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You are worthy in every stage of your life.
You don't achieve your dreams and THEN become worthy of recognition or celebration.
It is there all along for the taking.
You are worthy when you dream.
You are worthy when you plan.
You are worthy when you start.
You are still worthy when you fail.
You are just as worthy when you fail as when you succeed.
You are worthy every step of the way toward the makings of your dreams.
Toward the birthing of your vision.
You are worthy when it rains. You are worthy when there is a drought.
You are worthy when someone fills your head with doubt.
You are worthy when you go left.
You are worthy when you go right.
You are worthy when you act out of character
For it is in those moments you can decipher the dark from the light.
You are worthy when you don't feel like it.
You are worthy when you take a break.
You are worthy when life feels like ongoing heartache.
You are worthy when you get back up.
You are worthy when you are feeling down.
You are worthy worthy worthy.
Think it. Feel it. Breathe it. LIVE IT. Believe it.
Now go and paint the town. 💜
"Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon." (full moon vibes tonight)
Hi There My Food Lovers!
I wanted to send you and your families some love and light. I went to write the date today and realized it is March. February flew past! How was your month?
My February was great. Why you ask? Because I learned so much! I got to learn about other people, from other people, study other cultures, try new foods and share food and cooking with others; and write! I've been writing more personally and professionally. Work and school have been in complete alignment with the other and I've been listening to my Soul Cries. February is a month of Superbowl parties, Valentine Love and Black History. Since the first two areas are not my forte, I chose to pick a sport and practice full blown self care and love. The kind of love you give to yourself without telling others or advertising...or asking for permission to do that which sets your soul on fire! I also concluded there isn't a sport I don't like, so it was hard to choose one. I ended up focusing on athletes and their stories. I love a good story and learning what makes a person who they are.
All of February has been filled with intentions and focus. Setting a foundation (and plates) for the upcoming months. Every month I challenge mySelf to something. This month it will be to have a Meaningful March. In listening carefully to my Soul Cries, I have a decided that everything I do or say be of importance and align with my purpose and my vision...and to remain quiet when it is not! (This is the key to intentional living: listening then doing) You see it is in the silence that we can hear everything. Answers unfold. Words speak. Details are revealed. People's behaviors and silent thought about you come to the light. Many things happen in silence, and even greater things come to pass when we take the time to listen and follow through with what is shown to us. Today I invite you to join me in this challenge.
Choose a goal, or a piece of your vision and position yourself to be in full alignment with it. Dare to dream and create! Dare to go above and beyond what is asked of you. Dare to be courageous and unapologetic in the pursuit of your passions! Share your talents. Create a sacred space. Write that book. Encourage someone who's been on your heart. Practice listening. Face reality even when it hurts and follow through with what is being whispered to you and through you. I challenge you to make everyday meaningful to you. My prayer is that as the days go on and you walk with purpose that you feel and bask in the power and glow of your natural light.
I look forward to hearing your results and thoughts! Feel free to find me on Instagram/Facebook as we embark on these journeys together. I'll be posting as the spirit moves me :)
The Smitten Chef
A delightful piece of advice:
Good Afternoon My Food Lovers!
Woke up this morning with a song in my heart, unsure of how to sing it, but still declaring to sing loudly. While getting dressed, I saw a quote that read "Live in such a way that life itself has a crush on you." I felt this was my answer. Perfect timing. Divine response. I'll take it!
We all know how it is to have a crush on someone. Can't stop thinking about them. Want the best for them. Wake up happy and praying for their well-being and joy. I love having a crush on someone; it brings me to a special space where I commune with God and all things good in hopes that energy travels in their direction. Crushes bring about a natural high.
Today, I took a moment and wrote down the first few thoughts that came to mind when I have a crush on someone. What I do, how I feel. Things like that. It went sort of like this:
- I think about them.
I look my best around them.
I flirt with my crush.
I give my crush a lot of my attention and time.
I want the best for my crush.
After that, I took everything I wrote about my crush, and flipped it around to align with the quote. I got so excited. WHAT IF LIFE DOES HAVE A CRUSH ON ME? The answers followed:
- Life thinks about me! Often and in the sweetest of ways.
