11 Successful Makers Who Prove It’s Never Too Late to Do What You Love

Check out this cool article!

It’s never too late to follow your passion no matter what it is! We’d all love to quit our day jobs and do what we love. Check out this Yahoo article for great inspiration on people who have followed their passions and are making a living from it!

11 Successful Makers Who Prove It’s Never Too Late to Do What You Love

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Photo: Layla Fanucci Article: Christine Erickson – Editor ‎October‎ ‎05‎, ‎2015

 

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Here’s a secret for you: It took me 1 year to write it, 8 years to publish it and …I wrote it by accident.

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~ Toi Stori

Publishing My 1st Book! – Part 1

Part 1- Inception & Discovery

(I kind of wrote this book by accident.)

Before you go any further!!!!!

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Hey guys,

Welcome back! It’s time I shared with all of you what most of my closest family and friends already know. I am publishing my 1st book!!! YAY!!!

Where is this book coming from you ask? Aren’t you already doing so much – Working a full time job, blogging, making body scrubs and selling them on Etsy? Yeah, I am, but those things shouldn’t stop me from completing what I started in 2006. Yes, you read that right…2006!

 I wrote this book by accident.

I was 22 years old and it all started as a dream…a very vivid dream… And now that I think about it, a very basic dream. I was being chased by someone in a dark alleyway, mid winter after I’d just left a party. A stranger came to my rescue, fought off my chasers, saved my life and I fell in love. The end.

But was that really the end? I woke up and grabbed my nightstand notebook and wrote it down.
(As a songwriter and dreamer blessed/cursed with the vision of foresight – I kept a notebook nearby to capture every melody and vivid memory). It came in very handy that night.

As I wrote down this “intense” dream, I realized, I had so many questions but no real answers.

  1. Why was I being chased?
  2. What did they want?
  3. Who was this knight in shining armor?
  4. What was his story?
  5. Where did he come from?
  6. Who’s party was I at?
  7. Why was I there?
  8. Who was I?
    And most importantly after this man saved my life…
  9. What happened next?

I thought about this dream all day. Even while I was occupied with life itself, my mind would drift to that notebook. I needed to do something about that dream.

They say when the emotions you feel within a dream linger and stay with you, your inner spirit is telling you to pay close attention.

So I did. I paid very close attention. I went to my computer desk, sat down and opened up Microsoft Word. The cursor blinked there for about 30 seconds before I began writing. At first I just transferred my notes from the notebook – breaking them down into sections.

Dark alleyway
imagesMid-winterimages (1)

Party
cocktail partyHero
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Love
giphyDiscovery

I knew then that I wanted to expand this dream into something more interesting, more dramatic and more creative. I felt like my dream would make a pretty cool movie. But the more I typed, the more I realized this dream needed to be told in the form of a story and not a script.

Understanding the structure of the books I read helped me to apply some of that same structure into developing my own story. I knew what time of year my story would take place – Mid-winter. I knew how I wanted to open the book – Dark alleyway (straight into mystery and darkness). I also knew where I wanted my main character to meet her hero – at a party. And finally, I understood what these characters needed… they needed a reason to live or die. That reason would be love.

I sat back thinking, “Damn, this is pretty good.” But I needed more. I needed to develop my characters.

Next: Meet The Author Part 2 – Creating the Characters

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Summer Vacation – Cancun, Mexico – Paradisus All-Inclusive

What I did this Summer…

Heyyyyyy ya’ll heyyyyy!!!!

It’s so exciting to write you once again and this time, to share my vacation experience with you! My luv and I went to the beautiful country of Mexico, but not just to Mexico…to CANCUN! I know it sounds cliché, – Spring break = Immature fun, but we went during the summer when it was raging-teenager-hormone free! If we saw any, they were there with their parents… praise Jesus cause I can’t deal!

Anyway, my luv and I weren’t alone. My mother and her husband actually double vactioned with us although we left them during the day to embark upon our own private time which equaled – EXCURSIONS! They had a blast all on their own! They actually  had more time to enjoy the resort than we did!

