TIGER WOODS

On February 23rd at 7:00 am in California, Tiger Woods was in a one-car vehicle accident. The car ran off the road and flipped on its side in an embankment. It wasn’t long after the car accident that pictures and details were posted all over the media and news outlets, including, but not limited to, Twitter & Instagram. It even made the tri-state area 5:00 evening news. If this wasn’t an accident featuring a celebrity, would it still be plastered all over the media and news sites? Most likely not.

Shortly after the accident, Woods was rushed to the hospital where he received surgery on his injuries. Did Woods sign off on the allowance to use pictures of his damaged vehicle? Or how about the details of his surgery? Was he able to provide consent in his own words before new sources splashed articles on their websites and media pages? I do not believe that he did. As of today, February 24th, there are articles about Woods’ accident on the websites of CNN, ESPN, TMZ, Fox Business, Fox News, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, and many more.

So what? I bring this up because is this ethical? What if Woods did not want his damaged car and injuries to be plastered all over the news? Thankfully Woods seems to be stable and okay, but what if he was not? What if he died? Would his family be able to process this information before the news and media outlets used headlines to get people to click? Sure some news and media outlets want to inform, but what deciphers them from the outlets using clickbait to make money? I don’t know for sure how to answer that question, but if I were to guess the families would not be able to process this in peace.

Is the privacy of a famous person ripped away entirely when they reach a certain level of “fame” and “status?” We can compare this to the way TMZ reported on Kobe Bryant’s death before his family even knew about it. The way the media was used to harass Brittney Spears to the point of hysteria. Most media and news sources used Woods’ accident to mention things from his past. Like the CNN article (attached below) they go on to talk about his past legal issues and “the ups and downs of Tiger’s career.” Is this necessary?

I think it is important for the news and media to update regular civilians on the status of the happenings of people in the public eye, but to what extent? What is too much when it comes to media coverage for celebrities? Does their consent matter? Where do we draw the line and if someone crosses the line, who is to hold them accountable?

REFERENCE: https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/24/us/tiger-woods-car-accident-wednesday-intl-spt/index.html

COMPLETED: 2/24/21

1 OF 10 ARTICLES

What I ate on The Daniel Fast

The Daniel Fast is extremely rejuvenating. It gives me the opportunity to connect with God and to also be mindful what I consume for my mind, body, and spirit. I will be writing another blog post about what specifically came up for me during this Daniel Fast, but for now I wanted to share the food that I ate.

The recipes are either from Pinterest, Susan Gregory’s book (https://www.daniel-fast.com/), Google, YouTube or my own creations. I added the link for the recipes. 🙂 If there’s not a recipe for something, message me and I will get it for you.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Animal Products, Added Sugar, Yeast, Refined Grains, Processed Food, Fried Food, Solid Fats, Chocolate, Caffeine and Alcohol.
    • Since I suffer from terrible migraines, I did not eliminate coffee. There is a method to slowly decrease your coffee intake before the fast, but I didn’t do that. I shall try again next time. Besides coffee, I only drank water.

Foods to Eat:

  • Whole Grains, Beans and Legumes, Nuts and Seeds, Vegetables, Fruit, Oil (coconut, avocado, evoo), Unleavened Bread, all Herbs, Spices and Seasoning, Soy Products, including Tofu.

Tips & Tricks

  • Before starting the Daniel Fast I would suggest doing a ton of research on what meals to eat and snacks to have on hand. The point of the Daniel Fast, is not to starve. Research on Pinterest, online, or if you have the Susan Gregory book there are tons of recipes in there as well.
  • Do it with a friend
  • Keep a journal and write everything down
  • Smoothies make a great snack and are so versatile
  • I don’t suggest eating out
  • Create Menus for the week and post on fridge (see below)
  • If you find a recipe that you like, but it has chicken or fish you can sub with tofu or veggies or just take it out
  • Remember this isn’t a diet, or a fad, it’s a fast to pray and grow closer to The Lord
  • Have fun with it, get creative, experiment and get outside of your food comfort zone

Preparation:

  • On Saturdays during the fast I spent about an hour+ looking for recipes and snacks for the week and making menus (see at the bottom)
  • I hung the menus on my fridge so when I was looking for food, especially snacks, I didn’t have to rummage through the drawers (& be tempted by my dad’s snacks who was not on the Daniel Fast.. hello Oreos!). Instead I knew exactly what I had and where.
  • On Sundays I did the food shopping then meal prepped.
  • All of these tips, tricks and preparations helped me have an overall successful Daniel Fast with lots of homemade healthy and tasty food!

FOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

VEGAN PIZZA WITH VEGGIES, VEGAN MOZZARELLA ON A QUINOA DOUGH

FALAFEL GREEK SALAD

LENTIL SOUP (crockpot)

TOFU AND ROASTED VEGGIE TACOS

5 Minute Banana, Whole Wheat Flour Pancakes with a Blueberry Compote and Orange Zest

I was in a rush to run errands with my sister, but I really really wanted pancakes. Once that pancake craving comes in it’s hard to resist! I couldn’t find anything on Pinterest in such a hurry so I just threw this all together and it worked out!! Next time will definitely add walnuts to the batter.

  • PANCAKES: threw a 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup soy milk, 1/4 tsp of baking powder, 1 banana, 1cinnamon and pumpkin pie seasoning into a blender which made a lovely thick pancake batter.
  • BLUEBERRY COMPOTE: put the blueberries in a small pot on the stove with low heat, 1 tbsp of water, 1/4 tbsp of lemon juice. I stirred frequently adding more water and pinches of lemon juice until it had the right consistency. This was used as my syrup since I couldn’t use maple syrup. So good!!!

Veggie Burgers topped with Vegan Mozzarella, sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms and a side of shoe string French Fries from the air fryer

  • VEGGIE BURGERS: from Susan Gregory’s Daniel Fast Book
  • CHEESE: https://www.noracooks.com/easy-stretchy-vegan-mozzarella-cheese
  • SHIITAKE: sautéed on the stove with a little avocado oil
  • FRENCH FRIES: shredded thinly tossed with evoo, salt, pepper, touch of thyme and in the air fryer for 20-25 minutes.
  • PICKLED CABBAGE CASHEW DIPPING SAUCE: soaked cashews – drained, salt, pepper, pickled cabbage, squeeze of lemon and salt in the blender until smooth.

BANANA OATMEAL COOKIES

COOKIES: https://www.onecleverchef.com/3-ingredient-banana-oatmeal-cookies/

Instead of chocolate chips (recipe) I added raisins and walnuts!

PESTO WITH WHOLE WHEAT PASTA + TOMATOES, ASPARAGUS & PEAS

PESTO: https://pinchofyum.com/healthy-baked-pesto-rigatoni

I did not add the parmesan cheese (recipe).

I love recipes like this because you can add whatever veggies you’d like. I’ve cleaned out my fridge before lol.

Another PIZZA because PIZZA….. ❤️

WILD RICE SOUP (instant pot)

I love this recipe so much. I found it a couple of years ago and I find myself making it every few months. It’s healthy, filling, and just soothes the soul. https://www.veggiessavetheday.com/vegan-wild-rice-soup/

TACOS AGAIN BECAUSE YA KNOW, IT’S TACOS!!!

This time I made it with baked Tofu, Shiitake Mushrooms and homemade Refried Beans.

GRANOLA BARS

These were a bit tedious, but oh so good! The flavor had so much depth and they were very filling. https://thebananadiaries.com/healthy-homemade-granola-bars/

SOME SNACKS

HUMMUS: https://www.cookingclassy.com/hummus/

can’t find the exact cinnamon chickpea recipe, but it was similar to this, minus the seasoning.. https://createmindfully.com/crispy-nacho-roasted-chickpeas/

menus

I did not take pictures of everything that I made, but if you have any questions about anything, please let me know.

Happy Daniel Fast and God Bless! Xo

September 11, 2001 — I will never forget.

It was the most sad, shocking, and heartbreaking day. However, despite all of the evil and terror something good did come out of it which changed my life forever. The peace, unity, love and rise of the American people after 9/11 is something I will never forget.

I was 13 at the time and like most people I remember play by play of how the day unfolded. Being I live in New Jersey I even remember my somber and heartbroken dad outside of the house on the front steps explaining that the dark clouds in the air was actually smoke and debris. My dad’s reaction, face, and spirit that day was so different and also became something I would never forget nor would ever want to see again.

