Tqwana Explains…Skinny Dip Noodles

Trying something new again. I don’t remember how I found out about this particular brand of shiritaki noodles, nor how I started getting weekly emails from them. But, when I got an email about a trial/tester pack, I figured I might as well test them out.

The brand is Skinny Dip Noodles. It’s called the 1x Variety Pak Sample and cost $23.95. In the ‘pak’ you get one bag each of  Angel Hair (I see a stir fry in my future), Fettuccine (chicken and broccoli Alfredo), Rice, Lasagna, and Spinach Linguine. They come in a compact brown box from a Weight Loss Media company. Bonus, the mail carrier is too lazy to bring things up to my apartment, so these stayed at the post office for a couple days. Still good to go when I picked them up.

Today I tried the spinach linguini. Don’t be put off by the liquid they float around in.

First impression after removing it from the bag: still just as smelly as every other shiritaki noodle I’ve had, but they seem a little more dense and feel a bit more like fresh, homemade pasta and not like slimy worms.

Preparation is easy. First, rinse them thoroughly with cold water. This helps get rid of the smell. Then, boil them for one minute. The fresh pasta impression was even greater then. Drain, pat them dry with paper towels, and serve.

The taste is bland. Really, they taste like nothing. Texture-wise, they are a little rubbery and chewy. Kinda reminded me of tofu, which I normally hate. I didn’t mind so much with these noodles.

Each bag is 2 servings, which I didn’t know when I started eating. No matter, they are incredibly filling, which I assume is because of the fiber. I ate half and was satisfied. Looking at the nutritional info, you’ll see that they are low carb, fat free, gluten free, etc.


A good pasta substitute overall. Give them a try.

Until next time…


Tqwana Explains…Frustration, Anxiety, and Anger

I’ve been losing sleep. And though I haven’t had a panic attack in a couple years, I wouldn’t be surprised if one snuck up on me over the next month.

On top of dealing with finishing a thesis that just doesn’t seem to want to come out of my head and a magazine layout project that’s completely stumping me, I’m also looking for a full-time job in this here thing we call the publishing industry. And I’ve almost had it with the lot of them.

I’m sorry, publishing powers-that-be, that I can’t afford to work for free over and over again, because I’m a grown ass woman with bills to pay and my parents aren’t rich enough to support my living as well as their own. And I’m sorry that I can’t name drop and glad-hand the right people to even get an interview. Silly me, thinking my job experience, positive references, and Master’s degree in the field would be enough. I guess it doesn’t matter that I will work my ass off to prove myself and get the job done.

Let’s not get me started on the recycling of people already working for you. I recently interviewed for a marketing assistant position – phone interview, then in-person interview. They called my references. I even met the director. Why put me through all of that if you were just going to hire someone internally in the end?! What is it with not wanting to nurture and mentor new talent? Dear Hiring Managers, just in case you didn’t know, most of us trying to break into the industry can, in fact, be taught. Some of us are even fast learners. We outsiders are desperate to get in the doors. We’re reading and gobbling up all the information we can about your business and your books. It might be that we already know more than you think. I guess fresh voices and new insight doesn’t count for much. Who was it that said the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again expecting different results?

Am I the insane one?

What I am is an angry, frustrated woman –  maybe even a little bitter. But, I’m facing the very real possibility that all the work I’ve put in over the past two years will be for nothing, and I’ll have to pack up and leave after graduation. Maybe this post will only make it worse. Maybe I just don’t give a crap anymore.

Until next time…


Tqwana Explains…Skin Care

Warning: I am about to post pictures of myself that are less than flattering.

I am approaching the age of 35 – tomorrow! – which means I’m now closer to being 40 than I am to being in my 20s. Excuse me a minute while I have a panic attack…

Okay, I’m back.

Let’s talk about my 35 year old skin, with its laugh lines that no one seems to see but me. I swear they exist. But, I do have some things working to my advantage. Good genes, I suppose. And you know what Oprah says: “black don’t crack.” Or maybe you don’t, in which case you should look up melanin.

Yet, I don’t believe that’s enough to keep my skin looking the way it looks. It needs help. Check me out 4 years ago. Notice the mess that is my forehead and the hyper-pigmentation in other places. *shudders*


Close up of the zits and acne scars:

forehead1Here’s my face now, fresh from the shower. No products at all. Yes, it is not just the acne that’s changed. More about that here.  😉

20140328_154628And a forehead closeup.


