December 20, 2017

Remember that one time last week where I brushed off fancy restaurants? I may want to take that back a little bit... To be fair, however, I was talking about the fancy Manhattan restaurants and this post is focused on a fancy Harlem restaurant. I went back to NYC this weekend, I couldn't get enough, but this time with my mother. These two trips were planned out in advance, but were spontaneously next to each other. We both love Food Network - there's actually a poster of Guy Fieri in my kitchen in my apartment. The kitchen is flavor town, after all. My mother booked us brunch at Red Rooster by Chef Marcus Samuelsson in Harlem for when we got there. Little did I know, I would be thanking her forever. 

image credit
Samuelsson's food influences are quote dichotomous yet intriguing. He was adopted from Ethiopia by Swedish family. Therefore, his Swedish family and his Ethiopian birth family influence his cuisine. He developed a love for food from his grandmother, who was a chef. According to, he "...went on to become a renowned force in international cuisine," by being an executive chef at Aquavit in NYC and receiving numerous awards including a James Beard honor. He opened Red Rooster to be influenced by and build on Harlem's rich culinary culture. 

Red Rooster has a hip Harlem ambience to it. Very cool, very New York. There was even a DJ. What's more NYC than a bustling, hip brunch place with a DJ and eclectic comfort food on the menu. To start off, we had to try his cornbread. This cornbread with honey butter was delicious and hit the spot - there was even real corn in it! I also had to try a Bloody Mary, because I've never had a proper one in my 22-year-old life. I'm sorry to announce that I did not like it. It was too savory and spicy - not things I look forward to in a drink. Not saying it wasn't good to someone who enjoys this drink, however. I also may be scarred from the morning of the first day of classes my last semester of college. We went out for birthday drinks for two roommates the night before and one of the birthday girls made us to-go Bloody Mary's for the next morning, which was actually canned tomato soup and Guaro, a Costa Rican vodka-type alcohol that I brought back from my travels. Needless to say, I did not indulge. 

My meal sent me to heaven. I got the Shakshukatory, which is one of my new favorite dishes. It was a steaming dish of grits, spicy tomatoes, ricotta, eggs and avocados. I also got a side of HEAVENLY roasted brussel sprouts with just the right amount of red pepper flakes and parmesan. It may be the best dish I've ever had. 

Have you had a good brunch lately?



December 14, 2017

EVERYONE! Stop ! in ! your ! tracks ! FORGET What you've heard about fancy-schmancy ~Manhattan~ restaurants! Serendipi-who? I don't know her? Who I DO know are the hidden gems of Brooklyn. The holes in the walls. The places where the executive chef is grandma. 

Don't get me wrong, I love me a nice sit-down meal. Who doesn't want more food for less money  -and better, more wholesome tasting food at that? Last weekend, I went on a trip with my friends to the big apple. We stayed in Bed-Stuy, a Brooklyn neighborhood with breweries, artists collectives and delis owned by locals - not people new to the area. The businesses we supported seemed to be owned by people who knew the area their whole life. Their art and food reflected that. Why face the harsh and long MTA ride, the expensive fare and long wait when you can get a home cooked meal and get to know the locals? Of course I'm not ruling out all nice restaurants, there's a time and place for everything. We were hungry college kids on a budget, with an affinity for Puerto Rican and soul food - this was the right time and place.

1. Boobie Trap / La Isla
If you asked me my ideal night, I would describe my Friday night. We got to the airbnb, and our host was a treat. We got the whole top floor of a gorgeous brownstone to ourselves. After hanging out and settling in, we got ready and pregamed. Pregaming included a fun game of kings, dancing and tons of pictures. We took a Lyft to our favorite bar in Bushwick (my friend and I went there last time we were in NYC) called Boobie Trap. That eclectic dive bar had great deals including $5 for a beer and a shot, unique decor and games and the coolest bartender in a cheerleading costume.

After there, we went to eat at a Puerto Rican spot right next to it, La Isla. Yes, we pregamed for dinner. This spot had limited tables and spots at the bar, which we sat at. You couldn't go wrong with anything on the menu - I knew that no matter what I got. Pork is my one weakness for meat, so I went with that and rice and beans. I thought that I would have half plate of rice and beans and the other half would be pork, but I was wrong. I got a whole plate of pork and a whole plate of rice and beans. If I wasn't going to the club after I would've taken the leftovers and ate them later. Just like the spot I will mention below, this was enough for two meals. We were all in awe at how good the food was. Please check out La Isla and Boobie Trap in Bushwick!

2. The Soul Spot
Do I need to say anything more than soul food? When I say my soul was warm after eating this food, I'm not lying. Right before we left to drive the 4 hours back home, we stocked up on soul food at The Soul Spot in Brooklyn on their main street area. I got curry goat, candied yams, okra in stewed sauce and fried plantains. I had enough food for two meals and more. I actually ate that at 3PM then was full until I got home at 9 and ate the second round. What broke millennial wouldn't want two delicious meals for the price of one?