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Aeromexico – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

We were only there for 5 days so we had to jam pack everything into one huge experience. The 1st day was a bust because whoever’s idea it was to fly and connect in Mexico city must’ve been drinking while they booked our flights. #1. Mexico city is the worst place to catch a connecting flight. Hardly any structure for US immigrants, no English speaking employees to guide us through the line and it was so big we had a hard time finding our gate…which we eventually did with moments to spare! – But enough of the negative reviews on Mexico city because the rest of the trip was amazing —- exxxxxxcept when we flipped over on a jet ski in the middle of the ocean but – we’ll get to that later.

Paradisus - Cancun, Mexico - Toi Stori for T.O.I House
Isla Mujeres- Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

The color of the water was spectacular – the beaches amazing, although there was so much seaweed it made it a difficult swimming experience,  just being in another country was everything I hoped it would be – Hot weather, beautiful water, amazing culture, kind and humbling people and excitement to last me until my next trip!

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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

The Paradisus Resort was BEAUTIFUL! It was a 4 star hotel with real vegetation hanging from every balcony, level and floor. It was like living in a real life Oasis. We bought the Royal Suite package which allowed us a butler, exclusive access to private dining areas, private pools (no kids – pa-raise Jesus) and every service you could’ve wanted. 24 hour room service we hardly used and scented pillows with Lavender and Vanilla, Eucalyptus with white tea were some awesome services included in the package! Yummmmm happy snoozing!

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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

Day 1 we arrived pretty late so that was a bust thanks to our booking agent getting us on a connecting flight but, whatever. We were beat by time we arrived. We had dinner at one of the all inclusive restaurants (Taco’s – not my choice) but I noticed their portion sizes were extremely small. If you wanted a big adult sized meal, head to the buffet. You can make your own plate and you have waaay more options.

Day 2 my bf and I got up and dressed for the pool. We decided to book our excursions 1st thing. I think we did the best thing by booking the entire week at once because every day we knew what we were doing, where we were goin and what time we’d be back. Scheduling your life is key, why not your vacation UNLESS you’re on vaca specifically to rest. Then you’re best bet is to just go with the flow.

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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

Our 1st excursion on day 1 was the worst experience for me (insert overturned jet ski). It was no surprise to me that my bf couldn’t swim. Although he was in the Navy for 6 years, somehow he got through it without really grasping how to swim “correctly”. He’d told me months before this vacation that he couldn’t swim but I begged him to try a water sport. Just TRY! He’d have on a vest, so he’ll be fine. After MUCH deliberation he obliged, so here we were, finally in Mexico and we sign up for ….Parasailing. Parasailing. What does swimming have to do with parasailing…. shut up and wait…you’ll see. lol

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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

In order for us to parasail, we had to get on a JET SKI to get to the boat that was already in the middle of the ocean. Insert sigh. I’ve never been on a jet ski but I was willing. I’m SUPER adventurous and always open to a new experience but when they told us that we both had to ride behind a guide …I counted 3 grown ass adults on a jet ski…scary but we went on. They told us to bring a camera but if it got wet they weren’t responsible…ooookay so I brought my brand new Nikon DSL D3200 and wrapped it in a plastic bag and the guy placed it in a compartment of the jet ski.

We got on and OMGGGGG he was flying all over the place, jumping waves and I was holding on to him for dear life and my bf holding on to the guys jacket with me in between them for dear life. WTF! Then he stops. Mid water…land just a blink in the distance. He hops off and disappears under the water. BABE! Where the hell did he go?

He appears and in broken English says he needed to take the seaweed off the rotors and for ME to hold the jet ski steady while he basically somersaults over us to get back in front. JESUS give me balance! Be a weight, an anchor, a bouey… cause I can’t!

He finally gets seated in front of me and I think ok, we’re safe, we’ll be there in a moment. Not even 3 minutes later, he stops again and does the same thing! This time as he’s trying to re-board, i’m trying with all of my might to hold it steady, but this Cirque du sole trick he did over my head caused us to flip ALL THE WAY over! The ENTIRE jet ski was upside down, me and my bf were underwater and of course he’s trying to swim up to the surface but he’s pushing me beneath him! I thought OMG this is it. We’re gonna die right here, right now!

I swam away from him and when I came up for air he apologized of course but he was holding on to this rope on the back of the jet ski I hadn’t even noticed previously. I was ok because I can swim, but I more more worried about him. To my surprise, he was very calm. (Must have been that Navy training kicking in I guess) insert eye roll.

