Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Sometimes we don't know why...

Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about life and mortality. I recently lost my dear cousin, TK, and have been thinking a lot about him and his legacy. I dedicate this blog post to him and the amazing impact he had on my life. 

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TK during our time together in Asmara (2010).

TK is one of the most selfless, kind, reliable, tenacious, and generous people I have ever met. He would give you his last dollar, the clothes off his back, and his last bite of food. He was more concerned about helping others than himself. He would go out of his way to help you and did not mind being inconvenienced. He had big dreams and goals of traveling, continuing his education, coming to America, and accomplishing many of his ambitions. Recently, God saw it fit for him to come home. Though it is difficult to say goodbye to my dear cousin, TK, he taught me so many amazing life lessons. I am so grateful for the time we had together. 

When I was in Eritrea in 2010, TK and I lived together for six months. He watched out for me, helped me navigate around town, went grocery shopping with me, cooked with me, and we had many laughs and good times together. He even got together with my friends there and was part of a surprise birthday party for me in Asmara. I am so grateful for everything that TK has done for me and my family. Most importantly, I am grateful for who TK was. His character is like no other. He truly is one in a million. To be so wise and mature at his age is astonishing. He was always showing kindness to others and sharing words of encouragement.

  •  I remember when I was having trouble with an administrator in Asmara in getting some important documents, It was TK who went back and forth with me to the office to help translate for me and to ensure that I was understanding everything completely.
  • It was TK who picked me up pretty much every day from the orphanage in Asmara where I was volunteering to walk me to his parents house for lunch.
  • It was TK who was making dinner one night despite the power outage. I was complaining of the long day, power outage, and being hungry and so I sat in the living room frustrated. TK was in the kitchen chopping up onions for dinner with only a candle lighting his view. In that moment, I said to myself, "I have no reason to complain," His actions of humility, perseverance, and resilience inspired me on a whole new level.

TK taught me so many things about life, struggles, joy, and many other things. TK was full of wisdom, hope, dreams, goodness, and light.

Below are the top #TKTaughtMe lessons:
  • No matter how many times you have to start again and no matter how many times you hear, "no," never give up.
  • No matter who is watching you, maintain your integrity.
  • Why complain when you can be patient and have faith in God.
  • When the door opens for you, don't walk...but run through it.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to the fullest.
  • Be patient and wait your turn. God has great things for you.
  • If the door is closed, look for a window. If the window is closed, look for a a chimney. If there isn't an entrance, create one.
  • Always be grateful.
  • Always keep hope alive.
  • Always keep God first.

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One of TK's favorite books.

One of his favorite books was Of Beetles & Angels by Mawi Asgedom. A great book about perseverance and never giving up. 

TK, I know you are in heaven looking down on us. You are indeed an angel in the true definition of the word. I am grateful to have had time with you while you were here with us. I will love you always and will keep your legacy alive. The many things you taught me I will not forget. Instead, I will apply them to my life. Rest easy my dear cousin.

With you in spirit,

Thursday, July 13, 2017

How JUST 15 minutes can transform your life?

Hi, everyone.

Did you know that what you do in JUST 15 minutes each day can completely change your life? 

Sometimes we think that in order to make a transformation in our lives that we must spend tons of money, time, and energy. Well, actually, if you dedicate only 15 minutes every day to an activity and do it consistently, you will notice changes in your life. 

For instance, I woke up earlier than usual these past few days and have incorporated a minimum of 15 minutes of yoga to my day. I also have been adding regular afternoon walks/strolls with my toddler. When I tell you that I have so much more energy and mobility, it will amaze you. I would consider myself to be healthy overall, but am aiming to be more flexible and have sustained energy throughout the day. 

Yesterday, I came across a video of an 81-year-old woman who was super fit, gorgeous, and full of energy. I WAS VERY IMPRESSED. She was able to do 25 planks, push ups, and more. How amazing is it to be in shape and full of energy at that age. She was indeed a motivation for me to take it up a notch! 