Do you have any hidden NYC gems to share?

abusive relationships

That guy's girl

December 04, 2017

This is a poem about an emotionally abusive relationship I was in for two years. This is the first time I'm sharing my poetry other than just open mic nights or friends. I need motivation to write more!

You Don’t Want to Be Weird, Now Do You?

I used to soar on your livewire
And feel like I could walk on water
But one day I couldn’t walk anymore and I just sank
And the shock of the livewire and the water shocked me

It brought me back to a place of clarity
The clearest tragedy
Became a reality

Not only did I have to consider what was my reality
But what did I want my reality to be

Did I want it for you or for me?
Since when did pleasing you become my reality?
The bane of my existence and simultaneously the reason for my existence
I thought, what would happen if my wildest dreams realized and this all went away?

What would I realize with real eyes
That I could live in a world where my spirit flies
To where I want to be, I see what I want to see
Not what you’ve painted for me

Because the day came where the watercolor lines so you meticulously painted for me blended into the others and not in that
Impressionistic, artistic way visually pleasing to the eye
It may have been pleasing for him, or equally as unpleasing, I wouldn’t know

And the day came where the colors faded
Where the colors once so bright
Bright as it was when you first dabbed it on your palette
Faded away, and there were no more fun and games
The colors were as bleak as the feelings I had remaining

Nothing was remaining but the engine kept turning
Running on fumes
Gears grinding
tensions rising
The engine wouldn’t turn over
Because it was over and neither of us would admit it

I couldn’t admit it to myself because I was taught that
ladies are to be seen and not heard
An antiquated thought, though it sounds absurd
was bestowed upon me as a compact I had to base my life on

I had to tip toe around everything and do it in a ladylike fashion that was
visually pleasing to the eye and not in that impressionistic, artistic way
that’s too weird
and you don’t want to be weird, now do you?

Then, I realized that this lady wanted to be both seen and heard
She had something to say, actually a lot of things to say
She didn’t realize how much she had to say until she started writing this

This lady, finally, one day was both seen and heard
She stopped caring about what he thought and what they thought and what she thought and what
She made her voice loud and clear and now her world is crystal clear
her spirit flies, she has real eyes, and won’t listen to any lies
especially not from you.


Gift Guide for the Activist in Your Life

November 28, 2017

It's about that time of year again, where all the gift guides are coming out. There's gift guides for everything now, from the significant other in your life, to the sporty girl, to your dog groomer's cousin's cat. In this time of political turmoil in our country, hence the reason I started Half Full, I figured I'd write a useful gift guide. In a country that's being turned upside down, what's a better gift than a useful gift?

Maybe you have a friend or loved one that is trying to become more politically active. Maybe you have a friend who is already politically active or works in politics or nonprofits. Maybe you have a friend who isn't interested or educated in politics remotely, and you want to give them a little nudge. Either way, I've rounded up some tangible ways for people to get involved in the political sphere below, for my activist gift guide below.

1. A Donation to the ACLU in their Name

I made a donation to the ACLU recently, and now I get sent petitions weekly for other causes. I would save this for a very politically active friend, who always wants to help at least once a week.

2. An iPad Air

This is great for canvassing! Canvassers often use apps which tell them how a district votes and which houses to go to and which to avoid. Also, it's an easy way to collect donations from cards.

3. A Subscription to the New York Times

The NYT is the print CNN when it comes to keeping updated. They also have tailored newsletters and podcasts based on the consumer's interests. An informed activist is the best kind!

4. Merch from Crooked Media

Two ex Obama staffers crated Crooked media not too long ago. You may have heard of Podsave America? If your friend is politically active, chances are that they listen to the podcast. If so, get them a "friend of the pod" t shirt.

5. A Contributions to Amnesty International

Similar to the ACLU donation!

6. "What Happened" by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Maybe they can tell you when they read it...

7.  Pizza Rolls not Gender Rolls T Shirt

...Aand anything from feminist apparel for that matter. 

8. Sign them Up for Some Awesome Newsletters!

9. A Subscription to Ms Magazine



November 22, 2017

In this day and age, I'll take any small win I can get. Is it just me, or are we not only bombarded with disturbing news headlines, but there's always another monthly subscription guised under a "free sample" around every corner? It's similar to a phenomenon in dating I countered called the "softboy".

softboy (noun): a boy that seems not problematic or controlling at first and appears to be a good option to date. He receals his true f****boy-ness when you've started to fall for him.
Companies that offer free trials or samples and charge your card for the subscription that you were swindled into signing up for unbeknownst to you after another month passes are the corporate versions of softboys. A softboy that I encountered five year ago, my freshman year of college was, the online retailer. Here's the story:

It was five years ago. I needed some new fall boots to go with my fall looks. Boots are shown here. It was the time where every girl was sporting the same exact brown boots and green army jacket. I will admit, they were classic fall staples that made a cute look. While scouring the internet for a pair of my own brown boots, I landed on some from JustFab. Maybe it was me being click happy, maybe it the site being confusing. I thought that I got a pair of boots for free, only paying shipping. Turns out I was signed up for their VIP service. This means that if I didn't "skip" the month by a certain day of the month, I was charged $40.

I tried to call to cancel, and was begged to stay, after being offered 10 different reasons to stay. I couldn't afford to forget a month. I was earning $75 every two weeks that year. I sucked it up and just skipped every month until I got the courage to call again. Due to the rudeness of the representative, I had a lot of anxiety around calling. I missed two months in five years. Finally, however, I called and cancelled the other morning. I was adamant. I was persistent. I did it!
It took me to realize that what was stopping me was my anxiety. I acknowledged it and faced it. I'm so relived now. Do you have any anxiety wins lately?


Women Championing the Movement Against Sexual Harassment

November 16, 2017

CW: sexual harassment and assault 

        If you pick up a newspaper (ooh... who does that nowadays?), open a social media app or load a news site this month, odds are that you're going to see something about the many sexual harassment, assault and violence allegations that are coming to light recently. They've heightened in the media since the Harvey Weinstein allegations surfaced, but the real movement was started by Gretchen Carlson over a year ago. Now, allegations have some up against Louis C.K., Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey and more.

      Social media can be seen as an unhealthy place for heated discourse, but recently it's been a safe space for many women to have their voice be heard. It's easier to ignore a mansplainer when they're a twitter egg in the reply section. Not to mention, the mute feature is a gift from God, and Jack Dorsey himself. Although Jack Dorsey has his own scandals...

     Because of the loads of individuals taking advantage of this platform, it can be hard to cut through the trolls and listen to the thought leaders in this movement. Below, I've listed the top accounts I've seen championing this movement on and off of the internet, as well as some tips for cutting through the chatter
Rose McGowan. image credit

1. Rose McGowan

The ex-Charmed star recently came out about her sexual assault on her Twitter, and was blocked form the platform for a while. She also has written a memoir/manifesto titled Brave.

2. Sophia Amoruso

The founder and ex-CEO of online women's clothing retailer NASTYGAL now is the founder of Girbloss Media, and hosts Girlboss Radio where she has interviewed fellow Girlbosses such as Whitney Cummings and Gwyneth Paltro (who has also came forward about allegations). She recently had the movement's catalyst Gretchen Carlson on the podcast to discuss this issue and her experience with it.

3.  Cameron Esposito

This queer stand-up comedian and podcaster has been using her platforms to marry her causes and career. Besides being relentless on Twitter, she recently had singer Mary Lambert on her podcast Queery, where they both discuss their past experiences with this issue.

4. Amy Siskind

She talks Trump. She talks Weinstein. Every day since the election she's been keeping track of all the madness occurring with her weekly lists on Twitter. When she's not building that, she's keeping people accountable Twitter. Why? According to her, in times of totalitarianism, you must keep track of what's happening.

5. NOW Magazine

This publications recently reminded us that this issue does NOT just affect cis, straight, white women. 

5. Twitter Lists

How do you keep track and cut through the clutter? Twitter's lists tool is a great way to still follow many people but also monitor certain conversations. You can build lists by selecting only certain accounts, and the feature makes a "timeline" of just what these accounts are saying. The accounts listed above are a great start... 

6. Social listening tools

Tools like Hootsuite can let you build "streams" based on users, keywords and more. You can have up to three social media accounts connected to it. There's many more tools out there that do this, too. I'm not sponsored, I just LOVE Hootsuite and am certified in it.

I know that these aren't the only activist championing this movement, please comment or tweet me with your suggestions. What tips do you have to stay on track with the news?

Never miss a tweet:
Sign up for my E-MAIL alerts!

black bean salsa

Easy and Delicious Weeknight Taco Recipe for When You'd Rather Drink Your Own Tears Than Cook Dinner

November 05, 2017

Hi friends! Let's be honest and real here. When we get home, we're ravenous. We would rather eat the closest available foot than break out a sauce pan and boil some water. I know for a fact that it's not just me. Isn't that why they invented Amy's pad thai?

However, why microwave mediocre rice noodles when you can have TACO BOATS! That's right... boats that are tacos. Meaty and cheesy goodness floating on a sea of salsa. Okay, maybe not like that. Thanks to Old El Paso's Old El Paso Soft Tortilla Taco Boat Dinner Kit it was easier than ever to whip up some taco boats after the gym this Wednesday night.

