Look Who's 2!

Hello Lovely,

Can you believe that Ariana is already TWO?! Ariana is my little pumpkin because I joke that she's so orange. She looks exactly like her big brother and follows him everywhere he goes! I love following her growth. Little Ariana loves Laugh & Learn Puppy and tells great stories (even if she doesn't get the details quite right). I found that Ariana did not smile if she was sitting but if she got to run around and chase her brother, she was all smiles and giggles! Mom wanted a spring/nature theme so I took advantage of the Farmer's Market at The Island House on the second day of shooting and the kids really had a blast! Happy Birthday sweetheart!

Why My 28th Birthday is so Significant

Hello Lovely,

I can't believe that today is my 28th birthday! 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! It's my first birthday with my Master's Degree, it's my first birthday as an aunt, my first birthday after my huge break up last year (take a shot) and my first birthday after the loss of both my step dad (Dec. 16) and my uncle (Feb. 14). I've been dealing with A LOT since my last birthday. But what made this birthday so special is the amazing outpouring of love from my friends.

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My best friend Doran randomly told me he was coming for my birthday. He came for the weekend and it was just what I needed. I was able to grieve my losses while celebrating life. We spent the first night watching one of my best friend's Gary play at Palm Cay where I surprised Gary because I didn't tell anyone Doran was coming. I was still struggling with my emotions at the time so we called an early night. But the next day I felt much better. 

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We started our Saturday by buying tickets to see Black Panther before heading downtown for a new Gelato shop opening. The gelato was delicious. There were so many people there I could snap a photo of anything, but if any locals want to go there it's in the arcade where Bambu nightclub is across from Twisted Lime. In addition to gelato they also serve various desserts like tiramisu, tres leches and berry tarts. A small cone with one scoop is $6.95 while for only $1 more you can get two scoops with two different flavours. The gelato is freshly made every morning and you can try before you buy. I had the goat cheese flavour and hazelnut. I know that sounds weird, but it tasted sooooooo good together! Yes I know I'm lactose intolerant, but it's my birthday, so don't judge me!

Then Doran and I went on a photo walk. We had no real aim or purpose. We just set out to cover as much ground on foot as we could and take photos of anything we found interesting, until it was time to leave for the movie.

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While wandering around Graycliff, a gentleman randomly approached us in the street and asked if we wanted to attend their wine tasting (he thought we were tourists, bless his heart). Of course we agreed! We sat in a nicely decorated room with a few tourists from Canada. The dialogue was great and we had fun catching up to them with the wine. The wine wasn't great, but all of their wine is personally made and costs less than $20. So we got a bottle of Malbec (deemed the lesser of all the evils) to drink later. We grabbed lunch at Da Bush Cook before watching Black Panther. Don't worry, no spoilers, you can keep reading.

Of course I expected a few people to find issues with Black Panther, but overall I would give the movie an 8.7/10! I found the technology incredible similar to that of Star Wars (which isn't a bad thing) but I did feel like some things could've been better explained. My favourite part of the movie was the incredible representation of strong black women without sexualising them. For once, a woman could be powerful and an activist for positive change without being subjected to being a sex symbol.

Afterwards, we went by my best friend Krista to see her. She was getting ready to see Black Panther with her boyfriend when we had to break the horrible news to her that the showing she wanted to see was sold out. So we decided to go for sushi instead.

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I got the birthday roll at Sakura Sushi with a Mango Mingle while Doran and Krista's boyfriend had a pad thai with a Black Russian and Krista had two sushi rolls with whiskey. I loved my complimentary tempura ice cream. I loved even more that no one sang that embarrassing happy birthday song to me. We drove around for awhile and enjoyed listening to the music from a Soca party at Arawak Cay.

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On Sunday I slept in and it felt great! Doran made French toast for breakfast for us as we enjoyed steaming cups of coffee (we're really like an old married couple sometimes). In the afternoon, I went by my best friends' Dara and Richard for Dara to give me a facial. I had never had a facial before but it was the best experience ever! I also got a shoulder and neck massage and I could feel all of the negative energy and feelings immediately leave my body! My skin looked amazing afterwards with a bright even tone and SUPER smooth skin! Then Gary and his girlfriend, Paulette came over and we had a lovely dinner and several glasses of wine to celebrate National Wine Day (and my birthday of course).

