My Sister’s Now a ‘Mrs.’

Hey guys!

No food recipes today- but today’s post is still pretty important to me and since I did mention it to you all, I did want to share some of it with you.

See, last week, my twin sister Jasmine got married. It was a wonderful day,filled with a lot of smiles, joy and family. Just the way it should be. I’m really happy for Jas and her husband Josh, and I’m glad that I got to be apart of their special day.

(Although, being her twin, it’s not really like I had much of a say in the matter).

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The Happy Couple at the Rehearsal Dinner. It was a Mexican restaurant called Aldaco’s Taco Bar that I’d never been to before. Having tried the food, I can now safely guarantee that I will be back. Normally I’m not even a fan of Mexican food, but this was GOOD.

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There’s a really ‘funny’ story behind this program. Jas had originally decided on some program print-outs from Hobby Lobby, but decided two days before the nuptials that she hated them (and they ‘were’ pretty awful to be honest). So me and my Ashley, our older sister and co-MoH, along with our amazing wedding coordinator came through in the clutch for her to get these custom made for her by a SUPER designer who was willing literally do these overnight.  Let’s give her a round of applause, because she’s DEFINITELY the real MVP. They were done the day before the wedding.

Talk about last minute.

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When Jas and I first got to the church on Saturday morning, we had some quiet time while we waited on the hair stylist and makeup artist to get there, so I made her put up her hood and pose so I could get this shot. The Quiet Before the Storm.

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And, the After. Come on, I mean…let’s just all agree:

Isn’t she THE most beautiful bride you’ve ever seen?

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Jas and our dad posing together just before “Showtime”

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The Bridesmaids. I’m the devious looking one on the right who didn’t want to show teeth.

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Mr. and Mrs. Garcia just after saying, ‘I Do.’

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OMGCAKE.

One layer was Red Velvet. One layer was Raspberry. One layer was Chocolate. Options FTW.

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Maids of Honor on fleek. I showed teeth in this one.

Pictures alone really can’t do a day like this one justice. One of the best feelings is when you get to share such an important event with someone that you love, and it all goes well.

Congratulations to Jas and Josh. Love you guys ❤

(Don’t worry. I’ve got another recipe coming up for your guys very soon ;-))

Merry Christmas!

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Me, aged about 4 or 5. (in my new hideous Christmas dress) This was the Christmas of the Infamous Bell-Dropping Incident. See how happy and carefree I looked? Oh if only I knew what was to come…

Hey guys: no new recipes today. I just wanted to take 1 last opportunity to wish each and every one of you a a wonderful Holiday. May it be filled with great cooking, full houses, awesome gifts, and spectacular memories. Cause ultimately, that’s what it’s all about, right?

Also, there was a special request made by my friend Nancy@FeastingwithFriends for me to post a throwback picture of me from the year of my Bell-Dropping Incident that I talked about in my Cranberry Clementine Toaster Tarts post. Well Nancy, I dug through our box of old pictures and fished this ‘gem’ out to share. If me posting this doesn’t prove I that I’ve got love for you, then I don’t know what will.  The Internet is forever; these pictures will always be out there somewhere, for all the world to see. (I’ve got to stop thinking about that now or else I’m gonna change my mind and not press ‘Publish’.)

As a bonus, I’m even throwing in a picture from my 7th grade play of The Christmas Carol where I played the Ghost of Christmas Present that I talked about in my Cinnamon Wedding Cookies post.

Enjoy the humiliation, guys. I’m only doing this because it’s Christmas, and I love you. *facepalm*

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Me in 7th grade as the Ghost of Christmas Present in The Christmas Carol. Sorry for the poor image quality, the hallway was really dim.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

It’s Like I’m Meryl Streep…Kinda {Awards Season}

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Oh boy, no matter how much you try to imagine what this is like, it’s just so incredibly thrilling right down your toes.”

– Meryl Streep, on winning the 1983 Best Actress Oscar for “Sophie’s Choice”‘

Okay, okay. I know that winning in Oscar has got to be bigger than this, but I still never get ‘used’to incredible kindness of some of my fellow bloggers that thing of me when making nominations for awards. Lately, I’ve been showered with them, so in order to try and keep track and give credit where credit is due, I thought I would lump them all together in one post.

So that means it’s gonna be pretty long. You’ve been warned.

