DIY Banquette Seat IKEA Hack

I am going to be redoing my new office space. I am not a DIY type of girl! However, my brother does custom upholstery for cars, so I am sure he can master this!


And the dining room saga continues…

Because we have a small awkward space, I thought it would be a good idea to use a banquette style seat to complete our dining set. I’m that person who always requests a booth at restaurants, so I was set on it. We shopped around for one but none were right for us. The size, color, style, and price were always off. I started thinking about how I could pull off a DIY version. I thought about using kitchen cabinets or building a frame like the kind I’ve seen in custom kitchens, but Jvee said NO. We don’t have the tools or the space to pull that off. During a trip to IKEA, I noticed one of the EXPEDIT shelving units was turned on its side (I’d seen it used before as window and bench seating) and seemed durable enough to sit on. It…

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I Am a Masterpiece


This morning I set down with a fresh cup of hot pumpkin spice tea and pulled out my bible. I decided that I wanted to read from the book of Psalms because Wednesday night I attended the youth small group service at One Community Church in Plano, TX and that is where the lesson came from.  One is the church where my fiancé and I participated in pre-marital counseling and it was so enlightening that it solidified our decision to make One our church home. After joining I wanted to see where I could best serve the large and still growing ministry, so I decided to volunteer for the DV8 (middle-school) program and the counseling ministry. Empowering others (while empowering myself) has always been my passion. It is evidenced by my educational, professional, and philanthropic choices. I’ve always believed that the earlier you start building a foundation of high self-regard, proper boundaries, spirituality (not religion), drive and focus, the better.  This in my opinion is especially true for women, because we are constantly bombarded with messages and lived experiences that cause us to question and doubt what Psalms 139:14 says…….I am fearfully and wonderfully made. For those who are familiar with that passage , How many times have you said that to yourself? When you’ve gained a little weight (well a lot) and what you see in the mirror makes you depressed, do you have to bring this to your remembrance? When you aren’t quite living up to the ideals that you have set for yourself, not what others have set, but you (if you are a person of faith, and GOD), do you have to remind yourself that in spite of…?

Throughout our lifespan we will have lived experiences. Each one of those experiences will impact how we develop in our physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive  domain. Every time we wake up and we interact with the world around us we are being molded by the experiences just living provides. Being aware of the molding and shaping process that happens when we engage with the world and the world engages with us is vital to our mental health. It is vital because on some levels we are not even aware of how this interaction is shaping and guiding our thoughts and behaviors.

For example, you are getting married and you have selected your dress. It is beautiful, you are happy and ready for that day. This is a joyous season and you should be relishing in the moment. However, you find yourself stressing. Stressing about what? You guessed it, loosing weight. You have dreamed of this day since you were a little girl and had a vision of how you would look on that special day. Since that vision that little girl has lived 20+ years on this earth. She has interacted with various systems (family, friends, schools, churches, organizations and society) that have afforded her a personal set of experiences.  Her lived experiences have implanted a variety of messages. Too light, Too Dark. Too big, Too skinny. Too pretty, Too ugly. Too smart, Too dumb. Success, Failure. Perfect, Imperfect. Worthy, Unworthy. We could fill a page with messages.

Now that you are all grown up and the day is rapidly approaching, you stand before that mirror and tell yourself “You look nothing like how I envisioned you.” Well ladies I say to you “Stop looking at your grown self, through little girl’s eyes.” In life there should be some changes, you shouldn’t still fit the vision of your elementary self. She was operating from a developmental space full of illogical thoughts and a small knowledge base. If you are holding to some ideals about yourself that are  based on elementary thinking, its time to do some self reflecting, heal and grow. Your grown self can’t operate and mentally function on a mature level if you still thinking like a child. If you are still holding to some of those messages, that are causing you to question if you are fearfully and wonderfully made, cast them away. I urge you, even if you are not a person of the Christian faith to take a look at Psalms 139:13-16. Not only does it tell us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but it lets us know that, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” So guess what ladies this statement, “You look nothing like how I envisioned you” means absolutely nothing. Why? It’s not our vision anyway. Remind yourself today that you are a fine work of art, a masterpiece,…”a pinnacle of the creation of the Master Artist.”

Just My Thoughts,

Lady D.Daphane 

P.S. Point of clarification. I am not saying I will stop trying to lose weight for my wedding. I am just saying I will try to recognize and remind myself that at whatever size I may be I am still fearfully and wonderfully made, a masterpiece. #workinprogress! LOL! truth!

Cookin’ Ain’t Easy: Mr.Adolphus…Where is My Uncle Ben?


I have been trying hard to cook more meals at home. For one its just healthier. Secondly, I’m trying to be more domestic and hone my housewife skills. Well yesterday it was about 4:00 and I was sitting working on my dissertation, when I realized it was close to time for Julian to come home. In order to look productive,I jumped up, freshened my lipstick and put on my vintage inspired dressing robe! Okay yes I was doing a lot but it just puts me in the proper frame of mind for preparing dinner for my hardworking man.

