Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mean Women

There are many people in the tri-state area that would call me mean. Not just mean, but vulgar, abrasive, rude, malcriada, offensive, judgy, bossy, harsh and whatever else they can think of. In fact, when I became Sweetheart for a fraternity in college, they nicknamed me Vulgar. And for a while I just thought of it as something I should work on as a leader and boss. Be a little gentler with others without coddling. Not having a bad attitude and snide remarks. The list goes on, trust me. However, when I looked at women like Anna Wintour, Kimora Lee Simmons, Khloe Kardashian, Michelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Kelly Cutrone, I thought "They're allowed to be like this but I'm not?" Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they are all rude or harsh. What I am saying is that they are strong willed women who don't just sweeten things. For example, when the First Lady did not wear a headscarf or veil in Saudi Arabia. That could be considered rude but in fact I think it was bold.

Why are women mean when men are strong?
As some of you have read before, two years ago I wrote about Glamour's Women of the Year issue. I picked my own women of the year also. This year's group were more popular choices, like Caitlyn Jenner and the "black ballerina", Misty Copeland. Personally, I find what Bruce Jenner did was brave and Caitlyn Jenner living out the life is even braver. People need to see that more. We need to see more people like Kelly Cutrone who is fearless in being categorized as a bitch. We need to see that it's okay not to play nice all the time. Especially as business women. ESPECIALLY.

A woman called me after getting out of her interview and asked if I knew if her ex worked there as well. I did not know and asked why. She explained that it would be awkward if they worked in the same facility. Even went as far as saying she'd have to ask not to paired up to work with him. I laughed. Does a man at work put that much effort into a situation like this? WHO CARES if he works in the same place? Probably just you. Go to work, work extra professionally when he's involved and get paid. If he wants to act up, let him. Then hopefully he'll get himself fired. But I am mean for saying that. Get with it ladies. While you're wondering what he's going to think, he's moved on and making the money you aren't.

Be honest. Be strong. Be vocal. Get rid of those who tell you otherwise. I didn't hang out with most of those frat guys once I realized I liked being this way. Yes, that doesn't mean I should be malicious or degrading. No one should want to be that. 

"Be fair, friendly and firm." Grandma Edwards

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Singles vs Dating vs Married vs Married with Kids

Many of us in our late twenties may be experiencing the influx of wedding invitations and baby announcements. I am very happy for all of those people. Well not for myself and the people who have to witness this but the ones sending invites and making announcements. Their wedding photos are cute. Engagement photos are inspiring for photography ideas, for me to shoot. Very creative baby announcement photos. I'm impressed at the fact that there is now a GENDER ANNOUNCEMENT party. Wtf? Now we're going a little too far. It's kind of cute but really? Is it?

Now to go back to the people who have to witness this. I'm talking about the ones who post pictures of their vacations in South Africa. Journeys throughout the world. Receiving prestigious awards from their university or town. Running for local government positions. Using their second bedroom as an office and can not imagine putting a baby in there instead (Guilty). This group is just as impressive. Their life has meaning and everyone has a right to envy them. But with that said, DO NOT try hindering them because you are not fulfilled in your own life. You too can have your gender party and climb a mountain in a foreign country.

My boyfriend and I went to Europe for about a week in September. Every time I mention it in public, I kind of feel like that posh couple that is gloating. And honestly, I am not. We are not. We just had an amazing time. Trust me, we had our arguments and tough patches during our time there, but overall I wouldn't have traded it for anything else. Anyway, I mention this because my boyfriend was asked by many co-workers "Where are you going?" And he'd tell them. The response was often the, "Oh I wish I could do that." This comment infuriates him; and after reading "The Art of Non-conformity" I realize he is justified.
"The people I talk with now who tell me they 'wish' they could do something but feel unable have usually made a number of choices that prevent them from doing what they wish. They have chosen to prioritize other things above their stated desire." 
It is not that people with kids can't go to London and Paris. It's that they decide not to. And can I be frank? London and Paris are beautiful places to go, but if you can't at least make it there... you are just making excuses. Straight up making excuses to why you haven't gone there. Chris actually mentions a married couple or two that moved their family to other countries because they didn't want their children to just be mediocre. And THEY DID IT! Which I found encouraging. And in no way do I think everyone should start uprooting their families or lives to foreign countries, but what I am saying is that your "wishes" can become realities. Only if you want them to.

