‘Tis The Season To Be Thankful

This semester, I set blogging goals for the enrichment of my posts and myself. Call it a social experiment or me vying to spice up my normal routine, but I fully enjoyed the new aspect I added to my posting process. For those who aren’t familiar with my new process, it was to cease going on site visits alone. Last year, I relished in my solo hours put into the development of each post since, as an introvert, spending time alone came naturally. But I wanted to try something different and out of my comfort zone. This new, scary, and uncharted territory was my new addition to my posts and I feel like it thoroughly improved my overall blogging aesthetic. I wrote differently, my pictures felt different, and most of all I will always have the memories shared with each of my participants. So this post is for all of you (you know who you are!) whom I begged, pestered, and ultimately dragged this semester. In the essence of the holiday season, I want to take some time to thank all of you who helped, supported, and guided me to where I am now. Without you, I would have nothing, I would be nowhere, and I wouldn’t be who I am; I can’t imagine a world like that, so I refuse to.

Brianna
This all began with a beautiful woman named Brianna. She was the first person to tell me that my photos were actually worth being seen and she was my connection to this amazing student blogging “epidemic.” My Bri-Bri was the first willing participant to go on site visits with me. In fact, most of my first posts were created with her and whatever I learned on those trips, we learned together. So I thank you for always being there for me not only as a sister but as a peer, colleague, friend, and so much more. I was born into a world with you in it and I can’t imagine my life without the one driving force that shaped, guided, and advised me to be the person I am today. We don’t say it often so I won’t say it now but I will say “… Not possible.”

a picture of brianna in a quiet park

Image Credit: Sabrina Vasquez


Randy+Amanda
I would like to shed some much needed light on this duo. These true gladiators came out on the Friday before Halloween to a site visit with me. It was midnight and we had to weave through drunk costumed people in order to arrive to the site but it was all worth it. I wouldn’t trade that night for anything. It, unexpectedly, resulted in the best photos I would get this entire semester. Thank you for coming with me regardless of your understandable lethargy and aching need to be home after a long week of work. I appreciate both of your presence on that very peculiar night. Randy, thank you for listening to my random architectural gibberish. I began to run off on a tangent about the exposed structure and all you said was “Hmm… Never noticed that.” Amanda, like always, you kept the experience fun and enjoyable. Thank you for making work less tedious (especially on a crazy night in Manhattan) and making me very proud of this new process.

A photo of amanda and randy on a busy Manhattan street

Image Credit: Sabrina Vasquez


Genny
To the Agent 99 to my 86, the Detective Stabler to my Benson, Burton Gustor to my Shawn Spencer, thank you for all your feedback and support this semester. It seems rather preposterous knowing that we’ve only known each other for a short four months. We mutually learned from each other throughout our editing process. There was never a time that I felt that you didn’t have my back; whether it was a quick text at 12 o’clock in the morning or a casual conversation in the hallway. It was lovely getting to know you these past months and I couldn’t be any more thankful for the time that we had together. May our professional collaborations continue to thrive as well as our friendship.

Ride-Along_01
To my personal TMNT, who loves pizza just about as much as skateboarding much alike Michelangelo, but has a kindred heart and spirit similar to the persona of Donatello. Thank you for agreeing to come with me on one of my site visits. On each of my visits, I had to say at least three annoying historical or architectural facts about the site; you were one of the few to mutually geek out with me. I thank you for your time and interest in what I do; it gives me the inspiration to continue working on tuning my craft. Your input has been nothing but insightful and I am deeply grateful for all your encouragement. I said this once before, but you really are a wise person, and never think anything different. Your ability to perceive and analyze is inspiring all in itself; anyone who knows a fragment of what I know about you would see just how truly amazing you are. Thank you for always supporting me, regardless of if it was for a post, project, or just about anything; it gives me the determination I need to do the plethora of tasks I do on the daily. Thank you for all that you are.

Dolores
World, I introduce you to my grandmother. Everyone I know has heard a story or two about her. I don’t know how it happens but my stories and experiences always make a beeline back to this woman. Class after class, I bring her into a project at least three times every semester. I never cared what my professors, bosses, and peers would think of me discussing my grandmother so much because she was the root of it all for me; the one constant that never changed over the years. I voluntarily owe my entire existence to my Nana because I am here due to all her support, love, sacrifices, and wisdom. She gave me my very first camera and taught me everything that she knew. A force to be reckoned with, this woman is the source of all my sarcasm and wit. She deserves more than everything I could possibly ever give her. If I’m ever -so lucky in life to be able to inspire anyone, even an eighth of how much she has inspired me, I would have fulfilled my life’s expectations. To Dennis/Mom/Nana, I also offer the grandest appreciation; I am forever indebted to your love and everything similar.

a picture of dolores in the glow of a sunset

Image Credit: Brianna Vasquez


Sadia
To my very first friend at City Tech, thank you for your time contributed to one of my posts and being the greatest friend anyone could ask for. You don’t only push me intellectually but you also make me want to be better and continue to enrich myself academically and personally. You know me; all my antics and imperfections and you still are a great friend to me. I hope you know how much I appreciate you and our friendship since you just GET me so well. Only you understand when I say “Sorry, I’m a toucher” or when I make that dumb timid face and you force me to do something that I don’t want to do, but we both know will ultimately help me. Thank you for being there for me throughout all the crazy twist and turns in the years of us knowing each other; honestly, I don’t know where I would be without you. So, thank you… Thank you for being you.

Mya
To my baby sis, you make me proud every day! I’ll never forget our outing; I don’t think I have laughed any harder on any site visit, by far. With a sweet face and sarcastic tongue almost comparable to mine’s, I can’t picture the last ten years or so without you. I have watched you grow into the person that you are today and I couldn’t be any more invested in the enrichment of your future. You already know that I love you with all my being has to offer; and it may not seem like it, because I’m so busy at times, but I’ll always be there for you. Thank you for allowing me to schlep you around lower Manhattan on a hot summer day and for all the years of our friendship turned sisterhood. May I continue to see you grow, and may I continue to annoy you every day; it’s my life’s commitment.

The Buzz Team
To the ladies of The Buzz, thank you for being the best damn all-female team that I have ever worked with in my entire life. I take pride and honor, every single chance I get, to have worked with all of you. You’ve made work a beautiful environment and being around you all has only added to my repertoire. This has to be the closest I have ever felt to a work family and I have to admit that it is the best feeling I have ever had about work. Thank you for showing me how great women can click with each other. You all have set the bar so high and I hope that I can be so lucky to feel this way about a work environment again in my lifetime. Sam, you inspire us all to be more organized and involved. Neffi, you give us all the love and uplifting insight we need to continue to flourish in our semester. Robine, you always have something really deep to say that leaves us thinking, trying to fully analyze what you said. Pebbles, you motivate us all to try to really depict our posts and make it so literal for our readers. Cherishe, you always have the gumption to say those things that are on everyone’s minds; you influence us all to be hard-working and to not get entangled in webs of self-made excuses. Thank you, ladies… Thank you for being the greatest role model of how women can not only work together but work EFFECTIVELY together.

Readers
Lastly, it is my greatest honor to thank all those who read, share, or comment on my posts. Each of my posts had you all in mind and I will continually try to find better methods to reach you more in depth. When I first started blogging, I had a motto: It was to “make New Yorkers fall in love with New York again.” I hope I was able to do that and more with my posts. You allowed me to learn more about myself and for that I am infinitely grateful. The more you learned about New York, the more I did as well. I can honestly say that the more I posted, the more I fell in love with New York, myself, which I didn’t think was possible. Thank you for reading; I can’t wait to see the new adventures we’ll take in the future.

Self Discovery Series Part 3: Show Me What You See

Uno, Dos, Tres! Let’s get part three of the Self Discovery Series going! If you haven’t gotten with the program, you’re seriously under a rock and it’s not okay lol.

Catch up here by clicking on the links to part 1 and part 2.

So last week we talked about perceptions and how easy it is for people to have misconceptions of who we are, or perceive us incorrectly. They are seeing us through their own eyes, but we have the power to control what they perceive because their perception relies on what we are showing them.

A few weeks ago my blog sisters Brianna and Sabrina came to me with THE dopest idea! They found it here and it’s an experiment where a girl decides to let her boyfriend dress her for a week because he doesn’t seem to see her the way she sees herself. I decided to do this experiment with family members because as I mentioned in part 2, perception starts with external appearance. I wanted to see myself through my mother’s eyes, my brother’s eyes, and niece’s eyes. I felt like these were three great perspectives. My mother has her own image and expectations of me, my brother is super nonchalant and rarely compliments me lol, and my 6 year old niece idolizes me and is SUPER GIRLY so I knew this would be interesting.

So I asked them to dress me for work the next day. The only direction was to choose something that they feel is reflective of me through their own eyes. After they chose the outfits I asked them WHY they chose that outfit, and what did they think others would be able to perceive of my image on first sight.

I started with my 6 year old niece, Sanaa. This was interesting, just like I thought it would be. Let me start by saying she demanded everything from chokers, rings, makeup, shoes, I mean the whole 9.
blog author neffi young niece rummaging through clothing drawer
She landed with leopard cat ears (No it was NOT halloween), a gray camisole, brown suede skirt, olive blazer, brown choker, and furry platform sandals. I mean… look at her outfit in the picture above, she wears tutus and tiaras all day, I knew she would be over the top!

So umm yea… I mean impressive sense of style for a 6 year old, but I would NEVER go to work in those shoes or randomly with cat ears. When I asked her why she chose this outfit she said I am a beautiful person and the outfit makes me seem like a “nice beautiful girl”.

Next up was my Mom.

blog author neffi's mother pictured holding up burgundy pantsShe chose a burgundy tunic, black jeans, and black boots. Also I don’t know what’s their obsession with chokers lol but she chose a choker.

She said she chose this outfit because it looked more sophisticated than I normally look (I disagree lol) and that at my job I should be setting an example and looking the part. I teach young people ages 16-24 work readiness skills at The Door, a Nonprofit organization in NYC, and she feels I am more effective if I look more serious and sophisticated. I think I teach just right in my sneakers and sweatshirts but hey, perception is everything right?

Lastly, I asked my brother to select an outfit for me for work. All I can say is Lord have mercy lol.blog author neffi brother pictured holding up pants

This young man put in jeans with THE BIGGEST holes… for work!!. I looked like I was headed to a bar-be-que in the summer!

His thoughts behind the outfit was I looked stylish and “fashionable” and looked like “the people he sees when he goes to the city”. In his opinion, the outfit set a relaxed chill tone and he likes chill people. Younger brothers lol. He dressed me as a reflection of himself, how HE dresses, jeans and basic top.

This experiment went easier than I thought but I guess it was slightly biased because I only buy clothing I like (duh). It was interesting though to really pay attention to how much clothing is used to measure perception. My niece said my outfit made me look like “a beautiful person”, my mom said I was being a “role model” and my brother said I was “normal and approachable”. Although we have been taught not to judge a person solely by his or her outward appearance, even now as adults it remains to be one life lesson we hardly ever comply with. People tend to associate a specific clothing style with a certain personality, job affiliation, social status, and actually….our status period.

So as we are working to create our own narratives and take charge of how people perceive us, like I talked about in Part 2, knowing that perception starts from the outside is key.

quote photo

The homework for this week is to test out this experiment yourself., it was super fun and interesting! Ask a family member or friend to pick out an outfit for you for an specific occasion, such as work, school, a date, wherever. Ask them why they chose what they chose, ask them what is the message the outfit sends?. This concept of perceiving people at first sight is one I find to be unfair and sometimes pretty hurtful but the truth is, that is really how it works. People say things like “dress the part”, “dress for success” or “dress for the job you want” and when you do the experiment this week it will open your eyes to your clothing language. We already have a clothing language for the most part right? Sweatpants means “I’m relaxing”, a tie means “business”, so when you are more aware of your message, you continue to control your story. Let me know how it goes in the comments after you do it!

Until next week!

 

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

– Rachel Zoe

The Language of Love

By Robine Jean-Pierre

There are hundreds, if not thousands of languages spoken, written and articulated in the world today. Not all of us will be able to say we learned Swahili, Chinese or Urdu in our lifetime, but there is one language that we can all speak, one language alone that can unite us: the language of love. And no, I don’t mean French or Spanish.

a man in suit and bow-tie holding a martini glass and winking

© David Niven 2017

“No man is an island” (the title of a poem by John Donne). Unless you have spent all of your life in solitary confinement, you have connections with people around you. What we often overlook, even though it may seem obvious, is that these deep rooted relationships require maintenance. Your loved ones have standards that you need to meet, and vice versa, in order to keep the relationship afloat. That might mean phone calls, keeping the house clean, gifts, visits, etc. The thing is that we all set those standards in different ways, and that’s where the specific love languages come in.

In his book The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman explains that there are five main ways we express and receive love. They are: acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, and quality time. He goes on to point out that each of us has a primary love language; we feel the most loved through it and express it toward others the most. I will explain in my own words and give some examples below.

one man holding a door open for another man

MCT via Getty Images

Acts of Service

If this is your primary love language, you feel most loved when someone helps you. You are always willing to lend a helping hand to others as well. It warms your heart when someone holds a door open for you or offers to do the dishes when it was your turn. Conversely, it really “grinds your gears” when someone does not offer you a hand, whether by outright refusing, or by failing to acknowledge your need. 

