MrsCKugs

I am not here for CiCi’s Pizza.

Two days before Thanksgiving, my husband and I were exhausted. We both work full time jobs, and were hosting turkey day. The kitchen was relatively clean, and neither of us were in the mood to mess it up with dinner. Around dinner time, my husband uttered the words that I would soon regret agreeing to:
"Do you want to go to CiCi's Pizza?"
For those of you that do not know, CiCi's is an all you can eat pizza buffet. The pizza isn't great, but it is cheap and there is plenty of it. Two grown adults can get full here for less than 20 dollars. You can feed an entire family of 5 for like 25 dollars. This is why I should have expected everything that happened.

We walk in the door, and I am treated to two little girls attempting to bargain with the cashier. Their parents aren't paying them a bit of attention. One girl was roughly 7 or 8, the other 5 or 6. between the both of them they had two dimes and a penny, and was trying to convince the cashier to trade them for two quarters O.o. The cashier was patiently explaining to them that the money they had equaled 21 cents and that she could not give them two quarters because that was 50 cents.
"Well, can we have a quarter?"

Parents, please do better with your children. I know math is difficult, but don't have your little kids up there asking for random amounts of change. It makes me want to grab a whiteboard and sit people down and teach math.

We should have walked out then. Eventually they got the hint and returned to their seats. We paid for our meals, got our drinks, and proceeded to grab some pizza. There are children running EVERYWHERE, parents not paying attention, and little kids playing at the soda fountain. I walked out the door, looked up, and came back in. My husband asked me what I was doing. "I wanted to make sure we aren't at Chuck E. Cheeses.

Go be a kid here. Where it says you can be one.

Go be a kid here. Where it says you can be one.

Eventually someone notices that their kid is up to no good. Instead of going to grab them we were treated to the following for roughly 10 minutes:
"David...David come here.. DAVID I SAID COME HERE!!! DAVID PUT THE SALAD TONGS DOWN AND COME HERE! DAAAAAVIDD WHAT ARE YOU DOING COME HERE I SAID!!" For. Ten. Minutes. Believe me, I counted.
My second trip to the pizza line, and I just gave up at life. I was attempting to recover from a long day. The day was nothing but a series of disasters, one right after another, and I was trying to just eat dinner in the midst of Lord of the Flies.

(Me, shortly before we took our leave Fox.com)
A little girl had been ripping and running up and down near the pizza the entire time we were there. I knew something was going to happen, and knowing my luck, I should have known this was going to happen to me. The little girl weaved through my legs as I was taking a step. I stumbled, but righted myself, but my pizza? Landed right on top of her. She began to shriek like she was on fire. No worries, I didn't burn her. Pizza was lukewarm.

At that point, I felt like I should probably leave this place. I set my plate down next to the little girl who was now alternately shrieking and eating the pizza from her head, grabbed my purse, and my husband and left.

Cici's pizza isn't the best thing on earth, but it is plentiful. The employees are super nice. They greet everyone that comes in the door, they visit the tables and ask if there is a specific kind of pizza you would like to see on the bar. They deal with this nonsense EVERY DAY.  There is one particular guy, I am not sure if he is a manager or not, but you can tell he truly loves what he is doing and I appreciate that. However, I feel like CiCi's is the place where people are going to congregate after the apocalypse happens and they are left behind. Just a bunch of crazy people, honey badgering it.

www.clantoolz.com

www.clantoolz.com

I hope Mary Shelley comes back from the dead and punches someone.

I need to tell you a story.

Many years ago when I was a junior in high school, we were tasked with the reading of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Our teacher (HEY MRS. STOKESBERRY!!!) being the awesome person that she was, showed us the movie as well.

Dear reader, I don't do well with horror flicks. I have an overactive imagination, and incredibly vivid dreams. These can sometimes turn into vivid nightmares. The three weeks we spent with this book and movie, I don't think I got a full night's sleep. The version of Frankenstein we watched was the 1996 version with Robert De Niro.

Frankenstein

I feel like he captured the pure essence of Frankenstein's monster.

Imagine my shock (Not really, they are remaking everything) when I go to the movies a couple weeks ago and find out there is a new Frankenstein movie coming out called "I, Frankenstein." Imagine my utter dismay when I found out Frankenstein now looks like this:

i-frankenstein-movie-aaron-eckhart
(From the website http://teaser-trailer.com/movie/i-frankenstein/)
.....

I apologize right now for everything I am about to say, because I am going to go into a rant. When I saw this on the screen at the movies, I was whipped into such a frenzy that the woman next to me moved, terrified at what I was going to do next.