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This was an amazing birthday! My friends really came together to ensure I stayed happy and enjoyed my birthday. We created magical memories that honestly mean so much to me. I appreciate each and every person who worked so hard to make this day special! I've made a lot of amazing friends over the past year and even my dating life has seen a positive turn. I can't wait to see what this year brings me.

XoX,

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Galentine's Day Brunch

Galentine's Day Brunch

Many people have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. For some, the day creates an excuse to go on a romantic date with a significant other, exchange gifts and eat a lot of chocolate. For others, it’s a dreaded commercial holiday that highlights their single status. Whether you plan to celebrate Valentine's Day or not, there’s no reason you can’t celebrate the less controversial Galentine’s Day with your girls!

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Ariana's First Birthday

Sugar and Spice and everything nice!  My little girl is just that and more! Ariana is my best friend's daughter, and after her brother was born five years ago, I thought I would never love another baby the same. But the moment I looked into those eyes of hers I knew I would do anything for her! It's been a really busy year, but Oh My Gosh, it's been a whole year!

Can you believe that this baby:

Is now this baby?!

Where has the time gone? Ariana is already walking and fascinated by the sounds she makes. She even sang a little song for us while we were shooting. She was not shy at all and we had so much fun with her portraits. Ariana (or Riri as she's affectionately called) came alive as soon as the camera turned on and dazzled us with her toothy grin!

So from Mommy, Daddy, Liam, Goddy Livy and all of your godparents, have the happiest first birthday a baby could ever have! We love you Riri!

27 Never Looked So Good

Hello Lovely,

You know you're doing well when you go to your pastor for your birthday blessing and he says, "So how old are you today? 20? 21?" And when you tell him you're actually 27, he's genuinely shocked! I'll admit, I had some anxieties about this birthday (like I do every year) for a number of reasons. Getting older means, I'm one year closer to the age I promised I'd settle down at and that is frightening because some days I'm still burning the coffee. No one is ever perfect at this thing called life. Most days I make it up as I go, and I'm glad it's worked out thus far. That's not to say I don't have a plan in place, but if it's anything I've learned, it's that NOTHING in life goes according to plan.

My social circle has changed a lot since moving back home 5 years ago. This year I spent it with some friends from church (just like last year) with a few different faces, but I felt nothing but love. It all started last weekend at my friend Telia's birthday party. She rented a party bus and that's all I can tell you because what happens on the party bus, stays on the party bus!

Last Friday, a friend of mine took me to AquaFire Grill, which I now know is not the same as the Aqua restaurant in The Hilton. It has a gorgeous setup, perfect for a romantic date, so it felt a little odd to be there with my married friend. But it was quaint and quiet, with nice service and exceptional food! A little pricey, but totally worth it if you ever want to treat someone. That was the nicest part of the evening. We spent the rest of the night getting tipsy in Compass Point with a few friends and then sharing a few laughs in the parking lot after they closed. I needed a good laugh so this was the perfect start to my birthday!

I was supposed to go a party on Saturday night, but I ended up being so hungover from Friday night (best sleep I've ever gotten though) I cancelled with my friends and went to the Greek Festival on Sunday instead.

It was my first time going to the Greek festival which I learned happens bi-annually. Upon entering the festival, my friend Krista and I got two free Aliv sim cards. I already have an Aliv phone so I plan on using the free one as a gift. I met up with three other friends and we had a great time exploring the Greek culture through it's food and music. I fell in love with the Loukoumades. Don't ask me to pronounce it, but it's delicious! If you've never had it, it's delicious fried dough (like a doughnut) topped with honey, walnuts and cinnamon. I don't even like nuts and I didn't know nuts were in it. I tried another dish with grilled octopus and chickpeas, calimari (that was a little too fresh for my taste) and spinach rice. I also tried another pastry that looked like a mini twist, which was actually a cookie with chocolate and regular sugar cookie intertwined. It was delicious! The food was way too expensive, but my friends and I shared. I'm still upset that I spent $6 for one beer, but even the beer was good!

I loved the bargain stalls. My friend Krista bought a ring for $2, my friend Glenise bought a mortar and pestle a and wooden salad tongs for $1 each, while I bought four cookbooks at $1 each! I'm literally at the age where cookbooks and glassware excite me. But  I can't wait to try all of the recipes in them!

I got so much rest this weekend, I didn't know what to do with myself. Granted it was because I was physically incapable of doing anything else, it still felt good to sleep in and sleep all day. I had forgotten how good it feels to just do nothing! I haven't slept on a weekend in months! I had a great birthday! I am so grateful to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday and all of my friends and family who worked so hard to make my birthday very special!

XoX,

Birthday Cake Shots

Birthday Cake Shots

Turn two bottles of booze into these beeeautiful sprinkle-rimmed birthday cake shots with this super quick cocktail idea. Cake vodka is splashed together with Baileys™ Irish Cream and tinted bright pink. Because, Birthday You. You deserve a one sweet boozy toast—you’re just so easy to celebrate like that!

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Oreo Cupcakes

Hello Lovely,

On Friday we celebrated the vice principal’s birthday with a surprise birthday party in the office because it’s her first birthday with us as vice principal. She was so surprised she almost cried! I made her a birthday card and got it signed by all of the teachers, and these AMAZING cupcakes! I really outdid myself on this one! Sure they take some time to make (especially when you’re operating out of a toaster oven, so you have to use a mini cupcake pan because the regular cupcake pan is too big to fit and you made enough batter for 16 cupcakes) but they’re totally worth it!

I’m so mad that I forgot my camera that morning so I had to take all of the photos with my cell phone and believe me, I am not cell phone photographer! Something as simple as getting the right angle confuses me but I did my best to show you guys how good and tasty these cupcakes are!

Oh, they are SO good.  What makes them extra good is the “frosting.”  It is less like frosting and more like a fluffy cheesecake. I surprised myself by making this frosting because it’s something I’ve never been good at! But to see it turn out so well (for the most part) gave me an extra confidence boost! I just knew she was going to like them!

OREO CUPCAKES

For the cupcake

·        1 1/3 cups self-rising flour

·        ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

·        3 tablespoons applesauce

·        1 cup white sugar

·        2 eggs

·        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·        1 cup milk

For the frosting

·        1 package of cream cheese, 8oz. at room temp.

·        1 cups powder sugar

·        1 Tbsp vanilla

·        1 container of Cool Whip, 8oz. thawed

 

Directions

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, and cocoa. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.

3. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

4. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting.

5. Beat the cream cheese and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy.  Slowly add in the sugar while continuing to mix the cream cheese mixture.

6. On a low speed, add in the cool whip.

7. You may need to allow the frosting to set up in the refrigerator while the cupcakes continue to cool.  Make sure the cupcake are all the way cool before adding frosting.

8. Put your frosting in a pastry bag.

9. Stick the point of the pastry bag into the cupcake and squeeze a little frosting into the centre.  You will see the cupcake puff up.

10. Then frost the cupcakes like normal and sprinkle with crushed Oreo.

11. If you’d like, stick a piece of leftover Oreo in the frosting, for a little flair and extra cookie goodness.

TIP: Consume these almost immediately! I personally hate hard frosting. I like a soft, creamy frosting. But if you leave this at room temperature for too long, it'll melt and you won't be able to enjoy it, and if you put it in the fridge, well then, you'll just have a cold cupcake. And that's not fun!

What’s your perfect cupcake recipe? Will you try this at your next celebration? I sure hope so! Let me know in the comments section below!

Strawberry Baked French Toast

Strawberry Baked French Toast

Today we are bringing it all together for breakfast tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow… I’m sorry to say that this is an OVERNIGHT recipe.

You have to make this the night before and then bake it in the morning. This is kind of a good thing. When you have guests staying the night, this is a simple breakfast that won’t keep you in the kitchen. In fact, if you have one of those fancy ovens with a timer to start it, you can preheat the oven, get up and pop the tray in, then go back to snuggling for another 30 minutes. It easier than cold cereal!

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