I get back on the jet ski 1st, and wait for everyone else to get on behind me. I am absolutely terrified, but everything works out and we continue our journey. Of course i’m crying all the way to the boat because I convinced my bf to try water sports and this is what happens! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t come all the way down there to lose him to the ocean! Oh hell no!

We finally get to the boat and discover that my camera didn’t survive the journey. It stayed in the compartment but water got inside of it. So you know I was annoyed but not as pissed off because at least we were alive.  I did a no no and tried to turn it on which I’m sure ruined it.

Parasailing was even more stressful because after that near death experience, we go almost a hundred + feet in the air with no belts, no harness – just a 2 seater something. Everytime the wind blew or the boat accelerated, I thought we were gonna fly out! That was it. Get me off and get me out!

Needless to say, we went back to the company we booked with, told them of our horrifying experience and demanded we change our next excursion. Guess what it was…..Jet ski’s! yeeeeeah, no.

So they booked us for a day trip to the island of Isla Mujeres which we did on day 2.

It was absolutely beautiful! We took a boat there which was spectacular! Tequila on the boat, entertainment from the crew and a relaxing ride along the gulf. When we arrived, there were hammocks, beach chairs and a nice little beach to relax. We passed that up and rented a golf cart to explore the island. It was beautiful. We saw Iguanas, some ruins, tons of unoccupied houses, and the views were breath taking.

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Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

When we got back, we had a buffet lunch and hopped back on the boat to take us to the downtown area of the island. We walked, did a little shopping, but mostly just explored for 2 hours. So many merchants tried to get us to come into their “little shops” (their words, not mine) and buy over priced knick knacks. Yeah, if everything was handmade, how come every store had em? LOL

I opted to haggle some guy for 2 gorgeous necklaces $15 for 2. I’d seen them sold at so many shops that when someone approached me on the street with a bag of them I couldn’t resist. The stores were selling them for $20 each.

(here I am at happy hour at work with my fun co-worker wearing one. It’s twisted cause I’m having a good time at happy hour! But the middle is supposed to drip towards the center)

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Work Buddies – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

 

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Isla Mujeres Necklace – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

The next day we went on another day tour to Tulum! It was Marvelous! – and HOT! 1st we got picked up late by our tour bus and then had to listen to a very vocal, highly IQ’d gentleman from Australia who talked everyone’s ear off all day. I thought he was interesting but the hotter it got the less he talked!

1st we went to see the pyramids in Tulum. Awesome, breathtakingly beautiful but there was not an ounce of shade so as my bf and I speed walked throughout the entire complex of ruins, I forced myself to take in the hot breathtaking experience. I was beautiful but damn it was hot as hell!

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Tulum – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

Next they shuffled us off to a little jungle in the middle of nowhere to eat a quite decent buffet lunch – even though they rushed us. We then strapped on our gear to go zip lining! It was amazing and for my 1st time, I had a blast! After that, we rappelled into a cave and then changed to snorkel in a fresh water cave with tiny little fish and bats, bats, bats! Guano anyone?

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Zip Lining – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Zip Lining – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Zip Lining – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

It was a long ride back but it was such an amazing experience I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Tulum - Cancun, Mexico - Toi Stori for T.O.I House
Tulum – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

On our last day, we managed to fit in a speed boat excursion! That was fun and scary because I’ve never driven a boat before, let alone in open water (read above about my new fear of open water) speeding behind boats being inches from the water.

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Speed Boat – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

Once we stopped and anchored to other boats, I was the only one from my family that hopped into the ocean and  snorkeled along the great barrier reef. Talk about amazingly beautiful!!!  It’s like a whole other world down there. Quite alien-like and awe-inspiring. I always seem to have a new appreciation for the Universe, creation, God and life itself when I snorkel.

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Speed Boat – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

I hated to leave that wonderful oasis of beauty, grandeur, lost and rediscovered ancient ruins. I was more emotionally attached to this place than anywhere I’d ever been before. I watch the History channel and I researched the ancient pyramids, drawn to their mystery, history and architectural achievements. I never thought I’d see one up close and I did…and it was AMAZING.

