April 30, 2013

The Weekend: Thriftin'

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Beau and I decided to skip the people-packed events downtown for a quiet, easy going Saturday at a thrift store in our neighboring township.

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// this is really random, but I were to have a baby boy, that sailboat would have had to come home with us. Also, how cool is that butter churner??


This was my second time ever going to a thrift shop, and I have to say that I enjoyed it more this time around -- having a new home and all. We haven't begun decorating our home yet, so our place is still an open canvas. One major item that I had my eye out for is a large mirror for our living room. I spotted a beautiful, rustic one as soon as we entered the store, but there was a lady guarding it terribly once I pointed it out to beau. [enter my sad face here]

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//devising a plan on how to possess more music, I’m sure


What also made this thrift shop trip more enjoyable was having an idea of what I was looking for clothes-wise. My closets are full of clothes, so beau would actually cosign that I don't need anymore, but I have been wanting to change up my wardrobe for a while now. I am was the kind of person to purchase something because it fit and was on sale. As I now struggle to find something to wear every time I go to get myself ready, I become absolutely annoyed with the clothes in my wardrobe-- many of which still have price tags on them. -- I will post more about my personal styling woes later. Going to the clothing section of the thrift store, I knew that I wanted simple dresses and simple skirts (My favorite things to wear). I ended up finding two dresses that I absolutely adored. That yellow dress complements my dark skin very well and with the removal of the shoulder pads, the addition of a knee length slip, maybe a little hemming and some killer heels, this dress will be my new favorite thing to wear to church once it warms up. I also picked up a basic black midi dress.

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//really, really excited about these finds

Beau also found something he liked (one I was secretly hoping wouldn't make it into our house ...we all have those moments). He picked up a wooden shelf to store his tens and thousands of cassette tapes and maybe some other audio-visual things. He's a 'music-head', so he has a ton of music.  I have yet to see the potential in this thing, but he's so excited about it, and it's now sitting in our tiny closet/library (aka 3rd bedroom), so I might as well get used to it.

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//just look at that face! He was so happy! Also, I’m not quite sure my neighbor was pleased about being a part of this photo

April 26, 2013

Life Lately

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Married Life.
Marriage is great. Although it doesn't out-right feel like it, there is still an adjustment taking place. We are still learning each other and trying to communicate effectively. All of that may take some time, but it’s all good. I am still learning from Beau. Some of the same lessons are being thrown at me over and over again, but it’s just that we think differently. I am a worry-wart. He’s the calm one. I am almost always reminded of this. One day it will stick.

Gym.
I got a gym membership. In a way, I felt guilty for wanting it because beau has so much on his plate financially. But the home bodyweight exercises (via BodyRockTV and AmandaRussell) were not working for me anymore. I kept losing motivation -- especially when it got hard. And it was hard for me to keep up. I have been pretty diligent with the gym since the membership was confirmed. I would feel awful if I let our money go to waste, especially since we could really use every bit we have. I started doing the Run5k program -- for the umpteenth time and I've finally made it to week 2! I’m not really trying to run a real 5k, I am just trying to have a healthy heart and work towards something that I have never been able to do before. I hope I am able to stick with it. I used to fear running on the treadmill, but it’s not half bad.

Meal Plans.
I tried creating a meal plan this week, and I love it. This week we can forgo this dialogue beau and I have constantly :
Me: I don’t know what to make for dinner tomorrow. Any suggestions?
Beau: No. Whatever you make, I’m sure it will be good.
That is never the response I want, but it is always the one I get. Here’s to having none of that this week, or ever if I continue with making meal plans!

Photographs.
I have been more and more unimpressed with my photographs lately. Not that they were ever like photojournalistic quality-- or ever will be-- but they’re just so lackluster. I have a wonderful wishlist of fancy DSLRs I would like to have… one day.

Job Hunting.
Same ol’.  Same ol’. As I approach the one year mark of graduating with my Master’s degree, I have a mix of emotions concerning this whole unemployment bit I had to face. It’s bittersweet. I am currently allowing it to be sweet because I’m sure that once I begin working full-time, I will be begging for a day, or month off. I also try not to worry, because I know it will come just like it did for Syd. I too felt like all the jobs I have applied for were being karate-blocked (no, seriously-- that is the perfect description), but I have faith.

