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Editor's Note - Where No One Has Gone Before!

July 4th brings celebration, fireworks, waterworks, barbeque and lots of red, white and blue.  It’s the time of year where families and friends celebrate where we’ve been and where we’re going.  How amazing it is that we have the privilege to live in a land where there is so much freedom!  Freedom we sometimes take for granted during election season, which can usher in so many different emotions, conflict and division.  Nonetheless, no matter what your political stand, we live in the best country in the world; a place where we can express our thoughts, pursue our dreams and wear want we want - except in restaurants,  “No shoes, no shirt, no service.” This July, as we celebrate the month of freedom, Created Woman celebrates the freedom we have to pursue a dream we’ve had since its birth.  The CW family is excited to announce the launch of Created Woman Magazine premiering in August 2012 during Austin’s Fashion Week.  The road to get here has been an exciting one with many twists and turns, but the journey has been no less than a pleasure all because of you, our readers!

With our first photo shoot behind us and many more ahead, our thanks goes out to the many people who helped us along the way; the writers, readers, make up artist, hair stylist, photographers, editors, stylists, web and graphic designers and wonderful boutiques that made it all possible.  We can’t wait to share with you more fashion, more inspiring stories of women becoming who they were created to be, creative ways to live a healthy life and much, much more!    We invite you to come with us, because where we’re going, no one has gone before!

 

Thanks for being a part of Created Woman and we hope you enjoy Created Woman Magazine! 

Behind the Scenes of our 1st Photo Shoot

Own It

It was at my last New Year's Eve party that it happened. I'd spent all day cooking food and cleaning and planning so that I could have my friends over. As people started trickling in, I noticed that one of my closest friends seemed a little grumpy. So I stepped up my game and tried to make sure she had a good time. Towards the end of the night, our conversation took a quick turn into Sassy City. And in front of everyone, she snapped at me...Cue the awkward silence. I had no idea how to react. So my simple reply was, "Ok", as I angrily walked out of the room. After that, I didn't mention it for months. Even when she text me an apology right after she'd left. Big mistake.

You see, I thought that not saying anything about it and "letting it go" was the proper thing to do. I thought, "Well, I shouldn't get this mad about things." And I didn't want  to make the situation worse by bringing it up again. But, inevitably, my frustration came out in a big way months later. Not only did it come out, but it came out stronger than it should have because by that point, I'd held it in pretty long.

What I'm learning is that sometimes, it doesn't matter whether you should or shouldn't feel a certain way. What matters is that you feel it! Yes, ideally, we'd always be patient, forgiving, understanding, and all that jazz. But, we're human. And sometimes,  you just can't force yourself to feel those things. So, try to recognize when it's beneficial to speak up and own your feelings a bit more.

Now all you sassy ladies, don't go to the opposite extreme either. This does not mean you should give every emotion you feel free rein. Don't just confront people whenever and however you feel like, because that really doesn't accomplish much either.

Communication truly is an art form and it's tricky to learn. But your relationships deserve your honesty. Proverbs 24:26 says, "An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips." So the next time you feel yourself stifling your feelings of hurt or frustration, just try and address them in some way before they consume you. Because the only thing worse than an uncomfortable conversation with someone about how you feel is unresolved tension that eats away at your relationship!

Homemade Tamales-South Texas Style

I've eaten tamales all my life but hadn't mastered the "art" of tamale making. In Spanish, a tamalera is a an expert and this year I decided if no one else called me a tamalera, I wanted to at least give myself the title. So my mom and I put together a plan to spend a weekend making the best tamales in the neighborhood. We drew on the experiences of friends and relatives and I'm ready to share a great recipe!! This recipe makes 9-10 dozen chicken tamales. If  you choose, you can substitute pork or beef.

Ingredients:

5 lbs masa ( You can purchase this at a grocery store that services Hispanics.)

2 lbs lard ( I've heard you can use shortening instead of lard but we used the real deal.)