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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

If you are drawn to a special place and feel the urge to travel, do it. We only have one life. Make the best of it. I know I will!

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Isla Mujeres – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

To My Nephews and Unborn Children: #MAYDAY

To My Nephews and Unborn Children:

I come to you as an aunt or future mother whose heart is too fragile to see you as yet another victim of a society that was not built for you. The pain of mothers past, present and unfortunately, the future supersedes anything the human soul can possibly comprehend. Your beauty as black men has been replaced by fear from those who never have or ever will understand you. Unfortunately this stigma has been placed upon you before your parents were even born.

Although you may feel equal to your peers of other cultures, you must remember for your life’s sake, that you are not; at least not yet. The fact that I am writing this is painful enough to admit, yet, it is the only advantage you will have in life. If you understand the difference between you and your multi-cultural brothers, you will understand what your fathers and brothers before you have come to understand and….you just may have a chance.

The times we live in are truly a time of confusion, heartache and pain. Painful that we are only fifty or so years out of segregation where people like you were bound by laws of this United States that criminalized you for being who you are. Simply for being…who…you…are. It’s painful that in the face of injustice from those who have owned us, sold us, oppressed us, killed us and destroyed our families and even with the insurmountable evidence against them, it is still not enough to lift the bounty from your heads.

Those who hate you and want to destroy you will do it, even with the law on their side. It’s painful that peaceful protests are rocking this country, yet the media would rather show the small few who loot and burn so they can generalize us all, rather than understand our pain. It hurts to read the comments on social media from “friends” of a different race who assume we are merely complaining and can’t relate to our suffering. And speaking of suffering, it pains me to go to work every day and suffer in silence as the visuals of our dead men laying in the street rack my brain, mixed with deadlines of work I could care less about.

The only dead lines I fear are the chalk outlines of young black men who look just like you.

My heart is heavy with despair as I must prepare you for the life you are about to enter as a black man in America. It’s unfair, it’s humiliating and it hurts but you MUST heed my warning or else your young lives will add to the millions of young black men whose lives have been taken from us way too soon.

There are some rules that you as black men must be aware of and it applies to you and only you. Here are a few:

  1. Do not let your frustration or anger of being racially profiled, followed, harassed, and frisked or provoked cause you to REact in the way they expect- in the face of law enforcement. This includes being loud, belligerent, ghetto, untamed or simply upset. There are some who will use even the excuse of a sneeze to kill you in cold blood.
  1. Do not walk with your hands in your pockets in public places. If your hands are cold, wear gloves. Pockets were not made with you in mind. The image of you has been plastered on TV and ingrained in the minds of people who are not like you, brainwashing them to fear you. And because they do, they do not see you searching for warmth but instead searching for a gun we all know you don’t have. They will call the police who will take their word over yours and never stop to ask you questions before shooting you dead.
  2. This is one of the hardest things I will have to tell you but you will only have your own judgment to guide you. As scary as it may be, WHEN the police wrongfully approach you (and in your lifetime this will happen more than a few times), you MUST stand there and face fear directly in the face. Do not move unless they tell you to. Answer them and follow every direction they give. As humiliating as the demands, you must comply. I know it will hurt physically, emotionally and spiritually but your highest priority is to stay alive! DO NOT give them a reason, although they need none. Even as I write this, I know that this too is a gamble. Like facing a beast in the woods, do you stand still so you don’t provoke it, or do you turn and run because you know either way, you’re dead? I beg of you, do not run. Live to survive another day, to find another way to rise above this.
  1. If you want to record your interactions with police, use your phone but have it out before they approach you. They do not want to see you reaching for anything. Be polite, answer questions and although you have rights, unfortunately – these rights do not apply to you. Be aware. You have a right to record and to ask questions but, as a black man, this is a provocation. They will see you as a threat and use this as an excuse to do what we have already seen them do and get away with it.

Last but not least…

  1. Do not forget the fallen. Whatever you do, remember their roles in this universe. To bring awareness to an epidemic much larger than any known disease this world has ever seen. Racism is your biggest enemy and it has been killing our people for hundreds of years. There have been more black lives taken since the beginning of slavery til the very day you read this letter. Do not become another one of them. Always remember those who came before you.

I am weak and drained with sadness from the injustice plaguing this country but I have found the strength to instill in you the truth of what it is like to be a black man in America.

Although I have not listed every occurrence, know that racism hides behind closed doors, grand jury’s and badges. If you know this, then you know you must find a peaceful way to make a change.

You are powerful, strong, beautiful human beings and change can happen but, it starts with you. Sometimes it seems as if you must represent yourself in ways only Jesus can. Like you must be perfect to even have half of their respect, but you must think and grow beyond that. You must find ways to protest injustice without inciting violence, looting, destruction and pain; which not onlyaffects others but also affects your own people.

You have a responsibility to educate yourselves in your history, in the trends of disparity among our culture so that you may have the tools you need to finally defeat this enemy.

You are our future and though they may target our future with police brutality, I won’t let them succeed which is why I am leaving you with these words of advice.

You will be carrying on where others have left off but what are most important are two things:

  1. Do not forget the fallen
  2. Stay alive

Always remember to keep love and peace in your hearts. No matter how hard it becomes you must hold on to your humanity, no matter how hard they try to take it away.

Be strong my young black children and never forget the fallen.

#Mayday #MikeBrown #BlackLivesMatter  #MaydayBlackAmerica  #blackamerica  #protest  #love  #unity #Ferguson  #nojusticenopeace  #justice  #TrayvonMartin  #EricGarnet  #EzellFord #KajiemePowell  #DarrenHunt  #CameronTillman  #VonDerritMyers #KaldrickDonald  #TaneshaAnderson  #AkaiGurley  #TamirRice  #America

 

 

Host a Holiday Pot Luck – Zesty Apple Blueberry Cobbler Recipe

 Is This Your First “Holiday” Supper?

As the holidays quickly approach on the heels of a summer not ready to be forgotten, like clockwork, family and friends are already trying to claim you at the head of their dinner table. And rightfully so – you’re the life of the party I’m sure!  But, with so many invitations and dramatic personalities to avoid, how do you decide which ones to attend? This year, you don’t have to! Why not host a holiday event at your place for once and show them how it’s really done? Stress free, guest participation and absolutely budget friendly!

Being the oldest in a family of four and the oldest grandchild of a family eleven times as big, I stayed in the kitchen, picking up tips, recipes and lending an extra hand during the days of my childhood. Until, of course, one year I was left to make Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners practically alone. It was a great learning experience nonetheless, but as I got older I realized, I did not want to feel like I was working in a soup kitchen on my favorite holidays, serving large groups of people four course meals and barely getting enough time to enjoy family time, let alone eat the food I slaved over for days! No I’m not exaggerating… DAYS! And of course, who do you think was in the kitchen cleaning up? Muah.

I began to despise the holidays, being met with gender role responsibilities, it just made me angry until it came to a head one year and I refused to lift a finger. That lasted all but 20 minutes until I saw things falling apart, and no, I’m not talking about the freaking turkey! I needed a change and quick. This event occurred twice every year and if I was going to survive it, I had to come up with a better solution.  And then it came to me…

Why not host a Thanksgiving POT LUCK?!!

I invited friends and family to my home who I just knew would enjoy the idea and use this opportunity to show off their own culinary skills. Everyone brought something delicious with their own utensils and containers, liquor and wine, games, games and more games! And what’s even more exciting, they helped me clean up! Pa-RAISE the holiday heavens!

Oh my God it was the best idea ever! Instead of cooking an ENTIRE meal by myself, the most I had to do was coordinate the menu with everyone so we didn’t have five pans of mac and cheese, three turkeys and one bottle of soda on the holiday spread! Instead of spending my time cleaning greens, basting turkeys, glazing ham and peeling sweet potatoes, I spent my time making a couple of dishes and decorating my adorable little apartment like the cute little DIY’er I am. We enjoyed great food some of us may not have tried otherwise; great laughs and of course better memories to last me through the next holidays for years to come. Every now and then, when I have to drag myself to an event I’m attending out of obligation, I reminisce on the great times I had with amazing people and secretly plan the next one.

If this is your first time hosting a holiday event or you have a fear of cooking for a large number of people, try alternating holidays this year. This Thanksgiving, host a pot luck at yours or a friend’s house and save your Christmas cheer for those who really need it! You know exactly which members of your family I’m talking about! Bah- humbug!

Here are some great tips on how to host a Holiday Pot Luck.

  1.  Create an INTIMATE list of fun friends and family. Do not invite people out of obligation or I can assure you, you will not have the fun you set out to have. Instead you’ll be catering to a party pooper and that just defeats the purpose now doesn’t it?
  2. Use a free online invitation service like Evite, utilizing the amazing templates to give your party a nice festive theme. Here, people can leave comments confirming their attendance and the dishes they choose to bring. It’s also a good idea to ask your guests to list any allergies or food preferences so everyone is accommodated. Here is a link to some Evite Thanksgiving Pot Luck specific invites.
  3. Pick 1 maybe 2 dishes you’d like to make and stick to it. Don’t get over excited and decide to cook any and everything.  That’s why the universe gave us friends. Use them.Word of advice:
    If you’re set on having turkey at your pot luck, do yourself and your guests a favor and bake turkey wings. For some reason, people love to fight over wings  and unfortunately the third person looses. Some folks don’t understand that God only gave them two. Don’t make them wait around for next year. Just buy a bag and keep it movin’.
  4. Purchase seasonal decorations from the dollar store. They have great cheap decor and punch bowls, plastic utensils, table covers and anything else you think you would need. But remember, don’t overdo it.  Keep it budget friendly.
  5. The week of your event, reach out to anyone who has not responded and confirm your total guest list and menu. Make sure your guests aren’t bringing double dishes unless of course it’s a cook off, then its game on!
  6. Invite and/or inform your neighbors. If you don’t want them in your house because you don’t really know them, no biggie. Don’t invite them. But, do inform them of the festivities you’re hosting so they’re not surprised – number 1 that you even have friends let alone noisy ones and you’re not surprised when the Po-Po is knocking on your doh-doh!
  7. Make sure your playlist is set and you have enough music to last you all night. It sucks when people are waiting for guests to arrive and it’s just you, the punctual friend and the scratches at your bedroom door from your dog you stashed away for the evening. Play some music to drown him out.
  8. Have some munchies before the main courses are served. Chips, meatballs with colorful tooth picks and punch will do. Save all of the good food for later.
  9. DO NOT use this time to invite your EX just so they can see how much fun you’re having without them. Inviting drama is not cute. DO invite that guy or girl you’ve been talking to and introduce them to the fun people who matter in your life.
  10. Take lots of pictures, play ice breaker games, enjoy your night and remember to have fun! It’s also fun to vote on everyone’s favorite dish and give an early Christmas gift as a reward. Something budget friendly of course and if you can stretch it, a goodie bag on the way out.
  11. Don’t be shy to ask for help cleaning up. Pass out garbage bags if you must. If they’re your friends, they’ll get your sense of humor and they’ll understand why. After all, it’s just you and the dog right? I’m sure after you locked him up in the room all night, he’s not in the mood to wash your dishes and take out your garbage.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for your First Pot Luck! Enjoy and don’t burn the house down!

Zesty Apple Blueberry Cobbler
by Toi Stori

Prep Time: 20 min.  Active Time: 40 min. Total Time: 1 hr. Serves: 6

For the Filling:

4 Granny Smith apples
1 Medium sized container of fresh blueberries about 1 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, Allspice or apple pie spice
2 oranges juiced
2/3 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

For the Topping:

1 Cup of pancake mix or all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon of orange zest
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Tablespoon of allspice
1/2 Tablespoon of cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 Cup of water or milk
1/2 Cup of brown sugar

Zest Apple Blueberry Cobbler
Zesty Apple Blueberry Cobbler Ingredients .
Photography Credit: Toi Stori
For ToiHouse.wordpress.com

1. Preheat to 350 degrees F.

2. Make your filling: Peel your apples cutting them into 1/2-inch slices. If you have an apple cutter, even better and quicker. Throw them in a bowl and toss them with granulated sugar and lemon juice. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook, until slightly softened, stirring occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes. Add flour, cinnamon, vanilla extract, orange juice and allspice and stir. The juices should thicken a bit in 2 minutes. When done, remove from the heat and add in the blueberries. Let this cool completely.

