If you missed this years Zumba Fitness Party you missed a lot! Maydi had to sit this one out (congratulations on the pregnancy) but Vaness & Tiana of Dynamic Duo, Patrice Murrell, Ana and guest instructors, Cheiwah and Sammy really represented! Two full routines are included for you to try at home!Read More
We’re officially in the Back to School season. School has been in session for one week and the adjustment can be rough. Early morning wake up calls, congested morning commutes, afternoon pickups and the dreaded dinnertime. It’s easy to want to skip this part and settle for a pizza or bowl of cereal, but there are so many easy weeknight meals you can try that’ll satisfy the whole family. These recipes are minimal effort with maximum effect!
¼ cup finely diced onion
1 lemon, for juice
1 1/2 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
2 tablespoons Pesto
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
ground red pepper
sweet potato chunks (or 2 sweet potatoes cut into chunks)
frozen riced cauliflower
lean ground beef (turkey or chicken works too)
yellow onions, chopped
spaghetti sauce, homemade or store-bought
½ cup any red wine
shredded mozzarella cheese
parsley and parmesan cheese for topping
frozen cooked shrimp, thawed
½ cup dry white wine
minced fresh chives
½ cup evaporated milk
Ball of Store-Bought Pizza Dough (use gluten-free if needed)*
Feta Cheese, Crumbled
Avocado or Olive Oil
red pepper flakes
Cubed Acorn Squash
Turn burger night upside down with these new burgers! They’re so flavourful, tender and deeply satisfying. Throw caution to the wind and make up a batch of Chicken Quinoa Burgers with Arugula and Mushrooms this week for burger night and you’ll see what I mean.
A super simple recipe to make lazy skillet lasagna! No need to make tons of layers, this one pot lasagna combines and cooks everything in one pot!
This recipe was a complete mistake, but requires so little work, dinner will appear to be done in an instant By using store-bought cauliflower rice you save a lot of time because all you have to do is pop it in the microwave once everything is done. The sweet potatoes are easy to cut into cubes and roast in the oven. You can put the chicken breasts in the marinade in the morning and drop it in the slow cooker as soon as you get home. After only 1-1.5 hours in the slow cooker, you’ll have a complete meal that you didn’t need to supervise.
Earthy, delightful mushrooms are front and centre in this seafood dish. It’s hearty and deliciously interesting and affirms once again that mushrooms, seafood and pasta are great companions. The addition of a dry white wine to the sauce makes this indulgent dish too good to stick to one serving!
Win dinner with the perfect Autumn-themed pizza. No one would expect this combination, but everyone is going to ask for more! This pizza recipe would be perfect for a Friday night, date night or potluck. Who doesn’t enjoy a wholesome, veggie-packed pizza?
Oh 2018, you’ve been quite a ride.
This year, my main priorities were to lose weight, heal in a healthy manner from the loss of my step dad, professional development and change jobs. I’m proud that I have done all four! In March I went to Springfield, Missouri for a certification training workshop in AutPlay Therapy, something I have wanted to do for 8 years. In July I took my second cruise, with stops in Turks, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and The Dominican Republic, and I even went to Houston. My Houston trip was a really big eye opener for me, that I didn’t discuss with you guys. But it taught me that I was chasing the wrong thing, and I needed to let go.
Also in July, I got a call I never expected. I was offered a transfer to the school I originally began working at. When I set out to change jobs, I never knew it would come this way, but I accepted and it has honestly made a difference. For the first time in 5 years, I’m not in a stressful work environment; I’m embraced and supported and I can’t express enough how powerful that is.
I found many healthy ways to cope this year. I began my workout regimen in May. I’ve always struggled with exercising, but this time it really stuck. I’ve gained so much muscle, and I’m genuinely happy with what I see in the mirror. My hair has grown and I even get my nails done every two weeks. My weight still fluctuates slightly but I'm getting more disciplined with my exercise.
I pushed myself this year but I’m going even harder next year. I really learned a lot this year, and you guys were there for all of it. So as tradition, I’m sharing the top 10 blog posts from this year that you guys loved the most!
You guys loved my recap of Bahamian fashion designer, Cardell McClam. This was the most popular post of the year! On Thanksgiving day, Cardell premiered his newest collection inspired by the iconic Frida Khalo. I loved working with Cardell again and look forward to covering more of his shows!
Although the event itself only lasted one week, I had a lot of fun at Sip and Paint. I’m sorry it didn’t make it to a second week considering the masterminds behind it are trying really hard to raise funds for a college education. I wish them the best of luck in 2019 with their event planning and I’ll keep you all updated.
Apparently EVERYONE loves Eggs Benedict. You guys have been hitting up about this recipe and I’m so glad you loved it! Although the Baked Egg Bread Pudding took 1st place in my heart for breakfast recipes from the Magnolia Table cookbook, this one a very close second! The hardest thing for me with these recipes is how much each recipe costs on average. Essentially all of the breakfast items ask for heavy cream, which is just under $6 for a half pint. A dozen eggs are $2.99, Canadian bacon is also just under $6 and a variety of fresh herbs and spices are supposed to be on hand. I cut the recipe in half but I’ll still share it as is if you want to make this for a crowd. Then there’s the realisation that none of this is keto so I end up giving away a lot of what I make.
I never had any expectations for turning 28. This number never registered on my radar as important for any reason. Little did I know that this would be one of the most important birthday's of my life!
After six years of blogging (while getting a Master's degree and working a full time job), working several fashion shows, reviewing international products and services, photo shoots, partnerships, and two blue ribbon awards for original recipes, I've been nominated for the second consecutive year for the Elevation Awards Blog of the Year! Even though I didn’t win this year, I have a good feeling for next year!
What’s funny about this being on the recap is it was least favourite recipe of the year! The recipe was it was WAAAAAAAAAY too salty. I realised afterwards that most of the salt came from the sausage as someone told me I should've boiled the sausage first, to take off the salt. So be careful when you make yours because I'd hate you to go through all of this to not even be able to eat it.
Back in January I tried the Infinity Gold 2 in 1 Blower Brush. I bought it on Morningsave.com after seeing it advertised on Dish Nation. My stylist comes to my house which is great for my anxiety. Her comb attachment to her brush was beginning to give her problems, so I thought this would help. You guys really liked what I had to say about it and it got a lot of views on Youtube.
Everyone has been there at the end of a breakup and wondered, “What If”? Here you can find 5 expert tips on what to do when you find yourself dwelling on the past.
I was so happy to tell you that on February 17, 2018, at 3:46 PM, my best friend Telia gave birth to a healthy baby boy! We joke that Lukas will one day marry my niece, who's only about five months older than him, and then we can all be one family! Check out the photos!
Last but certainly not least, I got raw a few times this year on the blog. Including the time I opened up about the biggest issues I have with blogging. I’m working on getting more organised but it also comes with a lot of sacrifices.
SO WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT NEXT YEAR?
Newsletters: I’m revisiting newsletters starting with a freebie for everyone who signs up. You can expect to see that tomorrow!
More photoshoots: I stopped doing professional photography after a bad experience with a baptism. I didn’t enjoy it and the client didn’t like the photos. So I took a major step back. I’m looking to get back into that kind of photography, but I will try to photograph more of what makes me happy.
More collaborations: I know a lot of creatives and I can’t wait to start some projects with them.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me in 2018. It has truly been a great year! See you all in 2019! Happy New Year
Whew! Where did the year go?
It’s crazy how fast the months are flying by, I guess that’s what happens when you’re knee deep in a new job. But October has been a weird month of ups and downs. The dating thing is just not working out for me and I think this month I reached my emotional limit with the BS. I'm talking, random girl I've only met once coming up to me at a wine tasting to tell me that the guy I was sorta dating but not really dating has a pregnant girlfriend in Tanzania type of BS. I swear I can’t make this stuff up. Some days really are torn out of a Days of Our Lives script. Luckily I'm surrounded by great people and a job I honestly wake up excited for every day.
I can’t walk into a classroom without an army of students running up to me for a group hug. Teaching and counselling Pre K-6 is a LOT of work! Even though I love what I do, I was super grateful for the escape I got over midterm break last week. It was so necessary to recharge with my closest friends. In addition to quality time spent with friends and family, I found so many fun things on the internet this month, that I’m excited to share with you.
I finished reading Virginia Franken’s Life After Coffee novel and honestly, I have a lot of mixed feelings. The main character was someone who at times I sided with, and other times, thought to be the most pretentious person on the planet. The story begins with a woman about to leave for another business trip. She’s a buyer for coffee and takes pride in it. But it’s her son’s birthday and he resents her for travelling so much, while her toddler daughter has an emotional breakdown every time she leaves. On her way to the airport, her boss calls her into the office to fire her because the business is closing down. She then has to learn how to actually be a mother to her autistic son (never specifically stated but it’s obvious) and bratty toddler. Her husband is utterly useless and her ex boyfriend makes a surprise guest appearance. I’m not sure I would recommend reading this, because seriously, she’s pretentious.
I’m in love with the COLORS showcase, so when I found their playlist on Spotify, I had to hit play. I love so many of the songs and discovered new artists like Tank and The Bangas, Tobe Nwigwe, and Seinabo Sey. My taste in music is always evolving, but there’s usually a particular type of rhythm and message that I look for: Feel Good/Woke.
MAKING (or wanting to)
I’m always inspired. Lately I’ve gotten a sudden urge to make a Fall wreath. I know, I know, it’s practically Christmas, but I’ve never made a wreath and I really want to try. I actually bought a wreath making kit from Joann’s (wreath not included) so I’ll give it a try this weekend and let you guys know how that goes.
My favourite recipes from the month were the Creamy Tomato Soup, Apple Pie Egg Rolls and the Acorn Squash Pizza with Spinach and Feta Cheese. I made a lot of treats for Thanksgiving that you’re going to have to wait until next month to see including a special ice cream that requires no machine! I’m also really excited about Christmas cocktails and I’m trying to figure out what my signature Christmas cake will be this year now that I finally have a stand mixer.
For work, I want to try making something called a worry doll. The process is meant to be a meaningful and creative way to explore themes connected to anxiety and worry. Making worry dolls provides a great opportunity for storytelling, to discuss coping, and the repetitive, patterned nature of wrapping the yarn around the clothespin can be soothing and calming.
I went to several events this month. It started with a wine tasting at Mahogany House (really didn’t like any of the wines this time). I went with my friend Gary and we met up with our friend Denaricka. This is where all of the drama of the hidden baby mama was revealed. That same weekend I went to the International Food and Culture Festival with my family. I ran into a lot of friends, colleagues and old classmates. I tried sio-mai which are Filipino dumplings and although they’re spicy, they’re still really good. I also enjoyed a smooth slushie called the “Panty Rippa” (my underwear stayed in tact). The following week I enjoyed another wine tasting at Young’s Fine Wine.
This month I got to travel to Miami for midterm break with my best friend Tiana. Miami isn’t anything fancy. I really only went for the shopping and to catch up with my friends from college. When I say we shopped, I mean we shopped! I got 6 new pairs of pants for work, about 4 new jackets for work, 4 new dresses, 6 new pairs of shoes (including Nike AND Puma tennis), over $100 worth of holiday ornaments and wreath making supplies for only $45 (don’t question my skills), workout gear and at least 15 new short-sleeved blouses for work. Since working out my clothes don’t really fit any more, and my new job has a pretty strict dress code, so I needed to get clothes that I could wear to work.
But shopping wasn’t all I did. On the first day we had lunch at a restaurant called Bolay and honestly, I could eat there every single day! There are so many healthy options on the menu. Everything is gluten free and there’s vegan and vegetarian options. The first day I had Basmati rice, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and tofu topped with Parmesan cheese and carrot ginger sauce. The second time I got the exact same order but with sweet potato noddles instead of Basmati rice.
I didn’t get a chance to go to Wynwood other than Ladies Night at R House, but I did go to the Flamingo Road Nursery for the pumpkin patch, hayride, frozen apple cider and paint a pumpkin. We didn’t paint the pumpkins because we were shocked to see how much everything was really for children. The pumpkins were tiny and there were no chairs at the tables to paint the pumpkins so we weren’t about to bend the whole time. Despite this, it was still a fun experience and I’m looking forward to going to more pumpkin patches (for adults).
I had a lot of fun this month. Even though it was off to a rough start and everything didn’t go as planned, I’m really grateful for everything I did get to do. Did you do anything exciting this month? Share your adventures, favourite blog moments or anything you’re looking forward to in the comment section below!
Oh yeah, look who’s bringing back the monthly recaps! We've made it to the end of September and I am exhausted! Starting a new job brings so much anxiety but from my first day, I felt welcomed and appreciated, which I didn't have on my last job. The teamwork between myself and the others in my department was stellar, so I'm really looking forward to rest of the school year. Can you believe I now teach a grade SEVEN class???? I was terrified for my first class, especially because we didn't have an actual classroom, but it went well and I became less anxious over time.
This has definitely been the month of recipes! I shared 11 recipes with you guys this month! WOW that is a lot! But ultimately my favourite recipe was the Eggs Benedict Casserole from the Magnolia Table cookbook!
My most talked about post was this photo that I shared about my weight on Instagram:
The outpouring of support was absolutely incredible! I really think the more we begin to accept our bodies and stop shaming each other for the tiniest imperfection, the happier we all can be.
My most popular blog post this month was actually a very personal post about why I chose not to get too personal on my blog. The truth is, everyone doesn't need to know everything about your life, but you also shouldn't be so ashamed of the truth that you create a completely false life just to please others who are probably struggling with the same shit as you. So I shared some of my biggest insecurities and it felt great to be heard, understood and accepted.
I had a lot of fun with my hairstylist on re-creating this hairstyle from Tamera Mowry. I got so many compliments on this, it just may be added to my regular rotation of hairstyles!
I want to thank you guys for being so patient with my schedule shift to 3 posts per week instead of 5. My new job is much more time consuming so I definitely don’t have the time to write and create like I used to. Thanks so much for the support! What was your favourite post this month? Share your favourite moments in the comment section below!
There were a lot of cool new shows this month. Some shows were old, with new seasons, some movies were new or at least new to me. The best part of watching something fun, is sharing it with friends and co-workers. I loved going in to the office and holding conferences just to talk about the events from last night’s episode. So today I’m sharing the 5 Things I Watched and Loved this month!
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
As someone who read the book years ago, to open up Netflix one day and see this, I literally screamed! Very quickly here’s what it’s about: When her secret love letters somehow get mailed to each of her five crushes, Lara Jean finds her quiet high school existence turned upside down. ... Until the day her secret love letters go public -- and one of her crushes makes her an offer she can't resist. Sure the lead isn’t actually Korean (neither is Janel Parrish) but everything flowed so smoothly! I can’t wait for the sequel! This is a must watch because they really stuck to the book for the most part (Kitty is way too old in the Netflix version).
Atypical Season 2
It’s a dramedy about Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), a teenager with autism, and the effect that his autism has on the rest of his family. The autism is what drew me in and made me want to watch. After getting certified in AutPlay Therapy in March, I try to learn as much as I can about the disorder.
I loved Season 1 and I loved the turn Season 2 took. As a therapist, I understand how easy it is to focus on the identified patient (Sam) but you have to pay attention to the family as well because the caretakers deal with so much more! To deny that their lives are equally as important is detrimental to the family function and leads to situations like what the family finds themselves in this season. It’s a must watch, but don’t watch it on your way to work like I did - I was in tears in the season finale from sheer feels!!!! Caution: This show will have you in your feelings!
13 Reasons Why Season 2
The first installment of the YA saga centered around Clay (Dylan Minnette), a Liberty High School student who received seven cassettes detailing the reasons his crush, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), committed suicide. Each episode unspooled as a side of one of the tapes, one by one connecting Clay's peers, popular and otherwise, to Hannah. After teasing that Hannah wasn’t the only one (duh - Jessica) Season 2 sent Clay and Tony on an unlikely mission to uncover something of a school-wide conspiracy.
I actually ended up arguing with bae about the logistics of rape because of this show. I’ll admit, there were parts I didn’t enjoy, like Clay’s bratty attitude towards his parents who really are doing their best with him. I so hate Marcus and Bryce, but I won’t offer any spoilers. As someone who struggles with both depression and anxiety, I sometimes had to take breaks in between episodes in season one, because I found myself getting a little depressed. I’ve recommended this show to teachers to help them learn how to recognise signs within their students so that we can intervene early.
I love watching TV, but after so many of my favourite TV shows have ended there hasn’t been anything to fill the void, other than reality TV. So when I found out about Manifest (literally just found out on Sunday during a Law and Order marathon) I was beyond excited! The idea that 191 people presumed dead just randomly show up 5 years later, with no knowledge of any of this, was astounding (although not completely original).
A Million Little Things
Maybe September is the month of heartwarming stories (but not necessarily diverse characters). I saw the commercial for this a few times and decided to check it out. It premieres tonight so look out for my live tweeting to get my reaction. Until then, here’s the official synopsis: It has been said that friendship isn't one big thing, it's a million little things. That is certainly true for a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it's just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way, they discover that friends may be the one thing that can save them from themselves.
Which shows did you enjoy the most this month? Share your favourite shows in the comment section below!
So the kids are back to school and you're back to standing in the kitchen every morning scratching your head. What in the world are the kids going to eat for lunch? For many parents the answer is simple: the kids can buy lunch at the cafeteria. But for others who don't go that route, coming up with a lunch item every day for their kids can be a real task. No one wants to hear, "That again?!" from their kids. And even as adults, you want to be excited about what you're going to have for lunch. So here are five quick and easy lunch recipes I've tried over the years, that I've rounded up for you to make that morning prep a little easier.
These easy chickpea salad sandwiches will definitely shake things up a bit and keep you full all day long! This creamy chickpea salad can be made in advance and stored in the fridge, so its ready to go whenever you need to pack a quick lunch. The salad is also really easy to customise so feel free to use whatever veggies you have in the fridge and add fresh herbs, spices, cheese and whatever else you need to see you through the work week.
This recipe mimics a California chicken flatbread with juicy chicken, bacon, mushrooms, tomato, cilantro, and sweet yet savoury balsamic vinagrette!