I decided to make Tilapia and smother it in the sauce from the pork chop recipe. I was very proud of the sauce and figured it’s an easy way to give baked Tilapia some flavor. Tonight was a dissertation work night so I really didn’t have the time or energy to do too much in the kitchen. In an effort to keep it simple I decided on salad, a bag of steamed mixed vegetables and rice. My thought was I could place the fish over the rice and cover it with sauce.

So now it’s preparation time! I gather all my ingredients and to my dismay I discovered I was out of boil-in-bag rice. Sweet baby Jesus! What am I going to do? Rice is an essential part of the menu! I search every cabinet just hoping that there was a random bag hiding somewhere. I was disappointed! There was no rice in a bag anywhere. The only thing I found was two bags of some random loose rice called Adolphus. Who the heck is Adolphus and what have you done with my Uncle Ben?

Sis you are not welcome here! I don’t even know where to begin with you. Yes ladies, your assessment is correct. I have Never Ever in my entire 23 years of existence (sigh..ok 34) made this loose stuff.

Well at this point I have no choice but to step out on faith and make a pot of Adolphus. I’m not excited at all about this because I’ve seen and eaten mushy horrible rice and I do not live for it! So I ask some questions, read some instructions (the bag tells you how to do it!), and said a prayer for Jesus to take the wheel and got to cooking.


Up until this point all was well, but now I need to figure out how long I’m suppose to let it cook. I’m standing over the stove and I reached for the open bag of rice. I pick it up from the wrong end and rice is now all over a hot stovetop! It’s frying! I’m trying to get the rice, but I have the bag in my hand. So what do I do? I sit it on the stove! Really? Sorry Adolphus. Forgive me… I didn’t mean to hurt you.


After cleaning up that disaster. I set the timer for the rice and fixed the rest of my meal. My rice actually turned out good! Although this wasn’t tragedy free, I realized that tragedies are common; we are all susceptible to them. So I won’t complain! I stepped out and tried something new, without a backup plan and I’m still alive! My take aways this time is that whenever you have a plan make sure you have the tools needed to carry it out. However, if you find yourself without a valuable tool, always be open to adjustments or substitutions. Sometimes that tool that you have become comfortable with is handicapping you or keeping you from a new experience.


Burn Baby Burn,

Lady D.Daphane

Cookin’ Ain’t Easy: Pork Chop Update!

A lady’s thoughts on cooking pork chops…..Ooh I think he liked it!!!!!!! Well ladies I have great news to report. My southern style baked smothered pork chops received the greatest comment that any Southern Belle could get about her food. My fiance’, we will call him J, famous Plano food critic (not really) completely demolished his plate. After he completed the delectable dish prepared with love, he spoke words from the Gods. J said “You put your foot in it!” I must say I was full of southern Black woman joy. Finally after 34 years of life, I D.Daphane received the most coveted food review! In that very moment I could have spread my wings and flew away to rest in Abraham’s bosom!!

Let me take a deep breath and calm down; just reliving that moment takes me to another place. OK, so now that I have gotten that off my chest, let me tell you about the process. The recipe was very easy to follow. I didn’t have any difficulty until Lady Kim told me to fry the pork chops on each side for 5 minutes. Ummm, you said baked, you did not say anything about frying in the title. DECEPTION! The title should have been, Southern Style 5 Minute Fried Baked Smothered Pork Chops, if frying was going to be a part of the process. I have never fried or smothered, so Lady Kim you are asking too much of me! But, I moved on, I floured the pork chops to cover them in bread crumbs. Now I looked at her floured pork chop and mine……umm no.

ImageNevertheless, I was on a mission so  I pressed on toward the mark. I melted my butter and olive oil and put my pork chops in the skillet. I fried for the first time and  was popped by grease just once (didn’t appreciate that)! Take a look at the fried chops.

ImageWhile my frying may have come out well, I then became faced with my several dilemmas. J did not have a baking dish! I did find a foil thingy in the pantry and figured it should work. However, I had to call on a member of the circle of wisdom, no not my mom this time, but my DAD :)! As soon as he picked up the phone he said “You must be trying to cook those pork chops.” What? Excuse me?…Yes! Question one: “Can you use this foil thing to bake in?” Question two: “This lady said place the pork chops in a well oiled baking dish, What does that mean? Do you really oil this thing or can I spray it with Pam?”  DON’T JUDGE ME!

After I received the answers that I needed I finished the rest of the recipe. A mistake I made was that I forgot when I put the food in, so I had to guess at how long to let them cook. I made a couple of changes to the gravy. I used Ms. Dash spicy  seasoning (wait, is she married? I think so), I mean Mrs. Dash spicy seasoning instead of cayenne pepper and I used soul seasoning instead of salt. Here is the finished meal!