2  chickens, uncooked

black pepper

ground cumin

1 full pod garlic

6 oz. chile ancho (These are dried and 6 oz.=about 6-7 pods)

1 pkg corn husks

 

Do Ahead- Step One

Boil and debone chickens ( I encourage you to season your chickens with your favorite seasoning as they boil). Mince finely with a butcher knife or place in a food processor and  add 1 t black pepper, 1 t cumin and 3-5 cloves garlic. (I'm way heavy handed with the garlic.) Set chicken aside. In fact, this step can be done days or a couple of weeks in advance. I got my chicken ready a week before, seasoned it, and then placed it in the freezer until the big day.

Do Ahead -Step Two

This part of the recipe can also be done in advance and then kept in the refrigerator.

First, place chilies in a saucepan and add enough water to cover them. Soak  for 20-30 minutes until they're soft and pliable. Remove chilies from water and reserve the water. Remove stems and seeds by opening them up and rinsing repeatedly to ensure that no seeds remain. Add 2-4 cloves of garlic, salt and 1 tsp of cumin to the water. Place chilies back in the water and cook on medium until they're cooked and completely soft. Cool then  blend to make a thick paste. (This paste is the foundation of my enchilada sauce which I'll be posting in the future. Keep your eyes peeled for it.)

 

The Night Before

You'll need one large package of corn husks and, in order to work with them, they need to be soft and pliable. They need to soak at least two hours, but we placed ours in a large pot, covered with water, and then weighted them down with something heavy overnight.

 

You're Ready to Start

On the day of tamale making, you'll first prep the masa. The ultimate goal is for cooked tamales to roll out of the husk. For this to happen, you need to make sure the masa isn't too dry. Add 1-11/2 lbs of lard to the masa. Knead it well so that the lard is evenly distributed. Then  add about 1 c of the chili paste, 1 heaping T. black pepper,1 heaping T. cumin and salt to taste. Yes, I said taste. When all is mixed well, pinch the masa and give it a little taste.

If you're able to purchase seasoned masa, you can do that and skip making the chili paste altogether.

As you prepare to assemble, a team approach is best, especially if you're a novice. We laid a vinyl tablecloth on the kitchen table then divided up the duties. Some of us spread the masa on the corn husk and others filled them with chicken and rolled them up. If you're a novice spreader, you'll make a mess, like me!

 

The actual spreading of the masa can be tricky.  Rather than write a lengthy description, I'm including a quick video of  the process.Click here for video.

Once you've got them all rolled up, it's time to cook!!

1. Create a bed of corn husks in the bottom of your cooking pot. Cover a metal measuring cup or a small coffee mug with foil and place it in the center to provide stability for stacking.

2. Stack tamales, open side up, somewhat vertically. They should look like a teepee inside the cooking pot. This is the time you add water to the bottom of the pot, about 1/2"-3/4 " deep.

3. Cover with  a foil tent to keep the moisture in.

4. Place a dishtowel over the foil as the final step before cooking. (To be honest, no one we asked could identify the purpose of the dishtowel but everyone said,"That's the way my mother did it!"

How long do they take to cook?

Turn the stove on high until you know the water's boiling. When it boils, turn the temperature to medium and let them steam for 45 min. to 1 hr. This worked well for us when we cooked 3-4 dozen at a time. (We weren't very successful when we cooked about six dozen. They seemed to take forever and the ones on the inside cooked while the ones on the outside didn't.)

After about 45 min., pull one out and give it a taste test. The masa should be firm and cooked thoroughly. Allow them to cool, then wrap in foil by the dozen,  label and freeze for your next family gathering or party.

 

See Our Finished Product

At the end of our weekend, I felt successful because I'd always looked at tamale making as a feat that was beyond my capabilities and I proved myself wrong. However, the best part of  the entire process was the time I spent with my mom. Hours of planning on the phone for three weeks, the entire day of spreading and rolling, and then serving freshly made tamales to family members that evening and waiting for their approval.

