Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Birchbox: My new FAVORITE thing!

This month I decided to try something I had heard about through my best friend, Sophie. It's called Birchbox. It's a subscription that provides you with monthly deliveries of high-end beauty and lifestyle samples from top brands. It's a great way to discover new products and buy with confidence, knowing how they work! I ordered mine last week, after being on the waiting list for two weeks (it's pretty popular!) This is what I just got in the mail: 


So after opening the main package I was greeted with another small box that was super cute too!



It had some neat things in it, including this fold out little flyer with some awesome tear-off cards! I'm a typeface geek, so I absolutely love it.

so cute, right??
These are the things I received: 



  • Reviver the world's first dry deodorant for clothes:



  • Fekkai Brilliant Glossing-Olive Oil Shampoo and Conditioner duo (2 oz. each)

Not so sure how I feel about Fekkai products. Yes they are expensive and nice, but the ingredients can be damaging to my hair type. I'm reading the ingredients and I'm seeing lots and lots of alcohol which=bad news for my hair. So I can't suggest this one. Sorry, Fekkai!! I will let you know how it works after I try it out. 





I don't normally wear dark colored polish, so I'm not sure if I'm going to like this one..but I will try it all the same. :) Plus I think the concept is neat so my vote is YES on this one!



looks like there will be holes for distributing the powder. 

I like the fact that it is a mineral eye shadow. I don't normally wear eye shadow (call me lazy, whatever!) But when I do, it is always in this shade, so this is perfect!! I like that it is powder as well. I tend to have an issue with eye shadow breaking, so this solves that problem! :)

Birchbox is great because when you first sign up, they give you a series of questions to ask that will help determine what kind of products they should send you. For example, they asked for my skin type, hair type, things that I'm interested in, etc. I think the concept behind the company is genius! You get your samples, and then you can purchase them (at a discounted price) on the Birchbox website, if you want! If you decide to give it a try, it is $10 a month which is a great deal! You can sign up here, by clicking on this link!! 





Well, that's all for now! I'm off to enjoy my goodies!


Nat
















Tuesday, January 21, 2014

So What's With the Girl Scouts?

I don't know how much of this I believe.. If it's true, sad. 
This weekend I stumbled upon a Facebook post that immediately grabbed my attention. One of my Facebook friends had shared a news article about how "radical" the Girls Scouts of America truly is. At first glance, I didn't believe any of the accusations made, and refused to believe that what I had heard was true. But then I found an article made public on CNN. It was the Verbatim text of letter from Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, to fellow lawmakers. It stated some major accusations made against the Girl Scouts and their responses. It can be found here. Growing up, I spent my entire childhood as a Girl Scout, from the time that I was a Brownie until I was a Cadette/Studio 2B, the highest level you can achieve. 


The main points that the letter hits on is the fact that:

"abundant evidence proves that the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts, that they promote homosexual lifestyles, and a radical feminist agenda"


The Girl Scouts was founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low in Georgia. During World War I, girls learned about food production and conservation, sold war bonds, worked in hospitals, and collected peach pits for use in gas mask filters. 



From then it has grown to a huge organization, teaching about leadership, business skills, and outdoors survival with 3.2 million members as of 2013. As a Girl Scout, I have distinct memories. Summers at Girl Scout camp, troop trips, holiday bazaar Sales, and of course, Cookie Sales. We met in this Catholic Church, where some of the troop members attended, as well as my Nana, who still attends the Parish to this day.



Every meeting (twice a month) we would recite the Girl Scout Promise, and the Girl Scout Law:

The Girl Scout Promise
On my honor, I will try:To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
The Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to behonest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and torespect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.
Then, we would go over our weekly agenda, learn about badges we could earn, and plan upcoming events, the biggest one being cookie sales of course. 

