I did this shoot for the taataas. Truth be told I did this shoot because I wanted to honor those I know who fought the horrible fight against breast cancer. The ones who won and the ones who didn’t. I did this shoot to honor them. To honor the bravery they had to fight such a fight. I had to be brave too. I never show this much skin. Plus size woman aren’t supposed to. But I did it for the taataas. I did it so that we recall our fallen sistas ( and brothas). I did it for the ones who feel less than because they lost what they thought made them whole (mastectomies can be hard not just on the physical but the mental as well). I did it so we remember our monthly breasts exams. One arm behind your head while checking feverishly in a circular motion with the other hand. So we are the first to notice when something isn’t quite right. I did it for my friend, Sandra Hutchinson, who survived breast cancer but still passed on. I did it for Michelle Munroe who won that fight and continues to be a support for others ( I see you girl). I did it because I needed you to see this 46-year-old mom who breast-fed children. That these taataas were more than something to just look at. I needed you to see that they don’t stand up like 20 years ago. Nothing a good bra can’t fix. I did it because it was freeing. I did it because of the memories I created and will be able to share. I did it because I want you to be aware that we are nowhere near where we need to be in fighting this fight against breast cancer. I did this for… the TAATAAS!
Embroidered Mesh Top: Lane Bryant
Pink Hooded Jacket: JC Penney
Pink Shorts: JC Penney
Lately I haven’t really enjoyed doing the whole mall thing. The other day while out with the mini me I ended up at the mall. More importantly I ended up in JC Penney. That’s where I saw the cutest pink outfit. It seemed so fun and flirty. I already figured out so many ways to wear the two piece ensemble in less than 5 minutes of initially seeing it. I needed it in my closet but first a dressing room, please.
I tried on what used to be my size only to realize I needed a smaller size. YAY ME! Down 14 pounds but that’s not what this post is about. This little number that ended up in my closet ( a certain un-named person gifted it to me) was to be my ode to Breast Cancer awareness. A dear friend/neighbor of mine survived breast cancer only to later lose her life to cancer of the spine. I think about her often…missing her. I laugh about how I hated how perfect her home always looked. At that time she had no children and I had 3 so a clean house was hard to keep. She even had the nerve enough to have a white sofa. I secretly hated on her about that. Then she was blessed with a child of her own. And everything changed. The struggle became real and apparent, yet she only had one child. We became kindred spirits. I love the memories we were able to create. Laughing over tea in her kitchen about my oldest one running away from home to her house. Or the time she called my house because the wasband was playing his music too loud and way too late into the night. She threatened to bring her infant child over if he didn’t shut it down. Hell, I pulled the plug myself. I miss her. I wear this pink in her memory and for all the memories we shared. Sandra Hutchinson you are loved.
Go forward and make memories.
~The Chef In Pearls
I recently attended the opening of Two Boutique. What is Two Boutique, you ask? Well it’s a woman’s clothing store located in downtown Lithonia, GA. They carry designer pieces alongside their own custom brand, Two. I didn’t even have to get on my plus size soapbox because they carry all the way up to a size 3X. Yes, something for everyone. Why two as a name? Well there are two owners, Monica Parrot and Pam Dixon. Aside from just offering a nice clothing experience Two also offers a wide range of other services. You can make an appointment for a personal shopping or styling session, a make-up session or maybe plan an event for you and your girlfriends ( a collaboration maybe in the works between Two and The Chef In Pearls. Keep an eye out). Don’t forget to check out the Two website for everything they offer. If you make it down to Lithonia and visit let Monica or Pam know The Chef In Pearls said Hi. Go ahead and make some shopping memories with Two.
~The Chef In Pearls
April is high tailing it out of here and May is patiently waiting her turn. How did the time fly away from me so fast? I have been really busy this month. So busy that I haven’t written about not one thing I have done. I hang my head in shame…bad Chef In Pearls. I have been naughty and I kindly ask for your forgiveness.
Thank you for so graciously forgiving me. So since you have forgiven me I will provide you with a roundup of all I did this month.
Let’s start with my first visit to the High Museum in Atlanta. It was a mother/daughter outing to take in all the wonders of fashion Iris had to offer us. Iris van Herpen is a fashion designer like no other. I want you to think couture that is outside of the box now multiple that thought by…I don’t know…infinity. There you have Iris van Herpen. She doesn’t just make dresses out of traditional fabric. She created clothing from things most would not even conceive of making clothing from. She collaborates with engineers, architects and so many more to create fabrics made of metal threads to dresses created through 3-D printing to everyday leather sculpted. Even when they told her it couldn’t be done she told them it could. What an inspiration!
