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Monday, November 28, 2011

Kiss goodbye to ATM fees !! - Money saving tip

Since I moved to the US one thing I detest with a passion is ATM fees - well another is paying to receive calls - but ATM fees? really ? come on now America. I've somewhat avoided this trap by making card only purchase and cashback when I need to. This has worked well for me . However after analysing our household spend via Mint.com ( totally recommend) - the hubby realized he was paying far too much ATM fees and needed to do something ASAP. He decided to open an online banking account with ING and I went with Ally bank. I have limited banking experience with Ally so cannot comment much - but so far so good.

The application process was painless , they have an e-check option so need to mail in checks (YIPPEE), no ATM fees whatsoever, free incoming wires (domestic and international) , free checks , high interest rate - etc - you can't go wrong - the downer is that they have no apps - main reason hubby went with ING. For me I'm ok navigating via laptop/tablet - phone screen is a wee too small anyway.









Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Loew Cornell Make-up brushes...thoughts pls?


OMG! I'm excited about make-up brushes...no kidding!!. If you know me you'll know that I'm frugal. I hate paying full price for anything. That said I've been wanting to increasing my brush collection from basic powder brush, blush brush and my good ole' fingers :) - Yes that's all I use to apply all of my eye make-up that isn't in pencil form.

I've never really been big on make up applications - if it takes more that 5mins then I'm not interested.
Given my photography sessions will require some light make-up/touch-up I decided to invest in getting pro-brushes. I immediately decided on MAC until I found out the price.-- err worrehel?? $60 for one brush ? err dude that's my entire brush budget -surely the brush can't speak so why does it cost so fricking much.-
Anyhoo, after a couple hours of online research I stumbled upon Loew Cornell art brushes; this is apparently comparable to Mac and it's at a fraction of the price - WOWZER! I'm sold . I hurriedly purchase a few online
today(http://www.hofcraft.com/) and now I can't wait for their arrival - YAY!! I hope they work better than my fingers :)

below are some of my make-up apps -using Target powder and blush brush and my good ole fingers for the eyes :)









Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Welcome to Jojo's Kitchen!!

My second favourite thing after Hair is Food - I love food - I love eating and cooking. I enjoy the cooking bit more though. I love to host/entertain family and friends and 'force' them to eat my experiments :) -

These days I'm more focused on healthy eating. I hope to share a bit more of my culinary skills with you -in the meantime here are some pics of experiments. My inspiration is mostly African and Asian cuisine.

Stir-fry Cous cous

Stir fry Cous Cous

 Mixed greens & Boiled plantain

Baked Chicken wings


Baked chicken wings


x

Jo

Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving. What are you thankful for? feel free to comment



Here's my list
1) Thankful for life - I'm still breathing and breathing well.

2) Thankful for my hubby - he actually made me cry on t'giving morning - well tears of joy. So on the morning of t'giving I decided to write 25 things about him that I'm thankful for and read it to him- by the time I got to no 10 I was in tears - despite all our highs and lows he's been an amazing spirit

3) Thankful for our son - who is now 20mths going on 10yrs :) - he's an absolute joy - he's always so happy, cheerful and in high spirits - no dull moments with him

4) Thankful for my Mother - spent the last couple of weeks with her - i'm thankful she's still holding strong after my Dad passed away last December (OMG! it'll be a year next month)

5) Thankful for my family and awesome awesome friends - who take time to always check on me and read/comment on my blog :) - thanks guys

6) Thankful for food, shelter and clothing

7)Thankful for my job

8) Thankful for Jo Uthman Inc

9)Thankful for security

10) Thankful for everything -I really couldn't ask for more - instead my aim now is to use what God has given me to serve you


x
Jo
Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Run your race......even when sh*t happens

I'm a runner - I never really thought I would enjoy running. Long distance running sounded crazy, err it's really for people who do not have anything better to do, it's a waste of time infact if you would've told me 3years ago that I would love running and feel odd when I don't I would say you're looney - err seriously me run ..err not going to happen mate.

My ex boss got me into running - I got psyched into a half marathon Corporate challenge. How was I supposed to go from 0 to 13miles in less than 12weeks. It seemed impossible at first - but I did it and so can you.
Today I run for fun, I run when I'm happy, when I'm stressed, when I need to talk to God, when I need time alone - it's become my morning ritual. Long distance to me builds not only endurance but character - sometimes I fight battles with my mind (mind over matter) - I hit a certain mileage and my body just cannot go on - that's when I switch from physical to mental strength - Nothing is impossible, It is achievable , I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me - those are my usual mantras - believe me it works.

Anyhoo - more on my running and the benefits later - I stumbled upon the below pic of a runner who pooped on himself and thought to share - (sorry it's a bit gross) but inspiring at the same time.