Loving that bathrobe and satin bonnet look, aren’t ya?

Dramatic difference, right? A few spots, but nothing as substantial as what it once was.

So, what is my secret, you ask?

First – I spare no expense on skin care products. Drugstore brands just weren’t cutting it for me. But when I spend that money, I earn reward points and then get free stuff to try out and you get a post about it. I highly recommend it. The free stuff, that is.

I frequent both Sephora and Ulta for my Dermologica and Murad needs, both of which I was introduced to during monthly facials at Massage Envy. Nothing else – okay maybe some Urban Decay – touches my face. If you have sensitivity to perfumes and dyes, then Dermologica is great for you, since it has neither.

Second – And I know it may be tempting, ladies, but you can’t wear makeup everyday. You just can’t. Your pores need a break to breathe. The more you wear it, the more you’ll need it to cover the damage it’s doing to your skin.

So, here’s Tqwana’s routine to healthier, clearer skin.

Note: This is what I use, which others have said is too strong for their skin. And they are expensive. Know your skin type before trying any product. If you like your current products, stick with them. I do recommend exfoliation and toner/astringent in addition to regular washing. So, if you take nothing else away from this post, remember that: Exfoliate and tone.

1. Move to a colder climate (Just kidding. Sort of. It did help.). This should really be eat healthier and drink lots of water.

2. Pre-Cleanse. This is a new part of my regiment. I got a free sample from Ulta of Dermologica’s PreCleanse oil. I was iffy about trying this b/c my skin is already combination/oily. So far, though, I’ve noticed my face feels a little smoother and softer than before, and I’ve not experienced any breakouts. It goes on clear, but turns white when wet. No suds, so don’t expect any. I’ll probably make this a permanent part of my routine.

20140329_2053563. Exfoliate. My go-to is Dermologica’s Daily Microfoliant. It’s made of rice, so it’s gentler than other scrubs. It says not to use it in the shower, but I do all the time. All it takes is a small amount in your palm. Get it a little damp and scrub, scrub, scrub. Gently, of course.

20140329_2032364. Wash. I love Murad’s Anti-Aging Acne line. Use a rotating brush with your cleanser of choice. You get a deeper clean and a little more exfoliation.

20140329_2033195. Toner. Astringents and toners are a must for deeper pore cleansing. I love that tingle that tells me it’s killing bacteria…or something.

20140329_203415You may think after all I’ve done up to this point that my skin is squeaky clean. This says otherwise. This is why you need toner.

20140329_2056316. Moisturize. All this stuff, ending with the Murad Anti-Aging Moisturizer. Notice the SPFs on these. Make sure your moisturizer has at least SPF 15. You can’t really stop the aging process, but make sure you’re not helping it along either. SPFs, people.

20140329_203530Bonus: These are more freebies that I’m trying. I haven’t noticed much of a reduction in fine lines or dark circles, so feel free to skip them. I haven’t reached the 8 week period when I should start seeing results, so you never know.

2014-03-29 20.46.32Tip: Unless it says it’s specifically for the eyes, don’t put it around your eyes. And use your ring fingers to gently tap in product in the eye area.  The skin there is the most delicate you have.

Tip #2: Work against gravity when applying products. Work them in using a circular motion or smoothing back and up toward your hairline. There’s a reason estheticians sit at the top of your head when doing facials.

7. Results: A recreation of the old picture. Side-by-side comparison. You be the judge.


Yes, I like aviators.

For those times I do wear makeup…like in the above pic on the right:

Dermologica SkinPerfect Primer, SPF 30 (this was also a freebie and I really like it. I was using Murad’s primer before. I won’t be going back. Most days, this is all I put on.);

Boots No.7 Beautifully Matte foundation ($10 at Walgreens; this is my first ever liquid foundation, as I was always wary of them, but I love the natural coverage. A little goes a long way. And I use matte, b/c my skin is oily enough; I don’t need extra shine.);

Revlon ColorStay Ultimate liquid lipstick in Premiere Plum (Sometimes I feel this dries out my lips, but it lasts even after eating and drinking, and the color looks like I’m only wearing gloss, which is good for everyday use.);

They’re Real mascara (best mascara I’ve ever used, not that you can see it in this picture. Good separation and lengthening.).

Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray (works great with my oily t-zone and does wonders for stopping that midday shine).

Until next time…