Why I Ditched My Keurig

Aug 24, 2016

It all began with the distasteful and growing dissatisfaction in something I once loved and appreciated so much. Coffee. There's honestly not a time I don't recall being excited to wake up in the morning to have my cup.  My increasing less-than desire for it stirred some digging on why I really wasn't into what my machine was producing. A machine at that expense should deliver. Not to mention how costly keeping up with K-cups actually gets. 1 lb of K-Cups goes for about $50... now let's compare that to Starbucks which 1 lb is $12 & Dunkin Donuts, which is even cheaper... $9. The coffee itself would brew time after time and be watered-down and just awfully gross. After my extended research I couldn't believe the information I found. I am guilty of following this trend and giving in to convenience. Of course the idea of having my coffee "brew under a minute" at the press of a button seemed like the way to go. 

The Keurig site itself states that you cannot empty the water from the inside and that the internal tank of the brewer cannot be drained. This obviously increases the chance of growing and harboring bacteria and mold that could potentially be life-threatening. I cringed at the thought of smell and goo or green and black slime that could collect itself overtime in this dark and moist space. Bacteria forms a slick biofilm when it grows in dark places, as well as molds, and this is the sickening reality behind the fact that the tubes cannot be cleansed, not to mention the disgusting water that I don't see once the machine is primed. Now that's the machine itself, let alone those little K-cup devils. They aren't good for you, myself, or the environment as a whole. They're not reusable, so they're an absolute waste and end up in a landfill. Did you know there are enough discarded K-cups to circle around our globe 10.5 times? That's insane and I don't want to contribute to that exaggerated waste. 

Aside from those disturbing truths, I've regretfully purchased dozens of K-Cups and the taste of them barely really appeal to me. One day I tested to see how "fresh water" that I placed in the machine would come out when I heated the machine to make a cup of tea and brown water came out- with NO cup (aka coffee) in place. I'm assuming this is due to the clogged filters from within which are nearly impossible to clean due to how the machine is set up. So of course this ties not only an incredibly unsanitary situation, but the weakness of the actual brew once its produced. 

So I've returned to the non-conventional ways to brewing my coffee these modern days with a stovetop espresso machine. The coffee is that much richer, bolder, and concentrated. I also appreciate the aroma, as well as the process of actually making it and hearing it. It offers a moment of calm. I have gone back and forth with getting an espresso machine that could also steam my milk since my coffee preference is a latte, but this will do for now. I truly love its simplicity and it is minimally fitting. 


An Ode To Tamira Jarrel | The BEST Beauty Blog

Aug 5, 2016

I remember like yesterday staying up late into the night writing her an e-mail. It was right before the New Year and I wasn't going to because it typically isn't me to do so, but I knew I had to. I couldn't let the year go without telling her how much she had impacted me since knowing about her and following her endeavors.

Tamira Jarrel's blog was one I came across after a couple years of having one of my own. When I became a mother I had been SO lost in the multiple directions I had been facing. To be where I am today, things didn't occur in an orderly fashion. I got pregnant unexpectedly with my long-term boyfriend, we moved in together, and welcomed our child. Some 11 months following that, we got married. I felt overwhelmed with the duties listed for me as a wife, mother, employee, and a blogger. I had a dedicated following and many people who looked up to my consistency throughout the years (although I took a long break during my pregnancy), but I had never left it completely. On a near-daily basis, I would have incoming e-mails of people that loved the idea of blogging and wanted to start one. They would ask for my tips and tricks and I would emphasize I wasn't a pro, and shared what ever I knew with them.

While I managed to help most of those who I could give my time to, I had a hard time understanding myself, my vision, and my purpose- mainly in the vast area of blogging. Its not always what it seems... the person you assume may have it altogether could very well be falling completely apart or experiencing burn-out. I was going through severe transitions through the added callings in my life and I felt so unfamiliar with who I was becoming. My style was covered with breast-milk, my nights were no longer rested or up webbing out a creative process. They were sleepless and tiring. Beauty was something of the past and I couldn't fathom the idea of taking up the time to do my make-up, fix my hair or even polish my nails. Later, I started to make this transition to minimalism (that has been truly life-changing) and it took a positive effect on my life. I was falling in love with the idea of less being more, quality over quantity, using something until its last dropped because I loved it. Having a basic, neutral wardrobe because its what I felt comfortable in. Letting go of 60+ pairs of shoes because it was simply unnecessary- I only touch 2-3 anyway! And then I bumped into her blog.

