Raving My Faves: April

Raving My Faves: April

Hello friends!

It is time once again for me to rave my faves! Like I previously mentioned, I love April for the spring vibes. The rainy weather coupled with the blooming flowers, chirping birds and inches closer to summer makes me so happy. There have also been some exciting changes in my life that has made this month one that is eventful and overwhelming in all aspects — happy, worried, excited and with fervent planning. Throughout this exciting month though, I have had some really good things or moments that you’ll see in a bit. Before I go any further though, you need to be reminded that…

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Yes, I had to.

Leafberri Teas

I found Leafberri at a farmer’s market across from the Dallas Art Museum about a month ago. Francois and I were on a date and decided to check it out on our way back from the museum. It was beautiful! There were stalls set up, food trucks lined up at the curb and people of all walks of life gathered together to just enjoy the beautiful day. The sun was out, the air was crisp, and I could imagine the wide smiles behind the masks. Everyone was either browsing the stalls, sitting on the grass enjoying the live music, or lined up to grab a bite from one of the many trucks. Leafberri was the first stall we visited because I am a sucker for a good tea. In fact, besides enjoying a classic Magnum ice cream bar on the Boardwalk at sunset, my mom and I also enjoy sitting on the verandah sipping on tea in the late afternoon together as a bonding moment. Tea is something we both truly love. Thus, you can imagine my excitement to try it out.

Leafberri provides the unique purple tea from Kenya, a leaf variety that is rich in antioxidants. It is not as robust as black tea, but still provides the benefits of black tea and more. We tried the spiced vanilla purple tea, and the turmeric ginger tea. Both were so good! The spiced vanilla was light and velvety to taste, and could be served hot or cold. We tried it cold and it was delicious! The turmeric ginger was spicy (in a good way!), had a well-rounded flavour and you could definitely distinguish the taste of the ginger and the turmeric. It felt like drinking a sweetened youth elixir — tasty but healthy. The owner informed us that we could make it as bold or as mild as we’d like. You can steep the tea or in the case of the turmeric ginger, you can also boil it down to create a stronger, bolder cup. Out of the four we tasted, we decided to purchase the sample packs for those two flavours. These two are so easy to prepare, and you can make the most of your tea by reusing a serving. I did so and the tea was still flavourful the second time around. I prepared the turmeric ginger both ways (steeping vs. boiling down) and you definitely get a bolder cup boiling it. Don’t worry though because it can withstand high heat. Honestly, the packet tells you everything you need to know for preparation, but if you have any questions, the owner is so sweet and helpful. She recommended I try the elderberry purple tea, and I can’t wait to put in my next order and try it out! If you love tea as much as I do, you should definitely try Leafberri by clicking here. Along with purple tea, she has ginger tea, black tea, among other wonderful loose leaf options. Support a small business that is woman-owned and black owned! You won’t be disappointed.

Previous Blog Post

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

I know this is a bit unorthodox, but one of my favourite moments was publishing my previous blog post on my thoughts on the current racial climate. While the content is much heavier and more serious than the Raving My Faves series, it was a moment of vulnerability that I got to share with you guys. I wrote straight from my heart and posted the first draft as the final one — I never do that with any of my serious writing, but I felt like it needed to be read as raw as it was. Sometimes life is unstructured, and so can be my writing. It was one of those moments where I abandoned my fear or worry of not being perceived as a good writer, and put it out there because what was written needed to be said. It reminded me that there are moments in our lives that are similar to that blog post, right? Sometimes, what needs to be said or done doesn’t have the luxury of time to be packaged as neatly as you’d like but the importance of it overrides that. Sometimes the truth seems pretty rough around the edges, and it cuts the palette like a sour fruit or a bitter bite. Yet, it is what is necessary. I deemed what was said necessary to be said as honestly as I thought it. And I am proud of myself for being honest without the fear of being misunderstood or rejected. It inspired me to attempt living out that principle daily, and not just in my writing. To be unapologetically myself and to speak the truth boldly is something that I am working on, and I see my previous post as a wide step in that direction. Do you struggle with having things packaged neatly before sharing? Do you feel like you can only be one version of yourself? If this is you, I implore you to first extend grace to yourself, and then live boldly. It is by being unapologetically yourself that you truly love yourself and appreciate God’s handiwork. This is no excuse to be mean and inconsiderate of others. It is an invitation, rather, to appreciate your uniqueness and extend it to making your community and environment a better place. Check out my previous blog post, Musings: Race in reality and the media, to get a glimpse of what I mean, and let me know what you think about living boldly. Remember, you’re never alone in this journey. ❤

Healthy Snack – Berry Bowl Crunch

Those of you who know me personally already know that I am in the cut phase of my fitness journey — which is a fancy way of saying that my aim is to lose weight/fat. Lifting weights is a great way to build muscle and lose fat, but the sure fire way to drop pounds is through your diet. I recently made a snack I like to call the berry bowl crunch, and it was simple, sweet, and satisfying. All you need are your favourite berries and your favourite type of granola. I use blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, and my granola of choice is maple-flavoured. You add about 1/3 cup of each berry (cut your strawberries), and you sprinkle about 3-4 tablespoons of granola. Mix it up and boom a simple snack! You can add some greek yogurt for a protein boost with a drizzle of honey, but I don’t really like yogurt so I don’t add it to mine. You can add dark chocolate chunks if you’d like, or swap the granola with some of your favourite nuts, or combine them! Just adjust the serving sizes to accommodate those additions. It isn’t a new dessert, but it is what I have recently started snacking on and I figured you’ll enjoy it too. So try it out the next time you have a sweet craving, or if you’re like me and you need to eat something sweet after you’ve had something salty. I swear, it’s science!

