Thursday, September 3, 2020

Early rise for nature

IMG_6528

It's not often I'm OK with waking up at 6am on the weekends. But when I am OK with it, it usually has something to do with nature. It's either for a long walk, catching a sunrise or getting the best spot at the beach. This year especially, I've never felt more connected to nature. I believe it is the reminder that I'm just a small part of it all ... that the world is so much bigger than me. It helps me to keep perspective and reminds me of the beauty that's all around as long as I choose to see it.

IMG_6514

IMG_6513 IMG_6529

IMG_6518

IMG_6519-2

IMG_6521

IMG_6535

IMG_6538

IMG_6536 IMG_6539

IMG_6541

IMG_6544-2

IMG_6560

IMG_6561-2

IMG_6566

IMG_6564

IMG_6565-2

IMG_6569 IMG_6570

I hope you've had a great week so far and that you have a wonderful weekend ♥

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

August 8th

IMG_6667

August 8th marked 5 years that my mom has been gone.

5 years. Half a decade.

Sometimes it feels like she has been gone for so long and some days it feels like it was just yesterday. Each day brings its own new set of challenges to be honest. Especially now when everything seems so out of control. She was always able to bring me back down. The best listener I've ever known. So although I am not crying every time I think of her these days, it still is incredibly hard because I need her. There is no one like a good mother; no one.

I tried to make sure that I had a few things to look forward to on the day that way it would hurt less if that makes any sense. Earlier this year, my sisters and I were happy to see that my mom's birthday and August 8th fell on a Saturday because it meant that we could all be together on both days. Well, COVID-19 (2020 to be honest) had other plans and with the precautions my family and I are taking that wasn't going to happen.

So, Sean and I decided to drive to see my mom, drop off some beautiful flowers, let her know how much she is missed and loved and then prepare a nice dinner for Sean and myself. Kinda off topic but it was actually the first time that I did not cry to and from her grave. My mom loved to cook, her favorite place was in the kitchen (she would kick us out when we were younger because it was her me time) and I thought preparing a nice dinner would be one way to feel close to her on that day.

IMG_6658

IMG_6663

I shared this post on Instagram and felt the need to share it here too.

My mom's favorite place use to be in the kitchen and it makes me cringe how often I would tease her for that. "Dad can cook his own food", I'd say. That was my attempt to convince my mom that she did not actually enjoy being in the kitchen and was just conforming to traditional gender norms. Little did I know that as I'd get older it would become my favorite place too. Being in the kitchen, deciding what new recipe to try, chopping vegetables or hearing that sizzle ... it all has become therapeutic to me. Today marks five years that she's been gone but I love that cooking is another way I feel closer to her; a way to keep our connection alive.

If only I could tell her I understand it now; if only.

IMG_6649 IMG_6642

Thursday, August 6, 2020

An espresso poolside

IMG_6624

Having a pool during quarantine has been such a highlight and I've happily admitted that Sean was absolutely right. However, I'm not feeling that way at the current moment as we've run into a problem with our pool. Crazy considering that we've only enjoyed it for four weeks ... but it's 2020 so what should one expect? But I'm telling myself that this isn't a major problem in the grand scheme of things. Things could be worse. I allowed myself to feel all the things yesterday and now we'll do what we need to do to get it fixed even if it means we can't use our pool again until next summer.

It's funny because last week I was telling Sean that any con I had about owning a pool was was crossed off because being able to take a dip when your central air has chosen to go kaput during a heat wave ... well, I don't think I need to say much more.
But after this week, I can certainly share some cons, haha.

IMG_6614

IMG_6629 IMG_6620

IMG_6612

Anyway, I hope you're all having a great weekend and that you have wonderful weekends! ♥

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The weekend that was good for my soul

IMG_6108

This tree in front of our house blossoms beautifully in the spring.

IMG_6101

IMG_6115

IMG_6124 IMG_6129

IMG_6116

I intended to post this quite some time ago but Izabella ended up getting hospitalized (thank God she is getting better everyday!) and then the ever ending disregard for Black bodies just took over and it was all I could think about. I just wasn't in the mood to talk about that one good weekend. Although my mind seems to be thinking of one thing (justice for Black people) these days, I still want this post to be here as a reminder of good days. That although life can sometimes be so ugly that there is still beauty and we can always find good if we choose to.

I think that weekend was the best one since quarantine began. As time drags on because people refuse to do their part (I know this because I can compare where other countries are compared to where we are) we’re having to find ways to do the things we enjoy while still being safe. Friday evening, we took the dogs for a drive (they love car rides!) and it just made me so happy to see how thrilled the dogs were to have their heads out the window. They truly savor fresh air.

Saturday morning we woke up to perfect weather so I started meal prep early that way I could enjoy the rest of the day in the sunshine. I made this dish and I found it to be an easy recipe and so delicious. Burrata cheese is my new favorite.

In the afternoon, the pool company came out and set measurements in our backyard that way we could see exactly where the pool is going. It’s kinda crazy but it’s happening. We were actually suppose to have the pool done Memorial Day weekend but with all the restrictions that were put in place that had to be placed on hold. Construction begins on Friday!

(That's how long ago I wrote this post because the pool is done, lol!)

