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Kitchen Diaries: Deviled Eggs

August 5, 2013

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The stomach wants what the stomach wants, and it was pleased when I whipped up a quick batch of deviled eggs on Sunday afternoon. These random cravings of mine. … I promise I’m not pregnant. Haha.

We’re Halfway There

June 25, 2013

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Seriously, guys. Where has the year gone? It’s already the end of June, which means we’re more than halfway through 2013. That prompted me to go back and see how much progress I’ve made on the goals I set for myself this year (see 2013). I’m proud to say that I’ve accomplished a lot of things thus far (My passport arrived last week; I’ve been blogging consistently; I’ve developed an attitude of gratitude, and express my love and appreciation toward family and friends more frequently; I opened a savings account; etc.).

But, I’ve still got work to do. I mean, who can’t stand to improve? More specifically, I need to get better with being punctual, completing everything I start and procrastinating less, among other things. Though I realize that certain goals, especially those pertaining to my spiritual maturity and walk with Christ, are fluid endeavors that I’ll constantly pursue, it’s good to be honest with myself and take inventory of where I stand. Small victories count, too.

As the famous Winston Churchill quote goes, “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

Enough about me. What about you? How are you doing with your goals or New Year’s resolutions?

Mother’s Day Q&A

May 12, 2013

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommas out there! You make the world go ’round. To commemorate this special day, I decided to do a fun Q&A with my lovely, silly mother, Jean. She has successfully birthed and raised six of us children: Kevin (32), Me (28), Robert (27), Karim (25), Ayesha (24) and Jamaal (22). And she never had to have a C-section and reports that she never left any of us in a public place.

A few fun facts about my siblings: I hold the record for staying in the womb the longest, while Karim left the soonest. Jamaal was the most painful birth for my mother, as he weighed nearly 10 pounds. Robert and I are “Irish twins” in that we are the same age for a month between May 30 (Robert’s birthday) and July 7 (my birthday). Jamaal and I share the same birthday, six years apart.

A few fun facts about my mom: She goes by “Alison” around family. Expressions and Sentiments is the name of her gift basket business that she is relaunching. Her mac and cheese will change your life! And last but not least, she is the best mom on Earth!

Champy, thanks for your selflessness and unconditional love. I appreciate EVERYTHING you do for us knuckleheaded kids, big and small. You are the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman, and I hope to be just like you when I grow up. I love you!

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My mom as a youngster. Can you see the resemblance between us?

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Here we go!

Can you share any funny hospital or labor stories? I pooped while having Kevin.

Do you miss being pregnant? If so, why? Yes, because you get to eat everything and people make a fuss over you. No, because you get fat.

When you were younger, did you have a preference how many kids you had and what gender? Eight: 4 boys and 2 sets of twins.

What were some of the names you wanted to give us? Ashley: Ashley or Ruth; Ayesha: Daisey or Karima; Jamaal: Jamaal or Matthew.

Why did you want a big family? Because it was just me and Carol (her younger sister).

What’s the best part about motherhood? Giving life.

What’s the best Mother’s Day gift you ever got? All the homemade gifts.

What’s the weirdest, strangest or worst gift one of us has given you? They all have been great (Way to be diplomatic, Mom. LOL).

What has having children taught you? To love unconditionally.

Did parenting get easier as you had more kids? Yes, you learn how to do it better.

Did your parenting style evolve throughout the years? How so? Yes, I stop sweating the small stuff.

What are some of your proudest moments as a mother? Seeing my kids graduate from high school and college.

Put this question to rest, once and for all: Who is your favorite? It’s impossible to have a favorite. You all have such different personalities.

Letter-Writing Campaign

April 30, 2013

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Call me old-fashioned, but I’m the kind of person who still likes the feel of a magazine or newspaper in my hands (I suppose it’s the journalist in me), or a vinyl record or compact disc to thumb through the liner notes. And I don’t foresee that changing any time soon. I’m also one of those who finds great joy in receiving a handwritten thank-you card or a quick note. Why? Because it’s a rarity, with email and text messages the norm for communicating in today’s fast-paced world. The very act of writing by hand a message to someone is thoughtful and shows how much you care for the person on the receiving end. It brings a sense of warmth, seeing how the sender’s words flowed from pen to page in their very own, unique way.

