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Friday, December 4, 2015

Meet Knight: My Sony A5000 Camera



This is just a preliminary meet and greet for my camera, Knight.  He is the uber popular Sony Alpha A5000 in the color black.  I am a camera amateur and like to have very user friendly cameras with lots of bells + whistles.  This one feels like it was made just for me.  I've had the camera since April of this year and thought it would be helpful/useful for me to share why I love this thing.  If you are a Photography Pro, then you may find this post a little beneath you.  This post is more for the beginners like myself who are in the market for a camera for basic photos and filming.

This camera is LOADED with amazing features.  Finding and using these features have been made super easy and doesn't even require reading a manual.  Now, I did spend quite a few hours just oogling over my new baby when he came in the mail which gave me more than enough time to learn some quick tricks.  Straight out of the box, I was able to achieve super focused pictures with the background blurred or out of focus.  This blew my mind.  Never have I been able to get pictures like this with any other camera and kit lens.  Maybe I needed to do more research and learn how to use those previous cameras more BUT we have to keep in mind that I was able to get this photo effect straight out the box!  If you're unsure what I'm talking about, see the picture below.

notice the out of focus background

Next let's talk about the quality of pictures and videos.  One word.  Phenomenal.  I use this camera mostly for filming YouTube videos so I will talk about that first.  The camera does a great job at focusing on the main subject... whether that's you or a product you're showing.  Click here to view a video that showcases this feature well!  Now I'm sure there are some technical terms people use for this but like I said, I am an amateur and this post is for amateurs like me.  So back to the picture quality.  I find that the camera is amazing at providing high quality video while at the same time subtly smoothing out imperfections.  I'm not saying to film with a bare face and expect to look like Beyonce in the video.  That's what you shouldn't do... unless you're Beyonce obviously.  Now when I use the camera for pictures, the pictures are definitely more revealing.  The photos are certainly high quality BUT you will need to photoshop them for imperfections... even the smallest ones.

Okay on to some techy features.  How would you like to always post high quality pictures to Instagram no matter where you're at?  Well that is possible with the Sony Alpha line.  The A5000 has it's own built in Wi-fi that allows you to connect your phone and transfer pictures immediately.  You can be out in the middle of nowhere with no public Wi-Fi and still be able to transfer pictures from the camera to the phone. I know... MIND. BLOWN.  In the same way that you can use the camera's Wi-Fi to transfer pictures, you can also you it's Wi-Fi to control the camera via your smartphone.  Other cameras that I've had required you to buy a separate remote for this feature but it's built right on in there!



This camera has come in handy at events that I've attended and also wanted to provide my Instagram Account with coverage of what's happening.  While other Bloggers were lugging around huge ass cameras and not able to upload pictures until later, I was able to carry my little Knight and upload high quality pictures at the drop of a dime.  I can't say I'm breaking my camera out for every selfie but I do find myself using my camera WAY more than I've used any other camera I've owned.  Now this baby comes with a fairly hefty price tag.  It's actually "cheap" in comparison to other popular cameras in the Canon or Nikon family.  For a cute $398+ you can have your very own Sony Alpha Camera!  I purchased mine from Amazon here and subsequently purchased about (4) memory cards since.  When you have such a handy camera, you will find yourself going through memory cards monthly almost.

As I said, this is just a preliminary introduction to my Sony A5000, Knight.  In no way is this absolutely everything the camera does or a full explanation of all it's features.  I just wanted to share the features that wow me the most as a Blogger.  If you're interested in learning more detailed information about this camera just let me know and I will do my best!  Until next time.  XOXOMCS
Monday, November 30, 2015

Protective Styling with TGIN: Fall Hair



This is for all the lazy naturals out there like myself.  If even the thought of installing a Protective Style makes you tired then this short term protective style is right up your alley.  I've been doing crown braids using cheap braid hair for some time now.  It's the easiest style to install and spruce up a low ponytail.  Below are the steps to achieve the style and links to purchase the products.
TGIN has sponsored this blog post.

TOOLS:

I purchased Kanekalon Braid Hair from Sally Beauty Supply Store for super cheap.  Like $2.59 cheap!!  The darker hair I used (found here) is the color 1B and the bright magenta color I used was also purchased at Sally Beauty but doesn't appear to be sold online.  I took a small fraction of the Magenta hair and combined it with all of the darker hair.  I tied a large rubber band in the middle of the hair and braided each end of the hair.

PROTECTING YOUR HAIR:

Under your Protective Styles it's super important to keep your own hair moisturized... Even if it is short term.  Prior to installing your style, I would recommend Washing and Deep Conditioning.  My personal favorite for Deep Conditioning is the TGIN Honey Miracle Mask.  If you haven't tried it yet, you really need to because I am 100% sure you will love it. This Deep Conditioner provides an incredible amount of slip PLUS gives your hair ALL the moisture.  Once you're done washing and begin prepping your hair for styling, make sure you not only use a great moisturizer but you also SEAL that moisture in with an oil.  For this style, I used the TGIN Buttercream Daily Moisturizer and the TGIN Hair and Body Serum to seal in that moisture.  The reason I used this Daily Moisturizer is because it also has amazing slip, it's lightweight and adds the perfect amount of moisture for this Protective Style.  Be careful not to make this ponytail too tight since you will be leaving it in for a little while.  You don't want that tension on your edges.



DIRECTIONS:

Brush your hair into a low ponytail and create a tiny bun.  You can either use a black elastic band to secure your ponytail or braid your hair and pin.  If your hair is too long to do either without it looking 'jacked' then part your hair down the middle and do two french braids or twists going back and pin the hair milkmaid style.  Next take the faux hair mixture by the rubber band secured in the middle, extend the rubber band and wrap the band around your low ponytail bun.  If you did a braid instead of a ponytail bun then just pin the faux hair in the center using a bobby pin.  Speaking of bobby pins, you will need quite a bit from here!  Where to go from here should be pretty obvious.  Take a braid from one side and wrap it completely around your head then pin away to secure.  Do the same with the braid on the other side.  Once you're done pinning, the style is complete!

Reading the directions above while watching the short YouTube Tutorial may help you understand better how this all comes together.  You can either click the link here to watch or press play below.



Sunday, November 22, 2015

MCS Goes Vegan: Update


Two weeks ago today, I began a journey to transition to Vegan.  Although, the idea was to "transition", I knew that I was going hard core.  So for the first 5 days, I was completely vegan with no slide backs.  Then my first downfall came when I stopped by Wegmans and passed their Deli.  I literally could smell the cold cuts which triggered an insane mental battle questioning whether one meal would 'really' ruin my journey.  I'm sharing this with you because I want to be entirely honest about this journey with you!  Yes, the days before I felt strong and determined but I also had not gone out to anywhere that had temptation.  So, I grabbed that sandwich from Wegmans and ate it... ALL!  Then I reasoned with myself that since I had 'ruined' the day with the sandwich, I might as well eat the leftover Popeyes in the fridge (my family is not transitioning with me).  That day was not the best day for me. At first I felt defeated and weak but then I realized and 'remembered' that this was a journey.  I needed to learn from these downfalls so that I could do better next time.  You see, when I was at Wegmans it was hours past my lunch time and I had no 'good' snacks to hold me over.  I was already in a very vulnerable state with no idea when I would be eating anything.  This was the lesson.  Prepare better.

I don't want to just share the downfalls because I've done quite well on many other days.  The Thug Kitchen Book (see previous post here) has helped me make some delicious meals and as always, Google has been a good friend.  I'm still not interested in making salads with 7 different greens or Acai Bowls that require cutting up 10 different fruits.  They're all appealing to me, but keeping things very basic has been super satisfying so far.  Breakfast is usually a Smoothie with Almond or Coconut Milk, a Banana, Spinach/Kale/or a Scoop of Amazing Grass.  Morning Snack is usually a half a bagel with Vegan Butter or Vanilla Almond Butter.  Lunch example would be Vegetable Fried Rice (Vegan Style) or a huge plate of raw cut up seasoned fruits/veggies .  Dinner is Vegan Chili with Tofu or Black Beans with Sauteed Kale.  Obviously these are just examples and I'm not literally eating these meals every single day.  Prior to going Vegan, this basic style of eating is actually how I ate anyways... very simple yet satisfying meals.

In my first week, I decided to make the decision to be Vegan 5 days out of the week.  Maybe it was the cravings, maybe I just wanted to set a more attainable goal for me right now.  Going hardcore wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but I sensed that I would give up soon if I didn't slow down a bit.  The best part is that this journey is personal, it's mine.  I started this journey towards a better lifestyle for the benefit of ME.  Since making the decision to slow down, things have been much smoother.  I may kick things into full gear again in the near future but for now, this is the plan.

Just wanted to check-in and let you guys know how I was doing.  I'm not perfect and I'm not aiming to showcase perfection but rather a REAL journey.  The ins and outs... ups and downs.  As always, if you have any helpful tips feel free to share below in the comments.  XOXOMCS
Monday, November 16, 2015

The Non-Traditional Holiday Dinner


The Holidays are upon us (Idk why I love saying the word 'upon' LOL) and it's time we start thinking about dinner.  Truthfully, any time is good enough to start thinking about eating.  I can't remember a year where I didn't tire myself making a Holiday dinner.  We even start cooking days in advance which means we are tired for days while cooking up all this food.  And, for what?  To barely eat a plate because we're so tired.  It's a crazy cycle that we put ourselves through every single year.  We really don't have to.  So many restaurants + markets have provided us with options to order all or just a portion of our dinner and guess what?  That's exactly what I'm doing this year!



We haven't done Turkey in so long.  It's just not a meat that I prefer to eat... not over a juicy Ham at least!  But, this year we are purchasing our Turkey from Popeyes!  Yes, Popeyes... hear me out.  So they've apparently been doing this for years.  I'm late to the party.  For a cute $39.99-$41.99, you too can get yourself a Cajun seasoned and infused Turkey.  It comes pre-cooked but frozen so you do have to thaw (for 2 days approximately) and heat up (for 3-4 hours approximately).  Listen, I can already anticipate all the life I am going to get from this deliciousness.  I will be sure to let you know how the family likes this added twist.

Now I don't plan on being a complete lazy bum. I do plan on making some sides that you just can't trust others with... Baked Macaroni + Cheese, Collard Greens and Potato Salad.  For the rest, I plan on taking myself right on over to Whole Foods.  Oh you didn't know about their extensive Thanksgiving Menu.  Well let me put you on!



Above is just a small portion of what Whole Foods actually offers during the Holiday Season.  For their full offerings, click HERE.  Before you say anything about the pricing, consider the time and energy you are saving by not having to cook these items yourself.  Don't forget the grocery shopping, the clearing out of the refrigerator to make room and the hours in the kitchen just on "prep" work.  Take my word for it... IT'S WORTH IT!  I will be sure to post pictures of our family dinner on Instagram but don't wait until you see those photos on Thanksgiving and it's too late.

Are there any Traditions this Holiday Season that you plan on putting your own twist on?!  Share below.

*Thank you Whole Foods Ashburn for your efforts in this Post*
Sunday, November 8, 2015

MyCandiShoppe goes Vegan



Hello! If you're here it's probably to find out more about my journey to go Vegan.  Thank you for stopping by the Shoppe and hopefully you'll decide to stay for good.  Yes, I've decided to "go Vegan".  I'm not doing a challenge nor do I want to make the change for just a month.  Literally, I want to convert to become a dietary Vegan.  It's not for everyone and some may wonder why and what's the point so I will share MY reasons with you.

For the past few years I have been packing on weight like nobody's business.  It has reached a point where I am no longer comfortable even attending certain events.  Anxiety builds up when I know that I can't get away with wearing leggings or sweats somewhere.  A lot of you may not understand or comprehend how a girl who is so "out there" on Social Media can feel this way but it's the truth.  I'm not sitting around eating Burger King everyday wondering why I'm not a size 2.  I've always considered myself to be quite a healthy eater.  In fact, that has been my reason for not changing my diet for so long.  Year after year I've told myself that my diet is great already so there's no need to change that.  Well obviously that is NOT the case or else I would not have gained so much weight. (Yes, I've been to the doctor and have had multiple things checked including my thyroid)  I have three children so people think I'm crazy when I share my desire to lose weight but truthfully I've gained 30+ pounds in just the last 3 years.  At that point my youngest child was already 2 years old so my weight gain has nothing to do with birthing children.  I've been a small person all my life at just 5"2.  After the birth of each child, I would literally leave the hospital at a cute 115-120 pounds.  LITERALLY.  The weight gain has everything to do with my lifestyle.  I may "think" that what I'm consuming is just fine but the facts say that ain't so.

After a little (well A LOT) of research, I've decided to do something different than my normal.  Going Vegan isn't something that came to me overnight.  In fact, I've been thinking about it since last year but always put it off because I couldn't give up steak, or I couldn't give up cheese.  Recently, I was listening to a Periscope from Mattieologie and she said something that truly hit home... "I love a size 24 waist more than I love cheese".  And, it was that simple!  Somehow that one line put it all in perspective for me.  If I truly want to be happy with my weight and body image then I need to love that more than I love any of these foods that are keeping me from reaching those goals.

So far I've spent a ridiculous amount on stocking my cabinets and fridge.  One thing I keep reading and hearing is that preparation is key to the success of going Vegan. There really weren't too many items that I would not normally shop for but a few condiments like butter, mayo and coffee creamer that needed vegan substitutes.  My kids said they would like to try being Vegan as well so I purchased some cookbooks to keep things interesting.  If it were up to me, I could eat very basic meals and be SO satisfied and happy.  For kids, this isn't going to cut it so I purchased two highly recommended cookbooks from Amazon, Eat Like You Give a F*ck by Thug Kitchen and But I Could Never go Vegan by Kristy Turner.  I'm hoping to get the whole family on board but if they choose to still eat meat products, that's okay too.

The overall goal is to gain better eating habits and enter into a healthier lifestyle altogether all while losing weight hopefully.  During this time I appreciate all advice and recommendations if you are Vegan or have tried being Vegan in the past.  I am not here for the doubters and naysayers. Do you.  I'll post an update sometime this week... Until then DEUCES!
XOXOMCS
Friday, November 6, 2015

How I Take it Off || Nighttime Skincare



Long story short, I have sensitive, acne prone skin that tends to be super oily.  It took me quite some time to figure out what works and what didn't work that I nearly gave up and threw in the towel.  Lucky enough for me, there are so many great Blogs out there dedicated to getting your skin snatched.  The one thing I can't do is switch up skincare products all willy nilly.  Nope, my face won't have it and I will start looking like a 14 year old girl that just hit puberty.  Finding the balance for my sensitive, acne prone, oily skin is sometimes painful but the products below have definitely helped in the process!


I've been using these face wipes for years now.  They're the first step in taking my face off every night.  Using the wipes before my actual cleanser saves me a ton of money.  Why?  Because I'm not having to use more Cleanser or wash my face 2-3 times to get all the makeup off.  Believe me, the wipes help out in so many ways.  And, if you find some amazing wipes like these that actually do more than just take your makeup off then you're truly winning.


First things first, you need to go run and grab this Cleanser NOW!  Danielle from StylenBeautyDoc posted a picture of these bad boys on Instagram and raved over them.  So naturally, I ran out immediately (I literally ran out 10 minutes after her Instagram post LOL) to my nearest Walgreens and picked not one but TWO jars up.  Yep, that's how much I trust certain Blogs and Bloggers.  These Daily Resurfacing Pads are the perfect option for very light exfoliation every day.  One side is more rough than the other side but it's nothing crazy.  For those of us that use a Clarisonic but can't use it daily, this a great option to use in between your Clarisonic days.  Ugh, I can't tell you how much I am loving this product.  Two thumbs up!


This Mask is a newbie to the crew.  Back in September NUDE sent me some products for review and this was one of them.  Due to my difficult skin, I always have to take at least a month when reviewing new skincare products before I can give a definitive review.  Thankfully this Mask passed the test of being sensitive enough to not break me out but strong enough to show results!  If you have oily skin, this Mask is a must-have in your arsenal.  Not only does it draw out all the impurities in your skin but it leaves your face GLOWING chile.  If you have an event to attend... Holiday Party, Family Thanksgiving, hell if you want to be snatched when your Husband comes home from work... Throw this mask on THAT DAY.  It is NOT a daily mask and shouldn't be used more than twice a week so be careful not to become addicted to it's results.  Real Talk.


I've been using this as a toner after I wash my face.  It's heavy duty enough to remove any stubborn remaining makeup but sensitive enough to use around the eyes to remove that mascara that seems to be holding on for dear life.  Micellar Water became all the craze sometime last year and seems to still be going pretty hard as more and more brands are coming out with their own version.  I can't say there is anything "spectacular" about this product but it works great for me.  Listen, if it doesn't break me out, is inexpensive and serves a decent purpose then I'M GOOD.  There are products that I am a bit more picky about but those are usually my core products that I spend some coin on, not a $5 bottle of Cleansing Water from Target, OK!


This Moisturizer right here is BAE.  Like can I make you your favorite dinner, massage your feet, clean the house and take care of the kids while you relax and watch tv all night, BAE.  For the longest, I wouldn't wear Moisturizers because it only added yet another layer of product on top of my already oily skin.  Then I found some Bloggers who really put it all in perspective for me and since then my goal has always been to have a moisturizer that isn't thick, absorbs quickly and doesn't add to my oiliness.  Well, this Moisturizer here hits on all of those points.  Two small pumps (YES, it comes with a pump as if sent from the baby Jesus Himself) is all it takes and it literally absorbs within seconds so you better work real quick.  Sephora's VIB Sale starts next week and this product is definitely on my list to purchase!

I keep my Skincare Regimens super simple, especially at night.  Finding products that allows me to do that is extremely important.  If I need 10 or more products to get the job done then the job is not going to get done.  The only two products that I am always on the hunt for and have yet to find staples for are an eye cream and a serum.  If you guys have any recommendations, please let me know below.  Stay tuned because I plan to share ALL my beauty secrets + staples this month on the Blog.  I'm trying to get us all right before the Holidays so you can't afford not to be subscribed.  

XOXOMCS
Tuesday, November 3, 2015

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Big Chopped



1.  Your Curl Pattern Doesn't Mean as Much as You Think

I first Big Chopped to Brush Cut because I really have very little patience for any transition process.  At first, the plan was to grow my cut out immediately but then I fell in love with having no hair.  So I would grow my hair out 2-3 inches then chop it all off again.  Well, one thing I quickly realized was that my Curl Pattern would literally grow back differently each time!  When I first Big Chopped, the hair grew in very coarse and very frizzy.  The second time, the hair had a looser and smoother curl pattern.  This definitely wasn't something anyone had ever discussed in all the research I did prior to Big Chopped so I was all kinds of confused.  I just learned to rock with it and appreciate whatever Curl Pattern grew in!

2.  The Initial Confidence You Gain May Waiver Throughout Your Journey

Everyone talks about how freeing it is to Big Chop.  Truthfully, it is the most liberating thing I've ever done in my life.  You couldn't tell me a damn thing when I Big Chopped.  Little did I know that I would struggle with my Confidence months later.  The phase is commonly known as the 'Awkward Grow Out Stage' and I knew it would come but I thought it only had to do with Styling.  Your hair gets to a length where it's not a TWA but it's sometimes not long enough to do hardly any other styles.  No one really shared how during this stage you may also regret Big Chopping or not feel as Confident about your cut as you once did.  I ended up shaping my rounded fro into a Tapered Cut which eventually came with it's own battles!

3.  Your Favorite Blogger May Not be Giving YOU The Best Advice

When I first became addicted to YouTube I was following all the Bloggers that had the "pretty" and "perfect" curls... especially the ones with super long hair! LOL.  I swore once I Big Chopped that I would have some 3A-3B Curls. Nope.  I was all sorts of lost once I Big Chopped because I had taken advice from the wrong Bloggers.  It became my mission to find Bloggers and Naturalistas who had Curls that looked more like my own.  Finding kinks that resemble your own truly do help when you first Big Chop because it can save you quite a bit of time trying to figure out what products work best for you!!

4.  Hair Grows at a Different Rate for Each Person

Everyone talks up the 'retention' aspect of hair growth A LOT.  Not too many really share that some women just have hair that grows MUCH faster than others.  I found it's much easier to measure and see this when a woman dyes her hair or else people will always argue that it's more about retention.  While the average is 1/2 inch per month... Some women can grow an inch or much more!  Many Naturalistas think their hair is breaking off or not flourishing in comparison to others while the bottom line could just be that your hair is growing slower than those you're comparing yourself to!

5. The Tapered Cut is CUTE but There Are Drawbacks

When I reached my 'Awkward Growth Stage', immediately I thought doing a Tapered Cut would be the perfect solution.  There were so many pictures on Instagram of Tapered Cuts and I was sucked right on in.  Well, what I didn't know was that the grow out phase of the Tapered Cut would be worse than the grow out phase of your initial Big Chop.  For some reason the top of my head grew soooo much faster than the sides and back so I had to keep cutting the top in order to look normal.  I also felt like I had even less styling options with the Tapered Cut due to the different lengths on my head.  I may Big Chop again in the future but I will NEVER do a Tapered Cut on a TWA ever again.
Thursday, October 29, 2015

Blow Out Season is HERE!!


The weather has finally reached temps cool enough to sustain a Blow Out longer than 5 minutes!  Over the past couple of years I have strayed away from applying heat to my hair often.  In fact, I've really only applied heat to my hair at max 3 times a year since I've gone Natural.  Which is crazy because I applied heat to my hair weekly when I was relaxed!!  I don't know why I'm so afraid of heat now but I've really been trying to leave that behind and just enjoy my hair.

I've never experienced heat damage and I think that's really because I've been doing my hair since I was like 10 years old.  I truly do know my own hair very well. There are a few tips that I always give my friends and family when they ask me about straightening their natural hair.

1.  Use as few products as possible when Blowing your hair out.  So many times we simply just add too many products which tends to sometimes extend the drying time.  The longer you apply heat to your hair, the greater the possibility of heat damage.  I don't use a leave-in when blow drying my hair UNLESS it is a heat protectant.  The best option is to apply your heat protectant and immediately blow dry.  You can always add products after you Dry for added moisture if necessary.

2.  Once you rinse your Conditioner out, separate your hair into sections and allow it to air dry 50% if possible.  If you don't have the time for air drying that long then t-shirt dry.  The more saturated your hair is with water, the longer it will take for you to dry.  The longer it takes to dry, the greater chance you have encountering heat damage.

3.  Start Drying from the bottom, or the ends of your hair.  Stretch your hair and begin drying from the ends and work your way to the roots.  This really helps with keeping your hair from detangling and manageable while Drying.  It's so tempting to start at those roots but doing so can really break your hair off and cause your Drying time to be longer than necessary due to knots and tangles.

4.  Pay extra attention to the SMELL.  When you're Drying your hair, you will see steam lifting from your hair.  This is OKAY!  You should also smell the heat protectant that you're using.  If you start smelling hair burning.  STOP.  The whole point of using a heat protectant is for the product to be a barrier between the heat and your hair.  Once that is gone, your hair is at risk for heat damage.

The common thread amongst my recommendations is to apply heat for as little time as possible.  This is also why I use heat at a high temperature versus a low temperature setting that may take an hour to complete.  Obviously, do what you're comfortable with!  If you're uncomfortable or scared to use heat on a high temperature then don't or go to a professional.  My experience has been great using these tips over the years and as you can see from my Wash + Gos, my curls are healthy and heat damage-free.  So enjoy your tresses and don't be afraid to take part in Blow Out Season!
XOXOMCS

Products I use for my Blow Outs:

Conair Blow Dryer: http://astore.amazon.com/myca058-20/detail/B00LQET5QY
Motions Leave- In: http://www.motionshair.com/product/detail/734880/straight-finish-leave-in-conditioner
Motions Serum: http://www.motionshair.com/product/detail/734940/straight-finish-sealer
Sedu Flat Iron: http://astore.amazon.com/myca058-20/detail/B000GFCRGO

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What's in my Bag



For the first time EVER I decided to do a What's in my Bag video over on my YouTube Channel.  I don't know what took me so long but I'm so glad that I finally did it.  It really was a lot of fun and it actually helped me with becoming more comfortable with just talking to the camera.  For most of my videos, I tend to do voice overs because it just feels more comfortable for me but I think I will try more videos like this to help me step outside my comfort zone.  Watch the video and let me know if you want me to make more videos like this!!  XOXOMCS


Products Mentioned in Video:

iPad Folio: http://bit.ly/mcsamazonstore
iPhone Case:  http://bit.ly/mcsamazonstore
Mophie Charger:  http://bit.ly/mcsamazonstore
Snappees:  http://bitly.com/MCSSnappee
Trestique:  http://bit.ly/MCSTrestique
Monday, October 19, 2015

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in DC with Creme of Nature


On Sunday, October 19th, I made my way into DC to join the Creme of Nature Team for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.  Honestly, I have never done a 'Walk for a Cause' before so I was probably way too excited. Like, didn't get decent rest the night before because I was so excited! LOL.  Looking back, all that excitement was definitely warranted because it was truly an amazingly fun experience.


I was invited by Creme of Nature to be a co-captain for the Team in DC along with Dayna (@itsdaynadane).  Yolanda Renee (@etcblogmag) was the Captain and man did she do an incredible job leading.  While myself and Dayna arrived just minutes before the Walk began (due to crazy DC Parking issues), Yolanda AND her girls were there at the crack of dawn (perhaps not the real crack but you know what I mean LOL) ready and waiting to greet all the Team Members bright and early.  The temperature was a cute 48 degrees when I arrived at the Washington Monument.  Can we say BRICK!  We all brought our daughters along and while the adults handled the cold temps just fine, the minis were not here for it.  They had us wrap them up in whatever blankets + sweaters we had on hand and re-wrap them every time they came unraveled.  The Moms really couldn't complain though because those minis stayed in great spirits and walked the entire 5k!  So maybe it took 20+ stops to re-wrap them up, but we all cheerfully made it to the Finish Line.


Being amongst so many Survivors also brought along its own emotions.  Talk about putting things in perspective.  Walking with the Team was all kinds of fun but we truly were there for a serious reason... to raise money!  If you happened to miss the Walk with us, you can definitely still support this incredible cause.  Your donation will help the American Cancer Society save lives from Breast Cancer by funding research, providing free information + support, and helping women take steps to reduce the risk of them developing the disease.  Yolanda said it best in her latest YouTube video, with all the followers she has (or even I have), if everyone donated just $1 imagine the impact we could make.  Click here to make your donation... it seriously can be just $1!

Thank you for your support!!
XOXOMCS
Friday, October 9, 2015

The Naturalista Hair Show || My 1st Panelist Experience

(L-R) Courtney @CurlsandCouture, Francheska @heyfranhey, Annisa @ilovealimara
We are weeks past September 27, 2015 which was The Naturalista Hair Show, and I owe you guys some insight!  As you know, I was a speaker on the Blogger Panel and it was my first time ever doing so.  While speaking publicly isn't a fear of mine, being on a Panel is a bit different.

Normally, when you speak publicly at an event you prepare what you will say.  Some people even bring note cards or jot down keywords to keep them on track.  Well when you're on a Panel, there is a Moderator who asks questions and gives you an opportunity to respond.  Often times, you are not privied to the questions that will be asked in advance so you really have to be quick on your feet.  Luckily, Nicole Walters (the Moderator), asked very light and easy questions that didn't take too much thought.  Everything goes so quick that if you take too much time thinking of your answer, you won't speak at all!!  LOL.  And, since there were a diverse group of Bloggers on the Panel (from uber popular to just starting), we all provided very different answers to the questions asked.


Speaking is just one part of the experience though and it's actually the only thing I focused on leading up to the event.  I totally forgot about the picture taking and mingling with the attendees.  There were LOTS of pictures and if there is one thing I learned, it's to change into your 'comfy' shoes before the pictures.  Once the pictures start, there's no stopping and can last for just as long as the actual Panel!  With this being the very first Panel I've spoken on, I've definitely picked up on some amazing tips for the next time.  I couldn't be more grateful for the experience.

XOXOMCS

For more pictures from this event, head on over to www.thenaturalistahairshow.com


Thursday, October 8, 2015

We are BLACK: Explaining Race to Your Children


This is probably the heaviest and most personal topic I've discussed here in the Shoppe.  Yet, this is a discussion that I've had numerous times in my life.  Not only was this conversation had with me as a child but I've had to hold this conversation twice, once with each of my daughters.  We are BLACK.  Our children are born into this world so naive and they start to formulate their own thoughts about "race".  Technically, their first thoughts aren't even race related... it's more about the color of their skin.  Growing up very fair skinned myself and now raising daughters who were born the same, I just wasn't sure how to address the confusion that I knew would come.  Sometimes topics can be introduced too early to children and just ruin innocence in them before necessary.  So, with both my daughters I waited until I knew the time was right.

Let's start with my own history first.  I had to be no older than 6-7 years old visiting my grandmother in Ohio for the summer.  Me and all my cousins did this every summer and it was one of the few times that we all spent together yearly.  Well, one summer a group of white girls had convinced me that I was good enough to play with them but not my cousins (who were dark skinned).  Mind you, before this time no one had ever talked to me about "light skin/dark skin... white and black".  What I did know is that it felt good to be singled out.  It almost felt like a privilege.  What I didn't know was that my Grandmother was about to give me the most historic beating of my life.  My Grandmother who also was fair skinned and came from a history of fair skinned ancestors, was raised in Mobile, AL.  So, you can only imagine the disgrace and anger when she heard about my behavior.  Once I told my cousins that they couldn't play with us because they were black and not white like us, they obviously ran and told on me.  It was from this experience that I first learned the difference between black and white, light skin and dark skin.  As my Grandmother would later explain to me, if you're not white you're black.  Doesn't matter if you're light brown, chocolate brown or mixed with any other nationality... You are BLACK.


The scenarios with my two daughters were very different actually.  My oldest daughter never thought she was 'white' per se but she was very colorblind.  She once had a friend that we met, gorgeous brown skinned child.  Well, her mother that we met at the time was white and clearly had not a lick of Black in her.  Out of curiosity, we asked my daughter if her friend's Dad was Black and she responded that he too was white.  Yet, she didn't understand our look of confusion at all.  It wasn't long before we realized that she actually thought a black child could have white parents naturally.  And, we're not talking scientific rarities that happen.  Taylor actually didn't understand the basics of black children are born from black parents, white children are born from white parents and so on.  In fact, the area in which we resided in had a large number of Middle Eastern families and we later found out from Taylor that she thought they were Black too.  (We know Middle Eastern groups are not white, so how are they actually categorized?!)  The heavy accents and names like Swati seemed not to really phase her.  Sitting down and talking to Taylor was pretty easy.  We explained how Black people come in different shades but we are all Black.  Some of it can be explained by melanin and sun exposure while a large portion of it is due to slavery.  Prior to this conversation we thought there were a large number of Black students at Taylor's school (from her stories she would tell us) but after talking with her and clearing up her confusion, it became very obvious that there was actually only a handful!


Now Kennedy on the other hand, was on the verge of thinking she was white.  She came home one day and told Gregory that he was Black because (as she put it), he was Dark Brown Skinned.  When we asked her what did that make her, she replied 'White' because I'm Light Brown Skinned.  Fortunately for her, we both had more patience than my Grandmother did.  It took quite some time for her to understand that we are ALL BLACK.  You can have 'light brown skin or dark brown skin', doesn't matter because we are all Black.  It's crazy because explaining these things will bring a child through so many emotions.  Kennedy went from defensive to confused and even cried!  She didn't cry because she found out that she was black, but rather because she could see that continuing this line of thought would upset us more and more.  It may have taken A LOT of persistence on our end but now when you ask her she will proudly say "I am Black".

Where we reside, it is predominately white and very different from how me and my husband were raised.  We were both raised in diverse communities/cities with lots of family around.  So, with the lack of these things it's very important that we take the time to teach our children what they may not learn in school.  It was super important to never ever mention being 'mixed' with other races to my children.  Although my oldest two children have Italian in their bloodline (their Grandmother was half Italian, half Black) and my own Grandfather is from South America (Belize), I just don't find it necessary to use the word 'mixed'.  While we do discuss their ethnic make up, it is never to "water down" their Blackness.  Honey, we are Black and that is all there is to it.
I'm sure other parents have had to deal with these same issues and conversations.  They're not easy.  Each family will handle things VERY differently.  While I was given a beating by Grandmother, I chose to sit down and talk to my own children when the topic came up.  Also, the circumstances were very different... My children weren't out disowning their family!  You may be thinking, 'wait, don't you have a son'?!  Surprisingly, my son, Gregory, NEVER had any of this confusion.  He always knew he was Black and he always knew the difference between races.  From birth, he was a delicious brown skin boy though so I don't know if he just automatically saw things differently.  This parenting thing doesn't come with a handbook and you just have to rock with each child as they grow and develop because guess what... You're growing and developing right along with them!

The biggest tip that I can give is to be as real as possible with your children.  Once you have "The Talk" (if necessary), don't sugar coat Political debates and News stories.  Don't say things like "baby, he was shot because the officer was mean".  It's important to be honest and say "baby, he was shot because he's Black" and confront those tough questions that may come.  Doing anything less is not setting the right foundation for our children.  Have you had to have this talk with your children?  Did someone have this conversation with you growing up?  Please share below your experiences and how you dealt with it.
XOXOMCS
Friday, October 2, 2015

#FBF: Fall Wardrobe Staples

Fall 2015 is here finally, yet my style really hasn't changed from Fall 2014 or Fall 2013 for that matter. LMAO.  Why?  Because I have classic wardrobe staples in my closet that really don't ever go out of style.  If and when I do add to it, I always make sure that I am not being too trendy so that the pieces carry over year to year.  Below is a post I did last year that is still very relevant today so instead of re-writing it, I thought I would just re-share.  Enjoy and share with your friends/family that may be falling into the rut of getting "too trendy" every season!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Naturalista Hair Show || Ensemble Selection

As you know (or SHOULD know), I will be heading to The Naturalista Hair Show this weekend at the Silver Spring Civic Center in Maryland.  Not only am I a Blogger Affiliate but I was invited to be a speaker on the Blogger Panel.  Needless to say, I'm obviously VERY excited and VERY anxious.  When I become anxious, one thing that calms my nerves is being as prepared and organized as I possibly can be.  So, I've decided to think about what I will be wearing to the event ahead of time instead of the day of like I normally would.

Here are some of the ensemble ideas that I came up with.  These are all items that I already have in my closet (not the exact brand) and can work with.  Which of these ensembles says "Blogger Panelist here to SLAY"??

ENSEMBLE 1


ENSEMBLE 2


ENSEMBLE 3

Yeah, I have a thing for Black, White and Grey!  My closet is full of it and I have no plans to change that any time soon.  I prefer to just add a pop of color with accessories and jewelry. So, what do you guys think?  Which ensemble should I go with?!  Comment below and feel free to share what you would add or change!

XOXOMCS

Thursday, September 17, 2015

CurLUXE Naturals || Product Review

Well, I have come across yet another brand that I'm really excited to review for you guys.  I am constantly asked about different products that may work for different hair types and sometimes I have the answer, sometimes I don't.  There are certain types of products that I like for my own hair but I know that as a resource, finding products that may work great for other hair types is important as well.  So, if ever you feel like your need isn't being addressed please let me know.  Shoot me an email or comment here on the Blog so that I can help you in any way that I can.

So, on to the goodies!  CurLUXE Naturals sent over a few of their products for me to try and review with you guys.  I've been trying not to be a lazy natural anymore so I thought I would use their products for a Perm Rod Set.  For Naturalistas, this is easily one of the most tasking styles and if you're lazy don't even bother.  Out of the products sent over, I used 3 products: Dew Luxe Moisture Mist, Buttercream Curl Souffle and Twist & Define Cream.

DEW LUXE MOISTURE MIST

This lightweight mist is a great addition to anyone's hair stash... Natural or not.  Because it is lightweight, it doesn't weigh your hair down yet it still provides a great deal of moisture.  This product also contains oils which allowed me not need the use of an additional oil when installing my Perm Rods.  If you like heavier sprays, then try this as a refresher spray during the week but if lightweight products are your thing then you will never be at lost for ways you can use this!

BUTTERCREAM CURL SOUFFLE:

For the ladies who love a product that's heavier, THIS. IS. FOR. YOU.  One of the reasons I love a product that's thicker (heavier) is because you don't need to use nearly as much to achieve great results.  If you've watched my video on YouTube using these products, then you saw that I use a fingertip amount of this product in each section.  The moisture, softness and sheen it provides is just out of this world.  With the colder temps sneaking up on us soon, having products like this is key to your hair surviving the winter.  Those lighter products just won't cut it and you will find yourself constantly needing to add moisture back into your hair.  This Buttercream Curl Souffle is the product that will take you, your ends and your edges through the Winter safely!

TWIST & DEFINE CREAM:

Girl.  I know what you're thinking... Another Twist Cream.  But, let me tell you that not all Twist Creams are equal.  There are some out there (we won't be shady and name names) that I would NEVER consider doing a Perm Rod Set with because I just know better.  There are some Twist creams that you will only be able to use on a Twist Out.  It takes a special Twist AND Define Cream that will allow you to achieve as BOMB of a Perm Rod Set as I did.  This stuff just melts into your hair and gives it LIFE.  I had definition, bounce, moisture... THE WORKS.  So, if it isn't obvious which product is my fave from the CurLUXE Naturals line, let me make it clear now.  The Twist & Define Cream is the business!  If you're a girl that likes to do Perm Rod Sets, FlexiRod Sets, Twist Outs, Braid Outs, etc. but you hate having to pull a different product for each of those styles then you need this Twist & Define Cream in your arsenal.

So, yeah I'm definitely happy with the quality of these products and the amazing results I achieved using them.  If you haven't already, check out my YouTube video below where I demonstrate an Easy Perm Rod Set using ONLY these products.  If you have specific questions that I didn't address then feel free to ask in the comments section.

XOXOMCS





Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fall Changes: Cut + Color

I've been itching for some change over the past YEAR I would say.  I'm not sure what has kept me from taking the plunge but if I don't do something at this point, I may have a mental meltdown.  Later this month, I will be attending The Naturalista Hair Show so I'm trying to narrow down and decide what I want so that I can rock my flyness at the event.  I do know that I want need to have my cut re-shaped.  It's been over a year since it's been shaped.  Not to be confused with trimmed, because I have had it trimmed a few times over the past year.  Although, I have a heart shaped style currently, I am considering taking a few inches off.  I think.  LOL.  Then there's the idea of adding some color.  I am obsessed with adding some purple into my hair in a minor way.  Like, I'm want to be able to "see" the color but not really "see" the color.  LMAO.  Does that make sense to anyone else?  It's probably easier for me to show you!

Here are some 'Shape' ideas that I have:
Instagram Beauty: @op_po_sites_attract

Instagram Beauty: @op_po_sites_attract
My main concern with this cut is KNOWING it will still look good with my hair texture.  While I think it's a dope shape, it may not fall the way I envision with my curl texture.  I tried to find someone with a hair type more similar to my own but couldn't.  If you guys know of any, tag me on their pictures please!

Next up... These are some 'Color' ideas I had:

Instagram Beauty + Blogger: Chronicurls 
Instagram Beauty + Hair Stylist: @shaddah_elyse
As you can see, I'm on the fence with how much pop of color I want.  While I absolutely LOVE Liane's ombre color (@chronicurls), the subtle highlights may work better for my actual personality.  I absolutely love having dark hair.  Every time I have ever dyed my hair another color in my life, back to black (or very dark, almost black) I went not too long after.  So, I don't want to waste money or hair health on a decision that will only last 3 months max.

I'm not usually this indecisive which is why it's driving me crazy that I can't decide on what I want.  I know, I know... It's only hair!  Blah, blah, blah.  I just don't want to waste money (it's tight these days) and I don't want to look a hot mess because I can't afford to have it changed (right away) if I don't like it.  Bottomline, I'm getting this done this week so (in my Kevin Hart voice) HELP. ME.

XOXOMCS
Thursday, September 10, 2015

Becoming my Own CEO

30 years old, Director of Sales for a well known hotel chain making a nice salary.  This was everything I ever wanted and I had reached this place in my life well before my anticipated goal.  My husband was proud, my family was proud, hell even I was proud of myself.  Yet, internally I didn't feel fulfilled one bit.  Going to this job daily was becoming a greater struggle day after day.  My performance was starting to reflect my unhappiness and that became an even greater challenge as I tried to hide my discontent.  I began to pray incessantly for clarity on why I was feeling this way and one aspect that became very clear was I missed my family.  Achieving these accomplishments in my career meant little because I couldn't enjoy the fruits from that labor with those who I was working to support.

Sales and Marketing have been the gifts I've been blessed with for some time now.  I'm an incredible sales force when it comes to marketing and selling a product but I had only done this for other people, companies and brands.  In the beginning of 2015, I began questioning why I wasn't putting MY skills to use for ME.  Here I was sitting on an amazing Blog and Online Platform that could be the base or tool for a lucrative business yet I was doing the least with it.  The Blog I had once created as an outlet to share my own personal experiences had reached an audience that transformed this space into an online resource.  When I named my Blog, MyCandiShoppe, it was just a cute name that seemed to represent me well.  Years later, I now realized it had become an actual Digital Shoppe that replaced that Salon/Shop experience that many women lacked now that they had become their own Kitchen Beauticians.  The funny family stories, sharing of recipes and even recommending of products are all reminiscent of sitting in the Beauty Parlor chatting with complete strangers but women who understood and related to you! 

In the midst of deciding to resign, I attended the 2015 Return of the Curls Natural Hair Expo and Blogger Brunch.  This was actually the very first Natural Hair Event I had ever attended... in life!  Little did I know attending the Blogger Brunch (hosted by Shalleen from NaturalHairDoesCare) was about to bring me the confirmation I needed to walk into work the Monday immediately following and turn in my Letter of Resignation.  The entire Blogger Panel conveyed a huge amount of transparency regarding Blogging which didn't concern me actually.  Being in Sales, I was already used to managing stress levels when things aren't going as "forecasted".  But when Myleik took that mic, she began to literally answer small doubts I was experiencing.  In regards to my concern for money, Myleik made it very clear that "finding" money really isn't an issue.  Start planning those meals and cutting back on steaks and shrimp, start selling those clothes in your closet that you don't "need" (there goes half my closet) and last but not least GRIND.  Before leaving that Blogger Brunch, I made it a point to walk up to Myleik and let her know that her words came right on time for me.  

Since then, life has been much busier than expected!  I'm a full time Mom (no more Nannies), Wife, and Blogger in the midst of developing a Brand.  I wake up early for my family and I stay up late nights for myself.  Many of my friends and family members have already mentioned that they spoke to me more when I worked a 9-5 job.  Most of all, God is blessing me along this journey and making sure every door and opportunity is made available for me to succeed.  I went from not getting paid a dime for anything related to my Blog since 2014 to landing 6 PAYING deals in just the month of August.  We received financial breaks on our Rent that we didn't expect.  My husband found $50 in his suit one day and I received a FULL paycheck I wasn't expecting from my previous employer.  The blessings are just coming non-stop and it's confirmation that my own plans are in line with the plans God had for me. The best thing I ever did was address the source of my unhappiness and come up with a solution.  Now I am literally walking in my purpose!
Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Even Skintone + Sunscreen Protection



As many of you may or may not know, I have had a battle with Hyperpigmentation for some time now.  It stemmed from scars left behind due to my Acne prone skin.  Well, I finally found a skincare routine that truly worked for me.  It basically consisted of almost daily exfoliation, serums to battle the dark spots and lots of sunscreen.  Of course, it sounds super simple and honestly it is!  The hard part for me is CONSISTENCY which is actually the most important factor in eliminating dark spots.

Palmer's Skin Success

Recently, while in Walmart I came across the Palmer's Skin Success line which peaked my interest.  For one, the products were fairly inexpensive and secondly, it contained a known ingredient for successfully reducing dark spots, Hydroquinone.  Now, I know this a controversial ingredient for many but to each their own. Not only do the products contain this ingredient but they have the most effective concentration of the ingredient for OTC sale, 2%.  I've been using the Dark Spot Corrector Serum every morning for 2 weeks straight and am seeing some great results.  Beginning this week, I will start using the Fade Cream (purchase here) in the evenings after I wash my face.  I didn't want to start using both new products at the same time in case my skin had an adverse reaction.  It's always best to use new products one at a time if you have sensitive skin like myself.  This way, you can tell which product is causing your skin to break out if you have a negative reaction.

Now any time you are using skin lightening serums or creams, it's beyond important to use a Sunscreen.  It's really important to use a Sunscreen daily actually, but even 100% more important when using sensitive skin products.  There's no excuse!!  My former excuse use to be that the sunscreen products out on the market were too oily or thick.  As an oily skin girl, the last thing I wanted was an additional thick layer of product underneath my make-up.  Well, that's no longer a concern for me and I am now a Sunscreen everyday girl.  And to tell you the truth, my battle with Hyperpigmentation became so much easier once I incorporated Sunscreen into my routine daily.  Currently, Coola skincare products are what I fancy.  They have a wide variety of products whether you have oily skin or dry skin.  Right now, I'm using the *COOLA Mineral Sunscreen (spf 30) which has a matte finish and is super lightweight... Perfect for application under my Foundation.  Then after I apply my make-up, I set everything with the COOLA Make-Up Setting Spray (spf 30).  So, I'm over here double teaming my Sunscreen products because I know it is SO important when using Spot Fading products like the ones from Palmer's that I'm using.


I just wanted to share these skincare products with you guys as I know a lot of you currently struggle with the same hyperpigmentation issues.  Give them a try and let me know what you think!  And, please do not forget to use Sunscreen ladies.  WOC (women of color) need sun protection as well!!

XOXOMCS

*COOLA provided product(s) for review that were included in this Blog post.
Thursday, August 27, 2015

ColourPop Matte Lip || REVIEW

I know I haven't reviewed a beauty product on here in a little while.  Forgive me!  Lord knows I'm still buying left and right so I really have no excuse.  Well, I'm back reviewing a goodie at least... The uber popular Colour Pop Matte Liquid Lipsticks!  These things are all over the 'Gram and it's no wonder at just $6 a pop (see what I just did there? LOL), they're an easy buy.  In fact, ColourPop has come to town and shut it down with their reasonable pricing ranging from $5-$9 for individual products.  Not to mention, there is always a coupon code floating around somewhere!

For only $6, it's pretty hard to not be worth the price tag!  The packaging alone made me feel like it was worth the few dollars.  They sport similar packaging to other liquid lipsticks out there such as Anastasia Beverly Hills and Kat Von D but at a fraction of that cost.  Let's get into wear and quality though.  Application was not the easiest as these type of lip products do not go on as evenly as regular lipsticks.  You have to be very careful to apply exactly the same of amount swipes over each section of your lip.  It is also very important to let each coat/layer dry before applying another.  This only takes about 30 seconds.  As for wear, it is definitely long wearing as long as you don't eat anything that contains grease/oil.  The color lasted hours while I drank coffee, water, ate some snacks and had some fruit but it was half gone after I consumed my fries and burger from Five Guys!  Even removing with a makeup wipe wasn't the easiest task so once it goes on, it's pretty much there to stay.

Bottom line, I'm buying more.  LOL.  I think that tells you whether or not I think they're worth it!  Below are swatches of the (4) shades I've purchased so far: Lax, Trap, Creeper and Zipper.  Any of you ColourPop fans?!  What have you purchased so far and what do you currently have on your wishlist?

