Day 2: The Journey to Some Kind of Thanksgiving Dinner

Sidenote: I took pictures, but I got to wait until I get to my home computer to upload them!

Day 2 of my road to Thanksgiving dinner took place Monday after work! After I dropped off some mail for my job, I began my stroll to Whole Foods. It was wonderfully nice outside too. Unlike on Saturday, in which it was unseasonably too warm at times, Monday was leveled. It was fall but not cold and brisk. It was just right. I felt cozy in my faux fur and my neck was wrapped in my Giambattista Valli x H&M scarf. It’s thin but nice to the touch.

I had decided to get my groceries at Whole Foods. Though I’m a Stop & Shop shopper at heart and have been since I was little, I was honestly feeling bougie and thought, I’ll live a little and get my first batch of food at Whole Foods. I know to some people, grocery shopping at Whole Foods isn’t bougie It’s their lifestyle. But for a lot of us, it’s a little moment when going to Whole Foods. But Stop & Shop: you’re my home.

I was also riding high on the good day I was having. I had had one of those mornings in which I showered, got dressed in a cute outfit, my makeup had the promise of staying put all day, I was wearing my new Giambattista Valli x H&M tights (love!) and my new big-ass scrunchie from Free People that considering it’s from Free People was only $12. Yes. Do you how rare it is to have a fulfilling breakfast before work?!

On my way to Whole Foods, I was still listening to Mary J. Blige’s A Mary Christmas. It is lovely! Blige is the Aretha Franklin of her generation, seriously, but wow! Who knew that Christmas music was a lowkey her metier. It felt so at peace. Thank you, Mary.

The first thing I saw at Whole Foods was sparkling cider in boxed stacks for, from what I can remember, $3.99. I hadn’t even picked up a carriage or basket yet and I almost grabbed a bottle. But then I stopped myself, stood in front of it and pulled out my half-crumbly lined sheet of paper with my list of ingredients to buy out of one of my pockets. I was here for the Extra Crispy Parmesan-Crusted Roasted Potatoes (long title, much!) and Apple Cider Punch. I felt so together and like I was on some TV drama that takes place in the suburbs while holding an actual grocery list. I almost always just keep a mental list but that’s also because I usually shop at the same two Stop & Shops close to my house. One in which has been there since I was a kid and the aisles have virtually remained the same as far as what they stock.

The long-ass titled potatoes were the first to complete. My body then took on the vibe of a detective. I know that potatoes can look a multitude of ways so what about a russet potato? Aren’t those kind of reddish? You know, russet? In about a minute, I found them! Whole Foods marked it big: Russet Potato, 79 cents. I began to peruse them. They were kinda cute. All-potatoy and with an interesting dusting that was noticeably a shade darker than the actual potato. And they aren’t reddish at all. I looked over to the right of the where the russets were and saw the Peewee Potatoes. Hello, there!

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Next: Turkish dried bay leaves. Where tf am I going to find Turkish dried bay leaves. A slight panic. Would I have to go to a specialty store for this? I checked my list again and I was reminded of black peppercorns, thyme or rosemary sprigs to pick-up as well. Thus began my walking around the store in an attempt to find these herbs on my own as I was enjoying Mary’s cover of the Donny Hathaway classic, “This Christmas.”

I soon gave in and asked for help near the clean beauty section and a Whole Foods employee kindly walked me to the herbs aisle. I’m wishing her a Happy Thanksgiving!

The walls of herbs then looked at me back. Are we about to have a duel? I walked up closer and look at what we have here: bay leaves. They weren’t identified as Turkish, but shit, these were going to have to do! They are literally leaves and I laughed to myself thinking, is this the same shit that’s right outside of Whole Foods? Am I being had?

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I tossed dropped the peppercorns into my basket and afterward had to decide between either thyme or rosemary. I went with the rosemary.

With four items in my basket roller, left was the unsalted butter. I knew I wasn’t going to buy the grated Parmesan cheese and baking soda (at least not yet. I already got grated cheese at the house) and it was recommended that I go to Bed Bath and Beyond to get a fine mesh bag or cheesecloth.