Many life lessons can be learned  when the pot is boiling and ideas can be exchanged over a cutting board. A kitchen is an easy place to leave your Fingerprint on someone's life, letting them know their value and what they mean to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

54th Annual Grammy Awards Red Carpet Review

It was Adele's night, that's for sure, at the 54th Grammy Award Show!  Walking away with 6 Grammys, I don't think anyone can or would object to this beautiful songbird sweeping the show.  After all, isn't singing and music exactly what the Grammy's are about?  (Please, someone pass the word to, mmm-hhh, well anyway...).  The night started with a bang with Bruce Springsteen and, my favorite, Bruno Mars, who always gets an A+ for fashion.  But the A's weren't handed out very much this year on the Red Carpet!  Sure, there were some interesting choices and even some beautiful choices; but nowhere in the Red Sea could I find that one dress that I couldn't live without.  But just like her win, Adele definitely rocked the red carpet like she does the stage; with elegance and grace!  Let's take a look at who else arrived at the show with a passing grade.  

Adele in Giorgio Armani

 

Carrie Underwood was a part of the high neck trend this year.  Her Gomez - Gracia silver dress was form fitting and beautiful.

 

Fresh face Rebecca Black stayed true to her age in a beautiful black dress with strappy red heels.  All 14-year-olds should be so lucky to feel and dress up like a princess!

 

Corinne Bailey Rae also strutted down the carpet in a black dress which seemed to be the color of the night.

 

Giuliana Rancic, host of E-news & Fashion Police, won't get fined sporting the black dress trend she so playfully accessorized with a belt.

Fergie was the epitome of Rock-n-Roll in a see-through, lace Jean Paul Gaultier.  The color was fabulous!

 

Sticking with the high neck trend, Katy Perry dazzled in a blue Elie Saab that was actually quite elegant and different from her usually quirky red carpet look.  Her blue hair, though, kept her true to form.  We love it!

 

Comedian Kathy Griffin was no joke on the red carpet this year!  She was stunning in this form fitting gown and was on no D-list!  (FYI, Kathy jokes she's a D-list celebrity - not so here!)

 

Our host for the evening, LL Cool J, kept the show moving  in classic Armani.

 

Bold Accessories stood out this year with Skyler Grey's ring/bracelet duo and Alicia Key's statement necklace.  Well done!

 

This bold summer blue dress accessorized with red earrings and tiny red belt flashed the screen so fast that it was easy to miss.  What's not easy is finding a great picture of this fun look worn by Sera.  I loved the playful look of this long, flowy gown.

Just as Whitney always sang with class, the 54th Grammy's paid a beautiful, classy tribute to a legend loss with Jennifer Hudson singing "I Will Always Love You."  We'll miss you Whitney Houston!  Now, you're singing with the angels.

Read about CW's February Giveaway

 

 

A New Creation: A New Beginning

Hadley Grace Frierson, 8 months old, flashed her bright shiny eyes all around the church congregation.  Robert Koke, Pastor at Shoreline Christian Church, Austin, Texas was in the process of  leading Hadley’s parents in an oath to rear her in a Christian home.  Standing with Hadley and her parents as witnesses to this joyous occasion were her grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and little cousins. Upon arriving back at Hadley’s home after the ceremony, cameras flashed with everyone wanting to capture this moment.  “Smile, Hadley, smile,” and immediately she would flash her shiny big eyes and smile for the camera, never shedding a tear throughout the hour long photo session.

As I stood over in the corner of the living room waiting my turn to be photographed with my granddaughter, I couldn’t help but think: “It is easy for Hadley to smile and be joyful.  She has nothing to worry about like we grown-ups do.  She’s one of  God’s new creations with a new beginning.”

No sooner had I sized up the reason for Hadley’s smile and joy, I heard  a little quiet voice within me say:  “When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you, too, were a new creation with a new beginning in life just like Hadley. But often times, you have  allowed the circumstances of life to put a frown on your face, instead of joy.”

