Published 4:16 PM by with 0 comment

Sisterlocks Update

March 2014 - Wow, a year ago they were nowhere near collarbone length!Back then, I don't remember complaining about the thickness or being too hot every day either.
Hey, look! It's late March. I can't believe it's been a year since my last update. Time sure does fly when I am not obsessing about my hair. Well, only occasionally obsessing about it. I can only see real change in the length of it on wash and henna days, otherwise, it's still shrinking 50-75%.
I've played with different styles and tried curling with both Flexi-Rods and Bantu knots. I finally resorted to just using a curling iron to save time and some of my sanity. The curls still fall by the end of the day. My loctitian suggested Lottabody, and the next time I am able to have a Saturday or Sunday as wash day, I will be curling my hair. I also need to purchase a bonnet style hair dryer to make that particular experiment work. I now know from experience that it takes my hair two days to dry when I use Flexi-Rods or Bantu knots. It just looks better at this stage styled in some way.

Because I have multiple textures, some of my ends are raggedy. I'm almost fully locked in the back and middle, but my front, which is more like Amer-Indian hair, is taking forever (as in still in the coil phase and not budding).

Hunting down the photos took some time, so these are all unedited. Hope I don't break your screen!

April 2014 - Just a little fun at Clockwork Couture. I opted not to post the one of me trying on a waist-cincher.

This counts as collar length, right?

Middle of April and it was cold enough for my peacoat. 

May 2014 -  Definitely collar length now. Still thin enough that I could use the hair jewelry that I mentioned in last year's post.

Volume is not an issue for me.

 #FridayFace Crown - I was trying out a new style because HOT!
Gotta get these locks off of my neck.

And I even survived Detroit over the Memorial Day Weekend.

June 2014 -  I think I see some length now.
Amazingly, he doesn't want to play with my hair.

Good enough for LinkedIn

July 2014 -  The awesome thing about Sisterlocks is that I don't have to carry a ton of products when I travel.

Sun's out guns out. This was taken at Fort Warren in MA.

This is just one of my favorite photos from last year.

August 2014 - LOCAVERSARY!
 I decided to celebrate by buying Flexi-rods and seeing what would happen. You can read all about it during one of my first Blogs of August posts.
Big, fat juicy curls. Not exactly what I was aiming for.

'Nuff said.

More experimentation. I was trying for a braided crown,
but it got super chunky halfway through.

September 2014

Still doing great with water sports.

October 2014 -  There are these, and then there is the Octopus Bun.
I think I have discovered the perfect recipe for my henna.

There's a con a'coming and I need to stretch the hat,
otherwise, I will have a monster headache.

Past my chin, awesome.

A little wild after a long day at work.
At least it's not standing up on end.

November 2014 -  Nerdvember really stretched my creativity, not only with clothing choices, but with what I could do with my hair.
Hello, Sweetie.

Browncoats unite!

Aimed for 1940's look for Veteran's Day.

Mrs. Doubtfire

December 2014 - This is the only one I could find that I liked.

January 2015 -  This was the month I discovered some ridiculously long locks. Some of them are almost 20" long! I just wish it was more uniform. And I haven't fully locked, so I can't even get a decent trim.

Fresh henna

I still need to write my review of this stuff
I twist a lot to keep it off my face.
Ponytail holders just don't work anymore.

February 2015
I clean up well.

Big hair...

March 2015 - Finally long enough to use one of those donut bun makers, but it took longer to tuck and get it to look right than to take my shower and dress! Not worth it, though I was complimented enough that I will probably pull it out for special occasions. You can also see the results of curling my bangs with a curling iron.
Fresh re-ti and my hair loves to fly in the wind.

This was using  a large bun maker.
I couldn't fit all of my hair into it
and had to leave about 1/4 out.
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Published 6:04 PM by with 1 comment

The Improv Kitchen: Asian Orange Chicken Tenders

Orange Chicken Tenders

Recipe by Annette Holland

My daughter loves orange chicken. However, traditional orange chicken is breaded in wheat flour and the sauce contains soy. I modified my old recipe and came up with gluten-free soy-free orange chicken tenders. They were quite delicious despite not having coconut aminos as a soy sauce replacement.
4.5 stars
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings
  • chicken tenders
  • 5 tablespoons, 1 teaspoons honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
Cooking Directions
  1. Brown chicken in coconut or olive oil over medium heat.

  2. While chicken is browning, combine spices, honey, 1 cup water, and orange juice. Mix until honey is dissolved.

  3. Pour over chicken, bring to boil, then simmer for 15 miutes.

  4. Mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water (more if needed), pour into sauce and stir until thickened.
  5. Serve with steamed rice or paleo alternative and steamed veggies
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Published 7:33 PM by with 0 comment

Menu Plan Monday: Add a Little Spice

I planned this menu last week and never got around to the grocery shopping. We ended up eating whatever I could throw together from the fridge and eating out at least twice. Not good for my budget.