Life dresses up for me. By that, I mean life wears its very best for me and according to the events planned for everyday living. *Dressed to DANCE and DINE*
Life flirts with me. Whispers sweet nothings to me. Encourages me. Dances with me. Dines with me. Feeds my soul and nurtures my spirit. Life loves me. Day in. Day out.
Life gives me a LOT of attention and time. It is gentle with me...and when it becomes rough, life wraps its loving arms around me. Life takes good care of me...and in return, I choose to take good care of it.
Life wants the very best for me! All days and in all ways.
That felt good to write. Now, knowing life really does have a crush on me, would I behave any differently to keep its attention?
Today, I welcome you to take a moment and place yourself in a space where you are in complete alignment with what living and crushin' on life looks and feels like to YOU. Then I challenge you to walk in that space and hold that energy and vibration each and everyday for as long as possible. If you need a boost, remember what it's like to grab and hold the attention of your crush. :)
The Life You Want, Wants You Too.
The Smitten Chef
Below is a copy of the PDF I created as an outline to answer the questions. Feel free to print and answer for yourself. Enjoy!
“Just For You…”
“I was boooooorn by a river, in a little tent. Oh and just like the river I’ve been running, ever since. It’s been a loooooong a long time comin’ but I know; a change gonna come. Oh yes it will.” -Sam Cooke
Have you ever met someone who makes your heart sing? Have you ever listened to a song that you felt was written for you? Have you ever been introduced to something or someone by word of mouth only to have it/them become such a blessing all you can do is shout about their goodness in your life?!
I have. His name is Sam Cooke. One of the greatest and most influential singers and songwriters of all times. As a child, I remember my parents always listening to music: my Mother listened while she was cleaning the house or doing something she didn’t too much care for. She would tell me, ”Music motivates me during boring tasks and I love to dance!” My Father listened to music after work and on the weekends. He would tell me, “Music relaxes me; good music is something no one can ever take from me. I know it exists.” Two separate reasons to love music, one great big inspired 5 year old.
Over the years, I learned to take my parents advice and listened to songs that encouraged me. R&B is my favorite; taught me about how hard people love. Gospel music seemed to bring everyone around together. Classical music helped me to concentrate while studying, and children’s songs helped me read and write the words to songs. The patterns of the music helped me to march to the beat of my own drums. Sam Cooke helped with it all.
I have never in my lifetime heard a voice or felt so connected to anyone like Sam Cooke. His voice is so clean and crisp. His words so simple, yet powerful. He spoke about earthly love and his love of The Lord in a way that as a child, I couldn’t tell who he was speaking about. He taught me that a love song should be what you would say to your God even if you never got a chance to experience it on Earth. Even his sad lyrics made me happy, for I could tell he gave it all and truly connected with his passions, thennnn his audience. He reached EVERY race during a time when division was completely acceptable. He wrote his own music and planned his career even as a child. He used to sing to popsicle sticks! He worked hard, loved hard and played hard. Growing up, his songs would have all the adults in the room crying or waving their hands in the air, because he soothed their souls. Sam Cooke was a regular in our household- one of those artists my Mother would dance her heart out listening to and my Father’s singing could be heard through the vents. My very first CD was his. I’m pretty sure I took it out my Dad’s collection, but he never asked for it back. I used to listen to his greatest hits daily. Still do. I cannot not listen to him when in the kitchen. He has taught me so much and helped me through some difficult times. Now that’s a great artist: When your music reaches a child’s heart decades later, causing them to inquire about their history and believe that a change will in fact, come. I cook with a song of Sam in my heart. I never can get the words out as to how much I love and admire this man’s work, because it is deeply rooted. I just always prayed for his help and inspiration. As an adult, I was gifted a biography written by Peter Guralnick titled, “Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke.” A wonderful read indeed, but there is one excerpt that sums up why I love him so:
“It is said Mr. Cooke absorbed every lesson that was put in front of him and said, ‘I don’t even know why I do what I do. When I do it, it just comes.'”
Talk about humility and letting God use you. Today marks his birthday. He would have been 87. It is because of his music and seeing what he did to the hearts of millions that I am able to walk upright and do what I do. (Even through the struggles.) May he rest in peace knowing a change is coming, one person at a time.
