Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pantene Curl Shaping Gel

My name is Cheney and I'm a product junkie.  I am always on the look out for a product that makes my hair style exactly how I want it.  Most products let me down and a few, very few, have made the cut.  Once I find a product that works for my hair, it becomes a staple in my hair products.  And what do you know, Pantene Curl Shaping Gel has made the cut!

I absolutely LOVE this product and what is does for my hair.  It takes a special product to tame the thickness that sits on the top of my head.  And this gel does the job. According to pantene's website;

"Pantene Curly Hair Series Curl Shaping Gel can be used in wet or damp hair to define curls and protect styles from frizz. The customized styling and shaping gel formula boosts curls for healthy volume that is extra soft and shielded from humidity.
Pantene’s customized styling gel tames frizz and fly-aways, resulting in soft, healthy curls. Advanced, fast-acting polymers help provide moldable support for curly hair’s structure, allowing you to add definition and shape to your style.?

I've used the gel on my hair, both wet and dry and both results have been fabulous.  The directions state, "
"Start by dispensing styling gel and spreading in palms, work through hair from roots to tips. Scrunch and twist your curls for relaxed definition when air-drying, or use a diffuser to shape curls when blow-drying. For hair that’s bouncy and healthy, use with Curly Hair Series Dry to Moisturized™ Shampoo and Conditioner."  I don't exactly follow these directions.  Instead I use the gel to two-strand twist my hair.  On wet hair, I shampoo, condition, deep condition, add a leave-in conditioner or coconut oil and then add the gel to a section of hair and then two-strand twist that section.  Once my hair is dry, usually the next day, I put coconut oil on my finger tips and take the twist down and then separate each twist into 3 or 4 twist (makes my hair look fuller)  On dry hair, I mainly use it to revitalize twist that are few days old.  I will grab any sections that look dull and re-twist it with the gel. 

Pantene hit it on the head with this gel and it is a must have for those that are looking for a great gel that defines your curls and make them shine.  I may just be tempted to try other products by Pantene.  Yes, always the product junkie!

day 1 of twist out with pantene curl shaping gel (that's me on the right and my beautiful mother, standing)

look at those curls pop (and the little lovely with the curls is Keyani)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cheney's homemade pizza

So times are hard and money is tight.  I've been creative in thinking of ways I can hold on to the money I have and ways to make it with the money I don't have.  I figured what better way to incorporate my recent desire to want to cook more with cost saving measures to replace eating out.  Drum roll please........HOMEMADE PIZZA!

Anyone who knows me, knows that my favorite foods are 1. pizza and 2.  seafood.  Since being in New York City, I have yet to find any pizza that compares to the pizza of Chicago.  Mostly, New York's pizza is just large slices of paper thin crust with barely any cheese on it.  Not satisfied with the New York pizza and tired of buy Diorgano's pizza (they don't sell homerun inn frozen pizza here), I decided to make my own.  I never really thought of doing so before until I was talking to a neighbor (thanks, Jennifer) and decided to give it a try.  So here it is, Cheney's homemade cheese and spinach pizza. 

 Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

The ingredients are quite simple and can be purchased from any local grocery or convenient store.
1.  mozzarella cheese - purchased at Duane Reade
2.  ragu pizza sauce - purchased at Duane Reade
3.  organic baby spinach - purchased at Whole Foods
4.  pizza crust - purchased at Whole Foods

 Used a small amount of extra virgin olive oil, heated in a small skillet to saute the spinach.  It doesn't need to be fully cooked.  2-3 minutes in the skillet will do. 
 Now I like a lot of sauce on my pizza so I used 3 and 1/2 tablespoons of pizza sauce. 

