Happy (Early) New Year

Just thought I'd share some New Year joy with you before the celebrations begin. This is a picture of Naja from Christmas. I normally dress up, so I was sure to have a special dress for Naja. She tried to eat her dress, so I think she loved it.

Naja is wearing: Dress & Tights - Gap Kids; Clip - Giddy Giddy. If you look closely in the first picture, you can see the top of her tooth, the second front bottom tooth is slowly but surely following.

I will close this year with one of my favorite pictures of Naja, featuring a smile and a fist pump. She knows how celebrate! Thank you so much for all of your comments and support for 2011 - I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable New Year!


Cards and Stamping

Hello Folks! I hope you all are enjoying the time off, I surely am. I took two additional days of vacation, my plans: relax! I spent this Christmas with my family, and had a blast playing games, eating, and just catching up. I know I've kind of fallen off the "blogging wagon," but I have been keeping busy with random bouts of crafting. Today's post highlights one of my "projects." I made personalized cards for my mom to give to some of our sorority sisters. (My mom and I are in the same sorority - Alpha Kappa Alpha).

One of my linesisters happened to be in town visiting and helped me create these cards. We had so much fun putting them together. To create the cards, I used the following tools for the three designs:

  • AKA: alphabet stamps (from Anthropologie), gloss embossing powder (from Michael's), tape (from Anthropologie)
  • 1908: number stamps (from Anthropologie), tape (from Anthropologie)
  • Rose: rose stamp (from Paper Source), glitter embossing powder (from Paper Source), and a string of pearl stickers (from Michael's)
The designs are adorable, and easily adaptable for other sororities, organizations, or just to have another pretty card. Send me a message if you want the details on how I got this look.

Hair Candy for Naja

I haven't talked hair in a while. I wanted to share the cutest lil' hair candies I found for Naja. Giddy Giddy sells cute little felt hair clips for girls. I purchased clips for Naja on sale through The Mini Social (a sale site for kids). Naja is pictured below wearing the strawberry little girl hair clip. I typically just clip it somewhere in her hair in the front, just like I showed you here.

Nothing special, but it works. The clips are easy to put in, and they also don't fall out. They are very safe, even for Naja's curly hair with the felt being the 'back' to the clip. I purchased six clips in total. The first set of three: 1. A birthday cake, 2. A pink & green flower, 3. A strawberry.

The final set of three (which are my favorite): 1. A squirrel with a pink bow; 2. A bunny rabbit; 3. A snail. Seriously - how cute are these?

4 (almost 5) Months

Guess what guys? Naja is almost 5 months old. She actually rolled over a couple of weeks ago (not like the time I thought she rolled over at 6 weeks old). I mean I think my kid is smart - but rolling over at 6 weeks is a bit unrealistic aggressive. This time, she really did it, and I'm so happy I was there to watch her do it and cheer for her like her biggest fan! Has she rolled over since then? No, lol.

Naja is not a smiley baby. She gives people faces like the one below often. It's a discerning look, like she's thinking: Who are you? Why are you in my face? I don't know you, so why are you acting like you know me?  Whatever faces you're making aren't making me smile. I can get her to crack a few smiles when I give her lots of kisses on her cheeks and her belly - she loves it!

Her mouth is still juicy, and after her four month visit to the doctor, I found out she's not teething. I guess babies just love to taste everything at this stage, and let me tell you - Naja is no exception. She eats her fist, her bib, her shirt, her pants, my fingers, the ground: any and every thing! If it's within reach of her mouth - she's tasting it! I am looking forward to introducing solids at six months, and trying out baby led weaning, no pureed foods for this little baby! I'll post more on that later.

As for me, life as a mom is the same, but with more responsibility, less sleep at times, and a lot more smiles. Seriously, when I get home from work, I have a smiling baby ready to eat! I typically focus on the smile, and less on the eating, but she quickly reminds me that she's happy to see me, but hungry too! Ok - there's my long overdue mommy update. I hope you have a great weekend!