Twistin’ The Night Away,
The Smitten Chef
Welcome back ladies- thank you for joining me again. We are on part two of the discussion about “Rich-Girl”Fitness. Part one can be found by clicking here…outside of that information, let us dive right in!
We have already declared:
- Having a body and wanting to be healthy.
- Lacking motivation half the time to get up in the morning.
- Not having any money, or any time.
Today’s focus will be on “workouts that can be done outside of a gym when one can’t afford a membership.”
Can’t afford a membership/don’t want a membership. I have experienced both. The gym can be a scary place. (At least it is to me.) It took me years to get into a gym and I am currently not a member anywhere. Any who, I want to share my workout. It’s short, sweet and to the point. I have been doing the same routine for the past 10-15 years and aside from upping my repetitions/weights, or adding new exercises out of curiosity/studying fitness, these are my go-to moves.
- Walking: I love being outside! It’s a great place to be. I can’t say I have always sought out walking everyday, but do now. It soothes my soul and spirit. Nature greets me, the temperatures are nice and three laps around the neighborhood is equivalent to 30 minutes. During the winter months I peek my head outside, smell the air and jog in place…inside. Instead of 30 mins, I jog for 15 minutes. Then I open the door again, take a deep breath of the outside world, and feel I have walked outside. Problem solved. Feel free to switch up the outdoor activity to something you enjoy doing. Ride a bike, hula-hoop, kick a soccer ball, etc. I started with walking because I had health concerns and needed to get my body moving without added pressure.
- Indoor Workout:
- 25 Squats
- 25 PushUps
- 25 Calf Raises
- 25 Sit Ups/Crunches
- 25 Arm Curls using a vegetable can in each hand. I started off doing less than 25 in certain workouts, but 25 became my target number. I try to do walking and indoor workouts in the same day, but starting off wasn’t all that successful. So one day I would walk, the next day workout indoors. As long as I was getting 30+ minutes of exercise I was fine. The point was to start. The point for me is to always start, because somedays I do not wake up excited to workout…but I do. And so can you!
I hope this segment helped or gave you or someone you know some ideas. A word of caution is to consult with a physician if you can/feel you should. I am not one. Just a woman who has found some ways to assist in an area I love, so here I am. Let me know if you have and questions or concerns. Our finale, part three will cover a large portion of the quote which says, “Show me diets and workouts that I can manage when I’m working 13 hour days and living on a budget. Show me how to eat healthy when I have 5 minutes for lunch. Show me small things I can do to help my body.” We will stick with our theme of keeping it simple. Until next time, friends!
The Smitten Chef
I would like to address the following quote about “Rich-Girl Fitness.” I’m not sure who the original writer is, I just know it is not me and I found it on a friend’s Instagram page. First of all, I want to say thank you to whoever wrote it for sharing your thoughts. Secondly, I did not feel the author of the quote wrote this to bash anyone else. I felt they were looking for solutions from people who could relate. Rich-girl fitness looks great online, but it’s not realistic for most women. So I wanted to share my thoughts and assist where I can as a food and fitness lover who understands.
Just in case the photo does not show up on certain devices, the quote says:
“Honestly I’m so sick of seeing rich-girl fitness. Don’t show me pretty vegan smoothies in mason jars held by a girl with perfect makeup, a manicure, and a color-coordinated running outfit. Show me diets and workouts that I can manage when I’m working 13 hours days and living on a budget. Show me how to eat healthy when I have 5 minutes for lunch. Show me small things I can do to help my body. Show me workout plans that I can do outside of a gym when I can’t afford a membership. I don’t have time. I don’t have money. Half the time I don’t have the motivation to get up in the morning. But I have a body. I want to be healthy.”
I want to start from the end and work my way up to the top and break this quote into a few different blog posts, to stay on track. I can only speak for myself, but certain subjects intimidate me and I prefer reading things in sections to avoid brain overloads.