Actual picture of me thinking about making dinner last night after the gym. Why is it blurry? Because I CAN'T HANDLE LIFE OKAY!

I wanted something quick and delicious. I didn't want to be basic and microwave something, however. Then, I remembered that Old El Paso was nice enough to let me try their Old El Paso Soft Tortilla Taco Boat Dinner Kit! I remembered that I bought some chipotle-marinated chicken from Whole Foods last Friday.

The flavorful combination for my Wednesday night dinner: marinated chicken, Brandless black bean and corn salsa, peppers and onions, Frank's red hot, and a Old El Paso Soft Tortilla Taco Boat Dinner Kit.

Mexican food is one of my favorite pastimes, I would definitely say that I have it too much. What's easier than rice, beans, veggies and sauces,  I thought? Nothing! That is the ONLY ANSWER!

I let these ingredients simmer in the taco sauce that came with the taco boats until the veggies were tender and the meat was cooked. The next step is insultingly easy - place the filling the taco boats and top with salsa and cheese. A fun trick that I was too hungry to try was toasting the flour taco boats for an extra bit of crispiness that a corn shell would give you. Let me know if you try it!

Yes, those are tears of joy. Dinner alas, at 8:30PM.


This is an actual picture of me post-tacos. Look at her, she's glowing. Her brows are filled, her hair is wavy, she's serving business casual looks, and she's smiling. She hasn't smiled in years. She hasn't smiled that wide since Hilary Duff dropped Metamorphosis.

You're probably (not) wondering the recipe for this genius and intricate recipe.


2. 1/2 chicken breast, marinated how you like
3. 1/3 an onion
4. 1/2 a green pepper
5. Old El Paso taco Sauce
6. Shredded cheese

1. Sautee pepper, onion chicken and taco sauce in a pan on medium heat until veggies are soft and chicken is cooked
2. Place the above mixture into the taco bowls
3. Top with Brandless salsa, a dash of frank's red hot and a sprinkle of cheese.

Materials for this blog post were provided free of charge by Old El Paso.

Never miss a tweet:
Sign up for my E-MAIL alerts!

brand new

I declare Chilis as the "Most Meme-ed" Chain Restraunt

October 23, 2017

       Yes, I just made "meme-ed" a verb. In this case, however, it is appropriate. Whether it's the internet meme-ing the restaurant, or the place talking back, the chain is very vocal to the millennial generation. It makes me want to say "Hi, welcome to Chilis!"

      Honestly, not sure if this blog post is making me hungry or miss Vine. It's making me do both, but I'm not sure what I'm feeling more. I'm not entirely sure why it's making me hungry, however, because Chilis is mediocre at best. Don't come for me Chilis stans, please. I will admit - I am a food snob. I prefer something more classy... like Not Your Average Joes.

      Now that I've ended my cravings for sugar margaritas and lava cakes, I want to discuss the best conversation that Chilis has had with the public on the internet: their great debate over their favorite Brand New album. For those of you non-emo kids (I'll never grow out of my phase, Mom!), Brand New is a rock band that has been around since the year 2000, and is still pumping out BOPS.

According to Alternative Press, the interaction all began with this innocent tweet from a curious customer:

      I don't blame him for being curious. The musical tastes of my favorite chain restaurants are very important to me as well! This tweet, they responded that they liked both. Very political and PR of them...

Next, a customer asked what their favorite album was, and they said it was "Your Favorite Weapon", leaving out the "r" in your as a typo. 
At this point, they're going back and forth with fans, defending their choice and asking fans when they started listening to the band. I've seen brands have philosophical conversations with fans of many bands, TV shows and more on social media. This leads me to believe, do social media teams of of these brands have an on-hand pop culture expert? Is Wendy's hiring a pop punk expert? Why Wendy's you ask... have you HAD their fries?

Next, Chilis ranked their favorite albums, and fans LOST IT.  Did they expect to rank albums of a well-known band and not polarize the audience?  The newest thing to add to all social handbooks for brands? Do NOT rank albums.

Unless you're a competitor of course. Fans started asking for Applebees, TGI Fridays and Dennys for their opinion. This is a no-brainer. Give the people what they want to hear, and the tattooed customers in skinny jorts will run in. 

In case anyone was wondering, which you're definitely not, my ranking of Brand New albums mirror's Alternative Press's choices:

2. Deja Intendu
3. Science Fiction
4. YFW
5. Daisy

What's your lineup of Brand New albums?

Hey you - don't forget that the world is garbage, and we all need a reminder that' we're going to be ok! Sign up for the Half Full Newsletter to get a weekly reminder that good news and puppies still exist!

                                                                           Never miss a tweet: