On A Day Like Today…

“On a day, on a day like today…

I’ll find my way to you…”

Love is beautiful. But there is just something extraordinary about black love. About two people that have all odds stacked against them in the world coming together to form a union and love each other and conquer the world as one.

Black love is rarely showcased so I am going to use my blog as a platform for that. This blog is about things I love and love and marriage is like number 2 on my list of favorite things (only behind Prince Rogers Nelson).

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Building My Brand

“Oh my God. I just started a business. I have no idea how to run a business. What have I gotten myself into?”

This is exactly what I said to myself when I started my small baking business a year and a half ago. What the hell have I done? How am I going to manage this? Am I breaking even? I don’t know. Because I have no idea what I’m doing.

Cooking and baking always came natural to me. I used to bake all the time when I was younger. Then I discovered boys and makeup and well, fuck baking that pie.

Picture it, the year 2011 and I decided to host Christmas dinner. But what am I going to make for dessert? I chose to make a chocolate cheesecake. Found the recipe in a Kraft Food magazine. I made it and it was perfect. I was proud. I was like yes, I got this.

In 2013, I made my friend a molten chocolate cupcake. I got real fancy with it and put chocolate shavings on top and posted it to Instagram.

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Someone commented and asked if I sold them and I was like, nah. I do this for fun.

The very next day, I took the remainder of these cupcakes and some vanilla ones to a Super Bowl party and was asked the same question. “Do you sell these?” Again, I answered no, but in my mind I was like, shooootttt I need to get my hustle on!

I had to determine what would set me apart from the other bakeries around. Since I was small and home based, I decided to just specialize in made to order goods. I make on demand, just allow me 48 hours to prepare your order. If you think of a flavor, I can make it for you. If you want something special for a birthday or any event, I will make it for you and if I can’t I won’t bullshit you about it.

I started making cupcakes, cakes and cookies, all from scratch and mixed by hand, and posting them to my Instagram account. Then I had to find a name for my business that wasn’t corny or pretentious. I remembered that my old coworker would call me Tia Coco. I had no idea why she called me that, but it was fake fancy like me, so I went with that name for my business.

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After posting enough pictures to my Instagram page, I got a little bit of a buzz from some of my friends. I would just make cupcakes and take them to local businesses or save them for my friends so they wouldn’t go to waste. I was just self promoting myself so that one person would like what they had and make an order.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake

Snickerdoodle Cupcake

I honestly cannot tell you when my business took off, but it did. And I was overwhelmed, yet thankful. I didn’t know how to run my business, keep track of the money I made, if I was running a trap house. Nothing. But I had faith and I kept going.

June 2013, a local boutique that I would take my extra cupcakes to offered me the opportunity to do a cupcake bar. I was so nervous and was like please let these people like my cupcakes.

At my first cupcake bar at Jeanté, summer of 213

At my first cupcake bar at Jeanté, summer of 2013

Well the customers did and I was contracted to do all the dessert bars at that boutique for the rest of the year. People would be so excited to see what flavors I would come up with next. That made me feel so good. Like I had finally found what I was good at.

Black and White Cupcake (chocolate cupcake, white chocolate icing)

Black and White Cupcake (chocolate cupcake, white chocolate icing)

As always in every love story, there must be an interruption. About a year ago I almost quit because i was financially drained. As I stated, I had no idea how to run a business. I had to reevaluate my business, how I took orders, my book keeping, the value of my products and had to stop giving out the homegirl discount. Making these changes worked and I continued on.

Everyone has a special something that sets them apart. Find what you love to do and make it a hobby. That hobby may turn into something profitable or just give you an escape from life.

I never thought in a million years that making a chocolate molten cupcake for my friend and posting it on Instagram would result in me having a booming business.

I am very proud of my business and one day hope to open my own bakery or just have someone lurk my Instagram page and put me on. I think I’ve worked hard enough for that small break!

Cake Pops

Cake Pops

*Visit my business IG page, tiacococupcakes, to see more pictures of my goodies.*

High Rise…Low Price

So, I have one good area on my stomach. And that’s the top part. The rest of it…no.

So if you’re like me, high rise jeans are your friend. I love high waisted jeans. They camouflage the parts of your stomach you don’t like and are very flattering.

I purchased my jeans from a local boutique, Vogue Visage. They ran me about 40 bucks which is a great deal for distressed jeans that fit like butter (and make my bum look A-mah-zing)! 

These jeans will be worn summer, fall, winter and spring. They can be dressed up or down. I’m ready to style these jeans for each season. 

I paired them with a high low shirt that showed just enough of my stomach, you know, the good part. I also found this shirt at Vogue, on the clearance rack. It was $15. 

I got this entire look for $55 and each piece can be repurposed in so many ways. 

Always buy pieces that can be worn in more ways than one and you’ll get your money’s worth. Information on Vogue Visage is below.