As if one day at the museum wasn’t enough I went back two days later to check out the rest of the exhibits. Thanks to the Atlanta Haitian Consulate for sponsoring this day with free admission to the public. We got to view all the exhibits with special attention to Basquiat because he was Haitian. His work cut short by an early death but still well received by most. We got to experience a little Haitian culture while on the museum plaza. There was food to sample, dancing, music and so much culture. On the other side of the Basquiat exhibit was the Vik Muniz exhibit. I really enjoyed his works because a lot of the mediums he worked in were food. He worked in sugar, chocolate, peanut butter and jelly and so much more. I love people who can see things in new perspectives. His work reflected that
I was able to attend the Music in Focus exhibit by Carolyn Grady at the Southwest Atlanta Arts Center. It was a trip down memory lane as I saw pictures of musicians I grew up with. It was such a delight see art from another angle. She presented her photo work in a way that almost made them seem to pop of their canvas. All the work was black and white and printed on metal. It was like having each artist standing right their with you. I really love how she did that.
Last but not least,The C.I.P. Ladies Lunch. It was the second meal of the year…Faux N.Y Strip(grilled Salmon, check out the Youtube video on how to create this dish right here), Indian Inspired Grilled Chicken Strips, Tri-Colored couscous with Sweet Peas & Mushrooms, Roasted Squash, Carrots and Asparagus and Tossed Salad. For dessert I taught the ladies how to make a Strawberry/Blackberry Compote that was served over Frozen Yogurt and Birthday cake. You read right we had another birthday celebration at this lunch. Only difference was that it was three different birthdays being celebrated and I had to allow Publix to make this birthday cake. They got an opportunity to be the first ones to purchase the new spice boxes I plan to roll out on the site. It included the major spices and the recipe card to use them. Be on the look out for them…coming soon. As always I want to thank the gift bag sponsors T.S.P, Naughty Goddess, Fab 222 and Botanical Bliss for the gifts they provided for the ladies. Don’t miss out on the next meal in September…From Dusk to Dark. It will be outdoors with a full tapas menu, wine and a few surprises for the evening. You can purchase your early bird tickets now right here
Life got a little carried away with me this month. I did make time for some memories though. I plan to to do better with posting…scout’s honor. May here we come even better than ever. Now get ready to go make new memories of your own in May.
~The Chef In Pearls
So Target has pulled off another designer collaboration. Guess what? They actually made pieces for the plus size woman. The line drops in less than 30 minutes online and in store. As I perused the lookbook I came across what I hope to make apart of my swimsuit collection.
It’s a bikini top with are you ready for it?? ….swim leggings. Yep not that I am afraid of showing my legs but I thought it was a cute option if I chose. Anyway go check out the Marimekko line at Target. I hope you plan to make some swim suit memories with TargetStyle.
~The Chef In Pearls
It was supposed to be a party of four. Some how it ended up being a party of two but we still had fun. A night of live Brazilian Jazz music at Atlanta’s High Museum. Chinese food for dinner along with very interesting conversations. It was a good night. We missed having out other friends there but we had fun nonetheless.
C.I.P. Jumper: Lane Bryant
Earrings: Gems and Baubles
Go find out what’s happening at your local museum after hours and make some new memories.
~The Chef In Pearls
There is nothing cooler than being able to say you know Santa and actually knowing him. Yep. Your girl the Chef In Pearls not only knows Santa but recently did a photo shoot with him and Mrs. Claus. I mean I can’t get any cooler than that or can I? I probably could be cooler but that’s a whole other post.
Actually let’s not save it for another post. Let’s deal with it in this post. You know what makes me cooler even than just knowing Santa? The fact of being able to call him my brother. Yep Santa Dee of The Real Black Santa is my brother and the young lady who plays Mrs. Claus with him is actually my mother. So yeah I think I am way cooler that I previously thought I was. The only other person I think is cooler than me would be his 10 year old daughter who gets to tell everyone, ” Santa is my Dad”.
My brother gained a lot of popularity in a world where his skin color makes him different or not the norm. But he is the real deal. His beard is not fake but actually grows from his face. It is naturally white not bleached or died to get the color but actually white because it grew that way. It’s a family trait, the gray hair thing we got going on. He earnestly looks forward to the season because he likes the smile he puts on the children’s faces. I still remember how in awe I felt when I first saw him in a Santa suit. Instantly I just wanted to tell him what I wanted for Christmas in hopes that it would be waiting for me under the tree.
I know a lot of people don’t believe or even like the concept of Santa Claus. If for nothing else, when presented correctly, it’s the ideal of showing love to others. That’s what this season is all about. All anyone is really looking for is to be loved. Even the smallest token is appreciated when truly given out of love. That’s all Santa Dee wants to show the world. It may be a concept for children but believe me when I say it touches even the adults. They look forward to the chance to be able to bring their children in to take pictures. To be able to share a few words with him. At times they are more excited than the kids. They want to be the cool parents. I guess them, like me, want to be able to say they know Santa. That gives them some kind of kid cred amongst their children and other children they may know.
Keep up with me and Santa Dee because we’ve somethings in the making. Hopefully we can help you with your memory making this season through cooking, some pictures or even some kind words. Now get off the computer and go makes some memories.
(All Photos by Nicole Denise)
Okay there are new things coming to The Chef In Pearls’ website. Some of you may have noticed one change already. I have added a custom aStore (Amazon Store). Yep I thought it would be great to be able to provide you a way to find the equipment and ingredients for recipes and tips I share. Yea I even plan to include clothing and make up items pretty darn soon. All you have to do is click the Store tab and it will take you to my customized store. If you check out over in the upper right side of the blog you’ll also see an ad for eShakti, one of my new favorite places to get clothing. They carry sizes 0-36, so there is something for everyone. So click on the ad to see what they may have for you.
I have also made the decision to start making videos. Yes you’ll be able to see and hear me on my own YouTube Channel, at The Chef In Pearls of course. And for some instant gratification I have joined the Periscope family. Yep, I will now be able to live stream places, events, cooking me being me or whatever you guys might be interested in. Just download the app and follow… you guessed it, The Chef In Pearls. I hope to be able to do my first live stream this evening from Centennial Park, downtown Atlanta. For those of you who tune in you’ll see one other change I have made. I won’t tell what it is you’ll have to tune in.
If you are not following me on all my social media outlets, shame on you. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, and now Periscope @TheChefInPearls.(I am pretty consistent with my branding) Looking forward to the new memories we’ll make on these social platforms. Don’t forget change can be a good thing.
This past Monday July 6, I turned the ripe age of 43. I know most people start dreading birthday after they hit about 35 but not me. I embrace them. I look forward to every year I am blessed to be a part of this life of mine, good and bad. As I get older I get wiser, well at least I like to think so. This year was not my usual gathering of friends and associates. This year as a true Cancerian I crawled into my shell a bit, kept it low-key. My daughter wanted to make sure it was enjoyable so she made plans for me to visit the M.A.C. counter ( yes I love me some make-up) and then we would have dinner at Makan ( a Chinese/ Korean fusion restaurant) I found out about this restaurant through Thrillist (shout outs to them). I had been determined to experience true Ramen soup when I happened upon their list of top Ramen places in Atlanta. I knew the real deal could be nothing like the instant stuff Momofuku created how many ions ago.
So where do I start I met the best make-up artist at the MAC counter, Tommy and Al. They helped me get my make-up shopping on. I learned a little ombre lip action while they were at it,too. We left there and then headed to Makan where we got a chance to take advantage of their “happy hour”. It was an excellent and cost-effective way to try things out. I tried 3 types of Ramen. Let me just warn you the Korean Spicy Ramen felt like satan had made himself comfortable in my chest. It really is spicy.I should have known just from the fact that the soup was red. I enjoyed the pork buns, the spicy wonton dumplings but my favorite for the night was the Kimchi Fried Rice. Too spicy but oh so flavorful. We left there and headed to Jeni’s for ice cream. Yummy. They had a version of an ice cream I grew up liking but isn’t made anymore, Butter Almond. Nostalgia in a styrofoam cup. And what kind of Birthday celebration would it have been without cake. Yes and I got it from my favorite bakery, Apple Butter Bakery. Since I am a chocolate loving girl I had the cake version of their tall, dark, handsome cupcake. As always I was more than pleased. Well until next year.
I made plenty of new memories. Now it’s your turn go visit one of these places and let me know what you think. Go forward and make memories.
P.S. Oh yeah my Birthday outfit was another eShakti find. I got so many compliments on it. eShakti sells customizable clothing in sizes 2-36 check them out. A gift to all for my birthday if you use the code: CASSANDRAMASON you’ll receive a special discount. Now go shop. BTW I’m still accepting gifts