Monday, March 2, 2015

What shall I write?

Since the year has started, I have occupied my mind with the thoughts about what is next. I am a writer and not writing. An entrepreneur that's not currently the owner of any businesses. And my social media talents aren't being used for much.

"Get up and get out there" Haley Scott said.

Yup I'm watching One Tree Hill as I stare at my computer screen wondering what I should post on my blog today. And Haley was just telling Mia that she needs to get a life, so she can have something to put in a song. That's her cure for writers block. Well, I think I have a life. What's my excuse? Not enough exciting experiences maybe? Not traveling enough? I'm not sure. What I do know is that my life is a lot different than it was just a year ago.

Our lives are so precious but we don't care for it like we do our waistlines, vehicles, romances, homes or even children. But our lives take a back burner. And by lives I mean open the shades, let the sun shine through to light up a room. Hmm... that probably didn't help. Maybe more like our soul, energy and spirit. Not just the physical but the emotional, spiritual and mental.

I have a life, but still not writing much. So that can't be the reason why I'm not writing or much of anything else these days. Even so, I'm not too hard on myself because I have interests in working on a few projects. Investing in businesses instead of owning, publishing a children's book, and taking a small trip in a week from now. 2015 is about me. What I want, what I want to do, what I desire. I spend way too much time taking care of other people's companies. Managing others' social media. Going where everyone else wants to go. It's time that I do what makes me happy. Live my own life.

Go out there and learn what you want to do. Live.

*Took me the whole episode to finish this blog. Haha it's going to be a while until I finish my next novel. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chef Anissa: Food Safety Rules

There are certain food-safety rules that health experts and agencies, such as the USDA, repeat often.
I was in a meeting with food experts. One might argue that these statements are conservative, and 
we found that even some of our experts are a little relaxed about the rules. Take the survey yourself, 
then visit to learn more. 

1. I use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep my food stored at a safe temperature (below 40°F).

People I've poled: 37% agree. | Experts: 78% agree."Knowing the temperature of your refrigerator is critical to keeping food safe. The warmer foods are stored, the more quickly bacteria can grow." Catherine Donnelly

2. I defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave or in cold water, never on the counter. People I've poled: 70% agree. | Experts: 56% agree. "Yes. When defrosting meat, poultry or seafood in the refrigerator it is important to make sure it is on a tray and cannot drip juices onto foods below as it defrosts." Donna Rosenbaum

3. I always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and produce/cooked foods. People 
I've poled: 72% agree. | Experts: 56% agree. "No, but I will thoroughly clean and use the same cutting board for both raw and cooked products." Rich Vergili

4. I always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make 
sure. People I've poled: 42% agree. | Experts: 33% agree. "I love my burgers rare and my lamb and steak medium-rare. I will be struck by lightning or chomped by a Great White before under-cooked meats get me." Ming Tsai

In some cases, different Test Kitchens recommends cooking meats to temperatures that are lower than the USDA’s recommended safe minimums, but people at high risk for developing 
food-borne illness pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems should follow the guidelines closely.

5. I avoid unpasteurized ("raw") milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less 
than 60 days. People I've poled : 86% agree. | Experts: 71% agree. "Not worth the risk especially for pregnant women." Doug Powell

6. I never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs. People 
I've poled: 47% agree. | Experts: 33% agree. "Don’t be silly. I’m human." Marion Nestle

Like Marion Nestle, many people consume under-cooked eggs. 

7. I always wash my hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and 
after touching raw meat, poultry or eggs. People I've poled: 81% agree. | Experts: 67% agree. "I must admit that at my home, I may not get through ‘Happy Birthday’ twice before working with some food items, but absolutely always after working with raw meats and poultry."  Linda Kender

8. I always heat leftover foods to 165oF. People 
I've poled: 50% agree. | Experts: 38% agree. "No. This is one of the most misunderstood recommendations. If you reheat a serving of prime rib to 165°F it would become like pot roast." Rich Vergili

So long as leftovers have been properly cooked and cooled, you can reheat them to any temperature 
just before serving.

9. I never eat meat, poultry, eggs or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for 
more than 2 hours (1 hour in temperatures hotter than 90°F). people I've poled: 64% agree. | Experts: 63% agree. "The rule in our house is ‘when in doubt, throw it out!’" Donna Rosenbaum

10. Whenever there’s a food recall, I check products stored at home to make sure they are safe. People 
I've poled: 82% agree. | Experts: 100% agree. "I just returned cookie dough to a retail outlet for a refund." Catherine Donnelly

Meet Our Expert Panel:

Catherine W. Donnelly, Ph.D., is a professor of nutrition and food sciences at the University of 
Vermont and an expert on listeria.

Scott Donnelly, Ph.D., is a microbiologist and independent food inspector based in Burlington, 

Linda Kender is an associate professor in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University.

Bill Marler, J.D., is an attorney and food-safety advocate.

Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., one of EatingWell’s nutrition advisers, is a professor of nutrition, food 
studies and public health at New York University. Her most recent book is Pet Food Politics (2008).

Douglas Powell, Ph.D., is an associate professor of food safety at Kansas State University and founder 
of the hilarious

Donna Rosenbaum is the executive director of Safe Tables Our Priority (S.T.O.P.).

Ming Tsai is chef-owner of the award-winning restaurant Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and 

the host and executive producer of the cooking show Simply Ming.

Rich Vergili is professor of hospitality management at The Culinary Institute of America. He lectures on 

nutrition and food safety.

Written by Chef Anissa 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Office Fashionista: Animal Print



Excuse my frizzy hair in these pictures. It was POURING in NYC the day these pictures were taken. My hair was not cooperating with the weather. Anyway, if you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that I LOVE anything animal print. I'm back on my animal print kick. This tunic was a Christmas gift & I'm obsessed with it. It's long enough to wear with leggings but can still be tucked into a pencil skirt or jeans. 

I've been wanting a hat like this one forever. I finally found one that didn't look huge on my small head and was a good price. The first day I wore this hat, a big gust of wind took it right off my head. I ran after the hat down the streets of NYC and almost got hit by a car. Oh, the things I do for fashion...

My blog has hit over 10,000 views and I couldn't be happier! Thank you so much to all my readers, my friends who are constantly sharing my website, and to my lovely photographer Jessi. This blog has grown way more than what I had imagined it would ever be. I hope it continues to grow this year!

I'll be taking a brief hiatus from posting to travel and catch up on life. I'll be back in a few weeks! :)

Top: Gifted 
Leggings: Forever21
Hat: Forever21
Coat: SheInside, Similar Here (Almost Identical!)
Boots: ShoeMint
Lipstick: Blissful Berry by Maybelline  

Photos by Jessi

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Year, New..

Happy New Year!
Yup I'm a couple of weeks late but guess what? It's still 2015.

I had to feel out the year so far and I think I like it. It's been full of good times already, planning for vacations, moving and more. The year is young and I'm trying to take advantage of it.

Something that has been keeping my spirits up is writing. My passion has become more important to me. Not just making everyone else's dreams come true. I look back at all the clients I've helped in 2014 and I'm a little disappointed. Not by the money, but the fading of my impact on them. They lack "ganas" as my seventh grade Math teacher use to say. And it's true. There has been a lack there of, and it's shown even in my work for my entrepreneurial clients. My last one would probably like to blame his lack of website traffic on me, but he can only truly blame himself. He's had no focus or desire to make his business better.

In 2015, my desire will be my sole purpose. I'm happier at my day job when I know I have writing in the works. I have been putting together ideas for the last book for the My Blank Life trilogy. Thinking about where I want to send my books. Who I want to do presentations for. My memoir. Desire has been leading the way.

What's your desire? I'm curious to hear what's moving you.

Friday, December 26, 2014

That's So America

Many of you have heard about Raven Symone's interview with Oprah. What the focus has been is that she is a homosexual.  What many neglect to focus on is her comment that she isn't African American...well maybe that's not entirely true. For months, I've been trying to figure out a way to talk about this topic. And find a time to sit down and write about it. Now I see no better time.

When will an actor be just that? Not a black actor, gay actor, once impoverish actor, and whatever other label you can think of. When will a woman, just be a woman? When will a baby be a baby and not a mixed baby? There are so many adjectives s we use when all we should be saying is the noun. Besides Raven, White Collar's  Matt Bomer addressed this in an interview I read a while ago. He's an  actor. Now he's categorized as a "gay actor". 
"What we really have to do is stop the adjective before the job title—whether it's 'black actor,' a 'gay actor' or 'anything actor,'" Bomer said. "Everybody thinks that equality comes from identifying people, and that's not where equality comes from. Equality comes from treating everybody the same regardless of who they are. I hope the media and the press catches on to that because it's time to move out of 1992."

Sometimes I wonder if this goes against the EEOC. Do these celebrities feel harassed or discriminate against because of their skin color, age, gender, sexuality?

"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit."

I guess you can say many of us aren't discriminated against because of our pronoun, but maybe America is so acclimated to the way things are that we don't notice. For example, we are all conditioned to notice and acknowledge race. We go on the defensive or offensive rather quickly. When phrases like "That's gay" is used, you see the true colors of those around you. Americans like labels. Makes them feel comfortable. Fortunately, as the times are changing, more and more people are embracing their labels. It's unfortunate at the same time; that means people like Raven or Matt who don't want to be labeled, are going to be.
Maybe its time to change this. I don't need to be a young black woman entrepreneur, eventually I can just be an entrepreneur. 

Tell me what you think.

Can you spare a dollar?

At 6am on a subway train, a man announced, to the train car I was sitting in, that he was homeless. He was just looking for some help so that he could get something to eat and of course not use it for drugs. I sat there trying to sleep a little and ignored his plea, as many passengers usually do. Then he walked around to collect his hard earned money. “2 cents! What am I supposed to do with this? Buy candy?” he started, “How are we in a metropolis and this is how you treat the needy?” Clearly he was hurt and upset. “What are we coming to where you can’t give the homeless money? Do you people celebrate Thanksgiving?” He asked everyone, “I’m asking you, do you?” This man went on and I’m sure we all couldn’t wait until the next stop. Personally, I was ready to yell at him. How dare he try quilting people to give him money?