This is what I get from the pic

1) Run your race. It is all up to you -people can talk and make jabs but do not listen just run your race - focus on the end goal.

2) Sometimes sh*t happens - err literally for this runner but do not let that stop you - stay determined and driven to finish

3)Never give up - this runner stayed the course - despite the poop, the stares, the pain, the humiliation - whatever your dark secrets/shame/problems are replace that with the poop - bring it all out in the open. It really doesn't matter what people think of you - what matters is what you think of yourself. What matters is that you carry on boldly, defiantly and finish strong.

4) Lastly do not eat belly-ful before a race - lol j/k



x
Jo


Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Martin Luther King Jr - National Historic Site Atlanta visit


Last Friday I took me Mum to the MLK National Historic Site. This was my second visit in four months. I was quite surprised at how empty it was - granted it's free to the public but I expected more people to visit.

We were there for only a short while so didn't get round to a full tour of Mr Kings birth home and memorial. We did the Visitor center and Ebenezer church tour.

MLK life was truly inspirational - I still get teary eyed watching the videos and reading stories of the civil rights movement. I am thankful that much progressed has been made since MLK's passing but at the same time there are still a quite few issues with black America today.

Today's youths do not quite understand the history or rather not seem to care much of what was done for them. Some are still quite lost, some carry a lot of negativity, some still feel chained even when the chain has being broken, some still walk with their heads down, some still feel like their colour is who they are .
Yes we still do not live in a colourblind America but we're almost there -so take charge my young brother and sister let not the government or environment drive/dictate your destiny - take charge, be the change you want to see, if MLK could achieve good in such hostile environment you can also, I can also and we can ....

I'm probably not one to comment on the state of the black American community-afterall I have only lived here for 5years -- anyhoo I managed to take a few pics - Enjoy

















If you find yourself in the Atlanta area then please go visit - free entry, free parking
Click here for more http://www.nps.gov/malu/index.htm

My favourite MLK quotes
''Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.
Martin Luther King, Jr.


In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King, Jr.




x
Jo
Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Quotes of the day!

“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides. ”
David Viscott

“An open mind is like an open window. It lets the fresh air in. ”
Mike Hernacki


“Follow your instincts. That's where true wisdom manifests itself. ”
Oprah Winfrey





x
Jo




Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No more Afro Kinky twist!!

There I said it - no more Afro kinky twist for me ....errr well this year... so enjoy

Hair - Janet Afro Bulk
Color - 1 or 1B
Quantity - 3 packs
Burden time - 5.5hrs



Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Purpose - Quote of the day

Purpose is the quality of being determined to do or achieve something
 



“I am not afraid... I was born to do this.”
Joan of Arc

Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

God is my Everything!!

God is my Everything!! There's nothing like putting your complete trust in him. God is my Everything!! The last year or so he's been just that - I've always sorta relied on my abilities and added God just because It's somewhat the right thing to do -I'm being totally honest here - but the past year or so I've gone thru many valleys -infact I think God took me there for me to walk with him, trust in him fully - you know that type of trust you have in your bed  -no one really thinks about the bed breaking when you lie on it - it's just suppose to carry your weight - that's the same trust God wanted from me .

He's absolutely the light that is leading me , he's the strength that keeps me walking, he's the hope that keeps me trusting, he's the light to my soul, he's my purpose - HE'S MY EVERYTHING.

During my early morning jogs Everything by Lifehouse came on my Pandora - it was like God was speaking directly to me - - listen below



x
Jo

Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Nubian Twist/Kinky hairstyle for Winter

After 4months of back to back Crotchet braids I needed a wee break - my plan was to do Patra braids (long box braids) - but can't bring myself to paying $200+ or spending 10hrs doing it meself - so in the interim I've defaulted to my good ole kinky/nubian twists - I must say the WOWness has worn off now -not sure I can carry it longer than a month - but it will do for now.

few pics below







Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Natural hair is NOT professional!!!



 Say WHAT!!!

I've heard it so many times, from my Dad(bless his soul), my Pastor , friends , sometimes the hubby tells me I have to dress smart in order to compensate for my natural hair or natural hairstyles.

I must say in all my 2years of wearing my hair naturally - It hasn't really affected my career negatively or rather I haven't really thought much about it until maybe a week ago.

I work for a cool IT tech company who really couldn't careless about what you wear or how you dress - they are more concerned with the quality of your work and who you are as a person -we all wear Jeans to work and in the summer flip flops - so my hairstyles over the years have been somewhat ok -infact they all look forward to my new do - I gladly share the details whenever I can - hair to me is like changing nail polish:) - well that was what I thought -until I got invited to a board meeting - the board is made up internal and external directors of the company - now the internal ones I'm kosher with but the external I was worried - but why was I worried ? I'm not my hair of course - I'm Jojo -- err no for that meeting I had to rep from head to toe literally - given I was the only black woman in meeting I really couldn't just show up with a big ole Afro - so sad but true :( - this is Corporate America afterall.

......oh so I was watching junk TV today - to be exact Millionaire matchmaker and there was a lady with an Afro - pretty lady - and the host (i forget her name) , was like err you have a pretty face but can you do something with your hair ?- maybe like Tyras - WOWZER !!!  WHAT?? SORRY?? EXCUSE YOU!! - again sad but somewhat true - image is everything in America. ...sorry for the detour just had to mention :)

Anyhoo, natural hair to me was simply a choice -it wasn't a political statement or spiritual reconnect or non of that finding yourself malarkey just Jojo refusing to put relaxer on my hair.SIMPLE!- that said we live in a world full of labels - once you can be labeled you can be classified -  how you wear your hair, how your present yourself, lifestyle etc are often what people use to label you. I remember my cousin telling me that with natural hair comes listening to neo-soul, spoken mic, being Afro centric etc all that comes with the natural hair label , nothing wrong with such but non of that applies to me - -anyhoo kinda digressing here - but my whole point is to be professional you have to look the part and you can do so with your natural hair - it's all about how you carry yourself and the confidence you exude - my meeting went well in the end - I must say God took control - I prayed that all they saw was HIM in me and not my kinky hair self.








x
Jo

Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Believe + Hope - Quotes of the day!

“Be strong, go with your heart, and believe in miracles because anything...anything can happen.”
Marlo Javidando


“In the face of uncertainty there is nothing wrong with hope.”
O. Carl Simonton 




x
Jo

Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How to Henna/Indigo Gray African American hair

So yesterday I decided to experiment with my Mum's gray hair. My Mum is now in her sixties and has head full of gray hair which she's incredibly proud of. She had vouched never to  dye her hair...but no JoJo has her own ideas. HENNA/INDIGO was my idea - I finally convinced my Mum to try it - and she did - below are the results.

How to 
Henna mix - (should be muddy/yogurt like consistency)
1 - 100-200g of Henna (Body Art quality) - I used Jamila
2 - Water - I opted for Coffee
3 - 2 table spoons of Apple Cider Vinegar -(optional)
4- let mixture sit overnite at least 10hrs

Indigo mix
1 - 100-200g of Indigo - Indigo should be green in color if it isn't then you do not have pure indigo
2-   Warm water
3 - 1 tablespoon of salt (optional)
3- let mixture it sit for at least 15mins

Steps
Apply Henna generously onto hair - let it sit for 2-3hrs
Rinse out with water
Apply Indigo mix and let it sit for at least 70mins - we waited 90mins
Rinse out Indigo with water only - allow to oxide (24-48hrs) then follow with shampoo and conditioner


Hair Before 

                                                     Apply Henna in sections - much easier

                                                                 Fully cover with Henna

                                                 Wrap with a cling film and let it sit for 2-3hrs

 Henna results - as you can see the Henna turns the gray to burnt orange- me mum wasn't a happy bunny - I had to reassure her it's ok - this is expected- Warning don't apply Indigo without Henna 1st - well unless you want blue hair :)
                                                       Step 2 - Apply Indigo mix all over hair

                                                                       End results -

                                                        Natural looking brownish/black hair

                                      me mum loved the end results - next is eyebrow threading :) 
    


Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Rising ABOVE : Quote of the day

Back to Back quotes - I really do like this one - One day my soul opened up - I know exactly who I am - I'm not defined by defeats/mistakes/failures - Infact one of the biggest problem I had personally was overcoming fear -the fear of failure and criticism to be exact - but today I know that it's ok to jump out of the proverbial plane without knowing if your parachute will work - it takes courage - it takes FAITH.



“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Maya Angelou 


Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Dream big :Quote of the day



Dream big, but allow yourself the opportunity to start small, and have your share of struggles in the beginning. The world's great composers weren't writing symphonies the day they first sat at a piano. 

Kevin O'Rourke, Marathoner 


Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Passion : Quote of the day

“It is the soul's duty to be loyal to its own desires. It must abandon itself to its master passion. ”
Dame Rebecca West



Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Learning from mistakes


Made a huge mistake today at work that cost my company $350k. I still can't get over it. I think I'm more worried of what the 'bosses' will think of me than the actual error. Ah well I'm only human and I was really acting in the best interest of the company - it just didn't go as planned - such is life.

I've spent the last couple of hours replaying the incident and how I could've prevented it - shoulda, woulda, coulda - but no more - It's done - I need to move on asap. I tend to dwell on a lot of things - but the older I've become the wiser - in past errors like this can keep me worried for days but today it lasted a few hours - because I can't control everything around me but I can control how I feel - I choose to learn from it - I choose not to be bother with what the 'bosses' think - my career is not measured by my failures or poor judgement but on my successes and achievement -...OMG! just had an aha moment - my October control thoughts exercise is in full effect - I am not my failures or mishaps -it's ok to fail or make mistakes the key is that you learn from it  - so simple. If I didn't try I wouldn't have failed but I prolly won't have the knowledge and experience I know now so it's ok to fail - infact I think failure is an option - not trying/fear is NOT an option.

I particularly like below quotes -

'If you study and relive your past experiences, analyzing them, and "getting in touch with your feelings" you will only reinforce those feelings. If you want to get away from a problem, you should not focus on it. Focus on the good, the positive, the beautiful, the nice. - unknown

If you pay attention to the darkness, you'll never find the light.


Too much thinking and analyzing just makes any problem worse. Today is a wonderful day – live it in the present.- unknown



x
Jo



Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Strength - Quote of the day

“No soul that aspires can ever fail to rise; no heart that loves can ever be abandoned. Difficulties exist only that in overcoming them we may grow strong, and they who have suffered are able to save. ”
Annie Besant


Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bargains : Do you coupon?

I'm bargain hunter - I absolutely hate paying full price for anything - I'll research and research till I find the best deals.Infact I do this with pretty much everything but groceries - granted I have a Sam's Club/Costco membership which are pretty good for diapers and formula and maybe cleaning goods.....

After watching a few Extreme couponing programs on TLC - I figured maybe I could try this - I don't think I'll ever buy so much at once because that leads to waste. We're only a family of 3 and having 30 gallons of Tide and 100 toilet rolls will just encourage wastefulness in my opinion - unless I do it for charity.

I normally go to 3 stores for groceries - Wholefoods/Farmer's market (fresh produce /organic bits), Sam's club (diapers and cleaning), Publix (for the rest) - sometimes I alternate between Kroger and Publix. Anyhoo yesterday I thought to try out this coupon thing so before my trip to wholefoods - I went to their online site (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/coupons/) and printed a few coupons.


Earth Balance organic soymilk - rrp $3.49 - after coupon $2.49
Imagine chicken broth - rrp $2.49 - after coupon $1.49
Oikos Organic yogurt     -rrp  99c - after coupon  -1c ( free plus 1c change)
Stonyfield Organic yogurt - rrp 99c - after  coupon  24c

Total savings - $3.75 - this was nearly 15% of my total bill - pretty much covered the 6% tax and more. When you look at it this way you see that every penny counts.
How fantastic was that - I was really pleased as I bought things that I actually need - my plan now is to always look out for coupons which are readily available online before heading out.My goal is to reduce my bill by at least 20- 30% each trip.

some of my favourite online shopping sites

Amazon.com - if you're a Mom then Amazon Moms is definitely the way to go. I actually started buying diapers from there on the subscribe and save program - this works out cheaper than Sam's club

SmartMomma.com - sometimes they beat Amazon on price :) - it's free shipping(over $75) and no tax if you ship outside NC

Craigslist - I can't begin to count the items or steals I've gotten from here. Craigslist allows me to buy the products usually new or near new for a fraction of the price, use it for a period of time and sell it back at a profit - this still amuses the hubby - but it's a skill :)

I'm still in search of a good clothing site - I've tried hautelook.com but not sure if it's me but  I've sorta gone off clothes shopping - I only buy clothes when I really need it - part of me miss London street markets -where I could get FCUK, Topshop etc for peanuts - great style, great bargain -



x

Jo


Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Overcoming - Quote of the day!

“Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.”
Dan Millman



Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy November month!!

YAY! it's the month of November. Welcome to November - if you can read this then you have plenty to be thankful for - you're still here , still breathing - you made it.

If you remember I started my 'try something new for 30days challenge last month'. In the month of October my challenge was to actively control my thoughts to steer my thoughts from negative to positive each time it went that way - well it was pretty hard to do so - Infact day 22nd I realised that you cannot control thoughts with thoughts you have to fight it with the word.

My November challenge is be consistent - Consistency and Focus has always been my key strengths for a long time but i find with all of today's distraction and drama it's been really hard to be consistent. I particularly want to work on :

Consistency in my spiritual life
Consistency in my role as a wife and mother
Consistency in my pursuing my passion
Consistency in my fitness/exercise
Consistency in my professional career

To add to Consistency is Perseverance they kinda go hand in hand -

What is your November challenge?

Live simply, Live happily and Remember your life was God's idea. Own it! Live it! Work it!
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