For these people, actions speak way louder than words. If you love them, you will be willing to show it, and to do whatever they are asking of you with a sincere heart. This might be doing the dirty work, like taking out the trash without being asked. This is definitely my mom’s love language, and not just because she is a mom. I have seen her offer herself wholeheartedly, not just for her children, but for people who, frankly, do not even deserve it.

two young male friends, one with his arm around the other's shoulder

photo by Vishvanavanjana

Physical Touch

You love to give and receive hugs, pats on the back, an arm around the shoulder and firm handshakes. You find massages incredibly enjoyable, and holding you while you cry is the most compassionate way someone can console you.

People might be suspicious of you because they are not as comfortable with touching, or they suspect that you are just trying to “make a move” on them–but that’s not true. Physical touch is not limited to affection exchanged between lovers. This is my fiancé Angel’s primary love language, and I realized early on that his touchiness was not simply flirtiness when I observed his interactions with family and friends. He was all hugs, all the time, and still is that way.

Words of Affirmation

a text message conversation in which one person expresses his/her feelings for the other

from Pinterest

You value words of praise and encouragement. One compliment has your mood lifted for the entire day. Love letters are the quickest way to your heart. On the other end, hurtful words inflict a wound like nothing else can.

If you know individuals like this, it is crucial that you constantly boost them up with the power of your words. Don’t dismiss them as being vain or conceited when they fish for compliments. Tell them “I love you” often, because even if you hit all of the other four love languages, they might not feel certain until you say it. Don’t just think good toward them–be very vocal about your appreciation and generous with compliments. Be careful, even when joking, about what you say to them.

 

Receiving Gifts

You feel most loved when someone gives you a gift. Whether something small like a flower or expensive like new sneakers, just the fact that someone thought of you means the world to you. Someone’s presence is also a present to you; you would be greatly offended if your significant other got you nothing on Valentine’s Day, but also if your best friend did not make it to your birthday party. 

a man embracing a woman to whom he has given a gift

Vogue (http://www.pulse.ng)

I feel as if this can be mistaken for being materialistic, but there is a difference. From what I have observed, this is my younger sister’s primary love language, and it took a while for me to realize that she wasn’t just being greedy whenever she asked me to bring her something on my way back home. Her attention to detail when choosing and packaging gifts for others also says it all. Because of this, when I have the money and time, I am less reluctant to pick up a Snickers bar or buy her something she’s been raving about every now and then.

Quality Time

You are an unofficial event planner, always coming up with a new idea for a date with your friends, family or significant other. You value long conversations, especially with an engaged listener. If you had one complaint in a relationship, it would be, “We never spend enough time together!” You give your phone a side-eye when someone does not reply back to your messages quickly enough or answer your calls.

a father reading a picture book on the couch with his daughter

Photo courtesy of United Way of West Alabama

This is definitely my primary love language. Nothing hurts me more than a missed opportunity to see someone I love, especially Angel. It drives me crazy when he’s not texting me, even if he has a very legitimate excuse, like work. I can spend a whole day with him and still feel disappointed when we have to part ways. This was true even with my best friend Marsha when we were younger; I often cried whenever I had to leave her apartment, and we lived in the same building.

People like me need as much time as you can afford to give. Make sure that in the midst of all your responsibilities, you don’t make a “quality-timer” feel as if he/she is at the bottom of your list; we are more likely to get jealous of things (e.g. work, sports, video games) than people. Set aside time for dates, phone calls, etc., and as a tip, it’s not enough to just be in the same room together–make sure that the activity requires you to give each other undivided attention.

Get Out There and Love Someone

Chapman explains that each of us has a love tank that needs to be filled. Often times, people act out, complain, or are unhappy because their tank is not filled. Marriages often crumble because two people are working hard to please each other in the way they know how, not in the way their spouse wants. The main way to fill the tank is to show love in that person’s primary love language.