My thoughts raced back to one cold January morning a couple of years ago when I had sat down to write out my new year’s resolutions.  Number  one on my list - -“Bridle my tongue.”  About that time, my husband entered the room and said something to me that made me want to scratch that new year’s resolution immediately, and let the words on the tip of my tongue flow.  Instead, I decided it was time to take a walk to the local high school track.  It is there I often retreated to walk off  my excess body fat, as well as my excess frustrations.

By the time I finished the first mile around the track, I had poured out all my feelings to God about what my husband had said to me on this particular morning.  However, I wasn’t finished with him. On Mile 2, I poured out what he said last week.  On Mile 3, I poured out what he had said ten years ago.  By the time I reached Mile 5, I had remembered everything he had said and done the last 40 years of our marriage.  What a fantastic memory I have!!

At last, I came to the 6 mile marker, and my steps slowed down to catch my breath.  It was during this slow pace that I came to a realization that:

I needed to experience a new refreshing of God’s faithfulness every morning, not a list that left me feeling hopeless and like a failure for not keeping.  Lamentations 3:22-23 says it so beautifully.  “It is the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”

And that, I believe is the secret to retaining joy in our lives  - -knowing that God’s mercies are NEW every morning because of His faithfulness to us.  He is the God of second chances and we can have a new beginning every day of our lives.

Now, that’s enough to make Grandmas smile just like Hadley.

Gone Fishin'

What is it about the start of a new fiscal year that causes so many of us to re-evaluate all of the little things that make our lives our own?  We set goals to eat more vegetables and lay off sweets so we can fit into those stylish jeans.  We talk about buying organic & supporting local farmers while promising to wash our faces every night before bed so we don’t continue to age ourselves unnecessarily. All great changes to make, but all merely changes to the surface.  Roll up your sleeves and push back your hair ladies it’s time to GO FISHIN’!  People who are always to striving to change their outsides more than likely need some changes to their insides too and what better time of year to help our friends find a little Jesus.

He is the cardiologist to the heartbroken, chef to the hungry, father to the fatherless and it’s high time we show folks just what his love feels like.

"While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.  And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Immediately they left their nets and followed him."  Matthew 4:18-20 (English Standard Version)

Be transparent with the people you are in contact with daily.  Let his love shine through you.  Be open to answer questions about faith truthfully.  Above all, remain respectful as you share the word.  You role this time around may be as the seed planter.

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise."  Proverbs 11:30 (New International Version)

Most workplaces have No Solicitation policies, which often includes sharing written materials on faith.  Be aware of what you can and can’t do when it comes to fishing.  You can’t do much fishing if they take away your license.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for blessing me with all that I have and showing me all that you are.  Help me to show others all the wonderful things that your love has to offer.

Golden Globe Hits and Misses

  Typically, I don't count down to award shows. However, I do love the fashion that these events bring. This year it seems that stylists have outdone themselves. Perhaps Rachel Zoe has proven that if you're really good at your job, you too can have a reality show, and thus pushed stylists everywhere to work harder. The dresses this year were just amazing! Though where there are countless hits there are also some sad misses. I'll try to keep it brief, but let's start this magical fashion journey with a few of my favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ladies above truly came dressed to impress. While the list of impeccably dressed women is incessantly revolving in my memory bank, Angelina Jolie, Emma Stone, Jessica Alba, Paula Patton, etc., the ladies I chose were just a cut above the rest.

Now on to a few, er, shall we say, confused choices. There were more than a few misses, but the stylists responsible for the faux pas' below should maybe watch a little more Rachel Zoe Project. Or perhaps celebs should learn when to say no, like the next time they have a red carpet event and their stylist chooses something resembling any of the following...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I'm no Joan Rivers, Kelly Osborne, or any other claimed fashion authority. These are just humble opinions and observations from a girl who obviously watches a little too much Bravo (and perhaps just a dash of E). Feel free to chime in with your best and worst dressed opinons!

 

 

No More New Year’s Resolutions

This may be time of the year when you are gearing up for a New Year’s resolutions to start your fitness program, lose weight or eat better.