Berry Bowl Crunch is basically this without all the yogurt, but with all the pizazz 😉

These three are my April Faves — The tea and the dessert is newly incorporated and have become a staple, and my musings post was definitely a highlight for the important lesson it taught me. I hope you enjoyed this month’s faves and that you are inspired to try one or all! Let me know if you do. Comment below any thoughts and don’t forget to share with your friends.

Until next time, have a beautiful day and stay safe.

Love, Delz

To Those Who Find Themselves Lost

To Those Who Find Themselves Lost

A book review and interview with the Author

Hi Guys! It’s been a while, but I’m back and ready to hold hands with you and be vulnerable 😀 This post will be a feature of a book I’ve read that I think you would appreciate, and a short, exclusive interview with the author herself! Can I hear “Girl Power!” on three please? I was very excited to read this book. Aschel and I are from the same island, Dominica, and we went to high school together (Big up our senior class 4A/5A real quick). While we knew each other, we weren’t close so the experiences penned in this book were all new to me, like they would be new to you. Even so, below you will find my 100% honest review and rating of the book. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

To those who find themselves lost is a book of poems written by Aschel St Ville, who is a poet, activist and pharmacy technician. The book is sectioned into three — The Bending, The Breaking, and The Healing — where you can explore Aschel’s journey of lows and highs; moments of sadness, realization, and coming of strength and womanhood. This book highlights themes such as women empowerment and vulnerability, and grants us a raw, unadulterated perspective of concepts such as depression/anxiety, shame, relationships, dreams, and self-love. 

“Some of us are silent because we lost so much the last time we spoke.”

-To those who find themselves lost by Aschel St Ville

In my excitement to read this book, I don’t think I was fully prepared for how raw and honest these poems were. I found myself at the end of The Bending sobbing. I sobbed for Aschel’s trauma, and I sobbed for my own, along with the other girls I grew up around who possibly shared similar stories that I wouldn’t have known because we’re taught to tuck these things away and never let them see daylight. This segment brought an awareness of the depth of brokenness trauma ensues, especially the one she spoke about. However, it also piqued my interest: I wonder how she navigated through this? And I kept on reading.

The Breaking is where you see Aschel’s pen truly come alive and the journey begins to arch. In this segment she bends the universe so that you and her are walking together through this period in her journey. She poses certain thoughts and questions that allow you to think of your own journey. Moreover, even in her writing of truly deep and low times, you can sense the glimmer of hope as we move along. Through her writing, and the lessening of pages, we are reminded that there is still one more segment to appreciate.

“Yes I am broken, but I am worth fixing.”

-TO THOSE WHO FIND THEMSELVES LOST BY ASCHEL ST VILLE

I think I appreciated The Healing segment out of all, not because it was lighter or “happier”, but because we didn’t see an abrupt change from one point of her journey to the next. There is a gradual shift, where there may still be pain, but we have new awareness now. There may still be sadness, but there are also things to celebrate. The Healing is a powerful reminder that life is filled with both sadness and joy, and it is perfectly okay. Throughout this segment, Aschel shares encouragement, her thoughts on self-love and other-centered love, and empowerment.

Something that I did not know would be included, but was so excited for it that I squealed (I really did), were extra blank pages. For those of you who are writers as well, whether it may be poetry like Aschel, essay or prose like me, or even if you just want to doodle, these pages offer you a chance to add your own story, your interpretation of how this book made you feel, or something else completely. Thank you for this unexpected gift Aschel! 

For Aschel’s first book, which is self-published, I give it 5 stars. It was wonderfully written and super transparent. I embarked on a voyage into Aschel’s experiences penned and was invited to feel what she possibly felt. Altogether, I finished the book feeling proud of her for her overcoming, proud of myself for my overcoming, and I think after reading, you too would be proud of your growth. ❤

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR AND POET, ASCHEL ST VILLE

SIMPLY DELZ: Describe yourself in four (4) words

ASCHEL: Four words I feel that give a very comprehensive description of who I am are: ambivert, empathetic, eccentric, introspective

SD: What is your writing process?

A: Extensive periods of intense inspiration and writing and also long periods of writer’s block.. I have bursts of inspiration throughout the day and whenever they come I write them down. When writing this book I actually dedicated several hours a day just to write and perfect some of the poems I had written before.

SD: What do you want people to take away from your writing?

A: Definitely, I feel like I want people to understand the value and beauty of vulnerability. My writing is very honest and raw. I want people to see first hand what it is like to put yourself out there unapologetically in all of your flaws.

SD: Who or what inspires you?

A: I am inspired by many female writers particularly Ijeoma Umebinyuo. She is a womanist and such a powerful woman who does not apologize for what she feels and writes. I see her as a woman who stands in her truth and exudes so much confidence. To be confident in who I am as a person has always been my life goal.

SD: Name one thing you can’t live without

A: Poetry for sure.

SD: What advice would you give aspiring poets/writers/creatives?

A: Continue to create. Do not compare your work to anyone else’s. Know that there is space and value in your voice and in your writing. And also I would love to see your work out there some day.

SD: Thanks! Can we expect a new project from you soon? (we hope so!)

A: Yes I am actively working on a new book. However, it won’t be released at least for another year. I am learning a lot from my first book release and still fighting Imposter Syndrome. But I always release new work on my IG page @sabrinajpoetry.

Aschel proudly holding a stack of her first, self-published book of poems

Hi! If you made it to the end, thanks for reading and supporting! Follow our IG pages for more content, and be sure to pick up Aschel St Ville’s book by tapping the link here. Have you read this book or another book of poems? Do you love poetry? Drop your thoughts below, and like & share this post!

Love, Delz