Tag Archives: Culture

Make Tasty Liberian Jollof Rice!

Sunday dinner or the next holiday you’ve got a great recipe to cook

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Jollof rice is a special dish in Africa. Many countries have their own  version of Jollof, but I have to say Liberian Jollof rice is the best! Well if you dont believe me prepare this dish and compare it to the other versions you have tasted, I’m sure you will be in love from the first bite.

Jollof Rice Recipe

You will need:

3 C raw rice (parboiled, see Tips below)
1 lb peeled shrimp
3 lbs chicken (or some combination of chicken and beef)
6 oz can spam (or smoked turkey)
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (chopped, optional)
2 C frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tsp salt
2 tsp seasoned salt (Lawrys is great)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 C cooking oil
1 C water

Cook Chicken, Meat, and Shrimp

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Remove any skin and fat from the chicken and meat. Cut up into 1 to 1/2 inch pieces. Peel your shrimp and place in bowl with
meat and chicken.

Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp seasoned salt and stir. Allow to stand for 15 minutes.

Dice spam (or smoked turkey) into small (1/2 inch) pieces. The spam is probably salty enough so no need to add salt. Place in a bowl by itself.

Spray the bottom of a large non-stick skillet with cooking oil spray. Turn burner on high. If you use regular oil, use a Tbs of oil and cook on medium high instead. Test oil by dropping some droplets of water into hot skillet. Oil is ready if water skittles around.

Add chicken, meat and shrimp to pan and stir around quickly with spoon until golden brown and cooked. Transfer back to pan.

Cool, clean and then spray the same skillet with cooking oil spray. Fry the spam until medium brown. If you are using smoked turkey, there is no need to cook it any further.

Add the spam to the bowl with meat, chicken, and shrimp. Set aside.

Make your Sauce

Clean out your skillet. Add your oil.

Chop onions. Heat oil in skillet on high. When hot, add chopped onion and frozen mixed vegetables. Sautee until the onions are cooked.

Add tomatoes, mixed vegetables, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp seasoned salt, black pepper, green pepper(if you are using any) and 1 C water.

Add the chicken, shrimp, meat and spam. Stir, cook on medium for 2 minutes. Remove from stove and set aside.

Finally: Make Your Jollof Rice

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Pre-heat stove.  Combine cabbage with rice in a large bowl. Mix well.

Add sauce, a little at a time, to the rice mixture in the pan.

Be careful not to add too much sauce!

Your rice should be covered with sauce, but not watery. You may not need to use all the sauce. You can add any remaining sauce later, while baking.

Mix well and transfer to a large pot.

Steam mixture for at least 30 minutes.

Check rice to see if it is done , if it is hard, add any extra sauce and carefully mix in. If you don’t have any sauce left over, add a cook spoon of water.

If you add more sauce or water, cover again with top, and cook an additional 10 minutes. If not, move to the next step.

When your rice is fully cooked (firm but not too soft), turn the heat up to high. Remove top covering, and steam for 5 minutes. This is to brown your rice.

Stir rice again and broil another 2 minutes. Your rice should be ready now.

Mix your meat in and remove pan from stove and enjoy your Jollof Rice

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Fashion Icon Oscar de la Renta Dies At 82

May his soul rest in peace and his creations live forever

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World renown fashion powerhouse and icon Oscar de la Renta passed away at the age of 82 yesterday. The couturier battled with cancer for 10 years before passing. Dominican born de la Renta has worked for Lanvin, Balmain and Balenciaga in the past. He brought up his own label and made a great name for it. Many first ladies and influential women in the entertainment industry have modeled his creations. He just made major headlines after designing Amal Alamuddin’s ivory wedding gown for her wedding to George Clooney last month.  A new creative director Peter Copping was just appointed last week and he will pick up where the legendary designer left off.  As a tribute to one of the most influential designers in the business we have gathered his 10 most iconic gowns.

oscar5 Rihanna wore a floral appliqued gown by the designer back in 2011 at the BRIT Awards

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Jessica Alba’s 2013 tangerine mermaid gown by de la Renta is one of her best looks to date.

 

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Amy Adams floated on the Oscar red carpet in a dove grey ball gown by de la Renta

 

 

 

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Sarah Jessica Parker  at the 2014 Met Gala in a gown designed and “signed” by de la Renta

 

 

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Cameron Diaz in ODLR for the 2010 Academy Awards

 

 

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Freida Pinto glowed in a bright orange gown by Oscar de la Renta at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

 

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Jessica Chastain hit the red carpet for the Deauville American Film Festival in a bold embroidered cocktail dress by de la Renta.

 

 

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Sandra Bullock wore a feather-trimmed gown by Oscar de la Renta back in 2004 at the Academy Awards

 

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Kerry Washington looked polished and pristine in a two-tone pastel look by ODLR at the 2013 NAACP Awards.

 

 

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Oprah at the 2010 Met Gala. This  was one of Oprah’s best red carpet looks to date and you could tell she loved the dress.

 

Oscar de la Renta was a great designer and his fashion legacy shall live on!

25 Things Every Woman Should Have By The Time She Is 25

Celebrate that 25th birthday knowing you are on track 

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At the age of 25  you are still young enough not to have a care in the world, but old enough to know that you should. There are so many things that should be accomplished at the age of 25 so easing into the “dirty thirties” is a breeze. Here is a collection of things every woman should have by the time she has turned 25 years old. If you have at least 20 of these things then you are on the right track to an amazing future.

1.  An intermixable, stylish wardrobe. Building a wardrobe takes time, but by 25, a woman should at least have the basics such as leggings, black pumps, the classic LBD and of course jeans that make a girl’s buns look yummy.

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2. A personal color palette. We all have that one color (or a few) that we just can’t pull off because it either washes us out or just does nothing for our skin tone. Choose a color palette that makes you shine, makeup included.

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3. Bank Account. This is beyond important.

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4. Exercise Regimen. Whatever your niche is-Jogging, Pilates or Yoga; just make sure its fun and interesting for YOU.

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5. At least 3 easy-to-fix-but-still-impressive recipes. Boiling water does not count. Learn your way around the kitchen…for yourself.

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6. Shapewear.  The Ultimate Secret Weapon, Spanx work miracles!

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7. A reading list. Just because you’ve been out of college for a few years doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read. No gossip blogs do not count. Line up a few good books.

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8. Common Sense. Start using that brain, those good looks won’t last forever.

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9. Foodie Bucket List. Gather a list of restaurants you long to visit & some dishes you’ve been just bursting to try.

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10. A regular bucket list. Hey, why not?

11. Passport. Even if you haven’t been anywhere yet, who says you’re not going anywhere in the future. Romantic weekend tryst in Rio? Passaporte!

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12. A proper, grown-up email address. It’s time to ditch theDivaGrrl777. Keep it simple: Last Name, First Initial.

13. A skincare regimen. Every woman’s skin is different, find out what will keep your skin dewy & healthy. Remember the basics: Cleanser, Moisturizer & Sunscreen.

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14. A basic tool kit & the ability to use it. There’s nothing like a woman who knows how to use a hammer. Sexy.

15. Financial & career goals. You must have a plan set out and the willpower to go through with it.

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16. At least one best friend. We need at least one awesome friend to have great times with & get through the hard times with.

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17. A good idea of how to be alone & how to enjoy alone time. Be a woman that enjoys her own company. If you don’t enjoy yourself, how can someone else?

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18. One red lipstick that compliments your skin tone. Self-explanatory, try something from MAC or NARS you will not be disappointed.

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19. Great bond with your parents. You don’t have to speak to them every day or be the best of friends, just have healthy relationships with them.

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20.  Comfort in your sexuality. Learn what you like in bed, know who you are sexually and don’t be afraid to show it.

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21. At least one go-to purse-in black,brown or grey. Or all three, that’s even better.

22. A 5-minute makeup routine. Why spend 45 minutes putting  makeup on every day? Every girl needs a quick and simple routine.

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23. A credit card. Only in your name and not maxed out already. Spend responsibly, credit debt sucks.

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24. A day planner. It’s just the responsible, grown-up thing to do. Plus, its much neater than those post-its all over your mirror.

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25. Confidence. A confident woman is an unstoppable woman.

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Note: Depending on a woman’s personal preferences, physical location & financial circumstances, she may or may not want a house or a vehicle. Every woman is different. In regards to a woman having a job, in order to have some of these things (bank account, clothing, makeup, spending money, etc.), of course she needs a job or at least a paid internship. That really doesn’t need to be put on this list. But if a 25-year old woman does not have a job but she has goals that she’s actually working towards, then that doesn’t make her any less fabulous, we don’t know her circumstances.

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Good Luck Ladies!

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Pens Letter About Ebola Epidemic

Her excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf  speaks out

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Ebola has become a huge disaster in West Africa especially in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The Ebola epidemic has is thought to have begun in Guinea and quickly spread to the neighboring Liberia in February. Since February thousands have died and many blame slow response of the Liberian government to the rapid spread of this horrible disease.At least a good 6 months went by while people in the poorer parts of Liberia died of this frightening disease, nothing was done by the government to eradicate the disease. Once Ebola hit the nation’s capital, Monrovia the disease spread like wild fire this is when serious action was taken by the Liberian government. Her excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf decided to pen a letter concerning her efforts in eradicating Ebola and bringing about a better Liberia. Her letter is as follows:

Dear World,

In just over six months, Ebola has managed to bring my country to a standstill. We have lost over 2,000 Liberians. Some are children struck down in the prime of their youth. Some were fathers, mothers, brothers or best friends. Many were brave health workers that risked their lives to save others, or simply offer victims comfort in their final moments.
There is no coincidence Ebola has taken hold in three fragile states – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – all battling to overcome the effects of interconnected wars. In Liberia, our civil war ended only eleven years ago. It destroyed our public infrastructure, crushed our economy and led to an exodus of educated professionals. A country that had some 3,000 qualified doctors at the start of the war was dependent by its end on barely three dozen. In the last few years, Liberia was bouncing back. We realized there was a long way to go, but the future was looking bright.

Now Ebola threatens to erase that hard work. Our economy was set to be larger and stronger this year, offering more jobs to Liberians and raising living standards. Ebola is not just a health crisis – across West Africa, a generation of young people risk being lost to an economic catastrophe as harvests are missed, markets are shut and borders are closed.

The virus has been able to spread so rapidly because of the insufficient strength of the emergency, medical and military services that remain under-resourced and without the preparedness to confront such a challenge. This would have been the case whether the confrontation was with Ebola, another infectious disease, or a natural disaster.

But one thing is clear. This is a fight in which the whole world has a stake. This disease respects no borders. The damage it is causing in West Africa, whether in public health, the economy or within communities – is already reverberating throughout the region and across the world. The international reaction to this crisis was initially inconsistent and lacking in clear direction or urgency. Now, finally, the world has woken up. The community of nations has realized they cannot simply pull up the drawbridge and wish this situation away.

This fight requires a commitment from every nation that has the capacity to help – whether that is with emergency funds, medical supplies or clinical expertise. I have every faith in our resilience as Liberians, and our capacity as global citizens, to face down this disease, beat it and rebuild. History has shown that when a people are at their darkest hour, humanity has an enviable ability to act with bravery, compassion and selflessness for the benefit of those most in need.

From governments to international organisations, financial institutions to NGOs, politicians to ordinary people on the street in any corner of the world, we all have a stake in the battle against Ebola. It is the duty of all of us, as global citizens, to send a message that we will not leave millions of West Africans to fend for themselves against an enemy that they do not know, and against whom they have littledefence.

The time for talking or theorizing is over. Only concerted action will save my country, and our neighbours, from experiencing another national tragedy. The words of Henrik Ibsen have never been truer: “A thousand words leave not the same deep impression as does a single deed.”

Yours sincerely,
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

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What are your thoughts?

