Meanwhile, in Paris…

parislife

…champagne on the balcony with the Le Tour Eiffel peeking at you from behind those trees.

I want to go back. Maintenant. (Now.)

Bon Tuesday.

(p.s..: I have a whole board on Pinterest called “Meanwhile, in Paris”. Feel free to follow. Click up top on the social media links and you’re there.)

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Adjoa on a Monday.

Ever since my early twenties, coffee shops have been my true love. Many a coffee shop had me inside of it; ordering a cup, listening to the beans whir in the grinder; hearing the quiet hum of conversation as patrons did everything from chat with each other to type away at their laptops for whatever projects they were working on. (I almost always think the laptop-bearers are burgeoning novelists.) When I worked at my dearly departed Borders Books (see memories here and here), one of the areas I was assigned to, other than at the register or the info desk or shelving books, was the cafe. There, I learned to make a variety of espresso-based drinks, recipes that I still remember all these years later. It was, in a way, my first foray in working in a coffee shop. And I loved it something awful.

Naturally, I’ve always wanted my own shop. So in my mind, my shop would be called Adjoa on a Monday. Adjoa is my Ghanaian day name for ladies born on a Monday. The decor would unsurprisingly be rustic-y with a French touch; the French part is me, as you know, but I’ve also grown to love the rustic idea for a while now. Funny, huh? This Square Peg, who favored not-busy, not-busy, super modern spaces now longing for burnished wood finishes and Mason jar centerpieces? Girl, people be changing…

*All images derived from my boo Pinterest.

Anyway, further details about AOAM:

  • Free WiFi. I love the idea of people inhabiting that space and working on whatever their working on.
  • Open mic nights. At Borders, I freely took advantage of sharing my poetry with audiences. That college student had plenty of spurned-love poems to share, thank you very much.
  • Themed evenings every now and again. Paris jazz spot Tuesday. Speakeasy Fridays. Etc.
  • An assortment of staffers of different ages and backgrounds. This one is important to me. When I worked at Borders, a true pleasure was working with everyone from fellow college kids to part-time History professors and everyone in between. It was amazing.
  • A mini-bookshelf/donate-a-book area. Because you know books have to be involved.

More ideas abound. Will it happen one day? Will I venture out and start my own business and finally see this coffee shop of mine with my own two eyes? *Kanye shrug* I’ve never been ashamed or shy to dream out loud. Perhaps that’s the first step?

What thing/idea/venture/adventure have you nursed for ages? I’d love to peek…share it in the comments below.

And now…

friday

The Frompadour Files.

Oh, hey. Have you missed me as much as I’ve missed you, dear reader? Have you longingly gazed at your notifications, hoping to see that I’ve reached out to you with another post? No? Well, I love you anyway.

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about this fro (known as She) on my larger-than-average head. Let me catch you up: for the past several months or so, She’s been giving me life. Why? Because She’s been obedient! We all know how She does her own thing and follows her own rules and decides when she wants to feel moisturized and so on. But for the past several months, She’s been actually responding to my attempts at styling and care-taking. It’s been slightly surreal. But I’ll take it. Anyway, since the dawn of summer, I decided to start fashioning her into vintagey pompadour styles that She’s really responded to. Take a look.

I’ve loved the creative, natural hair updo look forever. Throw in that retro feel that some of the styles evoke and I became an immediate fan and decided to try my hand at them. Even better: the style protects my dear ends, which are tucked away comfortably while I wear these styles. Here’s a quick how-to (or how I do) on them:

  1.  I start with hair that’s been stretched by an old twist-out, or Bantu knot-out, or really any style that I’ve worn for a while. Note that stretched doesn’t necessarily mean straight. Some naturalistas do these styles on straightened hair, but I like to just have my hair stretched to a malleable point.
  2. I then apply moisturizer or whatever styling cream I want to use. Before that, I like to spritz my hair with a tiny bit of water and/or leave-in conditioner, but not so much as to lose the stretch and bring on le shrinkage.
  3. Now I style. Perhaps here, you’re waiting for some rhyme or reason to how I style the hair into the frompadour (fro + pompadour)? Sorry. I don’t have one. I literally stare in the mirror and start moving my hair around to see what I like. Sometimes I want a front swoop thing like you see in the photos. Or I want to create a “flower” with my hair in the back. It’s really up to what I end up doing. As long as I have an abundance of pins and a bristle brush to keep sides and edges smooth (to no avail), I just end up with a nice style that I wear for a week or so. img_0312

That’s all she wrote. I get some of my ideas from Pinterest, of course, where you’ll find plenty of ladies with similar styles. Barring the falling into the Pinterest rabbit hole, that’s a great resource for ideas. YouTube, as well.

So what new things are you doing for the summer summer summertime?