Naja's wearing: Top Picture: Top - Cater's; Middle - Carter's; Bottom: Dress - Target; Tights - Nordstrom

Pumpkin Tofu Curry

What do you get when you take leftover Thanksgiving pumpkin, and add Indian-inspired flavor? Pumpkin Tofu Curry! The original recipe here called for one pound of shrimp (to be added in at the end, where I added the tofu). While I do still eat seafood, I just haven't had the taste for shrimp in a while, thus, I decided to substitute the shrimp with some good ole tofu. My brother liked this dish, he ate it for dinner with me, and really enjoyed it. I love that he's so open to trying new things - he doesn't even cringe at the thought of a meatless meal anymore (at least when the flavor is there)!

In terms of taste, what can I say - this has curry, and pumpkin, and tomatoes, and it simmers for 30 + minutes. The flavors of this dish are deep with a little bit of spice, tart, and a subtle sweetness. The squash addition also makes this a very satisfying meal. NOTE: This is NOT a weeknight meal.

Pumpkin Tofu Curry
Adapted from bon appetit, November 2011 Issue
Serves 4-6

2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for shallots
1 cup sliced onion
1 tbsp minced giner
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 chopped plum tomato
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1-1/2 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup diced butternut squash
200 g cubed extra firm tofu
1-1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 cup dry basmati rice
1 shallot, sliced

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and ginger, and saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato and pumpkin puree, cook stirring frequently, until pumpkin is golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add vegetable broth, coconut milk, curry, and cayenne; simmer for 20 minutes. Add squash, tofu, and lime juice. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until squash is warm. Meanwhile, heat additional oil in skillet, add shallots, cook until just browning. Serve with steamed rice, top with fried shallots.


Top - Target; Pants - Anthropologie; Shoes - Zara

Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2011

As a "personal style blogger" part of me feels like I need to have on some type of accessory/vest/blazer to complete an outfit. Small items like these just finish a look and make it look complete, and without them I feel like I'm not fully dressed. While I'm not Bee, and I admit I'm not one to do a lot, I do like a little something. I feel like this outfit is missing something - particularly a black women's tuxedo vest. That would have been icing on the cake for me - my "completer piece." Unfortunately, I don't have a black vest, so I went without an accessory, and a vest, and a blazer. Thus, I  was basically naked.

"Chillin with my Kool-Aid"

Shirt - J. Crew; Pants - Anthropologie; Sweater Blazer - Anthropologie; Shoes - BCBG

Date: Monday, December 5, 2011

Remember the song "Diggin' on You" by TLC? Remember the line when T-Boz says, "I was chillin' with my Koolaid..." C'mon guys - if you were a teen/pre-teen/young adult in the 90's, and lover of R&B, you should know what I'm talking about.Well I just wanted to take you back because this outfit (randomly) reminded me of the song. Don't know why, but it did. I am actually singing the song in my head right now as I type this. Now go watch the video on youTube.

Sweet Potato and Pecan Cinnamon Buns with Maple Glaze

I realize that I totally forgot to post my Thanksgiving meal. I will try to get around to it this week. This weekend was busy, because I sang at church. It was a blessing, but it also left me with minimal time to catch up on blogging. Can you believe this is legal?

Sweet Potato and Pecan Cinnamon Buns with Maple Glaze
Adapted from Vegetarian Times, November 2011 Issue
Makes 12 buns

1 0.25-oz. pkg. active dry yeast
3 1/3 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling dough
2 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
3 Tbs. vegetable oil, plus more for oiling bowl

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbs. soft butter, plus more for greasing pan
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans, divided

3 Tbs. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. maple syrup
1 pinch salt
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1. To make Sweet Potato Dough: Stir yeast into 1/3 cup warm (105°–115°F) water until dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor, stand mixer, or regular bowl. (Reserve 1/3 cup flour if kneading by hand.)
3. Stir sweet potato and oil into 1/3 cup warm water. Stir yeast mixture and sweet potato mixture into flour mixture. (If using food processor, add liquids through feeding tube with processor running. If using stand mixer with dough hook, add liquids in steady stream with mixer on low speed.)
4. Place dough in oiled bowl; cover. Let rise 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.
5. To make Cinnamon-Pecan Filling: Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Grease 13- x 9-inch baking sheet with margarine.
6. Roll dough into 14- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread with margarine. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over dough; top with half of chopped pecans. Starting at long edge, roll up dough. Slice 1 inch off each end; discard. Cut roll crosswise into 12 1-inch-thick pieces, and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover, and let rise in warm place 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
7. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake buns 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden.
8. To make Maple Glaze: Combine cream cheese, maple flavor, and salt in small bowl. Stir in confectioners’ sugar. Spread glaze over warm buns; top with remaining pecans.

