Friday, June 28, 2013

Recipe: Grilled Asparagus

I thought I wouldn't like it...boy, was I wrong.
Love it! On the grill at least.
I was described to me as a cross between broccoli and green beans. My two favorite veggies in one? Yea, I had to try it!
If you like asparagus, check out my recipe below.

Grilled Asparagus

a bunch of asparagus
garlic (1-2 cloves, minced) or garlic powder (1 tbsp)
olive oil (or butter)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
lemon (optional)
Note: Summer time, I love lemony everything! I incorporate lemons into a lot of my dishes. So it can be added or left out, whatever your personal preference. 
  • Take one stalk out of the bunch, gently snap off the end and use as a guide to trim the rest (or just trim off the bottom 1 1/2 to 2 inches). Also, if they are thick stalks, peel them
  • In a bowl (large enough to toss the asparagus), mix garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper.
  • Add asparagus to bowl and toss to coat each stalk.
  • If adding lemon, drizzle desired amount of lemon juice and/or peel over asparagus.
  • On heated grill, place asparagus in one layer and grill till slightly browned (approximately 8-10 min).
  • Remove from grill and let cool.
This recipe works great in the oven as well. Roasted veggies are a great comfort in the cool winter months so keep this one in your recipe book.

Pictured with Lemon Salmon and Butter Rice (recipe coming soon).

The garlic and olive oil are a great and classic combination that gives flavor and compliments natural flavors. Delish! I've had it three times already this summer, lol!
Give this one a try! I promise (as long as you like asparagus) you will enjoy this recipe.

Nicole Charnel

Have your tried any new veggies lately that you are loving?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Inspiration: Time to Re-Evaluate

Sometimes you just have to start over.
Or take a different approach.
Make a new plan of attack.

Sometimes things happen in our lives and we get suck in them. They take all our energy and focus.  We  end up losing ourselves. Losing our goals, our future, even our happiness. We may become depressed. Secluded. Alone but surrounded. Suffocated by this situation or circumstance.
When you get in these situations, it can be hard to get yourself out before you get so low you hit bottom. And sometimes you don't know where to start.

I am a [very] emotional person by nature. I tend to think, process, over work everything in my brain. Sometimes harping on it and making it a situation worse than it is.
Even someone not as emotional as me, can go through something similar.

So here are some processes that I use when I need to re-evaluate my situation and my way of thinking, and therefore, acting.

  • Take some time out of your day to stop. Time to think. Time to make a plan of attack.
  • Make a list of the things you want to do or accomplish in the NEAR future. Don't choice anything to long term; sometimes seeing yourself reach goals quickly helps you keep commitments and encourages more goals.
  • Start a journal or a notebook. Some people don't like to write down their feelings or daily activiies but that brings up the next tip...
  • Say your goals out loud. Making a promise to yourself can be simple and effective. Easy to hold yourself accountable.

Some times allowing your mind to slow down, forget the pain that may be holding you down can clear the way for the new.
It should be simple and easy [so you wont make excuses not to do it].
Simple and easy can be effective and life changing!

Nicole Charnel

Monday, June 24, 2013

Random: Why Can't I Just Do What I Love?

Why can't I?
There are plenty of people out there that, as their career, do something they are good at doing.
But how many people have a career where they do what they LOVE?
Their passion is their job.
They work hard and often because to doesn't feel like work.
Those are the people I admire.
Those are the people who inspire me!

Nicole Charnel

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Own Personal Nail Salon (Haul)

When I was younger, I use to paint my nails every weekend. I wasn't great at it and often got frustrated with my rough looking manicure. But I was faithful about it!
I loved new colors. Straight nails. Fresh looks.
Of course, as I got older, I started going to the nail salon with my mom and getting tips.
From then on [high school through college] I was obsessed and slightly hooked to acrylic nails and designs.
I fell off a little after college, but after my first child I just right back on the wagon.
I would get them done whenever I had the time and the money.

And then...I started this natural hair journey...

I don't know what it is about healthy natural hair but it makes you want to be NATURAL and HEALTHY all over!
Not just your hair!
At least that is the effect it is having on me...

Wednesday I named my nail day!
I had to go to Walmart anyway for some baby stuff, so of course pick up some things for my mani.
And then for some reason when I got back to work, I realized I needed more, smh...this promoted a stop at Rite Aid on the way home as well.
So here is what I ended up with...