 Next.  I added the mozzarella cheese, followed by the spinach
- Place pizza crust in the center of the oven on a pizza pan or flat cookie sheet.  Since I don't have either, a piece of aluminum foil worked just as good. 
- let pizza bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese melts and crust browns.  I like my cheese brown so I leave it in the oven a little longer.  
*if you like a crispy crust, leave the pizza pan, cookie sheet or aluminum foil in the oven while it is pre-heating.  By doing so, you will place the pizza crust on a surface that is already hot.
let sit for 2-3 minutes as sauce and cheese will be hot. 

Taste better than any frozen pizza I've ever purchased in the store. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's game time, or is it?

There have been so many blogs, comments, conversations, etc. about the return of The Game, that I wasn't really sure if I was going to write anything about it. However (taking a deep breath), after Tuesday's episode, I couldn't resist.

Now, I'm one of those people that would have recreated the March on Washington in support of The Game. I thought it was ridiculous that the CW cancelled it because it was such a good show. I did, however, do a 50 cent eye brow raise when I heard that BET was picking it up, but was also ecstatic about its return. Now here we are 5 episodes in and, well, the verdict is still out. At least for me it is. Watching the episodes from seasons 1 -3, it’s clear that the new episodes are different and lack some of the flavor that was present in seasons 1-3.

Overall, the show is just not funny! I miss the comedy. I miss holding my stomach and bending over laughing because of something funny that Derwin or Tasha said, or watching Malik’s facial expression followed by something stupid coming out of his mouth. If there’s no studio audience, then they need to use a laugh track. I understand some parts of the show being serious, but The Game is not a drama or night time soap opera so some needs to be incorporated into the show.

Here’s what I think of the characters since they’ve returned for season 4:

MELANIE - she’s still her same complaining self. But that’s what I liked about Melanie because you always knew what to expect from her. What I miss though is wise cracking Girl Melanie. Malik gave her that name for a reason and I wish that Melanie would resurrect Girl Melanie and bring the funny back.

DERWIN- Although Derwin is supposed to be this superstar football player, that doesn’t mean he has to be boring! Each week since January 11th, I eagerly await this “new” Derwin to be remixed with a little bit of the old, funny, dancing, joke cracking, Melanie teasing, Derwin.

*when are Derwin and Melanie going to be happy? Geesh, it’s been 2 years and they’re still having problems. It’s depressing to watch them be so miserable. Derwin needs to check Janay, get this thing with his son together and move on. Outside of there being talk of Janay, there is really no reason for that character to be a regular on the show. I just don’t understand all that going back and forth between Derwin, Melanie and Janay. That is old news that’s already been dealt with in season 3. I almost threw up listening to Janay cry to Derwin about them being a family.

TASHA - “Once you go Mack, you never go back.” I love Tasha! I want to be just like her when I grow up. Aside from that episode when she was acting scared of Kellie, she’s her same crazy, in a good way self. I’m glad the new writers remained consistent with her character (and her wardrobe is still off the chain too). There’s still a little something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I still enjoy watching Tasha. Not real crazy about the cougar thing with Donate, but since it’s in line with something her character would do it’s cool, though I’m hoping that might change after that phone call from Rick Fox. Oh and FYI, having Tasha smoke a black and mild, on a bench was not cool!

MALIK – Who the hell is that? So I’m still trying to figure out what is happening with Malik. I suppose he’s playing the “I’m not the super star anymore, but I can still do what I wanna do ‘cause I’m doped up on drugs and alcohol” role. And he has the nerve to ask nasty towards Titi. Until Malik does right by Titi everything Malik does will fail.

JASON – Like Tasha, the writers have stayed consistent with Jason. The “Dip & Pitts” was the funniest thing ever. Jason knocks it out of the park (or should I say scores a touchdown) every week. He’s still cheap (look at the car) and the things that come out of his mouth are, well, Jason.

KELLI – Don’t like this new Kelli. I wish they’d do something else with her. A reality show? Really? Right now it doesn’t seem like the writers know which direction they want to take this character. Surely there’s a little bit of the old Kellie left, even if she isn’t with Jason. The verdict is still out on this one. After seeing the first five episodes, I think it’s safe to say that Kelli didn’t necessarily need to return to the show. But, maybe they have other plans for her….crickets in the background.