 In my 20 yearsexperience in fitness as a certified personal training, weight loss instructor, licensed well coach and leader in the industry, I have learn that 50% of women drop out of most fitness programs within the first 6 months.  It is heartbreaking for me, as someone who is passionate about health and fitness, to see these women give up.  I have come to learn the reason why. 

 The truth is there is no one “diet” or exercise program that works for everyone. To be successful in weight management, women must find what works for them, personally.  Each year they are told something different. Give up carbs and their favorite foods; do P90X; walk 30 minutes a day or do the latest dance class craze. It can be confusing and overwhelming. The problem for most busy women is they are attempting new programs that are not conducive to their busy lifestyle or address the issues that lead to their inconsistency. When it does not work, it can quickly lead to feeling like a failure and giving up any hope that healthy eating and exercise are even possible.

 I know without a shadow of a doubt there is hope and they do not have to give up just because it is not working. For me, as a career mom with a desire to be healthy, I understand the challenges of multiple responsibilities with long to do lists for many women.

 If you are ready to be in control of your eating and have a consistent exercise program, even with your busy lifestyle, forget the New Year’s Resolutions.  You know they never work long term anyway.  Instead consider designing a personalized food and fitness plan that you know will work with your schedule and lifestyle.  Throw out what worked in the past (temporarily) or for some one else and discover how to be confident in your own program because you know you can do it consistently. 

 If you’re unsure how to do that and you’d like some help, a free consultation with me might be the best way to get started.  We will discuss strategies to overcome certain food triggers and inconsistencies in your exercise; the best exercise program and eating plan for your schedule; and what motivates you to exercise and eat healthy for a lifetime.  

 Please email me at Crystal@yourfitnessdesigner.com to get scheduled for this free session.

 

 

New Year: New Perspective!

Ebony Scrooge. Yep, that should have been my name during the Holiday season of 2010. To say that I was frustrated with my marital status would have been an understatement of epic proportion. In my mind Christmas didn’t measure up because I didn’t have someone to share it with, besides that’s the true meaning of Christmas right? (Note the sarcasm). In addition, the thought of entering 2011 alone was terrifying.  I had recently acknowledged my 6year anniversary of singleness and to make matters worse, I had no real “potentials” only a few guys I had been stringing along  just in case I ever worked up the nerve to actually settle for one of them…sad, I know. It was during this time last year that my number one pet-peeve became receiving dating advise & tips on “how to wait on the Lord” from people who were seriously dating, engaged, or married. For years I had embraced their encouragement but for some reason it became extremely hard to receive from people who were going home to triceps & biceps… easy for them to say. To be honest, getting sound Godly counsel in the area of dating/relationships simply did not make it on the list of activities for my year long pity party!

**Fast Forward**

Here we are on the cusp of 2012, and I am no longer single! I’m in a serious dating relationship with an amazing guy and of course my perspective on all things pertaining to dating/relationships has changed. I must admit that I often times feel like a bit of a sellout while going through this transition because I have officially become my former pet-peeve. I’m now the girl in the serious relationship giving other girls dating advice and tips on “how to wait on the Lord”. I realize now that they were only trying to warn me LOL! They knew that I, like many of you, had romanticized what it meant to be in a relationship. When you’re single you mostly think about the cute dates, changing your FB profile to in a relationship (maybe that was just me), cuddling & flowers just because. Very rarely do you think about the responsibility of it all.

Below are a few things that were consistently shared with me while I was waiting:

  • “Enjoy your single season…” - translation: Once you enter into a relationship it is no longer about you. You trade “me” for “us” and what “you” want for what’s best for the two of you. Enough of this will eventually drive you to want to be single again!
  • “Relationships are hard work…”- Translation: You have no clue what you’re in for *evil laugh* the effort and time that it takes to be a good steward over your relationship can often times overwhelm you!
  • Don’t settle…” – Translation: The most amazing guy in the world will get on your LAST nerve at some point in the relationship. It’s so much easier to work through things when you actually love him, are attracted to him, and respect his character!