 

 

things i currently need #9: décor dreams. (Blogvember #8)

Thought I’d share some of my needs when it comes to decorating my new apartment, which has become quite comfortable but still lacks some of the niceties and touches that I think would make it feel more like home. To that end, below are some of ideas I’ve pinned on my “mon espace” (my space) board on Pinterest. 


This lovely loo gives me life. 


My kingdom for a canopy bed!


Don’t you love it? Nothing like a bedside table. Those three books on the bottom are a sweet idea, but I foresee about 100 books stacked in that space for me. Kidding. 110.


There’s something about vintagey, French rustic-y dressers that drive me wonderfully mad. 


Another bedroom idea. I love everything about this room, including that large print on the wall. Are those scones on the tray? They look like scones. I digress. 


The living room is the centerpiece of the a home, in my opinion. I want a place that’s both cozy and cool, both modern and magnificent. Out of the three, the last pin is my favorite. And can we say #chandeliergoals?

Lastly, I’m a huge lover of natural hair and African-inspired artwork and want several pieces in my home. Here are a few of my favorite “Fro Art” pins. 


Anywho, a few ideas for me to work on down the road. And unlike most of the things on my recipes board, I’d like to make these décor dreams a reality. 

What’s your decorating style?

breathe deeply.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Why I walk through the stacks and inhale. 

Why I meander through libraries and bookstores, often with no intention of reading or buying, just trailing my fingers down endless rows of spines and consuming the sweet aroma of books. 

Why books can be desserts, too.

(I dedicate this post to my beloved Ms. Lindquist, who let me escape the battleground of recess (when you’re shy and slow and new to the area, recess becomes a battleground) by letting me make a home in the library while the other kids played. In there, I discovered stories about girls like me, about faraway places, about adventures and pesky little sisters, and everything in between. Ms. L., You opened up my world.)

Ma Maison et Mon Travail.

Went really French on you, didn’t I? But you’re used to that. Translated, it means my house and my job. Because, dear readers, after a month in my new surroundings, I’m happy to announce that I was recently hired at a new job and recently moved into my brand new apartment. We will pause for celebration.

Needless to say, I was anxious about these two things. Initially, I was staying with a kind, hospitable friend who allowed me to rent a room in her home while I figured out where I was going and what I was doing. My plan wasn’t to stay with her for eternity, so there was that particular anxiety. The kindness of others is always welcomed, but I also didn’t intend on overstaying my welcome. Secondly, since Idris hasn’t yet arrived with our marriage license and the key to our villa, your Square Peg needed a job.

The good things: a recruiting firm that I contacted early in the year, once I firmly decided on moving, was still quite open to helping me. Also: my car afforded me the chance, on days I wasn’t interviewing, to drive around and visit apartment complexes in the area. So after a few weeks of interviews and conversations with potential employers, and visiting an inordinate amount of complexes, and lots and lots of prayer…

Enter ma maison and mon travail. Again, let us celebrate.

Ma maison. I live in a nice, simple 1 bedroom place in a Dallas suburb. (I would be more specific, but…nope.) It’s quiet, save for a Chihuahua that occasionally has something to say, but he’s largely silent. As far as furniture, I have a bed and a very comfortable armchair. So you can imagine all the Pinterest decor boards currently overflowing with all the ideas I have for the remainders of furnishings and decorating to come. I’m a simple Square Peg: I basically want ma maison to look like Paris on a weekday. Lovely, uncomplicated, filled with croissants. Updates and photos will come.

Ma travail. It’s my third day at this new environment (a direct hire via that recruiting firm, yay), so everything is still minty and fresh and new. Nevertheless, my colleagues have been great so far and I’m acclimating well. Of course, the same Norse gods that secretly lived in my cubicle at the old OK Corral and blew icicles in the air apparently followed me here (search under “cold” to learn about my inability to stay warm; according to my mother, this is why), which resulted in purchasing a space heater and walking these halls draped in my usual scarf. But c’est la vie. I’m hopeful for this new professional path.

So here we are. Living on my own once again (it’s been twelve years since I had my very own place) and starting fresh with new employment. Onwards and upwards…

Oh, you want to celebrate again? Let’s.

Pinspirations.

Hi, there.

