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Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Easiest Dairy Free Nacho Cheese Recipe

www.mycandishoppe.com


I've been making this Nacho Cheese pretty often ever since I realized how easy it was.  Soaking nuts overnight is optional and depending on who is eating it (just me or the entire family), I can alter the heat in it but adding more Chipotle Peppers.  We love dipping Sweet Potato Wedges in it but it's perfectly fine with some chips or even veggies.  Scroll down + see how easy this one is... you will probably end up making this tonight!  LOL.

www.mycandishoppe.com

If you are making this in advance, feel free to soak your raw almonds overnight.  This will soften them up to make the cheese sauce as smooth as possible.  If this is a last minute thing, no worries, I got you!  Throw those raw cashews into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Once the water begins to boil, turn off the fire and let the cashews sit for about 15 minutes.

Vitamix E310

For this recipe, I'll be using my new Vitamix E310 that was gifted to me (thank you Vitamix!) as it has ALL the power you need to get this done in less than 2 minutes.  In the blender, combine all of your ingredients... Softened Cashews, Seasoning Mix (salt, chili powder, black pepper, nutritional yeast), Water and (1) Chipotle Pepper.

www.mycandishoppe.com

Slowly increase the speed on the blender until the texture is nice + smooth like nacho cheese.  Since using the new E310, I have not had to bang or shake the container when making things but feel free to do a little jiggling + jabbing if your blender has any trouble.  Once the consistency is to your liking, you're done!  Feel free to tweak this to your own taste but don't forget to come back + share so we can try it too.  Pour + Enjoy.

www.mycandishoppe.com


EXTRA:  Take (2) large Sweet Potatoes and cut them into a wedges.  On a baking sheet, spread them out so that they aren't touching each other.  Drizzle about (1) tbsp of Olive Oil over the wedges, Sprinkle about (1) tsp of Salt + (1) tsp of pepper.  Want some fun?  Opt to sprinkle (1) tbsp of Old Bay over the Sweet Potatoes instead of Salt + Pepper.  Man, this is some kind of delicious.  Bake on 425 for about 20-30 minutes depending on how thick the wedges are.  Dip + Enjoy.

www.mycandishoppe.com

Saturday, October 7, 2017

SHOPPETALK: 101
I Want To Be An Influencer



I know my crew has been asking for this post for a while now but honestly, I didn't feel like I had been through enough to speak on this topic.  Now that it has been a full three years of getting paid to "Influence" as a Blogger, sharing my insights and tips seems like the right thing to do.  Everyone is at different phases of "starting" so I will try to address a few of them while providing tips to progress each phase.  I don't want this post to be pages long so I've decided to expand this conversation into multiple posts.  You won't get a full blueprint by reading all of the posts, but you will get an outline + hopefully some direction.

Jumping into Phase 1: I want to be an Influencer but I don't have a Blog or YouTube channel yet and all of my Social Media is loaded with pictures of my family.  The first question I have for you is, why do you want to be an Influencer?  I ask this because when a person truly 'wants' something, they can't help but integrate that passion into their daily life.  The fact that you haven't started a Blog or YouTube channel even just to share with your friends + family on Facebook makes me question if you want to be an Influencer for the right reasons. Would you want to be an Influencer if there was no money or products involved?  I know, you're probably laughing right now but I'm so serious.  The majority of Bloggers + Influencers you see today started when no one was checking for them.  Products were being purchased with their own coin + shared with people they went to school with + followed them to be nice.  Though these were rough years for them, it's how they were able to build their authentic following.  And guess what?  Brands only want to work with you based on your authenticity + your following.   You can't be hella authentic with 10 followers and you can't have 100K followers and be fake AF.  Balance.  So I recommend you evaluate why you haven't 'started' doing anything to follow this path you love so much.  Start doing 'something' even if it means curating images of the products your family uses.  If you've only posted pictures of little Ray Ray then start sharing what products you use on little Ray Ray.  That could be your specialty... Family Blogging.  Once you start then you'll be ready to move on to one of the phases below.



