Welcome to what was supposed to be the first recipe of the year! I kept pushing this back because of time and forgetfulness, but we’re finally here! I honestly couldn't wait to use my new slow cooker. I looked through Pinterest for the perfect recipe (because, duh, I don't know how to cook in one yet). I don't know why I put so much pressure on picking the perfect recipe just because it would be the first. What I really needed was convenient and cost effective. So when I found this recipe on Kitchen, I knew this would be the one to tackle. It even came with helpful tips on choosing the right part of the chicken and how long the recipe keeps in the fridge.
Go Thighs for the Slow Cooker
Chicken thighs are the right choice for this take on takeout because their meaty flavor isn't overshadowed by the rich teriyaki sauce and they are more forgiving than chicken breasts, consistently remaining juicy after a couple of hours in the slow cooker. That said, if you've only got chicken breasts on hand, you can substitute them with no change in prep or cook time.
Slow Cooker Honey Teriyaki Chicken
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
For serving: Cooked rice, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, sliced scallions
Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Scatter the onion and garlic over the top. Whisk the soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, pepper, and ginger together in a small bowl and pour over the chicken.
Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 2 to 3 hours or on the HIGH setting for 1 to 2 hours. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest piece registers 165°F.
Transfer chicken to a cutting board and cut into 1-inch pieces.
Pour the sauce into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced by half, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the water and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Once the sauce has reduced, whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
Return the chicken to the slow cooker and pour in enough sauce to coat the chicken. Reserve any remaining sauce for leftovers. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and scallions.
Storage: Refrigerate leftover chicken and sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Make ahead: The chicken and sauce can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. Warm in a saucepan over medium-low heat or in the microwave before serving.
I want to start this post by acknowledging that admitting this could be misinterpreted and may even be damaging to my career. But I honestly found so much therapeutic power in documenting this breakdown. You should know that for over ten years I have struggled with generalized anxiety disorder. But this past Tuesday was just embarrassing. For the past month, I haven't been able to decide what to do with my hair and it's been starting to stress me out. You may have seen various photos of me in different wigs. While wigs can be so fun, what they really are sometimes is a sign that I have no idea what to do with my hair. But a part of my hair care regimen dictates regular hair treatments and I was overdue.
Feeling pressured I told my hair stylist to pick a style and went with the first thing she suggested, crochet. I've never had crochet braids before but I figured it shouldn't be too bad. Problem is, I couldn't decide what type of crochet hair I wanted, and I honestly don’t know much about weave. Eventually I decided I wanted a "Afro twist out" look. So I drove around for two days, going to five different stores. In the last store I picked up 5 packs. At the thought that it would cost me $50 I started to second guess if it was worth it. I held the hair up to my face, but I just couldn’t picture it. All I saw were faux locs, box braids or Havana or Sengalese twist (none of which I wanted). Without much options, I began to feel trapped, which led to, you guessed it, an anxiety attack.
I immediately called one of my best friends, crying in a beauty supply store wanting to just curl in a ball on the floor and hope no one saw me. My chest hurt and I became angry with myself for being so indecisive. I dropped my first choice and considered leaving the store and returning with someone else to help me make up my mind. I called my hairstylist to ask her a million questions about the cheaper Havana twists before deciding, it would work. I waited to cash out, breathing deeply as I hoped no one would notice that I had been crying. But when I got home and told my mum what happened, I started crying all over again. My chest got tight all over again and I just wanted the floor to swallow me. I couldn't make a simple decision and I felt stupid for it. It took me talking to two different people, crying, eating a cupcake, sipping red wine hot chocolate and writing an entire thread just to calm down. Worst I feel like I failed myself for not being more in control.
I SHARE THESE STORIES + PERSONAL BITS BECAUSE I KNOW HOW HELPFUL IT CAN BE.
If I were a reader and were going through something like this, I know it would help to read that someone else had gone through it too and reading their words would help me to feel a little bit better and to know that I wasn’t going through it alone. I share the less shiny, unfiltered moments of my life with you here because I think it’s important to be real with you and talk about the lows just as much as the highs.
Anxiety is not easy because I never know when something will trigger it. Someways it's big things, some days it's little things like me thinking a little too long about what someone said to me. Yet I'm super calm in most crisis situations and never overreact at work.
SO WHAT NOW?
I got my hair done last night. My hairstylist was super encouraging during the process and I felt the weight lifted off me as she worked. Anxiety is something I deal with everyday. Luckily I know most of my triggers and I’m able to stay away from there, but it’s really hard when things you couldn’t plan for happen. I continue to reach out to various support groups and write in my self-care journal, which is so much fun to use!
If this post helped you or spoke to you in anyway, please feel free to drop a word of encouragement in the comment section below. If you need advice for dealing with your own anxiety, feel free to fill out the form above and I’ll be touch.
Can you believe my European trip was already TWO YEARS AGO?! I can’t believe how much time has passed, but I’m glad it wasn’t the only adventure I’ve had so far. As you know, one of my favourite things to do is travel. Every year I try to decide early on, where I want to go that year. One of my newest friends, Lynn told me she has a carry on that's always packed and ready to go. I love that! I don't have kids or any major bills of my own right now, so my biggest priority has just been travelling. I value travelling more than anything because the world doesn't exist in a vacuum. There’s so much to learn and I'd rather learn about it first hand than through a book or the TV. I can only travel during school breaks, which means higher rates, unfortunately, so I have to be smart about it. When I pick a destination, there are a few things I look out for:
Picturesque beauty: I love places with beautiful buildings and landscapes. I live somewhere beautiful so it’s a must that my destination is also beautiful. I take a lot of photos while on vacation and tend to garner a lot of inspiration from my surroundings.
Rich history: I'm a story teller, so I’m a sucker for a country/city with a lot of history. Historical landmarks genuinely get me excited. Even if I cant understand a single word the cab driver says, I just love to soak it all in.
Affordable: I cannot vacation somewhere, where it takes practically a life’s savings (I do work in education) just to get there, leaving no money to actually do anything. That's berserk! I want an exotic place with a lot of fun things to do that won’t break the bank.
So where do I want to go this year? First up:
Like I said, I live in a gorgeous country. Did you know that we are made up of over 700 islands and cays? We have a saying here that goes, “Before you see the world, check out your own back yard first”. And they’re right. I never want to be in a position where a foreigner can tell me more about my own country than I knew. I'm thinking of going next month for my best friend’s birthday. There's three of us in February so bring on the birthday celebrations!
I have a best friend who lives in Montreal and I have been trying to visit her for about two years now, but there's just never a good time. Well this year, I'm not making any more excuses. She comes for a visit next month after my birthday, but at some point this year, I will travel to visit her. I’ve heard how beautiful the city is and how many festivals they have, so I can’t wait to see it for myself!
Eleuthera, The Bahamas
We were supposed to go to Eleuthera over the Christmas break because one of my cousins has a house down there, but another cousins plans took over. So we rescheduled for Mother’s Day. So far, this definitely is happening! I’ve been to Harbour Island before and my grandmother is originally from Eleuthera so I’m really excited about this trip!
Need I say more? There's no way I’m doing Cuba by myself so this year, I’m going to need my friends to really step it up! How can you not want to go to Cuba? This history, the cars, the architecture, the food! I’m not expecting anything glamorous . I just want to soak it all in!
Everyone is recommending Santorini Greece as a spot for young adults. I’m not picky. I don’t care which part of Greece it is, it can be Mykonos, whatever! Just take my passport and put me in coach (you didn’t really think I could afford first class did you?) This would be the most expensive trip out of all the destinations on the list, so I don’t mind going by myself. However, a Mediterranean cruise sounds like the perfect way to explore the Greek islands! Even though it may not happen this year, I’m genuinely saving up for this trip!
What’s on your travel bucket list this year? Is there anywhere you’re saving up to go? Share your dream destination in the comment section below. If you don’t know where to begin with planning a trip financially, then check out this post on how I saved up for my Europe trip.
Something I don’t talk about publicly is my weight. A lot of people don’t understand that maintaining my size is a constant struggle. If I go a week without working out, and don’t watch what I eat, it shows. Trust me it shows. And then I have to deal with the criticisms: Oh I’ve put on weight! Am I pregnant? My weight has fluctuated a lot in the past, mostly because I've been an emotional eater who used to treat my anxiety with binge eating. In fact, I had a lot of unhealthy coping tools.
When 2018 hit, I was ready for a serious change. I wanted to work hard, feel better every day, and get physically stronger. My biggest motivation was my dad’s wedding last summer. I was standing in the wedding and I was tired of my waist being larger than 30”. I honestly didn’t enjoy having to buy new clothes to accommodate my weight gain so something had to give. All my weight-loss attempts in the past had fallen flat, so I knew I had to do something different this time around. These are the four changes I made that helped me achieve all my weight-loss and fitness goals.
Working Out Is Non-Negotiable
I started out with a few strength-training sessions a week, with my trainer. As schedules changed, I didn’t work out as often and would sometimes miss weeks of workouts. That’s when the weight would come back. That’s how I knew that working out is non-negotiable. No matter what the workout is, whether you choose strength-training, Zumba, TRX, Barre, whatever, do something challenging. If you want to transform your body, you have to workout. I keep trying to tell my step-sister that healthy living requires healthy eating and working out. Doing one over the other does not give results. And if the workout doesn’t push you, trust me, you won’t see any changes in your body. As my Barre instructor Rachel likes to say, “Shaking is good. You’re supposed to shake.”
