, 8000 dollars can get you a brand spanking new sexy as hell BMW. (Ok, maybe it would have to be old and used… a few times. Or it would have to have been in an accident… or four. Or it would have to have stolen parts… or be stolen.) But don’t get bugged down with details, point is- 8000 is a car. Possibly. Or at least, a bag. (And these days, that says a lot.)

Anyways, after all that money, I still had nails that were worn thin and unhealthy. So I decided to take a break from fake nails for a bit. And it turns out my real nails are decent. Matter of fact, the acrylic was actually what was damaging my nails. Left to their own devices, my nails are long, strong and healthy. Who would have thunk it?

Another plus is that instead of just the french manicures I used to do at the nail salon, now that I do my own nails, I experiment with color and simple designs- neons and newspaper print and gradients and smiley faces- all of which I will share with you eventually.

Which brings me (finally) to today’s topic- my crackle nail polish mani. In case you somehow missed it, crackle (or shatter) nail polish is a special polish that’s become popular over the last few years. It goes on as an overcoat (over a regular – and for best results, contrasting- polish.) The crackle polish then cracks or shatters as it dries, revealing slivers of the color underneath. I used red crackle over bright yellow- because I like the contrast.

It looks fiery and hot, like a bunch of red and yellow flames. 🙂

Ooooooh!

Here are the polishes I used.

The yellow was from CVS. It’s Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Nail Color in Mellow Yellow ($3.99)

The red crackle was from Rite Aid. It’s Sally Hansen Crackle Overcoat in Cherry Smash ($12.99- Rip off. Later saw it at Shoppers for $6.99- the exact same one! (disclaimer: tautology out of anger not ignorance.)

If you try this look, remember to put on a clear base coat before putting on any color to protect your nails from staining. Also put on a clear top coat to seal in the pattern/design and give you a glossy finish.

🙂

Koko

Lemon & Blueberry Birthday Cake


I started out wanting to make a blue cake. After making a Pink Lady Cake, which got its colouring from strawberries and Red Velvet cake that got its colouring from beets, I was determined to make a blue cake naturally. So, blueberries to the rescue. Now blueberries are natural, yes but blended blueberries mixed into cake batter and baked looks frightening unnatural so I had to back up that truck and try again. I really didn’t want whole blueberries so when I found this recipe that marbled the blueberries and the lemon cake batter – Eureka!!

I needed to make a cake to serve about 60 people so in addition to the two layers of Lemon-Blueberry marbled cake, I decided to make a Lemon Chiffon cake, which also yielded two layers. For the fillings, I used lemon buttercream frosting, blueberry jam and lemon curd.

To assemble this cake, I used

2 layers of lemon chiffon cake (10″ square)
2 layers of Marbled Lemon-Blueberry Butter Cake (10″ square)
2 cups of lemon curd
3 cups of blueberry jam
Swiss meringue buttercream

First, I placed one layer of Lemon-Blueberry cake on the serving platter. I placed 4 wide strips of wax paper under the four edges of the cake so I don’t mess up the platter. The filling is Swiss Meringue Buttercream, topped with blueberry jam.

The second layer is the Lemon Chiffon cake, topped with the buttercream, and meyer lemon curd.

The third layer is the Lemon Blueberry cake topped with blueberry jam. The top layer is the second layer of Lemon Chiffon cake. Then I crumb coated the cake and placed in the fridge to set. (Sorry, I don’t have a picture).

I put a cup of washed blueberries in a pan and added the juice of half a lemon. I swirled the blueberries over medium heat until they started losing their blue colour and turning maroon. I took it off the heat and left it to cool. While the blueberries cooled, I frosted the cake with the buttercream. Once done frosting, I placed the blueberries on top of the cake and done!

Enjoy,

Mak.

My tape mani – black and red

So today, I decided to try a tape manicure for the first time. I started with 2 coats of opi’s ‘because I said so’

Then I cut strips of scotch tape and stuck them on my nail like this:

You should remove the stickiness from the tape as much as possible before applying to your nails to prevent it from adhering to the base coat and ruining it when you take off the tape. So after applying the tape, I painted over it with sally hanson’s ‘teflon tuff’ black polish. I repeated the process with the tape inverted to create a lower triangle. After all of 20 minutes this is the finished result:

You could repeat the design or variations of it on different fingers. I decided to limit it to my accent finger. I hope you get a chance to try out this technique. If so, let me know how it turns out.

xoxo
Bey

Hi Hat cupcakes

After seeing this on Martha Stewart, my challenge was finding an excuse to make them.

Finally got my chance and it was fun to make. I used a different recipe for the chocolate cupcakes from Martha Stewart’s. The marshmallow frosting and chocolate topping were both from Martha’s.

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Dunking the cupcake in the chocolate caused a bit of anxiety but it was not justified at all because none of the cupcakes lost their frosting in the chocolate sauce.

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Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

From Fine Cooking 102 , pp. 86
Yields 24 cupcakes.

Ingredients

6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter; more for the pans
13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pans
3/4 cup canola oil
4-1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 cups granulated sugar
2-1/4 oz. (3/4 cup) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Instructions

Position racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the butter, oil, chopped chocolate, and 1 cup water. Heat over medium heat until melted.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder. Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the sugar mixture and whisk until combined.
Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda, and salt.

Fill each liner with enough batter to come 1/8 inch from top, about 1/3 cup. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool in pan for 10 minutes.

Marshmallow Frosting

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Show, May 2006.
Yields for 12 cupcakes (Double the recipe for 24)

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

In a large heatproof bowl, combine sugar, 1/4 cup water, egg whites, and cream of tartar.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on high speed until foamy, about 1 minute.

Set bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Beat on high speed until frosting forms stiff peaks, about 12 minutes; frosting should register 160 degreeson a candy thermometer. Remove from heat;

Stir in vanilla and almond extracts, and beat for 2 minutes more until frosting thickens.

Chocolate coating

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Show, May 2006.
Yields for 12 cupcakes (Double recipe for 24 cupcakes)

Ingredients

2 cups chopped (about 12 ounces) semisweet chocolate

3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Instructions

Combine chocolate and oil in a deep narrow microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave until almost all melted. Let cool about 15 minutes.

Construction

  1. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain pastry tip. Leaving a 1/8-inch border on each cupcake, pipe a spiral of frosting into a 2-inch-high cone shape, using about 1/2 cup of frosting per cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet, and refrigerate while preparing the chocolate coating.
  2. Holding each cupcake by its bottom, dip cupcake in the chocolate to coat frosting, allowing excess to drip off. Transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Spoon more coating around edge of cupcake and any exposed frosting; none of the frosting should show. Let cupcakes stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove paper liners from cupcakes, and discard. Place cupcakes on a serving platter, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let coating set. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours more. Serve cold. Cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.