Sunday, July 17, 2022

Trip to Surprise Aunt & Mini Family Reunion in Texas

      At the end of March, hubby and I went to Texas to attend a surprise birthday party for my aunt Mattie. In addition to surprising my aunt, I also go to meet my recently discovered brother as well as his girlfriend and his mother. Although the weather was hot, it was wonderful to meet and interact with family members from my father's side of the family that I hadn't previously met before. We found the perfect family group outing opportunity when we discovered a nearby fair occurring near the hotel where we were staying.

Me & Aunt Mattie

Bro's girlfriend, bro, me, and hubby

Cousin, step mom, bro, me, cousin, aunt, and dad in front

     Since we were flying out of Austin, we decided this was the perfect opportunity to visit Rabbit Food Grocery, which is an all vegan grocery store. I really enjoyed visiting this store because they had a variety of items including, food, clothing, dog food, and toiletry items.  
Entrance to Rabbit Food Grocery

Items bought at Rabbit Food Grocery

     Before we fly out of Austin, we stopped for lunch at next level burger in Austin which was located in Whole Foods. The burgers were delicious and the beerchez fries were divine. So glad to find so many vegan options in Texas and we'll definitely plan to visit there again in the future. 

Beerchz fries

Beerchz burger

Maverick burger

After visiting my aunt, meeting my bonus bro and enjoying lots of delicious vegan food, my father has decided to plan an official family reunion to be held in Spring of next year. Below are photos from our trip.


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Lizzo's "Watch Out For the Big Grrrls" Breaks the Reality TV Show Mold

     As someone who is not a fan of reality TV shows, I will admit I was skeptical when I saw the preview for Lizzo's reality TV show "Watch Out for the Big Grrls" on Amazon Prime. Although the premise of a dance competition featuring plus sized women seemed interesting, I worried it would be hokey or boring. I'm so glad that I gave this show a chance since it is entertaining, insightful, and uplifting. 

The main premise of the show is that Lizzo is searching for new backup dancers to add to her Big Grrrl dance crew who will perform with her at the annual Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee as well as go on tour with her across the country. In order to select the best woman for the job, Lizzo flies thirteen plus size women (including one trans woman) to Los Angeles to audition for a spot of the dance crew. In each episode, the contestants are given challenges meant to showcase their dancing ability, personality, creativity, as well as stamina and endurance.

Throughout the course of eight episodes, the viewer learns the backstory of each of the women which involve common factors of feeling unattractive and not feeling accepted by society due to their body size. By discovering dancing in various stages in their lives, each of the women find healing and happiness. As each episode progress, the viewer also sees each of the women transform from timid and insecure individuals to a strong and powerful team. By sharing a house together, eating, sleeping and dancing together on a daily basis, a sisterhood is formed among those living in the house in addition to bonds formed with Lizzo.

As I continued to watch each episode, I was surprised to see pieces of my life experience in each of these women whether it was through learning how to love my body (regardless of its size) or working to uplift other women through my words and deeds. Through watching this show, Lizzo's genuine love for helping women shine really showed as well as her desire to help women work through their person issues in order to become the best versions of themselves. 

In closing, if you are a plus size woman, have plus size people in your life, or just wanted to watch an unconventional reality TV show which focuses on uplifting often overlooked people, I highly recommend you watch this show!  


Wednesday, March 9, 2022

First Visit To Hometown Since COVID & Little Rock 1/2 Marathon Race Recap

     In an effort to complete my life long goal of running a half marathon in each state, I signed up to run the Little Rock 1/2 Marathon in Little Rock, Arkansas. Since the race occurred on Sunday, March 6, hubby and I decided to fly in early and drive down to my hometown in Alabama to visit my best friend as well as my parents (which I haven't seen in person since 2019. I was happy to be able to meet up with my best friend and her son over lunch before visiting with my dad and my mom.

Best friend and me

Dad and me

Hubby, dad, and me

Mom and me

Me, mom, and hubby

      After our brief visit to Alabama, it was time to return back to Little Rock to prep or the half marathon on Sunday. While taking a break from race prep, I was able to enjoy some delicious vegan food from Blue Sage Vegan Bistro.

Spicy mushroom tacos

Chick'n fried steak sandwich

Vegan grilled cheese with mushrooms and arugula

Spiral fries
After a good night's sleep at the hotel, it was time to get up and run the half marathon. The half marathon was fairly uneventful expect for a brief period of sprinkles followed by a later period of brief rain. Luckily, I made sure to pack a poncho in my pants pocket so I didn't get too wet during the race. 