Switching From Keto to Smart Carb
I know I’ve been bragging about the Keto diet last year and I’ve shared numerous Keto recipes here, but if I’m completely honest, Keto is expensive and it was beginning to mess with my digestive system. Keto requires a lot of high fats, most of which can be found in dairy - totally bad for sinus issues, bloating and lactose intolerance). But Keto isn’t totally flawed. Limiting carbs and sugar was the best dietary decision I ever made. But not all carbs are bad carbs. So recognising which carbs I needed, and eliminating what I didn’t, like processed and packaged foods from my daily diet reduced my bloating, increased my fitness performance, and helped me shed the excess pounds. Most importantly, I have much more mental clarity than I ever did before, which makes it easier to be productive and work out efficiently.
I Ended Some Relationships With Toxic People
Whether it was negative people, absent people, or those who don’t value healthy eating, I had to distance myself from them. Once I cleaned up my relationships and surrounded myself with people who were interested in taking care of themselves, I felt confident that I had a support system that would be there for me no matter what. So I really went for my goals — and I ‘m starting to smash every one of them!
I’m so guilty of ignoring reading. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading, but my life is drastically different now from the days when I was able to finish thick books in three days or less. I used to read long after my parents sent me to bed, and often travelled with a book everywhere I went in case it was boring. Now worry that I have so much going on that I just don’t make the time. And even when I do have the time, I find myself thinking about other things and unable to concentrate. But when I saw this book in my best friend’s house on Christmas, I just had to have it! After she lent it to me, I couldn’t wait to dive in, but of course I made excuses. It wasn’t until j forced myself to sit down and read it, did I realise why this was the book I NEEDED in my life. The book is called F*ck Feelings by Dr. Michael and Sarah Bennett.
I genuinely only read books that contain profanity because it feels real. I’m not perfect, so I don’t need a book that pretends to be perfect. And that’s why I chose an “anti-self help” book. I know I don’t have my life together, but I just can’t relate to the yoga moms, who drink smoothies instead of eating real food and take a bunch of styled photos for Instagram. The book offered answers to common issues we face in adulthood. Even the description tells you:
Need to stop screwing up? Want to become a more positive person?
Do you work with an ass? Think you can rescue an addicted person?
Looking for closure after abuse? Have you realized that your parent is an asshole?
Feel compelled to clear your name? Hope to salvage a lost love?
Want to get a lover to commit? Plagued by a bully?
Afraid of ruining your kid? Ready to vent your anger?
What are you reading now? If anyone picks up the F*ck Feelings book, I’d love to chat with you about it!
Last night, Pisces Swim officially launched their new line of swimsuits with a blowout party (not to be confused with the Pisces Swim Event). The event was hosted at Incudesk in Palmdale. If you didn't know, Incudesk is a hot spot for private office rentals and meeting spaces. This is the same location that hosted The Paint Me Couture event I attended in October. I was really curious to see how the space would be converted to accommodate a fashion show. It’s really not ideally suited for such an event and the set up reflected that; with people and chairs being rearranged the closer we got to show time (at times too close for comfort). Despite this, the room was alive and buzzing. The DJ played great hits for the cocktail party as the drinks flowed. I was able to catch up with people I haven't seen in years, while we waited for the show to start.
The show started a little late but it certainly did not disappoint. There were 29 looks shown on the runway all priced between $55-65. I was pretty peeved that I couldn’t capture any images without them being blurry so I did video instead. And I HATE doing videos. They’re so much work to edit and take much longer than editing photos.. Below are just a few stills from the video I captured to give you guys a peak inside the new line.
Although I wished the models would walk a little slower, the looks were amazing. The clothes deserved to be shown a little longer. Fashions show take forever to start, just to end after 20-30 minutes, so you might as well take your time on the runway. I was anxious to see the looks because I kinda hoard swimsuits. I’ve even got my eye on a particular one (the third photo above). The CEO of Pisces Swim, Jamaal Ferguson shared how the international brand is looking to expand this year to host 4 branches. In addition to the the swimwear line, there will be an athletics line and a luxury baggage line.
I definitely want to see more from this line, but so far they get my stamp of approval. As you all know, I don’t wear high-end anything. However, as a Bahamian brand, I am obligated to throw my support behind it. How do you feel about the looks for last night’s show? Share your favourites in the comment section below!