Butter is almost always near the eggs and I picked up a three dollars and some change block of unsalted butter. I probably won’t even need all that butter after I’m done with the long-ass titled potatoes, but I’ll use what’s left of it for leftover pasta. I’ve never been one to add salt and butter to pasta while it’s boiling, but I ain’t mad about those that do! When I have eaten pasta in which it was cooked with butter and salt, it was great. I picked up a dozen eggs as well. The eggs are unrelated to any of my Thanksgiving dishes!

Next and last were the things to get for the Apple Cider Punch. I couldn’t find the cider if my life depended on it. I again asked for help and even the employee got lost for a minute (No shade! Grocery stores can be a maze!) But then he remembered how it was with the fruits and veggies in the chilled section. The recipe stated a gallon of apple cider for the punch but considering no more than two people, and that includes me, will be drinking from this punch, I chose the liter and then grabbed the smaller bottle to drink later because in that moment, I decided I had a date with YouTube that night.

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Earlier while trying to find the cider on my own, I had passed the lemon juice in the same aisle as the chips. So no squeezing lemons for me, and out of the two lemon juices, the smaller one “Lemon Burst,” on the back and above the Supplement Facts stated that the bottle was akin to 8-10 lemons. Perfect!

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I almost forgot the oranges, and I went back to the fruits and veggies and selected four of those round thangs.

The last thing I picked up was a bag of ridge chips to join my cider and that was that! Altogether, the total was about thirty-eight dollars and some change.

Looking back, while I was on my way to the train, carrying all my groceries in a tote I brought with me (resourceful!), I wish I could remember what I had played after A Mary Christmas had finished.

For Day 3, I’m going to get everything I need to make my Quasi-Makeshift Cranberry-led Salad and pick up my White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie from L.A. Burdick!

Day 1: The Journey to Some Kind of Thanksgiving Dinner

I got two Thanksgiving-themed catalogs next to me on the couch: Savory by Stop & Shop and Color the Classics: Thanksgiving 2019 by Whole Foods. First: I feel like I’m the only one that appreciates Savory, but then again, they have continued to print it out and release it in Stop & Shops everywhere, so I can’t be alone! It’s such a cute project for Stop & Shop. A real magazine you can hold and it’s 115 pages full of content.

I’ve got these two issues with me because I’m hoping they’ll inspire my attempts at making a dish for Thanksgiving this year.

While like so many, I’ve come to understand that Thanksgiving actually carries a distressing history, I am attempting to create a dish not out of disrespect for the Natives (because of course, I stand with them), but really as a means to challenge myself more in the kitchen. I must be able to put something together! Some kind of dish!

Though I’m not a natural cook–and I’m okay with that–I do like the idea of cooking and baking and being your own mixologist. I’m also talented at saving the best recipes. Which I did on Friday while on Food52. They’ve got tons there! I did, however, pause when I came across the post Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Apples. Can you taste the sour cream?? Because I don’t like sour cream but they had me at chocolate chip.

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Between Savory, Whole Foods, Food52, Pinterest, and this New York Times article and video that features food columnist Alison Roman cooking a big dinner in her small kitchen, I’ve got options and lots of hope to make some a dish or two happen. Day 1 is about finalizing what I need to buy to make whatever recipes I have chosen and will recreate in my humble abode.

So before fine-tuning my grocery list, I chose to watch Roman’s video first. In the first five minutes, her “hot takes” segment had me like…

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Roman stated how she didn’t like sweet potatoes and considers pumpkin pie as “bad.” (Blasphemy. I LOVE pumpkin pie).

What next? Kraft boxed mac and cheese is better than homemade? (Sidenote: it would be a DREAM to one day cook baked mac and cheese from scratch). And, #SorryNotSorry, as a black woman viewer, I had the pull the Idris Elba scoff on her because the two things she hates are mainstays of a black Thanksgiving dinner (in particular, I’m thinking of sweet potato pie which hilariously, I don’t prefer over pumpkin pie but I respect the fact that sweet potato pie is an honored dessert) and so, you know, go figure. (No, I’m not calling Roman racist. Her level of caucasity just peaked. Like damn. How you hate both?)

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And here’s a hot take for her: I don’t see where her kitchen is small. Considering it’s in an apartment, and she can move around in it, it’s decent-sized to me! And I don’t like cranberry sauce! Which, by the way, the cranberry sauce she sliced away in the video, was the cause of discussion on the NYT Cooking Instagram and later in the video, Roman confirmed that she preferred canned cranberry sauce over homemade. #Scandalous

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She also shamed an entire percentage of Thanksgiving dinners that were thought of weeks or days ahead of the holiday and proudly proclaimed she wasn’t one of “those” people and nearly talked in “rabbit ears” for a full sentence. Of course, you want the food and preparation fresh and you shouldn’t buy things too early. But it just translated as very catty versus delightfully snarky which I think she was low-key trying to aim for. She’s curt under the guise of comedy and the presentation was hit or miss for me. And I was a fan of Joan Rivers, so I ain’t no oversensitive nitty. She’s entitled to her opinion, and thus, so am I.

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I did like how resourceful she was within her space. That was aspiring, and I was able to relate to her trip to the grocery store. How she baked her apple pie was also nice to watch, though one could easily judge her for adding sesame seeds. (I don’t mind, but do you see what I’m trying to express here? Hopefully!)

Towards the end, Roman’s friends had arrived for Thanksgiving dinner (this is actually more of a Friendsgiving dinner since it was taped and uploaded before November 28th). Major, major props for cooking dinner on her own. It was a standard display that was only made different by the fact that it was made for Thanksgiving. And again, her kitchen isn’t small. She lives in some part of Brooklyn that probably prides itself on selling artisanal merchandise and she clearly had a dining room and living separate from each other. A lot of apartments in New York, Brooklyn or not, and in her tax bracket or not, can’t say the same. #CountYourBlessings

So while Roman exhausted me, I still aim to complete my to-do list as far as what will be on my mini menu come Thursday. And I think I may have to whittle it down to no more than three sides. I’ve already taken a liking to this recipe I found on New York Times Cooking called “Extra Crispy Parmesan Crusted Roasted Potatoes,” and I’m overwhelmed by this alone. Like, I need to buy cheesecloth and I had to Google exactly what that was or meant. (You can’t always assume). And here’s a tip! If there’s a comment section on these recipes, read it! Because someone wrote how cheesecloth to them was a “nuisance” and to instead use a fine-mesh bag. Another added an abridged take on the recipe the NYT Cooking posted.

Let’s see else is going on as I perfect my Holiday Jamboree playlist…

Why do I feel like attempting banana or pumpkin bread? No. Stop it. Just buy it!

From Savory, there’s something about the Apple Cider Punch that makes me want to try it! I’m for sure going to have to stop at the liquor store. And I got to decide if I want to manually squeeze out 8-10 lemons to get a one and a half cup of lemon juice or to just buy the lemon juice.

I need one more dish to make it three because I’m most likely going to buy a small half chicken or some kind of glazed meat to top it all off. I’m honestly looking for a salad dish. A salad that has cranberries and maybe croutons (who am I?!) in it. I love the salads at places like Dig-Inn.

I can’t seem to find anything like that on Food52. Let’s go to Pinterest.

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Damn. As expected, there are a bajillion recipes for a salad with cranberries. I can’t really pick one, so I’m just going to pick the usual suspects for a cranberry-led salad.

Here’s the list of the 3 things I’m going to make and the ingredients I’m going to need for my mini Thanksgiving menu:

Extra Crispy Parmesan-Crusted Roasted Potatoes:

-russet potatoes, baking soda, table salt, unsalted butter, cheesecloth or fine mesh bag, Turkish dried bag leaves, black peppercorns, thyme or rosemary sprigs, and grated Parmesan cheese

Apple Cider Punch:

-1 gallon of apple cider, 2 cups of apple brandy, 1 1/2 cups of whiskey, 1 1/2 lemon juice (8-10 lemons), and 4 oranges.