SN: Always grab some bobby pins, they like to disappear, smh.
Not too much...and that is mostly because I have done this before [decided to go all natural with my nails only to relapse in a week and go get a full set, tragic]. Therefore I already had a lot of what I needed.

Of course I had to get some more nail files and tools [like bobby pins, files walk].

Also some colors. The brand is Ice, the yellow is called 'Excuse Me' and the white is 'Superstar'.

Now the top coats by Kiss. This was one of my favorite purchases. These top coats not only protect but also change the finish of the polish. There is a high gloss, a shimmer, and a matte. Can't wait to try the matte.

Lastly is the 'Dry & Go Drops'. LOVE! The worst part of the manicure is waiting for your polish to dry, ugh! Yes, I am impatient...but also, I have two children! Sometimes I don't have 15 minutes to wait for my nails to be 100% dry. Now this liquid doesn't dry them 100% but it does like 80%. It drys the surface and prevents the dings and the imprints. But you can still tell the the polish under the top coat could still use some time. Still saved me 10 min; I just turn on the fan, put my hands in front for 5 minutes and DONE!

This is the manicure I did last night. Isn't it cute! And definitely fresh, love that. Looks salon professional! My mom even asked me this morning, 'When did you go get your nails done?' HA! Fooled the beautician.

I also found a great YouTube vlogger that gave some great tips! Check her out: A Love Tart: Beauty Blogger. This gave me great success compared to last time I tried my own manicure [epic fail]. Now I feel like I can do my nails anytime! I am so excited to try some new colors and watch my nails grow...YAY!

New addiction...just maybe...

Nicole Charnel

What nail polish brands or colors are you loving right now?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SPS: Marley Twist, Take 2

As the summer continues (begins), so must the protective styling!

Last month I created a challenge for myself to promote my hair growth (and keep my hands out of my hair,). I'm calling it my Summer of Protective Styling.
Just in case you don't know, protective styling is when style your natural hair in a manner that keeps your ends protected. This allows low manipulation to your tresses and encourages maximum growth.

I started with the installation of Marley Twist, which I did myself. It was my first time attempting anything like this but I was determined. The end result wasn't terrible but not exactly the look I was going for either.
See here...
I kept them in a bun and ended up taking them out after a week...mostly because they were falling out, lol.

But because I am not a QUITTER (yes, the caps were necessary), I tried again.
Take 2...much better.

I did a few things different.
I didn't use gel. It made my hair hard to grip. For an amateur, grip is EVERYTHING. I just used a leave-in and shea butter.
I also used a different type of hair. Janet Collection and a no-name brand marley hair. I was suppose to have all of the same brand but Hair Stop and Shop, yea, don't ever order from them. They processed my order, took my money, then sent me an email the day my stuff was delivered that said they were refunding me half because they didn't have my hair.
O_O Really tho. I was more than a little upset. But I got my refund and went to find some hair of that color (I wanted a burgundy) but I had to settle for red. On plus side was the no-name brand was cheaper, I liked the feel better than the Janet Collection, and the red turned out beautifully.
The last thing I did different was I made my twists smaller. That means my hair took double the time (6 hours total) and I have double the amount of twist but I definitely like this look better.

Did I already say that I love this style?
Because I REALLY love this style!
And I'm going to keep doing it so I keep getting better, trust and believe.

PS on Deck: Faux Bun with Marley Hair
I'm really digging this marley hair.

Nicole Charnel

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Addiction: The 20/20 Experience

I am no music-head or radio-head.
I don't claim to be a music expert at all.
But I am an avid listener.
When I'm trying to focus to get something done, I turn on some music.
If my mind is racing and I can't sleep, I turn on some music.
If I feel like dancing around with my crazy baby, lol, I turn on some music.
Music is like healthy food for my soul. Yum-O!

Anyway, while deleting my emails, I noticed an iTunes email with $6.99 albums.
Seven bucks for an album...yea, what you got?

Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience

After the first song (Pusher Love Girl) I knew I was gonna be hooked on this album for a good month!
It just makes you want to dance!
And sing!
And just be all fancy and nasty wit' it!
LoL, yea...So I'm digging it.

Nicole Charnel

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Random: Kind of All Over the Place

My blog...well, lets be honest...
It is kind of all over the place, lol.

My family will tell you, I'm not the best cleaner.
And my blog is kind of under the same duress as my room right now, just filling up with stuff as I enter.
But if you bare with me, I promise to fine my focus and organize!
The way I see it, this messy part is just another step in the journey.

Until then...I will be basking in the the mess for now, lol.