The Weekend.
We don’t have any set-in-stone plans for the weekend. There will be a street fair on Broad Street on Saturday, and it’s also the weekend for Penn Relays. Penn Relays is something I have always wanted to experience. Track & field is something Jamaicans excel at, and our people are always out at Penn Relays in good numbers, but I don’t think this will be my year to attend. We may keep it low-key this weekend and just rest.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! 

April 24, 2013

On Faith (...and Being Fearless)


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I have been a little apprehensive about sharing more about my faith on here. When I started this blog, I was trying to get to a place where I could honestly say that I had a one-on-one relationship with God. I was no where close. He was calling out for me, but I could not hear. And when it was made perfectly clear of His pursuit of me, it’s as if I turned my back on Him. Not because of unruliness, but because I was so afraid to leave the things of the world-- the parties. --the friends. But after a while, my ears stung at the sound of a curse word. The parties and nightlife bored me. The alcohol tasted bitter. And my friends from those times are no longer close by to influence my decisions. I am different now, and I can feel it. God is building me up to be who He wants me to be. To be more like Him. To be a branch on His vine (John 15:5).

I am no where near being perfect in Him. In fact, I often fear posting things like this on my blog, on twitter and other social media sites. But I am coming to learn that God is not ashamed of me -- the wretched soul that I am in both thought and deed. He loves me and claims me as His own just the same. I may lose followers. It’s okay. I only have a few, anyway. And visitors may stop reading as soon as they view my belief in my About Me section. But that’s okay too. I think it's been like that for a while now.

I have to do what’s right for me. I only have one life, and I cannot allow fear of what others think of me (a fear that I have struggled with and continue to struggle with to this day) hold me back and prevent me from entering into the kingdom of heaven. That would actually suck... a lot!

I love a light-hearted, fun post about food, fashion, and everyday life as much as the next person. I really do. And I intend to continue doing those posts. But I am currently at a time in my life, where my faith  and courage are being challenged. 
I would hate to fail. 

April 23, 2013

The Weekend: Teen Talent

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// Saturday was a beautifully sunny day. That sun was deceiving, however, because I found myself shivering with every gust of wind. Beau and I left super early that morning to head out to Mechanicsburg, PA to support the youth from our church at their Teen Talent competition. (Here begins the bad quality photos -- I apologize in advance)

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//Teen Talent is a competition that the Pennsylvania Church of God has to showcase the talent our teens have. Talents are showcased in categories of art, music and drama. It was a beautiful intimate setting where we were allowed to experience all that the Lord has blessed our future generations with.

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// The teens from our church participated in various areas. We had a good workout that day traveling back and forth between the room for music presentations and the one for the drama  to cheer on our church. In my opinion, the two skits above were the most compelling to me. (The top is from another church. The bottom two are from my church). They both shared similarities regarding being bound by the chains of sin and the crazy whirlwind we face trying to get out of it. But, our Saviour is always there to take us back.

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// Our church began participating in Teen talent when I began college, so I never had a chance to participate, but it seemed like such fun.I always enjoy hearing new music, and it was great seeing the creativity and talent that many other teens had, especially in the drama realm. I would probably die of utter anxiety being in front of  people I don't know, so I applaud them for their courage.

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// We came home with a number of trophies, which is customary for our teens, I suppose. It was a long, tiring day, but I enjoyed the day trip. We drove through Lancaster County full of tons of dairy farms, cute cows and horses, hotels without wifi and cable (gotta love the Amish), and breathed a good amount of country air. SAM_7603-001

April 15, 2013

The Weekend: Food Truck Mania


On Saturday, Beau and I ventured out to Main Street in Manayunk for their Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival. This event was a kickoff to their restaurant week (April 14-26th). As mentioned in a previous post, I love Manayunk because that is where I snagged my first job towards the end of high school.  Manayunk is still a part of Philadelphia, but it's so quaint and small--with little shops and restaurants lining a couple blocks-- it feels like its own town.