Lately, I've had to make even more adjustments to our diet (read that as "lifestyle") and how I cook. In addition to dairy intolerance, tolerable if she takes a Lactaid, my daughter's soy intolerance is borderline allergy. She can't have anything that contains soy oil (looking at you Trader Joe's snacks) or that has soy lecithin. Did you know that stuff is in practically everything? I couldn't even buy tapioca for the pie I made (recipe and link coming soon).
It tasted so much better than it looks.

She's gotten used to eating super-healthy for dinner, but breakfast has become problematic since she's now allergic to eggs (probably the whites since even paleo safe mayo affects her), but not if it's baked as an ingredient in something. I'm still trying to figure that one out. And the surprise she sprung on me when I handed her a bag of Alien Fresh Beef Jerky -- HFCS gives her a headache.
All of this is now off limits

Here's to cooking whole, real food from scratch.

Monday: Orange Chicken (not breaded, looking into Coconut Aminos) with steamed broccoli
Tuesday: Mahi-Mahi Grilled Fish Tacos
Wednesday: Turkey and Spinach Stuffed (Sweet) Potatoes
Thursday: Lettuce Wrapped BLT's (we've given up on store bought GF bread. She just won't eat it).
Friday: Spiced Honey Lemon Chicken with Sweet Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (I'll have to remember to marinate the chicken before hand).

So, what are you looking forward to eating this week?
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Published 1:11 PM by with 0 comment

Book Review: The Engines of God

The Engines of God (The Academy, #1)The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first exposure to Jack McDevitt -- I'm glad I got this as a library book instead of purchasing. I was disappointed after all of the hype I had read and heard about this series. It caused no excitement and took me over three weeks to read. It's not that long of a book, and I'm not that slow of a reader.

Priscilla Hutchins, "Hutch" to her friends and colleagues, was written incredibly flat. For a protagonist, I expected more. Someone I could care about. Someone I could cheer on and celebrate the wins and commiserate the losses with. A good book gives you an emotional connection to the characters so long as you are immersed in their world. I felt none of that for any of the characters in The Engines of God.

There was some romance, and on that front I wish McDevitt had received input from to a woman when writing from her point of view, if only to fix the approach to her first private encounter with George. I don't see how leaning towards someone to show interest "blows it".

Hutch wasn't the only character that seemed flat, they were all two-dimensional and descriptions were superficial, there didn't seem to be any character growth or dimension to pivotal supporting characters, despite hints that some would meet later in life (and the series). They were all caricatures.

The action scenes, well, there was no tension. Were they going to die or weren't they? Did it matter? Back home Earth is overpopulated and dying, but when the team returns to Earth, hardly anything is described of that condition. The only thing we read about is the politics between the Academy and private enterprises that want to terraform and colonize Earth-like worlds.

I'm going to give Deepsix a chance to see if the series improves at all. Tell me now if I should just give up.

View all my reviews
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Published 1:33 PM by with 0 comment

Menu Plan Monday: Baby it's cold outside!

My daughter came home Sunday afternoon and started asking about dinner right away. Grilled eggplant didn't go over so well (she let it get cold), but the grilled cajun salmon was a hit. Then the requests for meals started coming fast and furious. Every single request was a type of chili.

Monday: Beef and Bean Chile Verde
Tuesday: Three-bean Chili (from scratch)

Wednesday: Chicken Chili
Chicken chili

Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Turkey chili

At least she's getting lots of lycopene this week. I'll probably have to make a few batches of gluten-free cornbread to go along with all of this chili.

Still feeling a little silly.
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Published 6:08 PM by with 0 comment

Menu Plan Monday: Let's Play Squash

I'm sorry I'm posting this late. I see that some of you guys stopped by on Monday and, well, there was nothing new to see. I did have a plan in mind, I just needed time to write it up. I'm back to doing mostly paleo-friendly instead of Whole30.

This month has been a bust diet and photography-wise (which reminds me to write my post about how I did actually lose weight doing Whole30).

I have decided that I don't really like February. I'll examine the reasons later. It probably has something to do with being the dead of winter. I know, what am I complaining about, I live in Southern California for goodness sake, what winter! But, being the dead of winter, I'm not getting enough sunlight, which means that I have random bouts of S.A.D.

Monday: Spaghetti and meatballs (well, meat sauce) and mushrooms. Mushrooms have Vitamin D.

Tuesday: Work-related dinner party
Wednesday: Work-related dinner party (no, that isn't a typo. Things are busy at work).
Thursday:  Detox - zucchini and yellow squash with blackened chicken and avocado
Friday: Lime Butternut Squash Soup - new recipe to try this week. Skipping a lot of time because I have butternut squash that is already cubed. plus it gives me a reason to use my KitchenAid mixer.
Saturday: Coconut Crusted Chicken with Avocado Sauce (also known as guacamole, because that's how I roll).