Look, I realize that this movie is based off a graphic novel. However, you kept the spirit of Mary Shelley. The monster was created.

FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER WAS MADE FROM THE BODIES OF DEAD CHOLERA PATIENTS AND THE AFTERBIRTH OF WOMEN!!!
This Frankenstein looks like they hacked up the torso of Hugh Jackman, put some scars on it for effect, and said "Done!"
Look here Hollywood. Mary Shelley did not go through everything she did in life to get that book published for you to come along and sex it up. I WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS!

What the hell happened to the creature that tormented my dreams?
My husband does not understand my unusual rantings about this book/movie. Hollywood WILL NOT turn this into some Twilight franchise. NO.

Now, if you need me, I will be rocking in the corner. I swear on everything that's holy, if this Frankenstein sparkles, I will punch the nearest person in the face.

When a geek really, really really loves a product.

 

Yes, I am channeling Bryan Adams, so what?

I am stuck in the 90s. This is a known fact to my family and friends. When I found out the Theme song to Portlandia included the lyrics “The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland,” I started looking for jobs and a house in Portland. They are my peeps!

Sadly though, I never made it to Portland, though I plan on visiting someday. My husband keeps asking me “Why on earth do you want to visit Portland?” I just scream “THE DREAM OF THE 90s IS THERE, DO YOU NEED ANY OTHER REASON!?” He goes back to his computer and rolls his eyes. Hater.

As part of my 90s loving, I tend to listen to a lot of music from my teenagedom/young adulthood. A lot of Nsync, and R&B, back when it was great. All of my music is on my phone, and nowadays, ear buds come standard with phones. Here is a little secret. I can’t stand ear buds. No offence to them, but my ear holes are tiny or something, and they just fall out. My husband, noticing my sad predicament got me some bigger headphones. While I do love these things, I can’t really wear them in the office. Could you imagine me looking like this showing up to fix your computer?

Plus I spend roughly 80% of my day on the phone. So no, headphones would not work.

My husband to the rescue again.

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While this thing may look like a Pokeball (which is what I call it), It is in fact a Bluetooth speaker by DBest of London.

This little thing is great. It fits in the palm of my hand, so it is unobtrusive. I sit it on my desk, hear a little *blorp* noise, and know my phone is connected. I am enjoying tunes and podcasts all day with this thing. It charges by USB, so If I am worried that it is going to die, I charge it the night before I go to work. This thing has a lot of battery power however. The most I used it without charging was two weeks straight for 8 hour days.

It does have it’s drawbacks. If I pause whatever I am listening to, leave the range of the speaker, and then come back, it does not automatically connect. I either have to turn it off and turn it back on or turn off the Bluetooth on my phone and turn it back on. It also have little crevices that are hard to keep clean. I am not the tidiest person in the world (read: Messy Marvin), but I do take a Q-tip around it every once in a while.

It comes with it’s own little velvet pouch (LIKE A MINI CROWN ROYAL BAG Y’ALL!) and a USB/audio plug in adapter, just in case you don’t want to use the Bluetooth. I keep the adapter in the pouch along with the speaker when not in use and stick it in my purse. It takes up hardly any space. I love the fact that I can take it anywhere.

I loved it and raved about it so much that my husband asked for one for Christmas, and ended up getting a non Bluetooth one on accident. Oops. He’s still quite pleased with it.

So, tell me, what little gadget do you rave about to people? Is it something I would like?

 

**This is totally not a paid advertisement. DBest of London has no clue who I am. If they did I may fan girl out, and they would pelt me with speakers to make me go away. This was a gift from my husband. WE share the same bank account, so you know, I paid for it too. There you go FTC.**

Camping…Geeky Style.

 

Those that know me, know that I am.. a bit of a prissy person. That’s a lie. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a LOT of a prissy person. A year or so ago, my husband broached the subject of camping. Apparently him and his family did it a lot growing up. This was new to me. My family’s idea of a vacation growing up was a theme park close to home. I was interested in this thing he called “camping.”

Imagine my prissy surprise, when I found out about tents, and PUBLIC BATHROOMS! Pretty much anyone will tell you that my worst fear, other than spiders, are public bathrooms. I always end up in one where someone is making weird noises in another stall. I can’t take it.

If we were going to go camping, we had to do it my way. We rented a cabin in a campground (with a private bathroom) and it was great. I had a great time. We made fire, had s’mores, cooked out, and just relaxed.

A year later it was vacation time again. I booked another cabin in a different part of our state.  It was in the middle of nowhere with questionable cell service. We drive two hours to this campsite, to have no one greet us when we get there. No one to check us in, and no one to give us keys to the cabin. To say I was livid was an understatement.

On the way down, my husband noticed a campground he went to as a child, and recommended that we go there for the night, and see if we can get in touch with someone the next day.

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We pull into Starve Hollow State Park, and was able to book a couple of nights in a cabin. I didn’t pay attention to the woman checking us in, until she said “comfort station.” Ladies and gentlemen of the geekies, a comfort station is another word for public restrooms and showers.

*Cue minor freakout*

We had to head back into town, because the cabin has a bed frame, but no mattresses. We needed a blow up mattress, and some other essentials. We also ate in town, because it was getting so late.

We get back to the cabin, and I decide to check out the comfort station. All I could think was nasty filthy public restrooms. Imagine my surprise!

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These restrooms were probably cleaner than mine at home! I had no problems with them at all. The rest of our (brief) vacation was fun. I tried my hand at campfire cooking.

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And made a pretty good (if I do say so myself) chicken and noodles

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We ate this with this gorgeous view

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After this trip, I feel like I could handle pretty much anything camping wise. I even made a little friend! His name is Gloomy.

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We are thinking of taking another quick camping trip soon. I am so looking forward to it. We both are. We both enjoy camping so much that for our 5th wedding anniversary, we are thinking of purchasing an RV, for jaunts like this. I want an Airstream (completely out of our price range), my husband on the other hand, has his heart set on an RV like the one from Breaking Bad. I just arch my eyebrow at him and gave him severe side-eye.

No matter what we do, I am totally excited. Who knew the great outdoors could be so much fun?

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A special non hair post.

A year has passed. One year since our lives have changed completely. One year ago on Sunday our dog, Camilla went missing. Nothing has been the same since.
We miss her so much. She was a timid, but happy dog, always eager to play. She was unsure of children, always preferring to spend time with my husband or me.  Her pal Lily misses her desperately as well. I don’t think Lily will ever get used to sleeping alone.
One year. 4 seasons. Life goes on for so many people, but not for me. I can’t stop thinking about her.
I love you Camilla. I always will.
If you have any information on Camilla, please contact me at 317-759-4523. You can call or text.
I would also like to thank Indianapolis Lost Pet Alert for their tireless help, not just for us, but thousands of other Indianapolis dogs. 

WHYYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I am not truly a product junky. Yes, I have a ton of samples floating around my house, but I don't run out and buy the latest and greatest thing (Not anymore at least). I have 3 staples.

  1. Belle Butters  - Premium whipped Shea Butter
  2. Nothing But Curl Wake Up Spray
  3. Kyah Alexandria Hydra Moist Leave in Conditioner

You will noticed that third one is not hyperlinked.

Leave in conditioner lasts me a really long time. I don't need a whole lot of it. I plop a little bit on right out of the shower, and then use my Belle Butters to take me the rest of the way.

KYAH ALEXANDRIA DONE GONE OUT OF BUSINESS YALL!!!! *SOBS*

I am nearly out of it after two years (told you it lasts me a while), and I went to the website to purchase more. Every time I clicked the link to the product, it would give me an error. So I tried other links on the page. Dead as well. I went over to her Facebook page and found this:

"Hi all. After much deliberation and careful consideration we've made the decision to close down kyah Alexandra. I've had a few deaths among family and friends this year. Soon we'll have a new baby and will be attending graduate school. So as you can see a lot is going on and will be going on in the upcoming year. I will still make myself available for those who have questions about their natural journey. Therefore I will keep the Kyah Alexandria Facebook page active as well as the YouTube channel. Most importantly, I would like to thank you for all your support and business."

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?!

I have a backup leave in conditioner that I use (Shea Moisture), but I don't really like it. It is watery and doesn't give me the moisture I need like Kyah. 

Do you have any suggestions on a great leave in? Have you had a product you love discontinued? What did you do?