“But I have a body. I want to be healthy.” The greatest starting place is knowing what you want with anything. The question then becomes what does healthy mean to you? Is it losing a certain amount of weight? Is it gaining weight? Do you eat terribly everyday and are having a difficult time changing your eating habits but want to? Does healthy mean prevention of diseases? Consuming more fruits and vegetables in your diet? Do you have children and want to eat better as a family? I could go on with the list of reasons why a person wants to be healthy, but it is extremely personal and situational. When working with clients, I find the beginning place is figuring out what is trying to be accomplished, and then creating a plan for action. So give yourself a pack on the back for getting this far and dive deeper into what being healthy means to you!
“Half the time I don’t have the motivation to get up in the morning.” Again, a person’s reasons for lack of motivation vary, but the fact of the matter is we all need it. High doses, low doses. Midday shots of it. I support motivation as often as possible. I have yet to hear someone complain about “having too much motivation,” or “being encouraged too much.” When I was in need of deep motivation, I made it a point to figure out when I needed it the most (everyday) and noticed it was right before bed and definitely each morning. After that, I began looking for motivation everywhere. Quotes, people, nature, walking, blogs, books. EVERYWHERE it was available. It was all very helpful and once I noticed my spirits were down right before bed and upon waking up, I did 3 things:
- I wrote down an inspirational quote on a plain piece of paper and stuck it on my ceiling. No fancy designs- just the words on paper in large letters. The focus was seeing inspiration in the middle of an anxiety attack/nightmares or in the morning before the day got to me.
- I set my alarm, and changed the alarm name to a short quote. Wake up, see it…get to feeling better. (I have an iPad and the alarm itself can be found on the clock icon. There’s a tab titled label for each alarm and you can make it say whatever you choose.)
- I listened to soft instrumentals at night. From jazz music, to brain waves…I tried them all.
Hopefully this gets your brain jogging with quick and simple ways to incorporate bits of inspiration into each day.
“I don’t have time. I don’t have money.” Two very sensitive subjects. When it comes to time, in order to try new things or learn something new, one has to make time. There is no way around it. What I see happening often is people feeling the need to become an expert on whatever it is they are learning or looking to accomplish. Nope, all you need to do is be willing to take whatever time you have (or going to make) and try something in the general direction of your goal. For example, if your goal is to incorporate more fruit into your diet, start by making the decision to have one piece a day. Set an alarm as a reminder to have a piece or bring it with you to lunch. To save on money and the possibility of waste, buy one bag of fruit and have one piece everyday. There is no need to buy a variety of fruits the first week, or a blender because you “think” you might make smoothies, or read a nutrition book. I am not trying to be negative or come off as a jerk, I just notice the tendency to overcomplicate things. Especially new things and with food. Keep it simple. Buy some fruit, eat it. Repeat. The initial focus should be incorporating new habits into your life, without a complete shock to your system or budget.
Staying on subject and respecting the time concept of the quote, I will stop here. I hope these ideas are useful to you or somebody you know. The next blog will focus on workouts that can be done outside of a gym when one can’t afford a membership.
Until Next Time!
The Smitten Chef
Hey Food Lovers! I pray this finds you and your families extremely well...and calm.
I started this website and call myself a Culinary Lifestyle Blogger because while the culinary industry is my heartbeat, I love other portions of my lifestyle which do not always connect with food. They resonate deeply with me and influence my career, and I wanted to be able to connect everything (or showcase people) without confusing readers. Today I am happy to introduce one of my FAVORITE THINGS: Fashion! Particularly hair.
A Few Things I Should Tell You:
1. I love hair. Yours, mine, his and hers.
2. My hair has undergone several transformations, but has been long for the past 20+ years. It has actually become such a part of me that the way friends describe memories we have shared is either by the last meal we shared together, or what hairstyle I had. It tickles me when they can remember both. :)
3. Hair is one of the quickest ways to look outside of myself and evaluate my life. I enjoy taking risks with my hair-it brings me to life! I love how certain styles and colors make me feel, and I love being able to express that in my writings and culinary career.
4. My stylist T is excellent at what she does and inspires me to do the same in my world. She always asks how I am doing/feeling, how work is currently going and my next moves. While I answer, she pays close attention and ends up giving me a hairstyle that causes me to step out of my current comfort zone and take a leap into the next level I'm reaching for. It's more than just hair; her gift penetrates my soul and lifts me up!
With that said, I cut my hair off...and T 'saved me.'
For the past 2-3 months I've been reading and watching hair tutorials. I normally get my hair done, but in between our appointments, I wanted to be able to still look and feel great. I was back to taking full care of my hair and trying out more styles than a low bun with a gorgeous headwrap to cover it up for work. I'm not very good at straightening it so I decided to only embrace the curly styles. I really took a liking to a twist out for three reasons. First, I loved the results! My curls were well moisturized and POPPIN'. Second of all, it was easy and my scalp got to breathe. Finally, I loved the way it looked before I untwisted them. Due to the length, I was able to play with them and try different styles while the twists did what they needed to do. I most certainly was having a good time with them while able to show Tianna's work.
Recently I had to go somewhere immediately after washing my hair. It was an unplanned event, so I simply pulled my twists back into a ponytail & placed a scarf over it. I got home late and when it came time to fix my hair, my twists had locked in certain places. "Uh-oh," I thought. Usually a deep conditioning and hot oil treatment save any tangles I get, but the way I had pulled my hair back (and me later remembering I was trying out new products) caused my hair to come together far quicker than I could've ever imagined. I spent 1 1/2 hours on a section of my head. After a few tears and a mild headache, I took a break for the night. The thought of reliving another few hours in pain with very little progress (mixed with my impatience) caused a thought of me cutting it off to pop in my head. I laughed at the idea and fell asleep. The next day's attempt was an even thicker matted mess and I realized this whole hair cutting thing was truly becoming a possibility. YIKES.
What did I do? I thought about all of the "What Ifs?" What if I DO have to cut it? What will I do? How will I wear it? What if I hate it? Could I work these scarves until I saw T again? I drummed up at least 20 different solutions. Braids. Faux locs. Wigs. Weaves. Scarves. I read stories about people who chopped theirs off and what they did next. By the time I was done, I had fixed my mind to be able to handle and welcome what the results would be.
Any other time I would have called my stylist. I had a few reasons why I did not, but the main three were:
1. It was very late. She has a family. I'm good.
2. My head had started itching and that is one of the worst feelings to me, especially if I cannot address it.
3. A group of friends and I had participated in something we called Accountability August. We set goals and encouraged one another to achieve them throughout the month.
One of my main lessons from August was discovering how indecisive I had become and how it hindered a lot of forward movements I knew I needed to do. My hair is one place I do not seek approval, permission or the opinion of others in order for me to make a decision about it. If people love it, great! If not, oh well. I just need to like it. I said a prayer, found a small piece I cut test cut and voila- a portion of my hair freed itself from the rest! Success! I then took that section and combed through it. I was feeling confident that I could complete this without losing as much hair as I envisioned.
WHAT. A. JOKE.
I got about halfway in and built up too much hair confidence because the next piece I cut made a sound so distinct and CLOSE. I felt my hair split down the middle, opened up and a huge piece fell on the floor.
SHUCKS. (I used much stronger words.)
A burst of wind hit my scalp and as excited as I was to scratch my head, the first space I touched had WAY LESS HAIR than I was shooting for. All I was really trying to do was detangle it and save as much length and hair as possible. I tried a little longer to salvage and detangle it, but it became obvious that the place I messed up was the crown of my head. The chunks of my hair started easily coming out. I shook my head and less than 10 minutes later, most of my curls were on the sink.
I washed my hair and went to bed. The only thing I was happy about was how clean I felt.
The next morning I researched what styles I could do. My hair looked a hot mess, and after getting over myself, I sent a picture to T. She was not pleased. I told her I could braid my hair until it grew back to a length that matched the next style we had planned, which ironically was still shorter then I am used to. She told me to come in so she could even out my hair and have it grow back properly. I was there the following morning.
I was so nervous to see her. I have never been nervous to see her, in fact, I'm always excited! Not only was I nervous, I was also disappointed in myself for letting this happen and not telling her. I was secretly disappointed because in all my readings on people who did "The big chop," everyone spoke about how good they felt. Using words like "free" and "liberating." They spoke of this immediate feeling of joy and excitement. I felt none of these things, and even though it was a partial accident, I did make a conscious decision to cut it...so I was expecting some happiness to radiate through me. All I felt was a huge cold chunk of hair smack my shoulders as it fell to the floor. "Liberating moment, my @ss," I thought. My hair looked liked a baby chick.