Imagine if we were to just dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes each day consistently to a task that will continue to reward us. Everyone wants to be healthy and have overall balance in life. However, it is up to us to commit ourselves to achieving those goals. 

I challenge you to dedicate 15 minutes each day to improve the area of life that you'd like to transform for the better. 
  • For instance, if are striving for weight loss, you may want to consider a 15 minute walk each morning around the block. 
  • Another example is you may want to eat healthier, so try to prep your meals at home instead of going out to eat. Look for quick and easy 15 minute recipes. Or, dedicate 15 minutes each day to meal prep.
  • Someone may need more clarity and peace in their lives, if so, take out your journal or notebook and write down all that is in your head and craft a strategy to overcome the blocks for 15 minutes each day. Also, you can aim to pray and meditate for 15 minutes each morning.
  • Others may want to physically tone and sculpt their body, if so then do a 15 minute strength training workout. There are tons of routines you can find online.  
Hope this helps to motivate you to take charge of your life. YOU can be the change you want to see in your life. YOU deserve to be healthier. Your children, family, spouse, friends, and all other loved ones deserve to have you be fit, in shape, healthy, energetic, and most of all PRESENT. 

Check out this video of the 81-year-old woman I mentioned earlier who is in tip-top shape. Also, did I mention that she has done competitions for body-building?

Please comment below if you have ideas you'd like to share of how to transform your life with just 15 minutes a day.

May you experience health and wellness in your life!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Do you FEEL ALIVE or are you just existing?

We all know that life can have its ups and downs. Some days are amazing and we are thriving beyond all expectations. Other days, we need an extra cup of coffee to get us through. Below are 3 simple ways to add more flava to get you that extra boost you need to FEEL ALIVE. I call them the 3 E's!


Start each day with intentions for the day. Focus on what you would like to accomplish and EXPECT THE BEST. Be specific about the tasks you would like to complete for the day. As you achieve your goals, be sure to reward yourself. For instance, go for a walk around the block on a beautiful day, grab a nice (healthy) snack, or enjoy a nice cup of latte. Another treat can be to have a bubble bath before you go to bed. It's the little things that make a big difference!

Homeade Latte---a cup full of a latte love :-)


Get excited about life! Take inventory of the things you love to do and do them often. If you love to dance, take a dance class after you get off work. If you love to write, take up blogging. If you love the camera and enjoy speaking on a topic of interest, set up a YouTube channel and get people to be part of your audience. If you love to play sports, make time for some hoops or to run the field in your free time. That which we love to do, we should make time for...and do it often!

When we do what we love, it will feel as if we are flying! #freedom


Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I living life to the fullest?
  • Do I make the most of each day?
  • Do I serve others with excellence?
  • Do I bring my whole self to my projects, my tasks, and my contributions? 

Based on how you answer these questions, you can get a clear indication whether you are living with excellence. This shows up in how you treat others, whether you show up on time to where you need to be, whether you respond promptly to urgent emails or other important tasks, and whether you are present and engaged in the tasks before you. 

How we show up in the world determines how the world opens up to us. When you move in the world with excellence, not only will others notice, but you will feel more alive. You will be more present in each moment and will maximize your day as well as fulfill your potential. What a great habit to develop---excellence!

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Be sure to count your blessings each day. I keep a gratitude journal and highly encourage others to do the same. It is such a great practice to write out at least 5 things you are grateful for each day. You can decide whether you want to do that first thing in the morning, throughout the day, or before you go to bed at night. No matter when you do it, there is such a powerful feeling that comes from doing this every day consistently. The more that we are grateful, the more likely that we will be open to notice the wonderful things in our lives and in our environments. This helps us to keep a positive mindset, look for the good in all things, and to feel more alive.

                                     Image result for journal

I invite you to comment below and share your tips to FEEL ALIVE. We know that we only have one life to live...so let's live it to the fullest. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Is Sugar Controlling Your Life?

So, have you ever got to the point where you were craving chocolate, cinnamon buns, or something sweet? Having a sweet tooth is no joke.  Below are 3 simple tips to curb your sugar craving and give you a healthy alternative.