I feel so Southern! Doesn’t this just look like it came from a Southern kitchen?! I am happy to check off frying and smothering from my cooking to do list. Again, this was a great recipe and received many compliments. I don’t eat pork chops so I can’t tell you what I think. We will just take their word for it.  Believe it or not there was a lesson in this cooking adventure. I was reminded that being a lady is a process (working on self), but for the first time really grasped that being a wife is a process too. This new role that I am about to take on requires that I not only look out for my husband, but that I constantly find ways to improve in this role. I must do this while still doing the work to be a better person. Doing them both at the same time is not easy! Yes, I wanted my honey to come home to a good meal, but I  found myself preparing this meal while also having a dissertation work session and getting ready for a Sorority committee meeting in 2 hours!! Not to mention I had also worked 6 hours! Who does all that at one time? This lady right here. So ladies I learned that catering to your man is awesome, but you have to remember to also cater to you. Find a proper balance in everything, be realistic about what you really can do. We are not Superwoman! #blogcomingsoon

So in conclusion, cookin’ ain’t easy when you doing a whole lot of other stuff at the same time! Don’t forget to share this blog and follow A Lady’s Thoughts. Oh and don’t forget to try the recipe and let us know how it turned out!

Until Next Time,

Lady D. Daphane

“Being a lady is a process…”

Cookin’ Ain’t Easy: Southern Style Baked Smothered Pork Chops


A lady’s thoughts on cooking…it ain’t easy! Well ladies I have been on a quest to build my menu of dinner dishes seeing that I am about to be someone’s wife (Oh! I forgot to share that with you! I’m engaged!). One of the things my circle of wisdom (my aunts, grandmother, mother, and all other older women in my family) has always told me is that you have to make sure that you take care of your man. Some of you just cringed, had a flashback to the 50s, and envisioned a Stepford Wife. To that I say get over it ladies! Yes, you can be a 2013 woman, independent, successful, make your own money, and still want to cater to your man. I mean why not wave the Destiny’s Child, Cater to My Man flag, if you want? It doesn’t make you less of a woman if you still have some traditional views. Especially if you have a man worthy of you going that extra mile. WAIT!! Ladies that is another post.

Now back to the point of this post. I am truly waving my flag today. Tonight I am going to attempt to cook this recipe I found on Pinterest. I am really catering to him, because one I don’t eat pork chops, so I will not get to enjoy the fruits of my labor. But my honey is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so #shrug. Secondly, I have NEVER I mean NEVER smothered anything! To all my gourmet cooking ladies, don’t judge me! One thing the beloved circle of wisdom forgot to do is teach me how to cook!!!!!!!!!!!! So all their talk about making sure my man is taking care of, was just that TALK!

With that being said, for now I am finding my own way in the kitchen. Well at least until I guilt them into some teaching lessons or better yet I can afford a personal chef. So ladies, Cookin‘ Ain’t Easy posts will be Lady D.Daphane’s cooking journey! I would love for you to try things with me and let me know how they come out! Click on the picture above to view the recipe. Come along for the ride ladies; it is sure to be hilarious!

Check back to see how this meal turned out!

Burn Baby Burn!

Lady D.Daphane

Dream on Dreamer: 10 Days In One Suitcase



I was looking through some old pins on Pinterest and came across this article. I remember seeing the title and thinking, “I really need to learn how to pack lighter or better.” Well today I actually took the time to read this article (don’t act like you immediately read what you pin!) and I am saying dream on, this is impossible! Let me summarize this article before I go off on a tangent. Heather Poole, a flight attendant, did an article for the New York Post where she tells us how to get 10 days of clothes in a carry-on suitcase. She packed three pairs of shorts, three pairs of dress pants, one skirt, three pairs of casual pants or jeans, three nightgowns, three bathing suits, one sarong, three lightweight sweaters, four dresses, 10 casual shirts, six dress shirts, a clutch, toiletries and two pairs of shoes. She wore the third pair of shoes, as well as jeans and a longer sweater. All this equals 10 days of clothes.

Here are the steps she suggests.

1. roll instead of fold

2. set the clothes aside

3. pack shoes first

4. make one layer of heavier clothes first

5. make layer of lighter clothes last

6. add toiletries and clutch last.


10days10daysNow my question is where is she going? I don’t know about the rest of you ladies, but I wouldn’t wear much of what she has packed. It seems a little too casual for me. I am not saying that this doesn’t work. I have used the roll method before. I am simply saying that someone as grand as I, could not get 10 days in a carry-on. Could my Vicki dress, Secretary, corselette, tightlace corset, high waist swimsuit, stockings, heels, jewelry, makeup, Clarisonic, purses and everything else I may need for ten days get in one carry-on? I think not!

After pondering this for a moment. I thought maybe we should have a challenge! I want to see if you can get 10 days worth of clothes and essentials into a carry on. You can not change up what you would normally wear, but you can make things multitask. Here is the scenario. You will be spending 10 days in the Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard. You must include an outfit for a nice dinner and one for a fancy dinner party. The rest of your outfits are up to you. Comment on this post with what you packed and tell us how it went! Send us a photo of the finished product; failure or success!

Happy Packing!

Lady D. Daphane

“Being a lady is a process…”