CREEPER

LAX

TRAP

ZIPPER


XOXOMCS
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

BTS x MCS || Quick Meal Ideas



If there is one thing I have mastered, it's the Quick & Easy Weekday Meal.  There was a time (this was actually pretty recent) where both my husband and I worked Full Time Corporate jobs outside of the home.  We wouldn't get home until 6PM which meant we needed to settle in, check homework, make dinner, eat dinner, do bath time and have personal time in about 4 hours.  If you're not careful dinner prep can take up about 50% of this time leaving you feeling rushed and unhappy with what you've accomplished.  No worries, I've found the solution to this problem.

ALL-IN-ONE-MEALS.  I'm not suggesting you take your fridge and throw it in a pot.  Although, this wouldn't be all that bad if you have the right ingredients in your fridge.  More so, I'm referring to meals that allow you to include most of the major food groups easily into your dinner.  Think.. Turkey Chili, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Tacos, Meatloaf and Veggies.  Stop trying to cook 4 separate dishes for ONE dinner.  Stop. It. Now.  Weekday dinners should be healthy and fulfilling.  You do NOT need to make a Thanksgiving Feast every night.  Another hit is when you can match a meal with the corresponding weekday for a real cute and festive idea such as Taco Tuesday, No Meat Monday, Whatever You Want Wednesday (this is a free for all, one of my faves), and Fish Fry Friday.  The kids LOVE these type of Meal Plans and it's super easy to plan in advance.

Now I have shared some really easy Meal Ideas that are my family faves.  I am not a fan of cooking a dinner for the adults and one for the children.  If the recipe calls for an advance ingredient, like Blue Cheese, that I know the kids wouldn't like I just hold those particular ingredients to the side from their plates.  While I do find it important to expand their palettes, I'm not trying to have them at the table for an hour because they're dreading eating their dinner.  So, enjoy the recipes and tag me in your posts if you decide to try them, #MCSintheKitchen.



CHICKEN POT PIE

1- Rotisserie Chicken Shredded
1- Package of Pie Crust
1- Package of Rolled Pie Crust
1- Onion
1- Large Package of Mixed Vegetables: Corn, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower
16 oz- Chicken Broth
1- Cream of Mushroom
Salt + Pepper to taste

Combine Shredded Chicken, Chopped Onion, Package of Mixed Veggies, Chicken Broth and Can of Cream of Mushroom in a Large Pot and bring to a boil.  Pour hot mixture into a Pie Crust and Roll Out Frozen Pie Crust on Top. Pinch edges of Pie Crust and Poke 10 holes (or more) into Crust Top before placing into oven.  Heat in oven for 20 minutes on 425 degrees.

TURKEY CHILI

2 lbs of Ground Turkey 
16 oz- Can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 Tbsp- Minced Garlic
1- Onion
2 Tbsp- Olive Oil
15 oz- Can of Kidney Beans
2 Cups- Mexican Shredded Cheese
Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Chili Powder to taste
1- Bag of Tostitos Scoops

Heat Olive Oil, Garlic and Onion until ingredients are translucent.  Add brown Ground Turkey until cooked thoroughly.  Add Crushed Tomatoes, Kidney Beans and Select Seasonings to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes.  Serve with a healthy helping of the Shredded Mexican Cheese and a side of Tostitos Scoops instead of spoons.

PERSONAL PIZZA

Mini 8" Crust Pizza Crusts
1- 16 oz Jar of Pizza Sauce
1- Tsp of Olive Oil per Pizza Crust
Choice of Toppings per Family Request:
Pepperoni, Sausage, Tomatoes, Spinach, Black Olives, Etc.
2 Cups- Mozzarella Cheese

Brush each Pizza Crust with Oil.  Apply a thin layer of Pizza Sauce. Apply Mozzarella Cheese over Toppings. Add toppings of choice.  Apply a thin layer of Mozzarella Cheese.  Place Pizzas in oven until crust Brown.

Adjust these recipes to your liking but remember to keep a good ratio of veggies, carbs and proteins.  Otherwise, enjoy with your family! 

XOXOMCS
Monday, August 24, 2015

BTS x MCS || ORGANIZATION


This year I wanted to share how I go about getting my family ready to go back to school.  We have three whole children in my family and this is the first year that all three will be in school (Kennedy starts Kindergarten).  Preparing your home for one child is difficult enough, but I figured as a Mom of three there are a few things that I can share to help ease the stress. This BTS x MCS Series will provide major tips that will definitely get you on the road to success.  I'm not saying you will get the exact address and house number, but you will at least be on the right road, LOL.

Today I wanted to stress how important Organizing your home for the beginning of the school year is.  This includes everything from cleaning your actual house to outfit planning for the week.  By organizing, you are subconsciously getting your children in an organized state of mind for school.  The best students are usually very organized and having things in order sets them up for success.  So, get to cleaning!  I'm talking about clean your house like you're Spring cleaning.  The best time to do this is when your kids are away.  Do they go visit the Grandparents in the summer?  Or away to camp?  Shoot, if you're just able to have a friend watch them for 24 hours then do that!  But you need a day to thoroughly clean your house.  For me, that means everything from dusting and laundry down to sorting through clothes that are too small and cleaning the carpets.  When your child walks through that door, they should sense a shift has happened.  The conversion from laid back summer time chilling to an organized and structured home should be CLEAR.  Crystal.



Next up, let's get those closets together.  My absolute favorite closet organization item are the hanging shelves.  They come with five cubby spots for the five days of the weeks and can be purchased here.  These items are SUPER timesavers during the school year.  We pick out ensembles for the week on Sunday and place them in the appropriate Monday-Friday cubby.  I kid you not when I say this can save you like 30-40 minutes daily.  Have you ever seen a sleepy kid try to pick out clothes at 6:30 AM?! Yeah, it usually takes about 4 tries for them to get it right and even then it's not totally together but you're just so fed up.  Do yourself a favor and get you one of these organizers.



Lastly, I will share how my family organizes daily activities.  We tried the official family calendar thing.  It didn't work.  We failed.  And, we don't like being failures so we found a solution.  What works for us is a dry erase board.  Plain and simple.  I list the days of the week vertically and then I will jot down activities planned for each day with corresponding time.  It is no fuss, easy peasy and best of all, it WORKS for us.  It is hung close to the door where the kids get their shoes on so, it's visible both coming and going.  If it's effective and it's simple then it works for our family.  There are better options like Dry Erase Boards that actually have Calendars on them so just do your research and see what works best for you.  One word of advice... Don't go with what looks good or what works for that Mommy Blogger you follow on Instagram.  Choose an option that really works for YOUR family.


These are just a few ways that I get things in order for the school season.  Whatever you choose to take from this post, just keep in mind that starting the year off organized will get everyone off on the right track.  As a parent you won't be so stressed or anxious and for your children, they will be on their game anticipating success for the week.  So Moms, what are some of your must-have organization tips?!  This is the perfect time of year to share!!  Come back on Wednesday for the next Topic in the BTS x MCS Series: Quick Meals.

XOXOMCS

Shoppe Owner


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