Instaweekend: 5k, Parade, Big Breakfast and Couch Surfing

As this week wears on, I become more nostalgic for precious weekend moments, big and small.  Thank goodness I captured them on Instagram! 
1.  Lovely building I snapped on the way back from a 5K on Saturday.
2.  Homemade blueberry Belgian waffles and bacon (yum).
3.  My favorite place on a Sunday afternoon.
4, 5, and 6. Gasparilla Pirate Festival Parade in Tampa, FL.
7.  Unique chocolate flavor I spotted in Walgreens (too skeptical to try it).
8.  Shadow and light, dancing on my armchair.


Etsy-static: Graphic Tees

One way to make a style statement without saying a word is with the graphic tee.  Etsy has a ton of handmade screenprinted tees to choose from.  My favorite casual cool way to wear a graphic tee is under a blazer. ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)


Delicious Dishes: Asian Marinated Swordfish with Lemon Rice

Need a quick and healthy weeknight meal?  This asian marinated swordfish with zesty citrus-infused rice is just the thing to liven things up.  Serve with a salad or steamed veggie of choice for a completely satisfying dinner.  With a bit of timing, you can prepare the whole meal in about half an hour.  Let's get started!

To make the marinade, combine olive oil, teriyaki sauce, minced ginger, diced onion, honey (or maple syrup) and smashed whole garlic cloves in a bowl.  Marinate swordfish for 15 minutes while you cook the rice.
 The key to getting this meal on the table, in 30 minutes or less, is timing. While your swordfish is marinating, cook the rice.  Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the boiling water you will be cooking the rice in.  Cook rice according to package directions.  Once the rice is done, stir in the lemon zest.
Remove the fish from the marinade being careful to remove any pieces of onion, ginger or garlic.  Set the marinade aside.  Allow your pan to get smokin' hot before adding the fish. No need to add additional oil because of the residual oil from the marinade.  Sear the fish until you have a browned crust on one side (approximately 3 minutes; the thickness of your fish determines how long it takes to cook).  Flip it over and cook for an additional 3 minutes (be careful not to overcook this fish, it becomes extremely dry when cooked too long). 
Because of the honey in the marinade, your fish will develop a very dark crust during cooking...it's not burned, that's "flavah"!  After removing the fish from the pan, add vegetable stock to the marinade and bring it to a boil.  Stir the additional lemon juice into your rice. To serve, Add rice to a platter or bowl.  Place fish on top, and pour the strained pan sauce over it. Garnish with chopped green onion.  Enjoy!
Asian Marinade
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
4 whole garlic cloves, smashed
1inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup)
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk the ingredients together and adjust salt and pepper to your taste before adding the raw fish.  After marinating the fish, save the marinade to boil, with 1/4 cup of vegetable broth, for at least one minute.  Strain to remove the marinaded vegetable pieces.
Lemon Rice
Add the juice of half a lemon to the water you intend to cook your rice in.  Cook the rice according to package directions.  Add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and the juice of 1/2 a lemon to cooked rice


Shoe Spot: Triple Threat

My co-workers were shoeing showing out!  At every turn there was a different, yet equally fabulous type of footwear.  So "Today was a Good Day" like in the song, by Ice Cube,  cuz I "messed around and got a triple double" for ya'll.  You're welcome.


Etsy-static: purlBknit

purlBknit is an etsy seller that specializes in fine natural knitwear. When I first saw these items, it made me want to learn how to knit, but then I came back to the reality that even if I did know how to knit, I would probably not be able to create such stunning wearable works of art.  So now I just wish I lived in a colder climate, so I could wear these lovely pieces for more than two days out of the year!


Style Inspiration: Esperanza Spalding

Just like her music, Ms. Spalding's wardrobe choices mix the classics with a bit of funk.  Not only is her style on point, she rocks her coily fro with abandon.  Esperanza sports a mulitude of hairstyles that curly girls with any hair texture can duplicate.  This style icon is hitting all the right notes.  Find out more about her music here.
1, 2, 3, 4


Soul Inspired: Living The Good Life In The New Year, Part Three

As the new year begins to unfold before you day by day, do you find yourself actively working toward achieving the goals you set for this year? By far, the most common goals set are commitments to take better care of our bodies; to exercise, lose weight, eat healthy, to just slow down a little . . . the list goes on.

As you work toward achieving your goals, it is vital that you adopt the proper perspective as your motivation. It is vital that you give first place to God's purpose for your goals. For example, first place is given to God's purpose when the goal of achieving an improved body stems from a desire to become an all-around better child of His. Second to God's purpose, the motivating factor can be desiring a better body merely for personal reasons.

Pray for the wisdom to apply God's purposes as the motivating force in all you do. Giving God's purpose first place establishes His Lordship over your circumstances. God will enable you to fulfill your goals when they are in line with His will.

And to God be the glory!

THE GOOD NEWS: The immeasurably significant promises and benefits of God are available to us once we beome a child of God. If earthly parents pour out their all to their children, how much more will God, the heavenly Father, bestow upon His children? NEED TO BE SURE YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD? Free information is available via email request to: DestinationSonshine@yahoo.com


Embellishments: Tech Accessories

Your smartphones, smartpads, and mp3 players need their own accessories to make carrying, operating and storing them more convenient.  These functional and beautiful tech accessories are some of my favorites.


Make It Work: Transitioning From Day to Evening

Need to go from the office to an event?  Separates are the easiest way to transition from day to evening.  Layer a chic tank under a jacket for a a quick change.  Add some bold jewelry, grab the clutch from your day bag and go!


Delicious Dishes: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I've never liked brussel sprouts.  I've had them many times, but never really enjoyed them.  Well that all changed when I roasted fresh brussel sprouts. These were some of the most delicious veggies that I've ever eaten! 
This is too simple to call a recipe, just make sure you rinse the sprouts well, dry them off and then cut them in half lengthwise.   
Once you've dried the brussels sprouts, toss in oil, salt and pepper and place in a 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.
The roasting brings out the natural sweetness and gives the veggies an awesomely crispy texture.  Enjoy!


Clothes Call: Pattern Play

I'm constantly inspired by the way African women put patterns together.  I believe this stylishly thrown together look is the inspiration for the pattern mixing trend we're seeing everywhere.
The key to successful pattern mixing is to stay in the same color family and vary the size of the prints.  If you want to try the trend but are afraid to go for it, pair two prints with a neutral for a more conservative look.  My favorite way to play with patterns is a funky mix of black and white.  


Soul Inspired: Living The Good Life In The New Year, Part Two

We are regularly faced with making decisions that impact the five key areas of everyday living; relationships, finances, health, work and one’s spiritual life. Needless to say, the decisions we make in these areas can either be to our benefit or to our detriment. Consequently, we need to be intentional when faced with reaching decisions; intentional because wise decisions are rarely, if ever, arrived at by accident.

Wisdom and wise decisions are the result of being intentional in practicing the foundational principle of putting God first in all you do. It is a foundational principle because putting God first establishes His Lordship over your circumstances. Determine today to put God first in every area of your life.

God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 ) and if you draw near to God He will draw near to you (James 4:8). As you put God first in all you do, you will increase in wisdom and you will move forward into the good life that He has planned for you.

And to God be the glory!
important note:  Everything that God has to offer us is available to His children; those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Need to be sure you are His child? Additional information is available via email request to: DestinationSonshine@yahoo.com


Delicious Dishes: Cucumber Tomato Salad

Many of us want to lighten up after holiday indulgences.  This salad is perfect for those who may be resolving to eat healthier, without sacrificing flavor.  This is a great starter or side dish; I've even been known to mix in some tuna and eat it as a main dish.  Let's get started!

Cut cucumber lengthwise, scoop out seeds, cut into strips, then dice.
Core and cut tomatoes into strips, then dice.
Combine diced cucumber, tomato, and feta.
For the dressing, whisk olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, until it's mixed well (that's called an emulsion).  Mix the dressing into the cucumber, tomato, and feta.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!
Cucumber Tomato Salad
1 large cucumber, cored and diced
1 large or 3 small tomatoes, cored and diced
5 oz feta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup coconut vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar can be used)
Add diced cucumber and tomato to a bowl.  Mix in feta cheese.  Combine salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar.  Pour over and mix with vegetables and cheese.  Makes 2-4 servings.


Same Steez Less Cheese: Glitter Back Boots

 I love finding affordable versions of more expensive items. These practically identical boots are a sassy option for updating your evening wardrobe or rocking the daytime sparkle trend we love.


Home-asis: Decorating with Vintage Accessories

A great way to add personality and warmth to a shelf, bookcase, or console table is by adding vintage accessories.  These items were found on etsy.com, but sources like Home Goods, Marshalls, or TJ Maxx have plenty of options for achieving a similar look. 


Curly Cues: Getting Real About Natural Hair

I've been natural for over 10 years and a lot has changed in the world of natural hair.  Even though there is more information than ever about going, and staying natural; there are certain things I've realized about my hair, that aren't widely discussed in the natural hair community.  Here are my 5 hair truths.

Hair Product Needs Change Over Time  
You may find that your tried and true regimen is no longer giving you the desired result.  It's normal for seasonal changes, product buildup, or hair growth to affect how products perform, so don't be afraid to give your hair what it needs, if your current products aren't doing the job anymore.

Natural Hair is Not Carefree
The newly natural, or those who may be considering it, may think that there is very little maintenance involved in wearing your hair without a relaxer.  Starting the process with that expectation, may cause disappointment.  The truth is, in order for any style to look good, requires giving your hair some TLC.

Most Women with Curly Hair Have More Than One Hair Texture 
There are those who are against hair typing, which is the curl classification system which categorizes your hair texture.  I don't know exactly when the hair type backlash began, but the purpose of knowing your hair type is to create a hair care regimen that works best for your curls. This means that you may need to use different products on those different textures to get a uniform result when styling your hair.

Wash and Go's Aren't for Everyone
Wash and go's are the holy grail of natural hair care.  We would all love to be able to have that carefree style and have it look fabulous to boot.  The truth is, with some hair textures, after the hair reaches a certain length, a wash and go may actually do more harm than good because of tangles which increase your chances of breakage.  As your hair grows, make sure you adapt your hairstyles to maintain the health of your hair.

Your Hair is Beautiful
Sure, I appreciate the ease of on demand video tutorials, on every aspect of natural haircare; but with that comes some unrealistic expectations. It may be discouraging if you follow a tutorial and expect your hair to look just like your hair idol, with the extraordinary mane.  Although videos are great source of information and inspiration, you should also spend some quality time appreciating your own crowning glory and accepting whatever texture you have, because it's beautiful!


Delicious Dishes: Kale Chips

I bought a couple of bunches of organic kale that had this recipe on the back.  These are a healthy alternative to chips, they're easy to make, and so delicious.  Let's get started!

Wash, drain, and dry the kale then tear into medium sized pieces.
Sprinkle dried kale with olive oil and salt (or whatever spices you prefer)

Spread kale on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 7 minutes or until kale is crispy.
Voila...that's it!  Enjoy!


Soul Inspired: The Good Life in the New Year

photo credit: Artiom Degel and Conrad Levac
The Good Life in the New Year

 The dawning of a new year presents the promise of a fresh start; the opportunity for another chance to do 'it' right or better; the occasion to pursue a long-time dream; a time of new possibilities. For many, a new year ushers in a renewed focus on one's desires, dreams and ambitions.  Hence, New Year's Resolutions . . . perhaps you have made a few. You might even be counted with those of us who, over  the years, have made a few and failed at a few. Even yet, you might be counted with those of us who, after continually failing at New Year Resolutions, have since dropped the label - but still embrace a focused approach toward a better life as we embark on a new year.  

 There is a foundational principle that, when put into practice, will fuel your efforts toward living a better life. This principle will cause you to succeed in every area of life. It is the principle of giving God first place in all you do. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3) Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

 Put God first in all you do and you will have success in the new year!

And to God be the glory!