Les Miserables

I want you to close your eyes and imagine something. I want you to picture an awkward, overweight, black teenager, around 15/16 years old in 1997-98. Her hair is wild, broken off in some places, sticking out in others. Her clothes fit, but are the complete opposite of ‘Cool.” Her parents buy for her what they can, but plus sizes for teens are not what it is today.  Imagine her at school. She’s smart, but her grades are mediocre at best. She has friends, but she fits in nowhere. A lot of the Black girls in her classes are mean and vindictive. It will be another 5-6 years before she realizes that a lot of their mean and hateful words were from pure jealousy. In the meantime she is barely surviving school.
Her father is in an out of her life. Her mother is always either at school or at work, hardly any time for her. She is on her own.
This girl was me. I was so lost for so long. I had a deep-seated loneliness, and a craving to be accepted anywhere by anyone. Don’t get me wrong. I had morals, and convictions, and held steadfastly to them (read: I was terrified to have sex). But I was different. I saw things around me differently than other people. I still do.
From age 14 to age 18 I participated in a program called Upward Bound. The highlight was every summer; you got to spend 6 weeks on a college campus. The campus I was on was Indiana Wesleyan University. You spent time in classes that mimicked what you would be going into the next year. The core classes, Math, English, and Science were the main ones, but you also got to choose ‘electives’. One year I remember taking Spanish (it was the only foreign language they offered, I took French during the regular school year). We have some free time, which I spent on computers, in chat rooms, watching movies, hanging with friends.
Two years I was in the choir as my elective. I can’t remember what we did the first year, other than the song “Dancing in the Street.” The second summer I was in choir changed my life. It changed who I was as a person.
I’d listen to musicals before. Not much however. The only two musicals I knew before this were “Oklahoma” and “The Wiz.” Our instructor introduced us to this musical called “Les Miserables.”
“He stole bread and went to prison. He kept trying to escape so they added time to his sentence. Eventually he was in prison for 19 years. All for a loaf of stolen bread.” I giggled as she told us the story. Then, we listened to the songs we would be singing. For the first (and not the last) time in my life, a chill shot through my body. Every hair on my body stood on end. This man’s plight was my plight. I was in a prison for 4 years. 4 years of high school, of misery, of being different and ostracized for it.
Then Eponine’s “On My Own.” As I am now 30 years old, I realize that every girl sees herself as Eponine at one point in her life or another. But as those lyrics blasted from the CD player, it was as if she put my soul upon the altar for everyone to see. I was Eponine. She was me.
I ended up playing Eponine for our brief musical performance. I belted each of those words as if they were my last. I showed no fear, no anxiety, because this was me. This was who I am, and this musical allowed me to show that.
The summer ended, and I was back at school, but that musical still had a hold of me. I eventually purchased (from my meager savings) what I thought was the entire musical (It ended up being the abridged version) and listened to it CONSTANTLY. I knew every word, every inflection of every song.
It sounds silly, but knowing there were people out there, who felt like me, who felt the same way I did made my life a little easier. I may not have a place in Kokomo, but it was a big world out there, and there were people out there just like me. I shed my skin of insecurity, hopelessness, awkwardness, and became stronger. I stopped caring what people thought about me. I knew who I was, and nothing anyone said, or did was going to change that.
I may not have achieved greatness, but I have carved out an amazing life for myself. I have stayed true to who I am. It was a musical that helped me find out who I am. It also led me to music I would have never heard on my own (*snort* on my own).
I went and saw Les Miserables in the movie theater this past weekend. I am not sure what I expected. What I did not expect was to be transported back to that 16-year-old girl, discovering a completely different world for the first time.  I sobbed as everyone died (They were not kidding when someone said the name of it should be changed to “Everyone Dies: The Musical”). I felt the love of Cosette and Marius. I felt it all, and felt changed again.
I know this isn’t a hair or product entry. But I had all of this in my heart. I needed to share, to make you understand who I am, where I come from, and how I got here. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

When I first went Natural

When I first went natural
Before all of my relaxed hair (what remained of it) was shorn, I imagined I would have the cute spiral curls of my hairdresser. How misguided I was about my hair. I was incredibly misguided on the thoughts of my hair. I had not seen my natural hair before. Every girl I knew had some semblance of those loose spiral curls.
Not me.
Lord, not me.
Super kinky curly in the front, even tighter in the middle of my hair, and long and loose in the back, I have a garden of textures.
A garden, that sounds better than a nightmare doesn’t it?
The fact of the matter is, I am frustrated. I haven’t been taking care of my hair and it shows. The right side of the middle of my hair feels incredibly shorter than the left middle side. My hair is dry, and because the curls in the back are looser and more elongated, without my trusty headband I have a mullet. A Billy Ray Cyrus, Achy Breaky Heart Mullet.
IT'S NOT EVEN THIS LONG!!!!!!
I’ve neglected my hair, my blog, pretty much everything.
My hair is so bad, on my days off, I am reaching for my hat. The hat has a huge hole in it, and freaked me out, but I safety pinned that sucker and went on about my business. I would wear that hat at work, but I don’t think I am allowed to wear hats at work. I never asked. Asking about hat wear for work is a little extreme even for me.
I can’t keep neglecting my hair. I can’t keep being embarrassed to go out without my hat. Or headband.
This is the first step.
What are you trying to change?