  • I know for a fact that we never were given any paraphernalia from Planned Parenthood. First of all, we met (and members were of the faith) in a Catholic church. We were all conservative Christians, and all attended private Christian school. Our parents were not pro-choice, and if the GSUSA had been wanting to teach us this stuff, they wouldn't have allowed it. I'm pro-life, and that will never change.  
  • I was never sexualized as a Girl Scout. Our parents taught us abstinence, and as I mentioned above, most of my troop was Catholic. We never had to learn about Sex or anything like that, it was all girl, all fun. At camp, we sang songs, learned survival skills, and went swimming. I will never forget those days.
  • As far as homosexuals go, I don't know what they mean by encouraging sexuality.. I don't encourage it, but I don't discriminate. I don't personally understand how they could be encouraging it, because I never experienced that. 
  • If the Girl Scouts promote a radical feminist agenda, then consider me a feminist. The values I learned while in Girl Scouts helped me learn about business ethics, responsibility, staying healthy, and those are the same values I would want to instill in any young girls I meet.
  • The Girl Scouts are huge advocates on religious freedom. They not only have badges and activities for Christian girls including Latter Day Saints (young women's recognization) but also Islamic, Jewish, and Buddhist girls too.  http://www.praypub.org/pdf_docs/toservegod.pdf

The GSUSA has made a statement about some of the accusations, and this is what they have to say:

"The GSUSA officially maintains a neutral position on abortion and birth control. Because the organization has a two-tiered leadership structure, however, local or regional chapters have the autonomy to partner with organizations of their choice, which may include, say, Planned Parenthood affiliates (or, for that matter, conservative organizations)."
This very well may be. Based on the location of the Chapter, some Girl Scout Chapter's may partner with liberal groups, while some stay with more conservative ones. I know for a fact that living in Wayzata, Minnesota, we didn't ever experience anything that people are saying Girl Scouts experience while in their troop. I loved my time there, and would recommend the Girl Scouts to any family who wants to join. However, if I were to come to find out that they do indeed support Planned Parenthood (give them money) then obviously my thoughts would change on that.

There is another organization, called American Heritage Girls, which is becoming more popular among conservative families.

They instill some of the same great values that the Girl Scouts do, but they have more of a religious backing to their organization, which excludes some faiths, which is why I would have a problem with it. Regardless, my stance is this: Get informed. Know what you are apart of, and if you don't agree, don't be apart of it. Get self educated on what activities you are letting your children be apart of. As I learn about more information, I will make it aware to all of you lovely readers!! I would LOVE to hear comments about your experiences with the Girl Scouts! Comment Below!



Thanks for stopping by,



Nat

Credits:

Friday, January 17, 2014

30 Days of Curly: Ode to my hair


I was on Pinterest today, and stumbled upon these absolutely gorgeous sketches of naturally curly haired beauties. They were ADORABLE! Okay, small confession: I have an obsession with indie baby stuff on Pinterest. First of all, it's Pinterest so obviously there's going to be a lot of baby stuff on there. I'm obsessed with indie babes!!! They are so hipster and cute! SO when I found a couple of these cute sketches by Coily and Cute, 


(first of all) they gave me ideas of how to decorate my future kiddos' nursery (if I ever have any indie babies of my own), and also made me actually think long and hard about a topic that I have struggled with for a long time: My Hair. 

I call it "My Mop" because of the condition that it's in, but I have been told that I have beautiful hair. When I take care of it, that is. You see, me and my hair, we have a love/hate relationship. I wore braids and twists all throughout elementary school growing up and it was it's healthiest. The kind that you can wear with headbands and put in ponytails, not the cornrows. I don't like cornrows..they hurt. I was forced to try them once in fourth grade and HATED them. Never went back! When I hit middle school I simply HAD to get a relaxer. My mother finally let me do it, and I can honestly say that it was the biggest mistake that I have ever made. To all of the mothers out there raising mixed or African American children, I beg you: DON'T DO IT!
Sorry it's so small!

