Thursday, January 28, 2016

Can I Blog My Way To Independence?

January 15th 2016 | Manhattan Bridge, New York City
Photo: La PETITE Blog

I am on the precipice of complete and utter ruin. I am currently lacking in faith, funds, confidence and reassurance that 'tomorrow' will be okay. I have hit an all time BLOCK in life - from losing my mother after a ten month battle with cancer and shortly there after  (two months and twenty-four days to be exact) losing my brother suddenly; I have completely and utterly lost my 
focus and drive.

I once had a thriving career as a fashion stylist - working with celebrities, publications - etc.; when I took time away to deal with being a caretaker and then grieving  - I wish someone would of informed me that those contacts, those 'friends' I thought I had all but disappeared. Phone calls are sent to voicemail, emails and texts unanswered - so here I am.If I want to be a stylist again I will have to start all over again - here's the honest truth - I have no interest in styling. Frankly I have no interest in anything at the moment.

Without a steady stream of income, really no security on where I am going to live and living in complete fear that all this stress and anxiety is going to leave me completely and irrevocably 
 broken. It's just been too much to bear.

Here's the question:  What am I to do? I do not own anything of any value besides this MacBook Pro I am currently perusing - and even this has depreciated as it's from 2011. I have this blog - yes, this blog I started in 2008 on whim because I was in between styling projects and wanted an outlet where I can share things that I fancied. I never really focused on my blog  being a 'business' because I kept it somewhat as a hobby - but now it's literally all I have.
My question to you (whomever is reading this - or not) is there hope for me? How do I pick myself back up?

For the past nine months I have gone to grief counseling and recently therapy to deal with it all - from the bereavement to the anxiety (and yes,
depression) I have even started meditating. The photo above is me walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan to my meditation class (it's a free series) during the walk I was actually reciting the Rosary, asking God to give me clarity, to give me hope - honestly to give me faith because I have none.

Then today happen.  I participated in a Google Hangout chat  with blogger and author Mary Carver discussing her new book Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts
 (Faith Words) a new book about the amazing Sara Frankl who lived with Ankylosing Spondylitis an autoimmune disease resulting in chronic pain. Sara was confined to her home because of the disease and transcended at the age of 38. During the chat Mary spoke about how Sara had a joie de vie about her, that her joy was a choice and a testament to the 'fruit of her spirit' - sentiments I can relate to that of my grandmother who lived with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease (she passed a year before my mother, my mother was diagnosed literally six months after we buried her....) and my mother who was constantly in a state of gratitude even at the very end - even to that of my brother who was a shining light to the entire family during my mother's services yet he was literally on his last days but was of service to others. People like Sara, like Granmél, like Mommy and like Frantzy are a rare breed. They have the clarity and the strength to Choose Joy - but what about people like me?

I have so many questions and I am not going to be scared (anymore - well I will try not to be scared) and I will ask them until I find the answer that leads me to joy. Maybe reading the book (which I haven't done yet) will be a good start, maybe not but I know that I have to work on me because
I literally have nothing to lose. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

From the Heart: Eating Healthy Just Got GOOD!

American Heart Association Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook


This past August I turned 35. I will repeat it because there are moments when I can't believe it myself; I turned 35 years old! It's a bit surreal because my life (and body) doesn't feel like a thirty-five year should be. When I was a child I envisioned my thirty-five year old self to be this wunderkind who has surpassed all my goals, dreams and aspirations. In reality my thirty-five was harrowingly different from what I thought my life would be right now. I am in a state of bereavement and have been for the past year since the lost of my mother and brother within three months of each other. During that time my emotional and physical state has been compromised. I have amassed a plethora of gray hair (of which I am not ready for!), weight gain and anxiety to the point my doctor has prescribed me heart medication because this ticker of mine has been racing non-stop! I have come to realize that my thirties - especially my thirty fifth year is a period of realization and transformation. It's time for me to roll up my sleeves and get to work on myself because it's now or never. I have been actively sought out grief counseling and therapy for my depression stemming from the loss of my mother - a grief so intensifying that I have been paralyzed with emotions for months on end. Along with my counseling I take walks - long walks, across New York City but it's not enough. My eating habits are less then desirable because I quite frankly do not want to cook! I was once a burgeoning food enthusiast who wanted to devote this blog to exploring different recipes and cuisine but rather I lived on frozen waffles and cereal for the past year (don't judge me!). Recently my grief counselor told me that I need to push myself and push myself I will. One of the 'pushes' I am commiting to is getting back into the kitchen and cooking for myself. Self-care is one of the first things subsided and I need to focus on that because I deserve a quality of life since I am still very much alive. I have been taking baby 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Getting to the Core of it All With Coconuts!

The Whole Coconut Cookbook: Vibrant Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Recipes Featuring Nature's Most Versatile Ingredient
by Nathalie Fraise
 Ten Speed Press

Growing up in a Haitian household (albeit in New York City), coconuts were prevalent in our everyday lives. The oil was a multifaceted and all-purpose accoutrement from culinary to beauty treatments. And its flesh, water and milk were constantly used for a variety of dishes that were delectable. Coconuts also played a big part of my childhood outside of my home as well. I remember summers traveling with my mother and siblings venturing out and discovering other Caribbean cultures (this time out of the country) we would always start off the trips with some fresh coconut juice straight from the drupe, it was our ritual marking our holiday and I could never get enough. Flash forward a few decades, with a thriving small business, insane debt and a never-enough-time-for-myself mode I am currently on I forgot just home much I loved coconuts- until now. 
Photo Courtesy of Erin Scott

Nathalie Fraise latest tome  The Whole Coconut Cookbook: VIBRANT DAIRY-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE RECIPES FEATURING NATURE’S MOST VERSATILE INGREDIENT (Ten Speed press) was a Godsend to me at this stage in life - I have been riddled with anxiety since the death of my mother. To say that I have not truly taken care of myself for the past year is an understatement. Honestly, not wanting to take care of myself is truly the crux of the issue and then on the anniversary of the day my mother was put to rest I received this book in the mail. Reading about Fraise's struggles with migraines,  anxiety and overcoming this obstacles with taking the time to care for herself  really struck a chord with me. 
Photo Courtesy of Erin Scott

The beautifully crafted book showcases an array of meals, beverages and treats that are both dairy-free, gluten-free, accessible and mouth-watering GOOD. She shares substitutions and her vast knowledge on how one can truly incorporate coconuts into one's lifestyle is truly remarkable. And for the recipes itself - they are delicious as they are innovative. I loved the Spiced Hot Chocolate, it was savory, sweet and with a kick of cayenne the drink warmed up my soul from within. What I truly appreciate about Fraise's tome was that she - like my mother and my grandmother before her utilized every facet of the versatile, multifaceted, multipurposed fruit. This book conjured up bittersweet memories and gave me a renewed sense that I have to take care of myself and I am grateful for that. 
Check out Coconut ~ Everything
by Jeanne Lander at Mode

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.