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Gourmet food trucks and stands with different cuisines set up shop along Main street for a couple hours that day, serving up their most popular meals. Strawberries were the key ingredient for the event, so we found many vendors with that ingredient incorporated into their meals... Like the strawberry lemonade cupcake I devoured  in the most unattractive way. haha.

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I could not believe how many people actually came out to the event. The streets were packed with families and friends just hanging out. The lines were super long. Everything smelled great and I'm sure they tasted even better because many things were sold out by the time we got to some trucks.
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//this cow curd truck was the most popular. The line was crazy long!
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Overall... a great, people packed time. It was a beautiful day, too!
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April 12, 2013

Baby Voice


I have always been soft spoken. As a child, I apparently had an annoyingly whiney voice, comparable to Edith Bunker (or so said my mom and sister). I always thought I would grow out of it, and actually felt as though I did. Alas, I am constantly reminded by some soul that this voice of mine is still very small.

Earlier in the week, after a short presentation I did I at church, a little boy came up to me (he could not have been more than 10 yrs old) and said "You have the cutest little baby voice". My self-esteem sky-rocketed after that... Really, it did. -__-

I admit it's a little frustrating at times. Not being heard or not taken seriously. Apparently when I yell in anger, that's when I'm actually speaking at a normal, audible tone. Some people often struggle to hear me when I speak. This makes me wonder:

- Am I not being taken seriously at some interviews? I actually speak more sternly during interviews than I do in general. But that 'stern voice' is also what I used during my presentation the other day. What does that say?

- Am I to fake a voice with more bass in it until it sticks? That sounds just all types of wrong. 

- Or, do I accept what I've got? I've always hated my voice. But beau loves it, and I have had many a people take me seriously when I speak. So what does that say?

Such is life, I guess. 

I know blogosphere doesn't allow for us to hear a person's voice, unless that person also makes videos. But what do you think of my voice? (I can't believe I'm actually asking you guys this) Below is a video I made for a class I had a couple years ago. My voice can be heard asking the questions. Let me know what you think? Do you believe the way a person's voice sounds takes away from their personal attributes? 

April 10, 2013

A New Heart

I constantly feel like I am fighting the most treacherous battle in life. Kind of like the ones you read about in the history books: Gory. Merciless. Never ending. The schism in all of this is that the battle is of a mental/spiritual nature, which I am sure makes it almost exponentially more difficult to fight and win.

I have struggled with so much hurt during my short life. I never knew how to deal with it. I held it all in. Stayed quiet. Never talked back. Accepted the abuse. Until one day, I snapped. It was senior year in high school. I got myself in trouble. She snapped (as usual), and I finally snapped back. I've forgiven her since then. Even before that, I did... and after as well. I was never one to hold grudges. Grudges are the kinds of things that eats at us, slowly. And in the end, we are hurt more than the person who is hurting us. 


I finally went to college. I couldn't wait! I was so happy to leave that 'hell hole'. And then, our relationship seemed to have mellowed out. It was as if absence does make the heart grow fonder.There were momentary hiccups during school breaks, but nothing major. Nothing like what I had experienced before. 

Then I fell in love, and he asked me to marry him and all hell broke loose again. I began feeling guilty for being in love. Afterall, I had never felt this way before and I wasn't even sure of what love was. Her anger towards us started making me feel angry toward us. There was a constant back and forth between our first date (2009) and our engagement (2011), but last year was the worst of it all. I started doubting him. I started doubting us. I also began doubting Him, above. 

But He came through for us, and we got married. November 24, 2011. Just as He had spoken to my heart in June. 

And I felt as though I was finally free! But that's not why I wanted to get married. I loved my beau, but that love was marred by all my past hurts. ALL the past pains. Who knew I would carry that into our blessed marriage? There were a few days where we would be okay, and other days when we were not... I was not. This new life we were building, was it really meant to be? I began questioning myself. He apparently began to pray. I prayed as well, because I noticed that those feelings I felt towards him at times were not deserved. I wanted to love him like he loves me... Like He loves us both.