If you are wondering what your primary love language is, think about which one you show others the most, and what bothers you the most (and see the quiz online). I highly recommend you get a copy of the book for yourself and take the quiz. Just as a final word of advice, the goal here is not to win people over, but to love them for the sake of love. If something is to be done, it might as well be done right. Do you want a boring relationship or an exciting one? Do you want nagging parents or happy parents? Love people wholeheartedly, expecting nothing in return, and this world would be radically redefined.the cover of "The 5 Love Languages" book by Gary Chapman

A Slice of Pie

two holiday inspired pies

Image by: Cynthia Classen

As autumn settles in and summer has come to an end, it becomes time for the colder weather to take hold…for the holidays to roll around…for the winter clothes to be taken out of storage…for the beauty of Indian summer to overcome nature. I love autumn as well as the winter…I find that it is the most beautiful time of year. Around this particular time of year, everyone gets so crazy about pumpkin spice everything…it’s in fragrances, car air fresheners, lattes, et cetera. But I hardly get interested in this trendy nonsense instead this season brings on other memories. No matter who you are or the life that you lived, we all have that one person…that one important person in our lives who always made us feel special, cared for, and loved. That person could be a family member or a close friend but someone who has always stuck by you despite life’s difficulties. And as the holidays are coming soon, I found myself thinking of all the people that I appreciate in my life…every single person who has made my life better.

When I was younger, my grandmother would always purchase gifts for me and my sisters on her way home from work. It could’ve be the most inexpensive thing but it meant the world to me…just to have her think about getting me something special…something that she knew I’d appreciate. We weren’t exactly the most financially stable family so there was no Christmas tree or any gifts…and we weren’t even ones to really celebrate the holidays altogether. Still, my grandmother would try her very best to shower us with as many gifts as she could…fulfilling this traditional role of a grandparent and trying to spoil us as much as possible.

My grandmother really fought for us…even as her grandchildren, she did everything in her power to keep us happy and to ensure that we had a good childhood. There is one gift that for some reason topped the rest…it has always held a greater value for me. Being a writer, I always had an interest in books and because I was the middle child…I always wanted to be like my older sister. I was so quick to things, I wanted to learn my alphabet and then to read. My grandmother had purchased this children’s book for me and my sisters titled, “Sweet Potato Pie” by Anne Rockwell. It was a short book that describes how a family was so busy…they each had their own jobs, tasks, and responsibilities but the grandmother always had a way of getting the family together by way of her homemade sweet potato pie. I still love this book just the same and it is by far the best thirty-two pages that I have ever read. This book has held such a great impact in my life and every time that autumn comes around…as the holiday season slowly approaches; I am captivated by the thought of sweet potato pie. Much like the book, my grandmother is a phenomenal baker and has made plenty of pies for the holidays especially sweet potato pies. My grandmother holds such a matriarch title in our family that she unites us as one multi-generational family by way of both her baking and her peaceful spirit. And to quote the most pivotal line of this children’s book, “Everybody’s happy. Why, oh, why? Grandma’s baking…sweet potato pie! That’s why!” (A. Rockwell, Sweet Potato Pie, Feb. 1996).

Virtues from Motherhood: Who’s really there?

I can’t begin to explain what a blur the last 6 months have been for me. The night before thanksgiving my grandfather was taken to the hospital with pneumonia, I prepared for another tax season, final projects started heating up and I barely knew which way was up. It feels like organized chaos that I just dove into and somehow managed to hold my breath long enough to survive.

I can hardly wrap my head around the fact another summer is beginning. I’m not entirely sure how I got through this rollercoaster year but I am certain the company I keep has a lot to do with it. A lot of relationships changed for me, friends and family alike, but so many more blossomed. I have met so many great people and been apart of so many great things that I might not have been part of had someone not literally dragged me to it. But that is what made me realize, people who really do care about you are going to force you to see your potential when you’re too distracted to see it yourself. I am grateful for the people in my life and the energy that’s surrounded me these last few months, not all are blessed with what I have.

For instance, some of the residents of the rehabilitation home my grandfather was in had nobody at all. These people are all alone in the world, nobody comes to visit them, their spouses have passed and some have children who don’t call, if they had any children at all. The night my grandfather arrived at the facility I was frazzled and confused about his condition and I didn’t really pay much attention to the other patients on the floor, I feel bad in retrospect because they were just trying to be friendly. After though, we found out most had no family at all, wives or husbands gone and now confined to the facility because they couldn’t live alone. Some seemed so sad and lonely and it really broke my heart, so whenever we go up to see my grandfather I make a point to say hello to anyone I see too.

I think it’s easy to get lost in our own lives, our own troubles and gripe about what we don’t have but we should all make a point to realize all we do have. While no family is perfect we should be grateful we have a table to sit at. Despite the people in our lives not being perfect, we need to be grateful those people are there for us, because some people sit quietly in solitude because those people in their lives have gone.