Last September, my mom said this to me during one of her impromptu, half-serious rants: “Social media is for the birds. Let’s get back to writing notes on paper or pretty stationery.” Though the irony of her saying this via Voxer isn’t lost on me, the heart of what she meant has stuck with me. Last week when I had to mail something off to her, I thought I’d take the time to send her a quick note as well, just telling her that I love and appreciate her, and believe in her dreams and plans for her gift basket business (See image above). I think it was a pleasant surprise to my mom. We all need reminders and encouragements every now and then. Up next to receive a handwritten letter from me is my younger cousin, Alexis, who currently is in boot camp. I just know she thrives off of getting mail when she’s so far away and disconnected from everything.

That being said, we’ve decided to launch a letter-writing campaign. Not the kind where you gripe about something to your congressperson, but the kind that brightens days, brings smiles to faces and instills joy in the hearts of those who read them. By golly, we’re resurrecting the dying art form of handwritten messages. Who’s with us? (If this were a movie, I envision the slow clap starting right about … now)

Enjoy the Little Things

March 13, 2013

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The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. The grass is green. God breathed life into my body. I have full use of my mind and body. I woke up in a bed, in an apartment, with a dog who likes to cuddle. I have clothes on my back, shoes on my feet, a scarf on my head and a song in my heart. My car started. I have a job to go to, a computer to type on, a phone to call and text on. There is a slice of carrot cake in the fridge with my name on it. I will ride on an airplane to the Bay Area and see my best friend in less than two days. Life is good. So rather than look elsewhere for happiness today, I will look within and at what’s directly in front of me. And know that I am blessed. There I go, enjoying the little things.

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Design Inspiration: Madewell and Anthropologie

March 3, 2013

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My apartment is still a work in progress, so I’m always on alert for new ideas and ways to style it. I stumbled upon these fancy set-ups yesterday at Madewell and Anthropologie while at South Coast Plaza. Now I’m in a frenzy scouring the Internet for vintage clocks and awaiting the next opportunity to go thrifting! This passion for design, it’s a blessing and a curse I tell ya.

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Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolution List, 1942

February 18, 2013

Wow. Can you believe that March is marching right along and will be here before we know it? That realization made me ponder where I was with my goals for 2013. I’ve already accomplished quite a few things on my list, but I still have a ways to go.

I stumbled upon this Flavorwire post about lists that read like poems, and I found this one from folk musician Woody Guthrie (“This Land Is Your Land”) to be relatable, honest and funny:

Work more and better
Work by a schedule
Wash teeth if any
Shave
Take bath
Eat good — fruit — vegetables — milk
Drink very scant if any
Write a song a day
Wear clean clothes — look good
Shine shoes
Change socks
Change bed cloths often
Read lots good books
Listen to radio a lot
Learn people better
Keep rancho clean
Dont get lonesome
Stay glad
Keep hoping machine running
Dream good
Bank all extra money
Save dough
Have company but dont waste time
Send Mary and kids money
Play and sing good
Dance better
Help win war — beat fascism
Love mama
Love papa
Love Pete
Love everybody
Make up your mind
Wake up and fight

I Have a New Crush. His Name Is Macklemore.

December 9, 2012

Be still my heart.

So I have a new crush. His name is Macklemore. There’s something about a man who can rock a coon-skin cap and a onesie and look fly at the same time that makes my heart skip a beat! Tee hee. Just sayin’. This song and video are pretty great, too! Yay for thrifting!

P.S. Pardon his French.

I Believe I Can Fly

October 24, 2012

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I happened upon this little gem while hanging at the Urth Caffé in Downtown Los Angeles this past weekend. I love a random photo opp.