Lesson #14: You Look Better When You Smile

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“Smile though your heart is aching,

Smile even though it’s breaking”

Charlie Chaplin

I love the song Smile by Charlie Chaplin.  My favorite version of the song is when Janelle Monae covered the song.  You can be having the worst day of your life, but smiling can help you improve your mood and make you look better. It may not change the circumstances that you are going through, but it can give you a glimmer of hope that things will be alright.

 

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Tropical Chia Smoothie

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I hope everyone’s 2016 is off to a great start.  One of my goals this year is to eat more healthy homemade meals.  So today. I decided to make a smoothie for breakfast.  I had a watermelon in my refrigerator that I needed to use.  So I came up with this smoothie recipe.  This made enough for me and my sister to drink.  Here is the recipe:

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Lesson #13: Fear = Fuel

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Today is our 28th birthday.  I thought it would be befitting to publish this post as  I enter a new year in my life.  This year I have been challenging myself to do things that I have been afraid to do. Through my journey I have learned so much and want to share my lessons with you.  A big takeaway that I have is that the things you fear can fuel you to change your life for the better.  Doing things I fear have allowed me to see build my self-confidence and let go of previous limiting beliefs.

Several of my fears I worked towards overcoming since the beginning of 2015.  And I admit, I’m a little afraid to share those fears with you, but I have decided to do so in the hopes that I can help someone.

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Raw Vegan Raspberry Jam

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A few weeks ago, we had a staff ice cream social. Since I don’t eat dairy, I decided to bring carob chia seed pudding for myself and a raspberry jam to share with everyone else. I was pleasantly surprised with how much my coworkers (who are not vegan) loved my jam. This inspired me to share this recipe with you.

I made an entire jar of the jam before coming to work and by the end of the social the jar was half empty! 

  
So if my non-vegan co-workers loved this jam, I’m sure you will too. Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 12 ounces of fresh raspberries
  • 3-5 pitted Medjool dates 
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 TBS of chia seeds

Directions: 

  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender
  2. Blend until well combined
  3. Stir in TBS chia seeds
  4. Put in glass jar
  5. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours for the chia seeds to expand

I was able to make this jam last a week. There are so many ways you can enjoy this delectable jam. I personally have topped my chia seed pudding with it and ate “banana tacos with it” (put a banana in a romaine leaf and top with almond butter and jam).
Let me know if you try this recipe and how you serve it. If you love raspberries as much as I do, check out my raspberry sage salad dressing.

As always, be happy. Be healthy. Be the best version of you possible.

Love always,
Tanika Monique
Always & Forever

Forever & Always

Lesson #12: Look with New Eyes

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When my twin sister and I began running in September of last year, I was initially paralyzed by fear. In my minds eye, I still saw myself as an obese teenager, who could barely run a mile without stopping.

 
One day while we were running, and I felt like giving up, Tasha looked back at me and yelled , “Keep going, you can do it!” I began to cry when she uttered those words because I knew she was right. It was at that moment that I looked at myself with new eyes.

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Sundried Tomato & Sage Tahini

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This is by far one of my favorite homemade salad dressings.  You can pour it over your salad or use as a spread in collard burrito wraps.  Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 cup tahini (I like Ziyad brand) 
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 TSP salt
  • 1/4 TSP pepper
  • 1 handful sundried tomatoes
  • A few sage leaves
  • 3-5 garlic cloves


Directions:

  1. Rinse sage leaves 
  2. Add all ingredients to food processor or blender
  3. Blend until smooth
  4. Add more water if you want a thinner consistency
  5. Pour into a glass jar for storage
  6. This dressing should last at least a week in the refrigerator.

Please let me know if you try this or any of my other recipes.

As alway, be happy, be healthy, and be the best version of you!


Love Always,


Tanika Monique


Always & Forever

Forever & Always

Lesson #11: We Are All Human

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I mentioned before that we can be so consumed with social media stars and celebrities. We may praise them and assume that their lives are much better than our own.  In addition to the comments of praise on Facebook posts, Instagram pics, and YouTube videos there are numerous hateful remarks.  For every, “You are so beautiful!” comment, there are 10 remarks picking the person apart.

I watched a video clip of The Real a little over week ago in which the ladies were discussing bullying.  It saddened me to hear how co-hosts Jeannie Mai and Tamar Braxton were still very traumatized by the negativity they get on a daily basis.  To know that their feelings get hurt by the things others say, reminded me that we are all human. Celebrities and people who are “social media” famous go through the same issues the rest of us experience.  The only difference is there is a camera on them.  People feel the need to make comments on how others live simply because they “put themselves out there.”


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