Hello Spring | Feelin the Warm Sun

It’s May 1st

Can you believe it’s already May 1st! Time is going by so quickly, but I don’t mind at all because spring is here and I am totally loving the weather and beautiful blossoms! I tend to appreciate my campus most during this beautiful time of year. The grasses are always plush and bright, the flowers are blooming and the sunshine just adds life and freshness to the landscape. I loved today’s weather so much that I just had to lay out under the trees enjoying the warm sun and cool breeze. 

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Graduation is Coming Up

The countdown is definitely on for Queens College 2018! I’ve bought my cap and gown, I’ve RSVP to my department graduation and I’m ready to celebrate my achievement. It’s been quite a journey adulting, living life and doing my thing, but I have endured and enjoyed the good times and the bad times. 

During the past four years of college I didn’t have much of a social life because I was so focused on working and going to school. Being goal oriented is all well and good, but I do wish that I would have spent more interest in building connections and exploring life outside school and work. Knowing that I’m nearing the end of another chapter in my life has afforded me the opportunity to finally stop and smell the blossoms! These past few bright spring days has really been God’s reminder to me that no matter how hard things could get, “this too shall pass” Come May 31st, this too shall pass, as I embark on another journey into the world of work! 

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Interviews Galore

I am lucky enough to have scheduled at least two interviews per week for the next couple months and I am really looking forward to them all. I’ve been applying for jobs like crazy since last September to no avail and I was a bit worried, but I am so grateful that things seem to be panning out quite nicely.  

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More Fun to Come

I know I haven’t been blogging as consistently as I should be, but bear with me, I’m really trying my best not to get too distracted from my final assignments. Nonetheless I have great plans for a fantastic and exciting summer so stick it out with me guys because there’s more fun to come! 

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Blogger Feature | Diva Named Dom

All Black Everything

Miss Diva Named Dom is always slayed to the Gods! I just had to feature her again, not only because of her awesome photos and fashion sense but she has that Naomi Campbell confidence that every woman should always aim to exude!

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All this talk of Beyonce at Coachella made me wanna step my shit on up and step on out on the scene.

Because I don’t have Coachella ticket money but I’m obsessed with Coachella fashion, I decided to mix it up a bit. Check out this gorgeous Black Lace Dress I got from Forever 21. I know I need to stop shopping here, but my wallet is holding on to the relationship for dear life. Besides, they’re adding a contemporary line for women like me that literally wanna stay Forever 21 25.

Thigh high boots are a hot commodity for thick’ems like myself. Imagine how elated I was to find a pair that actually went up my size 12 thighs?! You can grab the same pair here.

I paired it with a bold red lip and a lace choker (also Forever 21). I purchased this one quite a…

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Travel | Islandlife in Sweet Tobago

A trip to Trinidad isn’t complete without paying a visit to its sister isle Tobago. I was fortunate enough to enjoy a scenic stay in Pembroke in the countryside. Although it was about 20 minutes drive away from Crown Point, the hub of Tobago’s nightlife I really got the opportunity to appreciate the islands greenery and sea views. The drive between Crown Point and Pembroke runs along the island’s coastline which conveniently allowed me to capture some amazing landscape memories of this trip.

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It may seem like I didn’t do much, however my two-day stay in Pembroke was still quite satisfying and enjoyable, not only because I enjoyed taking beautiful landscape photos, but I also appreciated immersing myself into Tobago’s country life giving me a rare opportunity to unplug and detach myself from my hectic life.

I have to say though, the best part of my island getaway was my trip to the calm and relaxing waters at Store Bay in Crown Point.

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20180409_104625The convenient and probably the best thing about Store Bay is that it is just a stone throw away from Crown Point’s nightlife. The ANR Airport, the bars, lounges, nightclubs and multiple resorts are all within a few minutes of each other surrounding Store Bay. In Crown Point you can surely have it all, there’s the serenity of Store Bay complimented by the pizzaz of the nightlife.

DSC_0752One thing you’d find most interesting about Tobago is that the locals are so warm and welcoming. Dawn Cape, owner of Sips WIne & Cocktail Bar was the perfect host and so willing to pose for all my photos that I just had to feature him in this blog. 

sips barLast but certainly not least, another highlight from my visit to Tobago was the food. Long before I had even arrived in Trinidad, I had been fantasizing about eating Tobago’s infamous crab and dumpling. crab dumpling1.jpgCooking is a social tradition that the family I stayed with enjoys doing outdoors in their backyard. The Sunday norm is to invite friends over and together they’ll cook up a storm over drinks, laughter and good conversation. 

All in all I genuinely enjoyed living the country girl, island life for a couple days. It was stimulating and refreshing, I would definitely recommend taking a visit to Trinidad and Tobago. Hopefully, I’d be able to enjoy another Caribbean getaway this summer, so look forward to more travel and adventure blogs from me here on hellomirabelle.com 

 

Food & Drink | Trini Mom Shares Pastele Pie Recipe

Traveling and exploring different cultures definitely affords the opportunity to taste the world and while on vacation in Trinidad you just can’t avoid indulging in all the local and traditional foods.

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Local mom, hairstylist and aspiring entrepreneur, Sigournie La Foucade, was so kind to open up her kitchen to my curiosity sharing her tips and tricks to making the perfect pastele pie. This quick and simple recipe transforms Trinidad and Tobago’s most famous Christmas dish, pastele, into a year round favorite. Combining the ingredients used to make pastele with the technique used to make shepherd’s pie, Sigournie effortlessly whips up two pastele pies while giving me the exclusive on her recipe secrets.

Ingredients 

Minced Meat Filling

  • 1 lb minced meat
  • 1/2 cup raisins 
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup olives
  • 2 small onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 pimentos
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 stalks cilantro

Pastele Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp maggie all purpose seasoning

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Bon Appétit! Follow Sigournie on instagram at authenticme_whitney_ to see more of her life as a mom and stylist.

 

 

 

 

Fashion | Project Runway All Star Launches New Clothing Line

Project Runway All Star Anya Ayoung Chee proudly launches her new clothing line Anya Ayoung Chee – Limited Edition

Anya’s rise to fashion stardom began when she graced the 2008 Miss Universe Pageant in Japan representing her country Trinidad and Tobago. Then, in 2011, the United Nations Association of Trinidad & Tobago (UNATT) spokeswoman auditioned for Project Runway Season 9 where she easily became a fan favorite. Anya’s creative designs always captivated a tropical island aesthetic, bringing something fresh and inspiring to the table which won her the Project Runway Season 9 title.

Fast forward seven years later, Anya has appeared on Project Runway All Stars and guest starred on a reality show with Tim Gunn where she mentored aspiring designers. Anya has never lost interest in her roots designing costumes for Tribe, Bliss and she has even designed her own line of fete and Carnival Monday wear, cANYAval. 

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Earlier this year, crowned in a carnival inspired headpiece, the designer tied the knot with photographer Wyatt Gallery at their small beachfront wedding in Blanchisseuse, Trinidad. Wyatt posted this photo on his instagram account saying, “In a small, intimate, family ceremony yesterday, I married my soulmate and my love @anyaayoungchee while overlooking the coastline of Blanchisseuse, Trinidad, a place that has been a part of my soul since 1999. It was a magical dream come true (finally!)”

After her extended break from designing for the rack, Anya is back with her new clothing line Anya Ayoung Chee – Limited Edition which aims to provide exclusive, small quantities of each design she creates.

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Lifestyle | Spring Break Haul

Nature has been giving us a few sneak previews of the crisp air and warm sun that comes with Spring for the past couple weeks here in New York, but as we all know, you could never get too excited with this bipolar transition weather. But, it’s finally March 20th, Spring is here and I’m ready for it! My favorite season of the year. 

With every new season comes new fashion statements, makeup trends and new friends so I just had to do a collab with one of the most fashionable lifestyle bloggers I follow, the gorgeous Diva Named Dom. The self proclaimed cosmopolitan diva creates fashion, food, culture and lifestyle content that captivates her essence and desire to be the best version of herself.

Collab Feature | Domenique

Domenique’s blog and instagram feed has successfully maintained an attractive aesthetic to amass loyal readers who are always genuinely inspired by her content and originality. When she isn’t blogging, this Miami beauty enjoys relaxing at home spending quality time with her mother’s foster children and five Dachshunds. This spring, Domenique’s followers can definitely look forward to more amazing blogs and fascinating photography as she plans to shed her winter clothes and enjoy the fabulous Miami weather. Check out her latest post Spring Has Sprung.

What Have I Been Up To Lately?

2018 started off a bit rough for me but I’m finally getting my life under control. While trying to be a little more consistent with my blogging, I’ve also been tutoring part-time while still wrestling a crazy schedule this semester as I prepare to graduate in May, hopefully. Unfortunately, I’m about six credits shy of the required minimum necessary for graduation. However, through several appeals and permission from the English Department and the Registrar at Queens College, I have been permitted to attend commencement in May. Hooray for me! The pit of the prune is, I’ll have to return in the summer to do two classes to make up for my unfinished credits. Not too bad, right? I’ll knock those off by June.  

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That drama aside, spring blossoms also means Spring Break! Turn up or Nah? Throughout the past four years of school, I have never looked forward to Spring Break this much because I usually never go anywhere. This year though, I am destination ready headed for sand, sea and lots and lots of tropical sun. Although I didn’t go too crazy shopping for this spring break trip, I definitely picked up a few blog worthy affordable finds that I am excited to share with you. 

Mini Spring Break Haul

I absolutely fell in love with these cute flats the moment I found them. They seem so retro yet modern at the same time, a bit nostalgic, because I almost remember having a similar pair in brown as a kid. I also picked up these fab African inspired accessories that just brings out the Wakanda in me! And of course, you can’t go wrong with a good ole pair of trendy thrift store sunglasses.

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Getting a straw bag for a trip in the spring is an absolute must have. I was especially attracted to this reddish brown color not only because it matches these cute flat sandals and compliments my skin tone, but I also feel like the regular light tan straw bags are so ordinary. I’m a sucker for a good glow and some lashes so I just had to snatch up these Kiss ‘so wispy’ lashes and this Elf ‘sunglow’ illuminator. 

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I try my best to be a minimalist whenever I travel but I just gotta have a different shoe for every different outfit! So, the minimalist way to try to achieve this is to get the staple colors; white, brown and black. I can’t wait to get my toes freshly done to wear these gorg sandals. I also had to try these layered lashes from Kiss that I got on sale at a beauty supply store in Brooklyn, it was only $1! Can’t beat that bargain. I always get compliments on this floral embroidered crossbody bag so why not include it in the fun right? And it was only $13 on Amazon! Bargaaaaaaain!

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Shockingly I’ve become quite a sneakerhead lately. These suede mauve Reebok Classics are giving me so much life! I’m so looking forward to sporting them with my matching  headwrap this spring! My favorite sneaker brands at the moment are Reebok, Vans and Puma, mainly because they have so much unique colors in simple classic styles. 

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Last but not least, I just had to cop these crocodile hunter looking Under Armor sneakers for all the animal farm, camping, hiking and long walking trips that I plan to take this season. However, it’s just a shame that this picture isn’t doing this headwrap justice! I’m so looking forward to wrap my hair up in all its glittery and sparkly glory.

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I hope you guys enjoyed my quick mini spring break haul. Stay tuned for my travel updates within the next couple weeks, I promise you it will be amazing! Happy Spring! 

 

Food & Drink | Food Journal

What Have I Been Eating Lately?

Busy schedules and hectic lifestyles usually take a toll on our diet and I’ll be the first to admit that I usually go for the quickest, easiest options like deli sandwiches and pastries. However, with my graduation coming up in May and summer following right after, I have been doing my best to be a little more conscious of my meal choices.

I have tried a couple meal replacement shakes in the past like Herbalife and Slimfast, but lately I’ve been using Nature’s Bounty Complete Protein & Vitamin Shake Mix and I’m loving it. Since I’ve started incorporating high protein breakfast smoothies into my diet, I’ve noticed that I won’t get hungry or have cravings for about 3-4 hours. My past experiences with protein shakes are less than recommendable because I never seem to  like the flavors and I would always get a chalky, pasty after taste. This Nature’s Bounty Shake Mix vanilla flavor combines well with almond, coconut or cashew milk and I sometimes even add bananas, berries, cacao powder, cinnamon, nutmeg  or my favorite peanut butter powder for added nutrients and flavor to create the ultimate breakfast SMOOTHie.

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DSC_0470It’s important for me to always have easy grab and go snack options available to take to school because this helps me avoid crazy random binges at the snack machine. I prefer to stick to tropical fruits like bananas, oranges, grapefruits and pineapples, but I’ll occasionally throw in a few apples and grapes for variety.dsc_0328.jpgThis is what a quick trip to the grocery store looks like for me, and these snacks usually lasts about 3-5 days. I don’t usually have heavy meals during the day, especially when I’m at school because after a big meal, I tend to get the itis. Having a quick salad or fruits and a glass of milk or a smoothie helps me to avoid that groggy fatigued feeling after eating. I have also grown to enjoy baby carrots and mini cukes with a nice low-fat spinach dip or roasted red pepper hummus, it’s a great alternative to chips and dip. dsc_0286.jpgApart from my amazing breakfast smoothies and fruit and veggie snacks, I also do my best to have healthy dinner options. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I do indulge in the not so healthy options but I’ve been doing my best to keep up a strict regimen. This past week I’ve created a little picture journal of my dinner options especially for this blog.

Chicken & Cottage SaladDSC_0433.JPGMini Bagel and Chipotle Chicken n’ Roasted Tomatoes with a Sauteed Mushroom SaladDSC_0443.JPGHam Egg n’ Cheese Muffin  and Shamrock ShakeDSC_0457.JPGBaked Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes n’ Mushrooms and Apple n’ Raisin SalsaDSC_0451.JPGVegan Cream of Broccoli SoupDSC_0469.JPGGrilled Chicken with Broccoli and CornDSC_0461.JPGAs you can see I pretty much stick to the basics and I like keeping it simple. I hope you enjoyed this little food journal post this week. 

 

Food & Drink | Sunday Lunch

Blackened Cajun Salmon

Since my last Food and Drink blog I have been thinking of interesting ways to incorporate weekly food posts on this blog because, if you don’t know already, I am a big foodie and I absolutely enjoy preparing healthy but still tasty homemade meals. This week I tried out this simple, quick and easy Blackened Cajun Salmon.

I bought a beautiful piece of salmon fillet fresh from my local supermarket for $9.49USD at $9.99USD/lb however I think I usually pay around $8.99USD/lb for the salmon steak pieces. When buying the steaks I tend to spend way more money even though the steaks are cheaper because I’d normally pick up about three pieces which would come up to about $16USD-$18USD. This time I had to stick to my budget so I just opted for the fillet. 

 

I know I always rave about using fresh ingredients all the time, but these Badia Parsley Flakes are the bomb! I have tried cajun seasonings from various brands but Badia’s version is one of my favorites, the not too spicy, not too salty with a hint of fresh tangy sweet flavors paired with the freshness of the lime juice totally brightens up the taste of the salmon. I rarely use olive oil when baking salmon because salmon usually releases its own natural oils which, when mixed with some lime juice and water, creates a nice light fish sauce that I use for gravy. 

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After allowing the seasonings and lime to marinate into the salmon for about 30 minutes, I preheat my oven to 390º then bake for 30-40 minutes until it gets that blackened crispy coating on the top. The trick to keeping the salmon from becoming too tough and crusty is after turning off the oven, drizzle a little marinade over the fish then let it sit in the oven for about 10-15 more minutes or until ready to serve.

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Bon Appétit! Blackened Cajun Salmon served with Mashed Potatoes, a side salad and a glass of freshly squeezed homemade lemonade. 

I’m really looking forward to keeping up this Sunday Lunch series creating easy meals to share with you guys. And hopefully I can get it all together and posted by Sunday evenings, if not it will definitely be posted the next day.

 

 

 

Love on the Brain | Valentine’s Day Ideas

Get ready for those relationship goals and matching outfits couples posts! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! I know a lot of people pick on valentine’s day for being commercialized, unnecessary and pointless, but I have to admit, I’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day. Call me corny but there’s just something so exciting about sharing this day with that special someone. When he does find me, I’d want to celebrate that Nala and Simba type love that Elton John was singing about when he wrote  Can You Feel the Love Tonight

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I know we should cherish our loved ones 365 days a year and be willing to prepare surprises just because it’s a Tuesday, but I’d adore the day a guy goes all out for me on Valentine’s Day. I’d be even more excited about planning v-day surprises for him. Although I have yet to  share in the experience of the celebration of this lovely day for couples, I have tons and tons of ideas for gifts, surprises and dates!

Slightly cheesy but totally worth it DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

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Top 3 Stay-at-Home Intimate Date Ideas

Charm your loved one with a Romantic Candle-Lit Dinner and express to them your interest and dedication through your effort, time and creativity. Why go out to a restaurant when you can set the mood in a more intimate setting at home? Think about it, at a restaurant you’d sit down, browse through the menu, order, chit chat while waiting, eat, pay then leave, but at home, you set the pace. No nosy customers or pushy waiters distracting the romance, just you and your significant other enjoying the passion of each others company.

A Daytime Outdoor Picnic is a rustic and special way to spend Valentine’s Day in your own backyard or it could be a great opportunity for a couple outing to your favorite park. This idea is probably not practical here in New York since it’s about 30°, but to all my readers who are enjoying warmer weather, why not share this v-day with that lovely someone having some fun in the sun. 

This Rose Petal Bath with Scented Candles is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Obviously this date is only for those who’s relationship is at that level, this may be a little too much for a couple who just started dating. However if you and your partner have explored and are comfortable with this level of intimacy, this special surprise for your loved one after a long day would really be a great opportunity to indulge in the sensuality of your connection. Make sure the mood is right having your favorite love songs whispering in the background paired with some good champagne or wine and some chocolates. And if you’re really feeling fancy, this would be an awesome surprise addition to a night out at a hotel.

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I hate cliches, but on Valentine’s Day, its really the thought that counts, it could be just a card, a box of candies or even a single rose. Don’t be afraid to jump on this bandwagon! Celebrate your relationship, celebrate and show your gratitude and appreciation for your bond with your loved one on this so-called over-commercialized day for hallmark and love sick cornballs.