I want to add that I had a TON of the cinnamon-pecan filling left over. However, this was my first time kneading dough, so I think I should have let it rise more, and then I may not have had as much left over. Let me know if you end up making this - love to hear how they turn out for you! NOTE: The original recipe is vegan - using vegan cream cheese and butter.

Tex Mex Rice & Black-Eyed Peas

This is quick, simple, affordable, and surprisingly delicious. Seriously - both my dad and brother were asking for several helpings of this meal. I can see me re-creating this for a taco night, burrito night, or just another night of rice and beans. The avocado was SO FRESH, and it added the perfect smooth, cool, flavor to my spicy beans! NOTE: The original recipe called for "fresh salsa" but I used my favorite brand of prepared salsa, a local concoction I buy at Whole Foods.

Tex Mex Rice & Black-Eyed Peas
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, November 2011 Issue
Serves 4

1       cup white rice
1       tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1       cup fresh salsa, plus more for topping
½       teaspoon ground cumin
2       14-ounce cans black-eyed peas (1 undrained; 1 drained and rinsed)
3       cups baby spinach
¼       cup chopped fresh cilantro
1       avocado, halved, pitted and sliced

1. Cook the rice as the label directs. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the salsa and cumin and cook, stirring, until the salsa is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas, plus the liquid from one of the cans and ¼ cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are creamy and tender, about 12 minutes.
2. Fluff the rice with a fork and divide among bowls. Add the spinach and cilantro to the black-eyed pea mixture and stir until wilted, about 1 minute; spoon evenly over the rice. Top each serving with a few avocado slices, some cheese and more salsa. Serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt, if desired.

The original recipe advised to serve with cheese and sour cream, but I thought - who needs it? I didn't - this meal was just fine, as is! PS - who knew I'd love black-eyed peas this much?

Scooby Doo

Top - Anthropologie; Pants - Anthropologie; Shoes - Anthropologie

Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2011

As a child, The Mysteries of Scooby Doo was one of my favorite cartoons. I loved Shaggy and Scooby AKA "Scoob." Every now and then, I think about the old cartoon's phrases like "wowzers" or "jinkies," which takes me back. Today - the ultimate flare on these pants and neon orange top reminded me of old Scoob, and I love it!

Roller Set Video

I posted a new video to YT - it's a Hair how-to, how I get my lovely roller set styles. Also, I somehow made YT partner...click here to visit my channel. Enjoy!

Swiper No Swipey

Top - Anthropologie; Blazer - Anthropologie; Pants - BR; Shoes - Blonde Ambition via Haute Look

Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm not a huge fan of plaid, but I must admit that I love gingham patterns. Every now and then, a "true plaid" pattern makes its way into my closet, and I'm surprised that I like it as much as I do. This blazer is that sneaky little pattern for me. It's sneaky like Swiper from Dora the Explorer...ok, maybe not..I just needed to find a connection between my outfit with the post title. Done and done!

Black Friday

Sweater - Anthropologie; Skirt - Anthrpologie; Shoes - Urban; Belt - Urban

Date: Monday, November 28, 2011

First, can I just mention how much I have been LOVING the weather. Seriously - high 60's in November? I am loving it, and totally taking advantage of it - bare legs are proof! This skirt was one of my few Black Friday finds for myself. I did a lot of shopping for Naja - the child is growing like weeds! Hope you all had some fun shopping expeditions, and enjoyed the Thanksgiving time with your loved ones!

Baked Eggs and Beans on Toast

Have you ever had baked eggs? I hadn't until I cooked this meal. In fact, I didn't even know people baked eggs. Apparently they do - and they turn out to be a beautiful and tasty dish. I loved the fact that this was served with a fresh grape tomato salad. When tomatoes are in season - they pack so much flavor!