Just so the mothers and fathers out there don't feel picked on, I will go back to my couples and singles. What the hell is your excuse? Yes, we (myself, Chris and my boyfriend) don't think having a family is an excuse to not travel, but at least it makes you think for a second. What is your excuse? Student loans? Ha! I owe over $100,000 in student loans and I STILL go on trips. Most of my friends who do not go anywhere or take chances in business, owe a lot less. So next?

The truth is, we are all worried and scared of stepping away from what we are familiar with. I believe I have written about "being comfortable" before. It's a very slow crippling disease. You stop creating, strategizing and hustling. You become complacent with your life. Personally, when I start to feel complacent, I cry. I get very emotional and sad about my life. There has to be more; I can do more. Then I wipe my tears and push on. But what if you like being mediocre? Well... then don't say "I wish..." when you hear about all the fun I'm going to have in New Orleans next year.

Here's a list I posted on my Facebook fan page about the 11 ways to be Unremarkably Average. Read it cause this is you. Just saying.

Before I leave you beaten up and mad at me, let me leave you with this. There is a sorority sister of mine named... lets say Ariel. She's a South Jersey girl and is very comfortable in her own skin. I'm not sure why, but one day she decided to lose weight. And she did. We're all so proud of her transformation. Hard work and diligence look great on her. Ariel also saw one of our other sorority sisters constantly traveing all over the world. Finally one day, her "I wish" became a "I did". Ariel reached out and told her to let her know when she was going on her next big trip. Guess where the destination was? South Africa. This South Jersey girl went to Africa. And I am so inspired at her dedication to explore and LIVE. Whether she goes anywhere else, ever again, at least she took a chance and lived a little. I think we're all capable of that. All I'm trying to say.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Something has to change

My father gives me motivational books all the time. Do I read all of them? No. Well until my commute time to and from work increased a couple of months ago. I have been entrusted with leading a new project at my day job. It may revolutionize how we do things in my department and organization... therefore naturally I accepted. Even though my commute to East New York every day is sometimes a painful one.

"I was born to lead," my father has said since I was a young girl. He wanted me to be the first female to accept a Grammy, Oscar and I think Tony. I can't quite remember. He also wanted me to own my own business versus being like him, working 9 to 5 for the rest of my life. And often, I would just let my dad talk and fill my head with all these hopes and DREAMS. As I got older, my father instilled in me that I needed an agenda for my life. Not just goals, but an agenda I wanted to live out. I took that task and went with it. I made a 10 year agenda at about 16 years old. Do you want to know what I was supposed to be doing by now? Well...

1. Married by the age of 21
2. A Teen Ministry leader for my church
3. Had a child at 25 years old

That's all I remember off the top of my head. Clearly I was on the religious train. All they really want women to do in churches (maybe not all) is to find a spiritual husband (or more like they will find one for you), then you get married, lead together somehow and then have children. You could go off and do missionary work, but that is if they believe you are good enough. I actually never felt good enough to lead for the church I used to go to. But that's another blog entry. Conclusion: My agenda changed.

I have been reading "The Art of Non-Conformity" by Chris Guillebeau; and I realize, I am kind of over writing this blog. At least the way I have been. For weeks and months, I started again contemplating if I am a writer. I used to write so much more years prior. I wrote two books for goodness sake. Something has got to change. Maybe it's me, maybe it's my environment. Who knows? Well... that's just it, I should know. I need to get in tune with myself. Listen to myself. I have so many ideas and passions. I can create more stories and characters. I refuse to believe that I am dried out of creativity. Proof of this exist. For example, I reached out to an artist I admire and asked her if she'd do a children's book with me. She was honored and said she would love to but did not have the time currently. I laughed and said, "Do not worry. I have not written a word of the story yet." Even so, I am determined to make this book at some point. It's in my NEW life agenda.