1- Start your day with Apple Cidar Vinegar (ACV).

  • I recommend a daily regimen of 1-2 teaspoons of ACV in a glass of water each morning.
  • This will give you a daily cleanse and also get you started on the right foot for the day.
  • For me, ACV, also helps control my appetite and need for something sweet.

2- Drink lots of water. Try out infused water.

  • It is so important to stay hydrated!
  • Our bodies are 75-80% water.
  • There is no better cleanse than drinking filtered water.
  • Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces.
  • For instance, if you weigh 120 pounds, then aim to drink 60 ounces of water each day.
  • I am a huge fan of infused water. It taste delicious, adds flair to your water, and keeps you hydrated all day.
  • NOTE: I also love coconut water. You can't go wrong with this. It is not only super hydrating, but also you get tons of electrolytes and minerals.
  • In fact, coconut water actually contains more  potassium than a banana. Did you know that?

3- Go for alternative, healthy sweeteners.

When all else fails and you still are determined to feed your sweet tooth, try healthy sweeteners.
  • My favorite natural sweeteners are as follows:
    • Raw Organic Honey
    • Agave Syrup
    • Dates
  • Other sweeteners that some recommend are:
    • Coconut sugar
    • Maple syrup (100% pure)

Hope you found these tips to be helpful. Feel free to share your tips by commenting below.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Are we consuming real food-or-"food-like" substances?

Hope the January vegan cleanse has opened your eyes to the reality of food. 

For me, it was a great challenge and opportunity to be intentional about what I put in my body. Also, I really enjoyed learning healthy recipes that I intend on using more often. 

I have decided to continue on this health cleanse, but have not cut out animal products all together. I have eased back into eggs (free-range) and lean meats (chicken and fish). I am still avoiding turkey, beef, pork, processed sugar, and artificial sweeteners. My family and I have been opting for agave syrup, honey, and dates as an alternative to processed sugar.  

I must tell you...I FEEL AMAZING! It is empowering to be able to say NO to "food" that never served my body well in the first place. I mean...think about it...why would we consume "foods" that cause our body to enter into a diseased state. 

Below are 3 tricks to avoid the craving for "junk food," but instead to turn our body on to real food.

1- Start your morning with a cup of filtered water with 1-2 teaspoons of apple cidar vinegar or a slice of lemon.

NOTE: This will jump start your morning with a detox and help curb your appetite for junk.

2- For each meal, ensure that half of your plate is full of greens (veggies of some sort)--at least for lunch and dinner.

3- Keep healthy options around your home, car, office, and in your hand bag. Below are some examples:

  • Instead of putting sugar in your tea, add a teaspoon of honey (or agave syrup). 
  • Whenever you crave potato chips or other similar types of food, make sweet potato wedges, go for rice cakes, or even have toast with avocado .
  • If you are trying to avoid cheese, but want something with a "cheese-like" flavor, sprinkle some nutritional yeast on your food. Works great on popcorn!
  • Dates are so amazing! Especially--medjool dates for any sweet tooth. Plus, you can stay full longer with this amazing super food.
  • Instead of buying store-bought juice, make homeade smoothies and juices. My family and I love them and it is a great way for me sneak in more greens for my toddler.
  • After dinner, have a cup of hot herbal tea. We usually end dinner with a cup of green or mint tea. Such a great way to wind down for the night.
  • Drink water like your life depended on it. Drink plenty of water all day! I believe the recommendation is half of your body weight in ounces.
Hope you find these tips helpful. Stay tuned for more! Please share if these have worked for you. Also, share any other tips you would add.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Day 5 of Clean Eating in 2017: Featuring 3 cool recipes

Hello, everyone.

I woke up this morning excited about this vegan cleanse. I have already felt amazing with a boost of energy, satiety, and overall great feeling that I am doing something good for my health and well-being. Hope you are sticking to it and feeling wonderful as well.

In this post, I want to give you an update on my meals, provide you with some recipes and resources, and let you know what I've learned so far.

See below for my meal breakdown since we last left off:

Jan. 2

  • Oatmeal with bananas and mixed berries
  • Bengal Spice tea (featured drink- see recipe below)


  • Chickpea mixed green salad
  • Lentil patties
  • Tomato slices
  • Berry banana fruit bowl

  • Repeated lunch menu (ate leftovers)

Jan. 3


  • Pinto bean soup with avocado slices
  • Sliced green apples with peanut butter-honey dip

  • Zucchini pasta (featured meal-see recipe below)
  • Red cabbage/bell pepper sauté
  • Kale with Pinto beans

  • Ramen with portabella mushrooms, bean sprouts, and seaweed
  • Tomato slices

Jan. 4


  • Pinto bean soup
  • Tabbouleh
  • Hibiscus iced tea

  • Okra lentil soup
  • Mixed green salad
  • 100% fresh (and organic) cranberry juice

Jan. 5


  • Peanut butter, oat, granola mix
  • Half of a banana
  • Cranberry Chia drink (featured drink-see recipe below)

This post will be sent out before lunch time. So, I'll fill you in on lunch and more on the next post.
Featured recipes
Bengal Spice tea- This delicious tea is AMAZING. I consider it to be my new favorite hot drink of choice. It is great as a breakfast tea, can follow dinner, or be enjoyed before bedtime. No worries, this is an herbal tea so no caffeine included.

Per the tea box, this tea includes the following ingredients: cinnamon, roasted chicory, roasted carob, natural spice and vanilla flavors, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, and nutmeg.
BONUS TIP: My secret to taking this tea to the next level is to first add about half a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and cardamom and a teaspoon of honey to a cup. Then, I add a small amount of boiling water and mix it all together. I then let that sit for 30-60 seconds and then I add the tea bag and fill the cup with boiling water. That’s it! There you have it…yummy goodness in a cup.
Zucchini pasta-This dish is so healthy, simple, and delicious, you will be amazed. All you have to do is grate 1-2 zucchinis. If it is organic, then it is fine to keep the outer layer. If not, I’d peel it and toss it out. Once you grate most the zucchini, all you will have left are the seeds. Feel free to save this pare and store in your fridge for another recipe for future use.
Heat up a medium-sized flat pan and then add the zucchini to the pan. Add about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle in some dried rosemary and basil, lightly add some fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. After about 5-7 minutes, turn off the heat. And voila…you have zucchini pasta. Transfer your pasta to a dish and enjoy! It goes great with mixed veggies and/or a mixed green salad.
Cranberry Chia drink- This drink is so delicious and is packed with numerous health benefits. The health benefits of chia are too many to name. Learn more here. Cranberry juice also has great benefits, including being a natural remedy for UTI, detoxing our bodies, cancer fighting properties, and more.  
To make this drink, add 3 tablespoons of organic, raw chia seeds to a cup. Pour in enough filtered water to fill the cup. Seal the cup and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
For the cranberry juice, fill a medium-sized bowl with organic cranberries. Then, add the cranberries to a medium-sized pot. Add about 4 cups of filtered water to the pot. Let it heat on the medium-high setting. Once the water has come to a boil and the cranberries have opened up, turn off the heat. Let it cool for about 5-7 minutes. Strain the liquid from the cranberry mix using a strainer. What you will have left is fresh, delicious, 100% organic cranberry juice. Feel free to add honey or agave syrup and give it a good stir. Add ice to your liking. You have yummy cranberry juice. For the remaining pulp, you can throw it out or use it as cranberry jam for another recipe.
The next day once you take out your chia seed mix from the fridge, you can make your cranberry-chia drink. All you have to do is add one part chia mix and one part cranberry juice to a cup (1:1 ratio). Delicious…enjoy!
Helpful resources
I have found the following resources to be helpful as I source menus, recipes, and general vegan inspiration:
Please let me know if you have any questions, would like specific recipes, ideas, or more. Feel free to comment below. Let’s keep it fresh, healthy, and natural!