Phase 2:  I have a great following on all of my Social Media platforms but brands never approach me about collaborating.  This is actually all too common, especially for those who recently graduated college.  Whenever you post a picture you tag every brand that can be seen including your panties.  Believe me, the brands are seeing this and scrolling right past.  You are not sharing an experience.  It's like you waving someone down and then when they finally come over, you have nothing to say.  Clean up your feeds and become more intentional about your content.  There's nothing wrong with posting a picture and tagging brands but instead of sharing an image of your newly redecorated bedroom with every brand tagged, caption reading: "I wanna put you to bed..." (J. Cole referenced)  Try referencing the products/brands you love the most about this new space + why you love them!  Before I move on to the next phase, I want to ask you how many brands have you reached out to via email?  Theres fifty eleven people trying to become Influencers every day.  Brands can't keep up and they surely can't find each and every person that may be a right fit for them.  Sometimes YOU have to be the go-getter.  Find their PR email and introduce yourself because if you're waiting for them to find you then you might be waiting longer than you need to.




Phase 3:  I just want free products, I'm not trying to work this into a business or anything.  My advice to you is start entering giveaways.  I'm dead serious!  Believe it or not, there will always be a certain amount of work required even to receive free products.  Look at these people receiving free products left + right, their feeds are impeccably curated + they're hella creative.  Brands want to know that there's a chance their products will end up on one of these gorgeous feeds.  They don't want their product stuck between a picture of some janky meme + the food at your niece's graduation cook out.  It takes time to photograph those products WELL + share a story that your audience will relate to.  So if you really just want products, I'm sorry to tell you that it will take creating a space that brands will want to be highlighted in.  It will take intention, creativity and lots of work!  I will be the first to tell you that when I get lazy and don't feel like posting to my Blog or Social Media, nobody sends me anything.  Real talk.  It does take a certain amount of 'work'.



Hope you enjoyed the first of several Blog posts dedicated to the many who are interested in this lifestyle.  I understand that while some may be ready to risk it all + quit their job at this moment that there are others who just want a side hustle which is why I provided the different phases.  Stay tuned as we continue to move through the various steps you can take towards this path.  In the meantime, figure out which phase you're in and define your goal.

Until next time XOXOMCS.
Monday, October 2, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Energy Balls

Pumpkin Energy Balls



I've made so many different variations of this Energy Ball but this is by far my fave.  For those that have been waiting, please know that I have been tweaking my little life away.  Not to be confused with twerking my little life away.  Huge difference!  Many Energy Balls have been consumed in your honor.  For the longest, they were coming out way too sweet but I finally have a snack that's sweet enough for the kids but not overly sweet for adults.  They take a good 15 minutes to make and if you can hold off on eating them all, they do best when put in the refrigerator or freezer until firm.  Try them + let me know what you think!  Oh, and don't hesitate to alternate ingredients to suit your diet or just switch things up (like adding nuts or grains).



Mix everything in a bowl thoroughly.  Use a tablespoon and grab a nice amount to begin rolling into balls.  The mixture should be solid enough for you to do so but if it's not, just place it in the fridge for about 15 minutes or so.  It will be sticky when you're rolling but if you find that it's too sticky then sprinkle more oats until you can reasonably roll the mixture into balls.  This should make approximately 10-15 Energy Balls (depending on size).  If you're interested in "making them look pretty" then roll the Balls in Coconut Flakes before refrigerating.  They don't last long in my house (maybe 2-3 days max) but they should last in the fridge for about a week or less and in the freezer for quite some time (I haven't tested this option yet because they don't last that long).

This recipe is super duper easy, I told you!  Keep an eye out for even more recipes that are just as easy as this one.

XOXOMCS.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

5 Ways I Use My Clarisonic

clarisonic smart profile


I've been raving about my Clarisonic for a while now.  Since, 2011 to be exact.  (check the receipts here)  It without doubt is one of the key components that helped clear my acne back then.  I still use it now in my skincare routine for many different reasons: Cleansing, Makeup, Body Exfoliation, Mask Removal + Skincare Absorption.  The one thing that I've loved about my device, is that over the years I've been able to buy new brush heads but haven't needed to buy a new device.  Recently, Clarisonic gifted me the Smart Profile device but my Clarisonic Pro had lasted me 5 years and was still working!  Initially I paid $250 for my Clarisonic Pro in 2011 and I gave it to my sister in 2016... now, that's what I call an investment.

clarisonic, urban skin rx, tgin, iman cosmetics, origins


Moving along...

1.  I use my device daily for cleansing, duh!  This is probably the most common use for it and for me daily use is necessary with my super oily + acne prone skin.  I know a lot of people can only use it every other day or every few days.  I recommend doing what's best for you or switching brush heads if you want to use it more.  Currently, I'm using the Sensitive Skin brush head for cleansing.  I use an Urban Skin RX Cleansing Bar with my Clarisonic device at least once a day + they've work great together at keeping my acne at bay.