3. Make The Topping: Combine the pancake mix or flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, allspice,  cinnamon and orange zest in a large bowl. Cut in 3 tablespoons butter with a spoon. Add the water or milk; stir until you get light brown dough and until there is no loose flour in the bowl. Spoon the dough into your flour dusted hands and form round balls flattening them into biscuits. This should make about 6 pieces of dough.

4. Spoon the filling into a buttered casserole dish and top with brown sugar. Place the dough evenly around the casserole dish on top of the filling, finishing with 1 piece of dough for the center. Sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Transfer to the oven and bake until the topping is golden and crispy, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool for about an hour and eat warm.

Eat and Enjoy~

Mine turned out like this! It was fabulous! Try this and everyone will wonder where you learned to do that?!

Zesty Apple Blueberry Cobbler
Zesty Apple Blueberry Cobbler.
Photography Credit: Toi Stori
For ToiHouse.wordpress.com

Start Your Day Peachy!

Sweet Peach Raspberry Medley
(OAS) Friendly Recipe

Let me start off by saying, I LOVE peaches, but I have just 1 problem. I’m ALLERGIC! I, along with about 70% of people with pollen allergies, suffer from Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) caused by cross-re-activity between proteins in fresh fruits and vegetables and pollens.

I noticed a few years ago that I had developed an allergy to fresh pitted fruits. I was so annoyed because I love fresh fruit and this came out of nowhere! Never again would I be able to eat Apples, Bing Cherries, Nectarines, Plums and my all time favorite –  Peaches, in its natural form.

I discovered this sweet way to prepare my peaches without suffering from the effects of my allergies which include an itchy tongue, throat and swollen throbbing gums. By cooking or processing the fruit, the proteins are broken down so OAS typically doesn’t occur.

(If you have food allergies, please consult with your doctor before trying this recipe. This preparation works for me but others may be different)

So for breakfast, I wanted to make a quick fruit medley with Peaches and Raspberries. I wanted to feel like I was eating fresh juicy  peaches with a bit of a snap, so I nuked it in the microwave for 1 minute. Anything longer than that and they become mushy like cobbler, which isn’t bad, but that’s not what I wanted today. If you want, after nuking, you can cool them off in the fridge and when you take them out, they taste just like fresh peaches.

Here are the ingredients you need for a Sweet Peach Raspberry Medley:

Sweet Peach Raspberry Medley
(OAS) Friendly Recipe

Prep Time: 5 min.  Active Time: 1 min. Total Time: 6 min. Serves: 1

1 Peach
1 container of Raspberries
1 Tablespoon of Honey
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

Photography by: Toi Stori For ToiHouse.wordpress.com
Photography by: Toi Stori For ToiHouse.wordpress.com

 

1. Wash your peach thoroughly to loosen any dirt and possibly any pollen stuck to the skin; slice sections of the fruit, discarding the pit.

2. Place on a microwavable plate/container (cover it to steam – best)  and microwave for 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds (longer if the peach is a bit firm)

3. Toss a handful of raspberries on top; drizzle honey over fruit medley; sprinkle cinnamon

Eat and Enjoy~

What foods have you sacrificed for OAS? Find a way to enjoy your favorite foods again!

What’s In The POT?! – Recipe for Chunky Garden Pasta w/ Turkey Sausage

Let me start off by saying I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE to cook! It’s one of my most favorite things to do. I’ve been cooking since I was old of enough to know what being nosy meant. You know, when you just sit there staring and salivating over juicy, succulent goodness and the cook (momma, granma, auntie or some other woman in the family) says, “Why are you so nosy?” They think you’re trying to listen to their conversation, but really, you want to know… WHAT’S IN THE POT?!

Welcome to my life. I always wanted to know, what was in the pot. What are you seasoning it with? How long do you leave it on for and most importantly, what does it taste like?

Over the years, I’ve experimented with different flavors, textures and temperatures. I am proud to say that I left the “I want my food burnt to a crisp” club years ago and am able to enjoy a nice medium-rare to medium steak. My family (excluding my little sister – I turned her on to it) are still running in that club hard and strong…smh. But I digress. Can’t save the world.