Stay fab, dolls (and gents) 

Vogue Visage

9100 N Rodney Parham Rd

Little Rock, AR

501-223-9979

 

Life Comes at You Fast

I haven’t updated this blog in almost a month! Between my personal life, my business and new duties at work, I have fallen by the wayside. I haven’t posted anything for the three people that follow this blog, but I promise that I’m going to do better!! I had been wanting to start this blog for forever and as soon as I did, so much stuff came up. But to build a brand, I’m going to have to make some time to update this here blog. I’ll be back with more things to do, places to eat, and clothes to wear in the upcoming weeks. Promise…

Rasta Pasta

 

 

 

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4 chicken breast

1 cup of broccoli florets (fresh)

2 tsp of fresh garlic 

1 yellow bell pepper

1 package of baby Bella mushrooms 

1 lb of bow tie pasta

2 jars of Classico four cheese Alfredo sauce 

2 tbsp of butter

1/4 cup of Basil pesto

Italian seasoning 

curry powder 

shredded Parmesan cheese  

Directions: slice chicken into thins slivers and season with salt, pepper and a dash of Italian seasoning. Place in a skillet over media high hear and cook through. While the chicken is cooking, chop up your vegetables and cook pasta according to the directions and then drain and set aside. 

 

Sauté the mushrooms and bell peppers in a tbsp of oil in a separate skillet.  Once they are about tender, add the broccoli. You add the broccoli last because you don’t want it to be too tender. Once that is done, remove from heat and set aside. 

Sauce: melt two tbsp of butter in a medium saucepan. Then add garlic and sauté until tender. Add the 2 jars of Alfredo sauce and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. 

Pour the drained pasta into a large pot and then stir in the Alfredo sauce. Once it is mixed throughly, add the basil pesto. Toss. Then add the chicken and the vegetables and season with the curry powder and Italian seasoning to your liking. Top with shredded Parmesan. Voila.

This seems tedious, but it only takes about 45 minutes to prepare. Enjoy!!!  

 

Grilled Chicken Tacos w/ Mango Pico

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4 chicken breasts

1/4 tsp of curry powder

1/2 tsp of cumin

1tbsp of Grape seed of Olive Oil

1 package of taco seasoning

salt

pepper

package of small flour tortilla shells

toppings (avocado, cheese, sour cream, whatever else you like to top your taco with)

Can y’all tell that I love to cook with mango in the summertime or nawl? lol

Directions: Dice the chicken breasts into 1″ cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add tbsp. of oil to a warm skillet and then add chicken. Cook until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Once the chicken is no longer pink, add the taco seasoning per the directions. Add the cumin and curry to the mixture. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. While the chicken is simmering, prepare the mango pico.

Mango Pico

1 mango, diced

1 whole tomato

1 small red onion

8 oz green chiles

8 oz of chopped jalepenos

4 tbsp. of cilantro

juice of one lime

Directions for pico: Dice all ingredients and add to a bowl and then add the juice of the lime. You can place all ingredients in a covered bowl and shake or you can just mix all ingredients together with a fork.

Once the chicken is done, place in a warmed tortilla shell and top with the mango pico and toppings and there you have it. This meal takes about 30 minutes to prepare and is perfect for the summer months. Enjoy!

 

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Mango Curry Chicken

Mango Curry Chicken

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce
2 tbsp of white cooking wine
1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp Curry

1/4 tsp of cayenne

1/2 tbsp Cumin

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of black pepper

1/2 tbsp of crushed red pepper flakes

1 large mango

1 tbps of Grapeseed oil or olive oil

1 cup of rice

2 cups of water

2 limes

handful of cilantro

Directions:

1)Combine Teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cooking wine, curry , cayenne and cumin together in a large bowl and set to the side.

2) cut the chicken thighs into strips and season with the salt and pepper. Place into the marinade and fully coat the chicken. Let the chicken marinate for at least 4 hours. I let mine sit overnight.

3) Once the chicken has set for the desired time, take out and let it sit on the counter about 10 minutes. While the chicken is settling, cut the mango into cubes.

4) Turn your eye to medium high heat and add the oil. Once the skillet is nice and hot, add the chicken and the marinade to the skillet. Let it brown and then add the mango and the red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to medium low and let the chicken cook.

5) while the chicken is cooking, prepare the rice according to the instructions on the package.

6) Cut the limes in half and squeeze the juice out of them into a bowl. Set aside. Take a handful of the fresh cilantro and finely chop it. Set aside.

7) Once the rice is done cooking, add the lime juice and the cilantro. I add a few dashes of cumin and about one dash of salt and pepper.

8) scoop about a cup of rice onto a plate and then place the mango chicken on top and voila.

***This is a quick meal. It takes about 30 minutes total to cook. Enjoy!***