2.  Unless you've been under a rock then you probably heard about the Foundation Brush that Clarisonic released this year.  It's a game changer.  Before this release, I had been eyeing other devices that worked similarly but never pulled the trigger because it just sucked having to buy yet another device.  In steps Clarisonic like... nah girl, we got you!  Changing the brush head is super duper easy.  Same goes for cleaning the brush head.  And as far as performance, you have never seen flawless application of foundation until you've used this.  It takes my face from a 7 to a 10 every single time.  Do I use it daily?  No (just being honest) because I'm not going for a flawless look daily but I definitely notice the difference (just being honest again).  For a cute $35, you might as well see what all the hype is about.

3.  It's summer time and we're all out here trying to get as Golden as possible in this here sun.  Don't get caught looking all patchy though... Body Exfoliation is necessary.  Most of us use a scrub to do the job which is nice and all but wouldn't you like to experience the finer things in life?!  *totally sarcastic* LMAO.  But seriously, its just so easy to switch out the brush heads and just use my Clarisonic to exfoliate versus adding yet another product to my shower routine.  Sometimes it seems like there's so much to do in the shower that it's time for me to take another shower by the time I finish showering.  I'm all about minimizing (IF I CAN) and my Clarisonic + brush heads let me do just that.  I like to use this with the TGIN soap bars since they're loaded with oils + I love the bar form!

4.  Now this latest technique was taught to me by Clarisonic recently and that's using the device to REMOVE my masks.  Yes, you heard me right.  I never thought to try this before and it made me wonder what I had been doing with my life all this time.  Let (claps) me (claps) tell (claps) you (claps)... this technique will have your skin feeling and looking all types of amazing.  It takes any mask you're using up a good 5 notches.  Currently love taking off my Algenist Clarifying Pore Correcting Mask (in the shower because it gets messy) using this method.

5.  The last use for my Clarisonic is skincare absorption and unfortunately it's only possible with the Smart Profile Clarisonic.  This is the one feature that is only available with this specific Clarisonic.  At first I didn't think it would really make a huge difference.  My fingers were doing a great job smearing my serums and creams onto my face.  Or so I thought...  This device works so good that it had my skin tingling using products that I've been using for years + it never tingled before!  The way your skin absorbs the skincare products you use is on another level.  In a way it becomes addictive!  LOL.  I want to feel that tingle, I want to see that glow in the morning, I want fast results.  I've been using this Urban Skin RX Vitamin C Serum with the Clarisonic Firming Massage Head and I swear this little tool speeds up my results when I use it versus when I don't use it.  I would say this tool is for those of us who are serious about skincare and don't mind making the investment.  If your skin is bomb even if you don't wash it daily + you use the same cleanser for your body as you do your face, then you can probably pass on spending the coins.  Although we need to talk about your priorities ASAP.

So that's it.  I just wanted to share all the ways I use this device so you guys don't think I'm just cleansing my face 5 times a day when I talk about it.  There are different devices out there on the market that can accomplish these tasks but I love that with my Clarisonic all I need to do is change the brush head, not buy a whole new device.  If you have any questions about which device might be best for you or which brush heads you should have in your arsenal, let me know... ask below!

Until next time... XOXOMCS
Friday, August 4, 2017

Stop Mom Shaming
Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom



Hey girl hey.  We're going to jump right into this one because the Mom hate has to stop.  If anything, we should be supporting each other through this journey not making each other feel bad.  School is starting back up so I know the side eyes are just getting ready to judge each other as I type.  This is a conflict I've been on both sides of before so I speak from experience.  I've been a Stay at Home Mom for the past two years (yes, it's been two freaking years!!) and although I'm thoroughly content in my space, I can tell it makes some uncomfortable.  Why?!  Because everyone is more worried about the grass of others...

As Moms, we have enough guilt to deal with.  The disapproving comments and glances are unnecessary really.  When I worked in the corporate sector, my hours were long and a third of my paycheck went to paying the Nanny.  I constantly forgot about Parent-Teacher Conferences and had to drag myself to school plays + musicals after work.  The guilt ate me up inside.  Here I had another woman raising my children (the Nanny) and I could barely muster up the energy to do what little was left for me as a Mother.  What I didn't need were additional comments from other Moms to make me feel less than.  You know... the "We missed you yesterday at the Field Trip Mrs. Horn", or the "Taylor is such a sweetheart, I love having her in my group when I volunteer".  All of it is to remind one Mom about how much she is missing out on.  Guess what... they know!!  Instead of the backhanded comments, have some compassion.  That Mom is doing everything she freaking can... it just may not be exactly what you're doing.  Let's learn to have a different approach.  If you're able to attend a field trip, take lots of pictures.  Then ask the teacher to share it with all the parents so that whoever missed out can get a glimpse at what their child experienced.  I've had a lot of parents do this for me over the years and every single time it put tears in my eyes.  It's thoughtful, its understanding... it's everything Motherhood is about!  We're in this together.