 Versatile Blogger Award

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Huge thanks to Nancy@FeastingwithFriends for thinking of me when putting out her nominees. First up, some random facts about me:

 

7 Random Facts About Me

  1. My favorite Disney Princess is Belle from “Beauty & the Beast”. I kid you not, I can quote the entire script from that movie in perfect order, from memory line.by.line.
  2. I can’t sleep without a blanket covering me, even during the summer. Even if it’s hot and sticky out, I’m just not going without it.
  3. Riding off the sleep topic above, I have a rare and rather scary thing that happens to me every so often called Sleep Paralysis. It’s where your brain ‘wakes up’ before the rest of your body and for a few minutes (that feel like an eternity) the only thing you can move are your eyes. It’s akin to ‘Locked In Syndrome’, and it sucks. Luckily it doesn’t happen to me all the time-mostly only when I’m not getting enough sleep.
  4. I received my first kiss when I was 6. It wasn’t my idea and I didn’t like it… which could be why the boy who gave it to me received a knee in the bread basket for his efforts.
  5. The only thing that I’ve ever broken on my body is my big toe. Don’t let the size of that bone  fool you: it was the worst pain I’ve been in in my entire life.
  6. I would like to be cremated when I die. It’s pointless to throw my body in a pit to decompose and buy an expensive headstone to mourn a heap of bones. I’m not ‘there’ anymore anyway, so just burn up what’s left and keep it moving. What my family chooses to with my ashes is up to them.
  7. I’m abysmally bad at math. Seriously. It’s straight up embarrassing how terrible I am. I mean, I can add/subtract/multiple/divide, but even certain types of mental math evade me. Sometimes it felt like college math was legit about to give me a nervous breakdown.

My Nominees for Versatile Blogger Award

Alice@CloseEncountersoftheCookingKind

Haley@IfYouGiveaBlondeaKitchen

Lily@LittleSweetBaker

Rai@lovelorettaskitchen

Farianti@mysimpledelights

Anjana@AttheCornerofHappyandHarried

Julie@JuliesFamilyKitchen

Cristina@BourbonandBlueberries

Ngan@NgamMadeIt

Jayeeta@CookingDelight

Sheila@SweetBakedLife

Gretchen@FeedingMy3Sons

Selma@SelmasTable

Karen@RevolutionaryPie

Vidya@TraditionallyModernFood

 Rules to Participate:

1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Nominate 15 bloggers for the award and let them know.
3. Share 7 facts about yourself

Sunshine Award

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Thanks goes out to Jayeeta@CookingDelight for nominating me for this Award. I’ll be perfectly honest: I was hoping to eventually be nominated for it. Cause it’s pretty. And because I like to think my tiny little blog spreads around some sunshine.

10 Questions to Ask Me

1. What’s your favorite planet in the Solar System?

Uranus, with Neptune a very close second. Ever since my mom bought me that Magic School Bus book and cassette tape set for me (I think I was in the first grade), I’ve always loved Uranus and Neptune. Why? I think they’re the ‘prettiest’ planets…that I can see from a telescope. As gas planets, I’m not sure how they would look if someone could actually be ‘on them’..

2. Who are your favorite Greek God and Goddess?

I developed a mild obsession with Greek mythology when I was in the sixth grade. Remnants of it still remain. Let’s face it, that stuff is better than any cheap soap opera, I’ll tell ya. Having said that, my favorite God and Goddess of Olympus are Hephaestus and Hestia. I always felt sorry for Hephaestus; most of the male Gods are jerks, but Hephaestus is pretty decent. For the most part he’s just an ugly cuckold who makes really beautiful things. And Hestia? She’s the goddess of the family, hearth…and cooking. So that was an easy choice.

3.  What is more difficult; looking into someone’s eyes when you are telling someone how you feel, or looking into someone’s eyes when they are telling you how they feel?

Tough question, but I gotta say it’s harder for me to look at someone while telling them how I feel than it is for me to look at them when they’re telling me. I almost always look away when I’m having a ‘serious conversation’ with someone and I’m doing the talking so the look on their face doesn’t distract me from what I’m trying to say.

4. Pick a favorite: “Goodfellas” or “Casino”?

…C’mon. Seriously? No WAY can I answer that. Both movies are flawless. Both are my faves.

5. What is the scariest scene you remember from a kid’s movie?

In the movie Jumanji starring Robin Williams, there’s a scene at the very beginning when Alan Parrish is sucked into the game board where he’s trapped inside the jungle for the next 20 or so years because the girl that he’s playing with runs out of the house in terror after being chased by deranged bats without rolling the dice and giving him a chance to get out again. That scene literally gave me nightmares for years. To this day, I still haven’t watched the movie “Jumanji” again because of how much it traumatized me as a kid. Yeah, go ahead and laugh. I don’t care. That movie is still was scary to me.

6. What profession have you always admired?

Although I cannot relate to the subjects at all, I’ve always had a large admiration for people that do work involving math and science- specifically chemistry and physics. Maybe it’s because chemistry and physics have a lot to do with what makes the world ‘work’. And maybe it’s because those subjects make me look plain stupid.

7. Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

My celebrity encounters are very few, and depending on who you are, I’m not even sure if they would really be counted as ‘celebrities’ per se. I have met 3 of the original Tuskegee Airmen, and being an African American and Black History buff, that was pretty awesome to me. I met the Christian contemporary singer Jaci Velasquez at a bookstore a while ago….and that’s about it. Celebrities usually don’t come to Lansing (or anywhere near it, actually).

Oh yeah, I also went to a Barack Obama rally back when he was running for president in ’08- so I guess I was in the same room with him: does that count?

My older sister met Coretta Scott King- I wasn’t there, but I’m telling you anyway, because I think that’s pretty awesome.

8. If you could close one fast food chain, due to disgusting food, what would you pick?

Taco Bell- or as I’ve dubbed it, Taco Hell. I haven’t eaten there in over ten years. And I never will again. Someone set fire to it and burn it to the ground forever. Please. I beg of you.

9. What is your favorite kind of cereal?

Depends. If we’re talking about cereal I’m eating with milk or yogurt, then it’s definitely Kashi Go Lean Crunch. If I’m just eating it dry, then it’s Waffle Crisp.

10. If you were directing a movie, who would you cast as your leading man and woman?

Forest Whitaker is in my Top 3 Favorite Male Actors. He’s just outstanding in everything he does. I could watch him act in a paper bag and still be completely enthralled. The Actress is bit trickier; I don’t know if I can narrow it down to just one. However, for the sake of pairing her with Forest Whitaker, I’d say that the favorite actress of mine that I would like to see work with him would be Kate Winslet. Like Forest, Kate has such a wide range. They’d be nice to watch on screen together.

Rules to participate in this award :

1. Include the Sunshine Award icon in your post and/or on your blog
2. Link to the blogger who nominated you
3. Answer 10 questions about yourself
4. Nominate 10 other bloggers to receive the award
5. Link to your nominees and let them know you nominated them
6. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer

 

Wonderful Team Member Readership Award

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Thanks to Arl@Arl’sWorld for thinking of me in putting out her nominees for this award. I appreciate it. This one’s pretty straightforward- no random, pointless facts about me to read through. I get to just nominate my picks and get along with it:

Prudy@ButterBasilandBreadcrumbs

Alice@CloseEncountersoftheCookingKind

Haley@IfYouGiveaBlondeaKitchen

Lily@LittleSweetBaker

Rai@lovelorettaskitchen

Rules to Participate:

  1. Nominate some deserving bloggers for the award.
  2. Mention the person who gave it to you in your acceptance post.
  3. Don’t forget to include a picture of the Award.

Quintet of Radiance Award

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Thanks again to the lovely Nancy@Feasting with Friends for thinking of me for this awesome award. Thanks Nancy, you make me feel super special. Lucky for you guys, I’m not going to use all 26 letters of the alphabet to describe me-I wouldn’t subject you to that. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you didn’t just quit reading already because of how long this post has gotten. But for those of you who haven’t, I’ll include a handful of letters to go along with the rules of the award:

I is for [I]ntrovert– It may not seem like it online, but in real life, I’m legit one of the most introverted people you’ll ever meet. My only real ‘girlfriends’ are my sisters. I don’t go clubbing. I don’t like parties or large get togethers, and even if I do have to attend one for some reason, I’m going to be the quiet girl that sits in a corner and looks at her phone and talks to no one without being spoken to first. I’m not stuck-up. I don’t think I’m better than everyone else. I’m not a mean person. I’m just an introvert. There’s a huge difference between all that.

L is for[L]oyal-I don’t put myself out there for people in general. If you’re not my family, I’m probably not going to give you the benefit of the doubt right away. There are people I associate with (a fair number of individuals), but then there are people who are my friends (a number I can probably count on barely two hands…maybe even one). However, if somebody is my friend, then they’re my friend. Period. You can trust me. I’m not going to talk about you when you’re not around. I will keep your secrets. I’ve got your back. I’ll even give you money. If you’re my friend, that means that I love you. And I’ll do just about anything for people that I love.

N is for [N]on-Judgmental-One of the things that can really really REALLY get under my skin, are people that are overly judgmental of others. Until you’ve lived a day in someone else’s life, walked a day in their shoes, or been faced with the decisions that they face, you don’t have the right to judge them. What’s true for you may not be true for them. What false for you may not be false for them. No one died and made me God- therefore, so long as they’re not bringing harm to me or anyone else, I can’t judge anyone for the choices and decisions they make. It’s not my place. It just isn’t.

O is for [O]bservant– When you’re an introvert that doesn’t talk very much in public, you’re usually in a position where you’re watching and observing everything that’s going on around you more closely than I think most people do. As such, over the years I’ve become very accustomed to, and good at just watching people and listening to what they say. You can learn a lot about complete strangers by simply listening to what they’re talking about, and seeing what they do. Sometimes I like what I see and hear. Other most times, I can’t really say that I do.

Here are my nominees for the award. The rules are also listed below should they choose to pass it on to others:

Jayeeta@CookingDelight

Sheila@SweetBakedLife

Gretchen@FeedingMy3Sons

Selma@SelmasTable

Karen@RevolutionaryPie

Vidya@TraditionallyModernFood

 Rules to Participate:

  • Display the logo in a post
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back
  • Using the alphabet, describe yourself in a word or a phrase
  • Nominate at least few bloggers

Thank you again, to everyone who nominated me for these awards. You guys are the best. Seriously 🙂

Jess

Spread Your Wings And ‘Butter’-fly Light Award

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This has nothing to do with this post, but it still made me laugh because of how true it is for me at dinnertime 😉

Well, it only took me forever and a day to finally get around to writing up my acceptance posts for the newest awards my blogger friends have so graciously nominated me for. But y’know what they say: better late than never.

Andrea at Cooking with A Wallflower was kind enough to think of me when making her nominees for this award. Thanks, Andrea. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there’s nothing about you or your blog that reminds me of wallflowers. You both stand out ❤

I’ve actually never heard of the Butterfly Light Award, but I gotta say, I think it’s a pretty good idea, especially where food blogging is concerned. It’s always nice to be appreciated, and even better to be able to appreciate other people. I’m always really  humbled that there are bloggers out there that think of me when wanting to ‘paying it forward’ with an award.

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It’s sometimes difficult for me to write ‘positive’ or complimentary things about myself. I don’t want it to seem like I think I’m all that or anything- I don’t. However as the rules do stipulate that I say a few words about how I think I spread a little light around to the blogging community, I guess I’ll go ahead and buff my own behind for a few moments:

Anyone who knows me knows that food and I have a very special rapport with each other. I love making it, reading about it, watching other people make it on tv, all of the above. Food is one of the only things that people from completely different backgrounds, places, origins, etc can still connect through. As an introverted person, food is one of the ways that I can connect, bond and share with people in ways that my personality doesn’t really allow me to do otherwise.

I have a general rule whenever I decide to post a new recipe on the blog (or really enter the kitchen at all): I only cook things that I myself would like to eat- that way, I can essentially cook and place ‘myself’ on a plate for everyone that I share my food with. I’d like to think that every person who eats my food, or even reads  and tries my recipes, can get a good idea of who Jessica is. Hopefully, you all like what you see/read/eat. If your food can do that, then I think it’s safe to say that you’re spreading around a little light 😉

It was pretty much a no-brainer for me when I was thinking of who I would nominate for this award. My nominees spread light around like nobody’s business, to me included. Whether they choose to accept it or not, I’m glad that I can post them and their blogs here as a means of personal appreciation from me to them:

Prudy@ButterBasilandBreadcrumbs

Rai@LoveLorettasKitchen

Alice@CloseEncountersoftheCooking Kind

Nancy@FeastingwithFriends

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Conditions For Accepting The Award

1. You must write an acceptance post, making sure you link back to the blogger who awarded you and thank them. You may not lump this award in with other awards.

2. You must individually name and nominate a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 9999999 bloggers. You have to let them know either personally with a comment on their blog OR a pingback

3. You must link back to IdiotWriter’s blog either to http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/i-love-charismatic-geeks/ OR http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/about/

4. You must write a short paragraph – Entitled either “How I’m Spreading Light” OR “How I’m A Positive Influence”.

5. Display IdiotWriter’s lovely “Butterfly Light Award” badge on your blog.

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My Writing Process Blog Tour

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So a little while ago, I got an email from the lovely Jhuls@thenotsocreativecook asking me if I was interested in participating in a blog tour featuring relatively new bloggers talking about their inspiration for writing. I thought it sounded like an awesome idea, so I was instantly on board for participating. I hadn’t heard of it before she asked me to join in, so I’ll give a basic explanation to those of you out there who are as green to this as me:

Basically, I’m going to be answering a few questions about my writing process for the blog, then pass this challenge onto three other relatively new bloggers who will then do the same. Oh yeah, and we give link ups to each other’s blogs too.