Me before the half marathon

Bridge I ran on during on during race

Communion on the Run tent

Arkansas Governor's mansion

Me with half marathon finisher's medal

Close up of finisher's medal
Although there were many interesting tents set up along the race route, my favorite was the "Communion on the Run" tent in front of a church which gave runners the communion experience using pretzel bites to represent the body of Christ and a cup of grape juice to represent the blood of Christ. This to me was a very creative idea! Overall, the Little Rock 1/2 Marathon was a wonderful race to run and I loved how many community members come out to support us runners. I'm looking forward to visiting my family for a longer time sometime soon as well as looking forward to my next 1/2 marathon which will be the Las Vegas Women's 1/2 Marathon next month. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Award Winner at First Annual SoCal Yeppies

     On May 12, 2001, I was nominated to become a member of the Yelp Elite Squad. On Thursday, January 20, Yelp held their first annual 2021 Southern California (SoCal) Yelpie Awards via Zoom. 

During the course of the evening, the band Cold Blooded Soul gave two musical performances, a bartender who made an alcoholic and nonalcoholic drink, and a comedian did a five minute comedy routine.

Intermixed with each of the above performances a total of seven categories were announced and a total of 43 Yelp Elites were selected for the awards listed below.

I was surprised and honored to be chosen to win an award for "Keeping Yelp Useful," The award explanation can be seen below. 

Below is a photo of me and the other Yelp Elite Squad members who were also also selected for the Keeping Yelp Useful award.

After the event, I took a photo at the virtual photo booth that was created for Yelp Elite Squad members and took the below photo.

I looked forward to receiving a Yelpie trophy as well as a curated box of local goods and Yelp swag. I feel so happy to be celebrated for my contributions to Yelp and look forward to being a Yelp Elite Square member for many more years to come!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Booklist Queen's 2022 Reading Challenge

Each year, I take on different reading challenges as a way to get outside of my reading comfort zone. For 2022, I plan to read a total of 104 books in 2022 by completing the 52 Book Club's 2022 reading challenge and the Booklist Queen 2022 Reading Challenge. If you'd like to participate in this 2022 reading challenge, visit

Below is the list of reading prompts for the 2022 reading challenge which I'll start on January 1, 2022. After I finish each reading prompt, I'll update this list. If you want to see more of the books I've read this year and previous years, check out my Goodreads profile at:

The Booklist Queen 2022 Reading Challenge:

  1. By a author you love: Head Bangers by Zane
  2. Goodreads winner in 2021: The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman
  3. Book becoming a movie in 2022: Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka
  4. Book with a twist: A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
  5. Speculative fiction: 
  6. With a bird on the cover: Feral Creatures by Kira Jane Buxton
  7. About a difficult choice: 
  8. Published in 2012: Wild by Cheryl Strayed 
  9. With a name in the title: Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper
  10. By a local author:
  11. Discussion-worthy book club book:
  12. 2021 bestseller:
  13. Genre you don't usually read: Sackett's Land (western) by Louis L' Amour
  14. Shakespearean play: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  15. With a two word title: Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades
  16. About a Muslim protagonist: 
  17. Set in the 1980's: The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
  18. Asian American & Pacific Islander Author: The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
  19. Bottom of your to-read list: 
  20. Literary fiction:
  21. Recommended on Instagram: 
  22. LBGTQ+ book: Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
  23. Book everyone is talking about: 
  24. Pulitzer prize winner: The Tradition by Jericho Brown (2020 winner in poetry)
  25. With a blue cover: My Lady's Choosing by Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris
  26. Author who shares your initials:
  27. Epic adventure: 
  28. A guilty pleasure read: Larger Than Life by Maria Sherman
  29. An audiobook: Run the Mile You're In by Ryan Hall
  30. Catchy title: Eat Cake for Breakfast and 99 Other Small Acts of Happiness by Viola Sutanto
  31. About nature: 
  32. Two books by the same author (1): Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire 
  33. Two books by the same author (2): Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
  34. YA fantasy: The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton
  35. Purchased at a bookstore:
  36. Family drama: 
  37. Classic you've avoided: Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  38. Set in Africa: The Memory of an Elephant by Alex Lasker
  39. Recommended by a librarian: 
  40. By a British author: Assembly by Natasha Brown
  41. Reread a favorite: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  42. Under 300 pages: Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine
  43. Spooky read: 
  44. Nonfiction bestseller:  Atlas of the Heart by Brene' Brown
  45. A book about life: You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar
  46. Reese Witherspoon book club pick:
  47. Makes you laugh: Everything I Need to Know I learned From a Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
  48. Historical novel:
  49. A 2022 new release: Tanqueray by Stephanie Johnson & Brandon Stanton
  50. Inspiring memoir:  Lady Death:  The Memoirs of Stalin's Sniper by Lyudmila Pavlichenko
  51. Cozy mystery: Murder in Cherry Hill by Paige Sleuth
  52. You own but haven't read: Book Nerd by Holly Maguire

Friday, November 12, 2021

The 52 Book Club's 2022 Reading Challenge

Each year, I take on different reading challenges as a way to get outside of my reading comfort zone. For 2022, I plan to read 52 books in 2022 by completing the 52 Book Club's 2022 reading challenge. If you'd like to participate in this 2022 challenge, visit www.the52book,club.