Following the next few days and probably weeks I remember watching TV and all the news programs. I was watching anything and everything that provided me with content (even back then I liked to get as many details to the story as I possibly could).

It was as if America was shot in the heart with a missile. Besides all of the horror, screaming, and sadness during that time something stood out to me. Something positive, something different, something I have rarely seen and would never forget… people were coming together. We Americans were coming together to help heal this open wound. Everywhere I looked people were comforting one another, mostly strangers nonetheless. People were: sharing houses, food, clothes, shoulders to lean and cry on. So many people were empathizing the pain of losing a loved one. Many others were sympathizing as much as one possibly could.

I have seen disasters and watched people come together before, and after 9/11, but this was different. It didn’t matter the color of your skin, your age, gender, where you were from, anything. There was substance of pure love and no judgement. I remember thinking about these terrorists; yes they caused terror and harm, lots of deaths and pain, families were lessened, but something happened that they didn’t intend on and that was people becoming closer. Communities were rising. The love of America and Americans became deeper, stronger and more connected.

The “God Bless the USA” song was playing on loop on our computer and the Proud to be an American theme was everywhere. Sadly though after we stitched up the gaping wound and time started to heal it, the connection and feeling of community slowly distinguished.

Even though I am 27 now and 9/11 happened 14 years ago, I never forgot the peace, unity, love, and rise I felt and saw during that time. It’s with me every night when I pray. It’s reflected in my current project/mission to connect and unite America (coming soon!) and you can see it in my clothing brand, OGCJ. A few weeks ago I went to the local library and stumbled upon a huge book on 9/11. As I flipped through the pages tears filled my eyes with the same feeling I felt on that day. However, this time these tears flowed to my heart and ignited my reassurance that what I am doing is necessary and has a great chance of success. Especially when I saw the pictures of people most likely strangers, holding hands and helping one another. This can be us, now… it should be us now… God please help us.

I understand we are a country filled with every single different type of person, and God, but at the end of the day we are Americans and we are supposed to be United. It saddens me that the only time I have truly felt this in my life was during an unimaginable, but realistic time on September 11, 2001. I will continue working and praying so that it won’t be the last, and that we won’t have to wait until terror and tragedy strikes again. I will never forget, and I will never stop trying.

I can’t finish this without mentioning the bravery I have also learned through 9/11. To see and hear the stories of the firefighters, police officers, medical aides and anyone who ran towards the towers that day have the highest honor of bravery in my eyes. To see people want to help other people considering the risks and that type of circumstances I have few words… May God bless them and their families always.

God Bless The United States of America.

Rest In Peace to all of the Souls / Angels. ❤️

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZIApwWq1AU

September 11, 2015

The Day I…

The Day I Taped My Mouth Shut
For a good cause

I woke up knowing it wasn’t an ordinary Saturday. The dress code was all black so I threw on my black leggings, black OGCJ tee and black vest, tied my black sneakers that have a pop of neon color and loaded my mini book bag with essential items for a long city day. Before heading out of my apartment door I debated wether or not to grab my light faux leather jacket or not. I chose not to. Down the 5 flight of stairs and out my apartment door building I went en route to the train.

On my walk to the train I didn’t listen to music. Instead pondered on my thoughts of what might be in store for today. It was a bit chilly. Darn, should have brought my jacket. I also thought will I be seeing any of my friends there? and if not, who would I talk to? Shortly after that I realized all of those things don’t matter as today is a different day and the last thing it’s about, is me.

I hopped on the train and in 6 quick stops (Saturday morning commutes are such a breeze) arrived at my destination, 23rd Street. We were to meet at Madison Square Park. Like usual after I got out of the subway station I started walking the complete opposite way of the park and realized it about 5 minutes later. Once realizing it I stopped, turned around and headed to the park, in the right direction.

After redirecting and walking a couple of blocks I turned the corner and saw a bunch of people wearing all black. Yes, I made it and with 40 minutes to spare. It’s great to be early I thought to myself. Spotted my friend who was volunteering so we chatted for a bit then she pointed me to the area where people were lining up. I went in that direction and luckily there was a bench so I made myself comfortable.

That nervous feeling in your stomach before you do anything new is alive and present. I’m also feeling excited. After observing my surroundings for a bit I realized mostly everyone around me had a friend and was talking to someone. The more time passed the more crowded and louder it seemed to get. I decided to embrace some conversation with the girl next to me which happened to be from South Africa. Her and her 3 friends we’re really nice.

Shortly after a girl started passing out black tape. She mentioned that if anyone on the street asked us any questions to not talk to them (they have people that will be there specifically for that). We we’re not to talk at all. We then all lined up in a single file line. The line went as far as I could see in front and behind. I stood behind the girl from South Africa and her friends. I wasn’t thinking much at this point, just ready to go. I put the black piece of tape over my mouth, adjusted it a bit and before we knew it the line started to move and we were off.

In the first 10 minutes something profound and wrenching struck me. My eyes started filling up with tears as I started picturing myself being an actual human slave.

What a thought to have. It came and gone many times throughout the next 2 hours. But this isn’t just a thought for over 27 million people, this is reality.

The only thing I have known previously about human trafficking is from the movie “Taken” and from reading the book “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl Wudunn. That’s about as extensive as my knowledge went. Throughout the walk I read the signs that my fellow walkers we’re holding up so I was able to educate myself along the way. This ultimately added more layers of heartbreak.

As we walked up The Avenue of Americas I had more thoughts of what it might feel like to be in the footsteps of a slave. I kept thinking of me being far away from my family. Feeling lonely, scared, hungry, handcuffed, abused, worried with no direction or easy escape. The worst was how this “transaction” this “situation,” strips you from every single right you have as a human.

Every. single. right.

I don’t know if it would be possible to even feel like a human anymore. After having that thought my eyes started shedding some tears and I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. Completely and utterly heartbroken I was, to say the least. I kept thinking too that even if the people trapped in slavery could speak… could anyone hear them? Did anyone around them who are influencing or banking off of this situation even care? And if not, how is that possible?

I remember reading once in the book “Half the Sky” about a girl who was being held as a sex slave in this horrible place (not sure which country). They drugged her, gave her very little of everything, just enough to live, but one day she escaped. She was free. But she was in another country and she didn’t speak the language. Nobody helped her and she ended up going back to being a slave because by then it was all she knew.

When I started getting overwhelmed I tried to take deep breathes and think of the mission here and the hopes of raising awareness that strikes the people on the streets of NYC. Also, this wasn’t just me, and this group in New York City it was thousands of men and women all over the world! In total there was 270 walks in 40 countries all in 24 hours*. How powerful it is knowing that.

It took us 2 hours to walk 36 blocks. There was a lot of stop and go. A lot of pedestrians took pictures and videos. Lots of people were looking at the signs that the walkers were holding. There was a few people clapping and cheering us on saying motivational things, which was extremely helpful. It was great to hear people conversing to one another about it too. Like everything else, there were a few people I heard that wasn’t very supportive. Like this one guy that kept saying “take the tape off, they need a voice.”

Even though it was a “silent” march it represented just a fraction of the people who can’t speak for themselves, I don’t believe it really was silent at all. It was quiet yes, but it radiated energy and layers of depth. Of truth. Of expression. Human trafficking is something we can no longer whisper or ignore. It should be our civil duty to do what we can to stop this.

Human trafficking could happen to anyone. I thought about that while walking as well. I saw so many parents with their kids thinking this could happen to anyone one of them. I saw young women, thinking the same thing. Sold, to the highest bidder. How is this real life?

Slavery is not a choice. Just the morning alone I made so many choices. To bring my jacket or not (it ended up being a good decision not to btw), to listen to music or not, what to eat for breakfast, to have a cup of coffee, will I see my friends?, every single question or thought arose I had a choice. The humans that are suffering in human trafficking do not have a choice of anything. Nothing. Zip, zero, nada. Fully stripped of all choices. Could you imagine?

I was looking forward to the end of the walk because I was honestly mentally exhausted. We finished the walk in Columbus Circle. I briefly chatted with the South African girl and friends and we all shared our experiences. We then held hands and prayed. It was deep, it was profound, and ironically beautiful, just like the walk.

I called my mom as I started to walk home through Central Park. I summed up in a nut shell what I just experienced of course, once again, shedding a few tears. What I just couldn’t wrap my head around was how this wasn’t like apes from “Planet of the Apes” selling humans. It was humans doing this to other humans. It just blows my mind completely. At the end of this day though it wasn’t about me or my thoughts about it, and imagining walking in their shoes, it’s about raising awareness and spreading knowledge to others.

This could happen to you, me, your sister, brother, daughter, son, this could happen to anyone. Hopefully us humans from all races, continents, backgrounds can come together like we did today to end this horrific, unimaginable, inhumane thing we call human trafficking.

There will be a walk again October 14, 2017 I will be there, will you?

For more information -> *A21 website http://www.a21.org/

All pictures were taken by me in New York City on October 15, 2016. The Human Trafficking facts are images taken from the A21 Website.

“The Neighbor’s Garden”

Sunflowers

Roses

Vines and shrubs

Summer sun

Tucking away

Behind the trees

Slight crisp breeze

I am in awe

Of your beautifully crafted garden

Strategically planted

Enthusiastically nurtured

Me eyes follow the fences

To where they meet

My sight widens

To all of our neighbors gardens

Transporting me to Europe

Italy to be exact

Sometimes for a second

Other moments linger

I familiarize my feelings

From when I visited Italy

Many years ago

Oh how I wish I could be there again

But i’m not

I am here

In New Jersey

Admiring your beautiful garden

And where our backyards touch

For today, that must be enough.

Thank you so much.

7.27.16

“The day my life stood still.” — Raffaela Loria

Poems of a daughter’s journey through her mother’s battle with cancer.

I. Shocked
“It’s cancer”
The doctor says
Shocked my mom’s face
Flash flood of tears to my eyes
Such a surprise
Telling the rest of the fam
Heart breaks over & over again.

II. The day after
Is this real life?
Or a dream?
This can’t be happening
Feels so surreal
In and out of reality
Uncontrollable crying
Incapable of comprehending.

III. Powerless
It didn’t take me long
To realize I have no control
I have to let it go
Or the cancer will consume my heart
And for that I’ll play no part
Giving it to God
For He shall provide.

IV. People
Siblings; joining forces
Friends; reaching out
Family; indestructible
Kind nurses, smart doctors
Love, support, prayers
A powerful combination
Life is impossible by ourselves.

V. My Mother; The Lioness
She won’t go down without a fight
One of the most ferocious
A true warrior of the night
Kind, loving, & a listener to all
But mess with her cubs, you’ll get the claw
Cancer beware, you won’t be here long
Mom, never forget, the rest of the pack has your back.

VI. Chemo
Good days
Bad days
And all in between
The chemo is working
From what we have seen
Nausea however upsets her the most
New medicine she’s trying, hope it’s a better dose.

VII. Violent Vixen
Few rounds of chemo down
Brunette hair still holding strongly onto the root
Just like her Faith
Tonight my sister & I colored it violet vixen
We cranked the music up
Danced while we brushed on the color
Laughed the night away because we were all together.

VIII. Results (2nd Pet Scan 11.25.16)
Nauseous
Anxious chatter
Hard to breathe
Family
Faith
First Doctor comes in
Blood count good
Some other stats
Doctor left
Waiting
Waiting
Waiting
Waiting
Waiting
Main Doctor comes in…
“GOOD NEWS!”
“Significant improvement..
… Best you can be!”
Deep breathe out
Automatic
Tears of Joy
Flowing
Down my face
Took another breathe
Looked around
We could have collected
A puddle
In the middle of the room
From all the streams from our happy, tearful eyes.

Still have a fight to go..
To be continued..

“Shakespeare’s Garden”

It’s 2016

Central Park

New York City

Sunny Summer Day

Gentle Breeze

Exploring

Shakespeare’s Garden

Shades of green surround me

Sun rays peeking through the trees

Pink flowers line the wooden fence

Behind the large, deep rooted tree

Laid back and glanced up to thee

My eyes take in the beautiful sight

My ears take in the surrounding sounds

Cars

Airplanes

People talking

Birds chirping

Suddenly

A man playing violin was carried by the wind

It peacefully fills my ears and spirit

I gently close my eyes

When I open them for a brief moment

It feels like I could be in a different time

En route to Shakespeare’s Garden
“Bended Beauty”
Shakespeare’s Garden
Belvedere Castle
Sunsetting by Belvedere Castle

Here is some extra information on Shakespeare’s Garden just in case you were interested..