It wasn’t until I was actually in the relationship that I began to embrace the things that people shared with me toward the end of my “single season”---that doesn’t have to be you! I would like to challenge all of my single sisters in Christ to change your perspective NOW, before God sends the guy.  Don’t make the mistake that I made and waste valuable time complaining.  I challenge you to have a FABULOUS 2012 whether you’re in a relationship or not; besides you never know what the New Year may bring *winks*.

 

Guest Contributor, Tamra Cobbins - Tamra is a native of Kansas City, Kansas and is a graduate of the University of Texas.  She is passionate about seeing young women reach their full potential in Christ in every season, especially while they are single.  She enjoys shopping, Chick-Fil-A & watching Martin re-runs.

Coats, Boots & Sparkle! A Coat-aholics Favorite Addictions

Last year, I painfully admitted I was a coat-aholic.  This year, I must admit that therapy didn’t work and my addiction is worse than ever!  As my closet expands with coats, cardigan, long knits, crop, and you name it, outerwear seems to take up most of the real estate.   As I plan my outfit every day, I begin with which coat I'll wear and then build my outfit from there.  Often times, after the coat of choice is chosen along with the normal jean, my go-to boots always fall into place.  If you know me at all, you know that fall is my favorite time of year. So without further ado, here are my favorite fall pieces – coats, boots and sparkle!  

Being the classic girl that I am, my #1 favorite coat is the trench coat.  Although I have several novelty trenches in several different colors, my ultimate dream trench coat is the classic Burberry Trench that's been a staple for over 100 years!  So, if any of you are wondering what Christmas gift to buy me...

 

These coats have been paired with two of the hottest trends this season; the Mad Men's 50's cut with the tangerine color.  This hot, summer-esqu color is not going away anytime soon and itt's just been named the 2012 color of the year by Pantone, Tangerine Tango.

 

The poncho trend also popped up this summer and is still going strong.  Fun & elegant all in one!

The maxi coat is another one of my favorites. If I lived in a land that had a real winter, I would live in this coat!  This floor length style transitioned from summer skirts to winter coats seamlessly.

Ankle boots continue to be fashion staples, but I must admit they took a while to grow on me.  Now, however, I'm searching feverishly for the perfect ankle boot to add to my closet!  This red suede is perfect for the holidays and adds the perfect pop of color to our fall wardrobe.

Lace-ups, lace-ups, lace-ups!  This style was all over the runway and can be worn in knee high, calf, or ankle boots.  It's a touch of edgy that every girl needs.

Suede made the top fashion trend for fall 2011 in everything from boots to purses. For 2012, this fabric is still going strong!  As with any trend, everything comes back around in about 10 years so investing in some great suede boots will bring you pleasure this year and in years to come.

The riding boot has always been popular with the equestrian crowd, but the fashionistas have taken them to the main stream.  These boots were my go-to everyday while I was pregnant. I have to admit that the practical yet stylish boots have become one of my all-time favorites!

Finally, the holiday season wouldn't be complete without a little sparkle!  Adding shimmer to the eyes and playing up eyelashes with extensions make you stand out in the crowd at holiday parties.  For those that tend to shun the sparkle, be a little daring during the holidays. I promise you wont' regret it!

An easy way to add sparkle is to put on a great polish to your normally buffed nails.  I know what your thinking, 'nail polish doesn't stay on.'  True, but for a great party and all those pictures you'll be taking Christmas morning, it's worth having a little sparkle that's easy to take off when necessary.

So, to all my fellow coat-aholics, boot lovers and sparklers, enjoy the fall season wearing all your favorite addictions! And share with us your deepest, darkest fashion dependencies!

One of my favorite coats in my closet!

This spectacular coat was found in Dallas at a designer consignment shop and a good friend told my husband how much I loved it!  Christmas 2009 was a good year!  I love the bustle on the back and the mandarin collar.  When people ask me what kind of coat it is, I feel like I'm on the red carpet as I reply, "Vintage Chloe".  Yummy!