There's no beating the classic grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. But trust me, this is not your mama's grilled cheese! It's fresh, fun and cheesy! It's a great combination of flavours. Imagine a spinach dip between two buttery slices of bread. Absolute bliss!
Trust me when I say you will not have time to prepare food every single morning if you expect to make it to school and work on time without sacrificing some major sleep. But fear not! This lunch recipe can be meal prepped and is super easy to put together. All you'll need is ground turkey, brown rice (or cauliflower rice) and a vegetable. You can even add cheese if you want.
Rushing through the usual morning routine, we often have to choose between healthy and fast when it comes to our meals: especially lunch. An easy way to combine both ideals is to prep a salad the night before and place it where you can have quick access the next day. Using the basic lettuce and tomatoes, you can add fun ingredients such as cranberries, carrots , celery and cheese with the added protein of chicken , turkey or ham. One of the best parts of this salad: Shaking it up! By adding a vinaigrette based dressing the night before or right before eating the salad, you can quickly combine the salad and dressing in 3 – 4 quick shakes.
Kids are back to school and you’re back to your routine. Even though I'm a full-grown, college-educated adult with no kids of my own, the start of September is still back-to-school season for me, because I'm a school counsellor. All three recipes below are healthy, nutritious and most importantly, tasty enough for even the pickiest eaters. These are convenient make-ahead recipes even for the busiest parents!
Seasoning saltines using an altered method from Joanna Gaines friend Beck, makes crisp, buttery crackers that are great with creamy dips like my hummus. They're also really yummy on top of soups or salads. I like them for parties and kids school snacks because they're easy to make and can be prepared in advance. In fact, these taste better if you eat them a day or four later. And they can be so filling, they're sure to be a huge hit!
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 0.7 ounce envelopes dry Italian or Mediterranean dressing mix
- 1 tablespoon crush red pepper flakes (leave out if you or the kiddos don't like pepper)
- 1 tablespoon dried dill (not necessary if you use the Mediterranean mix)
- 1 1lb box saltine crackers
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large (14-16 cup) deep container, with a tight-fitting lid, combine the oil, lemon juice, dressing mix, pepper flakes and dill. Whisk to combine.
- Add the crackers and turn them over a few times to ensure they are fully coated. Let stand for 5 minutes, turning the crackers over twice.
- Place the crackers on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, allow to cool then store for tomorrow's snack!
- To make the hummus, mix one can of chickpeas with remaining oil mixture (about 1/4 cup) and 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese in a food processor.
Apple Cheese Wraps (serves 4 )
Do you remember eating Lunchables as a kid? I never liked them. I liked the idea behind it but it always tasted fake (not to mention my parents complained about the price). If you have kids who love Lunchables, why not save money by making it yourself? It's so easy and so much healthier because you'll know exactly what's in it. This snack covers all of the critical food groups with fibre, protein and good carbs. The best part? It's fully customisable. Add nuts or grapes or whatever else you like for added health benefits.
Prep Time: 2 mins
- 1 apple
- 1 slice lemon
- 2 slices cheddar cheese, cut in half
- 2 slices pre-sliced deli turkey or ham, cut in half
1. Slice the apple into 1/2 inch thick slices. Rub the apple with the lemon wedge to prevent from going brown.
2. Slice the cheddar cheese into 1/2 inch wide slices and the ham in 1/2 or in 1/4 (the ham needs to be large enough to wrap around the apple).
3. Place an apple slice and a cheese slice on top of the deli meat and fold over deli meat to wrap.
4. Serves with crackers and a dip of your choice for a satisfying on the go snack.
Gluten Free Sandwich on a Stick
It's the kids' turn to pack their own lunches. Introduce them to this submarine skewer and they'll have a blast expressing their creativity and sliding on their favorite sandwich ingredients. Best of all, it's practically mess-free since the dressings will have to be on the side—no knives, squirting, or spreading required.
8 (6-inch) skewers
4 oz. deli sliced lemon chicken or smoked turkey breast
1 cup chopped arugula or spinach
4 oz. your favourite cheese, cut into small squares
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/2 cup small dill pickles
3/4 cup ranch dressing or deli mustard (optional)
1. Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes.
2 Thread skewers with chicken (or turkey) arugula, cheese, tomatoes and pickles. Serve with ranch dressing or mustard for dipping.
Add some romance to your Valentine's Day menu with these breakfast recipes, dinner ideas and favorite desserts. From romantic recipes for two and sweet chocolate cakes to cookies for the kids and cute heart-shaped treats, find Valentine's Day recipes your someone special will love!Read More