Prior to getting Tamira know on a more personal level, her posts, simple approach to life and style and her online personality (which I would soon learn was the same offline) inspired me to be who I aspired to be more than any celebrity or iconic person has. I'm a pretty friendly person, I love conversing and being kind, but I don't fan-girl. Like its just not me- but where credit is due, credit is due. And when someone just inspires you to be amazing and enables that path in your life just by BEING; not even knowing, thats really something to call out and thank someone for. I still laugh when I remember, but I was up one night just browsing blogs. When I found hers, my jaw literally drop. Like literally. I INSTANTLY loved her style, her witty writing, her beauty style and the fact that she was so irrevocably different. Her thumbnails on YouTube didn't obnoxiously scream: Click On Me, her personality behind the camera wasn't pretentious or complicated. You could tell by her language and her attitude she wasn't there to impress anyone or to make anyone stay. She was there because she liked it, because she wanted to be, and because she was sure of herself in ways I have never been sure of me. Her security radiated through my screen and I basically watched and read everything I could about her. VERY few people have an impact on me like that, but I could honestly say watching her has shaped the way I've blogged in recent months and the way I project a much simpler approach to every other aspect of my life. I feel like at a certain point in my early 20s I let my surroundings brain-wash me and eventually I felt like a walking robot living to please or be accepted and/or praised by whoever was around me. She showed me it was possible to be myself and it didn't matter if one person found it bitter and the next found it sweet, because at the end of the day there was something I wasn't compromising: myself.

After confessing my love and obsession for her, we quickly became friends because we had more than you could possibly imagine in common. One night we were up texting until 1 am about things I hadn't shared with anyone from the internet. We connected on so many levels and the fact that she was also a mother and someone who is in a long-term relationship was the icing on the cake. As far as blogging goes, I think she knows more of my upcoming ideas (which I'm extremely private about) than my own husband. I retouched with so many old aspects of myself and my true style through my new-found friendship with her. Her blog, to say the least, is a breath of fresh air with timeless photography and rhetoric writing in its style of conversation. She's careful with her craft and doesn't post for the sake of which makes it all the more authentic. I personally love when I'm reading a blog, but in my head I hear their voice because it sounds like we're just chatting. Her simplistic approach to beauty and style emphasizes the significance and meaning of true quality and comfort. She has the BEST photography and blogging tips I've read in a while because the approach is so minimal and heavily based on being who you ARE.

She's had amazing opportunities come her way and I couldn't be more excited to share with you that her blog has been nominated for the BlogLovin Awards aka the Blogging Oscars as Best Beauty Blog. If you vote for her that would mean everything to me. If you've read consistent content from my behave its because she has greatly motivated me and always reminds me anything is possible. I remember telling her in that first e-mail if there was something so big and so great I could do to thank her for helping dig deeply into myself and define me a little more, I would. So here I am, presented with the chance to present you all to her. Voting takes 1 second and I'll leave the link to below. I'll also leave her multiple platforms so you can take it all in if you wish! I promise I get nothing from this. This is just the least I can do for someone who has moved me greatly. If you think a personal handwritten note and gift in the mail is closer to the heart- I did that early on in our friendship, haha! To me being a blogger is also about supporting those who not only impact me, but truly work hard to post quality content. She is someone I want to see go as far as possible.

Tamira, you will always have the most special place in my heart. It is an honor to be in your life! Woman to woman, friend to friend, I support you for as long as I can.
All photos are courtesy of Tamira Jarrel and may not be republished without her consent and appropriate accreditation.

VOTE HERE: http://www.bloglovin.com/awards/beauty_blog
TJ's BLOG: http://tamirajarrel.com
TJ's YOUTUBE CHANNEL: https://www.youtube.com/user/lipstickandsunshine
TJ's INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/tamirajarrel/
TJ's TWITTER: https://twitter.com/TamiraJarrel
TJ's PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/PinWithTamira/?etslf=5810&eq=tami
© Gentle Maven.