1) What am I working on?

Well, right now the main focus of my blog is putting together recipes for my Game of Thrones series that I’m doing as a tribute to the wildly popular and also wildly awesome HBO TV show. It’s going pretty good right now, and I can’t wait to share more  of what I’ve done with you all. I’m also picking out several other general recipes that I can post during the week, as the GoT series is only featured on Sundays.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a tough question to answer, because (as we all know) food blogging is hardly anything new or unique on the internet anymore. Pinterest made sure of that. I’m not arrogant enough to think that my blog is particularly special or so dazzlingly different from literally thousands of others. That would be pretty stupid. However, I do try to do things on CIMS that ‘spice things up’ a little bit, so to speak. My favorite aspect of food blogging is when I can do a series of recipes based on a particular theme. I first started this with a recipe series dedicated to the ABC drama, ‘Scandal’, a series where I made Challah inspired recipes, and now a series dedicated to ‘Game of Thrones’. I haven’t really seen this done too much on other blogs, so I would like to think that it sets CIMS apart and makes it a little bit easier for people to remember.

3) Why do I write what I do?

This question is kinda tied up with the question of why I love to cook in the first place. I cook because it truly brings me peace and happiness. I can forget about all the unnecessary drama that goes on in the “real world” and just put myself into the zone of my kitchen where nothing goes wrong (most of the time ;-)) Food blogging was something that for a long time, I didn’t think that I even could do. I thought you had to be this expert photographer with a camera that cost one million dollars. It took a lot of hemming and hawing with myself to finally get up the nerve to start up this here blog. But now that I’ve started, I really don’t know what I was so afraid of. It’s such a rewarding experience.

The first benefit is getting to meet and connect with all you beautiful people with your beautiful blogs. The second is being able to practice and hone my food photography skills- something I never, ever EVER thought that I would have. The third is that it gives me a chance to cook things basically whenever I want to and not feel bad about it- I can always give the justification that it’s “for the blog”.

 

4) How does your writing process work?

My process for picking out recipes is mainly separated into things that I cook, and things that I bake. The first thing  I usually do is look at the sale ads for my local grocery stores- because I’ve always been brought up to look for the deals first. If I’m looking to cook, I’ll ask my family what they feel like having for dinner based on what’s in the ads. They’ll give me a rough idea of what they do or don’t feel like, and I’ll propose a certain dish that I can make based on that and if they approve, then I’ll go ahead with it. When it comes to baking, I pick out something that I want to try to do, then I’ll just ask my family if they’ll actually eat it if I bake it. If they say yes, then I go full steam ahead.

 Typically, I set aside the weekend to make the majority of the dishes you see on the blog. It gives me time to cook, clean up the kitchen, and then do the photoshoots. If I tried to do it during the week after I get off work, it would be a crazy, stressful, hurried process that would most likely make both my food and pictures suffer. After I do the photo shoots, I then do some editing in Photoshop to clean the pictures up, then write the actual posts and put them up on the blog. I know it all seems pretty clean and straight forward, but (as my fellow food bloggers know) the truth is that it actually feels a lot more complicated and labor intensive than it may sound. Still, it’s a labor of love, and I really wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

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Now onto my favorite part: where I can introduce all of you to the bloggers who will be taking over from me and continuing the Blog Tour. (Side note: Yes, I know, there were supposed to be three. However, I must have some VERY popular, dedicated followers because just about everyone I asked to tag team with me was already blogging for the tour on this date, or on another date for someone else. So I have two people for my part. I hardly think it disqualifies me- right? Of course right.)

Andrea@CookingwithaWallflower – Since we’ve been blogging for about the same amount of time, Andrea was one of the first bloggers I started following on WordPress, and also one of the first who followed me. Her blog features lots of fresh, healthy but still delicious recipes with beautifully vibrant colors. For guilt-free food that’s still yummy- you MUST be following her!

Rai@LoveLoretta’sKitchen – The thing that really caught my attention about Rai’s blog (besides the food) was her About page, where she tells the story of the namesake behind her blog- her mother. It was a touching, heartwarming story, which is also exactly how I would describe Rai’s blog- very heartfelt, comforting  food that is everything about ‘home’ that you love. I also love the Caribbean twist that she gives to her recipes- it makes me wish I were on some beach in the summer, eating her dishes as the sun goes down.

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So you guys: go ahead and go check our Rai and Andrea’s blogs! Do it. Right now.

Oh yeah…and thanks again for reading ad following mine. I really do appreciate it.

 

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