As usual, T did her thing. She brought me back to life and welcomed me to the Short Hair Club! She made me feel so beautiful and excited to embrace a new chapter of life without me recognizing what was about to happen within me. When I left, the only focus I had was to shape up my eyebrows. She made me feel so sexy, I went to try on clothes. I had no intentions of buying anything until this GORGEOUS dress caught my eye. FOUR DOLLARS! Off to the dressing room I went...me and all 23 of my other pieces of clothing, ha ha! I took so many pictures and was having so much fun getting to know and learn this new me. I forgot how much fun being a lady is! I left the store with my dress, and whole lot of pep in my step.
My hair has been cut properly for four days now. The rest of my weekend and experience since this happened has been nothing short of amazing. Not because of all that's happened (I'll save that for a book) but because of what has transpired inside of my soul. I. feel. so. gooooood! The past seven days have been extremely detailed and dramatic. I have seen everything that I want from life and pour back into the world, and I have also seen what I do not want (or need to be.) My emotions and behavior have been all over the place. Scared. Disappointed. Embarrassed. Free. Unattractive. Nervous. Beautiful. Ashamed. Aware. Confident. Decisive. Relieved. Bold. Hurt. Confused. Angry. Honest. Open to receiving constructive criticism from loved ones. Hopeful. The list could go on, but my two favorites are humbled and happy. My spirit resonates deeply with Mother Nature, so between all of the hurricanes, fires, full moon vibes, sunrises and earthquakes I chalked up my range of emotions to being worldly instead of thinking about it from a personal perspective. There were two particular events where I went from feeling happy to breaking down in seconds. Both were needed, but upon waking up the next morning after the last one, I felt nothing but incredible clarity. "I don't want to do this anymore," I said.
"Then don't." whispered a voice.
"But," (I tried arguing.)
"I'm not going to let you fight me on this, Cic. Goooooo."
The voice was my Sweet Sister, whispering all I needed to hear.
Then it hit me: the last time I felt this way was when she passed away. The only difference was the happy & other good emotions I feel now were felt before she died...and I have not ever been able to feel that way since. I've felt spurts of joy, but true happiness that I could keep up? Naw. I was also reminded that I haven't had any type of haircut past a trim since that time. T and I have actually been growing my hair out for a specific photoshoot look. As I sit here typing, sober and fully aware, I can admit life won't ever been the same without her and neither will I. There is a space I do not have to live, react or feed because I can no longer see her. I feel and hear her LOUD and CLEAR and she has asked me, "Well, what CAN YOU BE?"
Happy. Peaceful. Bold. Beautiful. Fun. I can be anything I want to be. Today I choose to take her advice for the long run, and stop doing/being around people where the happiness and positivity dries up and shrivels me out of where I have fought so very hard to be. I am firm believer in going where you are wanted. Loving what you do. Helping others. Smiling for no reason. Fighting fears, demons and doubts with confidence and a firm knowing of Who I belong to. I have seen firsthand how self-sabotage, unhealthy relationships and remaining idle can suck the life out of a person. It makes it easier for infectious people, places and things to attack the soul and keep me in a space that I know I do not belong. The only thing the enemy wants more of is to make sure our wounds stay wide open. My prayer is that all of the negative emotions and behaviors I've experienced were cut off the moment I got scissor happy. May this new look bring me an outlook and reminder that when they try to come back, I can simply cut them back off. The only thing more rewarding than that thought, is if this story can be of service to anyone else who is deeply pained. There is healing to be had.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be wealthy.
May you be whole.
May you be HEALED.
That is my prayer for you each and everyday.
The Smitten Chef
Good Morning Food Lovers,
Woke up this morning with a song in my heart. Plan on singing it all day. I pass some inspiration along the way, one being this quote. It touches my heart and always brings me back to a place where I can lose my ego and act in love. Then one's purpose can fully be walked out.
Here's to livin' friends. My love to you.
The Smitten Chef
"A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms."