What’s Been Cooking In The Kitchen – Part 2

Lately, I’ve been quite proud of how much I have taught myself to do and tried in the kitchen these past few weeks. While my schedule has been a little crazy and it’s been a little tiring, I have also been making good progress.  For this specific post, I am going to be sharing what I’ve made the last few weeks, sorry no recipes written down just yet, but yes get ready to be intrigued and salivate:

Watercress Soup

I’m not very good at making Chinese soups or herbal soups, but my boyfriend loves watercress and I tried to make him a watercress soup we both often drink at our homes. The soup was missing a key ingredient that usually gives off a natural sweetness to the soup and I also didn’t use real pork meat. I used pork bones instead.

a large tray pan of wrapped shrimp rolls with dipping sauce

My boyfriend & I were invited to a Potluck at our friend’s home and I decided to make Vietnamese summer rolls since they would make a great appetizer and snack for the potluck. Everyone enjoyed the rolls and said they look and taste like restaurant quality.

dishes of vegetables and chicken wings

Last week I made steamed eggs with Chinese sausage and roast pork, soy sauce chicken drumsticks, and sauteed vegetables for dinner for me and my boyfriend. The soy sauce chicken drumsticks were an A+ to my boyfriend. It was meaty, tender, and delicious!

a bowl of seasoned rice

There was leftover pumpkin, mushroom, and Chinese sausage in the refrigerator yesterday from dinner on Friday night, so I chopped it up and used it in a fried rice and made a pumpkin fried rice which was quite scrumptious!

a bowl of pear slices

My boyfriend has been sick and has been coughing, so my mom told me to make this Asian Pear soup which is a popular soup in China and is a traditional Chinese medicinal soup. It’s usually consumed with Northern apricot kernels which is what you see in the picture above and rock candy for sweetness.

Well this is all I’ve been making so far and hopefully found it to be intriguing.

What hobbies have you been finding yourself doing more often lately? 

Virtues from Motherhood: Nobody is perfect

 The past week or so I’ve been feeling like I can’t catch up with life. Between mid terms approaching and work getting busier fitting everything into 16 or 17 waking hours is tough. A few weeks ago I helped Ava complete her first research report and helped her practice reading it aloud. We finished it way before it was due but on the due date I totally forgot to send her to school with it! I didn’t realize until I was heading out the door for work that it was still hanging on the fridge. In a panic, I threw it in my bag and rushed to the school to give it to her and by then she’d already realized I forgot to send it with her. When she saw me she was relieved but her little face asking me why I forgot in the first place made me feel so bad. How do I tell her I’m only human and sometimes I’m going to make mistakes because I’m not perfect?

I’m sure as we’ve all matured we’ve realized our parents are only human and not the super-human superheroes we imagined them to be all our lives. Parents have their off days, bad days and moments of weakness just like anyone else and as Ava matures I realize I am no different, I can’t do it all perfect on a daily basis. Mishaps like the forgotten report are small in the big scheme of things but a handful of those little mishaps can make you feel defeated or frazzled. As much as I don’t want Ava to see it, she probably will. At first, this idea scared me because I feared she’d see me as this mad woman who’s always running around but then it dawned on me, if I’m optimistic about life she will be too.

By having an optimistic perspective, I will try not to complain aloud but instead use positive terms and highlight the good in the madness and not what was difficult or something I could’ve done more efficiently. When I started classes this semester I felt really bad about missing bedtime for Ava 4 out of 5 weeknights. I had to take night classes because of work. One night, my brother told me Ava was upset she hadn’t seen me and tried to facetime but I couldn’t leave class at the moment. I was upset I couldn’t talk to her but I got an idea from a book I read a few years ago “Notes on the refrigerator door”, a book about a mother and daughter who left each other notes because their schedules meant they didn’t spend much time home together.

Though Ava is only 7 she still gets the concept. Before I leave every morning I leave her a little note, a funny rhyme or a question and before she goes to bed she writes me back. I come home around 9 every night and there’s this little note waiting for me, sometimes with errors or peculiar pictures but always written with love. It may seem small or trivial but since we started writing notes back and forth she doesn’t get as upset about going to sleep without me and I think she looks forward to writing them every night.