This agenda is full of traveling, leading and excelling. Even becoming primarily pescatarian is on there, and approximately when I want to have a play written and read at a table reading by actors. I am determined to choose the direction of my own life. (I made a 5 year one this time. For now anyway)

Therefore, I will be figuring out exactly what I want to share with all of you. I know it's not about Fashion Week and entrepreneurial events anymore (not to say it may not come up). It's more like my most popular post from last year about Online Dating.

Change is good. Change is needed. And it's going to happen. Lets go.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Have you seen my sister?

Have you seen my sister?
Well I guess she's more like a friend.
We met a tad later in life but it feels like I've know her since birth.
She likes to share her toys with me.
She even sometimes shares her bed.
Oh I forgot to tell you her name.
It's Olivia.
Pretty? Yes.
But have you seen her?
We left the house together but she never came back.
Dad rushed me home and left me there for a while, but when he came back, she wasn't with them.
Where is Olivia?
My sister, my friend.
Now I'm getting sad.
Mom and dad mentioned a car, but it's hard to understand them when they speak.
Unless they repeat it often and give me a treat.
I do remember a large car and screaming.
I've never seen mom yank the leash so hard.
Hopefully Olivia is okay.
Where is she?
Will she come back soon?
Mom and Dad look sad.
Mom cries when I sit next to her.
She never does that.
Did someone take her away?
I hope we get her back.
Maybe Mom will smile again?
Maybe Dad will be less angry?
If only I could remember what happened after the big black car drove by.
Dad yelled.
The car kept driving.
Mom disappeared.
I think I saw her knees, but then that would mean she was on her knees.
Why would she be on her knees in the street?
Mom always said it was dirty and wiped our paws when we got home.
But where was Olivia?
My sister.
Did she leave?
I don't remember, but I miss her.
I hope she comes back soon.
For now I'll get her toys ready for her and make sure her bed is clear.
Cause I'm waiting for my sister.
Have you seen her?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fashion in the City

I'm not participating in the joy that is Fashion Week, but I did want to put in some commentary.
Rebecca MinkoffAs you may know, I was in Europe for the past week and they're Fashion Week in London is actually starting at the end of this week. So they were getting started with their Fashion events while I was there. It was fun to witness how it's done overseas.

This got me paying attention to the fashion around me during my stay. And really, I realized how boring my style is. Then realized, maybe it's American Fashion? Maybe. Either way, I bought some British mags to take home. Cause this 20- something going onto 30 girl is not into being bland. I also don't want to be one of those people who think they're SO different by doing stuff like wearing an ugly sweater and telling everyone else they don't get it.

Here are some fashion news and ideas from Fashion Week(s) and my British magazines. Hopefully this inspires you to live it up in your personal image. I'm probably going to start working with a stylist (send me any freelancers or starters cause you know I love the beginners) and making a image board as if I were a company. Oh wait....  Haha.

Celebs at NYFW spring 2016

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Where did i go?

Simple answer, to live Life. It's been a whirlwind of things going on but I have not forgotten my blog fans. Some people would love to blame it on my romantic relationship but that's very presumptuous. Others may say cause I don't care anymore.

I'm here to say, I need inspiration. Sadly to say, last week I wondered if I am actually a writer. Maybe my two books were it. That's all I have in me. But then I also thought about the girl who had such a thrill in making this world of people. I liked writing about them, more than I liked watching TV sometimes. As I posted on Facebook a week ago, I miss those times I was grounded and all I had was a pen and notebook. But oh have times changed.

Today I am going to work and then getting some teeth extracted. I will be drugged up and miserable for the night. Or at least I assume I will. Life is to be lived and I have been living mine. Have you?