Once you start, you have to keep it up. It ruined my curl pattern (mine went from 4B to 2A to a frizzy 4C, and now it's getting to a manageable 4A!)

via Google Images
 which I am just now getting back. when I used to "wash and go" my hair used to be cute and curly. Then after my relaxer it got puffy and frizzy. Now, my curl is almost back! I just have to find the right products to keep it from going frizzy after an hour! I haven't gotten a relaxer in almost a year, and my hair completely broke off at the ends and thank God it is now almost completely grown out. I seriously prayed for a long time for that to happen though... and it didn't happen over night. BUT ALAS! When I saw this picture:

Belongs in a black babies' nursery! :)

beautiful. 


 I got to thinking.. I don't want my daughter (or any other little black girls that I may influence) to think that their hair (the hair that God has given them) is ugly, unfashionable, or unstylish. It is beautiful just the way it is, and as long as I respect it, it will respect me back. I was always told by my friends what I should do with my hair, and it ultimately ruined it. "Wear it down!" You should straighten it, it would be sooo cute!" Well, I listened to them, and look where it got me! I wish I could have seen my hair now, back then.

 "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering".
-1 Corinthians 11:15, KJV

Yes. Being black means that my hair is a CONSTANT battle. It takes so much time and effort to get it presentable. You will never leave a hair salon in under 2 hours... don't even try. Some styles take up to 6 hours. That's 6 hours of sitting in a chair, people!!! 

This is how I always feel... 

yup.
It means that I can't just "put it up every day and forget about it", because that's what I've been doing and my hair is a HOT mess. But my hair is also a gift. That first picture shows all of the necessities for a black girl's nighttime routine. Most girls who wear their hair natural have their mother braid or twist their hair, and wrap it with a scarf (to prevent breakage) before going to bed. I wear a fashionable bonnet, to prevent breakage. When I have my hair straightened, I do wrap it, which consists of me combing my hair in a circular motion around my head and keeping it in place with a scarf.


But enough about the boring stuff! I presented myself with a challenge. 30 days of Curly. I have to wear my hair natural and flat iron/straightener free for thirty days. This means that I might have to try some new natural hair products (yippee!! I love product reviews!! You all know I'm straight to the point!) and find some new hair styles. I invite anyone else to try it with me as well! If you do, make sure to post pictures on instagram!! Use the hashtag: #30daysofcurly



I agree!
 I will post all of my pictures of styles for the week in a weekly blog post, or maybe every few days. What I'm hoping to get from this is the assurance that I can find cute and stylish natural hairstyles that I actually like. I want to become a "naturalista"!! This trial run will prove if I can do it! I'm hoping that I can obtain that status ;) All you "naturalista's" out there!! What products do you use or love?? I'd love your suggestions! I have also found some great Natural Hair vlogs over the years on YouTube, and will be sharing those as well over the weeks!

Let the hair healthiness begin!


PEACE OUT!

Nat the "Nat"uralista ;) 



Remember! Hashtag: #30daysofcurly






Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When to buy local: Store eggs vs. Farm eggs

So a few days ago, I bought some eggs from my coworker. Her Aunt has a farm in Sacred Heart, Minnesota, and I have been dying for some farm fresh eggs! Most people I know have never even tasted REAL farm fresh eggs. Their definition of farm fresh eggs mean buying "organic" "local" "cage free" eggs from the grocery store for $4.99 a dozen. Not only are they overpaying for the value, but most likely, the eggs aren't even FRESH! Let's get some real facts:

Most people now a days say Eggs are bad for you! They are high in Cholesterol! They are high in fat! False. Eggs are incredibly healthy for you. Did you know that the protein found in eggs is the best protein found in any food? They also have other important vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, Beta Carotene, and Omega 3.


Ramblings of a Northern Belle
via CraftyFarmGirl.net

So why should you pay extra for farm fresh eggs, then? For starters, on a study done by Mother Earth News**, after testing the nutritional levels of eggs from 14 different flocks around the country, a lab in Portland, OR tested the results and compared the findings with official USDA nutrition data for commercial eggs. This is what they found:

SURPRISE SURPRISE! Eggs from a free range farm may in fact be healthier than conventional commercial eggs.