Pampering Day- The Results.

Hey guys,

Coming at you with an incredibly late post on what I did on my pampering day.

Between going to school and working full time, I get run down fairly quickly. This is not good as it will affect my work and school performance. Not to mention our household. Both my husband and I burn the candle at both ends, so our house ends up looking crazy, which is a cause for depression. No one wants the place they call their sanctuary to look like a hoarders nest. 

Never this bad, but you get the point.
Think of it as the hierarchy of needs. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is as follows:
From Wikipedia

What Maslow is saying is that your base needs have to be met in order for you to have any awareness of self. I am going to take it a step further and say you have to take care of yourself before you are able to take care of anyone else. So this is what I was going to do.
Hubs had to be out of town for work one weekend. I was going to take some time and do me and just be happy. That is what I did. 
I started off creating a hot oil treatment for my hair.
Cast of Characters: coconut oil, honey, Moroccan oil. I wanted olive oil, but I thought I was out. After I got finished, I discovered that the olive oil was on the kitchen stove. In front of my face. Bah.
I put my tea pot on to boil and doubled up two sandwich bags. I placed the oils and honey in the sandwich bags. I put the sandwich bags in a plastic container and poured the hot water in the container. 
I'm meelllting!!!!
I waited until the mixture was pretty much melted. I squished the bag between my fingers to combine all the ingredients. I then applied it to my hair and slapped a processing cap on. 
A little hint if you are going to do this, no matter how much preparation you have, it is going to get messy. Have your areas covered, and have a towel around your neck. More on this later.
I then began to draw my bath (doesn't that sound elegant!?). 
Sorry it is so blurry, its my camera phone. Cast of characters: Melon bubble bath, rose shaped soaps, giant lemon fizz ball, and essential oils that smell like Cool Water for Women. 
I ran the bath and dumped in bubble bath. I chopped off a piece of the fizzy ball and dropped it in there. I dumped in the rest of the oil and then I got to the soaps... Oh the soaps. Let me post the instructions about the soaps to you:
  • Fetch some pieces
  • Dissolve in some water
  • Scribble in the skin

I stared at them blankly, especially the scribble word. I am assuming that is a British thing, as I have never heard the word used in that context before. But oh well.

The resulting bath.. ahhhhh

 One more thing. My book.

The Playboy Prince by Nora Roberts.. ahh trashy literature!

I soaked for about an hour when a problem was becoming more and more apparent. The oil on my hair was getting EVERYWHERE. In my eyes, behind my ears, just all over the place. I eventually gave up, cleaned myself, and rinsed myself off. I twisted my hair and just relaxed the rest of the day. It was so nice. When I untwisted my hair the next day it was soft and manageable. One less stressor in my life!
What do you do to unwind? What is the most relaxing scenario you can think of?

Oh Whitney…

 

 

I wasn’t going to write about this. But after watching countless videos on Youtube today, and that hard sad ache I felt when I watched her mother be carried down the isle after her funeral, I feel like I must.

I was 10 years old when The Bodyguard came out. I had listened to Whitney Houston’s music before this. I have a memory of being twirled by my mother to ‘I wanna dance with somebody’. I remember trying so hard to belt out the notes just like her. The Bodyguard however, was one of the first tapes I owned that I listened to and enjoyed every single song. I had all the songs memorized, and made my own dance steps up to the songs (in the privacy of my room of course!).

Listening to her music and singing the songs, I believed one day that I could be just like Whitney. Growing up in a small town, and living on the side of town that was predominately white, she gave me an ideal to want to be. She was as dark as I was, with many of my features. You didn’t see that very often.

I missed watching the funeral today. I did see parts in recaps however. I smiled at the memories shared by Kevin Costner and tears ran unbidden down my cheeks for her mother and her family. I winced at Alicia Keys screaming at me.

Whitney Houston gave a fat awkward black girl hope. She showed me you didn’t have to be high yellow or have Caucasian features to make it in this world. You have your talent and your heart. That is all you really need. Some people will argue with me that it didn’t hurt the powerful family and friends she had behind her. No, it didn’t hurt. But you can’t tell me that she was carried by them. She let her voice do the talking.

Now, I don’t sing. Not in public anyway. I have a crippling anxiety when even thinking about singing in public. But thinking of Whitney in high school led me to try out for the choir. And I made it. She is one of many people who showed me a way to be the best person I could be. For that I will be forever grateful.

Good bye Whitney Houston. I hope you found the peace you never seemed to find here on this mortal coil. I hope you look down on this earth and know how much you were loved and treasured.