Virtues from Motherhood: Family is key

When I say family naturally I mean those who are related to you, parents siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, but I also mean people who although absent of biological connection still feel like a family member. The people who’ve known you your entire life, helped raise you or even silently routed for you from the sidelines are the people who see the best in you. People who see the best in you bring out the best in you.

Over the past decade I’ve learned that family really is everything. Though I pushed them away and alienated them in my teen years they’ve still been a constant in my life. At every holiday, birthday party and get together and through every family crisis or hard time they offered a helping hand and a year ago as I walked across the stage to get my first college degree I realized that all the people that I chose over my family were notably absent from my graduation, my family was there. So as my 26th birthday approached I thought more and more about how I wanted to celebrate it. At first to be honest I didn’t really want to celebrate it at all I just wanted to relax after a really long 6 months of working and going to school. After some more thought though and the warm summer sun peaking put I decided I’d throw myself a BBQ and have my family and just handful of friends over to celebrate, laugh and just relax. I could have planned a night on the town and gotten dressed up but I truly did not feel like doing it because not only had I done it for every birthday since I turned 21 I was just lazy.

So I bought some BBQ food, some snacks, a few drinks and got to work. It was the first event I had planned for myself that every person I invited RSVP’d and showed up, it was also the first family gathering where I invited more than one friend and didn’t cringe when everyone co-mingled. It was truly a great experience and so worth the time and money that went into it because instead of a fancy dinner in a room of mostly strangers I was at my house, with my family and friends, enjoying the weather and one another and after I had cleaned up the yard, put away the tables and closed the lights I realized I felt light, happy and I was thankful.

As I’ve gotten older I have learned countless things, sometimes the hard way, but mostly I’ve learned that family is forever and some people despite not being related are family and are stronger forces in your life regardless of how long they’ve been there. Life weaves together this tremendous basket for us, one that keep store our keepsakes in; life lessons, memories, fears and ambitions. In the fabric of that basket, woven deep within the stitches lie the people who’ve helped create the basket, both past and present. However some people weave stronger stitches in our basket than others and are part of our main stays. These are the people I want to celebrate birthdays with and these are the people that make me smile and drag me out of the house when I least feel like it. Though I am far from perfect, no human being is really, I can say that I’m happy with a low key celebration as I age because memories like that will live on for me for years to come. Family is constant, supportive friends are crucial and I am lucky enough to say I have both and for that I’m tremendously thankful.

My Favorite Five Dishes That My Mom Makes

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and today I am not writing about a restaurant I’ve tried , but instead I would like to share with you seven dishes that my mom makes that I absolutely love. My mom is one of the best chefs I know because she really does put a lot of heart and soul in cooking and the food. When we have a feast to honor our ancestors, mom is always the one that cooks and every time the feast is always delicious.  Although I know how to cook already, I want to be as great as my mom is.

white dish of food

This is my mom’s Pan-Fried Salmon with Tomatoes that I absolutely adore. This is really my favorite salmon dish and full of flavor and deliciousness. I thought it was a complicated recipe, but apparently it’s very simple and I have tried making it before and it’s easy!

Chinese food

This is Zongzi or Joong and it’s a traditional Chinese food made with glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped with bamboo leaves. My family and I typically make and eat these during the fifth month of the lunar calendar. My mom always makes these and adds a lot of fillings and makes her own salted eggs. Her joong is always number one to me.

white plate of six pastries

These are Fa Gao and it is a Chinese cupcake-like pastry, mostly consumed on Chinese New Year, but my mom does make these when she has the time. I truly enjoy eating the Fa Gao my mom makes versus the ones from the Chinese bakeries because it’s usually colored with food dye. My mom doesn’t use food dye at all and she uses brown sugar instead of white sugar. They are extremely fluffy and moist!

noodles and vegetables

This is my mom’s famous Vermicelli with dried shrimp and she makes this just about every Chinese holiday or for our birthdays or whenever we request for it. It’s extremely tasty and it never gets tiring to eat. This dish also represents longevity.

stewAnother food that my mom makes during December for a Chinese holiday is called tong yuan which can be eaten savory or sweet. We often eat the savory version for breakfast or dinner. For the savory version, my mom usually adds mushroom, cabbage, shrimp, chunks of dried scallops, scallions, and chicken or pork. It’s really an enjoyable food and soup to have especially during winter.

These are some of my favorite dishes that my mom makes.

What are your favorite dishes that your mother makes? What do you like most about it?