TiTi – WTF? I want the funny TiTi back. He can still be a chicken wing entrepreneur and be funny! That’s all I have to say about that. I need to get back to making my picket signs in protest of the “not funny” TiTi.

On a side note, I do love Juvon. He is even funnier than before.

So while I am happy the game as returned, I think BET needs to bring back a little of The Game that fans were fighting to return back. Most of what I’d like to see is it become funny again, Derwin and Melanie have some happy times, bring back the funny Titi and for them to stop trying to tell so many stories in a 30 minute episode. I will continue to watch, because I want to support the show. I think the actors are at the top of their game (pun intended) and are doing the best with the scripts that are being given to them. The writers and producers need to have a team building workshop that includes watching seasons 1-3 and figure out where they are going wrong. I really do hope The Game gets better because pretty soon I won’t be flipping back and forth between The Game and Southland because my TV will be permanantly fixed to Southland.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

i am chanel ellis.: i believe.

I am grateful that my friend is sharing her life story. In so many ways, it's like she pulled these thoughts from my mind. This is one of the reasons I admire her so much. Read her story below and you will understand why she is an important part of my life.

i am chanel ellis.: i believe.: "'Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.' -Mark 9:23 (King James Version) have you ever made an attempt to pursue something that has so much potential but when you look at it in its present state, all you see is nothing? perhaps you can see fruition clearly in the future but a pile of ruble in the present?

it's hard to look past your current circumstances to see a bright road ahead but for me, it's even harder to see the prize at the end and then come back to reality only to find my face in my hands.

i'm at an interesting place in my life right now. i'm glad i've come to a point where i can speak positively about my life. (the power of the tongue is so serious.) i've been speaking over my life with such conviction that i've taken myself to a whole 'nother place, the place i've longed for... the place i call peace. i dream more. i've become more creative. i'm excited about life!

but then i look at my current situation and think how am i going to get to the happy place that i keep dreaming about? it's good to be able to say you're going get to your destination. a positive outlook is essential. however, the plan to get there always holds us back.

if we look at our lives and compare where we are right now to where we want be, it can be quite overwhelming. you want to be financially free but you owe everyone on the planet. you want to be physically fit but it's always time to make... and eat the donuts. you want to be married but you're constantly spending your evenings passionately with tivo. it's drastically overwhelming and if we keep comparing point a to point b, we'll never get where we want to be.

thats where i am right now. i have never seen so much potential in my life. i get excited just thinking about it! i've developed so many ideas and goals. those ideas and goals whisk me up and away... but they're just dreams and i'm back to reality, overwhelmed by my current state.

i think speaking goals and ideas outloud is great. but a word is just a word without belief. i know there's been times i said i was going to do something but i didn't really believe it. without believing, getting to that place of destination is gonna be mighty difficult.

when i wanted to work as a radio personality, i wrote "i am a radio personality" on a piece of paper. i kept it in my wallet and said outloud everyday until it happened. after being out of the industry for a while, i decided i wanted to go back but nothing ever happened. the difference between the two instances was that i once believed what i said.

believing puts things in motion. when you believe you're going to do something, you prepare. you plan. you execute. saying something means nothing without belief.

so, in the midst of my circumstance or in the midst of my point a, i not only say that i'm gonna get to point b but i believe that i will. a blueprint has been drafted, direction has been given, and i am now on the road. there will be a day i won't have to dream about it... i'll already be there. "

Monday, January 17, 2011

It Doesn't Matter to Me

Recently, I've been applying for freelance writing positions.  Why? Writing has been something I've always wanted to do, something I've always remained very passionate about and something that I love to do.  I don't know why I changed my major from journalism to biology my freshman year in college.  And I don't know why I never pursued writing as a career.  But, I guess that leads me to where I am now.  I've been writing a lot lately and I've been seeking out freelance opportunities (paid and unpaid) to build my portfolio.  So know matter how far I get away from writing, something always brings me back.  Though, it's never really far from me. 

I applied for an opportunity and received a response back from an editor at an online magazine.  His response, "your writing is not good enough..........," I don't really remember much after the words "good enough."  Though stunned, I was a a little confused because as I remembered the online magazine, the writing wasn't that great to begin.  So compared to what I'd read on the website, I thought my writing was of better quality.  Not good enough.  Really?  What exactly do those words mean to me? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! 

At this point in my life, I am confident and faithful in my skills and my abilities to do whatever I put my mind to.  So when this editor tells me my writing isn't good enough, though at first taken aback, I brush it off and keep moving forward.  I could have easily associated them judging my writing as judging me as not good enough. I keep moving forward past the many jobs I apply and interview for and they chose someone else.  I could have easily associated the selection of someone else to mean that person is better than me.  Instead, I am thankful because that job wasn't for me and had it been given to me I would surely miss out on what God has waiting for me.  So as I move forward, I move past all the NOs I receive.  I move pass those troubles that in past have broken me down and torn me to pieces.  As I face those challenges, I stare them straight in the face and ready to take them on with a fight.  By know means will it be an easy fight.  Yes, I have those days when I can't seem to win, where I can't seem to get a break.  When I think things are bad, sometimes they get worse.  And just as I'm knocked down again, again and again and want to stay down, God picks me back up, dust me off and places me firmly where I need to be.

This hasn't been an easy journey and I know that when things get better, somewhere in my future,  another test awaits me.  Each time I get stronger.  But, each time I wish God had chosen someone else.  But each time, I thank God, because each time the test is shorter than the time before.  Shorter, because I've learned to be obedient.  I've learned to lean on (and stop questioning) God's will.  I've learned to humble myself to my struggle and I've learned to share my testimony with the next person.  I've learned that it's never about me.  It's about God's choice to use me to be a blessing to others.  I've learned to thank God and be grateful for those time when I'm told no. 

So when someone tells me "your writing is not enough" or "you don't have what we're looking for" or anything else that simply means NO, I throw it behind me and keep moving forward.  I know my worth so what someone else thinks doesn't matter to me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Queen Latifah

I love Queen Latifah. Her stories of strength, inspiration and motivation are amazing! Check out her latest story as posted on Online USA News by clicking on the link below.

Queen Latifah Comes Out

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Raw Honey and Brown Sugar Facial Scrub

Honey and brown sugar are for more than just eating.  They have some amazing characteristics that help the skin too.  Being that I have oily, acne prone and sensitive skin, I am always on the look out for something that leaves my skin clean, blemish free and glowing.  I came across this facial scrub on moptop maven's blog (check her out at and though I'd give it a try.

I've been using the mask 2xs a week for 3 weeks now and I absolutely love it.  It has amazing exfoliating benefits (helps to slough off dead skin cells) and my skin has never felt better.

Raw Honey and Brown Sugar facial Scrub
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of raw honey
  • brown sugar - sugar has glycolic acid  which helps to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles, hydrate the skin, protect the skin from toxins, and gently exfoliate superficial skin cells 
  • raw honey-soaks up and cleanse your skin and pores of excess oil.  Also purported to stimulate skin regeneration.

 Here's the regimen I followed, today, when using the honey & brown sugar mask. 

- cleansed skin using oil cleansing method
- applied raw honey and brown sugar facial scrub (massage on skin for 3-5 minutes, rinse with warm water to remove honey and brown sugar, follow with a cool rinse to close pores)
- applied homemade apple cider vinegar toner
- used grapeseed oil as my moisturizer

                                                    WITH THE SCRUB ON MY FACE
                       FACE AFTER SCRUB (I've also already applied toner and moisturizer)