Below is the list of reading prompts for the 2022 reading challenge which I'll start on January 1, 2022. After I finish each reading prompt, I'll update this list. If you want to see more of the books I've read this year and previous years, check out my Goodreads profile at:

The 52 Book Club's 2022 Reading Challenge:

  1. A second-person narrative: Million Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatton
  2. Featuring a library or bookstore: The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson
  3. Title starting with the letter "E:" Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley
  4. Title starting with the letter "F:" Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach
  5. Chapters have titles: Black Widow: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like "Journey" in the Title by Leslie Gray Streeter
  6. Household object on the cover: 
  7. A non-fiction bestseller: 
  8. Involving the art world:  The Art of the Con by Anthony M. Amore
  9. A book that sparks joy: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
  10. A book based on a real person:
  11. A book with less that 2022 Goodreads ratings: What's Your Enneatype by Liz Carver & Josh Green
  12. Set on at least two continents:
  13. Includes a club: Mean Girls Club: Pink Dawn by Ryan Heshka
  14. A character with superhuman ability:
  15. A five-syllable title:  Running For My Life by Lopez Lomong 
  16. A book you've seen someone reading in a public place: 
  17. A book picked based on its spine: My Seven Black Fathers by Will Jawando
  18. Jane Austen-inspired:
  19. A book that has an alternate title: 
  20. Related to the word "gold:" Gold Rush Women by Claire Rudolf Murphy & Jane G. Haigh
  21. Published by Simon & Schuster: Self-Care For Black Women by Oludara Adeeyo
  22. An unlikely detective: An Equal Opportunity Death by Susan Dunalp
  23. Author with an X, Y, or Z in their name: Saving Myself One Step at a Time: A Running Memoir by T.J. Bryan
  24. Addresses a specific topic: 
  25. A wealthy character:
  26. Has an "Author's Note:"
  27. Include a map: 
  28. Award winning book from your country:
  29. Over 500 pages long:
  30. Audiobook is narrated by the author: Will by Will Smith
  31. Technology-themed: Awesome Achievers in Technology by Alan Katz
  32. A book that intimidates you: 
  33. A bilingual character: You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria
  34. An author's photo on the back: Secret Inland Empire: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure by Larry Burns
  35. From the villain's perspective: Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker
  36. Recommended by a favorite author: 
  37. Set in a rural area: We We're Rich and We Didn't Know It by Tom Phelan
  38. Don't judge a book by its cover!: 
  39. A middle-grade novel: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  40. A book with photographs inside: National Geographic Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary by Susan Tyler Hitchcock
  41. Involves a second chance: You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
  42. An indie read: 
  43. Author's who published in more than one genre: The Running Shaped Hole By Robert Earl Stewart (also published poetry)
  44. An anthology: 
  45. A book with illustrated people on the cover: Caught Up in the Rapture by Sheneska Jackson
  46. A job title in the title:
  47. Read during the month of November: 
  48. Redo one of the year's prompts, but with a different genre (title starting with the letter "F"): Fairest of All by Serena Valentino
  49. Book title starts with the same letter as your first name: Thirsty Mermaids by Kat Leyh
  50. A person of color as the main character:  
  51. The word "game" in the title: Good Game, Well Played by Rachael Smith, Katherine Lobo, & Justin Birch
  52. Published in 2022: Clean Air by Sarah Blake

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Scenes From First Vegan Depot Riverside Event

On Sunday, October 3rd, me and hubby attended the first Vegan Depot event in Riverside. The event was well attended with a total of over 60 vegan vendors selling food and clothing. Below is the announcement for the event as well as some of the items we purchased while at the event. The photos include a mixed juice drink from Lizzard Mama's, a classic burger from Vruger Guyz, a supreme vegan stuffed crust pizza from Love Amaro Pizzeria, pumpkin spice coffee cake from 7 Deadly Confections, and Vegan Chickun and Cinnamon Roll Waffles from Vegan Or Nah. 

In addition to the variety of food provided at the Vegan Depot Riverside event, the was also a in person meetup of the Facebook Vegans of the Inland Empire group. Below is a photo of me and the others who attended the meetup. We had a good time at the event and will definitely plan to attend future vegan depot events in Riverside.


Trip to Surprise Aunt & Mini Family Reunion in Texas

      At the end of March, hubby and I went to Texas to attend a surprise birthday party for my aunt Mattie. In addition to surprising my au...