I also read somewhere that Shakespeare himself possibly planted a tree here once back in the day.

“Shakespeare Garden is a four-acre landscape named for the famed English poet and playwright. The garden features flowers and plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s poems and plays and is designed to resemble the Bard’s native English countryside. The garden’s diverse array of plants, including columbine, primrose, wormwood, quince, lark’s heel, rue, eglantine, flax and cowslip, are accompanied by small plaques featuring quotes from Shakespearean works that reference the garden’s flowers.

The garden was created in 1913 by Dr. Edmond Bronk Southwick, who was both the Parks Department entomologist and a devoted reader of Shakespeare, at the request of Parks Commissioner Charles Stover. In cooperation with the Board of Education, Southwick carefully plotted the bulbs and seeds that would bring the garden to life. In 1916, the garden was officially renamed Shakespeare Garden and dedicated to the memory of William Shakespeare on the tricentennial of his death. In its early years, the Garden was maintained by Dr. Southwick and the Shakespeare Society.

However, after the Society disbanded in 1929, the garden began to cycle through periods of decline- much like the rest of Central Park. By the 1970s, the garden was completely overgrown, contained very little horticultural diversity, and lacked the inspiration and beauty of its earlier years. Thankfully, community volunteers began to clean up the garden in 1975, and the then nascent Central Park Conservancy oversaw a complete restoration of the Garden in 1987. The restoration included replanting the garden with fresh plant life, expanding the garden, repaving paths, installing rustic wooden benches and fences, and adding bronze plaques with Shakespeare quotes. With generous support from the Samuel & May Rudin Foundation and the visionary design of Bruce Kelly and David Varnell Landscape Architects, the garden was then returned to its original splendor.”

Provided by: http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/shakespeare-garden.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

September 8, 2016

“Valentine’s Day”

— Wakes up — checks social media — Scrolls down — Bombarded by hearts & pic stitches — “Oh, It’s Valentine’s Day”…

“…But for The First Time”

My news feed is full of couples.
Everywhere I go I see people:
Holding hands
Smiling
In love.
For the first time
I’m not sad
Angry
Or jealous.
The city is full of people selling:
Red Balloons
Teddy bears
Chocolates.
For the first time
I’m not
Depressed
Lonely
Hating life
On this “made up” holiday
That I couldn’t wait to shout about
In the past.
Instead I didn’t do that
& for the first time
I had a great day
Filled with productivity
And living in the moment
Wishing all couples I saw on social media or in real life:
Happiness
Bliss
& Everlasting
Pure love.
Not once did I wish my life was different.
Later on in the day
In a bit of a rush
I stopped
As I saw a small delicate flower laying on top of the stairs in the new subway station
Beautiful
Alone
Partially broken
Yet there
I smiled as I picked it up
This flower
I truly feel
Is just for me
Maybe
Sent from above
Rewarding me
Or thanking me
For practicing
One of the greatest gifts of all,
Self love.
This day was not like the rest & for the first Valentine’s Day in years, if not ever, it was the best.

Image for post
Strand Book Store: New York, New York

February 14, 2017

“Black Night”

Warm breeze

February night

Mellow day

Unclear thoughts

Pause on the stoop

For food and focus

Slight sheer of hopelessness

Rushed throughout

Suddenly something across the street caught the corner of my eye

But nobody’s there

Looked down at my phone

Caught it yet again

Then I saw what it was

Big black garbage bags all lined up & stacked on the side of the street

Some of the bags which have space above the knots are dancing when the wind blows

Calm at one point

Then flowing where and when the wind hits it

Not all of them, just the ones open and facing upright

Something so unappreciated, so abandoned, yet so carefree and beautiful

May we all be so lucky like the open garbage bags that effortlessly dance upon the touch of the wind.

April 21, 2017