Next week I return to the continent that helped me develop a better relationship with myself. Also where I wrote some of my best pieces. I found my love for psychology, sociology and communications as well. I'm going back and looking at life in a whole new way.

The theme here is life... So lets talk about it. I'll see you in Europe. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chef Anissa: Angry Bird

I call this the angry bird because once I took it out of the roasted pan it looked a bit angry. It didn’t look like other chickens I’ve roasted, all pretty and golden.

THIS CHICKEN. It may have the worst name in recipe-naming history (I'm renaming it Slow-Roasted Chicken), but that doesn't even matter, not one bit because OMG THIS CHICKEN. (Yes, I know with the all-caps, but this chicken deserves them, plus several exclamation point and a lot of underlining and four-letter words, too.) 

I saw this recipe in a cooking magazine. The picture of the bird was soooo beautiful and perfect. That’s what caught my eye. I am a chef, how many roasted chicken recipes am I really supposed to jump for joy over? Even if you think that a new recipe for roasted chicken is snoozeworthy, you need to know about this. Like, REALLY. (People, I have feelings about this chicken and they are not equivocal!)

Instead of roasting your bird at a high heat or slathered with butter, here you put together a little herb-spice rub (fennel, hot pepper, marjoram, thyme and salt), add some olive oil and then rub the bird all over with that mixture, sort of as if you were giving it a relaxing salt scrub. You stuff the bird with a whole head of garlic cut in half, a lemon cut into quarters and more marjoram and thyme. Then you put the bird on top of some thyme sprigs on a baking sheet, surround it with potatoes (I added carrots and celery) and put it in a low oven, 300° F, for two to three hours.

When the chicken is done (I put my oven just a little higher - at 160° C instead of 150° C - so it was done a little after two hours - but I had to take the vegetables out earlier, so definitely pay attention to what's going on in your oven around the 90-minute mark if you're going with the original temperature), it is meltingly tender and the joints have practically dissolved. The skin is irresistibly crisp, but you have none of the crazy chicken-fat smoking out of the oven that crispy skin usually requires. The roasted vegetables have shrunk and sweetened and are infused with herby, savory chicken fat. It's pretty much the greatest Sunday dinner ever.
But I'm not even done yet!
Because, believe it or not, this roast chicken, is  as delicious and perfect as it is freshly roasted, goes straight into the leftover hall of fame. I mean, cold roast chicken of any kind is tough to beat - it's just one of those home-run foods that everyone loves (right? RIGHT?) - but this cold roast chicken is unparalleled. A day or two of sitting in the fridge and it's pretty much the best thing ever.
Bonus proof-that-this-chicken-is-the-chicken-to-end-all-chickens story: This evening, while I was pulling the remaining meat off the carcass to recycle into a BLT chicken salad, Lil Rob  literally grabbed the entire breast that I had just lifted off the bones out of my hands (I'd already put some shredded meat on his plate!) and proceeded to devour it, with his hands, like a very cute and yet slightly terrifying and hungry little caveman.

Angry Bird Herbed Chicken Serves 5
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh marjoram; plus 4 sprigs, divided (I used dried and skipped the sprigs)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme; plus 4 sprigs, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 3½–4 pound chicken
1 lemon, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, halved, or quartered if large
1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150 C°). Mix the fennel, red pepper, chopped or dried marjoram, chopped thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a small bowl. Rub chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Stuff chicken with lemon, garlic, 2 marjoram sprigs, and 2 thyme sprigs. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
2. Toss potatoes with remaining oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Push potatoes to edges of baking sheet and scatter remaining 2 marjoram and 2 thyme sprigs in center; place chicken on herbs. Roast, turning potatoes and basting chicken every hour, until skin is browned, meat is extremely tender, and potatoes are golden brown and very soft, 2-3 hours. Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes before carving. ( hint..hint: the reason we let the bird  rest for 10 minutes is because we want all the juices will settle evenly through the bird and it also helps with the carving process. Juice won't squirt out all over you.)
By: Chef Anissa