Everyday there are many panhandlers in NYC and other cites as well. My opinion about it is that people shouldn't give money to them. ESPECIALLY if they didn't even try earning it. I commend those who dance, sing, tell jokes or use whatever talents they have to earn the money from the passengers. But the girls with the baby sleeping and a sign or the dirty guy holding a sign or this guy who just announces his unfortunate situation, do not compel me to dig into my pockets. I have volunteered with many organizations in my lifetime and some were to benefit the homeless. I know there are resources out there and I refuse to believe everyone who is on the street is in dire need of food.

This brings me to my actual point. When will someone come onto the train and just say, “Good Morning Everyone! I hope you have a nice day.”? I felt like doing this the other day, and only saying that. No scripture or preaching after, just a pleasant gesture. Then I thought a little further with this idea. What if someone who was on the train made an announcement like this, “Hello everyone. I just wanted to say that I’m not on the street and I don’t need your money. I am a New Yorker. Finished High School/College and now thinking about starting at a business.  Although times can get hard; we don’t all end up on the street. Just remember that.”

How different would your train rides be if you heard that instead of someone asking you for money?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Social Media Management Tips

There is this business owner who teaches Social Media 101 and I always laugh. People pay him to teach something he really has no working knowledge of. I check in on his Twitter here and there and it’s not far from the number it was three years ago. I sometimes think about what others must think when they see my social media accounts, but remind myself three years ago to now; my numbers have doubled on some and tripled on other social networks. Now that’s social media management.

The Number-
You should always keep track of your progression. Even if it isn’t every week or every month, track the number at some point. I’m referring to the progress from one point in time to another. At the same time, I do not completely agree that the number is everything. It is good to have a high number, but what kind of high number needs to be considered as well.

The Reach-
The high number can be just a number and have no meaning. You have a 1,000 followers but no one ever favorites or retweets your posts. What’s the point?? My following isn’t the highest it could be (especially because I have been slacking), but I guarantee you that I have a solid reach. My followers SOCIALIZE with me all the time. We joke about things, network, and relate often. That is the type of account you should aim to have.

The Schedule-
I’ve had some of my clients get upset because I do not tweet or post on Facebook every hour. And I always wonder, “How important do you think you are?” I know that when even a celebrity posts too many pictures on Instagram, I start to get annoyed. Most of the time the content is meaningless when it is set to post that often. Your audience should get excited about what you have to say. They should want to go looking for it if they missed it. And yes, this takes time, then give it time.

The Result-
People! It takes MONTHS to see full results on an account. I have been working with a company’s Twitter and Facebook for the past 5 months and I can proudly say that I have made a huge impact on their social media. With that said, I know I could do more socializing to get the reach up and connections tight, but this is just the beginning. In time, I know that their social media results will continue to have positive results. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Waste of Time

Articulating is hard for me a lot of the time. Sometimes when I am trying to make a point, I go around in circles as I’m thinking the ideas or issues through. This is usually one of two things for everyone else, confusing or inspirational. I don’t know how I do it but let’s call it a natural talent. I’m a wise woman and I love bestowing my wisdom onto others. If I did not do so, I would consider that being selfish. Ballsy, right? Like who am I to have things to share with the world and still be in my 20’s? How dare I? No how dare you to think such a thing. I’m bringing confidence back.

How annoying is it when someone says, “What a waste of time”? Not that annoying. How about when someone says it about something you don’t think is a waste of time? A little, right? I find that most of us waste our time on a daily basis. But what about this thought, “Your twenties are all about wasting your time.  It’s what you spend the most time wasting it on is what matters most”.
Many of our friends spend these ten years living it up. Going to bars, hooking up with strangers, traveling, moving into their own place or moving back into their parents’ basement, falling in love, falling in love again and possibly again, getting married, having their first baby, maybe having a second, and then “Hello thirties”. Whatever it is, make sure when you look back, it was worth it. I wasted my time plenty when I was online dating, but I am more than happy that I did. Not only did I get really great blogs out of it and a new following, but I developed and matured in a way I did not think about often.

Wasting your time is trying. And to not try is… you know it, to fail. Therefore waste your time and apply to a position you don’t believe you qualify for. I did! Best thing ever. I now know where I actually want to be professionally.

Wasting time is not aimlessly trying. Have direction. Make sure you are always wasting your time well. And if you don’t succeed, remind yourself it was worth it. For example, I was turned down for a position I applied for and in result started to look more into what I really wanted to progress to. I have spoken to so many managers, directors and now may move onto vice presidents. Now, the little group of people I knew at my organization has grown. And best part, they all know I am looking to better myself. Will one of them hire me? I do not know. And many people would look at this as a waste of time if none of them do. I believe those people are small minded. I rather waste my time like that any day. In my opinion, you should as well.

Go out there and waste time, and remember to be mindful about what you’re wasting your time doing.

*Proofread but ... you know*