And now, I will share today's earworm with you.

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Published 3:57 PM by with 0 comment

Recap: Capture Your 365 Feb 1-7

So, it's already February. How did that happen? I've been really busy at work, so the blogging is a bit behind schedule. Here's some of my shenanigans. I posted a lot on Instagram this past week if you're feeling voyeuristic.

February 1:

February 2:
A photo posted by Annette (@dananner) on

February 3:

February 4:

February 5:

February 6:

February 7:
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Published 10:45 PM by with 0 comment

Making the Kindle Paperwhite 2 Useful for an Avid Reader...

... With an outrageously large digital library.

As I was trying to set up my Kindle to work with Calibre, I realized that over the last six years or so, I have gone through A LOT of ebooks, and I have them downloaded from all over the place -- Baen, Tor, Project Gutenburg, Smashwords, and all of the major eBook retailers. The smallest part of my library is Amazon (only 169 books). That's why I was desperately trying to get my hands on a Kobo Aura (but not so desperate as to order direct from Japan on ebay). Almost 4000 books, novellas and short stories in epub or PDF format (not all of them read, mind you).

So, this past weekend, I went through database hell. I started working on the +How-To Geek  Screensaver Jailbreak --which really needs to be updated to state 1) it doesn't work on the PW2 and 2) if you attempt it anyway, DO NOT register your device and get the updated software because then you are SOL up a river without a raft, with a flash flood headed your way--so I could install the Collections jailbreak and at some point my brain went EFF THIS! Way too much work and I am not too thrilled at the possibility of bricking the thing. I had already started organizing things on my Kindle app, because cloud synchronization is a good thing, right? RIGHT? Yeah, right.

By the way +Jeff Bezos , find some competent programmers PLEASE. The Kindle for PC app sucks sweaty monkey balls and won't import collections from my Android (Nexus 7) nor from my Paperwhite once I connected it to the PC. Nor after creating some non-duplicate collections would it sync to the almighty Amazon cloud so I could sync to my Paperwhite. So now I have Collections in three places that don't sync.

When I synced just 4 collections to test the functionality, I was pleased. When I went back later to get the rest from the Amazon Cloud, they wouldn't download. (At this point I learned how to take a screenshot on the PW2, but since Collections are part of a smart menu, it didn't take). Oh, and update the Kindle help articles to reflect what actually happens and what the PW2 is (not) capable of.
Solved: From the home screen I hit "Search" and searched for my missing Collections and from there I was able to download my collections from my Nexus 7 to my Paperwhite. Not intuitive in the least!

I kept looking for a solution to getting Collections synced without jailbreaking. One article stated that you could organize your collections from the Kindle Cloud (maybe they meant this help article?), but that functionality does not appear available on the Chrome app (seriously, WTF!?! How many serious readers do you know who just toss their books anywhere and don't have some sort of organizational system???) So for now I am stuck creating collections on my Nexus and importing them to my Paperwhite. It's just plain faster on the tablet, but would be even better if I could do it from my computer. And oh yeah, then there's the issue of downloading the collection and then individually importing those books. Who designed this setup???? Everything says that I should be able to manage collections from Archived Content, but that section isn't on my account.

Another gripe that has made getting a Kindle tortuous:
Kindle has changed their interface so much. I went into Manage My Kindle (now Manage Your Content and Devices) and you can delete items, but you can't archive them. In fact, there is no archive (well, that page is the archive but there is no differentiation between active books on your devices and "archived content", you know, like your Nook Library) and no way to manage your Collections on the web. I just want to be able to organize my books -- quickly and efficiently en masse. Why is that so hard for Amazon/Kindle developers to understand?

Poor Calibre is still importing and updating metadata. I had my ebooks in three different cloud areas, and that does not include Nook, Kobo and Kindle books stored online. I haven't even finished downloading my Nook Library -- while I had it, I used Free Fridays every week, often getting up to 10 books each week. It doesn't seem like hoarding when it's digital. Until you have to organize it.

While I was writing this, Calibre crashed and burned. I had to start over. Doing small batches of only a few hundred books at a time, just getting the metadata at this point and then I will sort into series and virtual libraries.

Conclusion: After nearly 48 hours of wasting time researching and trying out solutions from 2012 -2014 that say they are for the Paperwhite, you really can't make the Kindle Paperwhite 2 useful; not even for Amazon bought books, let alone books in other formats. I will have to keep the Kindle app on my tablet so that I can tediously organize, and then head over the PW, search and download the collection and then each book individually. 

If you have the Kindle Paperwhite 2 (software version 5.6) and have figured out how to do this, will you help a sistah out?
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