So I went to Pinterest a few weeks ago to get some ideas for my next protective style. As you know, I’ve been protective styling it more often than not, ever since my crochets in February. After deciding that I wanted some cornrows, I eventually descended into the sweet Pinterest rabbit hole, where you dig deeper and deeper into photos and inspiration until voilà and Eureka, you find it. And I found it. These two ‘dos caught my eye:

Basically, cornrows are braided on the sides and then fed into the braiding style in the middle. A braidhawk, if you will. Well, my eyes got really, really big and starry and I decided that I’d go this way next. After making an appointment with a braider that my mom likes to go to (not only is she super affordable but she provides the hair, which keeps me from getting lost in the rabbit hole of hair stores), I got my ‘do done this past Thursday. Here it is, dear reader:

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Needless to say, I love it almost as much as sliced bread. (I remain bread’s humble servant, so…) She did exactly what I wanted and I adore the look. I chose to have Senegalese twists in the middle, by the way. Also, I said nothing specific about length and she kept right on braiding, so the braids currently reach my derrière. I would post a standing shot so you can see the full length, but my pants were a bit too loose that morning (it was early, ok?), and you don’t need to see all of that. Anywho, trust me when I say that I’m basically sitting on them. Something certainly new for This Square Peg: I tend to get my braids mid-back and safe, not too attention grabbing, especially with working in the corporate world. But yay for changes and not worrying about all of that.

Here’s to Pinspirations and rabbit holes and women with the power to do amazing things for our hair.

Pinterest Poses.

I pinned myself last night on Pinterest. I’ve pinned myself several times before, but this is the first time I’m blogging about it. Anywho, why does one pin themselves? I’ll tell you why I did it. I was quite in love with my hair last night (this whole weekend, actually) and I wanted to share it. Perhaps another naturalista on a Pinterest search for hairstyle ideas might see my kinks and coils and find some inspiration. After all, that’s why I go on Pinterest. So each one, teach one. Share the wealth. Pay it forward. Insert motivational cliché here. Here’s what I pinned:

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As you can see, my kinky twists are gone and she’s back. She’s back and she’s thicker and a bit longer and she’s temperamental and she’s throwing a few more gray strands at me (see the smoother side of my hair in the photo for evidence) and she’s actually being obedient when I try updos and side hawks like what you see above and she’s in full effect and I’m happy to have her. I plan on letting her breathe through most of the summer before my next protective style. Or not. We’ll see.

For now, there may or may not be more Pinterest posing.

(The link is on my Contact page, but follow me here on Pinterest if you like…)

Happy Monday. Hope your weekend was bon and fantastic.

where to next?

After my traveling whirlwind within the past few months (London and Germany and Paris, oh my…and Luxembourg, too), it’s certainly a popular question I get from friends and family: where to next? Below are some of the places on my list to visit hopefully sooner than later, depending on how things play out in the neat future. All images are courtesy of Pinterest, and there’s no real order of importance, being that I salivate and dream about these locales equally.

You guys, I’ve been dreaming about Havana, Cuba, for the longest. In fact, when I think of Havana, I frequently entertain an recurring image. I am being driven through the streets of Old Havana in the backseat of one of the classic cars shown above, clad in a flowery red dress with a matching flower in my fro. Next to me is an unknown gentleman dressed in an old-fashioned suit from the Desi Arnaz collection. We bow our heads and listen as breezy, intoxicating music roams about the atmosphere. Right?? Oh la la. Anyway, now that travel restrictions between the US and Cuba have significantly loosened, I’m hoping that I’ll see myself walking down those old streets soon. And definitely with a flower in my fro.

Oh, Santorini. I’ve mentioned this delectable (yes, it’s so lovely that it’s edible) Greek island before. (Here and here.) I simply want to go to there. Those shades of blue need to be mine. We can even get my unknown Mister out of that Desi suit and into some white linen. I need those views, that water, strolls to the marketplace. I’ll stop here before this drool resumes.

Amalfi Coast/Positano, Italy. Notably, a bunch of my good friends are perplexed that I haven’t yet made my way to Italy. I’ll be honest: when I was a teenager, Italy was everything after Paris. I wanted to see Rome, I wanted to see all the dark hair and olive skin, I wanted to at least pose next to a pink Vespa. And with my enduring love of A Room with a View, you’d think I would have hightailed it over there already. Alas, no. Why? Let me tell you: I lost my love for Italy. Don’t ask me how. One day, I kind of grew bored with the idea of Rome and Tuscany. But then Pinterest came along and pinners with their photos of Amalfi and Positano and my eyes grew wide again and…you get my drift. In love again. Sure, I want to see the big cities. But it’s these lovely areas, the Amalfi Coast and Positano, a village located on the coast, that really call out to me. See that car on the far right there? Just imagine my unknown Mister behind the wheel, me next to him as we slowly drive down the coast, a scarf and his arm around my shoulders, his linen suit replaced with a crisp white shirt and slacks…

Le sigh. Remove the unknown Mister and I still have definite plans to visit these places. And there are more, mind you. The Netherlands, Morocco, South Africa, Japan. We’ll get to them eventually. There’s no expiration date on wanderlust, is there?

Are you a traveler? Tell me where you’re headed next or where you’d love to go.