Even though night classes and 15-hour days are not ideal, I’m determined to make it work for the bigger picture, the end goal. I want Ava to understand in the future that these crazy schedules and long hours were for the betterment of our future. She’s already seen me graduate once and she’ll see me do it again when I earn my B.A degree. Whenever I feel like I can’t keep up or I’m falling behind I remind myself that I’m still doing it and that little gestures like notes left for Ava keep the stitches of this crazy patchwork quilt of life together.

Four Seasons In One Week

New York weather is strange, isn’t it? Well, for me I find it strange, but interesting at the same time because of its inconsistency. For example, in a span of one to three weeks, the weather can change so drastically that sometimes it even seems as if all four seasons are manifested into two or three weeks.
If you think I might be over exaggerating a little, then you can analyze what happened over the last three weeks and see for yourself that I do have a point. Thus now let’s get into what actually happened over that specific period of time. Three weeks ago it rained, resembling that we were in the fall, and the week after that you could have thought that it was already summer time because the temperature went all the way up to the 70’s. This week temperatures dropped, it became cold, and as if things were not crazy enough, it snowed yesterday on the first day of Spring.Thus, this is how crazy and inconsistent New York’s weather has been over the course of just three weeks and thus this phenomena does really seem like four seasons in a month.

 people walking on a sidewalk in the rainPhoto taken in Manhattan
green trees leaning over a city streetPhoto taken in Manhattan
a yellow taxicab driving over a crosswalkPhoto taken in Manhattan
train tracks in the snowPhoto taken in Manhattan
a snowy pedestrian pathPhoto taken in Manhattan

How About Kill-Free Meat?

three raw steaks on a cutting boards

Image by: barış can

Have you ever wondered about how that hamburger you’re eating was created?  Or about the type of cows used? How about what those cows consumed before being used as meat for the production of that single hamburger? Do you care how animals are slaughtered and how the meat is distributed? How about the living conditions of the animals before they’re slaughtered for consumption?

Well, you may be surprised; it is always a risk to eat or prepare a meal with any type of meat in it. The quality of it may seem certain but some risks go unnoticed, such as, specific bacteria that can cause harmful viruses like E. coli et cetera. Scientists have created a revolutionary solution for this by creating a kill-free meat variety, which will create different types of meat while excluding the reality of slaughtering animals for our consumption.

A company by the name of Memphis Meats has created an entire business based off of kill-free meats. This is done by them manufacturing meat in a laboratory as they utilize the animal cells by feeding them with oxygen and a slew of specific nutrients (i.e. sugar and minerals) in order to ‘grow’ meat. The duration in which it takes to harvest the meat can range from nine to twenty-one days before it is ready to be used. They believe this practice is more sustainable in significantly reducing the death of animals for human consumption.

Memphis Meats has claimed that the kill-free meat will still cost the same, average amount of regularly consumed meats. And taste testers have said that the cultured meat tastes delicious and taste just like meat from an actual animal. The cultured meat is supposedly more sustainable than animal meats, even organics ones, as it eliminates the entire slaughtering process by ‘creating’ the meat.

The whole idea sounds nice but would you be okay with consuming laboratory-made meat? It sounds very similar to the Mondo Burger from Good Burger (a great and hilarious movie, I would suggest you watch it if you haven’t already) where they used chemicals to make the burgers bigger and more appealing while adding an addictive quality to it.

Comment below with your own opinions for this progression in the meat world for the future.

Getting Paid From Your Following

a young woman of color with shoulder-length, wavy hair

Last week I spoke about How To Go Viral on social media. This weeks blog is about using your audience/following to generate income.

When I first started my YouTube and blogger site years ago I had no idea of its potential. I carelessly vlogged about my life, which of course consisted mostly of beauty and cosmetics. I began to receive numerous messages to join campaigns, promote advertisers, and review products. For many I was hesitant but I did get free products and joined blogging social sites. years later after the buzz i had dwindled I realized I could have monetized many of my videos, or obtained money from my former post. I wish I knew what I know now, I wish I was more consistent and I wish I took it more serious regardless of my situations.

Although I wont go to in-depth, here are a few ways to make money from your online presence:

1. Advertising (ie: Google Adsense): usually getting paid per click when you post about the company. You can use links or have actual ads on your site or social media page.

2. Affiliate Marketing: Companies will pay per person that visits their site or purchase products. Some sites pay based on the amount of people that follow you.

3. Selling Your Own/Service: Most people you know will either support or share, its free publicity on your own page.

Now, I know at first it may start off as chump change but when you are persistent and consistent the possibilities can make you a millionaire, as many on YouTube.


QUESTIONS TO THE AUDIENCE: Are you making money online? doing what? | Will you now consider using your following to generate income?

I blog weekly EVERY MONDAY. Follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and FaceBook / FaceBook2

Successful Leaders

I was looking for a free book on leadership and found this book by Steve Williams. See excerpt below:

the cover of a book called "The Successful Leader"

Steve Williams: Leadership: The Successful Leader – Maximize Your Potential and Lead Like You Were Born To!

Chapter 1 – What is Leadership?

“Many times we see people in a leadership position and it seems like they really have no idea what leadership is or how to be a truly successful leader. In this chapter, I want to quickly go over what leadership is and what a successful leader looks like.

Most people believe leadership is nothing more than the act of leading a group of people in some activity, but that could not be further from the truth. There are also those who lead from the sidelines, meaning they do not take part in the activity, but instead, tend to tell everyone else what to do.

The truth is, when you are a true leader, you will be involved in the activity, each person you are leading will be in the best position according to their skills and talents and you will not have to tell people what to do or micro-manage they will be following your lead.

After all, that is what it is all about. When you are a leader your job is to get people to follow your lead, not do what you say simply because you said for them to do it. Asking what leadership is may seem like a very simple question, but in fact, it is a very complex question and deserves a deeper look.

Leadership is going to mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In fact, if you asked 100 people what leadership means to them, chances are you are going to get 100 different answers. So, to define leadership, you need to ask yourself what leadership means to you.

Some people define leadership as the ability to move a group of people toward a specific goal, others define it as directing people through a specific activity, and still others feel that leadership is being able to direct the actions of people by serving the needs.

Personally, I feel that leadership is actually all three. When you are a true leader, you are able to move a group of people through direction through the activity that you want them to accomplish while focusing on the needs of the people”(25).


As for me, leadership is bringing people together and guiding them in a certain direction. Sometimes, you can lead even without saying a word; just by showing action. I am a leader both in my home with my children and at school and work. In my years of being a supervisor,  was my leadership style was never by dictatorship. I tried to show my staff that I valued their opinion and got them to trust me to make the best decision. Now as a full-time student, I take every opportunity to step up as a leader.

How about you? What’s your definition of leadership and how do you lead?

Next Friday’s blog: Self Evaluations – Know Thyself

Week 1: Introduction: The Softer Side

Week 2: What are the Most Important Soft Skills?

Week 3: Five Key Principles of Successful Connection

Week 4: How to Develop Leadership Skills Starting With You

Week 5: K.I.S.S Keeping It Simple May Not Be So Simple

Favorite Spot


Sometimes its best to take pictures on your own, don’t get me wrong you learn a lot from your peers when you shoot together and it makes things a bit more interesting. However doing it solo always allows your mind to be more creative and you can stay out for as long as you like.

Some of my most favorite places to shoot came from doing it solo. Gantry plaza state park is one of them. Located on the East River in Hunters Point in Long Island City. The park is located in a former dockyard and manufacturing district, and includes remnants of facilities from the area’s past.



a park at the edge of a river and a city shore line“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”  2:43pm

-Muhammad Ali



a large, red Pepsi Cola sign“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” 3:00pm



a city skyline on the water “The past always looks better than it was. It’s only pleasant because it isn’t here.”  6:30pm

-Finley Peter Dunne


a city skyline at sunset “There are no facts, only interpretations.”  6:43pm

-Friedrich Nietzsche


a city skyline on the water at night“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”  9:12pm

-George Bernard Shaw

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take

a card that says "You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don't take"

“My first years of college was filled with thought of despair, I didn’t know where I was going or what my next step was. I left HS excited for the future and 2 years into college I felt like I was lost. I then realized that it was because I was scared of failing. Scared of trying the unknown. All the decisions I made were mediocre. I took a bet and tried different things. I explored different fields. I am now (3 years later) graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, starting my second degree and in preparation to start my own company.”



Good and Affordable Eats in Downtown Brooklyn

Finding good quality and affordable food in Downtown Brooklyn for a student can be mission impossible sometimes and as a student I must admit there’s not much in Downtown Brooklyn that’s within our budget, but while attending City Tech for the last few years, working in Downtown Brooklyn for over 3 years, and researching on Yelp I have come to realize there are certainly good food for an affordable price from anywhere between $5 – $15.00 and here are five places I would like to share with you where you can get a good quality meal for a good price:

food dishes

Brooklyn Fare

Besides Trader Joe’s (located in Cobble Hill), there’s another supermarket/organic market where you can build your own meat entree or vegetable entree or pick up a sandwich. This market is known as Brooklyn Fare and it’s about a 10-12 minute walk from school. Their meat entrees are usually $9.99 and for vegetable entrees are $8.99 (prices may have changed). It’s a great place to visit and they have a lot of great products you may not find at Trader Joe’s.

a smoothie and some green vegetables

Cafe Metro

Cafe Metro is by far one of my favorite places to go to for lunch because it’s my to-go place for salads! Panera, Au Bon Pain, Hale & Hearty, and many other restaurants and fast food casual places have salads and provides a customer with the option to build their own salad, but I find that it’s a lot more expensive at these places. I spend just a little bit under $10 for my salad, but I can add a lot of different toppings and special toppings without an extra charge unlike other restaurants. If you love salads as much as I do, than you will love Cafe Metro. Lines can get crazy between 11:30AM-1PM, so I usually pre-order my salad to avoid the crazy lines.

sandwiches and smoothies


When I first discovered there was a Vietnamese spot that opened up in Downtown Brooklyn, I was very excited about this! Vietnamese food is almost no where to be found in our area. If you love Vietnamese food, check out Hanco’s as they have an array of items such as banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) , pho, rice vermicelli, bubble teas, coffee, rice dishes, and various appetizers. It’s a little more expensive than what you can find in South Brooklyn and Chinatown, but you won’t be spending $15+ on a sandwich or a bowl of noodles for sure.

a warp sandwich and a sign that says "Court Order: get served!"

Court Order

Last December, I stopped by Court Order for lunch because I remembered my boyfriend said they had pretty good wraps and soups and all made from scratch, but what he didn’t tell me was that Court Order actually gives student discount (must present school ID) which is 10% off, but you must spend $5.00 or more. I actually found out during my first visit and took advantage of that student discount. How many restaurants/food places do you know that gives you a student discount? The food is pretty good here and mostly under $10, now that’s a good deal!


Golden Fried Dumpling

Golden Fried Dumpling has been in Downtown Brooklyn for 3+ years now and it still remains as the most cheapest, affordable, and tasty dumplings on this side of Brooklyn. The price range for their dumplings range from $1.00 – $5.00. Now I mean seriously, where are you going to find hand-made dumplings for that cheap in Downtown Brooklyn? Any way, besides dumplings there are other menu items that are just as inexpensive like: sesame pancake sandwiches, rice & noodle dishes, buns, soups, and etc. I wouldn’t recommend eating here as they have very limited space and seating area in this establishment, but it is worth checking out.

Hopefully I have inspired you and woke you up to a few places that have cheap and affordable eats that can fit within your budget as a student. If you would like to read more about different restaurants in Downtown Brooklyn that I’ve tried you click here or if you want to hear more about affordable restaurants, click over here.

Are there any restaurants in Downtown Brooklyn you feel are affordable and has good quality?

Things I want my Daughter to know: 7 Things being your mom has taught me

This week in honor of Ava’s 7th birthday I’m doing something a little different with “Things I want my daughter to know”. This past Saturday Ava celebrated her birthday and it made me realize just how far we’ve come. When she was born I was 18 years old. I had no job and just a high school diploma. Today I am 25 and I have one degree and am steadily approaching a second. So I’m going to list 7 things being Ava’s mom has taught me.

1. There is no greater love than the love a mother possesses for her child.
I discovered this days after you were born and people wanted to touch and hold you. Though I knew they meant no harm I didn’t want anyone touching MY baby. I also felt this on your first day of school, when you began nursery I wanted to sit outside the school all day and I cried after dropping you off. Nobody could take care of you better than I could and it was hard for me to let you go and be a little person. Even now every morning when I kiss you goodbye for the day I wonder what your day will be like and if you’ll need me at any point during the day. There will never be a moment where I am not fiercely protective over you, even when you think I’m being unfair.

2. Sometimes your bad behavior is funny.
I know moms aren’t supposed to admit this but I think it’s in good humor to know that occasionally your out of line behavior cracks me up. The first time I had to excuse myself from disciplining you, you were two years old. Someone had moved your fridge letter magnets up out of your reach and you were not pleased. You attempted to reach them I heard you struggling to and as I came out to assist you, you shouted in anger “WHO THE bleep PUT THIS UP HERE?!”. To which I promptly burst into laughter and had to turn around. Should you have repeated adults bad words no. Did I correct you? Absolutely, but till this day it cracks me up. Every now and then you have little bursts of attitude and though it’s a bit out of line it’s funny to me to see such a large personality on such a little girl.

3. Just because I see the world through rose-colored glasses doesn’t mean everyone else does.
This has become clearer to me as you’ve gotten older and I find just because I gravitate to something doesn’t mean you will. It also means just because something comes easily to me it might be complex to someone else. This became obvious to me when I’ve had to explain to you why certain things aren’t acceptable in school. Though I can see your potential and know the questions to ask you to get you going again not everyone else does and I have to teach you to ask for help productively when you don’t know how to do something.

4. Change in inevitable.
I’ve said this before but the only reason I know how to roll with the punches is because I am your mother. Change is something that panics and stresses me out but I can’t let you see that. So in turn I’ve learned to accept and roll with it as best I can so my flaws never spill over into your life. Having you was the biggest change my life will ever endure but I know if I can be a mother and raise a little girl everything else life throws my way is a cake walk.

5. Kids really are mirrors; they reflect all of what’s around them.

One day when I was running late for something and I had to take you with me I truly saw that you absorbed most of the habits around you. I’m a bit anal retentive when it comes to certain things, and that clearly rubbed off on you because you wouldn’t wear socks that did not match, you downright refused. It slowed down the whole morning but it made me see that everything I do, in your presence or not, affects you in some way.

  1. Admit when you’re wrong.

This is a hard skill for people in general but I would be doing you an injustice if I didn’t teach you to be humble and admit when you mess up. I discover these things often, like when you’re right about where something is or if you did or didn’t do something. Though my first reaction is to brush it off I know I have to admit it was my mistake. Teaching you it’s okay to be wrong is the first part, I also have to teach you how to fix it. Sometimes sorry is not enough and you have to replicate that I’m sorry in the form of actions.

  1. Don’t ever stop finding reasons to smile

I am amazed at how quickly your mood can change, both good and bad, but mostly good. I am amazed that even in the middle of a rainstorm you’ll find something to laugh about or be silly. I then remember that this is a gift of youth that is often spent over time into adulthood but seeing you experience it makes me remember that it was not too long ago that I was care-free and laughing. I cherish that I can share these laughs with you and hopefully let you keep those moments a little longer.


Mommy loves you so much and one day when you’re a teenager loathing my rules and expectations I hope you’ll read this. I hope you’ll read this and gain a little clarity into the method to my madness and understand that I don’t set rules with the intent of raining on your parade but instead with intent of protection, guidance and stability. One day when you may have a daughter I hope you’ll relate to my words and they’ll finally resonate with you and you’ll see every choice was crafted out of pure love.