Confetti Travel: Black Paris? A Tour

 

 

Hey! It’s a rare picture of my daughter. She is the reason I took the trip to Paris. It has been her dream trip since she was a small child and now she is entering her first year in college. Here we are meeting up with about 15 ladies preparing for the Ricki Stevenson Black Paris Tour which I HIGHLY suggest anyone in Paris take! ANYONE. ANY RACE/ETHNICITY. TAKE THE TOUR. My daughter was eating up the the experience and wealth of knowledge. I was, too. It opened up her perspective and I was there to witness it.

 

 

 

 

The best coffee and hot chocolate is in Paris. This cafe along with a few others had me coming back for more. Hey, I was on vacation! We made this place our last meal in Paris and it was worth it.

The Ricki Stevenson Black Paris Tour blew our minds. The knowledge, the history, the information and the experience poured into us will never be forgotten. Below are photos of memorials for the Dumas family. There were three that made their mark in history and they are so different in their personalities and contributions.

 

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This is the church that held the funeral of Josephine Baker. Did you know she was decorated soldier that flew planes? She was buried in her uniform. She also was a spy! There was more to her than her beauty and body. She had brains!

 

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View from the church.

 

 

More photos from a historical park that African Americans and Black Parisians, famous as well,  frequented.

 

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Awesome food at an African Restaurant on the tour! Don’t mind my Schweppe’s obsession!

But what was best at this restaurant was the soul-filled wisdom and knowledge poured into us by our wonderful and beautiful guide. We talked current and so many perspectives from a diverse group of women.

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The tour was priceless. It was worth every penny. I will never forget this rich experience of knowledge and culture in Paris I shared with my daughter!

~Nikki

 

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A to Z:Good Health Choices. Empowerment, My Personal Journey

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Merging my G and H together for GOOD HEALTH choices. It’s always empowering to me in spite of having Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and other health issues/concerns to make as many good health choices as I can. It’s true that when you eat better you feel better. Plus, with all of the medication I take, I try to give my body a fighting chance to counter act the medicine.

I am not one for diets, trends, or gimmicks. I simply believe in making better choices, more positive ones than negative ones and getting some exercise. Also, what you eat can help your mental health as well. Too much salt or sugar doesn’t help your anxiety or depression.

~Nikki

Simple but Delicious Slow Cooker Pot Roast

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This is a simple slow cooker pot roast recipe. You know me! When it comes to cooking most of the time I love a quick recipe so that I can get on with my evening or day.

  • About a 3lb beef roast (or your choice)
  • 2 cups of beef or chicken broth. That’s correct. You can use chicken broth as a sub!
  • Seasonings can be as simple as salt and pepper or your choice of seasonings. Just remember to over season your roast a bit because you’ll sear it and then it has to go into liquid so you’ll lose a little seasoning. My seasonings were: Weber’s steak and Chop (heavily) and then Garlic Salt, Black pepper, crushed Basil leaves (lightly)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or whatever oil you use)
  • 1 small onion or onion flakes (my daughter hates onions 😢) You can chop half or all…up to you or skip it
  • 1 can of cream of celery or mushroom
  • Celery flakes (optional)

1. Season your roast. I pierce my roast with a fork or if you have a meat cleaver use that as it is the proper tool. But, I like using a fork because I can pierce deep. You don’t have to do this at all.

2. In a large skillet add the olive oil and turn to medium high. Once it’s hot place the pot roast in and sear each side really good. About 4 minutes each side Remove pan and let the roast sit as you prepare the slow cooker.

2. Add 2 cups of broth, onions or a cap full of onion flakes (about half a teaspoon & they will become soft), sprinkle basil and pepper into the mix and turn slow cooker to high (5-6 hours) or low (8-10 hours).

3. Add roast. Take a spoon and put some of the broth on top. Let it cook for the time above but see next step!

4. One or two hours before your roast is done, mix one can of cream of mushroom/celery with half a cup of water. I added celery seeds. About half a teaspoon. Mix well and pour into the broth. Mix in. Take a spoon and pour some of that mix in the slow cooker on top of your roast. Let it finish cooking.