Baked Eggs and Beans on Toast
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, November 2011 Issue
Serves 4

2       tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
½       small onion, chopped
1       tablespoon tomato paste
2       tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1       tablespoon honey mustard
2       teaspoons Worcestershire sauce or steak sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2       15-ounce cans navy beans (1 undrained; 1 drained and rinsed)
8       large eggs
4       thick slices crusty bread
2       cups halved grape tomatoes
¼       cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 more minute. Stir in the vinegar, honey mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ½ cup water, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, then add the beans, plus the liquid from one of the cans. Cook until the beans are soft, about 5 more minutes.
2. Make eight indentations in the bean mixture and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and transfer to the oven. Bake until the egg whites are set, 10 to 14 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the bread with olive oil on both sides and toast in the skillet, 1 minute per side. Toss the tomatoes, parsley, the remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Divide the toast among plates; top each with 2 eggs, some beans and the tomato salad.

Spaghetti with Sausage-Mushroom Sauce

Food Network Magazine delivered again, with a quick weekday meal. This meal has a different take on classic spaghetti by using tomato paste, mushrooms and sausage. I used Tofurky Italian style, which packs a lot of flavor, including some additional heat. If you decide to use a regular sausage, I would advise to add some red pepper flakes for additional heat - it really made the dish flare. I made this for my family (dad and brother included), and this was surely a dish where meat was not missed!

Spaghetti with Sausage-Mushroom Sauce
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, November 2011 Issue

Kosher salt
12      ounces spaghetti
3       teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2       Tofurky Italian sausage, chopped into quarter inch pieces
1       8-ounce package sliced mixed mushrooms
Freshly ground pepper
3       tablespoons tomato paste
1       teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
¼       cup heavy cream
Shredded parmesan cheese, for topping (optional)

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook as the label directs. Reserve ½ cup cooking water, then drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil to the skillet and increase the heat to medium high. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and rosemary and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Return the sausage to the skillet, then add the cream and 1 cup water; bring to a gentle simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the spaghetti to the skillet and toss with the sauce, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed. Top with shredded parmesan, if desired.


Shirt - J. Crew Factory; Sweater - J. Crew Factory; Jeans - J. Crew; Shoes - J. Crew; Necklaces - Anthro, Gifts

Date: Monday, November 21, 2011

WHAM-BAM! Today I'm giving you outfit pictures in good lighting!!! Since I recognized that I already go through "trying on" and "picking out" outfits on the weekend. I told myself, I may as well go ahead and take pictures of them on the weekend too. Thus, I give you outfits, and good lighting, not from the actual day I'm wearing them - but I promise to only post pics of outfits I actually end up wearing. I get to wear jeans in the office due to the short week. It's a nice change from my business casual look as of late.

PS - Can I just say that these shoes are leopard, patent and oxfords - some of my favorite things wrapped into one!

Outfit Update

Dress - J. Crew; Shirt - J. Crew; Tights - J. Crew; Boots - Aldo; Necklace - Anthro

Date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ok guys, I'm the worse blogger ever right now. My pictures are lackluster, my posting is inconsistent. It's killing me, it truly is, because blogging is one of the only things that I do for me, that I truly enjoy. I *hope* that I can get my regular schedule back starting next week. I have a ton of food posts I have yet to post, so I'll post some of those too. However, here's an outfit that I debated whether/not to post due to the picture quality. Whatever - it's posted now. I'm finally getting my mojo and a set schedule, so I hope to find a way to allow blogging to work with everything else. I hope you all are well!

Milk-Friendly Feature!

Hello Everyone,

This weekend, the lovely Maryam of Milk Friendly featured me on her blog! Maryam's blog is an awesome site for moms, regardless if you're nursing or not. There's lots of information on caring for your little one, and maintaining your sass and style as a woman. In my feature, I share some of my tips for nursing, working moms - some things that I haven't shared here before. Click here to check out the post. Thanks for the feature Maryam!


Feature in Natural Bloom

Hey Ya'll,

If you didn't catch it, the third issue of Natural Bloom is out! I'm honored to be featured again! The Lovely Chai is the gorgeous face on the front. It really is a wonderful publication. Thank you to Jc for giving more bloggers a venue to tell our story!


Lost Focus

I finally did it - I got a hair cut. Really, it's more of a hair shaping, and I love it. It ias exactly what I needed to channel my version of a Bad @ss Afro.

I know this picture is blurry, but I thought it still captured my fro's essence. I have no complaints about my hair for once, and I'm on Day 4 now. #winning.