Now I know you didn't think I was going to forget about the "Oh, you don't work?" commentary that Working Moms give to Stay at Home Moms, did you?  Yes, she stays home!  That's her way of supporting her family and it fulfills her.  Or maybe it's temporary.  Hell, we've all been laid off before!  Either way, it's nobody's business.  Let me tell you something.  Those Stay at Home Moms can be LIFE SAVERS so instead of thinking your shit is perfect + isn't flawed, you better grab hold of one of those Moms because you never know when you may need one to help you.  Emergencies happen, last minute meetings pop up, shoot even traffic can be a huge deterrent.  Form a bond + get you a Stay at Home Mom who will stand in for you at school when YOU can't.  Believe me, your child will benefit more than you think!  My oldest daughter still remembers Mrs. Marsh inviting her to have lunch when she would drop by to have lunch with her own daughter... and that was in elementary school (she's headed to high school now).  Thank you Mrs. Marsh!

I say all of this to say that every Mom has their own battles.  We can either choose to help her fight or be another obstacle she has to face.  Let's uplift each other + encourage each other because in reality we have no idea what the future holds.  Motherhood is complicated enough, let's support our sisters + stop the judging.

Until next time... XOXOMCS
Thursday, July 6, 2017

Royal Sonesta New Orleans
(sponsored media stay)


Royal Sonesta New Orleans


In 2016, I stayed in Metairie for Essence Fest weekend.  Although the hotel was great, I hated being so far from all of the action.  I vowed to make sure I was in the middle of it all come 2017.  What's a trip to New Orleans if you're out in the suburbs, right?  Insert 2017 at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans and my experience was completely different.  In one word it can be described as LIT.

I'll admit, I've stayed at the Royal Sonesta Baltimore Harbor before so my expectations were already high.  But when I walked in, it was pretty evident that this hotel was not here to play.  Picture New Orleans vibe with a modern HGTV update.  Now when my stay is being sponsored by a hotel, it's hard to evaluate customer service because everyone is being super nice to YOU.  So, I like to observe how other guests are being treated.  You know, see things from their perspective... A real perspective!  The staff seemed to genuinely engage with guests whenever they could.  Whether it was a quick 'Good Morning' or a more in depth conversation about local happenings, the staff was super engaging.


Royal Sonesta New Orleans
Double Queen Guest Room
Royal Sonesta New Orleans
Gorgeous Bathroom
Royal Sonesta New Orleans
Courtyard

Royal Sonesta New Orleans
Lobby
Royal Sonesta New Orleans
Pool

Now that you're totally smitten with how fabulous the Royal Sonesta New Orleans looks (you shallow + superficial person you lol), let's move on to the FOOD.  Let's be honest.  I wanted to start with food but didn't want to come off super greedy.  The hotel has 4, yes FOUR, eating outlets on site.  When planning for this trip the anticipated weather claimed rain the entire stay.  First thing I thought was at least we'll have food right at the hotel.  LOL.  I kid you not!  We ate at two out of the four on site restaurants, Desire + the Jazz Playhouse.  At Desire, everyone seemed to have a platter of the grilled oysters on their table so that's what I ordered and it did not disappoint at all!  Truthfully, we revisited Desire a few times during this weekend and ordered the Grilled Oysters every single time.  The Jazz Playhouse was an amazing time and I actually enjoyed it WAY more than I thought I would.  Although, we ordered and thoroughly enjoyed the Roast Beef Debris Cheese Fries (Yes you read that correctly. No I didn't have a heart attack while eating.), the star of the evening was the Ella Fitzgerald's Pearflower Martini + the entertainment.  If you find yourself staying at the Royal Sonesta soon, DEFINITELY enjoy a show at least one evening.  


Royal Sonesta New Orleans, Desire Oyster Bar
Fried Oyster Po Boy

Royal Sonesta New Orleans, Grilled Oysters, Desire Oyster Bar
Grilled Oysters

Royal Sonesta, the Jazz Playhouse
Jazz Playhouse

Royal Sonesta New Orleans, the Jazz Playhouse


Would I stay here again?  ABSOLUTELY.  Even though the hotel is directly on Bourbon Street, having a courtyard view helped immensely with any noise/sleep concerns.  In fact, you would never know that we were on Bourbon street and a small carnival was happening outside of the hotel at 1AM!  If you're here for all of the action (noise included), just go ahead and reserve a street view room with a balcony.  The hotel is literally in the center of everything so getting to/from our destinations took minutes + was less than 2 miles.  With that being said, getting to our Ubers wasn't the easiest since the hotel is literally in the middle of everything.  LOL.  But hey, that was certainly an easy trade off!  If you've stayed at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans, how was your stay?  Or if you plan on staying soon, ask me any questions below in the comments.

Until next time... XOXOMCS





















Thursday, June 15, 2017

Taylor's Hair Care Regimen Post Big Chop


The other week, Taylor had the opportunity to do her very first Instagram Takeover on the Natural Hair Does Care account.  It was lots of fun but I thought I would share her routine here on the Blog for those who may have missed all the fun.  Taylor cutting her hair was all about making things easier for her + change.  There was no damage or relaxer to cut as she has been natural all of her life.  When she decided to chop it all off, we didn't realize how big of a deal it would be!  We received messages from all over and I literally couldn't keep up with them.  Turns out, when your 13 year old daughter decides to chop off bundles of hair for no reason it's kind of a big deal.  LOL.

Naturally, my first thought was to think of ways this could help other girls her age + possibly inspire them.  So, when Natural Hair Does Care reached out it seemed like the perfect opportunity.  Gratefully, Hot Heads (@thermalhaircare) + Camille Rose Naturals (@camillerosenaturals) agreed to hop on board and sponsor the project.  With Taylor wanting to take most of the work out of doing her hair, I've been helping by suggesting entire product lines that I know work hand in hand together. Yes, we all cocktail things from this brand and that brand but when you want to make things super basic, just grab all the products you need from the same brand.  So, she's been using Camille Rose Naturals for EVERYTHING... from Wash to Condition, from Leave-In to Styler.  Her life couldn't be simpler.  Well, it could but you know what I mean... Next, her hair has been super dry since it was cut.  I don't know what this is about at all but one thing that has been helping A LOT is Deep Conditioning.  As you can imagine, a girl who is trying to simplify Wash Day isn't trying to pull out a huge bonnet dryer to condition.  Insert Hot Head here.  When I tell you this is singlehandedly the simplest way to Deep Condition, believe me!  Taylor is lazy, LAZY and she doesn't mind heating this up in the microwave + wearing it for 30 minutes.  Which is a win for me because I can't have my baby walking around looking like a dry brillo pad.



Now on to her routine.

Cleanse: Sweet Ginger Rinse or CoWash with the Moroccan Pear Conditioning Custard
Condition: Algae Renew Deep Conditioner (this is her BAE)
Deep Condition: Hot Head (easy peasy for young naturals)
Leave-In: Curl Love Moisture Milk
Stylers: Curlaide Moisture Butter, Almond Jai Twisting Butter or Curl Maker
Oil: Regular Coconut Oil


All of the products she's been using are from Camille Rose Naturals + have been helping to combat her dry hair so much.  I love that the products are thick and effective so a little goes a long way.  I actually started using some of the products that were sent to her because I had never tried a few myself.  And, OMG, that Moroccan Pear Conditioning Custard is heaven sent.  Not only does it smell like bottled up Fruity Pebbles but the SLIP is on 100!  Top that with a Hot Head + my strands felt like butter after my conditioning session.  When Taylor styles her hair for the week she wants it to last ALL week and these products are perfect for that.  She may spritz a little water here + there but if she wears a bonnet every night (read: she's a teenager + forgets things all the time), she's good to go until the next Wash Day.

That's the thing about everyone's texture, we're all different.  Some of us can tolerate lots of heavy products + minimal manipulation while others would have weighed down frizzy hair if they did the same.  You have to do what works for you.  One thing that is constant in the Natural Hair Community is the need for moisture retention which both of these brands help with.  The rest is up to you... or like I say to Taylor ALL the time, "have you drank any water today?"  DRINK YOUR WATER.

If you did happen to tune into her Takeover, thank you for the support.  It truly made her day + meant the world to see such a positive response!

Shoppe Owner


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