4. You’re done!

I like to make this when I have leftover vegetables from another meal I can add as sides or if I don’t have potatoes, cartots, celery. Also, I may simply want roast with mash potatoes or rice. Either way this is simple! And as my mom would say, “Add something green (a green vegetable) to your plate!”

 

Isn’t she a beauty?! But more importantly it’s DELICIOUS!

~Nikki

Vegas: Arrival, Luxor, Sight Seeing, Food

I have been silent for a while because I have been busy crocheting holiday orders AND I finally got a chance to go back to Vegas. A trip we use to take every year before Rheumatoid Disease came back. Right, who knew it could come out of remission. I sure didn’t! This trip was expanded beyond my brother and I to more family members. The same crew we went to Orange Beach with.

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The bonus for me was on the night we were looking to party and let our hair down was a night that Lil’ John was scheduled to come to Hakkasan as the guest DJ. Well, I have been trying to catch him there for a long time, but it was never when we planned to go. This was a bonus! We did a shorter visit than usual because my brother wanted to be cheap and fly Allegiant. They do not have many flight time options like Delta or Southwest. We usually stay 4 days and 3 nights PLUS we arrive in the middle of the day instead of in the middle of the night.

But, the bonus was going with a group of family that had never flown before and had never been to Vegas. We had soooooo much fun and the night we partied was EPIC! But it all started at the airport where we had drinks, met a guy that was a promoter who actually worked at the night club we were going to, and we wore our custom made shirts. We stepped off the plane, put our bags down, and hung out into the wee hours of the morning. This photo below is one of my cousins and as you can see we love to take pictures. Our shirts were made by a good friend of mines Key’s Krafts. I am from Memphis and we call it the M-Town.

The next morning we did some exploring and also on Sunday.

 

Oh, the Hotel we stayed in was the Luxor. I have seen it numerous times and been there before. It’s connected to the place we stayed on our very first trip to Vegas which is Excalibur. They have since added what are called the towers and this is where we got the best deal and great rooms! However, the King room I booked was not available when I arrived. I was given a Queen double bed room and a comp for a buffet meal. I had the option to move to the King room the next morning, but after thinking about it I stayed on the ground floor. I have had some great views from higher floors, but when I looked out of my window that morning I liked what I saw. There was a little rock and shrub garden and you could see the hieroglyphics. I liked looking at the Sphinx. I also saw a hummingbird that morning! And I considered how much I like to shop in Vegas and bringing all of those bags to the first floor was convenient!

These are a few photos of the Luxor.

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It obviously has the Egyptian theme nailed. Customer service was perfect and staff was friendly. There were plenty of places to eat inside of the hotel and because it’s connected and very close to four other hotels, finding food was not a problem. The buffet at the Luxor is really good and worth the money. Also, with two Starbucks and plenty of other options in the food court you could not go wrong.

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The food from Excalibur’s Steakhouse was PERFECTION. Everyone in the group savored their meals and handcrafted cocktails. I had the Roasted Pineapple Martini and Salmon with Asparagus (Asparagus cooked right!).

Well, this is all for today. I will post another blog tomorrow or Monday on Vegas: Vegas Nightlife, Fashion, Rheumatoid Disease & Fibromyalgia. (The aftermath).

~Nikki

Weekend Confetti: A Farmer’s Market & Time With Mom

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Memphis has several farmer’s market during the week. I often get out on a Saturday morning, bright and early. Last Saturday I called my mom as I often do to see if she wants to go. She is a country girl by heart and loves fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the farmer as my grandfather was a farmer. He farmed right here in the city of Memphis until the day he passed a way. I remember shelling peas, picking vegetables from the garden and being afraid to go down the rows of corn. As we got older and would visit our grandparents, you were required to take something back home to your parents. Something from the garden like a watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, or some canned good. My parents told me to never say no, just take it. I do the same with them now. I just take whatever they send home with me.

On my mom’s list was fresh peas and a cabbage. I wanted whatever fancied me. I like to be surprised and try new things. I also try to visit each table and buy something from a variety of farmers. They were ready for fall and wrapping up all the of summer fruits and veggies. I will be going back this weekend to grab a few more things to chop and freeze for the winter. I love the market feel.

 

It’s also time spent with my mom and afterwards we usually make a few more stops at different grocery stores or shopping just to see what we can find.

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Fall was definitely in the air! I bought some gourds for decorations. I like the white pumpkins as well and just having the variety of pumpkins were cool.

 

Plenty of canned goods, peppers, baked pastries, natural cleaning supplies, pottery, and fresh flowers were available. Oh and I almost forgot the green apples are so good from one of the farmers. I have to go back and get those.

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~Nikki

Weekend Confetti!

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WOW! What a weekend! I met one of my favorite, most influential authors of all time and got the last book of a series signed. I met Kimberla Lawson Roby! It was her book Casting the First Stone that led me to believe it was possible to be a Christian and still write novels with a spiritual undertone. My novels may be a bit more unconventional as far as most Christians would think, but I am not really concerned about that! I have my own path to take. Anyway, I was over the moon and treasure the book and the moment. My daughter was there to help me stand in a very long line. Some day I’ll be signing books!

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I also went out for cocktails and small plates with…brace yourself, my daughter’s father mother….and his wife. Yep. You read that right. As a single parent, the road has not always been easy and neither are the relationships involved with raising my daughter. Some of our thoughts, actions, and ways are different and well that makes for conflicts of interests. It was extremely rough starting out, but we try to get along and sitting down with all of together was a miracle within itself. Conversation, cocktails, and food made it a pleasant outing.

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Oh, yeah. I got a new hairstyle! Lol! I think it may last for a few weeks. Natural hair can be a challenge. Especially, for someone like me who has Rheumatoid Disease and Fibromyalgia. Which took a toll on me by the time Sunday rolled around. I felt so bad, but I am grateful for the two days, Friday and Saturday, in which I had little discomfort. Sunday was very difficult and I am feeling better on today. I hope you enjoyed your weekend, too!

~Nikki

Sautéed Collard Greens? Cajun or No?

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Yes. Sautéed collard greens. Is it easy to do? Yes, it is. Is there more than one way to do it? Of course. Here is my spin.

  • One bag of chopped and pre washed greens (Does not have to be collards & as you can see mines were on sale). They can also be fresh greens but, you will have to wash (several times to remove dirt/sand/etc.) and chop them.
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken stock/broth or water (in my opinion the broth/stock adds flavor)
  • Butter
  • Louisiana Cajun Seasoning (If you are not up for spice just use salt and pepper)
  • White pepper (optional)
  • Spice Supreme Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • Garlic Salt
  • Onions (frozen or fresh but I used frozen chopped onions) 1/2 cup (optional)

The bag is 16 oz and I chose to use 8 oz of greens which was enough for two people. You can use the entire bag. I froze the other half. Soak the greens in hot water from the faucet for 10 minutes. Remove and pat dry.

In a medium skillet, add one tbsp. of butter and one tbsp. of olive oil. (If you are doing the entire bag you will need a large skillet but you can use the same amount of butter and oil it is up to you. You can also use only butter or only oil). Heat butter and oil on medium, medium-high (I put mines on 6). Add onions (you can use onion powder or flakes instead). When onions are translucent add your greens and 1/2 cup of chicken broth (1 cup if you are cooking the entire bag). YOU CAN USE WATER but, to me the broth or stock adds flavor. Add the seasonings I have listed for Cajun (Cajun seasoning, white pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic salt) or if you don’t want Cajun just salt, pepper, or garlic salt will do. How much? Add to your liking (I sprinkle evenly as possible across and stir in for each seasoing except the crushed pepper flakes!). NOTE: You only need about 8-10 flakes of the red crushed pepper. It is powerful! ALSO: I stir occasionally and definitely keep and eye on it to if the broth evaporates too soon you will need to add more.

It takes about 8-10 minutes (or until broth nearly evaporates) to sauté for a firm leaf but, if you want it a little more tender keep going and add more water or broth. Just test to see if it’s okay for you.

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~Nikki