If you're wondering about the cut, I went to a Deva Curl stylist at Modern Concepts Salon in Ashburne, VA named Alexa. She was not black, however she did have curly hair, and she knew what she was talking about. Those Deva Curl stylists know textured hair, Taren got her hair cut by one in NY, and she also did a very good job (click here to watch). I went to the salon with a fresh chunky twist-out. She cut my hair in its twist-out state (dry). She took about 4 inches off in the very back, and cut ~2 inches on the sides, and pieces here and there. She didn't charge me, because the amount she cut was minimal. However, it's crazy how much of a difference a couple of inches can make to a shape. I would definitely recommend her.

Squash and Spaghetti

I've been cooking a lot more now than I did when I lived in Philly. I cook at least three times a week, and it is WORK! The lack of time sometimes takes the joy out of cooking, but I do look forward to a different meals across the weeks.

Also, I've been picking meals with minimal cutting and cooking time recently, because my time during the week is so precious. I don't have hours to enjoy cooking like I did before. Besides slicing the squash - this is pretty quick. I added a 'Quick Meals' label below for recipes that I definitely think work well during the week. They normally have minimal ingredients, or a handful of common ones, so they're not only tasty - but cost-effective also. Oh - and as for this dish, it was delicious. My brother text me and said something like, "Can I have some of your pasta? If you don't text me back, I'll eat it anyway..." Needless to say, this was enjoyed by all.

Squash and Spaghetti
Serves 4
Adapted from Market Vegetarian by Ross Dobson

1 butternut squash, thinly sliced
14 oz. angel hair pasta
10-12 sage leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
Pecorino Romano (optional)

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash to pan and cook until tender, but not yet breaking up, 5-6 minutes. SS: It took me closer to 10 minutes to get the squash cooked through to where it was just starting to break. Add garlic, and cook for another minute. Remove pan from heat, add sage and let the flavors develop. Cook pasta according to directions. Add the pasta to the pan and mix. SS: The squash should break up on its own if you've cooked it enough. Sprinkle shredded pecorino romano on top.

Naja's 1st Halloween

I haven't updated you all on my little bear in quite a while. I thought Halloween would be a perfect venue to show off some pictures of my little one. Guess what Naja was for Halloween...

Yep - a sunflower - or some sort of flower! She looked absolutely even more adorable in person! I brought her into my office for a Halloween party with my co-workers and their families...and she didn't like it. Naja is not a fan of strangers crowding around her (and I don't blame her)! They can look - but they CANNOT CROWD! She cried, and wailed both at my office party, and when my mom took her out on Halloween. It was short-lived in terms of pictures during the actual festivities, so I took some pictures in the privacy of our home - where she's much more pleasant.

In other news - Naja is probably teething now. Her mouth is JUICY!!! She also is doing very-well with her hand-eye coordination, considering that her fist is ALWAYS in her mouth now. She can prop herself up very well - she's a strong little bear. Additionally, she seems to enjoy hanging out and dancing with mommy. On the weekends, I don't watch TV, but I do play a lot of music, and dance like nobody is watching. Naja joins in, moving her arms and legs when she's sitting in her chair, and I hate to admit it, but she's much better than me ;) - ha! You should see her dougie - hilarious! *I feel the need to get a portable video recorder to capture these moments - especially since I like video editing, it's a nice way to keep all parts of the family connected. She's 3-1/2 months now, can you believe it?

Pumpkin French Toast

I haven't posted an "indulge myself" recipe in a while. I actually made a delectable vegan sausage with apple cider sauerkraut and homemade onion rings a month ago. I felt that it was so right, it was wrong! I just had to post this french toast recipe even though it's packed with lots of buttery deliciousness. I do believe these things are ok in moderation...along with a commitment to some type of physical activity to follow, lol. Without further adieu, I give you french toast heaven.

Pumpkin French Toast
Serves 4
Adapted from The Chew

1 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half
3 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch salt
1 Loaf Challah or Brioche thick-sliced and day-old
Powdered sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 Egg White
4 cups raw pecan halves
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
2 cups apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup butter

Combine all the ingredients (except the bread), and mix well. Soak bread. The night before, or six hours before, dip the bread slices in the milk mixture (one at a time) and place the bread in a glass baking dish. Continue until all the bread has been dipped. Store in fridge.