Travel Tips For The Diva On A Budget

Get ready to travel the world on a dime (well not exactly)

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Travelling is something I love to do, exploring new places is exhilarating  Booking and researching travel is actually very fun for me. So here’s some tips for you based on my experience with making reservations. Finding a quality travelling arrangement for little to nothing is always great. Here are a few tips for the divas and divos on a budget who want to see the world.  It is possible to travel and travel in style without breaking the bank, people do it everyday and now you have an open gate to the knowledge.

Cheap days to book…

Flight prices change by the minute. There’s talk about there being cheap days and expensive days to book, and although I have noticed trends, its still not concrete. It really depends. Tuesday through Thursday are the cheapest days. Flight prices normally start to drop on Tuesday. By Wednesday they are usually the cheapest. But Thursdayis tricky. It can stay the same as Wed, go down, or go back up. Really depends, but tues/wed are “safe” days. I do notice that Friday thru Monday is usually expensive. And Jet Blue usually has some sort of sale every Tuesday.

Booking flights

Do not book a round trip ticket together. Here’s why. People seem to think that a round trip ticket is “cheaper” if you book the flights going and coming in the same transaction. That’s not true. Its the same exact price as 2 one ways separate. But here’s why I book separately. I do my research on flight prices one way so I can see how or why the round trip is the price it is.

For example. A round trip could be $500. But the one way going could be $110 and the return could be $390. I want to see the price of each so I can compare airlines. The main reason I do NOT book roundtrip is because they usually give you both flights on the same airline. The 3rd party sites rarely mix and match for the lowest price. So I rather just do it myself. Basically going, could be $150 on Delta and coming back could be $300 on Delta. But coming back on Continental or US Airways could be $170 coming back. This is the reason why I rather search tickets “one way”.

After much research,  I basically know what’s a “good price” and what’s not. So for example, a “good price” flight from NYC to ATL is $110 one way. That’s when I’m jumping up and down and typing in my info at lightning speed. But on a “bad price” day, it could be $430 one way. That’s when I sit my ass home and wait for it to drop. For $430 I could been to and from Cabo, Mexico. Also, I do NOT usually use 3rd party sites to book flights. Booking directly from the airline is cheaper and “safer”… People who book directly with the airline have priority just in case of any “emergencies”… Example: when the swine flu hit Mexico. But there ARE times that 3rd party sites have their own sale prices on flights. Such as cheaptickets.com or orbitz.com … ALWAYS be SURE to open the confirmation email that you receive from company after booking. The email COULD be saying that your flight was NOT successfully booked. You don’t want to be at the airport and hear your ticket has not been booked! This has happened to many people in the past, CONFIRM, CONFIRM,CONFIRM!!

I use Kayak.com to compare the different airlines tho.

Every flight does not have the same amenities. You can choose which aircraft you want to be on, on the website for most airlines. For example, you can see which flight has wifi, personal tvs, and outlets when you’re booking your flight via the delta website. I personally don’t care about tvs but I need wifi. And the outlets are so helpful.

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Flight Trick

Do NOT do this all the time. They could potentially catch on to your pattern. A connecting flight is USUALLY cheaper than a non stop. So with that said, if I REALLY need to get on a flight that I feel is too expensive one way, non stop, then I look for a connecting flight to somewhere else, stopping in the city that I want. Example: Sometimes when I’m going to ATL the one way is over $200. And that’s a little pricey. So I’ll search for tickets to other cities connecting in ATL, such as orlando. A connecting to Orlando from NYC could be $120. The flight will be going from NYC to ATL then to ORL but i just get off in ATL. So I still get a nonstop flight to Atlanta and for $120. Make sure you check to see where which state the flight connects in. Don’t just choose ANY flight. It needs to connect in the city you are trying to get to.

There’s a few things you need to know about doing this… This is ONLY for CARRY ON LUGGAGE. You CAN NOT do this if you checked a bag. Your checked bag will go to your final destination on the ticket. You can NOT be late for the plane. If you are one of the last people on the plane then there may not be any overhead space for your bag. If that happens, they take your bag and check it, which means it will be going to the FINAL destination. Lastly, you can NOT get on the 2nd leg of the flight. So for example. You can not book a ticket from NYC to MIA, connecting in ATL and get on in atlanta. Once you miss the first leg of your flight, the second one automatically gets canceled.

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Miles and Points

Miles and points SURE do come in handy. So it does pay to use the same airline as often as possible. I personally like to try different ones Sometimes to see if I like it but I mainly use delta. Now although delta DOES have their annoying things about them, they go most places so the points accumulate. But with Delta you can’t use your points until you have accumulated 25,000 UNLESS you have a delta credit card. So yo have to wait. So if you don’t travel that often AirTran might be a better choice for you because they’re point system is better. You can book a flight with as little as 6 credits. Their points do expire tho, as well as Jet Blue’s points. Everyone hates American Airlines these days but their point system is ok. Just try to stick to A few airlines so that you can get the extra perks.

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How should I book hotels?

Hotels are tricky also, just like flights. For example. If a plane has 40 seats, 5 seats are for expedia, 5 are for travelocity, 5 are for whatever.com … Same with hotels. So if a hotel has 100 rooms. 10 are for expedia, 10 are for orbitz, etc… So the 10 or so that each 3rd party has, can kinda make the room whatever price they want. That’s why it could be $179 a night on Travelocity and $489 on Expedia. The 3rd party website could have their own sale going on for that hotel. So you seriously have to compare a lot of sites when it comes to hotels for the lowest price.

Here’s the tricky things about hotels. Booking straight from the hotel website is usually cheaper but that’s because they don’t charge you the rest of the fees til you check out. When you book the hotel on their website, you’re not being charged. Its just a hold on your card. They don’t charge you til you leave. So sometimes you may have THOUGHT you paid for the hotel and go and spend that money and get surprised when they hit you with the bill at checkout.

Now on the other hand, when you book your hotels through third party websites, all the taxes and hotel fees are included in the price and your room is booked and paid for up front. Nowadays guests are being hit with $60 a night resort fees that are in FINE PRINT somewhere on the website. When guests check out, they had NO clue about these fees. Make sure you find out what the extra fees are when you book through the hotel’s website.

Me personally, I HATE all inclusive resorts. I HATE the “orange juice eggs”. Lol. I really don’t like the food. They barely want you to leave the resort to experience the native life. I want native food and local fun. Let’s be real, most resorts are old married couples.

Always make sure you check the guest reviews. Of course everyone’s experience and taste is different but if 5 people say that the carpet stinks… Guess what, the carpet stinks. The guest reviews will tell you how far or close everything is from the hotel usually. They’ll either love it or be complaining about it.

Lastly, don’t forget about the “incidental hold”… On most hotels they put a hold on your credit card for any damages or charges to the room. This charge can range from $25 to $200 a NIGHT. The W hotel can be $200 a night. They release the hotel when you check out. It takes 3 days for the money to be available on your card again.

And yes, booking flight and hotel together is Usually cheaper. Still make sure you do your homework on the flights though so you know how much you’re REALLY paying for the flight.

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Happy Travelling!

Great Wax Print Evening Wear

some inspiration when creating those dresses from your own fabric

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One of the great things about being an African is that our fashion is so eccentric and unique to our culture. The beautiful ankara and wax prints may be imitated in other countries, but the style that is birthed from these fabrics can not be duplicated. When women want go grab a gown, outfit, or accessory with these fabrics we are not lucky enough to run to a store and pick up what we want. We must have our wax print products personally made and this gives us great room for creative control. Well the following pictures will give you some inspiration when it comes to designing a beautiful evening gown for your next event . Check them out below.


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Beat Of The Week : Lady Murphy “My Life””

Ya’ll be doing the talking while I do the walking

 

Liberian singer Lady Murphy released her video for her single “My Life” . The message in this song is so powerful. It’s about every person living their own life and making their own decisions. Lady Murphy rocks some edgy as well as classic looks throughout the video. We absolutely love her hair in this video, a sleep pompadour with a ponytail. Take a look at this Liberian artist on the rise doing her thing.