Nicole Charnel

Monday, June 10, 2013

Flat Stomach: Week 7 Update

Yea, I know, I skipped an update.
But don't worry, you didn't miss anything.

Week 6 went by in kind of a blur. It was over as soon as it started, probably because of the holiday.
I exercised my normal, 5-6 days. And ate well (besides on Memorial Day, lol). Pretty basic week.

This week, week 7, I seem to be getting a bit more attention.
Sorry, that sounds a bit vain but what I mean is people are commenting on how my face looks more slender.
How they can really see my weight loss. And not just people that I don't see on the regular.

My only complaint is, I don't feel lighter. LoL, I mean, shouldn't I?
Oh well, moving on...

This coming week, I'm going take my healthy eating a step further and really limit myself.
I'm going to an amusement park this weekend and I want to be able to eat all the sweets and treats that will be available to me, lol.
This slight diet change will ensure I wont feel so guilty about eating that funnel cake I have been dreaming about. Hmmmm. Fried dough and powered sugar...

My dietary limits for this week will be:
Green smoothies only for breakfast
A salad for lunch or dinner meals
Mostly fish and veggies for remaining meals
Healthy snack choices
No junk food
No fast food
No sweet treats
Minimal salad dressing, lol.
Lots of water.
SN: I hate drinking so much water. Not because its water and not juice. But because I feel like I spend 50% of my day in the bathroom!  Just had to stop writing this blog to visit the ladies room, geesh.

Most of these rules I have implemented since I began my weight loss journey (healthy snacks, limited fast food, etc.) but I am not very strict with myself. Which results in me breaking my own least twice a week, lol.
This week: no slacking! I'm going to be discipline (right after I eat this Oreo) and stay the course.

As for my Insanity workout, for those who were wondering, I am still doing that.
However, I didn't go to the month 2 DVDs. Mostly because I don't have time to do them.
They are like 45 min to an hour and 15 min long! 'Aint nobody got time for that!' (hehehe)
But seriously, getting two children in the bed at night then working out...yea I wouldn't be finished working out until 12 am.
But I need my beauty rest...5 hours, not enough for me.

Nicole Charnel

P.S. Body measurements coming soon. I will be tracking my inches.

Does your diet change depending on your schedule?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Random: My love for SHOES!

I will fully admit I have a shoe addition...or fetish.
I love a cute part of shoes!
I will stop a stranger on the street to tell them how bad their shoes are and ask them where they purchased them from. I need to know!
Love a cute pair of heels.
Or some comfy looking flats.
Or a high wedge.
Hmm...I'm getting excited just blogging about them! LoL!

Anyway, because of my shoe addiction, I have to keep myself on a budget. One, maybe two (if there is a sale) pairs of shoes a month. I have to already have an outfit to wear with them, I don't like buying shoes and then having to find an outfit. I also limit the amount of money I spend on that said pair of shoes.
Yea, I have to make rules for myself. Sad.

So while pinning some of my favs to my "Love. Those. SHOES!" board on my pinterest, I thought why not make it easier to keep my rules and join JustFab?!
If you don't know, JustFab is a website that sells shoes as well as handbags, jeans, jewelry, and dresses.  However, to purchase you must be a member. When you first sign up, you fill in a questionnaire and their stylist (computer, lol) figures out your style. Each month your get a list of shoes that fit your style. Same with the handbags. And there are also deals and specials throughout the month.
Oh yea, sounds like I'm in!
WARNING: This may possibility be an excuse to buy shoes consistently and monthly...maybe.
I have already decided on my first pair of shoes...
These shoes...give me serious. Ugh! Yup...I'm in.
Now what can I wear these with? Hmm...any suggestions?

Nicole Charnel

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Natural Hair: Duh, Nicole.

I have been natural for 9 years, count 'em...9.
I should know what works for my natural hair by now right?
I know what works for my natural hair when PRESSED.

2008 - 4 years natural

2010 - 6 years natural
But my natural hair is in its CURLY state...I am definitely far from expert.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Product Review: Palmer's Coconut Oil Protein Pack

Have you done a protein treatment lately?
Protein treatments are a great step to add to your monthly regimen.  They help repair your hair by adding protein to back to the hair strand. Although it is just a temporary repair, it still allows your hair to regain it's strength. And if done on a routine basis, it will continue to help your growth and help your length retention.
Check out the picture below...
This next product I am reviewing is a great protein treatment.

Palmer's Coconut Oil Deep Conditioning Protein Pack