Quasi-Makeshift Cranberry-based Salad

-lettuce, croutons, kale, feta cheese, peanuts or walnuts, watermelon, and cranberries!

Tomorrow on Monday, I will hit the grocery store!

And speaking of mac and cheese, I found this cute tutorial by Tia Mowry from 2017.

The Best Black Friday 2019 Makeup Sales Worth Breaking the No-Buy For

Alright, y’all. It’s real out there. Sales and discounts are coming at us left and right. Some of these discounts we didn’t even see happening! And if you’re a beauty lover, it’s already tough year-round to curb the spending.

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Still. Don’t miss out on sales for the items you need to re-up on or are discounted at a great rate. Below is a list of brands offering decent and awesome sales on their products. And I’m going to continue updating the list as we get closer to Black Friday, Black Friday weekend, and Cyber Monday! Also, be on the look out for deals from ULTA especially, Sally Beauty and Sephora. Most of the sales I’m listing are of the sitewide type, which are the best ones.

If you’re going to spend, save a buck or two!

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PAT MCGRATH: Depending on your total, you can get either 25% or 30% off your entire purchase on the official Pat McGrath website! The total may still look pricey, though. For example, if you get four pencils, the total will be somewhere around $80-something. But considering without a discount, for one pencil alone, it’ll close you $28. If you need to stock up on an Auntie Pat favorite or have yet to live your best and own a palette, get it now! This is better than getting Pat McGrath products during the Sephora VIB discount which is at 20% the most. The sale is happening now! Here is the link!

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NUDESTIX: At 30% sitewide, during the Nudestix Cyber Sale, I recommended their medium coverage Tinted Cover. It’s medium coverage that has impressive staying power! I own it and I like it a lot. Their bronzing, blush and highlighter sticks are good choices too and the Nude Plumpling Lip Glaces (they’re glosses) look yummy. And I believe the Cyber Sale includes the Hilary Duff “Daydreamer” palette! The sale is happening now! Here is the link! 

COLOR CLUB nail polish: 50% sitewide all weekend! I’m still not sure if that includes Cyber Monday, because on that day the brand will be releasing the shade “Cyber Slick” and only 100 quantities will be available! For everything else, the sale is happening now! Here is the link!

ORLY nail polish: Up to 80% off when you use the code “PINKFRIDAY” at checkout! And this is a great sale! It’s happening now! Here is the link!

DECIEM: 23% sitewide for the skincare brand that’s had a bit of cult following through its smaller lines such as The Ordinary. Just be aware that the stores and online will be closed on November 29 and then back-up and running on November 30 and that’s the last day of the sale. Happening now! Here is the link!

HUDA BEAUTY: An unprecedented 40-60% off for the brand, these deals are GOOD! Happening now on the Huda Beauty website!! Here is the link!

CIATE: For the U.S. website, the Black Friday sale is at an upwards of 50%, with most products at 30%!! And the sale includes the Jessica Rabbit collection! Happening now! Here is the link!

M.A.C.: Their usual 25% discount is back!! Sign up to be a M.A.C. Lover to collect reward points! Happening now!! Here is the link!

JUVIA’S PLACE: Currently, on the official Juvia’s Place website, a lot of the products such as the liquid foundation, the foundation sticks, the eyeshadow and blush palettes, and Fumi line are at least 45%. It is happening now! Here is the link! A handful of the eyeshadow palettes will also be 35% off over at ULTA on Black Friday.

UOMA: Sitewide is 20% off all products! They recently released their 70s-themed eyebrow products too. Their foundation Say What? made waves online and the lipsticks have some wonderful shades. Happening now! Here is the link!

LA SPLASH COSMETICS on ULTA: From The Golden Gatsby collection, the eyeshadow palette, Live Wire Liner, the Bee’s Knees Mascara, and Old Money Quad Highlighter palette are discounted! Get them now! Here is the link!

NYX COSMETICS: NYX is back with their 30% sitewide sale. The discounts are already taken off for you so you know exactly what you’re paying! Here is the link! It’s happening now!

DOSE OF COLORS: From November 28 to December 02, the entire site will be 40% off. So their foundation will be $21.60, their Seamless Beauty Sponge, that, based on YouTube reviews, is a decent alternative to the Beauty Blender, will be $9, and their eyeliners (I own two. One in green, and the other in orange called “Romance”) will also be $9. The lip glosses and lipsticks are pretty nice too. Here is the link!

THE BALM: The entire site will be 50% off starting on November 27 at 10AM PST. The Balm has half-off flash sales throughout the year, and they’re always super great savings. I recommended their liquid eyeliner, Schwing and their eyeshadows are underrated. Here is the link!

NATASHA DENONA: A select few of her uber-expensive palettes are discounted, so if you’ve been dreaming of owning and wearing one, including the Metropolis, get them now! The lipsticks are also at 30% and some of the face palettes are up to 40% off. It’s a decent sale. Here is the link!

STILAZZI: It’s officially CyberWeek on Stilazzi with 40% sitewide!! The eyeshadows are bomb (I got the Jordan Liberty collab that was released earlier this year. Gorge!), the Rager lashes are awesome, I recently bought a second pair, and that blush palette is calling my name! The discount ends on December 2nd. Here is the link!

COVERFX: The minimal-minded packaged CoverFX is underrated when it comes to foundations (so many love it, but it’s rarely talked about as much as others) and you should get yourself one since the brand is having a 30% Black Friday sale! Happening now! Here is the link!

BRIOGEO: Their sale started early! 20% sitewide now on Briogeo haircare! I noticed a difference in the manageability of my hair after I used the kale line. Here is the link!

FLESH BEAUTY: A solid 30% off sitewide!! I really like their Hot Sauce Lip Gloss and the foundation, though not full coverage, ain’t too bad for medium coverage and can have a nice finish. It’s happening now! Here is the link!

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LIME CRIME at GLOWHAUS at BLOOMINGDALE’S: The entire Lime Crime line is 50% off at Glowhaus. Glowhaus is the Sephora/Ulta-esque division of Bloomingdale’s and while available online, Glowhaus is only opened within five Bloomingdale’s nationwide, and those are: Roosevelt Field and Soho in New York, and in California, San Francisco, Sherman Oaks, and South Coast Plaza.

Everything from their popular Venus eyeshadow palettes and Wet Cherry lip glosses are half-off. Some of the items like the Blushes are also discounted on the official Lime Crime website, but are three dollars cheaper on Glowhaus. Check out the entire beauty on sale at Bloomingdale’s via this LINK because even some of the Surratt line is half-off, that makeup is expensive! UPDATE: The sale has been updated on the Lime Crime website and GIRRRRLLLLLLL some of the blushes are as low as $3!!!!!

SMITH & CULT: Smith & Cult have offered 30% sitewide before, such as this past summer, and they’re offering it again this Black Friday. Though I’m not wild about their Veild Threat foundation (though I love the name. It can have a hit or miss finish), give it a shot considering it’ll be at a more reasonable price and you can always exchange or return it. The Glitter Shots look cool, and the palettes look pretty! There’s also the concealer and I’m considering their newest Lock & Lit Lip Balm that contains CBD. Here is a link!

VIOLET VOSS: Right now, everything on the Violet Voss website is 50%!! Shipping will begin on December 1, and the sales ends that same day at 11:59 PST. Their mainly known and sell eyeshadows and they are so good. If you’re a major eyeshadow wearer, you should be able to find a palette you will love it. I own three: the Nicole Concilo collab, Rainbow, and HG palettes. Here is the link!

URBAN DECAY: The brand is bringing back their go-to 25% sitewide for Black Friday. You likely already know your Urban Decay favorites, so get those eyeliners, foundations, primers and lipsticks at a cuter price. Here is a link!

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BENEFIT: Starting on Tuesday, November 26, Benefit will be offering discounts at 25% sitewide. And free shipping! I actually do like one of their eyebrow pencils, so this is a great deal.