We took the dogs out for another ride and then to the lake since it’s their favorite place to be. OK, maybe Izy’s favorite place to be. When we dropped our dogs off, Sean and I went for a walk with my camera in tow and I snapped the three images below.

IMG_6042

IMG_6045

IMG_6051

When we got home I made guacamole for the first time. I know, what?! I've just always ordered at restaurants and didn’t bother to make at home. It was sooo good and probably one of the easiest things I’ve ever made. I’m going to make some again this weekend because now I’m obsessed. It’s definitely going to be a regular thing now.

IMG_6155

IMG_6177

The tomatoes were for the dish I mention above with burrata cheese.

IMG_6195

We also made strawberry mojitos and they were so good! Sean said, "I'd pay $12 for this drink". It’s actually incredible to me all the things we are figuring out to do by ourselves now.

IMG_5078 IMG_5079

In the evening, Sean grilled burgers and hot dogs for dinner which we enjoyed out on our deck. At the end of the evening, our kitchen definitely showed the evidence of a rather great day. It looked like we threw a party for just the two us.

Sunday morning, we had BEC on a bagel and then worked on our front lawn. Watering plants and trimming our overgrown Japanese maple tree were the highlights. I won’t say we did an amazing job but it definitely looks better than it did.

After the yard work, I completed meal prep and then sat in my hammock (even fell asleep) for the rest of the day. My sister recommended that I read “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” even though I’ve watched the movie on Netflix way more than I can count. I started on Sunday afternoon and was done Monday evening. It was actually the fastest I’ve read a book in the longest time and I was pretty surprised. Now I’m going to get the second and third book because I can’t leave myself hanging.

I hope you all are finding ways to keep yourself sane and happy and that you all are having wonderful weeks! ♥ xoxo

** And while on that note, I'm going to try my hardest to get back to updating this blog on the regular.
I can't let something I enjoy doing slip away the way I have. **

Monday, June 15, 2020

The time for actions is now

I’ve missed my blog.

Admittedly a lot has been on my mind and although blogging has always been therapeutic to me it has been the last place I’ve wanted to be. I’m incredibly sad, frustrated and angry that this post I wrote in 2013 regarding Trayvon Martin still rings very true seven years later. I am hopeful because I am seeing a lot more people speak up against the injustice Black people have continued to face versus sitting quiet because let's be honest a lot of the issues that affect Black communities do not affect them at all. That has been the silver lining in all of this. I am truly trying to stay hopeful and do much more than just pray. Praying is great and all but Faith without works is dead. And don’t get me started on how churches have chosen to stay quiet about racism for centuries but I digress … I’ve been educating myself on these issues ever since Trayvon Martin and I’ll continue to do so. These issues are not a trend, these are issues that have plagued the Black community for way too many years and people who want to fight along with us are all welcomed. Be sure that when you join this fight you are all in. There is no what ifs ... with us, or against us.

I think that’s pretty simple and it should have been for centuries.
Black Lives Matter to me. And it should for you too.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

RECIPE TO TRY: CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

IMG_6023

So, since I posted the cinnamon swirl loaf recipe I’ve baked chocolate chip cookies from scratch (three times!) and made two loaves of zucchini bread. I haven’t baked bread yet but it’s on the list as well as a decadent chocolate cake. It’s funny how I look forward to baking these days and I have a feeling that this is something that I’ll continue to enjoy once life resumes to “normal’.

I came across this chocolate chip cookie recipe on Kat’s blog and although I haven’t tried every chocolate chip cookie recipe this one is pretty darn good. So if she’s claiming it’s the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, then I’ll just nod my head and agree. I find the recipe to be easy and straightforward so you can’t mess up especially since I was that person who had never made chocolate chip cookies from scratch before. The only tip I would add if you’re a beginner baker (like me) is that when you take the cookies out of the oven, let it cool for 10 minutes and then transfer it to a cooling rack for another 10 minutes. They are incredible! Warm, gooey and chewy, just the way I love a chocolate chip cookie to be. The day after I made the cookies I put one in the microwave for about 10 seconds and they were as if they had just come out of the oven. I’m sure I’ll be baking them again this weekend. I did halve the recipe like she recommended since it's only Sean and me eating the cookies and because self-control, what's that?

BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE

1 cup unsalted butter softened (2 sticks)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar (dark or light doesn’t make a difference)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp hot water
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg one by one, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to the batter. Stir in the salt, flour, and chocolate chips. Scoop spoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

IMG_6008

IMG_6028

I hope you are well and that you have a wonderful weekend! ♥

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Instant mood lifter

IMG_5955

Flowers have always been appreciated by me but these days they seem even more valuable. I'm finding them to be an instant mood lifter as it's difficult not to crack a smile when I see them scattered around the house. And honestly, these days it seems I need all the smiles I can get. Since I currently can't get them as frequently as I use to, I'm treasuring them a lot more these days; doing all I can to extend their lives for just a few extra days.

IMG_5988

IMG_5952 IMG_5950

IMG_5976

The next time you go grocery shopping be sure to pick some up ... dare I say
that I find them to be very essential during this time.

I hope you all are well and safe. xoxo ♥