  • 1/3 less Cholesterol 
  • 1/4 less Saturated fat
  • 2/3 more Vitamin A
  • 2 times more Omega-3 fatty acids (which are good for you!)
  • 3 times more Vitamin E
  • 7 times more Beta Carotene

Now for the nitty gritty: Did you know that commercial eggs are normally more than 30 days old by the time they get to the grocery store?? And then you have to think about the fridge life for the eggs too, which is like 3 weeks. Now, eggs don't get old fast, but still. That's pretty nasty if you think about it. That makes me want to change my milk purchases too... But that's a post for another time! Raw milk is a WHOLE different situation!

From Mother Earth News:

In the summer of 2010 over 550 million eggs were recalled due to salmonella. 550 million. How can you produce and ship out over 550 million eggs before you realize they are tainted? Because with the practice of industrial farming days can pass before the farmer even realizes a hen is even dead in its cage. Because an industrial farmer cannot evaluate the health conditions of 100,000 hens each and every day. Because the level of fecal dust within the 'warehouse' is so high the farmer wears a mask when he enters and if a case of salmonella does arise its spread is rampant. Rodents are often a main suspect in the lineup when a salmonella outbreak surfaces, with such a large farm it is nearly impossible to keep rodent feces out of the hens feed and cages.
The outside of a commercial egg is sanitized to remove any dirt or fecal matter that may be present. This generally removes any salmonella on the shell of the egg. However, salmonella bacteria can be inside the egg if the chicken is infected. It is always important to fully cook eggs to kill any of this bacteria and wash your hands after handling any eggs, commercial or free range. 


via Google

Now, in my humble opinion, I'd rather have 1 chicken out of 10 die because of Salmonella and catch it quickly, than 10 out of 10,000. Who's going to notice that?? 

Some common objections to buying farm fresh eggs, and some differences you will find:

The yolk is orange, not yellow.
Orange yolk is a sign of a healthy pasture fed hen. Hens that are fed a grass and insect diet, and are allowed to roam produce healthier eggs. But! Feed additives can also be added to change the color of a caged hens eggs; don't be fooled by eggs in the supermarket that are orange but are not labeled as pasture raised or certified free range.

See how much more Orange the fresh farm egg is?
The eggs are smaller.
not only are they going to be smaller (that's what happens when you omit growth hormones) but the shell will be harder (healthier as well)
Jumbo egg (white) VS Farm Fresh Egg! 


White eggs are bleached.
I actually almost laughed when I heard someone say this. No, commercial eggs aren't bleached. The egg's colour is decided based on the breed of the chicken.

Farm eggs are more expensive.
Just remember you are getting what you pay for. Don't be fooled by the grocery store's over priced eggs. Find someone you know who has a farm. Chances are they are looking to get rid of their eggs!
(Pictures of prices)

What to look for in the Grocery store:

Pasture Raised
Certified Free Range

Anything else you buy will just be a marketing ploy. Don't be fooled. 

for more reading on the farm fresh eggs:

*http://www.modernstead.com/store-eggs-vs-farm-eggs/
**study found via:http://simplelifeainteasy.blogspot.com/2012/02/common-misconceptions-about-farm-fresh.html

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Get Sponsored!! FOR FREE!


All you "Belles" out there, whether Northern, Southern, Eastern or Western, if YOU have a blog out there that you want sponsored, I'm your Gal! What is Sponsoring? It's when one Blogger "links" their blog to another Blogger or a store, or product for a fee. I can promote your products, I can promote your BLOG, I can promote pretty much ANYTHING! :) Most Bloggers now a days are actually making money off of it, and using it as a way to supplement their income. I am a strong believer in not having to PAY to have your blog sponsored, because everyone should be able to have other's find their blog, WITHOUT having to pay. Anywhoo! The option is open! I welcome all you bloggers out there to shoot me an email! I look forward to hearing from ya!


Email Address:

northernbellemn@gmail.com

Sunday, January 5, 2014

{DIY}: infinity scarf

Okay guys.  I finally made my first infinity scarf of the year.  It only took me like 5 months haha. I crocheted mine,  but you could easily knit or Knifty Knit/Loom one. 