March 10, 2013, I got a new heart

A pastor from New Jersey. He was no stranger to our church, but he happened to come by that Sunday to visit our pastor and preach God's word to us. During the night service, he hardly got a chance to preach as the Lord began speaking to him about the issues of His people at our church. I was just praising the Lord minding my own business when I felt his hand on my forehead. He signaled the musicians to stop playing, the praise team to stop singing, and I could suddenly feel all eyes on me. He revealed some things about me that only I and a select few knew. How I felt like I was losing my mind. How last year was really hard for me. How it all began to affect a relationship I'm in now. I melted in tears. He didn't have to spell out every single detail, but I knew that God was speaking directly through him. He said that on that night, I would get a new heart... A new heart. 

I haven't been the same since then. I've had the normal bouts of 'tired, miserable wife'... but no more thoughts or feelings of disdain towards him. No more bouts of depression and uselessness. And most of all, I feel as though I have really forgiven her. I have before, but even more so now. 


My wish is that if any of you reading this post has experienced something similar, you will find comfort in these words. And comfort from a God who sees and knows. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9

**Photo via**

April 9, 2013

Date Night: Brick American Eatery


Beau and I love trying new restaurants and cuisines. So, for the last couple years, we have been trying new restaurants by purchasing daily deals (i.e. Groupon and Livingsocial  for our city. Sometimes, it's a hit or miss with the restaurants, but we have been able to find some gems. Brick American Eatery is one of them. It's a tiny little restaurant in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia and I love it.

On Saturday evening, we went to Brick American Eatery for the third time. Beau really likes their lamb burger, and I basically like everything I've tried thus far. The food comes out hot and I think everything that they plate together complements each other very well. On this past dinner date, we had the Thai chili shrimp for an appetizer. I tried the pork tenderloin with sautéed peaches and strawberries (I got jipped on the peaches, though) and chipotle mashed potatoes. I convinced beau to try something other than the lamb burger, so he got the jumbo lump crab cake with lemon pesto capellini and vegetables. Everything was so good. This place hasn't disappointed us yet!


Overall -- and in all honesty, the wait is long, but the food is good. 
...And I had a sweet time with my beau. We didn't waste spend any time looking at our phones during our date. I really enjoyed our time together. 

April 4, 2013

Conquering the Butternut Squash


Confession:   I have never prepared butternut squash before. 

So when beau expressed his desire for butternut squash with some kind of stew to accompany it, I thought 'Okay. I can do this.'

That major bout of confidence was shut down when I tried preparing it last week. First, I had a really hard time cutting it in half...  I mean, a really. hard. time. I guess we can chalk that up to my weak upper arm strength. When I finally cut it in half, seasoned it, and baked it per instructions I found on cooking websites, the squash was no where near cooked (baked at 400° for 45 minutes).  I baked it for an additional 30 minutes and that seemed to have been enough. But at dinner, we discovered that there were bits of it still very much crunchy and texturized. I classified that night's dinner as a failure.


This week, I tackled the other half of that butternut squash with more confidence than the first. I seasoned it just about the same (except I used cinnamon sugar instead of brown sugar), I covered it with foil this time to allow the steam to cook the squash all the way through, and I baked it for 1.5 hours. I then scooped it out to make a mashed butternut squash-thing...Success!

// I also punctured the mess out of that squash to allow the steam to penetrate properly.  


Do any of you know another way to prepare butternut squash?
I'm thinking of using it in a soup next time.

April 2, 2013

The Weekend

Our first Easter weekend together consisted of:


// a quick run to downtown Philly on Good Friday. (We have a thing for cupcakes and food trucks).

// spiced bun and cheese... The bestest! And we've actually made a dent in it. 

//straight. hair. the entire process took forever, but it was worth it. my hair has grown so much since I decided to wear it naturally curly last year. (Sorry for the closed eyes)

//our first Easter Sunday as a married couple celebrating our risen King.

//oh, and ice cream dates ... ftw! 
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