The next morning, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat or use nonstick cooking spray. Place bread slices in the pan and cook until golden on 1 side, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook until golden brown, 2-3 minutes longer. Wipe the pan out with paper towels and repeat with the remaining butter, oil, and bread.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg in saucepan. Pour in apple and lemon juices. Cook and stir constantly until thickened and it comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute and continue to stir. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Serve warm over french toast.

Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the salt and spices. Set aside. In a stainless bowl, beat egg white until frothy. Slowly whisk in the spices. Toss egg mixture with pecans. Spread on prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, gently stirring every 15 minutes or until the meringue is golden. Allow nuts to cool and dry out.

I doubt I would have ever picked this recipe because of all of the butter, oil, sugar, etc. My mom picked this recipe from The Chew, which is one of her new favorite shows ever.

Feature on BGLH!

Hello Everyone,

My retro braid-twist style was featured on Black Girl Long Hair this morning. Check it out here. Thanks for the feature Leila!


Pasta with Lentils

Considering that it's supposed to snow tomorrow, and yesterday was jam-packed for me (read back-to-back meetings). I'll end this week, with a filling, healthy meal great for cool weather. It's tasty, simple, and filling - another good one for the hungry teen, who approved this meal.

Pasta with Lentils
Serves 4-6
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, October 2011 Issue

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth SS: I used veggie broth
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 1 piece cheese rind (optional)
8 ounces orecchiette or other small pasta
2 14-ounce cans lentils (1 undrained; 1 drained and rinsed)
⅓ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt
Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove 1 tablespoon of the flavored oil and set aside. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth, 4 cups water and the cheese rind, if using. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add the lentils along with the liquid from one of the cans; reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the pasta is tender, 10 to 12 more minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk 1 tablespoon parsley and 1 tablespoon water into the reserved flavored oil. Stir ¼ cup parmesan and the remaining parsley into the soup; remove the cheese rind (if using) and add salt to taste. Ladle into bowls; drizzle with the flavored oil and top with the remaining ¼ cup parmesan. Serve with bread, if desired.

These pants...

Top - Anthro; Pantts - Anthro; Shoes - Anthro

Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2011

...are friggin awesome! It is rare that I find pants that I love. They don't cut off my circulation, don't fall off my behind, don't lose their elasticity, and they're so comfortable! WIN-WIN-WIN! Considering that the last time I wore some SERIOUS flares was in the mid-90s as a little girl, I forgot how much I like serious flares. I think these might be my new favorite pants.

Little Things

Top - J. Crew; Skirt - J. Crew; Booties - H&M

Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This skirt is a hand me down from my cousin. I feel like it had an astronomical (for me) original price, so I'm quite happy to have inherited something I likely would have never purchased. Another bonus about this skirt, when I opened my Google Reader yesterday, I noticed that one of my favorite style bloggers had the same exact outfit as me! Well...almost the same - her skirt was gold, and she wore her boots with socks. Still - I normally INTENTIONALLY COPY some of her looks. However, this time I managed to get the look on my own. I was so happy. It's the little things.

PS - I took this pic when I got home...notice the change in attitude? ;)


Dress - Anthro; Tights - J. Crew; Shoes - Urban; Necklace - Anthro

Date: Monday, October 24, 2011

I had two options for today's outfit post title, here they are, and these were my thoughts behind them:
1. Green & Brown: Ok, I get it, my dress is green...my tights are brown. That is kind of boring, can't I be a little more creative...
2. Grass: Oh grass, I like it, because my dress is green, and my tights are brown, like the color of grass...and dirt...:-/ Are other people going to see the connection?
3. Grass?: A question mark at the end of the word grass totally confirms the above

Potato Gnocchi with Sweet Potato and Kale

I made this gnocchi a couple of weeks ago when my grandmother was watching Naja because my mom was out of town. I made dinner for everyone, and we all agreed that this was pretty good. It was creamy, and the substitution of squash for sweet potato added a surprisingly desirable subtle sweet flavor. Might I also add that this gnocchi is a heavy, filling pasta - a necessity if you're feeding a hungry man, and/or growing teen!

Potato Gnocchi with Sweet Potato and Kale
Serves 4
Adapted from Food Network Magazine,  October 2011 Issue


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces SS: I used sweet potato since I have been using a lot of squash recently
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh sage
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
1¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth or water SS: I used veggie broth
1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 8 cups)
1 17.5-ounce package potato gnocchi
¾ cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese


1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring, until slightly soft and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.
2. Preheat the broiler. Add the chicken broth to the skillet. When it starts to simmer, stir in the kale and cook until it wilts slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the gnocchi, stirring to coat. Cover and cook untilthe gnocchi are just tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in ¼ cup parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup parmesan; transfer to the broiler and cook until golden and bubbly, about 3 minutes. SS: Since I doubled this, I just transferred it to a 9x13" glass baking dish, which worked out just fine!

One note - I doubled this to get it to stretch for 3 days throughout the week, and things still turned out well!

Same Thing, Different Day

Shirt - Anthro; Cardigan - J. Crew Factory; Pants - Anthro; Shoes - Boutique 9 via Anthro

Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ok folks, I have a confession. I wore the same exact outfit as last week - almost. This is not due to a lack of creativity. It's due to a love for a look. I love the androgyny of a loose cardigan over a crisp (or casual) button up. It's one of my favorite looks, and I probably rock a look like this once a week. My apologies for the lack of posting last week, I was very tired and just didn't feel like posting. I got a chance to browse Lucky this weekend, which gave me some great ideas and inspiration for the upcoming week!


Blazer - Urban*; Dress - Anthro*; Shoes - H&M 
*Hand me downs from my cuzzo

Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Have you all noticed how brief my actual writing for my posts have been? I have, and it's a shame because I try to write two full paragraphs, and I stop at one. Like this one today. This will be the second to last sentence in this paragraph. I'm only saying it's ok because I believe I still have "baby brain," which means my mind basically only works half the time...hello brevity, goodbye creativity.

Salmon with Walnut-Red Pepper Relish

I actually made this dish a couple of weekends ago. The salmon was cooked quite to perfection, with a nice blend of fresh herbs, with a taste that was on par to match. The walnut-red pepper relish added additional tang with nice texture and color also. I've never loved a piece of salmon as much as this.

Salmon with Walnut-Red Pepper Relish
Source: Food Network Magazine, October 2011 Issue
Serves 4


½ cup walnuts
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons diced roasted red pepper
1 tablespoon walnut oil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 2-to-3-pound piece wild salmon (about 1½ inches thick)


1. Make the relish: Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop and transfer to a bowl. Add the cayenne, lemon juice, honey, roasted red pepper, walnut oil, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley. Add ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste and toss to combine. (The relish can be made up to 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)
2. Make the salmon: Raise the oven temperature to 425°. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley, the chives, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the salmon. Lay skin-side down in a baking dish and roast until just cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then transfer to a platter and top with the walnut-pepper relish.

I served the salmon with some oven-baked spiced squash and kale chips. The squash was just ok in my opinion, and the kale chips...well let's just say I have yet to perfect them. Thus, I'm only going to post the recipe for the salmon. If you try it - let me know how you like it!

Blue Bling

Top - Anthro; Skirt - Anthro; Blazer Cardigan - Anthro; Necklace - Anthro; Ring - Anthro; Shoes - Jessica Simpson

Date: Monday, October 17, 2011

Yep, this outfit is all blue, and all Anthro. I just took the word monochromatic to a whole 'nother level. Another thing - notice the eyes - Mr. Lazy Eye is gone! You can chalk that up to 5 hours of straight, uninterrupted sleep. Thank you Naja for sleeping so soundly, I've never felt so well-rested (at least over the past 6 months).

Skirt - here
Top - here, here


Shirt - J. Crew Factory; Cardigan - Anthro; Pants - J. Crew; Shoes - Anthro

Date: Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 3 has proven to be successful (at least in the first picture). I think I will be able to do outfit posts!!! I'm excited, as I believe this will keep me motivated to be excited about getting dressed, to mix things up, and to do so on a budget! Have a great weekend!


Shirt - BCBG; Sweater - Anthro; Pants - J. Crew; Shoes - Boutique 9; Necklace - Anthro

Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On Day 2 of inside picture taking I recognize that I either

1. Have a slight lazy eye...or
2. I can only smize with one eye

I'm going to go with option number two ;). One other thing - the adorable part of this outfit (the necklace) is covered up by my sweater in this picture. Whoops! Here's to hoping for an even better Day 3!