Recently, I’ve been blessed to be busy and put into motion the things I love to do. Unfortunately, it just made me too tired to cook like I used to. I missed it. The food I was scarfing down, wasn’t nearly as nutritious, yummy or inexpensive. Last night, I’d had enough. I was going to make the most delicious vegetable chunky garden  pasta with fresh veggies I’d picked up from my local Farmer’s Market (the veggies there are sooooo much cheaper and even fresher than your favorite grocery store). I like my pasta with a protein so I bought some turkey Italian style sausage. I like sweet Italian pork sausage best but substituted so that I could share with a friend who is not pork friendly. Bless his heart.

My measurements are based off of years of experience pinching and sprinkling, handfuls and a half of this and half of that’s. I’ll try my best to give you the proportions I used but this made quite enough to eat for lunch and dinner for 2 days.

Anyway, for about $10,  I gathered these ingredients:

Chunky Garden Pasta w/ Turkey Sausage

Prep Time: 5 min.  Active Time: 20 min. Total Time: 25 min. Serves: 4

3 cloves of fresh garlic
3 plum tomatoes
1 white onion (chopped)
Half a bunch of asparagus (chopped)
1 sprig of basil (about 2 1/2 leaves)
1 whole portabella mushroom (chopped)
1 pack of Sweet Italian Sausage (Turkey or Pork) – sliced in half inch circles
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 box of thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
Scallions for garnish

Garlic salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper or chili pepper
Olive oil (OO)
1 tablespoon of sugar

Veggie Pasta w/Turkey Sausage Ingredients. Photography Credit: Toi Stori  For ToiHouse.wordpress.com
Veggie Pasta w/Turkey Sausage Ingredients.
Photography Credit: Toi Stori
Recipe by: Toi Stori
For ToiHouse.wordpress.com

1. Cook pasta in a large pot  of boiling water until al dente (this means not boiled to death). Drain pasta.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle enough OO until it coats the pan. Add in your sliced sausage; season with salt and pepper to taste; cook until both sides have browned about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally; remove from heat and place in a bowl to rest.

3. Drizzle a teaspoon more OO into the pan and add in your chopped asparagus; stir for 3 minutes until its coated with the fat and OO mixture until bright green; add a pinch of salt; remove from heat and place in a separate bowl. Asparagus should be crunchy.

4. Add in your onions, garlic and 1 teaspoon of OO; bring flame down to medium-low heat; cook until translucent scraping the bottom to join seasoning and onions; as the onions sweat, add in chopped portabella mushrooms; cook until tender; stir in chopped plum tomatoes; after 5-7 minutes; add sausage and sauce. Sprinkle in cayenne or chili powder, sugar and chopped basil; Simmer for 5 minutes; turn off the flame and add spinach, folding sauce over leaves.

5. Plate your pasta; add chunky garden sauce with sausage on top of pasta; toss asparagus over it along with chopped scallions for garnish.

Eat and Enjoy~

Mine turned out like this and it was amazing! A glass of Merlot would compliment this just fine. Try it and tell me how you enjoyed my recipe!

Veggie Pasta w/Turkey Sausage Ingredients. Photography Credit: Toi Stori  For ToiHouse.wordpress.com
Veggie Pasta w/Turkey Sausage Ingredients.
Photography Credit: Toi Stori
For ToiHouse.wordpress.com

Visit Me on Pinterest!

follow-me-on-pinterest__

So, I am secretly obsessed with Pinterest! I don’t even know where to begin! I’ll admit, I was a bit late to jump on the bandwagon because honestly, I hadn’t heard of it. When I did, I didn’t really understand it because, who just goes around clicking on everything they like? What’s the point?

After taking a moment out of my busy schedule to just sit down and look at it (after a suggestion from my aunt who wanted me to see something that she pinned so bad), I started to see some really interesting things! They had tutorials on makeup, natural hair (this is what she wanted me to see – we were trying new things lol), DIY, beauty products, awesome recipes and much more! I couldn’t believe the access I was given to just about anything I could think of at the tip of my fingers! I just described the internet, but this is much better! It’s not cluttered with things you aren’t looking for or too much content. As a visual person, I was in image HEAVEN!

A lot of these pins inspired me to try new things, share with friends, organize my interests into boards and it kept my creative bug itching!

Take a look through my Pinterest profile for some inspiration!

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