What you need:

~crochet hook size N/10.00mm (the bigger the better for infinity scarves. That way the gauge isn't too tight and you can manipulate the finished product in anyway you want)
~yarn (I used the generic acrylic yarn. you know, the kind you use in elementary school with glue and paper and stuff. :)



I used a simple double crochet stitch the entire pattern. I used 60 inches worth (I have no clue how many stitches I did) of chains using my crochet needle and yarn. I think it was about 120 stitches??
*Chain across the entire row, and chain two at the end. Turn and repeat, for 8 rows.*
To finish connect the two short ends of your scarf with a simple slip stitch all the way across.  And you're done!! The slip stitch (instead of sewing) creates an invisible seam that is more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. If you're into that sort of thing. :)




Now mine was just used with some left over Grey acrylic yarn.  But if you were to splurge on some nice chunky yarn it would be simply DIVINE.

This is the finished product!


There will be more to come! I also make these ruffle scarfs with the sashay brand yarn from Joann's or Michaels.  This one was a wonderful gift for Arianne!


Happy Sunday!

Cheers,


Nat

Saturday, January 4, 2014

{DIY}: Tulle Skirt! And some New Years (un)Resolutions

I don't like resolutions. Why you may ask? Because making a few goals for the year (that rarely) get accomplished just doesn't appeal to me. I have things that I find I myself to work on everyday. So Making 5 is pointless.  I would probably have 5 more next week. 
I found this on pinterest,  and I loved it!!

This is a blank version for you to fill out for yourself:


I have a few things that I know I want to change.  A few things that I know would be beneficial.  But like I said I know that list will only grow :)

Enough of all of that!! So for New Year's Eve the YSA Stake had asuper awesome dance. Anyways, I have a glamorous black dress that is to DIE for, but it was WAY too short. Like shirt length short. So I "Mod"ified it! I do this with a lot of my immodest clothing and it ends up being a fun way to save a cute but immodest outfit.  I found this awesome tutorial for making a tulle skirt and tweaked it a little bit! I wanted it to look like this:

via The Parlor Girl

not this:
(which is what you will find a lot if you search online for DIY tulle skirts)
via Google

The reason behind this is simple, I did't want a bazillion slits in my skirt. For little girls, it's fine, but for a 20 year old... not so much. When I finished my tulle skirt using the Parlor Girl's pattern though, it wasn't nearly as puffy enough or dark enough to wear even with a black skirt underneath. So I did some thinking and came up with my own little tweak: Make BOTH skirts, and sew the frilly one (pink skirt pictured above) underneath the one I want to wear. This provides more volume as well as more coverage. 

I won't post the tutorial because the one I linked above is SUPERB and I would butcher any attempt to explain how I did it. But I will let you know what you need for MY version of the skirt: 

-Wide Ribbon (make sure it isn't too stiff!)
-Tulle (I used about 10 yards, but bought 13 to be safe.) It's on sale at Joann's right now!
**The Tulle will most likely come doubled up. DON'T UNFOLD IT. You will thank me later. :)**
-Sewing Machine/Thread/Pins. (The basics).
-PATIENCE. yes. you read that correctly. 

TIPS (not instructions): 

for the "under skirt" tulle skirt, I just used a long strip of tulle, measured it around my waist, and then make a long "tulle skirt ribbon" by knotting long strips of tulle onto the "tulle ribbon" I had made. This is so that I could sew it to the actual skirt later on. As I mentioned above, don't unfold the tulle when making your long tulle ribbon underskirt. Cut them into about 5" wide strips and knot them onto your ribbon until you reach your desired thickness. I ended up putting a black skirt on underneath as well.

Here are some videos so that you can understand what I mean by "tulle ribbon"



This is what my finished product looks like:


I suggest washing it in warm water on the "Delicate" cycle with some soap and fabric softener. This reduces some of the extra puffiness.

that's me on the end with the big puffy thing.
The photographer was HORRIBLE. I apologize for the bad quality.. 


 I hope you all had a Happy New Year's!!


Nat